Step 3: Make a Daily Plan

There’s so much to do!  Where do you start?

First, you’ll need to decide on whether to buy a single day ticket, a park hopper ticket or multiple-day tickets.  The park hopper allows you to come and go from one park to another.

Walking from one park to the other is easy, as the entrances are located directly across from each other, with Downtown Disney jutting off westward.


Next, review your basic entertainment options.  In addition to rides, both parks have lots to see.  In order to see and do all that you want, it’s helps to make a plan.  Detailed or not, you’ll stress less knowing what options you have.  I’ve listed several things to do at both Disneyland and California Adventure.  Times vary, depending on the day(s) you are visiting. Review the schedule for your travel dates.

What I suggest:  Review all of your options below and make notes on what you want to accomplish with each day you have in the parks.  Use the template below to stay organized.  We’ll cover dining in the next step, so leave time for meals!

DLR Blank Trip Planning Worksheet (PDF)

In addition to the fabulous rides you may already be anticipating, you can enjoy……

Character Interactions:

Meet Mickey Mouse – Take a self-guided tour through Mickey’s house and meet him for a photo and autograph in ToonTown at DLR.

Fantasy Faire – Meet princesses at Royal Hall, shop and see live shows in Fantasyland at DLR.

Jedi Training Academy – Train like a Jedi and defeat the Dark Side in Tomorrowland at DLR, 23 minutes.

Meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen – Between Pinocchio’s Daring Journey and the Village Haus Restaurant in Fantasyland at DLR.

Meet Tinkerbell and her Pixie Pals – See the hidden home of the Disneyland fairies and take a photo in Fantasyland at DLR.

***In addition to these opportunities, characters can be found between the Railroad Station and Main Street at Disneyland & on Buena Vista Street at California Adventure.



Disney Junior Live on Stage – Perfect for preschoolers; in Hollywood Land at DCA, 23 minutes.

Mickey and the Magical Map – Mickey and friends entertain in this live musical show in Fantasyland at DLR.

Frozen Live – Anna and Elsa join the town of Arrendale in this fun abbreviation of the popular movie.

World of Color – California Adventure’s answer to fireworks.  Watch water dance high and low while characters come to live in the mist.  Paradise Pier at DCA, 20+ minutes.



Mickey’s Soundsational Parade – Traditional Disney parade with all the characters on Main Street at DLR, 39 minutes.

Paint the Night Parade – On and off the schedule, this is Disneyland’s newest and most popular parade.

Main Street Electrical Parade – Here from January 20, 2017 until June 18, 2017, the MSEP is coming home to retire where it started.



Fantasmic! – Good and evil battle in Mickey’s dream.  Includes music and pyrotechnics in Frontierland at DLR, 22 minutes.

Fireworks at Disneyland – Fireworks burst high above Sleeping Beauty Castle at DLR.  Show changes seasonally.  Be sure to check the schedule, 14 minutes.



I recommend tours for seasoned visitors, as most of the information you’ll collect won’t make much sense until you know the park well.



I’m guessing you’ll find PLENTY to buy in the parks, but if not, Downtown Disney is steps away.  Restaurants, bars and shops can be found here, including The World of Disney, The LEGO Store, and Disney Vault 28.

Now to Step 4 – Decide Where to Eat!