Worth going for 2 days?

We’re starting to plan a trip to San Diego for June, and DW is on board with adding two days to visit DL. We have never been, but have been to WDW twice as a family (so could maybe skip a few of the duplicate rides). We will have DS7, DS5, and DD3 (who is now 40 inches, so SOARIN!!!). Seems like most advice is 3 days for first-timers. Should I save this for another trip in the future when we would have 3 days, or should we try to fit things into 2? We will have DAS, so I’m thinking we could get most things done in 2 days without too much rushing.

3 Likes

It seems to make sense but definitely curtail your expectations and set clear priorities to plan your time well. Anything beyond those priorities would be a bonus.

I personally would have loved a full week there (5 in park and 2 resort days) but money and kids and stuff.

3 Likes

Check the calendar for your dates. They may close early, like at 7, for special events.

2 days is doable, especially if you have DAS. The parks are so close together, hopping is easy peasy. Get the hopper, if you can.
The parks have small footprints, compared to those in WDW. Three days would be better. Prioritize, and 2 days should be good.

2 Likes

Many of the rides at DL are different than WDW, so I would not recommend skipping any if you can possibly help it. Pirates of the Caribbean, for example, is MUCH better at DL and not to be missed. 2 days is tight but DAS will help. Have fun!

3 Likes

Can confirm

3 Likes

Yes, 2 days worth doing. You’ll be able to accomplish a lot, but not everything, so, as noted, set expectations (and be warned that it may leave you itching for a return trip). My family did a similar trip as yours last October with time in San Diego and 2 days at DLR, and it worked great. That said, DW and I ended up back at DLR for just the 2 of us for another 2 days over MLK weekend. :grinning:

4 Likes

What are the chances of getting a room at GC for early June via renting points? I’m guessing zero? There is no availability right now according to the DVC availability tool here.

1 Like

The only one I know who has successfully booked GCH without owning there was @Julianne_fki (I think? maybe I’m mixing it up) who reserved on the exact day they reopened DVC for reservations in 2021 after the Covid closure. It was already within the 7 month window, so there was no home resort advantage.

In other words, I think you’re chances are slim. Maybe a 1BR or 2BR?

1 Like

Book a room hotel-side and keep trying for points rental. If you get the points rental (slim chances) drop the hotel stay.

10000000% worth it.

4 Likes

The odd thing is on David’s it says the studio sleeps 4, but on the Disney site it says 5. I’m going with 5. I think I’ll book the studio cash and then try for a 1BR via David’s. It will be cheaper than the cash room and we’ll have more space.

2 Likes

Just FYI - at Disneyland there is no benefit of staying onsite that is linked to individual guests the way it is at WDW. So if you had someone “with” you that wasn’t on the reservation, they’d still be able to come with you through the dedicated entrance to DCA, etc. as long as you have a hotel room key for your party.

1 Like

We started our crazy Disney adventures on a combo SD and DLR trip so my position is an emphatic yes! But definitely be warned that as just said, you will plan a trip to come back for a longer trip. No maybes about it.

Yes, but absolutely do not skip all of them. Here is my most recent opinion on it divied up by the ever so profession categories of: Absolutely can skip, Probably can skip, Try to fit (hard with just 2 days), and finally Absolutely CANNOT skip.

Absolutely can skip:
These are all either near duplicates or inferior versions to their east coast counterparts. And can be a little harder to plan and so wouldn’t be worth the use of time when limited to 2 days.

  • Jungle Cruise (no Genie+/LL option, there are other priorities I would put ahead of doing this before a line builds, and I like WDW’s version better)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight (almost exact same notes as JC above, but note that there is never a time when there isn’t a line for this, even first thing in the AM).
  • Toy Story Midway Mania (If you get a Genie+/LL reservation for it without having to sacrifice another priority in DCA then it’s fine, but it’s also an exact duplicate of DHS without the theme queue)
  • All of SW:GE (realizing that if you are an avid SW fan this is blasphemy but with 2 days and if you’re not a big SW fan, this can easily be saved for whichever Disney park you can get to more often/for longer period of time)

Probably could skip
Most of these are near identical on both coasts (usually the biggest difference is in DLR have a very much less themed queue), but are also relatively easy to fit in. So if they are favorites and you have time after doing the unique & must-do’s, you can sprinkle these in.

  • Star Tours
  • Little Mermaid
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Splash (different log setup as you are single file and no lap bar, but same ride inside and for the record I prefer WDW’s setup and ride, and my kids only like to ride midday when it’s a bit harder because that’s when most people ride, but after sundown and in the mornings before the sun is really out sees really low waits)
  • Soarin’ (duplicates except the final scene you fly over/end at DL instead of Epcot)
  • Autopia
  • Astro-Orbiter
  • Tiki Room
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • Teacups
  • Dumbo (this is the only one that might be a little harder to plan as it builds a line somewhat quickly - and I would lean to prioritizing other things unique to DLR in that golden morning time but if your kids love it, it can definitely be bumped to a higher priority than this list).

Try to fit in
These are ones that I would normally advocate as must-do’s but with two days, I limited the must-do duplicates to the bare minimum (and so you’ll just need to come back for longer to get the atmosphere that is so great about DLR). These are also somewhat easier to fit in (but could be one of the first things you drop as you get midday through day 2 and realize you need to bump some priority).

  • Carousel (the original carousel next to the original castle so just pure classic Disney)
  • Railroad (Again, original and Walt loved it. If you have to pick & choose where you ride it from and to at bare minimum do the leg from Tomorrowland to Main Street to see the cool dioramas from the 1964 World Fair, but I also love riding past the back of the Rivers of America so that would be starting from New Orleans Square).
  • Mark Twain Riverboat (it’s again got lots of Disney legacy being an opening day attraction and has some fun Disney history with Walt & Lillian celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary on it just a few days before the park opened).
  • Big Thunder Mountain (I almost put it in the cannot skip, bc it’s most definitely better in DLR, but it’s also close enough between the two that you could skip it, but it’s also a relatively easy grab on Genie+/LL that if you purchase I would absolutely make a must-do)
  • Grizzly River Run- similar to Kali River Run in AK but with the amazing theming of the Redwoods and higher drops (and I think longer). At least try to walkthrough the nearby Redwood Creek Challenge Trail area that is also immaculately themed and one of my kids’ absolute favorite steam letting off walkthrough areas.

Absolutely CANNOT skip
This list is non-negotiable duplicates (or same ride systems with a different theme or story) and you must see the DLR version to properly visit DLR.

  • Pirates
  • Space
  • it’s a small world
  • Indiana Jones (same ride system as Dinosaur, but different story and one of my faves, it’s definitely aged and bc of that a lot of the story has been lost, but if you love John Williams’ music, that alone makes it a must-do for me).
    *All of Carsland (Racers is the same ride system as Test Track but a completely elevated level of theming and then Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is the Alien Swirling Saucers but I have yet to meet a person who just didn’t absolutely love the Mater theming to it.

40 inches is what I call the magic number at DLR. It opens up the most number of new rides for a kiddo (especially if they are more of a thrill-seeker) to try: Radiator Springs Racers, Soarin, Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mtn, Splash Mtn, Rise, Star Tours, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout (if they don’t do well with thrills, would NOT recommend until they are closer to 6 as my kids so far have hated it right at 40"). Also opens up Jumpin Jellyfish and the Silly Symphony Swings (neither of those are must-do’s to me, but are enjoyable with the ambiance of the World of Color lagoon and views of the Mickey wheel (currently called Pixar Pal Around with the pier being now a Pixar theme) so, more an if you have time kind of item.

And in case I missed any of the 40 inch rides above the list is actually shorter of what they can’t ride so these would be the only ones your 40 inch kid would have to skip:
Matterhorn (42")
Goofy’s Sky School (42")
Grizzly River Run (42")
Indiana Jones (46")
Incredicoaster (48")

Anyway, if you’re still reading, can’t wait to see what plans develop and how the adventure out west goes, including the San Diego part. I absolutely love San Diego and we don’t go near enough for how much we drive out to Cali.

8 Likes

This was an incredibly helpful post. Thank you so much.

BUT, I must point something out…

The real blasphemy in your post is that Haunted Mansion is not in the Absolutely CANNOT skip category. Surely you just forgot about it, as its not in your post at all. True blasphemy. I don’t think we can be friends…

5 Likes

:scream: :scream: :scream: I can’t believe I forgot Haunted Mansion.

I struggled with where to put it and moved it around a bunch. Originally it was on Absolutely can skip (because it is nearly identical except for one short, but very cool, effect, more on that in a second, and the queue really is such a blah nothingness compared to WDW’s) but as I mused over the skippables, I kept thinking, some of these are a lot easier to plan than others so I need to move them away (and created a new category of Probably could skip). Soarin’ and Splash were also in that situation (and made it to their appropriate final destination) but Haunted Mansion did not. Can you ever forgive me? Can we be friends?

Now knowing you are a Haunted Mansion stan, it automatically goes into the Absolutely CANNOT skip and most of that is to witness the effect of Hattie the Hatbox Ghost. He was meant to be an original part of the ride, but was scrapped because the illusion didn’t work out perfectly as intended but Imagineering has now perfected it and he delivers amazingly and well worth a ride, especially for Haunted Mansion stans. And if you watched the Disney+ Behind the Attractions special then you already know all this. But just in case you didn’t.

If you weren’t a HM stan, I think I would’ve ended up putting it in the Try to Fit in and noted that it could move down to Can Skip if you aren’t a huge Haunted Mansion fan as it is only in there for the Hatbox Ghost.

(Please say I am redeemed)

5 Likes

You are redeemed. It is in fact my favorite ride. I want to visit all the parks just to experience the different versions of HM.

5 Likes

Phew. I am relieved. And, that is a most awesome goal. So we can create a new category for just HM of Definitely Absolutely Cannot Leave DLR without doing

5 Likes

Must dos for me
DCA
Incredicoaster
RSR
GotG
GRR
Monsters Inc
Web Slingers
Disney Animation Building
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail if you have littles
Spider-Man in Marvel land

With more time I’d add
PhilharMagic just cuz I love the updated version
Soarin
Little Mermaid
Some of the other street performances like the avengers

DL
Indiana
Pirates (like far superior. It’ll ruin WDW version forever for you)
Haunted Mansion
BTMR
RotR (it actually seems to work better here so if you’ve been missing Kylo at the end he’s working here)
MFSR
Splash
BTMR
Tom Sawyer (for the pirate theming in the caves…make sure to stick your hand in crevices and what not)
Railroad
Roger rabbit
Me Toad
Alice in Wonderland
Matterhorn
Small world
Pinocchio
Snow White
Space (this version is better)
Buzz
Castle walk thru (make sure to try and open doors)
Storybook Land Canal Boats
Lincoln
If toontown is fully open I’d walk thru Mickey and Minnie’s house but is it closed for refurbishments?

With more time I’d hit star tours and Winnie the Pooh too. If your kids love the cars Autopia better than Speedway but neither is on my list. I’d avoid Dumbo because it has a longer line here than WDW and not the neat queue. I like the treehouse better here too not because of the Tarzan theming but because of its layout. Little details like that are better here. If you can walk thru pixie hollow at night that’s fun too. I love those little details and walk thru New Orleans. Just beautiful.

4 Likes

I created this thread last summer where a few of us shared our comparisons of DL vs WDW. This post in particular has my breakdown of what you can find exclusively at each resort and which version of duplicates / similar rides is better.

7 Likes

HM is absolutely cannot skip at Christmastime for sure.

But you know it’s absolutely cannot skip anyway

3 Likes

Correct. Also a valid reason for coming back on a separate trip to see it in both forms. Because it is night and day a different ride. Both fantastic, both so incredibly detailed.

3 Likes