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When you start planning a Disneyland vacation, one of the biggest decisions you will make is choosing how many days at Disneyland your group needs. After all Disneyland Tickets are most likely going to be the biggest purchase you make for your Disneyland trip.
Unfortunately, there is not a one-size fits all answer to the question “How many days do I REALLY need at Disneyland?”
That said, as someone that goes to Disneyland A LOT by myself, but also often with my family, I have good insight on how many days different guests might need to get the most out of their time in the Southern California Disney Parks.
How Many Days Do I Need To Spend At Disneyland?
Disneyland is the most popular of the Southern California Theme Parks, and for good reason. It has a lot to do. More rides than in the other theme parks, and then you have shows, activities, and many characters that you can meet.
While 1-day tickets are available, most people will find you can spend multiple full days in the parks, and still not get everything done.
While I will get into the different ticket options, and who each one is a good fit for, in general, I suggest most people purchase a 3-day ticket or longer. At least if you are traveling from out of the area. If you are a local, or live close by (like say Los Angelos or San Diego), you may not need that many days , but if if you are traveling a good distance, 3-days is a great start.
I used to always suggest a 3-day ticket or longer because those tickets included a Magic Morning entry. However, after the reopening, Disneyland did not bring back that benefit.
Instead, guests staying at one of the three Disney Hotel options receive Early Entry 30 minutes before the parks open (this replaced Extra Magic Hours). There is no minimum day requirement to use Early Entry at Disneyland Resort, but you must be staying on site.
So Why 3-Days Minimum?
With the removal of Magic Morning, you might be wondering why I suggest a 3-day minimum ticket? Going at least three days to Disneyland Resort will let you do your must-ride attractions, dine, and explore the parks at a pace that doesn’t leave you needing a vacation from your vacation.
When you go for at least three days, you can call it an early evening one night, or take mid-day breaks, to enjoy your hotel or explore Downtown Disney.
You will not be able to do EVERYTHING at Disneyland in three days, but you will be able to get in your favorite rides, rope drop multiple days to maximize the less busy hours, and explore the shops on Main Street and throughout the parks.
But, as I said, three days may not be the answer for everyone wondering how many days they should plan to spend in the parks. So let’s break down the different options.
For each ticket length, you can also add Disney Genie+ to help skip the lines as well as choose whether to utilize one-park-per-day tickets or if you should add parkhopping at Disneyland to your tickets.
Reminder: In addition to a park ticket, no matter how many days, you will also need to make a Disneyland Resort theme park reservation for each day of your visit.
Do I Need A Five Day Ticket For Disneyland?
I really have started to shift my go-to answer for how many days to spend at Disneyland. I used to always say five days, but three is becoming more of my go-to answer.
Five-day tickets at Disneyland are still a great option. Especially for those traveling from Australia or the East Coast. You are making a long journey, and possibly a once-in-a-lifetime trip… and five days will give you plenty of time to take in more of the parks.
I also suggest 5-day tickets for families who drive a good distance, and plan on staying in the area for at least a week. This allows you to take a day off in the middle, but still spend a lot of time at Disneyland. When we were coming only once a year or so with kids, we always did five days because it gave us the best ticket prices as far as cost per day.
Benefits of 5-Day Tickets
Right now one of the biggest benefits of a 5-day ticket is that my partners at Get Away Today have their “Extra Day Free” promotion. This means that you can get a 5-day ticket for the price you would pay for a 4-day ticket when purchased straight from Disneyland.
Another benefit of a 5-day ticket is that you get five days to rope drop the parks. You can rope drop Disneyland Park some days, and California Adventure Park other days. Doing this can lessen the need for Genie+ and Lightning Lanes on rides like Matterhorn Bobsleds, Haunted Mansion, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout!
If you are able to avoid buying Genie+, you can spring for Individual Lightning Lanes (an a la carte purchase for the three rides that are not included with Genie+) to lower your wait time for popular attrations such as Radiator Springs Racers.
Even if you do have Lightning Lane, using the five days to rope drop popular rides like Peter Pan’s Flight or Pirates of the Caribbean are great options.
If you want to go for five days, you can definitely find plenty to do in the parks.
Is Four Days Enough Time At Disneyland in California?
So before we dive into the 4-day ticket, a reminder that Get Away Today has an Extra Day Free, so the cost difference between their discounted 4-day ticket, and the special for the 5-day ticket is extremely low. I think that makes the 5-day ticket worth it, even if you only go into the park for a late afternoon on arrival day or an early morning pop-in the day you leave.
When it only costs a few extra dollars, why not go up to five days for an extra half day in the park, right?
That said, most people will feel that four days gives them a good amount of time to visit both Disneyland theme parks, do the most popular rides, and give them extra time for entertainment such as World of Color, Fantasmic or the Disneyland Fireworks.
Four days is also a great amount for those going with small children. There are a lot of things for toddlers to do at Disneyland, but let’s face it, they don’t move as fast. Also, maneuvering a stroller at Disneyland slows us down.
Getting a four-day ticket is one of the best ways for parents not to feel like they have to rush and allows you downtime to explore play areas and meet your kids’ favorite characters.
Benefits of 4-Day Tickets at Disneyland
One of the biggest reasons guests choose four-day tickets over say three or five, is that, especially when not parkhopping, you can start two days in each park. You don’t have to choose which park to spend more time in. For on-site hotel guests you also get four days of early entry, which can really help get things done.
If you do have a parkhopper ticket, it still lets you rope drop each park twice, and then you can switch parks as needed after parkhopping hours begin.
Many guests also find that four days is perfect if they have 5 full days in the area, but maybe they want a rest day, or want to take a day trip to one of the best beaches near Disneyland.
Four days also gives you more time to explore popular attractions and lands, such as Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. Or if a ride is down one day (looking at you Rise of the Resistance), you have extra days to try and do the ride.
Why Is Three Days at Disneyland The Most Suggested Answer?
I mentioned above how my go-to answer is starting to shift from five days to three. And most other Disneyland experts suggest three days. But why?
Three days at Disneyland is less time, but enough to help have a great time. You will be able to get in your favorite roller coasters, classic dark rides, and even some entertainment.
And if you plan to go semi-regularly to Disneyland, it gives you a couple of days to spend in the parks, but not so long that you start feeling like you have done everything (even though you haven’t).
I also have found that younger kids, while they love Disneyland, oftentimes find four or five days it too much time in the parks. Especially if you are spending that time in long lines, or for very young children (babies) they are mostly sitting in the stroller while others do rides.
If this is your first time at Disneyland, definitely look at a longer ticket length.
Otherwise, I think most families will feel they were able to get a lot done in three days. Especially if they utilize Disney Genie Plus to avoid long waits.
3-Day Disneyland Ticket Tip
Another tip for if you go three days:
Stay at a hotel close to Disneyland.
That doesn’t mean you have to spend the big bucks to stay at the Disneyland Hotel, Disney Grand Californian, or even Paradise Pier (soon to be Pixar Pier). It just means to stay at a hotel that is a short walk from the Disneyland Theme Park gates, like one of the many hotels on S Harbor blvd. They are just across the street from Disneyland, all within a 10-minute or less walk.
Not only does that help you get to the park faster in the morning, but allows you to take mid-day breaks in your hotel room or at your Disneyland-area hotel pool. It also saves you a long wait for the Disneyland shuttle or tram, to get back to the Disneyland Parking lots, at the end of the night.
Benefits of 3-Day Disneyland Tickets
Most people find they like the three day ticket if they can’t afford the extra cost for higher day tickets. It definitely gives you a better cost-per-day rate than a two day or one day ticket.
Guests who already know they want to spend more time at one park also like three day tickets as they can start two days at Disneyland Park and one at Disney’s California Adventure Park (or vice versa).
Guests who choose to buy parkhoppers also like it gives them a day they can focus on each park, and then allows them to use the third day to hit up all their favorite rides again. For me that means one more ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Is Two Days At Disneyland Enough?
While most travelers will find that two days at Disneyland Resort’s parks is not enough, there are exceptions. Guests who may be attending special events, such as the Disneyland After Dark events, or Oogie Boogie Bash, will find that the extra ticketed event, plus a two-day ticket allows them to really enjoy three days in the parks. Bonus, the event will have less Disneyland crowds and lower wait times, as well as special offerings.
If you are only going to Disneyland for two days, I definitely suggest looking at a Disneyland Itinerary from an expert. This will allow you to have a good time while hitting up the best rides at the best time.
I also suggest you download and really get to know the Disneyland app if you will only be there for two days. Learn about Mobile Ordering in the Disneyland App, how to view wait times, find guest services, and more.
If you are ever in the park and need help with the app or have questions, seek out Cast Members. They will be able to help you so you can quickly return to your day in Walt Disney’s original park.
Benefits of a 2-Day Park Ticket
The biggest benefit of a two day park ticket, besides having an extra day in the park, is that this unlocks the savings for multi-day tickets through my partners at Get Away Today.
While they do offer one-day tickets, those are not at a discount (more on that later). Two days is when they can start offering a savings over buying directly from Disneyland.
Important Info About 2-Day vs Single Day Tickets
While a 2-day ticket is generally a savings over two tickets for one-day visits, Disneyland 1-day tickets are priced based on demand. Some days are cheaper, others are nearly the cost of a 2-day ticket. When you have two 1-days at the cheapest rate, it can be a better deal than buying a 2-day ticket.
This is RARELY the case but does end up that way at times, especially for one-park-per-day tickets. Parkhopper tickets you are almost always better off getting a 2-day ticket, instead of two 1-day tickets.
That is because the upgrade fee for parkhopper is PER TICKET, not per day. So you will pay the parkhopper fee twice for two 1-day tickets, compared to once for a 2-day ticket. (Did you follow that?)
Is One Day Enough Time At Disneyland? Is It Even Worth It?
Listen, I know those 1-day tickets are expensive, but Disneyland is a great place to spend a day. If one day is all you have to spend in the parks, go for it.
You can still get a lot done in Disneyland in one day, from flying the Millennium Falcon to riding Space Mountain, and even going on “it’s a small world” if you enjoy that ride. It can be a day full of magic!
If you are heading to Disneyland for just one day, you will definitely want to look into buying Genie+ and using those Lightning Lanes. This will help you get more done in a short amount of time.
Tips For Buying A One-Day Ticket To Disneyland
Disneyland used to only sell 1-day tickets via their website or through the app. Recenlty they have allowed third-party agents, like partners Get Away Today, to sell one day tickets.
But there is a catch.
Those places actually charge MORE for one-day tickets. It isn’t a ton more, but I always say, every dollar saved is a bite of a Dole Whip at Disneyland earned.
So why would you choose to purchase these tickets at a higher price? Unlike when you purchase through Disneyland, these tickets are refundable. The ones purchased through Disneyland are not, and once they expire, you can only use them to apply the price paid to a new ticket.
So how many days do you plan to spend at Disneyland? In all honesty, any day at Disneyland is a better day than a day at home. If you need Disneyland planning help, be sure to check out some of my top articles listed below.
Other articles to help you plan your Disneyland Vacation:
- Should You Parkhop at Disneyland?
- Your Guide To Genie+ And Lightning Lanes
- Can You Bring Food Into Disneyland?
- MagicBands+ At Disneyland: A Full Guide
Save on Disneyland Multi-Day Tickets
If you have read this and decided that you want to spend at least two days at Disneyland, I suggest purchasing your tickets through Get Away Today as it will save you a few bucks off Disneyland prices. Better yet, book your vacation package through them and if you stay 2 or more nights and get at least 2 park tickets, you can use code ThisCrazy10 to save an extra $10 on your vacation!
9 thoughts on “How Many Days At Disneyland Do You Really Need?”
Thank you for this post! We’re planning our trip for 2014. Hoping for five nights- two days at each park and one additional for hopping? Do you feel that it’s necessary for us to get a hopper ticket or stick to one day, one park? At that time the kids will be seven and three years old and this will be their first visit. I’m a WDW pro and I don’t believe the hoppers are beneficial unless you are a family without young children. I know that Disneyland and DCA are within walking distance, so I’m not sure what to think regarding tickets…thoughts?
My answer on parkhoppers actually goes back and forth. I used to be a firm believer in them, but when I can get a 5 day 1 park/day ticket for only a few dollars more than a 3 day park hopper, I find it hard to justify the parkhopper.
My general rule lately has been, if we go an odd number of days- no parkhopper (we always spend one more day in Disneyland then in DCA). If we go an even number of days we do a parkhopper. The only time that rule is not true is if we only go 2 days. But that has only ever happened one time. We usually go 3+ days.
If you are going to want to get in all your favorite rides at both parks “one more time” before you leave though, definitely do a parkhopper.
I know, that probably didn’t help any… 🙂
We are headed next month and have planned for 4 days, which is between your family and want to do it all so we will see how we do. Thanks for the advice.
We had 5 day park hopper passes when we went with a 2 1/2 year old. We learned the first day that 4 hours in the park was our max. We went in the morning, stayed for 4 hours, little guy would fall asleep on the way back to the hotel, then we’d return for some nighttime fun. We did everything at both parks in three days, however my son hated every single ride except the Heimlich one, the carousels, and the train. I kind of liked that we didn’t have to really wait in line because I myself am not a ride person. I just enjoy the atmosphere, shops and parades they have 🙂 We did NOT run out of things to see with our 5 day park hopper passes though. We went on the carousel more times than I can count, and the train around Disneyland, also lots of character meet and greets!
This post helps so much. We are planning a trip with teens and a toddler. We planned on five days but thought that might be too long. I had the mindset you can do it all in one day. Granted we have never been to Disney California. We are looking forward to all the new things we have not seen and done yet. I hope five days is enough!
We are going with a 7 year old and a 3 (turning 4 on our trip), along with my sister and her family who has a 3 (turning 4 on our trip), and a baby who will turn 1 during our trip. I am thinking of getting the City Pass which is a 3 day park hopper. I also want to do the Mickey’s Halloween Party. Do you think this will be enough time at Disneyland? I just want to be sure to fit as much as we can in since I’m not sure when we’ll ever be back!
Are you planning on visiting one of the other parks on the City Pass? If so it is definitely worth it.
Also, the ticket to the Halloween party will get you in a few hours before the event, so it will give you a 4th day in the park. This is a good amount of time. Just know that even with a 5 day ticket you don’t always fit everything in, so decide your must-do items and focus on those.
I hope you have a magical trip.
The last time we went was eight years ago with two five year olds, a four year old, and a two year old ( who got sick when he was away from home). We stayed for five days straight, no breaks. We felt by day five (day three into a very sick kid), it was too long. That was until we found a new ride we had missed, Buzz Lightyear Blasters. We went on it three or four times in a row. Our sick kid perked up and we looked around and still found things we had not seen the previous four days. Now we are planning another 5 day trip w/ a day off and a day in Buena Park. Everyone is now big enough to go on all the rides and hopefully we will be able to do all we want. I grew up down the road from Disneyland, so I only did day trips that were great as well.
That is an awesome story! We have been four days before and felt it was plenty, and then gone five days and wished we could stay longer. There are so many factors.
We have stayed in Buena Park several times and I think you will enjoy it, especially if you do Knott’s.
And I would rather have one day in Disney then none anytime. 🙂