Can You Do Disneyland and California Adventure in 1 Day? | Explained

Disneyland and California Adventure are conveniently located directly across from one another, in order for guests to seamless park hop.

However many guests wonder if they can do Disneyland and California Adventure in 1 day.

In this page, we will explain.

Can You Do Disneyland and California Adventure Worth it

Table of Contents

  • Can You Do Disneyland and California Adventure in 1 Day?
  • Make a List of Your Must-Do Rides
  • Know the Best Time to Visit Each Park
  • Go to California Adventure First
  • Know About Park Hopper Availability

Can You Do Disneyland and California Adventure in 1 Day?

You can absolutely visit both Disneyland and California adventure in a single day, and still be able to hit all of the major attractions at each park. However, in order to have the best possible experience you’ll want to plan your itinerary for both parks ahead of time, and consider investing in Disney Genie+.

Disney Genie + is an upgrade ($20 per day) that allows you to skip the regular line through access to the Lightning Lane entrance, all from the Disneyland app .

You’ll select one available attraction at a time throughout the day.

Make a List of Your Must-Do Rides

Favorite Rides at California Adventure

Some of our favorite rides at California Adventure include:

  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout
  • The Incredicoaster
  • Soarin’ Around the World

Guardians of the Galaxy actually replaced Tower of Terror several years back, but still features all of the thrilling vertical drops, along with a twist focused on the Guardians of the Galaxy.

guardians of the galaxy california adventure ride

Longest Lines at the Park

Chances are that your favorite rides also have the longest lines at the park.

Luckily, we’ve created a guide that details the average wait time for rides with the longest lines at Disneyland to help you plan ahead.

Some of the rides with the longest lines include:

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Radiator Springs Racer
  • Splash Mountain

Know the Best Time to Visit Each Park

For both Disneyland and California Adventure, the best time to visit are Tuesday-Thursday as soon as the park opens.

Weekdays in general are typically much less crowded and visitors from all over the world plan their trips around the weekend.

disneyland walt and mickey statue

Avoid Weekends

Out of state visitors usually arrive on Thursdays, stay for the weekend, and then leave on a Monday.

By going to the parks on Tuesday-Thursday, you’ll be able to avoid most of the crowds that can fill up the park quickly.

This means less waiting in lines, and more experiencing the actual park.

Park Opening Hours

The parks don’t always open at the same time throughout the year, make sure to double check the Disneyland hours and California Adventure hours before planning your visit.

california adventure

Know the Best Tips

In order to maximize your time and money, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with our best tips:

  • Best Disneyland Tips For Adults
  • Best Disneyland For Toddler Tips

Go to California Adventure First

California Adventure usually closes a few hours before Disneyland does, which means that you should head to California Adventure first.

pixar pier

A common mistake that visitors make is they head to Disneyland first, only to realize once they park hop towards the end of the day that California Adventure closes before Disneyland, and they now have to rush.

In order to maximize your day, you’ll want to head to California Adventure first, and you’ll be able to head to Disneyland afterwards and stay hours after DCA has closed.

Know About Park Hopper Availability

Guests are unable to park hop at any hour of they day, they can only begin park hopping at the hour that is stated on the calendar.

You can see the hours that park hopping is allowed on the Disneyland calendar.

For the day below, you can see that guests can begin park hopping at 1pm until midnight for this day.

disneyland calendar park hopping

The same concept applies to California Adventure, you’ll want to check the California Adventure hours for that day.

Make Sure That You Have a Park Hopper Ticket

You’ll also want to make sure that you have a park hopper ticket.

A park hopper ticket allows you to bounce around the two parks without needing to purchase admission separately for each park.

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Upgrading Your Ticket to Park Hopper

If you’ve already purchased a standard Disney ticket, and want to upgrade to a Park Hopper ticket , you can do so at Guest Services.

You’ll simply need to bring your current ticket and identification to Guest Services. They will credit the cost of your current ticket towards the Park Hopper ticket, and you’ll simply pay the difference.

Can You Park Hop Between Disneyland and California Adventure?

If you’re going to Disneyland, you want to make it count.

So, why not see everything that Disney’s California resort has to offer?

With a Park Hopper ticket or a Magic Key Pass, you can park hop between Disneyland and California Adventure on the same day. Or, you can get a multiday ticket so that you can do one park per day.

3 Ways to Park Hop Between Disneyland and California Adventure

Signpost showing the directions to the different attractions at Disneyland California

Option 1: Park Hopper Ticket

If you’re only visiting Disneyland for one day, a Park Hopper ticket is your best bet to see everything in Disney because this ticket allows you to move between the two parks.

However, there are some rules when you have a Park Hopper ticket.

For one, you still have to make a reservation for the first park you want to visit.

Thus, if you want to spend the first part of your day at Disneyland Park, for example, you will need to book a reservation for that park.

Secondly, you can not enter the other park until after 1 pm.

But, after this time, you can move between both parks freely.

And the third limitation states that you can only enter the second park if it isn’t full.

Option 2: Magic Key Pass

The Magic Key Pass is the greatest choice for those who visit Disneyland often.

The Magic Key Pass is Disneyland’s annual pass, meaning you can continue to visit Disneyland with it for an entire year.

Plus, with most Magic Key Passes, you can park hop between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

You just need to make sure you follow the same rules as those with a Park Hopper ticket, meaning you must book a reservation, and you can’t enter the second park until after 1 pm.

Option 3: Multiday Ticket

screenshot of the Disneyland website showing the page to purchase tickets

Multiday tickets are ideal for those who are on a multiple-day Disney vacation.

And the most popular options for multiday tickets are those that let you visit one park per day.

Thus, you can spend an entire day at one of the parks and then switch for the next day.

So, basically, each morning, you can pick which park you want to go to for that day until your ticket runs out of entries.

But, just remember that a multiday ticket is only valid for 13 days after you first enter the park with it.

Therefore, if you get a multiday ticket, you don’t want to hang onto it for too long.

Which Option Is the Cheapest?

In short, standard multiday tickets are cheaper than Park Hopper tickets, but if you visit Disneyland a lot, the Magic Key Pass might be cheaper than either of these options.

So, which choice will help you save the most money depends on how often you go to Disneyland.

Thus, to figure out which option is best for you, let’s break down the prices for each ticket.

The multiday ticket prices are as follows:

  • 2-day ticket: $255 for an adult and $240 for a child
  • 3-day ticket: $330 for an adult and $310 for a child
  • 4-day ticket: $360 for an adult and $340 for a child
  • 5-day ticket: $380 for an adult and $360 for a child

Meanwhile, the Park Hopper tickets cost:

  • 2-day ticket: $315 for an adult and $300 for a child
  • 3-day ticket: $390 for an adult and $370 for a child
  • 4-day ticket: $420 for an adult and $400 for a child
  • 5-day ticket: $440 for an adult and $420 for a child

So, as you can see, the multiday tickets are cheaper, but they do not allow you to visit both parks in one day.

Instead, you have to stick to one park per day, but you can switch for the next day if you’d like.

Meanwhile, Magic Key Passes cost quite a bit of money upfront since they sell for between $399 and $1,399.

Yet, as I said, if you visit Disneyland a lot, the Magic Key Pass could be a cheaper choice in the long run.

Magic Key Pass Options

Screenshot of the Disneyland website showing the page to purchase a Magic Key Pass

Disneyland currently offers four different Magic Kay Passes, and they each give you the ability to hop between parks.

But, each pass allows you slightly different benefits, so if you are thinking about choosing this option to park hop, you should know the differences.

Imagine Key

The Imagine Key is the cheapest Magic Key Pass, but Disney only offers them to Southern California residents who live in specific zip codes (90000 – 93599).

At only $399, you can visit both theme parks with a reservation on select days of the year.

You can also hold up to two reservations at a time.

Plus, you get 10% off of select merchandise and dining.

Enchant Key

The Enchant Key is the second cheapest Magic Key Pass and is the most affordable if you’re a non-Southern California resident.

The pass costs $649 and lets guests visit either park with a reservation on certain days of the year.

You’ll also get 10% off select merchandise and dining with this key, just like the Imagine Key, but you can make up to four reservations at a time instead of two.

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Believe Key

At $949, the Believe Key is the mid-grade annual pass.

This pass gives you the ability to make up to six park reservations at a time.

You also, of course, get 10% off on select dining and merchandise.

Plus, having the Believe Key means you only have to pay 50% on parking, except for on certain blockout days.

Dream Key

Finally, the Dream Key is the most expensive Magic Key Pass since you’ll have to give up $1,399 for it.

But, if you love Disneyland, you can get quite a lot out of this pass.

For instance, you can make reservations and park hop any day of the year since the Dream Key has no blockout days.

What’s really great about this pass, though, is that you don’t have to pay for parking, and you get 20% off specific merchandise and 15% off select dining.

Conclusion

If you want to hop between Disneyland and California Adventure, you have three options: a Park Hopper ticket, a Magic Key Pass, or a multiday ticket.

Should You Go to Disneyland or California Adventure First?

If you’re planning a trip to the Disneyland Resort, one of the most obvious questions you’ll need to answer is, which park should I visit first?

Many people prefer to visit Disneyland Park first and then California Adventure. The reasoning behind this idea is that Disneyland Park was the original, so guests should see it first. However, the order in which you should visit the parks mostly depends on preference.

Should I Go to Disneyland or California Adventure First?

Front exterior view of the castle at Disneyland California

As stated above, which park you should visit first really just depends on preference.

But, most people, myself included, believe that Disneyland Park is the best to see first.

Personally, I think Disneyland Park is the best to go to first because it throws you into the Disney experience immediately.

I mean, California Adventure is a great park, but Disneyland provides guests with an immersive encounter that’s nearly impossible to match.

Disneyland was Walt’s park, and he definitely had an eye for building parks in a way that makes you feel like you’ve landed on a different planet.

And while California Adventure is pretty impressive, it just doesn’t beat the feeling of awe you get when you step into Disneyland.

Additionally, there is a popular idea that you should visit Disneyland first because it was the first park Disney built at the resort.

The idea is to experience the original before heading for the newer model.

Really, I have to say I like this viewpoint because there is a sort of logic to visiting the parks in the order that Disney built them.

But, I would like to introduce a counterpoint that I have seen some people bring up.

Basically, the belief is that since Disneyland is the more immersive park, you should visit California Adventure first so that you can build up to the experience of Disneyland.

And while this wouldn’t be my personal suggestion, I can definitely understand it.

What’s the Difference Between Disneyland and California Adventure?

View from across a body of water of Disneyland California

Well, the answer to this question is that there is a huge difference and not much of a difference at all.

I know that sounds like an odd statement, but let me explain.

On the surface, Disneyland and California Adventure are rather similar.

They both have pretty much the same kinds of rides, restaurants, and shops.

Plus, in both, you will get the full Disney experience, with characters that walk around the park and the history of Walt Disney.

Disneyland and California Adventure also have themed areas that almost mirror each other in the way that Disney has laid them out.

If you pay attention, though, there are some big differences between the two parks.

For one, Disneyland offers a more traditional Disney experience that is similar to Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.

Many of the areas in Disneyland definitely have a more retro, 1950s feel than anywhere in California Adventure.

For example, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland have an atmosphere that is more akin to the older Disney aesthetics.

Meanwhile, California Adventure opened in 2001, compared to Disneyland’s original opening almost 50 years prior, and it’s easy to tell that California Adventure is newer.

The difference mainly comes down to the fact that California Adventure houses places like Pixar Pier and Avengers Campus, neither of which were part of the original Disney company.

And finally, probably the biggest distinction between the two comes down to the themes you’ll find in each, which I’ll explain more about below.

Which Disneyland Park Is Best For…

In this section, I will go over which Disneyland park is best for different groups of people so that you can decide which park you and your family will want to visit first.

Toddlers

If you’re looking for rides for small kids, Disneyland Park has a larger quantity of rides made for toddlers.

Some of the rides in Disneyland Park that toddlers often really love include Dumbo and It’s a Small World.

But, you shouldn’t disregard California Adventure, especially if your child really adores the characters and movies that you can find represented there.

For example, at California Adventure, you can discover some of the characters and merchandise for movies that are popular among young kids, such as Spider-Man, Inside Out, and Toy Story.

Thrill Seekers

For those who want to experience rides that bump them around and fling them to new heights, Disneyland Park is also probably the best.

Disneyland Park has some of the most famous Disney thrill rides, such as Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and Space Mountain.

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But, California Adventure does have a good bit of its own scary rides.

For example, in California Adventure, you can try out the Incredicoaster, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout, and Goofy’s Sky School.

Marvel Fans

The Avengers Campus at Disneyland

If you are a Marvel fan, California Adventure is definitely the park for you.

With the new Avengers Campus, you can see characters such as:

  • Capitan America
  • Spider-Man
  • Black Widow
  • Thor
  • Loki
  • Captain Marvel
  • Black Panther
  • Groot
  • Gamora

There are also, of course, Marvel-related attractions, like:

  • WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure – A game where you have to help Spider-Man stop his malfunctioning Spider-Bots before they destroy Avengers Campus.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy’s Mission: Breakout – A thrilling ride with big drops bound to get your adrenaline pumping.
  • Ancient Sanctum – This attraction gives you a chance to explore the ancient sanctum and meet Doctor Strange.
  • Avengers Headquarters – Here, you can watch a live-action show that stars all your favorite Marvel characters.

Star Wars Fans

No Star Wars lover will want to miss Galaxy’s Edge, located in the back of Disneyland Park.

It’s here that you will get to meet Star Wars characters, such as Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, R2-D2, and the Stormtroopers.

You’ll also have a chance to jump in the Millennium Falcon and fight against the First Order.

Afterward, you can try your hand at designing and building your own lightsaber and droid at Savi’s Workshop and the Droid Depot.

Then, relax with some of Luke Skywalker’s famous blue milk while you explore the merchandise at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities and First Order Cargo.

Couples

Did you know that Disney parks are some of the most popular places for wedding proposals?

Although Disneyland Paris and Florida’s Magic Kingdom are the top picks, lots of people pop the question in Disneyland Park, often in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Thus, Disneyland Park is my top pick for couples, even those who aren’t ready to get down on one knee or who already did a long time ago.

And even though the Sleeping Beauty Castle and Snow White’s Grotto are the most romantic places in the park, there are other areas of Disneyland where couples can share a special moment.

For instance, if you want a quiet meal, you can head to the Hungry Bear Restaurant or Blue Bayou.

Or, if you’re looking for a lovely place to take some great photos, why not try the Court des Anges in New Orleans Square.

Conclusion

Overall, there really isn’t a clear answer to which park you should visit first, even though most people agree that Disneyland Park ought to be your initial stop.

However, which park you should experience first primarily depends on your own personal preference.

Table of Contents

I love traveling. I’ve been to every continent except Antarctica, and I always looking for the next adventure.

Ever since I was a child, my favorite trips have been to theme parks – I love getting lost in the magic of Disney and have never had a bad experience at Universal Studios.

I never shy away from trying new things and enjoy making new memories wherever I go.

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