Are you planning a vacation to Disneyland Resort in California? Find out how many days to see Disneyland for the best vacation!
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Since my family goes to Disneyland as often as we can, one of the top questions readers ask is about how many days to see Disneyland.
While I think this answer varies from family to family, I wrote this post to help you decide the right length for your family.
Don’t have time to read a bunch of Disneyland blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Disneyland with kids.
Where to Stay at Disneyland
- Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa (it’s expensive but has a private entrance to Disney California Adventure)
- Howard Johnson Hotel & Water Playground (the water park is pretty fabulous)
- Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance (amazing water park and has bunk beds)
- Fairfield by Marriott Anaheim Resort (it’s so close to the park and the rooms are awesome)
- Best Western Plus Anaheim Inn (this is my favorite Disneyland budget hotel)
Want to Rent a Car in California?
One of the best places to rent a car in California is Discover Cars because they usually have the cheapest rates and fantastic customer service.
Want to SAVE MONEY on Your Disneyland Vacation?
Get Away Today offers the best prices for Disneyland packages, hotel rooms, and even discount Disneyland tickets! Check rates and availability!
So, How Many Days to See Disneyland?
I feel like no matter who you ask, the answer to this question can be anywhere from “totally doable in one day” to “you should just move there.”
Before we get into my recommendations, there are a few questions I’d like to ask:
IS THIS YOUR FIRST TRIP TO DISNEYLAND?
If you are visiting Disneyland for the first time, you’ll probably want a little more time than you might expect.
That’s because the theme parks can feel overwhelming until you get the hang of how to navigate the Parks, use the Disneyland app, and do mobile ordering.
ARE YOU DOING MORE THAN DISNEYLAND ON YOUR VACATION?
If you are heading to Southern California for your vacation and Disneyland is just one of your stops, that will definitely affect how many days you should spend at Disneyland.
You’ll need to factor in driving time to your other stops. If you are staying an hour away or more from Disneyland, you might not want to make that trek for more than one day.
We recently did LEGOLAND California for 2 full days and then Disneyland for 2 full days and we stayed at hotels close to each location.
ARE YOU PREGNANT?
I only ask because this might affect your pace and it also limits some of the rides you can go on.
When I went to Disneyland while 5 months pregnant, I found that I needed lots of bathroom breaks, pit stops for snacks, rides with air conditioning, and I wanted to eat at sit down restaurants to get off my feet for a while.
I also set aside some time to do pregnancy announcement photos.
Read my Disneyland while pregnant post.
ARE YOU BRINGING A BABY?
If so, you might want to plan on a few stops at their awesome Baby Care Centers at both Parks.
It’s a nice, quiet, air-conditioned place for your to nurse/feed your baby, plus there are lots of changing tables.
Read my Disneyland with a baby post.
ARE YOU BRINGING A TODDLER?
Toddlers under the age of 3 years old are FREE.
If your toddler usually naps, you’ll need to decide if you want to head back to your hotel mid-day or power through in hopes they will nap in the stroller or carrier. And this might also affect how late you stay in the Parks.
If your toddler is potty training, you’ll want to build in time for all the bathroom breaks.
And you might want to add time to ride their favorite attractions over and over (and over and over!)
Read my Disneyland with toddlers post.
ARE YOU LOCAL?
If you live in Southern California, you can take advantage of the SoCal Disneyland ticket which will save you a lot of money!
If you don’t have to worry about a hotel room, you can easily do a few one day trips to Disneyland.
ARE YOU DOING DISNEYLAND ON A BUDGET?
Disneyland tickets can add up quickly. This is especially true for families!
So if you are trying to save money at Disneyland, the easiest way is to limit the number of days in the Parks. You can always supplement with pool time at your hotel or exploring Downtown Disney.
ARE YOU GOING FOR A SPECIAL EVENT?
If you are going during Halloween Time, the Oogie Boogie Bash, the Holidays, or the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival, there are additional activities and events that you’ll want to consider.
You might want to add a day to participate in the events or avoid a Park altogether.
Be prepared for extra crowds during events, which means longer wait times for all the characters and attractions.
WILL YOU BE GOING FOR STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE?
If you would like to experience Disneyland’s Star Wars land, you will definitely want to add extra time to your trip.
While the lines aren’t nearly as long as as when it first opened, it can still be a long wait for Rise of the Resistance if you don’t have Genie Plus.
If you aren’t a Star Wars fan, you might want to focus your time at Disney California Adventure with just one day at Disneyland.
Is One Day Enough For Disneyland?
I was just at Disneyland recently for the AWEsome Retreat (a theme park blogging conference) and I spent one day at Disneyland.
It’s the first time I’ve gone for only one day. I upgraded to a Park Hopper ticket so I’d be able to experience the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival.
Now, I didn’t have any kids with me and I walked all over the parks for 14 hours with very few breaks. I also didn’t spend much time waiting in ride lines that were too long.
Most of my time was spent taking photos and videos throughout the Parks and doing blog-related tasks.
So, can you see Disneyland in a day? Yes, depending on what you plan to do. If you want to do a few rides, enjoy some Disney treats, and meet some characters, you can definitely do that in one day.
And if you are planning on coming back to Disneyland in the near future, you’d be able to prioritize what you want to do this trip.
However, if this is your first Disneyland trip or you are hoping to do/see “everything” then one day would be unrealistic.
So, let’s talk about my favorite ticket packages.
3 Days vs. 4 Days vs. 5 Days at Disneyland
My favorite ticket options are the 3 day pass and the 5 day pass. For most families, one of these options will work best.
So, let’s break it down:
3 DAYS AT DISNEYLAND
For my family, we typically do 3 full days between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. It usually ends up being 2 days at Disneyland and one day at Disney California Adventure.
Or, we’ll get Park Hopper tickets and do one full day at Disneyland and then split our time between the two Parks for the other two days.
The 3 day ticket works well for our family because we always know this won’t be our last trip. We try to go at least once a year. It worked really well when we had younger kids who don’t do most of the “big” rides.
So, everyone has time to do the things on their list.
We also like to do a character dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen the evening we arrive (non-Park day) and we do a character breakfast the morning we depart. So while we usually stay 4 nights, we only spend 3 of the days in the Parks.
We tried doing just 2 Park days a few years ago and I actually got a little teary-eyed because we didn’t get to do a lot of the things we wanted.
4 DAYS AT DISNEYLAND
What I like about the 4 day ticket is that you can evenly split your days between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
You won’t feel rushed and you’ll have plenty of time for sit down meals. Plus, you won’t be racing back and forth between the Parks trying to catch all the entertainment (unless that’s how you roll!)
It’s also nice to have a 4 day ticket if you are going when the weather might be rainy. Disneyland doesn’t do their fireworks show, parades get canceled, and some of the attractions shut down in the rain.
So, having an extra day is nice.
And if you love Disney food, you’ll want at least 4 days so you can eat at some of the popular table service restaurants in both Parks. And you need to save room for all the yummy Disney treats!
My travel partner Get Away Today often features hotels that offer your 4th night free!
5 DAYS AT DISNEYLAND
If you are looking to get the most bang for your buck, the 5 day ticket offers the biggest price break. Now, I’m not saying it’s cheap, but your cost per day is cheaper than the 3 day ticket.
This is great for families who don’t get to Disneyland very often and want the flexibility to “do it all.” It’s perfect if you are going for a full week and plan on having a rest day.
And it’s just a little bit more than the 4 day ticket. This works out well if you have an early arrival flight or later departure time. Might as well squeeze out every ounce of Disney fun!
Five days is helpful for families who want to make sure everyone in their family has a good time. So, parents and teens can do the thrill rides part of the time and little kids have plenty of time to play and meet characters. No one will feel rushed.
What’s cool about the 5 day ticket is that it gives you the freedom to see all the parades, shows, fireworks shows, World of Color, etc without trying to pack them all into a couple of days.
So, you can plan to stay up late a couple of nights for the fireworks show, but head back early the other nights to catch up on sleep (and avoid meltdowns.)
And you can do the Plaza Inn character breakfast inside the Park without worrying about it “wasting” valuable Park time.
With the 5 day ticket, you won’t need to upgrade to a Park Hopper ticket because you’ll have plenty of time to explore Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
If you are planning one big trip to Disneyland (and aren’t on a tight budget) the 5 day ticket is probably your best bet.
3 Exclusive Tips to Choose Your Ideal Disneyland Vacation
1. BEST SPLURGES
If you are heading to Disneyland with a larger budget, I have lots of ways you can spend it!
Disney Character Dining
I’m a HUGE fan of Disney character meals. And there are several Disneyland character dining experiences to choose from.
The newest one is the Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa. It’s the priciest option ($125 per person, including kids) but it’s the only one to see the princesses at a character meal.
And if you want a VIP experience, I’ve been hearing great things about the Disneyland Resort VIP Tour and the Grand Circle Tour. Basically, you pay extra to have a cast member take you to the front of the long lines for your favorite rides.
One of my favorite splurges is doing a Disneyland photo shoot with a professional photographer. I really like using Flytographer.
They specialize in engagement, maternity, and family photos at Disneyland. Use my referral link to save $25 on your first photo shoot!
If you are going during the busy holiday season or anytime school is out and you want to make the most out of your time in the Parks, Genie Plus is a good investment.
We’ve used it on our last few trips and it’s amazing how many rides we can do each day. In fact, sometimes we do all the rides on our list for on our first day!
I also love Genie Plus because it gets me the PhotoPass. So, we can do all the photo spots with the PhotoPass photographer.
There are also a couple of fun hotel options. For staying on property, we recommend the gorgeous Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa. They have an amazing pool area plus you can treat yourself to fabulous spa treatments on your day off from the Parks!
Another great option is the Disneyland Hotel, which is just steps from Downtown Disney. They have a cool Monorail pool and it’s the best place to get Dole Whip outside of the Parks.
For a Disney Good Neighbor Hotel, we recommend the popular Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance. They are located across the street from the Park entrances and they have an extensive water park at their pool.
2. MIX OF SPLURGES + SAVINGS
If you have a moderate budget, let me show you where to splurge and where to save.
Yes, I’m one of those moms who insists everyone wears something Disney-related every day in the Park.
I keep my eyes out for the big sales at ShopDisney and also look at Target for matching shirts for my boys. Target also sells a lot of holiday-related Mickey shirts.
Now, normally I would never pay $25 for a bubble wand. I had major sticker shock when I first saw that.
However, it’s a total investment and it will keep your keeps entertained and occupied when they are waiting for a ride, hanging out before a parade, or chilling in their stroller.
Breakfast is the cheapest character meal you can do. I’d recommend Goofy’s Kitchen because their food is actually really good and they have extensive options for both adults and kids.
I’d do this on a non-park day so you don’t feel rushed and can take some time to walk around the Disneyland Hotel.
And if you are looking for Disneyland hotel with an awesome pool, try the Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Park.
3. BUDGET-FRIENDLY TIPS
If you are heading to Disneyland on a budget, here are some ways to cut costs without sacrificing fun!
It’s easy to spend an arm and a leg buying souvenirs at Disneyland. We’ve been shocked at how quickly items add up!
But, if you know your kids are going to want souvenirs, you can purchase cute Disney items ahead of time at Target, Walmart, Dollar Tree, or Amazon and then surprise them in the Parks.
This is also a fun way to bring a bit of magic to your hotel. Just say it’s a treat from Mickey!
The easiest way to save money on food at Disneyland is to bring in your own snacks. Target sells Mickey-shaped goldfish crackers that are always a hit with my kids.
And I’ve picked up Disney-themed candy and treats at my local grocery store and brought them on our trip.
But, I do recommend eating in the Parks at least a few times. We’ve found the food portions at Disneyland to be pretty big so you can definitely share with your family.
We like sharing a Dole Whip before it melts! And grabbing some yummy treats from Bing Bong’s Sweet Shop!
Skip Genie Plus
If you are looking to save money at Disneyland, you can easily skip Genie Plus. It’s definitely more of a luxury that saves you time.
However, if you are planning a 3-5 day trip, you might consider lowering the number of park days and doing Genie Plus to do the same amount of rides as you would with an extra day.
Go for Rope Drop
This is especially important if you have limited days in the Parks and want to maximize every day.
To save money at Disneyland, we like to stay off-site. We like the Park Vue Inn because it’s right across the street from the Park entrances.
SAVE ON DISNEYLAND PACKAGES OF 2 DAYS OR MORE
Ok, if you now know how many days to spend at Disneyland for your family, I recommend buying your tickets through Get Away Today. They offer discount Disneyland tickets and packages. And with Disney, every dollar counts!
Plus, if you book your Disneyland vacation package through them for at least 2 nights, you can use the code MM10 for an extra $10 off your vacation!
And a lot of their hotels offer a 4th night free!
Disneyland Theme Parks FAQs
Is 2 days enough for Disneyland?
It can be, if you have a plan and know how to navigate the two theme parks efficiently.
How many days do you need at Disneyland for adults?
Motivated adults can do all the highlights of both parks with a one day ticket. But, you can easily extend your trip to Disneyland for another day or two to relax and soak in all the magic.
Is 5 days too many at Disneyland?
Disneyland is a lot smaller than Walt Disney World. If you have 5-day tickets, you can do a few pool afternoons to refresh yourselves before heading back into the park.
How far away are Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park?
These two theme parks are within easy walking distance of each other. It will take you about 5 minutes to stroll over there.
Do I need a day at Downtown Disney?
Downtown Disney is primarily a shopping and dining area. It’s a lot smaller than Disney Springs at Walt Disney World. It’s great to stroll around on your arrival or departure day.
Is the Disneyland park hopper pass worth it?
If you have one-day or two-day tickets, a park hopper pass can be a great investment. That way you can check the wait times in both parks and easily walk between the two. If you are staying longer than two days, you might stick with one park tickets.
Does Disneyland still do Extra Magic Hours?
Unfortunately there are no longer Extra Magic Hours or Magic Mornings. Instead, Disneyland hotel guests can enjoy Early Entry, which gets them into the theme parks 30 minutes before the gates open.
How many days do you need to do Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park?
Personally, I think 3-4 days is the perfect amount of time to thoroughly enjoy each park.
What are some amazing rides I should add to my Disneyland list?
A few popular rides at Disneyland include Peter Pan’s Flight, Haunted Mansion, Radiator Springs Racers, Big Thunder Mountain, the Incredicoaster, Splash Mountain, and more.
How long do I need for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?
If you are a Star Wars fan, you’ll probably want to spend at least half of a day in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. You’ll be able to do both rides (Rise of the Resistance and Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run), interact with characters, go bounty hunting, and wander around this immersive land.
How Many Days Do You Need at Disneyland Parks Wrap Up
I hope this helps you figure out how many days to spend at Disneyland for your next epic Disney vacation!
No matter how many days you are visiting Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park, you’ll have a blast on your next family vacation!
Thursday 18th of July 2019
This is such a good read, i like the way you broke everything down for us! I travel with two teens and my boyfriend and i have to say we get through the parks much quicker without the kids! With kids, 3-4 days without 2 days... We have decided that 5 days are too much for our families feet!
Thursday 18th of July 2019
Haha! Yes, I was shocked how much I did at Disneyland when I didn't bring my kids :) We usually go 3 days, but we're doing 4 days for our next trip so we have plenty of time in Galaxy's Edge!
Tuesday 16th of April 2019
I love Disney, these are really great tips if you have kids! I can get around the whole park in half a day!!! so crazy
Wednesday 17th of April 2019
It's SO much faster without kids! Pretty mindblowing :)
Monday 15th of April 2019
I love that you did your pregnancy announcement photos while there! And I had NO IDEA that toddlers were free. Maybe I should rethink waiting until my girls are older to take them... :)
Wednesday 17th of April 2019
Seriously! They even eat free at the sit down restaurants!
Monday 15th of April 2019
I actually enjoy Disneyland more than WDW because it is much less overwhelming and easier to see everything. This is a great breakdown on how to see it all!!
Wednesday 17th of April 2019
Yes, I was completely overwhelmed at WDW because there's such a learning curve. I love how easy Disneyland is to navigate!
Harmony, Momma To Go
Monday 15th of April 2019
We did one day at DL last year and it was great. A packed day (although it wasnt too crowded, not a peak day) and we got to do pretty much everything we wanted to do in terms of rides. We did not wait in line for characters or do any shows though
Wednesday 17th of April 2019
The character meet and greets can definitely add some time, especially the princesses! But, our kids love meeting characters!