Probably the most common question we hear about Disneyland is How How Many Days Do You Need At Disneyland California? There are a number of different Ticket options available with no real guide n which to choose and how many days to plan your trip for. How long does it take to see a park and do we need to see both parks? Can you Do Disneyland in One day? It is all very confusing.
Fear not, this article is designed to answer all those questions and more as we take an in-depth look at the different Disneyland Ticket options and see which will suit you and your family best so you can decide exactly how many days YOU need at Disneyland.
How Many Days Do You Need At Disneyland California?
Unfortunately, this is not a simple question and it depends so much on what type of trip you want how much of the Resort you want to see, and how intense and how immersive you want to be. Quite simply to see and do everything, you would probably need two weeks in the resort! No really, even that is unrealistic. You probably need a season pass and visit at least once a week for the entire year! Even then, things will change next year, and your experience out of date!
This is because there is just SO much going on. So, Relax you are not going to need to stay a full two weeks, or buy an annual pass and move to Anaheim, You can if you want, but there is no need. We think the best way to Answer the Question is to look at what different trip lengths are like, and what tickets you would need for these trips and you can see which sort of trip would suit you and your traveling style. So let’s start at the bottom.
Can You Do Disneyland in One Day?
Simply put YES. Disneyland is a fairly small park with long opening hours and relatively light queues most of the time compared to other theme parks. If you get up early, stay all day, and use the Genie+/Lightning Lane system wisely, you will get through a huge amount of attractions.
Will, we see everything? – No. Especially not now Galaxies Edge and Avengers Campus are open. See our Best Disneyland Rides for what to Prioritize. But you can see an awful lot of the park. From the list above on a quiet/medium day, you should get well into the 15s as far as ride counts go, along with some meet and greets, a parade, fireworks, and generally time to relax and enjoy the park.
It will undoubtedly be exhausting and most of the day will be spent in queue lines, you may miss one or two things you really wanted to see, but you can still go away happy that you have got most of the Disneyland Experience.
Genie+? If you are trying to get the best out of a single day we advise the Genie+. You will get on more rides and queue far less using the system.
Park Hopper? Can I See BOTH Parks in one day? – Ok now you are pushing it, but still yes. As long as you have a Park Hopper ticket, you can Park Hop from 11 am. Add in Genie+ and on a quiet midweek day you can still see an awful lot in just 12 hours. We recently did a whirlwind single day at the park and got in over 20 Rides, plus meet and greets, dining, and even left the park around 5 pm!
Tickets – You will need a One Day Ticket or a One Day Park hopper Ticket, these are only available Direct from Disney. If someone is offering you cheap one-day tickets be very wary! They are definitely unofficial and probably counterfeit or stolen. Official Resellers such as Undercover Tourist do not sell 1-Day Tickets. Read more about cheap tickets here.
Tips – Stay local, or preferably at a Disneyland Hotel, but if you are looking at a one-day trip it is likely cost-saving is a consideration and a Disney hotel will not tie in well with that. Get to the Park before Rope-Drop (45 mins before opening time) and head straight into the park. If you are on a Park Hopper ticket, choose the park that does not have an Extra Magic Hour first and head to a concentration of must-rides first.
In Disneyland, we prefer Frontierland/Adventureland/New Orleans area. Most people head to either Fantasyland, Futureland, or Galaxies edge first so we find the other areas almost deserted and ride queues of 5mins, make sure you bag a Genie+ for Space Mountain or other high-demand rides while enjoying the low queue levels in the Frontierland/Adventureland/New Orleans area.
In Disney California Adventure, we head to Radiator Springs first. The Racers is one of the best rides in both parks and has a wide appeal so queues are huge and Lightning Lane prices can surge. So bagging this early is a huge bonus. Then check the queues and head to Pixar Pier or Hollywood next while securing a Genie+ for a major ride at the other.
Overall – One day is a mad hectic and hugely draining day. But it is definitely possible to see a huge amount at both parks, They remain open well into the evening so even if you retire to a restaurant or your hotel room for an hour of rest you can still head back for a late-night frolic!
However, it should be noted that this sort of trip involves massive amounts of walking. 5-6 miles easily in a day. If you have trouble covering that type of distance or have young kids and the associated strollers and bags kids bring, then you will need to dial down. Or maybe that just sounds too hectic? Well then consider a 2-day visit?
2-Day Visit to Disneyland
A 2-day visit seems to be the sweet spot between a comprehensive see-everything trip and spending too long at the parks. You can either focus on one park a day and take it in fully or buy a park hopper and treat both parks as one big attraction. Maybe Disney California Adventure doesn’t appeal and you just want to focus on Disneyland Park. Two Days will certainly get you around almost every major attraction and ride and give you a full Disneyland Experience!
If you focus on one park at once then you will be treating your day at Disneyland like a one-day visit as you will not be back the next day so in that respect, it is no different, However, one day at Disney California Adventure is more than enough. So really we prefer the 2-Day Park hopper ticket option. This way you can blast both parks on day one and then use the second day as a more relaxed day to tick off all those things you missed on the first day.
Will, we see everything? – No, even with two days it is still not enough to see everything. With a Two Park Pass – You are only at each park for one day and while you should cover most of DCA there will still be a lot of Disneyland you miss. With a Park Hopper, you will certainly have covered almost everything, and all big headline rides will definitely be covered. If you focus your two days on just Disneyland then you will definitely feel like you have seen it all. But you won’t, there are a million little bits of detail, hidden mickeys, guest appearances, and seasonal shows that it is never possible to see it all!
Genie+? – We always suggest purchasing Genie+ for at least one of your days. As Genie+ can be added to as many or as few days as you like you can simply add it to just the days you want. We recommend adding it to at least your first day, however, you plan on spending our two days. That way after the first day if you thought Genie+ was awesome and worth every penny you can add it for your second day. If you thought it a bit of a waste or you used it REALLY well on your first day and only have a few things to see you can just leave it off.
Remember though Genie+ includes PhotoPass, so if you want photo’s on the second day you will need Genie+ too, but remember you only need one per group to link to photos so if you all had Genie+ on the first day, but don’t need it for day two but want PhotoPass, just buy one Genie+ and link the photos to that one.
Tickets – Depending on the type of two-day trip you want will depend on the ticket prices. You can go direct to Disney but they do allow official resellers to sell the 2-Day tickets so you can usually save a few $ by using an official reseller. We love Undercover Tourist and they usually have the best discounts.
Two Day Park Hopper – $336.44- Use this if you want the freedom of both parks for the whole two days. This will allow you to Park hop from 11 am and get you the best rides and see the most things but will be an exhausting trip. Best for mixed age groups.
Base Ticket -Day 1-Park per day – $277.93- Use this for either of the other itineraries, one park a day or Both days at one park. It is one park a day but they do not have to be different.
3-Day Visit to Disneyland
A three-day trip is for those that really want to see it all and fully immerse themselves in the Disney experience. If you want a slower-paced trip where you just see a few attractions a day or need to get around at a slower pace for whatever reason, then you may need a 3-day trip to get it all in.
This works very well with a Disney hotel, especially the Grand Californian where you have direct access to Disney California Adventure. Park Hopper tickets really come into their own here and the price starts to get to the point it’s a no-brainer.
Will, we see everything? – With Park hopper tickets if you want to you can cram in just about everything imaginable into three days. As with any trip to Disneyland, you will miss seasonal attractions and there are always characters and little bits of detail you will miss but anything noteworthy will be ticked off and no major ride, attraction, or meet and greet will be missed. Most headline attractions will be ridden more than once. You really can’t ride Space Mountain too many times.
Alternatively, if you are planning a slower-paced trip then while you will not get to see everything, with three whole days you are going to bag most things of note. Three days is a very long time to spend in, which are actually quite small parks.
One Major advantage of three days or more is the increased opportunities to try more dining options. With fewer days the temptation is to hit the fast-food options and just eat to satisfy hunger. With longer in the parks the options open up and you can try more specialized dining such as the Blue Bayou or the Character meals.
Genie+? – As always we suggest just getting a Genie+ for your first day and seeing how it goes, remember you can always add more Genie+ Days afterward and use the trick of just adding one per party, to get the use of PhotoPass.
Tickets – We really think Park Hopper Tickets work best for this type of trip. With three days to explore we find coming and going is the order of the day, taking the parks in piecemeal. A few hours here a few there and for this you need Park Hopper Tickets.
- 3-Day Park Hopper – $396.23
- 3-Day 1 Park Per Day – $339.62
Tips – Any Ticket of 3 or more days includes one Magic Morning where you get access to Disneyland Park one hour before anyone else, apart from hotel guests who will also share this perk. This is a great way of getting a few rides in while queues are really low, many simply walk-on’s or 5 mins. You will also get to experience the park at its quietest.
Remember Days are not consecutive so if you want a rest day where you do something else, or literally NOTHING to recover, that is fine, your ticket will still be valid for any remaining days. (up to 13 Days)
More Days at Disneyland
Three days is, on the whole, all you need at Disneyland to see almost everything in both parks. However there are four and five-day tickets available and while this is way more time than you need if you are just super into Disney these are fantastic value, only a few $ a day for the extra days.
Will, we see everything? – With a four or five-day pass, you could ride almost every ride several times. Eat in nearly every restaurant and see every show…more than once. Honestly, it’s far more Disney than we can handle but we only love Disney, some people are completely obsessed and 5 days in Disneyland could be a dream.
Genie+? – Genie+ is not going to be necessary for every day of the trip. Even for PhotoPass, there are probably days when you can skip it completely. Just try and get your photo’s on certain days. That said if you are there for 4 or 5 days a lot of that time is going to be spent in queues so it could make sense to minimize that for the entire trip as you are bound to get fed up with queueing.
Tickets – We definitely prefer Park Hopper for this, however, the 1-Park Day tickets mean you can break up the parks so it feels like you are in a different place on different days, not 4 or 5 whole days in the same place.
- 4-Day Park Hopper – $429.25
- 5-Day Park Hopper – $448.12
- 4-Day 1 Park Per Day – $327.64
- 5-Day 1 Park Per Day – $391.51
We think the vast majority of people will have a dream trip with a 2-Day Park Hopper Ticket and this is our preferred option. We recently tried to cram everything in on a 1-day and this went well but it was a fairly quiet day and was a big rush and we found we did not have time for a lot of rides. We have been there and done that, and missed nothing we regret but if it’s your first or possibly only visit one day is probably not enough, Unless your schedule is very hectic (Like ours was) and you can only fit one day at Disneyland. Then it must be said we pack a lot of Disney into one day.
But 2-days is the sweet spot. You need not miss anything important and really get the full experience. 3-Days work great if you need or want to take things at a slower pace, we would be repeating things and be exhausted by the 3rd day but at a more relaxed pace, you may take 3-days to see most things.
4 or 5 Days is really for the fanatics, we couldn’t face more than 3 days in the parks and would be chomping at the bit to get away from the crowds by then, but if for you, Disney is Life then even after 5 Days you may be sad to leave.
Over on the East Coast in Florida 7-14 Day Passes are sold and people can really spend two weeks in the resort, but Disney World is just so much bigger and has so much more on offer, Disneyland is a far quainter, petite affair, as they say, good things come in small packages and the park is filled with charm and magic, but you only need 2 Days, 3 at the most to say you have seen it all!
Have Your Say
How long do you usually stay at Disneyland? Are you a hit-and-run type of Family or are you a 5-day full immersion type of group? Or somewhere in between? Have you chosen a particular length and wished you had more time? Or maybe wished you had less! Whatever you have to say about your Disneyland trip fire away in the comments below. As always any questions just fire away, we would love to hear from you.