View Full Version : My two cents on DCA and the Grand Californian!
01-26-2001, 09:10 AM
Let's start with the hotel first...I absolutely LOVE this place! This is the first hotel on Disny property HERE that really has that "Disney World" feel to it. The theming and decor are outstanding, and the attention to detail in how they carry out the theme is amazing. It's beautiful. Service is overally VERY good; they still have some rough spots (the service in the Hearthstone Lounge was very slow) but overall they seem to have a good team assembled and will bend over backwards to accommodate guests.
Now for DCA. Basically you should read Sarangel's review of the park and I'll add my "DITTO". :)
Soarin' Over California is THE ride here, totally fun and the best by far. BE WARNED, though, if you want to ride it you'd better get a Fast Pass FIRST THING. At yesterday's preview, the ride was not operational at 9:00 am when they opened, and the line to get a FAST PASS was huge! We were lucky to get FPs for the afternoon; they had all the FP times totally full within an hour. The stand-by line was at TWO HOURS all afternoon long!
California Screamin' is a GREAT coaster, very smooth, very fast, and a much longer ride than I had thought it would be. Definitely the #2 ride here.
I've got more on some of the other rides, but for now I just want to comment on two other things:
Food - quite good throughout the park! The Terrace is a lovely place to enjoy a glass of wine and some appetizers (it's above the Mondavi winery). The Soap Opera Bistro was sort of fun, not really as campy as expected, and the food was okay. I think the place will continue to improve, though. There were several other restaurants that looked interesting, both counter service and sit-down, and I look forward to trying more of them.
Merchandise - GREAT selection of new stuff! I was in shopper's paradise yesterday; they have all sorts of NEW DCA merchandise, and a huge variety to choose from. I was very impressed with the quality as well.
That's it for now...if anyone has any specific questions I'll try and answer them. :)
Cruise & Inspiration Board Co-Host
Disneyland Board Co-Host
01-26-2001, 10:04 AM
We were in DCA on Tuesday and went over to California Soaring around 3:00. The stand-by line was over an hour and they were out of Fast Pass for the day. However we were able to get a single rider voucher from a cast member out front much like what is offered at test track in WDW. You go in the exit and wait for a seat. It only took about 10 minutes to get on.
WDW-87 Disney Villas
99 Wilderness Lodge
01-27-2001, 06:06 AM
Do you remember what the height restriction was to ride this? I've seen conflicting info that it is 40"...then I saw that it's 42".
My DS is right in between that. If he can't ride, I don't want to rush there to get a fast pass, then find out he can't ride.
Also, do they pass out park maps, etc.
TTFN - Ta Ta For Now!
01-27-2001, 07:41 AM
They do have park maps, but the height restrictions aren't listed. I'm pretty sure we noticed that it was 42" on Soarin', though.
Cruise & Inspiration Board Co-Host
Disneyland Board Co-Host
01-29-2001, 08:44 AM
But I was not as enchanted as you were. Maybe it is me but I did not get a full dose of Disney magic from Grand Californian. I did not get that, this place is Disneyfied ahhhhhhh feeling. Granted, it was a very nice hotel, and nothing bad happened, but I did not get the "feeling" I had on my recent trip to Disneyworld, where we stayed at WL and GF. If I figure out why, I will post. It could just be the cast is still figuring things out. Here is one example, in a window there is a sign "ask concierge about Lion King tickets" while I was standing there two people did ask about the tickets, as they were instructed by the sign. The guest services people had just a tiny snippiness to there voices when they told these guests that they knew nothing about the tickets. My experience at GF or WL was that there would have been an apology, we are going to find that sign right away, have it fixed, and we are sorry we can't help. Also, they need much better signs directing the way to Disneyland. Another thing that bugged me was the need to go outdoors to get your refill mug. It would have been nice to arrange that indoors. Maybe I thought it had more of a corporate elegant feel than a magic elegant feel?
We ate at Napa Rose, had the wine pairing menu. That was EXQUISITE. I thought that resurant was magnificent and even though we had a really pricey meal I felt it was the highlight of the hotel.
My husband saw Michael Eisner there this weekend, as did it seemed everyone but me!
As for DCA I liked three things, the Screaming Coaster, the Soaring was AWESOME, and the redwood trail was a hoot for my three year old. I agree too, not enough for small kids there.
The DCA parade was beautiful, but it did not give me Disney chills. DCA as a whole didn't do much for me.
I was sad that Disneyland seems to be in need of so much maintainance. Dumbo's paint is chipping all over the place, the Teacups are scratched, as you fly over the Carosel on Dumbo you look down and see old paint. All over the place I saw things that needed sprucing up. This was a big contrast to my December trip to Disneyworld, where everything was perfectly shiney and fresh everywhere.
I loved Fantasmic at Disneyland over MGMs, all the posters said it was better and they were right! Peter Pan also seems a little better at Disneyland. I loved the parade and animazement too. My son loved Casey Junior, and no way was he riding the Canal Boats into Monstro's mouth, uh uh.
Interesting though we came away with different impressions. I wonder why.
I loved the rain too, at Disneyland we waited in no lines and did all we wanted to do. And I was happy it cleared up so we could see Fantasmic on Saturday!
01-29-2001, 08:12 PM
We were at DCA on Saturday, Jan 27, and boy was it crowded! It did not seem that the park was well equiped for those kinds of crowds. We arrived at 10:15 a.m. and the wait for Soarin' was two hours. I think that by 10:30 the fast passes were all gone. So my first recommendation to everyone is get there early!
I agree with other posters that the #1 ride is Soarin' and the #2 is Screamin. Screamin was a lot of fun and the fast passes really worked well on that ride.
Based on our limited experience, I would run first to get fast passes for Soarin (hope that they aren't for late at night!), then head back to the beginning of the park and go to Muppet VIsion 3d, Superstar Limo, then head to It's Tough to Be a Bug. Hopefully your time will be up for Soarin and then you can go get fast passes for Screamin. Most people seemed to go to Soarin first and Screamin second, thereby leaving the left hand side of the park sort of empty (relatively speaking of course!). THe GRR looked like a lot of fun but it was too cold and too long of a wait so we missed it. My kids loved the redwood play area and the Jumping Jellyfish, as well as Soarin. My 4 year old who is under 42 inches managed to sneak by and really loved Soarin (my husband kept his hand across my son's chest and there was never any danger of his falling out because there is very limited movement). We had a great time, but I have to admit that our positive feelings were probably enhanced by the fact that we didn't pay for our tickets (thereby reducing any pressure to get the most bang for our bucks) and got to meet Mr. Eisner himself.
01-29-2001, 08:32 PM
We checked in to the GC on Friday, it was clear to me that the hotel was amazing. Of course they are still working a few bugs out, training staff, ect. But I was sold on it. Its very hard to compare to a WDW hotel. No WDW gets you so close to the action, but its at a price too. Unlike WL where you get the feeling of being in the woods, I didn't get that here - mostly since I could hear the crowd and water rush. Its not bad, just a different feeling overall - one that we greatly enjoyed.
I liked DCA, and would upgrade my AP's to keep going. I might wait until the lines tone down a bit though. Found it amazing how packed it was for a preview weekend. I'll second the thoughts about rides for younger kids, there is room for a few and I hope in time they add some. My hope is that DCA will pull some of the older kids from MK so the lines are a bit smaller. I can see the SoCal teens going for DCA over MK which will nice for Friday and Saturday nights.
Our two boys did enjoy DCA, the Zepheyr, Jumpin Jellyfish, Muppets & Tough to be a bug were all fun.
I was a bit bummed that the monorail didn't stop in the hotel. Our bellman explained why, but it still would have been a great plus.
Our family will be back and hopefully staying at GC again. After the trip we figured we could save the $1,000 bucks on airfare to WDW and extend our trip at Disneyland. :)
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