When Time Is on Your Side
If you spend several days at the theme park, you have more options. Use the first day to experience the rides, shows, parades, and attractions you're most excited to see. Use subsequent days to do everything else.
The stores along Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland open about thirty minutes earlier and stay open about one hour later than the rides and attractions. They're crowded in the evening, so use the morning of your second day for shopping. Don't lug your acquisitions around all day, though. Instead, leave them at the Newsstand near the Main Entrance, Star Trader in Tomorrowland, or Pioneer Mercantile in Frontierland and pick them up on the way out. At California Adventure, you can leave your packages at Engine Ears Toys. Find a way to remember to pick them up on your way out, such as wrapping the receipt around your car key or hotel room key.
Dividing Your Days
The number of days you should (or can afford) to spend at the Disneyland parks is discussed in Chapter 3.
If you have two days at the Disneyland Resort and buy a Hopper ticket, you can spend a day and a half at Disneyland and half a day at California Adventure. You may also want to allow a few hours to explore Downtown Disney, especially if anyone in your group likes to shop.
If you have a Park Hopper pass, plan to spend at least three to four hours in one theme park at a stretch. Running back and forth will waste a lot of valuable time because you have to wait at the gate every time you change parks.
The shows and parades are extremely popular in both parks. To get the best seating, allow time to arrive at the viewing area (or theater) from twenty minutes to an hour or more early. The cast members at Guest Services or the schedule boards can tell you how early you'll need to be there.
Other Attractions in Southern California
If you have more time, take in the other theme parks and major Southern California family attractions: Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott's Berry Farm, Soak City, and Six Flags Magic Mountain take a full day each, and so do San Diego's LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, and the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
Allow a half-day to visit Hollywood Boulevard or to have some fun at one of the local beaches.