Universal Addict Goes West

Hey everyone!

As a lot of you know I’ve been trying to go to DLR since 2019!! Well, 2025 is finally the year I’m set to go. I’ve invited DW, but as of now she says she isn’t interested. I’ve told her that she still has a little longer to decide. However, this has been her opinion for almost a year now. I’ve put off going hoping she’d like to tagalong. That’s ok though as I’ll be hyper with this being my “once-in-a-lifetime” trip.

Here’s my dilemma… When to go?

I love going to theme parks Jan. 28 - Feb. 10.

IME - The weather is always better and kids are in school.

This is still a great option. I know rates will be lower - I’ve already found good hotels at affordable prices.

Plus, my HHN trip will have been about 5 months before giving this a nice “gap” between trips. However, I wouldn’t be going anywhere else until Feb. 2026. (Epic Universe) A full year after this!


I could go in Sept. 2025 for all the Halloween fun! That was my original 2019 plan. I love Halloween!! OBB looks great! I’ve dreamed of my first rides on GotG:MB being both the day & night stories.

I will be going to Universal this September for HHN. I’m also planning on getting an AP for Epic Universe in Feb. 2026 (Assuming they’ll be available)

I think going for Halloween would be so fun! However, going in February has some really good advantages. :money_mouth_face:

When to go to Disneyland for the first time
  • February 2025 - Lower crowds / Cooler weather
  • Sept. 2025 - Halloween Events / Long wait between trips
0 voters

My reasoning is that the first trip is a Halloween themed trip. So it’s nice to shake things up. But also, 5 months is about as long as I want to go between vacations, lol. And you never know- you might find a some fun reason to visit late 2025.

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Watch out for seasonal closures in early Feb. I’ve been twice in Jan and early Feb and both times IASW was closed for removal of the holiday overlay. Haunted Mansion also closes for that reason but I don’t think it’s for quite as long – that said, the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay at Haunted Mansion is super cool if you can catch it – (this past year they left it up for the runDisney race in January) – and you’d see that during Halloween time too (I think).


Where is the “both” option? :rofl:


This is my biggest thing!

Plus, who’s to say that I won’t “move up” my Epic Universe trip from Feb. 2026 to Sept 2025! :rofl: :innocent:

My DD & I love going to HHN together and I’d hate to disappoint her by missing the one in 2025! :rofl: :rofl: (and it would give me an excuse to renew my AP this year… :innocent: :innocent:)


Right. Sure thing in Feb 2025 sounds better.

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I didn’t want to tip the scales too much, but February is when I think I should go. It’s just FOMO about missing out on the Halloween stuff. This really will be my “once-in-a-lifetime” trip and I want to make sure I do everything I can!

I’d be saving almost $1K by going in February as well. That could go towards Epic or any other smaller trip before then, like Dollywood or something.


If it’s once in a lifetime to see DL, I vote for Halloween.

Jan-Feb may see lower crowds and cooler temps but a couple of caveats there about the crowds and weather, particularly with recent years in mind.

  1. Lunar New Year is Jan 29 2025 and that festival has gotten longer/become a bigger draw every year so it will bring more crowds to DCA, especially in the areas where they offer performances/food booths/character meets. It will be an awesome trade-off to still be able to see some festival, but Halloween is so over the top amazing that if I had to only pick one to see if it would be hands-down Halloween. Also as mentioned above, anything that’s remotely a water ride will be down for yearly maintenance at some point in this period of off-season travel. That could mean: small world, Pirates, Grizzly River Run and Tiana’s Bayou (but maybe not quite that one since it will be newer). Plus any extended maintenance they need to do on anything, especially anything that requires scaffolding or big walls up against iconic backgrounds, like the castle or Main St, will happen during this time too. You’ll still have an awesome time but parts of the park could be very Wall-cot like. So for once in a lifetime, I’d choose not to come.
  2. The weather in September in Anaheim is not at the same level of humidity as Orlando AND with the long park hours it’s so easy to take a midday pool/nap/lounge/hotel break and still get to everything important. The weather in Jan/Feb as of late has not just been cooler but cold and the last couple of Dec-Feb trips we’ve done, we’ve decided we prefer it to be too hot than too cold in DL. And we are a family that runs hot (so perhaps we are biased in that we are prepared to run hot with cooling cloths, fans, plenty of water & a midday rest, but never quite fully prepared manage being-to-the-core-cold with things like hats, mittens, thermals and then layers). And we often miss out on staying as late as we would normally since the cold gets unbearable unless we constantly keep moving which you can’t if you’re stopping to eat or in an outdoor line (of which there are a lot at DL). So IMO it’s just easier to navigate the too hot in DL.

And in closing, seeing Haunted Mansion Holiday is a MUST for any casual Halloween or NBC fan. It’s so incredible and detailed and a marvel to be appreciated even if it’s not your cup of tea.
But if it is, it could very well be one of your absolute favorite things at DLR. Typically, in years past they close Haunted Mansion around mid-August to it up in time for OBB. Then it’s up until after Christmas. Ahead of the Christmas season (the later end of mid-October), they have small world go down for refurbishment to add it’s Christmas overlay & so then both rides are Christmas for the Christmas season that begins on the early end of mid-November.

Once the Christmas season ends (after Three Kings Day), they have Haunted Mansion go down first to remove its overlay & keep small world up. Then have both running for MLK weekend (and especially so if there’s a race/runDisney event that weekend). Then after MLK weekend, small world will go down for a few weeks for it’s overlay removal and if it needs any maintenance will be down a bit this time too.

This year they swapped it a little and had small world go down first because they were planning a much longer refurb for Haunted Mansion (to redo the queue & add an exit gift shop) so they did leave it up for the race weekend, but that’s very atypical. So if you want to see it Labor Day weekend through Three Kings day is your safe bet.


I’d knew you’d be the one to get me to really consider Halloween! I’m on a long theme park break right now & it’s miserable… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :rofl:

If I could time travel to any season to visit DLR it’s always during Halloween!

I’m trying to only go on one trip in 2024 (HHN) & 2025 (DLR) to save for doing 3 - 4 trips in 2026 (Epic). I’m closing out all my Disney Visa points on this too. Although, money isn’t a major factor in my considerations.

It’s only been five months since my last Orlando trip & I’m going stir crazy! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :rofl:

I’ve got 122 more days to go for HHN! I’m playing with TPs for that trip today too! (Told ya I’m going stir crazy!! :crazy_face: :rofl:) I know DD is coming, but the number of days is uncertain. She graduated this weekend and starts her new job today!! She says she wants to go the full week as she normally goes 3 days.


She makes excellent points though!! I think no matter what you choose you will be trading something for something.


I know! Right??!!?? I’ve gone back & forth so many times before I even posted this topic. It’s why I needed the help!! :laughing:

I haven’t mentioned it, but with my Universal Visa I get one free ticket to any park as an annual renewal gift. That combined with the points I’m already collecting would make starting /ending my trip at USH / HHN possible! If it’s really “once-in-a-lifetime” I might as well see it all! I could do it in either Feb. or Sept. What a crazy thought!!!

I do need to keep some kind of budget though! :rofl: :rofl: (We’ve talked about keeping it to under $3K after using all the Disney Points)

Ideally, I want 4 - 5 days at DLR (the price isn’t much different) + a single day at Knott’s. Anything else is a bonus. If I went in Sept. I’d go to OBB at least once & Knott’s Scary.

I think going to USH is just a fun fantasy!!


This is the main reason I would say to go to DL in Feb 2025. Wouldn’t want to impeded on your Epic plans.

However, I voted for September 2025 because I think you would enjoy OBB and everything going on at DLR around Halloween. Also although it is warmer, I would rather go to DLR when it is hot rather than cold. Otherwise you miss out on the wet rides, including Tiana’s and Grizzly River Run.

However, I would not go in early September if you can avoid it – the hottest temperatures I’ve ever experienced at Disneyland have been around Labor Day. A couple of years ago it was almost 110! :scream:


This was the biggest reason I moved it to February when DW was potentially coming… I had no idea it got that hot there until I started planning this trip!!


:cry: :cry: :cry: I can definitely understand this.

Maybe a good compromise to at least see Haunted Mansion Holiday is try to early November, early December or early January. All of those weeks tend to avoid major school breaks. And with November you’d have great weather. And you’d see the transition between Halloween & Christmas which is kinda fun & Haunted Mansion Holiday will be up for all of that. If small world opens a few days early you might be able to see it too.

December & January would be full-on Christmas which is very wonderful too. I love the energy & festival & live performances in DCA and in DL you get an Elsa castle lighting and small world facade lighting every night. And Christmas fireworks/parade included in the price of admission (no extra party ticket required). And you get it’s a small world & Haunted Mansion holiday overlays. So a few things to consider.


Once the 2025 calendar opens I’ll definitely consider January. I’d be concerned about New Year’s and MLK holidays though…

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I was talking with DW, who is still undecided, about the options. I think we found a compromise. I’d be spending about $500 on Halloween parties at DLR/Knott’s if I go in September. I could use that $500 for that purpose or use it in February to visit USH. I really would like to see USH, even if it’s a lot of duplicate stuff. (I do wish the new F&F coaster was going to be done in 2025!)

February = All 3 theme parks, USH 1 day / DLR 5 days / Knott’s 1 day, with an extra day added to the trip

Sept. = DLR 5 days / Knott’s 1 day both with one night at their Halloween events each.

I’m really torn as I seriously have always pictured my first trip to DLR to be during Halloween. I only ever considered any other time to accommodate DW

Polls are fun!
  • Feb. = 3 Parks
  • Sept. = I LOVE Halloween
0 voters

This is a hard choice. I’m still hanging on for Halloween–I say add USH there too (Disney math).


Don’t think I haven’t daydreamed about a plan where I go to all three parks in September and do HHN out there in 2025. I have a new HHN tradition! I’d “hate” to skip it!! :rofl: :rofl: :innocent: :innocent:

Arrive on a Friday - go to HHN that night. // Sat. = USH // Sun - Thurs. = DLR // Fri. = Knott’s // Sat. = Depart!!

That would be incredible & worth waiting for I gotta admit! It would only cost about $500 - $1000 more depending on any upgrades / HHN express passes… :thinking: :thinking:

However, all of this comes out of the same “pool” that my Epic trips are going to use. So, $1k more in California is that much less in 2026 - which could be a whole additional visit.


Spend some more money on the Disney reward card to make up the difference (points). You can make up that 1k, easy!

I’m teasing, a bit. If it’s a once in a lifetime thing, though, I think you go all out, whatever that means to you. :blush: :blush:


I honestly think you will be underwhelmed by USH and you should wait to go there until F&F is open. Nintendo World will be open at Epic by the time you go and HP is much better at UOR.