Summer 2023 planning- trip length/best time to visit

DH said that he wants to fly out to Big Bear, CA next summer, which means flying into LAX. So, of course what I heard was…. WE’RE GOING TO DISNEYLAND!

I have never been to DL before and aside from reading a few trip reports and seeing some stories from Instagram, I am a DL nooby booby.

Some things to consider:

*Due to my teaching schedule, we need to go sometime between Memorial Day and the end of July.

*Also, as much as I’d want to spend all the time at DL, I do need to consider DH’s request.

So two questions to kick off my DL planning…

  1. When should we go? (In general but also, is it better to visit on weekdays or weekends?)

  2. How long of a trip is best for a first time visit to be able to take it in, not feel crazy rushed, but also knowing that we can’t stay for too crazy long.


Yay for a DLR trip! I don’t usually go in the summer so can’t comment on best dates. Right now they are only doing fireworks on weekends. That could impact whether you stick to weekdays or include all or part of a weekend. The two lower levels of APs are blocked out pretty much all summer.

I think it’s doable in three days, but four is probably better if you have time. I don’t think you need more than four, especially since you’re balancing Big Bear too.

You have plenty of time to figure it out. It takes way less planning than WDW.


Welcome to the laid-back West!

1) When to go:

I like June because it’s usually less hot and still very dry (we are humidity wimps and July & August especially the last couple of years have been humid- not quite as bad as WDW but some days approaching it). If you can go Tues-Thur those days tend to be less busy. Friday and Sunday mornings are quite nice too, but Friday evenings and Sunday midday days and sometimes evenings will be fairly busy. Saturdays are usually the busiest day but will be staffed to operate as efficiently as possible. Friday & Sunday are also well staffed and prepped for crowds (probably why their mornings seem to run more smoothly as they have more staff to not have lines forming right from the very start of the day). As for Monday, mornings always feel so much busier than weekend mornings. I don’t think it’s necessarily because it’s a busier day than Saturday but more that it is significantly less staffed/prepped than a weekend which creates traffic/longer lines for any and everything starting right from the get-go.

Early June does still have grad nights and those can get very busy and depending on how well-behaved the grads are, it may (or may not) impact your experience (I have seen it both ways, had grad nights when I didn’t even realize it was a grad night until the end of the night & other nights where I have felt overwhelmed with the urge to punch a teenager bc some of the teens encountered were just so bad at being considerate in a crowd). I don’t personally avoid grad nights, but if I can help it, I will start those days in DCA and as early as possible (less chance teens are getting up early when they have a party that goes from 10pm-2am that night). Then make sure I can hop to DL for the night when they are filling up DCA and getting ready to kick off their exclusive party.

2) How long to go for:

If you have kids I always recommend 4 days. It allows you to take a chunk of time each day for a midday break/nap and still see most of everything even at the slower pace you go with kids. If your group is more go go go and doesn’t need downtime or a slower pace, 3 days is a good amount. If you absolutely had to, you could do just fine with 2 days (but wouldn’t be able to slow down for much).

The max # of days you can buy without paying for a yearlong pass is 5 days so I don’t think you’d have to worry about a crazy long trip to DL. If you are already planning on 4 days and have another day where you could do a partial day in the parks, it is so cheap and worth it to go in for that extra 5th partial day. The math isn’t as overwhelmingly obvious for upgrading from 3 to 4 days, but it is still worth it if your other California plans allow for a half or three-quarters day on that 4th day. It gets harder to justify upgrading from 2 to 3 days for a partial day and it’s not at all worth it to upgrade from 1 to 2, and in some cases if both of your 1 days are value days, it is cheaper to buy two separate 1 day tickets. And it’s even a better value to do 1 day with all the Genie+ and individual LL add-ons than it is to get a 2 day ticket.

But really 3 is bare minimum I would recommend to really enjoy it, 4 is better (even if just partial on that 4th day), and if you have the room in the schedule you won’t regret a 5th day (even if it’s just for a few hours in the morning before driving off to your next venture, or if on your arrival day you get a late afternoon or evening start).