Trying to figure out the perfect Disneyland vacation length? Take a look at my suggestions to help you decide how many days to spend at Disneyland Resort in California. Scroll for all the tips!
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Planning for Disneyland – How Many Days?
This is a question I get a lot – and the answer can totally vary based on your family and what you are looking for.
The answer for some people might be only a day, while others might tell you about how they wished they could just move there. And those two might be in the same family.
Realizing that every family looks and feels differently, I came up with some general guidelines for how much time (bare minimum) would be “enough.”
Here are some considerations I would think about when deciding How Many Days to Spend at Disneyland (and a few exclusive tips at the end!)
ARE YOU PLANNING ON DOING ANYTHING ELSE BESIDES DISNEYLAND ON YOUR VACATION?
If Disneyland isn’t your only destination, you will need to make sure you leave time for other fun, SoCal spots.
Driving time is also a consideration – if you are staying far away you don’t want to spend an hour or two in the car each way more than once!
ARE YOU (OR YOUR PARTNER) PREGNANT OR PLANNING TO BE?
I only ask this to help you realize that you may want to plan on extra time.
I was able to do Disneyland at five months pregnant, but there were a lot more potty stops, snack breaks, and air-conditioned rests than I had anticipated. I would have been sad (and hurting) if I had tried to shove everything into one day.
Plus, I would not have had time to do our Disneyland Pregnancy Announcement photoshoot!
ARE YOU BRINGING A BABY?
There are “Baby Care Centers” that you can take advantage of – and they are amazing!
You might just want to give yourself extra time so you and baby can relax in the cool air conditioning once in a while.
ARE YOU BRINGING A TODDLER?
Since children 2 and younger are FREE, there’s a chance you might be bringing one along!
My boys both LOVED the park at this age, but we had to build in time for naps.
If your little one will nap in the stroller, bonus! If not, give yourself plenty of time to go back to your hotel room and nap.
If you are in the middle of potty training, plan on lots of extra stops for potty breaks.
Lastly – don’t underestimate how much your little one loves a particular ride – you might want to build in time to ride it over and over and over again!
ARE YOU A LOCAL?
If you live in SoCal, not only do you get a special discounted SoCal Disneyland ticket price, but you also don’t need to worry about getting a hotel room!
WHAT DOES YOUR BUDGET LOOK LIKE?
If you are visiting Disneyland as a family, the ticket costs can add up quickly! The easiest way to limit your costs at Disneyland is to limit your days.
Just realize that you will not be able to get everything in, and choose the things that you most want to see or do.
ARE YOU GOING FOR (OR DURING) A SPECIAL EVENT?
Keep an eye on the event calendar, and realize that some events will warrant taking extra time to see the parks.
The Holidays, Halloween, the Oogie Boogie Bash or the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival are all large events that take over the parks.
Depending on how you feel about large events, you might want to schedule extra time for the larger crowds and longer lines, or just avoid the parks altogether on those days.
WILL YOU BE VISITING STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE?
If so, you definitely want to add a day or two to your trip. The lines have been averaging about 3 hours so far, and there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference as far as time of day.
If you are not a Star Wars fan, maybe consider focusing on the Disney California Adventure park, and only plan a day at Disneyland.
Can You Do Disneyland in One Day?
If one day is all you have, YES! I was able to attend the AWEsome Retreat last year, and did Disneyland in a day – something I had NEVER thought was possible before!
To start off with, I upgraded to the Park Hopper ticket so that I could visit the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival.
Also – I did not have my boys with me. That made a HUGE difference. I walked a lot more than I would have, was able to be in the parks for 14 hours, and didn’t have to worry about how long a wait was and if I had enough snacks to help them last!
That being said, I spent a lot of time taking pictures and doing other blog-related tasks. If I had been there wanting to see and do everything, one day would not have been possible.
If all you want is to ride a few rides, try a few snacks and meet a few characters, one day is great. If you want to see EVERYTHING, plan on a few!
On that note – here are some of my favorite multi-day ticket packages:
3 days, 4 days or 5 days at Disneyland?
I’d have to say my favorite choices are the 3-day or 5-day passes. They work well for most families, and by booking one of them, you get access to the infamous “Magic Mornings!”
3 DAYS AT DISNEYLAND
This is the package we normally choose. We get to choose between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
For us, we find that two days at Disneyland and one day at Disney California Adventure is just about perfect!
Sometimes, we will get the Park Hopper tickets so we can go back and forth as much as we want. We then spend at least one full day at Disneyland and split our time between parks for the rest of our vacation.
When you buy your 3-day ticket, you’ll get one “Magic Morning”. This will let you enter the park one hour before the general public.
This is a wonderful way to get to ride those popular Disneyland rides with minimal wait time!
The 3-day option works well for our family because we know this won’t be our only/last trip to Disneyland. We plan to visit as a family at least once per year.
Our boys are also younger and don’t do the bigger rides. 3 days gives everyone a chance to do the things they really want to do!
Our family really likes to schedule character meals the days we arrive and depart. The first day we get there, we schedule dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen.
Since we don’t plan on going to the park that day, it’s a great way to enjoy our first night at Disneyland!
We also planned a character breakfast for the day we are leaving. Just like dinner, it’s a great way to enjoy being at Disneyland without actually going into the park.
This schedule allows us to stay for four nights and still spend three days in the parks. We get to relax, and not worry about “getting our money’s worth” out of our trip – we know we will!
(We did try a 2-day ticket a few years ago, and I was surprised and saddened by how much we missed out on!)
4 DAYS AT DISNEYLAND
The 4-day ticket is awesome because you can split your days between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
The freedom you feel when you have two full days at each park is awesome! You have time for sit-down meals, and you won’t be racing back and forth between the parks trying to see every single show or parade!
The 4-day ticket is also nice if you are visiting when the weather might be a bit rainy. Disneyland in the rain is do-able, but not nearly as fun. Fireworks shows and parades are canceled, and some attractions have to shut down.
Having an extra day in case you lose one to rain is just a lot less stressful for everyone.
If you love Disneyland food, this is a great option for you! It gives you enough time to actually enjoy your food instead of eating when you’re already full so you can “try it all”!
The extra day means you can enjoy more of the popular table service restaurants in both parks. And then there are the desserts…enough said.
My travel partner Get Away Today often features hotels that offer you the 4th night for free!
5 DAYS AT DISNEYLAND
If you are looking for the biggest price break on tickets, the 5-day ticket is the one you want! It’s not inexpensive, but the cost per ticket per day is quite a bit less than a 3-day ticket.
This choice is great for families who don’t go to Disneyland very often and want to be able to “do/see it all.” This is also perfect for those of us who have a full week and would like to plan for a rest day in there somewhere.
The cost difference between the 4-day and the 5-day tickets is minimal. This means that if you have an early arrival or a late departure, you could squeeze in another day of Disney fun!
Five days is also ideal for families who want to make sure that everyone has a good time. Parents and teens have time to do the thrill rides, while the little ones have time to play and meet the characters they want to.
No one will feel rushed or have to miss out on what they want to do!
The 5-day ticket also gives you the freedom to see all the parades, shows, fireworks shows, World of Color, character meetings, etc. without trying to pack everything into a few short days.
So you can plan to stay up late a night or two to catch the fireworks show, and know that you can head back early other nights to catch up on sleep (and avoid the dreaded toddler meltdown!)
You can also take advantage of the Plaza Inn character breakfast inside the park without worrying that you are “burning” a day of park time to get there.
With the 5-day ticket, I wouldn’t worry about upgrading to the Park Hopper ticket. You’ll have plenty of time to explore both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
If you are planning on one big trip to Disneyland (and your budget allows for it) the 5-day ticket is what I would suggest.
Three Exclusive Tips to Choose your Ideal Disneyland Vacation
BEST DISNEYLAND SPLURGES
If you have a larger budget, there are LOTS of ways to spend it at Disneyland!
Disney Character Dining
My boys and I LOVE Disney character meals.
The newest one is the Disney Princess Adventures at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and Spa. It’s certainly the most expensive option at $125 per person – even kids, but it’s the only way to see the princesses at a character meal.
One thing I always love to splurge on is a Disneyland photoshoot with a professional photographer.
I love Adam & Claudia Photography. They specialize in engagement, maternity, and family photos specifically at Disneyland.
Use code MOMMYLAND-25 for $25 off your own photoshoot!
If your Disney trip happens to land during the holiday season or anytime school is usually out, make the most of your FastPasses by getting the MaxPass.
We don’t do a lot of the FastPass attractions yet, my boys are just too little. But we LOVE the MaxPass because it gets us the PhotoPass. So we usually have just one person get the MaxPass, and then everyone in our family uses it for pictures.
There are a few really fun hotel options you can take advantage of if money isn’t holding you back.
If you plan on staying on park property, we recommend the amazing Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and Spa. The pool area is worth it by itself, and you can treat yourself to one of the relaxing spa treatments on a rest day!
For a Disney Good Neighbor Hotel (not on property, but Disney works with them) we like the Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance.
It’s a popular choice, and they are right across the street from the park entrances. The water park here is wonderful for blowing off steam on non-park days – my boys loved it!
SPLURGE HERE AND SAVE THERE
If you are someone who has a more modest budget, or just can’t stomach dropping $500+ per night on a hotel room, here are some suggestions for you!
If you’re like me and (awesomely) insist that everyone has something Disney-related to wear for each day in the park, you’re in luck!
I do almost 100% of my shopping pre-trip at the Disney Store or Target. There are often big sales where I can score clothes for my boys at almost 75% off!
Target is another go-to, and I have found some SUPER cute holiday Mickey shirts there!
If you haven’t seen the price of the wands that blow bubbles out the top, you’re in for a bit of a shock. They can run anywhere from $25 to $35 depending on how fancy they are. I would normally say “no” and not think twice about it.
Then, I thought about it as an investment in my own sanity. These things kept my boys entertained for every long wait, long walk, and hotel shuttle ride (sorry, shuttle driver!) we had. Totally worth it!
Disneyland Character Breakfast
Breakfast is the least expensive character meal you can attend. Our family’s favorite is Goofy’s Kitchen. The food there is actually delicious, and there are enough choices to make even the pickiest toddler happy!
I usually try to schedule this breakfast for a non-park day. It gives us time to enjoy eating without feeling stressed or rushed. Then, we have time to explore the Disneyland Hotel.
A great choice for a Disneyland hotel with an awesome pool area would be the Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Park. The water park is perfect for rest or non-park days!
BUDGET-FRIENDLY DISNEYLAND TIPS
Disneyland on a budget is definitely possible! Here are some ways to lower the costs without losing the fun!
You shouldn’t have to take out a second mortgage on your house to get souvenirs!
If your kids are going to want souvenirs, there are a bunch of options you can purchase before you head to the parks. Target, Walmart, Dollar Tree, and Amazon all have Disney items that you could surprise your little ones with while you’re in the park.
Or, you could surprise your little one at the hotel and tell them it’s a treat from Mickey! They would love it!
Bringing in your own food is probably the easiest (and smartest) way to save money at Disneyland. Target sells Mickey-shaped goldfish, and those have been a huge hit with my boys so far!
I’ve also been able to find Disney-themed candy and treats at my local grocery store and bring them on the trip with us.
Knowing that the food is a little pricier inside the park, I still recommend eating in the park at least a few times. The portions are generous, so easy to share (especially with little ones!)
Our “for sure” treats in the park are Dole Whip and anything from Bing Bong’s Sweet Shop. We budget just so we can enjoy those little splurges!
Skip the MaxPass
Another way to save money at Disneyland is to skip the MaxPass. It’s a nice-to-have, not a must-have, and it’s not worth skimping on something else to get.
Go for RopeDrop
Being at the park first thing in the morning is an experience in itself, but even more important if you have limited days in the park.
Save on Disneyland Packages of 2 Days or More!
So, by now you know the benefits of a multi-day park experience!
As you consider which ticket package to purchase, I want to recommend you get your tickets through Get Away Today. They usually have great deals on Disneyland tickets and packages – which lets you make every Disney dollar count!
If you book your 2-or-more night Disneyland vacation with them, you can also save an extra $10 with the code MM10. In addition, lots of their hotels offer a 4th night free!
I hope this helped you decide How Many Days to Spend in Disneyland! What are you thinking works for your family?