Are you wondering how many days do you need for Disneyland? In this guide we will round up how many you need for Disneyland and California Adventure in our experience, what you can achieve in the time you have and other considerations that may affect how long you need in the parks.
How many days do you need at Disneyland?
- how many parks you want to visit?
- where you are staying
- the ages and people that make up your party
- the time of year, day of the week and season you are visiting and more.
We will examine each of these in detail below:
How many Disneyland parks you want to visit ?
Firstly the biggest factor as to how many days you need at Disneyland is depends on how many Disneyland parks you want to visit. Disneyland has two parks:
- the original Disneyland Park and
- California Adventure
While you can get a 2 park 1 day ticket this really isn’t the most efficient way to see both of the parks.
But if you are only visiting one park then you could theoretically see the majority in a day (especially if you are visiting at a non peak time i.e. outside of summer, spring break, thanksgiving or Christmas).
If you are staying on or off site
Your choice of where to stay when visiting Disneyland really affects how long you need in the parks.
That is because guests of on-site hotels have the added advantage of getting Early Entry. Early Entry entitles on-site guests to get into the parks 30 minutes earlier.
While not all attractions are open during Early Entry you are able to get on many of these without large queues.
For instance when we Disneyland with a toddler, baby or pregnant we head straight to Fantasyland which is largely open for rides at this time. Usually when we head straight to Fantasyland at this time as we can get on five or six rides very quickly including being able to ride the very popular Peter Pan’s Flight, the most popular ride at Disneyland Paris which often has queues that exceed an hour within minutes of the actual park opening time.
Also if you are staying on site you are able to walk into the parks which means you can nip out of the park and back to your hotel easily, visit Downtown Disney and still be able to return for illuminations and fireworks and the World of Color show at night.
Time of year
The time of year will really affect how much time you need in the park for several reasons:
- if you are visiting in peak or off peak season – if you visit during a school vacation the crowds really swell. Some of the busiest times at the park are Christmas, Thanksgiving, Spring Break and Summer Holidays.
- the difference between midweek and weekends changes through the year.
depending on these things will affect the queue times in the park and therefore may affect you needing more or less time in the park.
Generally speaking if you are visiting off peak and staying on-site then you can expect to have everything achieved in 3 days at the park.
However if you are visiting at a peak time and staying off site then 4 days may be required to achieve everything you want in the park.
If you are visiting Disneyland for Christmas or Halloween you will find there are more crowds who are there to see the special decorations and do the special seasonal meet and greets at the park such as Jack Skellington who is extremely popular and whose queue gets to upwards of 2 hours.
Therefore I would budget an extra day during these times so you can achieve everything you want.
The other thing to be aware of when booking your tickets, especially for California Adventure is to check for party days.
Party days, are days when Disney holds extra ticketed after hours parties i.e. the Oogie Boogie Bash at Halloween. The crowds can be very high on these days and also the operating hours are less to accommodate party only guests. Therefore if you plan to visit California Adventure on party days you will need to allow for an extra day to get everything done.
As well as parties causing crowds to swell the other thing that can affect the time you need is if there are special events in the parks. For instance if you are at California Adventure during the Food and Wine event then you will find crowds higher which can mean you need an extra day to get things done.
Whether you have Genie +
Genie + is the somewhat controversial system that has replaced the old fast pass system. Personally I would always recommend getting Genie+ if your budget allows as this will save you a lot of time.
For instance I think you can achieve the parks in 3 days with Genie + on an itinerary which would otherwise take 4. For more information on using Genie+ at Disneyland and California Adventure check out this post.
Whether you plan to visit other Anaheim attractions?
The other thing to consider when planning your Disneyland vacation and how many you days you need is if you want to have rest days in your itinerary or if you want to visit some of the other Anaheim attractions that aren’t Disneyland.
Anaheim has a lot of attractions that aren’t Disneyland such as Knott’s Berry Farm, the Anaheim Angel sports team, Medieval Times restaurant and there are also lots of beaches near Anaheim that you could visit.
Lots of people who decide to do four days in the parks will do 2 days, a rest day followed by 2 days in the park which I think can actually be a perfect itinerary. Disney wherever you are in the world from Disney Tokyo to Disneyland Paris are intense vacations. Therefore
Who you are traveling with
How Many Days Do you need at Disneyland (a day by day comparison)
Can you do Disneyland in One Day?
In answer to can you do Disneyland in one day the answer is it depends what you consider “doing”. If you have just one day you can get a good proportion of rides in one park done if you are visiting in the off season and staying on site.
However if you want to ride all the attractions, do meet and greets and spend time in both parks one day is not enough to do everything.
There are two parks one day tickets also available which will allow you to see some of the top attractions in each park however you will not be able to get everything done and you will have to skip some of the longer queue things like Galaxy’s Edge to get a lot done.
Can you do Disneyland and California Adventure in 2 days?
Overall I would say 2 days is better than one day at Disneyland as you can one day in each park; This will allow you more time to do rides and other attractions in the parks and leave time for some shows and meet and greets etc.
For a 2 day Disneyland Itinerary check out this post.
Can you do Disneyland in 3 days?
Yes, you absolutely can do Disneyland in 3 days. In fact the first time we went we chose to spend 3 days in the park. We spent a whole day in each park and then the final day park hopping to complete any attractions you have not yet done.
Is 4 days enough for Disneyland?
In my opinion 4 day is the optimum time for Disneyland. This way you can have two whole days in each park and can utilise rope drop while having some time to rest if required before seeing the nighttime spectacular.
However if you are considering doing 4 days my advice would be to break your day with a rest day either at your hotel or a nearby beach. Disneyland can be a very intense vacation and by splitting your trip this way you will give yourself some respite which will help you enjoy your time in the parks more on those final two days.
Or you could consider spending your rest day doing a character breakfast at one of the on-site hotels without taking time away from the park.
Is 5 days too much for Disneyland?
5 days actually can be a good option for those who want a longer trip to Disney but have a tighter budget. The truth is the longer you stay at Disneyland the cheaper the tickets are.
There is only a minimal difference between 4 and 5 day tickets and it allows more flexibility in your itinerary for families or those who don’t want very long days in the park.
With a 5 day ticket you always won’t need to worry about getting a more expensive park hopper ticket as you should have ample time to achieve everything, though depending on the time of year you are visiting you may still want to get Genie+.
Have you been to Disneyland? How many days did you spend at the parks? Did you think it was the right number? We would love to know your experience in the comments section below.