I am new to this side and I have seen some posts discussing the number of days people typically spend on their trip, but I am looking for some additional clarification. What is the general concensus on ideal number of days to spend at Disneyland/California Adventure if I am going with my three kids, who will be 16, 12 and 9? If I am going in early summer, would 4 days be enough? What if I went in early December instead? Is that better or worse? I am just starting planning now for a potential trip in 1.5 - 2 years. I am looking forward to getting everyone’s input and thank you in advance!
I think 4 days would be about right. We spent one day in each park last year and it wasn’t quite enough. I was wanting another day in DL at least, there is so much to see and do there! Now with Galaxy’s Edge open, 4 days sounds like the right number.
Hey! I started planning my first DLR trip a few weeks ago. Most ppl on here said 3 days is plenty to ride everything at least once. I’m going 5 days, since I may not get back for a while - if ever.
I’m going in Sept. during the week Monday - Friday to avoid the locals / crowds. I’ve hear it’s way busier on the weekends.
I am considering taking my teenagers, and my step daughters 5 and 8 year old boys next Summer. I think I have decided to do 3 park days with rest days in between, and splurging on max pass and maybe parkhoppers.
Last summer we did four days. I wish we’d done five. Four allowed us many rides and rerides, but Pixar Pier was closed and we didn’t get to meet Spider-Man and Cap and other meets we wanted. Also WOC was dark.
Maybe if we hadn’t done so many rerides I’d have said four was fine.
3 is the bare minimum number of days I recommend and I always say that if you’ll need to take a midday break (with napping age children), increase that to 4 to be able to still accomplish most everything with the slower pace that napping-age children and midday breaks bring. If you go at a slower time you could feasibly do less days. However, the hours are also shorter & some of my favorite touring is in the later PM hours that don’t exist when the parks are closed by 8 or 9pm like they do on slower weeks.
Four days sounds good. My thoughts:
- 1 day: Veteran only
- 2 days: Sufficient to see major attractions in each park and most minor attractions
- 3 days: Sufficient to see every major and minor attraction and to do repeats
- 4 days: Sufficient to experience all attractions and diversions / shows
- 5 days: Leisurely way to experience all attractions and diversions / shows
The only reason to go longer than 5 days is if you’re really soaking each moment in or spending much of your time at other California attractions.
Also, you can go 5 days and still not see everything if you don’t plan appropriately. So make sure you know beforehand what you want to accomplish and prioritize that for early in the trip.
Definitely do maxpass. It’s not that expensive and way better than FPP. And since the entrances to both parks are literally just hundreds of feet apart, park hoppers make lots of sense, if it is in your budget. Otherwise, just do maxpass. Years ago, the park hopper option was included in the ticket cost to better distribute crowds. We would RD DL and go to CA Adventure after lunch and return to DL in the evening.
Great breakdown! Thanks!
When you price out the 5th day on tickets it doesn’t add a huge amount of money… So it depends on your budget of course. I think it is always worth it, even if you just get there for a few hours in the early morning golden hours and then head home. You have a luxury of time this way that permeates your whole trip. It really also depends on your people, if they have stamina for that much Disney… Christmas time can be super crowded but it is also so so magical. If you have a choice I would totally pick early December. Just the photo ops with all the Decorations alone are so wonderful. They can make super cool Christmas cards! Nighttime at Christmas is like no other place I have ever been too and it never fails to start my holidays off in a super magical way! I personally would save money on an little less luxurious hotel and spend the money a full parkhopper with max pass. If you are big Disney fans you will not be spending much time at the hotel.
Thank you! This is pretty much exactly how I feel. To me, the hotel room is just a place to sleep, and I was already planning on staying off site. I was also already including hoppers and the Maxpass no matter what. My youngest is a huge fan of Nightmare Before Christmas and really wants to be able to see the Haunted Mansion re-themed. Does that begin as early as early December?
A huge thank you to all of you who responded to me. I have gotten a lot of good information and really appreciate your input!
This is usually done in early to mid November, so you should be good by December.
Edit: I forgot it’s the same one they use for Halloween. Ignore my response and see @lolabear_la’s below. As I was thinking more along the lines of IASW.
It’s up in time for Halloween by early-mid September and stays all the way through early January. Two of my kids love Nightmare Before Christmas as well & it’s always a highlight of our visits at Halloween or Christmas. Every year they also do a different Nightmare Before Christmas-themed gingerbread house on the dining room table of the ballroom scene & it’s always so fun to see what the theme is & the smell of it is amazing!
Here’s last year’s gingerbread house for some reference.
IASW is a very important one for Christmas-time as well. Without the holiday overlay I really only ride IASW for my kids…maybe as a 10 min. escape to air-conditioning. But with the overlay, one of my top 5 attractions (having the song broken up between it’s a small world & some Christmas carols definitely helps and the intense amount of extra decoration is just breathtaking).
We went earlier this month we arrived on a Sunday and left on the next Saturday afternoon and it was about perfect. We did downtown Disney on our arrival night. The next five were in the parks, although honestly, that last day we were just winging it and left early because it was getting crazy with early arrivals for D23. I think 3 days is good, 4 is about perfect and 5 is gravy. Our last travel day we did a character breakfast and downtown Disney. It was awesome.
Every trip we have taken as a family over the years, 5 days at Disneyland is a must! There is too much to see and do to really spend less than 5 days in both parks. Definitely get the Park Hopper and our next trip will definitely include Max Pass. We spend one day at Universal Studios and one day at either Legoland or Sea World in San Diego. Got to include one day for the beach, so we do 10 days (allowing one day to and one day from), which gives us 8 full days. If possible next year we will extend that to 11 or 12 days The last two trips we stayed at an Air BnB Condo, which is great and a money saver over a nice (Residence Inn) hotel. Have a great time!
Hope OP doesn’t mind if I ask you a side question in this thread - what beach do you recommend? I am planning a beach day as well - though we are limited to OC beaches like Huntington, Newport, Laguna. I’ve asked on the forums before for recs but always love to hear more ideas. Thanks.
There are pros and cons to each and I would welcome recommendations from locals, but of the OC beaches I have been to I would recommend either Huntington or Balboa. I like to take a walk on a pier and both of those beaches have one.
We have done all of those, though lately we seem to end up at Laguna Beach. However, in driving down the coastal highway, there are some fantastic beaches, several in fact south of Laguna that I would like to explore; such as the beaches around Dana Point. Might be nice to take a drive south of Laguna and check it out; they may be a little less crowded and even more scenic.