Welcome to the West! Glad that you could find a reason to come see and enjoy Disneyland. It has a lot of charm & history, is the original and to me, a second home, so I’m always happy to hear of people coming out to see it for their very first time.
As for the question to park hop or not, I could not imagine being there and NOT hopping. I read the below the other day from an update on Disneyland run by the folks from Micechat.com (.
Time to jump parks… see you the other side of the banner…
It was an easy walk. For you Disney World folks, that’s about one whole Sapceship Earth distance from gate to gate, no buses required.
Now, while I try not to talk about other sources than Touring Plans on Touring Plans (because they are my favorite!), this quote was just too perfect for your situation!
Anywho, they are really close together and while you will definitely have lots to do in both sides for the 3 days and could eliminate the need to hop, there are plenty of benefits to hopping including:
Hopping to DCA from DL in order to escape from the very many narrow walkways of DL into the wider, crowd-absorbing walkways of DCA.
Your final day you can do your favorites from each park and get to say a proper goodbye without having to feel like you missed out on that one last Radiator Springs race or trip through Space.
DCA sells spirits. DL does not. So if you enjoy partaking alcohol in the parks, something to consider.
We usually try to limit our spend as much as possible but there are so many other ways to do it than eliminating park hopping (eat breakfast in the hotel room before RD, take a midday break and eat at an off-site restaurant for lunch, do sandwiches for dinner or grab it from another off-site location on your way back in from midday break, bring your own snacks and water to the park, or get free ice water from any counter service restaurant, book a hotel closer to the Toy Story lot and farther way from the park entrance and use the free shuttle in the lot to go back and forth to the park). Those are all cuts that I would make before I would say, don’t hop.
We’ve been once to WDW and I couldn’t imagine hopping there, but it is a completely different story in DL. You don’t even have to go through security again to get from one turnstile to the next and the walk is 2-3 min. Your only hold up might be that it takes a few minutes to get through a line to scan your pass at the other parks turnstile, but after park opening & only in very rare circumstances have I seen it take longer than 5 min.
Anywho, excited for you no matter what you choose, but wanted to give my 2 cents on the issue since it’s SO easy in DLR.