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Maximize Three Days at Disneyland – Your Guide Starts Here
When wondering how many days to go to Disneyland, experts (myself included) always talk about the benefits of going for three or more days. From giving you a little more time to relax and enjoy the parks, the added perk of Magic Morning is an extremely valuable perk. Here is everything to think about and how to maximize three days at Disneyland.
Why Spend Three Days at Disneyland?
Disneyland kind of feels like it would be made for a two-day visit, but here I am, suggesting you visit for three days. While Disneyland has two parks, and one park per day is better than only spending one day at Disneyland, you definitely cannot do everything in two days. Plus, the extra perk that starts with three day Disneyland tickets makes it worth adding on that extra day if time permits.
If you are only going for one day, and you are choosing to parkhop, it is going to cost you up to 2/3 of the price of a 3 day, one park per day ticket. As you add more days to your ticket, your price per day drops significantly, so it may be very well worth it to upgrade to a three-day ticket, even from a one-day ticket. This is just one of my favorite Disneyland ticket tips.
Even if you only have one full day at the parks, but you have the evening free before, and the morning free before you leave, you might want to buy a three-day ticket because you can accomplish a lot in a few hours, for only a modest price increase.
If budget is the reason you are only going to Disneyland for one or two days, I would definitely suggest checking out prices through my partners at Get Away Today. They offer discount tickets, and that can help make a longer ticket, with that coveted Magic Morning option, more in reach. If the 3rd day is only used for a quick evening or morning in the parks, gaining that Magic Morning entry is well worth it.
Magic Morning Entry
The coveted Magic Morning Entry is the biggest reason to spend a minimum of three days in the parks. Magic Morning allows you to enter designated lands at Disneyland Park one hour before the general public, one time during your visit on 3 day or longer tickets purchased in advance.
NEED TO KNOW: Tickets purchased at the Disneyland Ticket Booth do not include Magic Morning Access. Also, Military Salute tickets do not include Magic Morning Entry.
This one hour of extra park time, with lowered crowds, can help you get a ton of rides done in Tomorrowland and Fantasyland (the two lands open) during this time. Be sure to check out my full video on how to maximizing Magic Morning at Disneyland.
Choosing Which Days To Visit
Perhaps you can only go for three days, but you can wiggle around which days you go to the parks. When you have three days, I would definitely suggest fitting at least 2 of those days during the week, preferably Tuesday – Thursday.
If you are going during a non-peak season when the crowds are lightest at Disneyland, you will most likely not have evening entertainment during the week, so then I would see about using one day on Friday – Sunday if you would like to check out Fantasmic, the Fireworks, or other evening entertainment.
Three Day Tickets for Disneyland
What I love about multi-day tickets at Disneyland is that they are a lot simpler than one day tickets. While one day tickets are on a tier system, with up to 5 tiers in place, at the time of publishing this article, starting with two-day tickets, you have flat rates, no matter when you plan on visiting the parks.
So if you are going three days, it doesn’t matter if you go in the spring, or the fall, you won’t pay more based on your visit dates.
The only exception to this is if there is a spring ticket sale. We saw spring deals in 2019 and 2020 (before Disneyland closed). Will these spring deals return for another Spring Break at Disneyland? I hope so.
Should you buy parkhopper tickets for a three-day visit?
Disney’s Parkhopper option allows you to enter both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure on the same day. It is $55 to add Parkhopper to your ticket, no matter how many days you are going to Disneyland.
I normally suggest that if you are going for two days, you skip the parkhopper option. It is an additional $55, and with only two days at Disneyland resort, you do not want to waste a bunch of time going from park to park.
But if you are going three days at Disneyland, many guests enjoy being able to parkhop. I have found that many of my readers choose to spend one day in each park and then parkhop on the last day to hit up their favorite attractions one last time.
Others decide that they prefer to spend two days in Disneyland, with one day in California Adventure in the middle, avoiding the extra fee. I used to feel this way until California Adventure was updated. Now I feel it is definitely worth parkhopping.
If you are going with just adults and want to mostly hit up thrill rides, and food, you may decide Parkhopping is worth the additional cost.
This is just an example of how everyone visits the parks differently and why there is no blanket answer, so it is great that Disneyland has all these amazing ticket options for us.
We do not currently know if parkhopping will be available when Disneyland reopens. We do know that Disneyland will use a reservation system, but do not know if it will limit you to one park per day.
Should you add MaxPass to three day Disneyland tickets?
Disneyland offers free Fastpass to all visitors, but there is a paid option called MaxPass. A lot of people ask if they should use Fastpass or MaxPass when they are visiting Disneyland for only three days.
I am a big believer in really thinking about if MaxPass is worth the cost for your visit, given your circumstances. At (currently) $20 per day, per ticket, this can cost a family of 5 $300 extra on a three-day visit.
In general, if you plan to mostly ride rides with Fastpass lines, I would definitely suggest MaxPass on a three-day visit. At least for adults and kids who will use it.
I do not suggest purchasing it in advance, as if you do… there are no refunds just because you didn’t like the service or utilize it. Instead, I suggest buying it each day after entering the park. It only takes a few moments, and then you haven’t prepaid for each day, only to find out you don’t utilize it.
How to get discounts on Disneyland three day tickets
One perk of going to Disneyland for two days or more is that you can then purchase discounted tickets! So yes, three-day tickets are able to be purchased at a discount.
Unlike one day tickets – which are only sold by Disneyland – multi-day tickets can be purchased at a discount through authorized ticket sellers. My personal favorite, and the one I partner with, is Get Away Today. One of the reasons I love them is that their tickets are refundable with their peace of mind plan. The Peace of Mind Plan is only $25 for a ticket only purchase, and that covers all the tickets (not $25 per ticket… $25 total).
TIP: You can save even more by also booking your hotel with them as well. They offer free nights, discounted parking at some locations, and more. Use code ThisCrazy10 to save even more of bookings of 2 nights or more.
How To Maximize Three Days at Disneyland
Enough talk about why and how to get your Disneyland tickets at the best price. Let’s talk about strategy.
A good strategy is going to be super important to make sure that you are able to do as much as possible, and enjoy your time at Disneyland for the three days you are there.
Download the Disneyland App
Before your trip, be sure to download the Disneyland App, sign in, get your payment info loaded (for mobile ordering, MaxPass, etc) and get familiar with the app. You don’t want to waste precious park time trying to figure out how to get the app set up.
The app is an important instrument in helping get the most out of your three day trip to Disneyland. From wait times, to mobile ordering (more on that in a minute) to scanning in to the Fastpass line, and yes… MaxPass, this app will play a big role in making the most of your time in the parks.
Podcast alert – Check out the full podcast episode about the Disneyland App.
As mentioned before, you can buy discount tickets through Get Away Today, or other ticket sellers, including Disneyland. I suggest buying your tickets in advance so that you can skip the ticket booth. This will save you time as the ticket booth lines can be long and slow-moving.
There is some mixed advice on whether or not you should preload tickets into the Disneyland App. I usually do, but just be aware, that sometimes the system will change the barcode, and then scanning the app may cause a problem. This is very rare, but because of this, sometimes people wait to scan their PDF e-ticket at the gate, then scan the physical ticket into the app.
To make the most of your Disneyland day, you will want to be sure to arrive early. Plan on being at the gates at least 20 minutes before park opening. That means, at security at least 30-45 minutes before park opening.
Pro tip: the later the opening, the earlier you should arrive. If the parks open at 8, 20 minutes is okay. If the parks open at 10 am… be there at least 40 minutes early. People hate to wake up early on vacation, but when the parks open at 10, more people are willing to get there for park opening.
Magic Morning Entry
Be sure to utilize your Magic Morning Entry. When possible, I always suggest using this towards the beginning of your trip because you are full of energy, and it gets a good start to your trip, knocking out a ton of rides. Be sure to check out my tips of making the most of your Magic Morning.
You can also view my Magic Morning and Extra Magic Hour tips and mistakes video on YouTube.
If you have young children, I suggest hitting up Fantasyland during Magic Morning. This is generally when you will find the lowest wait times in Fantasyland (with the exception of Peter Pan).
Which park, which day?
On days you are not utilizing Magic Morning, I suggest visiting the park which did not have Extra Magic Hour that day. Extra Magic Hour allows guests staying onsite in an hour early to enjoy the park, and rotates between parks… which means that park will already have a decent crowd in it by the time the park opens.
Instead, go to the park, whether that be Disneyland Park or California Adventure, that did NOT host Extra Magic Hour and you will have less crowds already ahead of you in the park.
If you are staying on property, and are not park hopping, you will want to go to the park that has Extra Magic Hour in it.
Note: We do not know if Magic Morning and Extra Magic Hour will be offered when Disneyland Reopens.
Do this while waiting for gates to open
When you arrive early, be sure to use the time you are waiting in line to get ready for the day.
Apply sunscreen, give kids snacks, map out where you plan to head first. All of those things that will take up your time once inside the park.
My husband and I will also run the kids to the bathroom if we are there too long before opening, taking turns as the runner while the other waits in line.
Getting these annoying little tasks out of the way will help make sure you are ready to hit the pavement
running walking fast when you are let into the parks.
Utilize mobile ordering
When trying to get as much done in three days as possible, I definitely urge you to take advantage of Mobile Ordering. It is one of the many available features in the Disneyland App that will save you a lot of time. Heck, even on trips when you have more time, such as four-day visits or five-day visits, I prefer to use mobile ordering. It just saves time that you would be waiting in line.
In order to make sure you have figured out exactly how it works, be sure to practice mobile ordering and look around the app before you head to Disneyland (just don’t actually order the food if you aren’t there).
TIME-SAVING TIP: Hit “I’m here, prepare my order” as you get close to the dining location, especially during peak meal times. That way it will cut your wait.
Reserve one sit-down meal
If you would like to have a table service or character dining meal, I would limit it to one meal during your visit. Even better if you can have this meal be at one of the hotels or in Downtown Disney the night before you hit up the parks or the morning after you finish your park time.
Remember that a table service meal will take anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes generally.
Disneyland for three days, your ride strategy can become a little more relaxed. In our one day strategy, we mentioned you will only focus on your must-rides. The two day strategy was pretty similar. With three days, you will have a little more time to explore rides that maybe are not at the top of your list but still interest you.
Make a list of the rides which are most important to you, and using the Disneyland App or a park map, create a strategy that you feel will maximize the number of rides you can do.
For example, say Star Tours and Space Mountain are two of your must-do rides. With one or two days, you would want to just hit those up, and then move to your next must-do ride, say – Matterhorn Bobsleds.
Now that you have three full days, this lets you slow down, possibly going on Star Tours, adding in Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, and grabbing a churro before going on Space Mountain. (Unless you are like me and don’t like Churros, and get motion sickness. Then you probably should not get a Churro right before Space Mountain.)
Even though you have three days, be sure to also utilize Fastpass and MaxPass to cut your time in line.
Single Rider will also help you cut your wait times on rides that offer it, as well as the buddy pass on Monsters Inc, Mike and Sully to the Rescue, and Toy Story Midway Mania.
If you plan to visit Fantasyland, where most rides do not offer Fastpass, be sure to head there first thing in the morning, right at rope drop. This is actually a great area to tackle during your Magic Morning while crowds are low.
You can read more about my ride strategies for making the most of one day, and use those strategies in each park.
Shows and Entertainment
Now that you have three days at Disneyland, this is when I would suggest adding in some shows and entertainment to your touring plan. The entertainment schedule can be found on the Disneyland website. While the park hours are available six weeks in advance, the entertainment schedule is often delayed and released closer to two weeks in advance.
A show is the perfect way to take a midday break when the crowds are largest and the temperature is hottest. Some of my favorites include:
- Disney Junior Dance Party
- Frozen Live at the Hyperion (this show seems to have been cancelled during the closure)
- Mickey and the Magical Map (this show seems to have also been cancelled during the pandemic)
- Talk Turtle with Crush (in the Animation Building)
- Animation Academy to learn to draw some characters (in the Animation Building)
- The Enchanted Tiki Room
Note: Disneyland will most likely not have shows or parades when they reopen after the current health crisis.
More Disneyland Tips
To make the most of your three days at Disneyland, be sure to check out other Disneyland tips on this site. Some of the best ones for a three-day visit include:
- Disneyland Height Requirements – make sure you know which rides your kiddos can do before you go.
- Know what items are banned at Disney – so you don’t get held up at security. Some of the items may surprise you.
- Can your kids do rides alone? – This feels like a great way to maximize time, but you need to know Disney’s rules and these tips before splitting up.
- Disney’s Disability Access Service – This is a vital tool for those with disabilities, including cognitive disabilities.
I also suggest joining my group – Disneyland with Kids on Facebook – to talk with others who have been to Disneyland or are planning their Disneyland vacation.
Wondering if three days will really be enough?
If you are still questioning if two days is the right amount of time, I have a complete guide to figuring out how many days to spend at Disneyland. In addition, you can listen to an episode of the Disneyland with Kids podcast where Jessica and I talk about how many days we personally suggest.