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  • Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

    Anyone ever drive from long distances for a day trip to DL? We live in the Sacramento area and I've wondered how it would be to go down just for the day. Leave really early and get home really late type of day.
    Anyone ever try this? Am I crazy?

  • #2
    Re: Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

    Probably takes about 7 hours from Sacramento, so if DL is open 8 am - 12 midnight, leave at 1 a.m. and you'll get there when it opens. You'll get back home right after sunrise the next day. I wouldn't try to do all the driving yourself.

    I did pull an all night solo drive on I-5 once, but I didn't try to go back in the other direction without sleeping. Everyone should be prepared to take over the driving at any time if the driver is fatigued. Stay safe!

    Ideally, have at least 4 people and drive in shifts. Someone take the first half of the southbound drive, then someone else the second half, etc. That's only 3.5 hours per person. One person should drive, another person should keep the driver awake, and the other two can sleep. Make sure everyone in the group can take being awake and driving at off hours. Some people just don't handle it very well.

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    • #3
      Re: Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

      I live in the OC but I spent my college years in Davis. I have never done this, but I would think the best time to go is during the week in January. Leave at no later than 3 am which will get you to Anaheim by 11 am approx. Stay until 7 am (the park usually closes early anyway) and that should get you back home by about 3 am again. Total time would be about 24 hours.

      This is just something to give you an idea. I have never done this, so maybe someone else has a better suggestion...

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      • #4
        Re: Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

        Originally posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
        I live in the OC but I spent my college years in Davis. I have never done this, but I would think the best time to go is during the week in January. Leave at no later than 3 am which will get you to Anaheim by 11 am approx. Stay until 7 am (the park usually closes early anyway) and that should get you back home by about 3 am again. Total time would be about 24 hours.

        This is just something to give you an idea. I have never done this, so maybe someone else has a better suggestion...
        oops -- I meant stay until 7 pm.

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        • #5
          Re: Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

          Interesting. When I was thinking of this I wasn't thinking of staying for all of the operating hours. If the park is open 8-12midnight maybe leaving at 4, get there by 10am, and leave around 6 or 7pm. That would bring us back home at 1am if all goes well.

          Not planning to do this, just pondering

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          • #6
            Re: Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

            Originally posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
            I live in the OC but I spent my college years in Davis. I have never done this, but I would think the best time to go is during the week in January. Leave at no later than 3 am which will get you to Anaheim by 11 am approx. Stay until 7 am (the park usually closes early anyway) and that should get you back home by about 3 am again. Total time would be about 24 hours.

            This is just something to give you an idea. I have never done this, so maybe someone else has a better suggestion...
            That does sound like it world work, but during the holiday season DL is sometimes open from 8-midnight. If the OP wants to stay for the entire time, it would be a long trip indeed (1am-7am, 30 hours). EDIT: I see that this is not the case, but just in case anyone else is interested...

            Another option is to drive all night to get there, then find a motel room or a friend's house to sleep at after you leave DL before driving back the next morning. I find it much easier to pull one all nighter than two in a row.

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            • #7
              Re: Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

              Originally posted by The Mad Hatter View Post
              Interesting. When I was thinking of this I wasn't thinking of staying for all of the operating hours. If the park is open 8-12midnight maybe leaving at 4, get there by 10am, and leave around 6 or 7pm. That would bring us back home at 1am if all goes well.

              Not planning to do this, just pondering
              It will take at least 7 - 8 hours to get here from Sac, assuming normal traffic once you hit LA. I wouldn't suggest making such a long trip during Christmas because it will be so crowded at DL during this time, it won't justify the effort taken to get there.

              The best time would be during the week in January. However if you hit LA at the wrong time, it could take you up to 3 hours to get to Anaheim once you decend into LA from the Grapevine. This is normally about 1.5 hours or less to Anaheim at this point but it can exceed dramatically if you hit LA traffic at the wrong time. So depending on traffic, total drive time is anywhere between 6.5 - 9 hours.

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              • #8
                Re: Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

                When I was about 19 a friend and I were eating at Denny's in San Jose very late at night and on a whim we drove to DL, it was in September and a weekday so it was very quiet. We hit all the rides and were back on the road by 4pm and back home 6 hours later. I was so tired but I'll always cherish the experience.


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                • #9
                  Re: Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

                  Sounds pretty dangerous. Driving shifts would be better. I'd still do an overnight, so two days of DL, one night sleep, two nights driving.
                  From Sac:
                  Leave at midnight.
                  Arrive at 6AM.
                  Go to park.
                  Someone check into hotel at 3PM (or earlier, if you ask nice).
                  Crash time whenevers.
                  Sleep.
                  Get up next day for rope-drop.
                  Spend whole day until close.
                  Leave at closing time.
                  Arrive in Sac 6 hours later.

                  Oh, and In-N-Out in Kettleman City on way home (not sure if it's open on the way down).
                  Drivers on way down will go to sleep at, say, 6PM before they drive. They'll crash first in the park. Turkey and melatonin (is that still available?) should do the trick.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

                    I've done this. Not quite as far as Sac, but only 45 minutes off.
                    I drove down with a friend. We left at around 2:30am, getting to the park close to opening. We stayed wil around 7 or 8 to miss traffic and got home late (or early depending on how you look at it)
                    We switched drivers. We drive to I-5 and take breaks at the many available rest stops. We get gas at Buttonwillow along with breakfast, and do the reverse home.
                    It works out well for us. We don't do it often, normally I try to go for two - three days.
                    Most often found at a theme park

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                    • #11
                      Re: Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

                      Don't do it.... period! not only will you be tired, cranky, and not to fun to be around during the stay at the park, you have to worry about the drive back, fighting fog or other weather, and the lay over effect this will have for several days after.

                      And if that isn't enough, take into consideration the other people you put into to danger on the road on your dirve back. Find a place to stay and get a good nights sleep. =)

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                      • #12
                        Re: Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

                        We live in the Bay Area and have been known to leave early one day, spend the day in the Park, stay in a hotel for the night, enjoy the Park again for the day and then drive home.

                        My days of driving all-nighters are long gone...

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                        • #13
                          Re: Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

                          i was actually contmplating doing this from LakeTahoe area , roughly 400 miles away from Anaheim , but decided against it , like everyone says , it's just doesn't seem safe , and i would just end up getting cranky ,

                          My Maleficent tattoo


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                          • #14
                            Re: Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

                            I've done the Sacramento to Disneyland thing a couple of times, but always spent the night.

                            The last time we did it we left from Citrus Heights around 4:00 AM and got to Disneyland around 1:30 (four kids needing potty breaks, two parents needing coffee). There just wasn't enough day left to really enjoy it as much as we could have.

                            This is why we need a bullet train up and down the west coast. I'd love to be able to get to Disneyland in three hours from here.
                            "Say, uh, ever hear of the devil's paint pots? Real mystery of the desert. Bubblin' pots of mud in all kinds of colors."

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                            • #15
                              Re: Driving Long Distance for A Day Trip to DL

                              Yup, I did this when I was in college back in the 80s.

                              Left really early (I think 2 am) from San Jose, spent a day in DL, left around five,
                              got home around 12.

                              Had a friend who loved to drive who drove most of the way each way.

                              No way I can do that now.

                              We did the "go down in the morning, goto DL, stay in LA, drive up" two years ago.
                              THAT was tough and no way am I going to do that (esp. since I was too tired to
                              enjoy anything!)

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