How many days should I go to Disneyland for?

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  • April 15, 2016
  • More days means more flights with Dumbo!
    More days means more flights with Dumbo!

    I hear this question, A LOT! How many days do I need to see Disneyland? How many days should I go to Disneyland for? How long should I make my Disneyland trip?
    My answer, make your trip as long as you can, its DISNEYLAND!!!
    I recently had someone tell me they went to Disneyland for a day, and by evening they were bored because they had done everything! WRONG. So I asked what they did. All they had done was hit the “headliner” rides. Indiana Jones, Toy Story Midway Mania, Tower of Terror, Space Mountain, and a few others. I smiled and said I hope you had fun. What I really wanted to say was, YOU MISSED THE POINT OF THE PARK!
    One big consideration into how many days should you go, is how long are you planning to stay in the park each day. Are you going during a busy season where the park is open 16 hours a day, and you plan to be there for all of them, or are you planning a more moderate (and in my opinion reasonable 8-10 hours a day)? Less hours per day means you get less done, but it also means you don’t come back from your vacation needed a week to recoup.

    -How many days should you plan for Disneyland if it's your first trip?
    Disneyland Resort has two parks, (Disneyland and California Adventure), several resort hotels, and Downtown Disney- a shopping/entertainment district. To get a good sampling of everything that the two parks have to offer, see a bit of Downtown Disney, and not run yourself ragged, I recommend a 4-5 day trip. This means you have enough meals to sample several restaurants (which is always my favorite part of Disney), time to check out all the headliner rides, some of the great shows, do a few secondary (but not less great) rides, and even repeat a few of your favorite attractions, all while going to bed at a reasonable hour.

     

    -How many days should you plan if you want to do every single ride?
    I have no idea. I have yet to go on a trip where I did everything I had planned to do. Plans change, a 5 minute wait at Pirates of the Caribbean calls me to ride even if it’s not in “my plan”. A sudden interaction with a cast member from your home town gobbles up 20 minutes. The draw to get in line to meet Mickey or to get a Dole Whip is too irresistible. I’m guessing if you did nothing but ride rides, (saw no shows, didn’t eat at any sit down restaurants and didn’t get in line for a hug from Pooh Bear) and stayed in the park from opening to closing you could probably do every ride in two – three days. But really, not seeing a show, parade, fireworks display or greeting a princess, takes the magic out of Disneyland.

     

    -How many days should you plan if you want to see a lot but not get park fatigue?
    If your budget and vacation days allow, I love a 7 day trip. I know, I can see your faces 7 days?!! There are only two parks, what will I do for 7 days?

    Day 1 is arrival day. Go to the park for a few hours after you arrive if you can get their early enough. There is nothing worse then knowing the park is right there, and you can’t go until the next day! If going to the park isn’t an option, do a character meal that evening. It still gives some Disney magic without having to use a park ticket.

    Day 2-4 Go to the Parks. Enjoy at a leisurely pace. Go on attractions, see shows, meet characters, dine at a slower pace.

    Day 5, take a day off! Oh I know, your right there, the parks are so close, and you say take a day off. YES! Enjoy sleeping in late, enjoy the pool, go the gym, watch some daytime TV for the fun of it, check out a non-park restaurant, go to Downtown Disney. Whatever catches your fancy.

    Day 6. Party like it’s 1999. Go do whatever you can squeeze in to get your last taste of Disney

    Day 7 go home:( If you live close enough you can squeeze in a last morning in the park or a character breakfast. But I normally like to sleep in from the Day 6 dash, and then get on the way home so I don’t get home at midnight.

     

    -How many days should you plan if this is your 6th trip to Disneyland?
    If you’re one of those people who is lucky enough to go to Disneyland with any regularity, you know that most of the rides don’t change, the shows are refreshed only so often, and there are only so many places to eat. So how long should you make that return trip for? I like the 4-5 day range. Enough time to get on all your favorite rides, check out some shows, shop, eat, and even take one of the special tours for something new to do. It’s not enough time to see and do it all, so there is something left to make you want to come back again.

     

    -How many days should you plan if you actually want to browse the shops?
    The shops at Disneyland are like no other (maybe besides WDW shops). Even if your not a shopper, it’s hard to resist walking around a few shops to check out the displays. Who doesn’t want to see a huge tower of stuffed Mickeys? So how do you work it in? Well one trick is that Main Street stays open an hour after the park “closes”. So you can shop then, but so does everyone else. It gets crowded and hard to move sometimes during this hour. You can shop during the early morning hours, its quiet, all restocked and wonderful, but you give up the chance of less wait times on rides early in the morning. The middle of the afternoon can be nice, its warmer outside, the lines are long, and the shops are manageable. And don’t forget all the shops in Downtown Disney.
    One thing, if you really do want to shop, know you can either store your bags, carry them around, or have your packages sent to your Disneyland hotel, or to the Newsstand out front of the park for FREE. No carrying all those BAGS!!
    Using the 7 day parks without fatigue approach will give you time to hit up some shops without having to miss your favorite rides.

     

    -What's the shortest Disneyland trip you can take?
    Simple- a day. You can go to Disneyland for one day. I believe you’ll end up running around from ride to ride, trying to squeeze it all in, and you’ll miss the magic the park has to offer. Unless you have no other choice, I don’t recommend this approach. I think you can easily walk away feeling like something is missing (the magic that taking time to look at the castle brings) and you’ll feel like it wasn’t worth the hassle.
    I believe you need a minimum of a full two day trip to even begin to scratch the surface of what the parks have to offer.

     

     

    With views like this....
    With views like this….

    There is a lot of other “vacation” things to do around Disneyland. Lego Land, Universal Studios Hollywood, the beach, Knott’s Berry’s Farm, San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Hollywood. If you plan to add any of these into your trip, you’ll have to decide how many days you want to commit to Disneyland. I enjoy Disneyland so much that I plan most of my trips to the area solely to go to Disneyland, and I never enter the gates of another destination, and I have a great time.

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