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Is one day at the park enough?

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  • [Question] Is one day at the park enough?

    I'm looking for some objective opinions. Is one day at the park enough? We are retired (read: in our 60s) and the drive to Disneyland is about 6 hours. Usually we spend 2-3 days at the parks, and that's always been good for us. One of my thoughts is that if we spend just one day at the park we will save money on tickets, lodging and food. The cost of the extra lodging would be a big thing for us. One day is better than none, or is it? Will we be sorry to only get one day in the park after spending the time and effort driving in? Is it a good compromise, or am I on the wrong track? We would spend our precious time in Disneyland. California Adventure is not a big draw for us. Another thought I had was to leave very early on our drive, and go to DL that first day by about noon, then have another full day at the park. We'd be SO tired, though.... I would very much appreciate your point of view. Thanks.

  • #2
    I just did the drive last weekend from San Francisco to Anaheim. I spent 2 days park hopping and did pretty much everything I wanted to do, some things even multiple times. This trip would not have been worth it to me for just one day even if I had just stuck to one park. I drove down Friday night, was in the parks Saturday and Sunday and left around noon on Monday. This felt like the perfect amount of time for me but to each their own.
    Check out Get Away Today for great rates on hotels in the area! This is where I book my hotels almost every time and sometimes they throw in a night for free depending on how many nights you're staying. There's links all over Micechat since they are sponsored. Hope that helps!
    Last edited by IzzyInWonderland; 07-13-2021, 05:29 PM.


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    • #3
      You're bound to get a few different perspectives. The best answer I can give is "maybe." The first thing you each need to do is sit down and list the "must-dos." Then make a secondary list of the "nice to do" attractions and then plan from there. If riding a lot of attractions is important to you both, it may be helpful to take advantage of the single-rider lines. You may end up skipping theming queues that help set the tone or mood of the attraction (I'm thinking specifically Indiana Jones which has a nice queue and short film that helps set the story), but other single-rider lines such as the Matterhorn will simply allow you to skip the longer lines and the experience is no different (other than possibly not riding with your spouse). Personally, I would be there as early as possible (at least 90 minutes before they open) and be the first in line at the gates in order to knock out a few of the more popular attractions right away (Space Mountain, Peter Pan, etc). No matter how many times I've gone as an adult and was determined to spend all day in the park to get my money's worth, I usually head back to my motel across the street around 1:30 or 2 for a nap and some down time. Going back at night is a must as it's a very different experience at night! I agree with your decision to limit your one day at Disneyland versus CA Adventure. There's simply not enough to do at CA to spend the entire day there.

      If you're considering a long drive and a half-day at Disneyland, the first day, definitely relax at your hotel first before heading over to the park. You can still get a lot done in those 4-5 hours before the park closes and it will take some of the pressure off of trying to cram everything in on your full day. Good luck!

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      • #4
        Normally I would say 1 day for Disneyland is totally doable but with your drive I would be more concerned about safety of driving home exhausted late at night. With your 6hr commute time that means even if you left at 4am you still would not arrive until 10am and you would be starting to get sleepy early afternoon. Also you would have to leave around 7-8 pm get home by 2am. Since hotel rooms are cheaper than DLR tickets these days I would plan on getting two night within an a half hours drive where you can find 2 nights much cheaper than near the resort. That way you can drive to the hotel from home get a good night rest enjoy a full day at the park rope drop to fireworks (rather than 2 half days) then go back to hotel and drive home the next day safely.
        Disneyland Fan since the 70's

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Starcade View Post
          Normally I would say 1 day for Disneyland is totally doable but with your drive I would be more concerned about safety of driving home exhausted late at night. With your 6hr commute time that means even if you left at 4am you still would not arrive until 10am and you would be starting to get sleepy early afternoon. Also you would have to leave around 7-8 pm get home by 2am. Since hotel rooms are cheaper than DLR tickets these days I would plan on getting two night within an a half hours drive where you can find 2 nights much cheaper than near the resort. That way you can drive to the hotel from home get a good night rest enjoy a full day at the park rope drop to fireworks (rather than 2 half days) then go back to hotel and drive home the next day safely.
          "SAFETY" first -agree
          Driving CA. freeway, hard and long specially at night when one is tire.
          Wise Post
          Soaring like an EAGLE !

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          • #6
            Disneyland is unique in that because of the smaller size, you can get your fill of Disney in 1-2 days and feel like you haven't missed too much. This is a major reason why Disney needs to figure out a better means to appeal to more guests that aren't locals, because unlike WDW which is a literal vacation in itself and can last you a week and still make it feel like you've missed 30%, DL can be fully done in 2-3 days.

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            • #7
              I would recommend 1 or 2 full days, with no travel done on day(s) of visit. This gives ample time without conflicting with travel.

              2 days in the park will allow you to enjoy more attractions and not feel rushed.

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              • #8
                I personally would not enjoy 1 day, especially after 6 hours of driving to get there. We just drove down from SF to spend 5 days and that was more than enough time. During the trip, I definitely thought that we could do 2 to hit the highlights of everything we wanted. The extra days were just relaxing and low stress.

                In sum, I would say 2 full days, with none of those being travel days, as Spongeocto4 said.

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                • #9
                  I've done single days as a solo trip and I got everything done I wanted to do, some things twice. But that was because I didn't need to consult anyone else about anything, could move about and hop as I chose, and used MaxPass and Single Rider. If you and your DH can 'move as one' (meaning agreeing on all rides and where to eat) AND if the crowds are reasonable you should be fine. The spanner in the works is that there is currently no FP/MP and the restrictions on hopping. h

                  My solo days are something I do when I visit a cousin in the area on my own. She's not a Disney fan so I'll give her a day of 'peace' and go by myself.

                  I'm in my 60s too and my drive is about 7 hours. A friend and I have done the early drive thing and hit the parks around 1.30-ish on our arrival day. But it's always been part of a 4-5 day trip where there is a bit of 'down time' built in to our days as we love to lounge by the pool at the DGC. I don't think I could drive down and hit the parks the same day, sleep, hit the parks the next day and then drive home. I wouldn't be safe to drive. Or were you thinking of 2 nights stay?
                  "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.​"

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                  • #10
                    If you're traveling from that far, two days is pretty safe.

                    In my opinion, both parks together are more like a day and a half... If you arrive at California Adventure at rope drop, you can usually get through the whole park before 12PM. Disneyland is a different story and requires a full day if you want to experience everything.

                    Stay safe and well-rested, Kat95242! Don't overdo it.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks everyone for your invaluable input. I really appreciate it. Even though there's no "perfect" itinerary, you've given me much food for thought.

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                      • #12
                        Yes, one day at Disneyland is enough. Skip DCA, it's too much walking for very little reward in entertainment or impressiveness. I have enjoyed having an AP, but I do miss the single Disney Day of days past. I remember those much more than the AP visits I had for the most part.

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                        • #13
                          I am a complete Disneyland fanatic, but even I wouldn't drive from Phoenix (where we live) to Anaheim - roughly 5.5-6 hours if traffic is OK - for just one day at the Park. I'm in my mid-50s. The travel time and physical wear is too much for only one day. Two days, though............
                          Now don't close your eyes, and don't try to hide...

                          Next trip to Disneyland: December 3-6, 2011. I can't wait!!!

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                          • #14
                            My wife and I are in our early 30's and have a roughly 2 hour drive to the parks from Palm Springs. Even for us, a day trip is exhausting and the drive home requires me a large sugary soda and very loud music. Since were both in the hospitality buisiness though, we simply get a room for a night or two (go discounts go!) and drive back refreshed on our 2nd day off together.

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