View Full Version : How much time to plan to spend at Disney?

10-07-2006, 08:05 AM
We're two adults going to Anaheim for our first time? What would be a reasonable amount of days to plan to spend between Disneyland and CA? I just read in LA and Disney for Dummies that CA is not very good except for the Calif. Adventure Ride. We're trying to decide between the 3 day and 5 day hopper pass. BTW, what are your favorite rides at CA?



10-07-2006, 08:49 AM
. . .I just read in LA and Disney for Dummies that CA is not very good except for the Calif. Adventure Ride. . .
You should read your Dummies' guide more carefully. They probably described the Soarin' Over California attraction in DCA, which is wonderful.

I also like DCA's rafting ride, Aladdin show, coaster, It's Tough to Be a Bug, and Sun Wheel (the ferris wheel--if "ferris" spelled incorrectly The Old Man will correct me.) The Sun Wheel cars on the outside don't move so much and might feel better if you've just ridden the coaster without non-drowsy Dramamine. And the lobby of the animation building is a cool room.

Get the three-day pass and get on Main Street 30 minutes before the park opens, and then go on as many of the most popular rides as you can during the first 90 minutes, and pick up a Fastpass. Then see shows, street entertainers, DCA, and have a nice meal at Mimi's next to HoJo's.

10-07-2006, 09:01 AM
We were there 5 years ago and it wasn't crowded at all. It was just a few weeks after 9/11 - not sure if that was the reason or not. We enjoyed DCA, but we always ended up back in Disneyland. More 'magic' there, I guess. DCA had some really neat stuff, though, especially Soaring Over California. The roller coaster is fun. We did the Sun Wheel in the cars that move - didn't like those! We'll do the outside wheels this time! The Grizzly River Run is fun, but you will get very wet!

DCA is worth a visit, but it has a bit of a different feel than Disneyland. For two adults going off-season, I'd say a 3-day park hopper pass would be plenty. One day at DCA, and two days at Disneyland.

10-07-2006, 09:51 AM
If you've never been to either park, I would play it safe and say the 3-day park hopper. If you realize the parks are your flavor, you can always upgrade to a 5-day (or an annual pass :p ).

I would do a lot of roaming around Disneyland first, with the park map in hand to get yourself familiar with where everything you've always heard of is. And feel free to take a ride as you roam, esp. if the line is short. Taking advantage of any early entry you may have with your vacation package is probably a good idea to do once, perhaps on your first day.

I'd recommend you visit DCA after spending time getting a feel for Disneyland first. By now, you may realize folks here are vocal on both sides of DCA being "not as bad as people say" to "don't waste a lotta time there". But make up your own mind and enjoy the discovery.

All that said, part of the fun experience we Disneyland geeks enjoy is planning to hit all of your "favorite" rides before the lines get too long. On these days, me and my friends general hit the rides in this order:

Pirates of the Caribbean
The Haunted Mansion
Splash Mountain
Indiana Jones Adventure
Space Mountain (and pick up a FastPass as well to avoid a long line to ride it again later)
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Matterhorn Bobsleds

We don't do a lot of Fantasyland rides, but those lines get very, very long when the families start arriving in droves by mid-morning and noon. Best to hit those early too, unless you want to kid-watch and see how they enjoy the rides in that land.

After that, the rest of the rides and attractions aren't too bad to wait for: Star Tours, Enchanted Tiki Room, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies at The Golden Horseshoe, the Mark Twain Riverboat and/or Sailing Ship Columbia, and the Jungle Cruise. The Tiki Room and The Golden Horseshoe are both air conditioned, as is the Main Street Opera House where the Steve Martin/Donald Duck movie plays celebrating Disneyland first fifty years.

Over at DCA, we go in this order:

Soarin' Over California - either to ride then or pick up FastPasses for later
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
California Screamin'
Grizzly River Run (if we're in the mood to get really wet)
Mulhulland Madness (for the adolescent in us)

The shows we generally enjoy are "a bug's life" and "Aladdin." I still enjoy "MuppetVision 3D."

Lengthy, and just one more view, but I hope this helps. Now wait'll someone tells you about what places they recommend for you to eat! :p

10-07-2006, 12:49 PM
I think DCA has more stuff now that interests me than ever. I agree that it is a one-park day for most folks, but well worth a trip over to see all there is to see!

Has no one mentioned Turtle Talk with Crush?! I love this show. Even if the "Dude's" get to you and you never see it again, you must must must see it once to appreciate the technology and get a few chuckles. Personally, I saw it many times in a row.

I also recommend Animation Academy in the same Animation Building. You and the rest of the audience gets walked step-by-step through how to draw a Disney character, from good ol' Mickey to sweet Pooh Bear.

I agree with others that your first stop should be DLR, and taking along a map to learn the lay of the land and taking your time strolling through, taking it all in, is the best way to start.

If I can recommend a couple things that are not on the common "Pirates/Space Mtn/etc" listing?

If they are back up and running when you go, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies are a hoot at the Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland. I never would've thought a banjo-playin boot scootin' comedy music show would turn my crank, but I am so glad someone pointed me to them! I will make a point to see them every trip from now on.

At Innoventions you get a chance to talk to Stitch. Again, never would've thought it would be that amusing, but it was a highlight of our trip (we got a good Stitch, fer sure). The technology is worth checking out. While you're in there, check out the Asimo show, if it is still there. We were pleasantly surprised and tickled by this (very contrived, yet well put together) demonstration of Honda's robotics technology.

Grab some fritters/beignets at the Mint Julep Bar in French Market, and enjoy some live music outside while you munch.

While we're on food, don't forget the Dole Whip at the Tiki Room!

10-07-2006, 03:01 PM
It will depend on when you are going and what kind of ride you like. If you are going in the off season a 3 day park hopper will be fine.

As having enjoyed DR with and without kids, I can say that most rides will appeal to adults as well as kids. One for example is Peter Pan as well as other rides it is about the story as well as the thrill.

DCA is great and you should spend time there. The guide books do not give it a fair rating. But sure to catch Golden Dreams it is a great film about California history.

The other posts have listed the other rides that we never miss when we go.

We also take a day break during our stay and head to the beach. You could do Disneyland Mon, Wed and Fri. Then spend time at the beach or Hollywood on Tue and Thur. If you haven't yet, get a guide book on LA, there are so many things to do in So Cal besides theme parks.

10-07-2006, 08:44 PM
hi there, if you have never been before, it might be better to play it safe and just plan on a few days to see if its your taste - you can always come back again. most people on this board would, i think, agree that there is no such thing as too much time at DL - the things to do stretch out to fill every available moment. you can spend an entire day on main street checking out the shops, listening to the entertainment, the flag retreat ceremony, the fireworks .... it is definitely possible to do the entire DL park in one day if you are really organised and follow a plan (we used the unofficial guide map to do this a few years ago) but it's much more fun to be able to kick back, and ride your favorites however many times you want to. DCA is a lot of fun in my opinion - it has some truly great rides (soarin', GRR, california screamin', tower of terror, the maliboomer); i've never been to WDW so I don't have anything to compare it to but I have always enjoyed myself over there - admittedly we've never spent a day there - usually we pop over for a few hours when things get busy at DL as a breather, but there is a lot to enjoy. if you do have a taste for disney, then a week is a great relaxing holiday length...:D

10-09-2006, 12:39 PM
On our most recent trip in September, we ended up upgrading from a 5 day hopper to an annual pass. We went back for a few hours on the day we were leaving. The point is, it is very easy to lose yourself in tha magic of Disneyland. After the 3rd day, you are completely immersed and with the exception of tired feet, you have successfully escaped the outside world.:fez:

So, for your first trip, if you can afford the time, plan on five days- 4 at DL and 1 at California Adventure. Also, Downtown Disney is nice after the parks close and has some great restaurants.


10-09-2006, 01:09 PM
I would say 3-5 days. Three if you dont mind missing somethings here and there, and are willing to put in long days. If you want to see and do it all, and take longer breaks, then 5.