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California Trip - Advice on Day Trip to Disneyland?

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Birmingham, United...
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California Trip - Advice on Day Trip to Disneyland?

I am taking a trip to California with my boyfriend in October 2014, which includes a 6 day (24th - 30th)stopover in LA.

This is one of those 'Once in a Lifetime' trips, so we have booked our flights, hotel and car hire keeping to a budget. I am staying in North Hollywood not far from Universal (which I also hope to visit)

One thing I wish to do is experience a trip to Disney as a 'young adult' as many of my friends have experienced it as parents and feel they 'missed the fun' due to having to cater to their young children's needs.

As we only have a short stay in LA, and a lot of things to fit in, If we were to do it, we could probably only be able to do a day trip. Is it worth a day-trip to this place to experience the fun of Disneyland, and can it be done in a day on a whim? I have done Euro Disney as a child before, and whilst I didn't see ALL of the park, I saw the highlights of it, and enjoyed myself. I don't expect it to match up to the 'magic' of a Disney Resort like Orlando, but is there enough there to get immersed into it? (Although adults, we still do have a certain fondness for Disney!)

I ask only because a lot of the trip we will want to do activities in the spur of the moment, as our mood suits. I feel that if we plan to go on a specific day, adverse weather or personal fatigue may scupper the plans, and we would lose $200+ by not being able to use pre-booked passes. Can you just rock up on the day and pay for a day ticket, or is it worth allocating a specific day to plan to go and pre-book?

It looks to be a one hour drive from our hotel to Anaheim, but that is not taking into account local traffic conditions. Is it a case of getting up at 7am to get there before commuter traffic hits? I am of a mentality of getting to my destination then a short wait so that I can be sure I am there ready, instead of having an extra hour in bed, then sitting in traffic and getting myself worked up. Is there facilities nearby for a coffee and snack before opening, or is the location in the middle of nowhere (Euro Disney was fairly sparce)

Any advice on my points, or any potential other issues I might have to take into account would be much appreciated,

Edited: 10:09 am, June 06, 2014
Newcastle, Australia
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1. Re: California Trip - Advice on Day Trip to Disneyland?

Your only issue would be that Halloween falls on October 31st so I would go earlier in the week rather than later. Traffic out of LA can be a problem, but you would be unlucky if it takes more than 1 1/2 hrs. Plenty of places on Harbour Bvde opposite the park for a coffee or in Downtown Disney outside the parks. Hours at that time of year are approx 9am to 8pm Mon -Thu subject to change. Disneyland has many similarities to Magic Kingdom at WDW but there is also Disney's California Adventure Park. I still think Disneyland is the best, I've been there 11 times. I don't know if you can get a 1 day park hopper to visit both parks on the same day but you should have no problem getting your tickets at the gate.

Enjoy your trip,


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2. Re: California Trip - Advice on Day Trip to Disneyland?

Certainly you can do Disneyland as a daytrip from N. Hollywood; I used to do it all the time from Ventura which is quite a bit further north. Midweek will certainly be less crowded than weekends. You will certainly hit traffic even if you leave at 7 am, but the idea of getting breakfast or coffee nearby is a good one. One day will not give you enough time to see both Disneyland and California Adventure, but don't forget that Disneyland is the ORIGINAL that Walt Disney planned himself. Plenty of magic there.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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3. Re: California Trip - Advice on Day Trip to Disneyland?

You would have a few issues to think about.

First as suggested, your dates in Oct would likely have some Mickey's Halloween Party nights where Disneyland Park only will close to regular guest around 3 or 4 pm ( also usually open a little earlier on those days). And you must have a separate ticket to attend the Party nite. Party nites are usually held on Tues and Fridays throughout Oct with some Mondays and Wed thrown in later in Oct usually around Halloween which is Oct 31. So its likely you may run into one of those for your visit, unless you visit on a Sat or Sun which dont usually have party nites.

No official info is out yet for dates for this years Party nites. That info usually shows up sometime in late June or so. I would suggest waiting to make firm plans on a date to visit till then.

Heres more info on Halloweentime and the Mickey's Halloween Party nites from last years info to give you some idea of what goes on.


You could also just visit for a Mickey's Halloween Party night which allows you about 8 hours in Disneyland Park only usually for around $70 or so which is a pretty good value. Guests with a Party ticket usually can come in a little early around 3 or 4 pm, and stay till 11 or 12pm.

Or you might consider overlapping your stay and staying overnight somewhere inexpensive across the street from the Disneyland Main Entrance and then returning to LA the next morning, but not check out of your LA Hotel.

If you decide on a daytrip which is fine to do, its really up to you if you want a Parkhopper or not. The two Park entrances face each other so its easy to hop back and forth in a day. Obviously you could only see the highlights of both Parks in a day. Usually a 2 or 3 day Parkhopper is suggested for a visit to Disneyland.


Actually as far as how it feels goes. Disneyland is the orginal Park. It has a very special feel to it Imo that there would not be elsewhere. And alot of ride and Attractions would only be at Disneyland and not at other Parks. I think Disneyland is worth a visit even for just a day!

Im a little confused though... why would you be paying more for tickets if you didnt pre-book them? Disneyland 1 day tickets can easily be purchased at the Maingate ticket window. They are the same price if purchased at Disneyland or Online.

Universal Studios tickets are also the same price I believe. And you can easily get any discounts usually just a day or two ahead of time online. You can look at the Mousesavers website which is a good resource for you as they list current discounts on attractions for you ( they dont sell tickets)


Also when visiting Disneyland you would want to wait till hours came out for Oct which is usually around 4 weeks out on the Disneyland.com website to see what time you would want to leave as hours vary quite widely because of the Party nites.

And keep in mind, that the Parking structures at Disneyland open 1 hour before regular park hours. It can take up to 30 min from the Parking lot to actually get inside either Park. So if you want to be there right at or before Park opening time, you would want to factor that into your plans. The Mickey and Friends Parking lot also usually opens about 90 min before regular Park opening time on Magic Morning days which are Tues,Thurs and Sat each week.

Corona del Mar, CA
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4. Re: California Trip - Advice on Day Trip to Disneyland?

Disneyland when it was built was the middle of no place, but Walt Disney didn't have the money to buy up all the around it. Now it is in very urban Orange County. If the gates open at 9AM, the gates usually open 30 minutes before that. Leave NoHo at 6:30AM and you should beat most of the traffic. There are lots of cool places for breakfast nearby including The Original Pancake House, Jägerhaus and the restaurants of Downtown Disney and the Hotels. Brennan's Jazz Kitchen has an express window where you can get Beignets and chickory coffee.



Yucaipa, California
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5. Re: California Trip - Advice on Day Trip to Disneyland?

Walt Disney actually had a very good reason for building Disneyland in Anaheim. The location was perfect for traveling from various other parts of Southern California, there was a lot of land available (mostly orange groves), and the new freeway system that was just being designed and built then would bring traffic right to Anaheim! My personal belief is that it also didn't hurt that there was another popular attraction not far away (Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park). His original thought was a smaller park near the Walt Disney Studios, but he soon wanted to plan a larger park and purposely looked for the perfect place.

Disneyland Park opened in 1955 and has always been added onto. The space is limited by the Disneyland Railroad surrounding it, as it was one of the first rides and ended up being the determining factor of the boundries of the park. Some rides, such as Pirates and Haunted Mansion, are actually mostly on the outside of the railroad berm, but guests cannot tell that. It is very interesting to learn how they are built.

Disney California Adventure opened in 2001, partly using the old parking lot. It was updated a couple of years ago with Carsland and Buena Vista Street (a entry land that imagines what it was like when Walt came to Los Angeles and began his career here in California).

Disneyland Resort is within a city in the beautiful county of Orange and has many residents, is freeway close and has a train station and public bus system. Disneyland Resort is in the section of the city called Anaheim Resort, surrounded by hotels and restaurants, and has a transit system for the hotels. The Anaheim Convention is across from Disneyland Resort, so it is quite a busy area.

The two parks are across from each other with a wide plaza in between. Downtown Disney is next to the entrance plaza. La Brea Bakery, inside Downtown Disney, is close to the entrance plaza and a lovely place to sit and have coffee in the morning. Check their opening hours. The parking structure is called Mickey and Friends. There is an open air tram that runs from beneath it it Downtown Disney. It lets guests off close to the entrance plaza. La Brea Bakery will be right there as you walk by.

There is a large restroom area right next to the turnstiles for Disneyland Park. La Brea Bakery has a small, but nicer restroom (just nicer lighting, the others are standard and all are very clean). I usually stop in Carrows off a Ball Road, but that is out of your way (I drive in from a different direction).

As far as magical, most people who have visited both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney Resort say that they find Disneyland to have a special magical feeling all its own. Could be because it is the only park that Walt Disney built and walked in. A major difference that I have also heard is that because so locals like coming to Disneyland Resort Parks often, it has a feeling of being invited into a home.

Yucaipa, California
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6. Re: California Trip - Advice on Day Trip to Disneyland?

I believe on most mornings Disneyland Park opens up just Main Street USA a half an hour early. They have a rope across the rest of the park and then an official opening for the rest of the park when it is time, with an announcement and welcome, which is called Rope Drop. I have yet to experience this myself. But others here know about it. It may be possible that Carnation Cafe a table service restaurant on Main Street could be open within that half hour or at least you could wait for a table, I believe. That would be nicer than anywhere else because of being inside the park and seeing Main Street come to life. If you would like breakfast it is expensive at La Brea Bakery. If just as expensive at Carnation Cafe, the atmosphere is more special.

The parking structure opens an hour before park opening.

I would recommend considering either the 25th or the 26th, Saturday or Sunday, for ease of travel, long park hours, and more entertainment than weekdays (i.e. fireworks and Fantasmic). The fireworks show could be Remember, Dreams Come True, considered their best. Just in case you are interested there is dancing in Disneyland Park to a swing band on Saturday nights and rock band on Saturdays and Sundays. Both are outside venues and included in admission.

Edited: 9:10 pm, June 06, 2014
Yucaipa, California
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7. Re: California Trip - Advice on Day Trip to Disneyland?

This video is fun to watch, just as an overview from a perspective of a young adult and someone who is a first time visitor but been to WDW. They don't show any of the big nightime shows, though, or the parade. At the beginning there are some must do's talked about, but in my opinion, everyone has their own "gotta do's" so I would not strictly follow that.


If you look at any more you tube, make sure to look at the dates as some info or tips might be outdated. I am currently following the you tube channel called Fresh Baked Disney. They go to Disneyland each weekend. Some of the videos are probably easier for someone who has been there before to follow, such as the trip reports. But they have cool "Disneyland Secrets" videos you might like.

Edited: 12:20 am, June 07, 2014
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8. Re: California Trip - Advice on Day Trip to Disneyland?

I would definitely recommend going to Disneyland as it's one of the best Disneyland Park's in the world.

If you can plan ahead of time your best bet will be in the middle of the week to avoid the large crowds. That alone can save you tons of time. As a young adult it is best to avoid the "young-kids" areas like fantasyland at the begging of the day and return to them later on when most families with young kids leave. Also it would be best to plan ahead with what you would/wouldn't like to see as your time is limited there and you won't be able to see everything. That way you will manage to experience all/most of your "must-do" attractions without regretting missing out on the other ones.




Yucaipa, California
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9. Re: California Trip - Advice on Day Trip to Disneyland?

I would say definitely avoid a weekday in late October, if at all possible. Weekedays then have shorter park hours, no big nightime entertainment in Disneyland Park, and early closure for Disneyland Park on one or two weekdays due to Halloween parties requiring a separate ticket at night. Since you are driving in, there be heavy workday commuter traffic beginning around 6:30 or 7 a.m. with possible delays and stop and go driving. Drving is less of a hassle on a Saturday or Sunday, especially that early, when you should be leaving.

There are ways to avoid standing in line for lengthy amounts of times:

Ride the most popular rides that don't use Fast Pass first early in the morning.

Use the Fast Pass system. It is free. The passes are not available on all rides, but really helps on those that have them. If you don't know exactly how to use we can give you tips.

Use Single Rider Pass and line at the rides that offer them. This pass was developed to help cast members fill single seats on some rides. With this pass you bypass the regular Stand By queue and even the Fast Pass queue (when the ride has one) and enter either a very short line or go almost straight to the loading area. You must be willing to ride separately because they need to fit you in where they can. However, you can both get a Single Rider pass where available and enter together. Sometimes there is a short wait. And Single Rider Pass is very helpful when one person wants to ride and the other wants to sit it out, since you will not be apart for long. Rides that use Single Rider Pass in Disneyland Park are Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, Splash Mt., and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. The bobsleds have single seats (used to be cozy tandem seating), so using Single Rider doesn't change the experience much, unless you want to hear each other's reaction as regularly you would be in a seat either in front of or behind the other. In Disney California Adventure, the Radiator Springs Ride is extremely popular and using its Single Rider Line is a must to avoid insane wait times.

Some of the rides that adults consider "kids rides" are Disneyland classics called dark rides. However, if you want to skip those, I would recommend at least a walk through Fantasyland. My favorite rides there are the King Arthur's Carousel (doesn't take very long to board, although there could be a wait, and the music, view, and legends about the horses are worth it), Dumbo (can have a long line, but very pretty view at night and a shorter line near closing), and Casey Jr. Circus Train (really nice views and restful). Of course, I also like It's a Small World. I found that a good time to go on it witnout much of a wait is just before or during the afternoon parade (when the park has long hours there are two scheduled times for the parade). There is just a bit of getting through crowded areas along the parade route to get to it, that's all. It's a Small World is near the Fantasyland Theater and the show Mickey and the Magical Map (which is shown in part in the video I posted). I have viewed video of It's a Small World in Disneyland Paris and was very impressed by the entrance canals, but the original's is nice as well and the same ride that Walt introduced in the World's Fair, "plussed" a little

Two classic Disneyland attractions are Enchanted Tiki Room, designed by Walt Disney himself, and Jungle Cruise, both in Adventureland. Tiki Room is easy to get into. Jungle Cruise has a queue that can be deceptive as it winds and is in part hidden. So it is important to notice the wait time before entering the queue.

For two young and active adults, a busy day at Disneyland should not be much of a problem. That is especially true if you enjoy being in an atmosphere of lots of activity and things to see, do, and music. You can actually have a plan to "hit some rides" in the morning at openning, then have a more spontaneous day afterwords.

Edited: 10:22 am, June 07, 2014
10. Re: California Trip - Advice on Day Trip to Disneyland?

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