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How To Do Disneyland and California Adventure in One Day

California Adventure

Do you want to make the most of that day off with your family and friends? If yes, the best way to do so is to go on a one-day trip to California Adventure and Disneyland.

But how to do Disneyland and California Adventure in one day? Is that even possible?


Yes! You can go on a one-day trip to California Adventure and Disneyland. Here’re five tips on how you can do just that:

  • Research and plan first.
  • Go to Disneyland first.
  • Choosing the rides.
  • Visit mid-week during the off-season.
  • Take advantage of Genie+ & Lightning Lanes.

To pull off something like this in one day may seem like a miracle, but with the right plan (and some luck!), you can have a fantastic time with your loved ones!

Now that you know the simple version, let’s get into the details so you know exactly what you need to do!

5 Tips To Do Disneyland and California Adventure in One Day

Here are five tips so you can make the most of the one day at Disneyland and California Adventure:

1. Research & Planning


This has got to be the most obvious one. After all, you’re going for just one day and need to cover two massive theme parks. So researching, planning, and organizing are key.

A few things you need to note down are as follows:

  • Which rides and attractions are available at each theme park?
  • The locations and time will take to reach each attraction and ride.
  • Route planning to avoid long queues and busy walkways at different times of the day.
  • Planning your meals during all the fun.
  • How to buy the tickets beforehand.
Helpful tip

It is highly recommended that you download the Disneyland Application. It will allow you to:

  • See the map to find your way around the parks.
  • Check out which rides are available and join virtual queues to save time.
  • Pre-order meals so they are prepped and ready when you arrive at the location.
  • Check showtimes for characters available for photoshoots.
  • Get the Genie+ service or check the availability of FASTPASS/Lightning Lane.

2. Go to Disneyland First


This is where many people have different opinions regarding the pros and cons of where to go first. But we think it’s better to head to Disneyland first, and here’s why:

  • Easier to go about the rides with less waiting, so start early.
  • Get a head start at the busier and bigger park first.
  • Reach the most popular attractions and rides first.

If you opted for the ‘Park Hopper Ticket’, you must stay here till 1 pm. However, this gives you ample time to enjoy Disneyland as it has more rides and attractions.

Also, Disneyland gets full and crowded with cranky kids and families as time goes on, especially in the afternoon.

This is not the case with California Adventure, as it caters to grown-ups, and the environment is more relaxed.

3. Choosing the Rides


This is what it’s all about, the rides! However, it’s important to know that you can’t experience every ride in one day.

You’ll have to skip some attractions to enjoy the two theme parks as much as possible.

Quick tip

If you don’t mind sitting together on rides, you can opt for the ‘Individual Lightning Lane’. It can significantly reduce the waiting times with only one downside; you won’t be seated next to each other.

You’re here for one day, so enjoying the rides as quickly as possible is important!

You’ll need to go back to your planning and researching phase and list the spots you’d like to prioritize. Here’s what we recommend:


In Disneyland, you can get started early at 10 am with the following rides up till 2:30 pm:

  • Space Mountain is the most thrilling ride the theme park has to offer.
  • Thunder Mountain is a wild west theme ride that/s fast, fun, and has open views of the theme park.
  • Finally, the haunted Mansion; can be a scary treat if it’s Halloween season.

It will be around 12:30 pm now so. Next, you can go for adventure rides at:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean have a gentle but long boat ride across the seas filled with pirates.
  • Indiana Jones Adventure, face the dangers on this ride as you step into the shoes of the legendary hero.
  • The Enchanted Tiki Room is a great place to relax while the animatronic birds do their dancing.

If you like to end your rides with a splash, Splash Mountain is a great way. It starts slowly, playing classic Disney songs with numerous animatronic animals passing you.

At the end of the ride, you’re dropped down a waterfall and into a giant splash of water.

California Adventure

Once done with the last ride at Disneyland, you can head to California Adventure and start by 3:30 pm on your first ride.

You could go for the Grizzly River Run if you got wet during the Splash Mountain ride. However, it is also a water ride, so only take it if you don’t mind getting more water splashing.

Have a treat

You can treat yourself and your loved ones to one of the best chocolate ice creams in the world, the delicious Ghirardelli ice cream.

The rest of the rides are as follows:

  • Incredicoaster for the thrills and excitement. This is by far the best ride of them all. It offers upside-down loops, twists, turns, and plunges at high speeds, a classic high-speed roller coaster.
  • Radiator Spring Racers is an outdoor ride with car races featuring characters from the movie Cars.
  • Guardian of the Galaxy Mission Breakout is another fun and thrilling elevator ride that takes you on an adventure with Rocket and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Soarin’ Around the World offers a hand-gliding experience inside an IMAX dome. It is a relaxing experience as you look at historic landmarks in different locations worldwide.

After Dark Adventures at Disneyland

If you still have the will and the energy for it, you can head back to Disneyland for two rides that are perfectly suited for after-dark adventures:

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Millenium Falcon

For adults: finish off with a nice cocktail at the Disneyland Hotel!

4. Visit Mid-Week During the Off-Season


The best time to enjoy one day at the two theme parks is to ensure you visit when you aren’t facing hordes of tourists and holidayers.

Fewer crowds mean shorter waiting times at the rides and attractions, allowing you to navigate the parks faster.

Also, mid-week tickets from Tuesday to Thursday are cheaper, so you’re saving money too!

5. Take Advantage of Genie+


Genie+ is a part of the Disneyland App and allows you to book reservations and go through long waiting lines.

You have to make a one-time payment for the day and avail of all the benefits, saving waiting hours at certain attractions.

You also get unlimited PhotoPass downloads, which makes it a great deal!


Even though the one-day trip might seem rushed, if you can pull it off with the five tips provided, it will be an adventure to remember:

  • Research and plan first.
  • Go to Disneyland first.
  • Choosing the rides.
  • Visit mid-week during the off-season.
  • Take advantage of Genie+ & Lightning Lanes.

Believe it or not, if someday you have the time and money, it’s worth spending 2 to 3 days at Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks.

If not, you can make the most of it in one day!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Possible To Visit California Adventure and Disneyland in One Day?

Yes, it is possible to visit both theme parks in one day, but there are some things to keep in mind:

  • It will be rushed.
  • You won’t be able to enjoy all the rides and attractions.
  • You’ll need to come prepared with a proper plan to accomplish this one-day adventure.

How Many Days Do I Need To Enjoy Disneyland and California Adventure Fully?

You need at least 2 to 3 full days to enjoy the two theme parks at their fullest. This way, you won’t feel rushed and can avail yourself of all the rides and attractions.

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