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Lives4Disney
04-02-2007, 12:19 PM
We just got back this morning REALLY early from our first ever DLR visit, and all I can say is.......WE LOVE THAT PLACE!:cool1: :cool1: :goodvibes :goodvibes

We stayed at the DLH - all that was available was standard view, but at check in I was told we were bumped up a little (I asked if I could pay for a better view) and we wound up in Bonita on the 6th floor over the koi poind facing the waterfalls. It was way better than parking lot. The hotel CMs were all really nice. I was pleasantly surprised at how large the room was. It compared to the monorail resorts at WDW in size. I just really didn't care for the bathrooms. It's always nice to have the sinks in a separate area than the shower/toilet. I also thought our bathroom was kind of rundown as were the towels. JMO. It didn't keep us from loving everything else about DLH and we really enjoyed our time there. Housekeeping was great. We asked for turndown service and they actually did it every night!:thumbsup2 Compared to YC at WDW that was a surprise because they did it only once out of our entire stay there. My DD lost her tooth at Minnie's bfast and we put it under her pillow and I snuck back in and put a little gift under her pillow and thought to leave a note so housekeeping didn't move it. I just wrote "Tooth fairy gift" on top of it. Well, the next day a beautiful balloon bouquet, chocolates and shortbread cookies, towel bunnies, and an autographed princess photo and cute pin show up marked "Special delivery". So sweet.

We have been to WDW a gajillion times so this first visit to DL had us worried because I really thought I'd be wishing we booked WDW instead. NO WAY! WE LOVED DL. It is so beautiful, IMO cleaner than WDW and upkept better, the guests were more polite and seemed to be much better behaved (again just my experience), people knew how to wait in lines w/out cutting smoking guests actually smoked in the designated smoking areas , CMs were so cheerful and helpful (sometimes at WDW it seems they are burned out and weary), the details on the rides were awesome, Wishes was better at DLR than at WDW - I love them at WDW, but these at DLR were better! The evening parade at DL was awesome. We loved seeing Tink and the other characters you don't see at WDW.

We spent only one day at DCA and could have spent more because it seems we didn't do a whole lot due to crowds....I waited 40 minutes in line at Corn Dog Castle (ugh...because DD7 is a mega picky eater but LOVES corndogs), We wanted to go back to DCA but time was too limited. We did ride the water ride twice, Soarin, and Monsters....I left w/ my friend to change our shoes so the rest of our group stayed and did more - I missed a lot! We stayed 5 nts at DLH and wish it were twice that. The crowds were enormous. We fastpassed and got lucky a couple times (Pooh was a walk on) and we got in line for Thunder MTn and a super nice CM saw my DD's white cane and told us we could use the exit to enter, so we got on way quick. We were told a few times by CMs that we should just go ahead and use the exit, but we only did this on BTM because it was our last day and we had to leave in about an hr, so what the heck!?! I have never had this experience at WDW with CMs telling us we could get any shortcuts, so didn't really know what to think. NICE for sure, but we didn't want to take unfair advantage. Very different CM attitudes at WDW from DLR. CMs at DLR seemed very much more Disney if you know what I mean. So friendly and helpful and not overworked (Maybe they are, but it didn't show in their attitudes ;) )

My kids had a blast pin trading. The DL CMs had great lanyard pins and the girls collected some neat ones.

We were on Pirates when it broke down....for us, just near the exit so we sat and chatted with a CM that told us January is dead at the parks so DH is already plotting a January return. Just wish the flight wasn't so darn long. We flew Jet Blue for the first time and they delayed us so long both ways. Funny thing is on the way back last night the Travel Channel had WDW on all the way home!

I didn't want to do a formal trip report, but wanted to let other WDW fans know DLR will not disappoint. It was great - beyond all expectations and we just really loved it and had a ball despite the mega crowds. Also THANKS to all the great Disers that helped me and answered all my questions.:goodvibes

I happened to run into TwingleMum (another WDW fan) in DTD! She really ran into me, but she said she's having a great time as well.:)

I will answer any questions....I could go on and on, but I'll spare you!

Lives4Disney :)

chanchiluv
04-02-2007, 12:33 PM
Wow! Sounds like you had a GREAT time!!! :) My family and I are going down there in less than a week. I can't wait!!! :goodvibes xo Linda

E&BMom
04-02-2007, 12:54 PM
We just got back Sat night and stayed at DLH too!! We were in the main building on the 11th floor. We saw the fireworks every night from our room. We really enjoyed DL too. I do have to say the only thing that was slightly disappointing was the castle is soooooo much smaller that WDW!!

Hope I didn't hijack your TR.......glad you had a great time. We did too!!!

FallDisney
04-02-2007, 01:01 PM
Thanks so much! We've been to WDW twice and I was worried we would wish we'd booked it again. We'll be at DLH too and after reading your post, I'm getting super excited about the experience. We watched the Travel Channel's special on DLR last night. What a great mood enhancer!

mousecrazy
04-02-2007, 01:34 PM
...We were told a few times by CMs that we should just go ahead and use the exit, but we only did this on BTM because it was our last day and we had to leave in about an hr, so what the heck!?! I have never had this experience at WDW with CMs telling us we could get any shortcuts, so didn't really know what to think. NICE for sure, but we didn't want to take unfair advantage.



Thanks for writing of your experience...it's so nice to hear a positive report! And, for what it's worth, I think your not using the exit is building a lot of character in your girls. Most people would jump at the chance to bypass the huge lines at this time of year. Way to go!!!:thumbsup2

3for Me
04-02-2007, 01:43 PM
Channing,

So glad you had a good time! :thumbsup2 We are leaving in two months...can't believe I have to wait that long. We have been reading some really good reports, lately so I am getting really excited.

Let's see some new pic's of your adorable girls having fun at DL!

Daisie
04-02-2007, 01:48 PM
We are thinking about at Disneyland vacation, either this January or the next. Would you say a 4 day ticket would be enough or even just a 3?

Thanks and welcome home!!

:)

nurse.darcy
04-02-2007, 01:57 PM
Glad you had a great time at my "Home" parks. My son and I will be there tomorrow and Wednesday, so we are looking forward to just hanging with the two of us.

Lives4Disney
04-02-2007, 03:21 PM
We are thinking about at Disneyland vacation, either this January or the next. Would you say a 4 day ticket would be enough or even just a 3?

Thanks and welcome home!!

:)

We had 5 day hoppers, but arrived Wednesday late afternoon and had to leave Sunday afternoon. I really could have stayed longer. There was quite a bit we didn't have a chance to do. I left w/out a souvenier! Didn't have a whole lot of extra time to spend shopping. Maybe due to crowds, but I think it would have been better for us to have spent more DL time vs. what we did do - a San Diego/DL split. We were out in the parks ALL DAY and we were so tired and achy at bed time. Took a couple afternoons off for swim breaks, but still it was too rushed. I think the longer the better and promised the girls that we would take at least a week next time to S L O W down and enjoy!

3forMe, you will have a wonderful time. The rides seemed LONGER and even though the walkways were crowded, the lines moved quickly. I was really happy with DLH & very happy I didn't pay twice as much for the GCH (although we were crazy busy and didn't even have a chance to go peek at it, so I don't really know at all what I missed)...we were hardly in the room at all, and didn't miss not having booked concierge. Turndown was a great thing - request it with housekeeping. They left tons of character chocolates on the beds each night and it was fun to come back to. Sometimes at WDW they cheap out - despite staying concierge - and only leave one or two per bed....We received 10 each nt!!:goodvibes We really want to go back. I will post pics later. My friend that met us there had a fabulous camera so she wound up taking most of the pics. I have a lot, though.


I just booked a WDW summer trip!!!:cool1:

Lives4Disney :)

Sleeping Becca
04-02-2007, 03:26 PM
We are visiting in May our first trip, we are arriving on a Thursday around 2pm and catching the redeye (11pm) on Sunday night. So we will have 3 full days and 1/2 day on our arrival. Do you think we will be able to do a whole lot? We are staying at DLH standard city view. How long does it take to get to the parks from DLH? What kind of touring strategy did you use? I've heard someone mention ridemax, is this worth looking into! Help please, anyone!

nurse.darcy
04-02-2007, 05:28 PM
Becca, its a 3 minute walk to the monorail and about a 5 to 7 minute walk to the parks depending on how long it takes to get through the security checkpoint. Please remember that unlike WDW the parks and onsite hotels are all connected via Downtown Disney, which I understand is MUCH MUCH smaller than the one at WDW. I would not even give it a second thought about the distance. And you can park hop between the parks all day long. These parks are even closer together than Epcot and MGM (there is only a courtyard separating DCA and DL.

You will have a blast.

MATTERHORN
04-02-2007, 06:40 PM
Glad you had a wonderful stay!! If you do go in January you will be amazed at how much you can get done in a shorter amount of time with most rides being walk-ons if it's not a holiday week!! I love it when frequent WDW visitors enjoy DL for what it is and I am glad your family made great memories there.

I remember how stressed you were when you were booking hotels. Are you glad you went with the DLH? Sounds like you really liked it!!


Andrea

3for Me
04-02-2007, 06:46 PM
3forMe, you will have a wonderful time. The rides seemed LONGER and even though the walkways were crowded, the lines moved quickly. I was really happy with DLH & very happy I didn't pay twice as much for the GCH (although we were crazy busy and didn't even have a chance to go peek at it, so I don't really know at all what I missed)...we were hardly in the room at all, and didn't miss not having booked concierge. Turndown was a great thing - request it with housekeeping. They left tons of character chocolates on the beds each night and it was fun to come back to. Sometimes at WDW they cheap out - despite staying concierge - and only leave one or two per bed....We received 10 each nt!!:goodvibes We really want to go back. I will post pics later. My friend that met us there had a fabulous camera so she wound up taking most of the pics. I have a lot, though.

************Ooooh, I just can't wait, now! The GCH is not available for our dates anyway, so no worries there. I have already requested turndown when I made my ressies, but will definately ask again at check-in.

I am worried, though that we don't have enough time to do everything! We'll have a couple of hours on a Monday night, Tues., Wed., and 1/2 a day Thursday...that's all we can swing though, so I'll have to make it work!*****


I just booked a WDW summer trip!!!:cool1: **********You CRACK ME UP! I want you to adopt me so that I can take all these FAB trips with you! Did you book GF?? As if I had to ask.;) *************

Lives4Disney :)

Glad you had such a great time, and I'll keep my eye out for pictures!:)

Lives4Disney
04-02-2007, 06:56 PM
Becca, its a 3 minute walk to the monorail and about a 5 to 7 minute walk to the parks depending on how long it takes to get through the security checkpoint. Please remember that unlike WDW the parks and onsite hotels are all connected via Downtown Disney, which I understand is MUCH MUCH smaller than the one at WDW. I would not even give it a second thought about the distance. And you can park hop between the parks all day long. These parks are even closer together than Epcot and MGM (there is only a courtyard separating DCA and DL.

You will have a blast.

Becca, I agree you will have a blast. It took us longer to walk because we were in Bonita and had 7 yr old walking with us & the crowds were LARGE and difficult to navigate thru. We didn't park hop at all (except on our DCA day we ended up at DL for the parade) because the crowds just to enter and exit & get handstamped were large and it really wasn't worth it to us to be in another line. We didn't use Ridemax. We just wanted to do what we wanted and have a less planned out trip than our WDW trips usually are (all based on TGM and our ADRs because I hate WDW counter service choices) IMO I would really love to slow down next time and ENJOY the scenery more and have more than 5 nts. The crowds were just so huge due to spring break & that slowed us down, I'm sure. DTD was mobbed every trip we took back and forth and the line for the monorail was long too so mostly we hoofed it all the way to the main gate.

I tried to cut back on my ADR planning and be a bit more spontaneous, but on Friday night we were shut out of just about everything. (lesson learned - make lots of ADRs) We wound up at Hook's Point and it was OK, but not great. I woudn't do it again unless I was in a pinch. That's the day I waited 40 min in a corn dog line at 1 pm.:confused: Crazy. I'd have prefered a sit down meal.

We loved Goofy's for bfast and Minnie's at the Plaza had the best character interaction. There were so many it was hard to eat. Lilo & Stitch had a fun meal but not a lot of characters and I wasn't impressed with the food selection. Very limited. I wish there were more character lunches and dinners. I am not crazy about large bfasts.

We wound up eating at Croc's at the DLH Sat night for a quickie dinner and it was fine - the nachos were great!

Blue Bayou was the best IMO. I had the pork chop and just loved it. I would have gone back another night, but no ressies to be had. The desserts were wonderful. DDs and I split a chocochip cookie boat and it was so yummy. DH had some sampler thing with a sugar treasure chest.

The girls had fun at the Neverland pool. We played with the remote Jungle boats a couple times & had fun. Didn't do too much exploring at the hotel because we were so park busy. Overall, we were just toooooo busy and rushed & really wish we only did 2 San Diego nights.

I know somebody was curious about Paradise Point Resort in San Diego. I wouldn't stay there again. I was really disappointed. :guilty: I booked a "Garden Bungalow" and it was (as I was TOLD on the phone by the reservationist) supposed to either have a garden or pool view. It had a parking lot view - and I mean RIGHT there 3 ft outside my windows - or a cement patio view with the next ugly brick "bungalow" about 10 ft away. Yuck. We had two Adirondack chairs on our cement patio that were so dirty we never sat on them. The decor inside was cute - very beachy cottage style and the bathrooms were pretty nice. We had a cute little kitchenette, too, which was handy. Our king bed was OK, but kind of lumpy and squishy and the sofa bed was unusable. The mattress was like a chain link fence. Luckily the girls slept on my parent's unused queen in their connecting room. If we didn't have connecting rooms there would have been a real issue. We talked to the manager about switching mattresses & he tried, but they are all crummy. It's just what they have.... Crummy sofa bed mattresses. I know good ones exist in the hotel world, but they only had cheap thin ones. He credited us some money back but on check out it was ADDED vs deducted from our bill:confused: ! Good thing we caught that or it would have been really ironic, haha. As it turned out, my son did not come and that was lucky for us because everybody had a bed at least. The housekeeping at that resort was horrendous. They would forget toiletries & coffee every day. We flagged somebody down for extra towels (they only left 4) and got them....well, housekeeping TOOK them away the next day so we were left with our standard four towels! They also kept making up the sofa bed which was kind of annoying since we wanted that room as a living room area and they moved all furniture around and it was unusable anyway. The most cruddy thing was that the TVs only got 12 channels and CBS, NBC, and ABC were unwatchable and unaudible there was so much static and buzzing. Most of the time FOX was, too. The other channels consisted of the news channels and ESPN. Not even the weather channel! It was BORING there. I like to fall asleep at night to something on TV....NOT CNN. That's the stuff nightmares are made of, lol. We asked the front desk about it and they gave me some story and sent an engineering guy over for what I don't know because it was all 3 TVs in our suite & was defintely the cable connection. So he tells us they are in the process of switching cable co's and will be adding more channels any day now. Great. I felt bad for my parents because I am the one that chose that resort. The main pool was nice, but nothing special other than a small zero depth entry. The other pools were blah. Just circles or rectangles. I didn't like that we arrived at 11 pm ( my parents had already checked us in) and there was no valet, nothing other than we were handed a map and expected to find our way in the dark in this confusing, winding road. Service was very limited overall at this hotel. There were some pretty lushly planted areas and lagoons, but too much pavement and parking all near the little ugly bungalows. The bungalows were brick square buildings with flat roofs that looked very ugly and cheap to me. We did the zoo which was fantastic and such a great value compared to a disappointing Sea World which we did our first day. We bought the Sea World "fun cards" good for a whole yr. I wouldn't care to go back, though. The zoo puts Sea World to shame and it was a deal, too.

I am just writing as I am remembering stuff. It was 9 nts, but it seems like there was so much crammed into it. :goodvibes

Lives4Disney :)

Judy from Boise
04-02-2007, 07:05 PM
We are visiting in May our first trip, we are arriving on a Thursday around 2pm and catching the redeye (11pm) on Sunday night. So we will have 3 full days and 1/2 day on our arrival. Do you think we will be able to do a whole lot? We are staying at DLH standard city view. How long does it take to get to the parks from DLH? What kind of touring strategy did you use? I've heard someone mention ridemax, is this worth looking into! Help please, anyone!

One thing to remember, because DLR is a "local" park, weekends are often twice as busy as weekdays. Do you have EE ?

Doing DL is like MK and MGM put together attraction wise, then add DCA which is another all day park.

Lives4Disney
04-02-2007, 07:11 PM
Matterhorn, Yes! We really did like the DLH. We were constantly on the go, and didn't get to check out your GCH so I really can't compare at all. For the amt of time we were in our room at DLH, we were satisfied. Housekeeping was great and the room was large enough for all our junk and the beds were comfy. The only thing I think really needed improving was the bathroom - it seemed old and outdated and I swear our tub was crooked. You stepped into it and were suddenly 4 to 6 inches above the floor. When I closed my eyes to shampoo, I felt like I was going to tip thru to the floor below! I am 6 ft tall and the shower curtain rod was at my forehead and the shower head mounted way below, so I had to maneuver to get my hair washed. The towels were kind of gray and thin, too. They really need replacing. Other than those things DLH was a cute place to stay. Oh! When we were checking in, Goofy snuck right up on us. That was such a fun welcome & the girls got a giggle out of it. He was in the lobby every time we walked thru. Cute touch.

The pool was nice & everything was just fine. We got a room with a daybed, but my son (less than 24 hrs before we were to fly out:confused: ) decided all of a sudden he wanted to stay home and have a "real" spring break. Alone was not an option, but his friend's family said they'd keep him. (we will recipricate I am sure;) ) So all that worry about a room for 5 was for nothing. He is closing in on 17 so I guess family vacations are maybe a thing of the past for him. :sad2:

3forMe - OK, I fooled ya. I booked the Dolphin for July. I am waiting for AP rates and maybe we'll do YC instead for the pool. I just think we need a switch from always GF. I have GF booked for Thanksgiving, though, but with all this talk of DL in January things may change. MK is our absolute favorite park at WDW so DL was just magical for us. Just so much more to it. If you are a MK fan, you will LOVE DL. It is crammed full of so much charm and just beautiful. I am so glad we went and so sorry I wasn't more excited about it while planning. Live & learn!

Lives4Disney :)

MATTERHORN
04-02-2007, 07:17 PM
Oh sorry DS stayed home! I am not looking forward to those days when the kids get older and don't wanna hang with us!!!

Well then you had plenty of room! How fun that Goofy surprised you guys, what a great way to start the trip!!

Andrea

HydroGuy
04-02-2007, 07:43 PM
One thing to remember, because DLR is a "local" park, weekends are often twice as busy as weekdays. Do you have EE ?

Doing DL is like MK and MGM put together attraction wise, then add DCA which is another all day park.I would agree that the large crowds experienced by the OP were magnified by a late Wed-Sunday visit. The only full weekday she had was a Thursday, and I bet the parks were much less crowded on Thursday.

Those of you going peak season should avoid weekends (Fri-Sun) if possible. Those of you going off-season should try to overlap at least one weekend day to catch Remember Dreams Come True fireworks and Fantasmic which are weekend-only during off-season.

Also, Judy is right that DL itself has so many attractions compared to MK, including more headliners than MK. DL is like doing MK and MGM together.

Lives4Disney
04-02-2007, 07:49 PM
Oh, ya....when we go again it would be Mon - Fri. EVERY day was crowded during our visit. Surprisingly packed. When we arrived Wed afternoon, I was soooo disappointed at the crowd level, but we did things w/out too much wait. Thurs we did EE and even that was packed, but things moved along and the rides were worth it. Sometimes at WDW we are like "been there, done that" and don't care for the wait, but the DL rides were all new to us.

I think a lot of the crowds were spring break and then Easter next weekend. We have a high schooler or I would go any other time of the year. Next trip we will just PLAN to leave him at home and take the younger kids out of school! ;)


Lives4Disney :goodvibes

Sleeping Becca
04-02-2007, 07:56 PM
Ideally I would have wanted to book a trip during the week and not the weekend, but I didn't want DD to miss that much school. The only other option was to visit mid summer. I thought May would be less crowded than July. So, a weekday in July is less crowded than a weekend in May?

I'm thinking about doing EE on Saturday then heading over to CA for the rest of the day. Am I right in thinking that DL will be a mob scene on Saturday? Park opening is listed as 8:00am so does that mean EE is at 7:00? Do you think that EE that morning will be OK?

PrincessSitka
04-02-2007, 08:29 PM
I usually go in April but has gotten so buzy. I think I will book in January now after reading your comments.

Amy&Dan
04-02-2007, 09:05 PM
So glad you had a great time at Disneyland! I also love it when WDW regulars go to DL and find it as magical as I do. I am also glad you loved the DLH, we love it too, in fact prefer it over the GCH. Also, many of the rooms do have the sink outside the bathroom (in the Sierra Tower, don't know about the Marina). That is the one disadvantage to the Bonita which due to its being by the Koi ponds and waterfalls I in some ways prefer. But that bathroom situation is not the best! That is great you planned a WDW summer trip! I also found it interesting that you wished you had more than five nights. I feel the same way, we have done trips to DL with as little as 3 nights and as many as 7. This year we are pulling out the stops and doing 11 nights total. Call me crazy but I don't expect to be bored or ready to come home! I think DL is easily a week long vacation. But it can also be done in less which is nice. I would never do less than seven nights at WDW and prefer 10 or more.


Welcome Home!

mystic_path
04-02-2007, 09:15 PM
Thanks so much for sharing your report. I am really happy that you enjoyed your stay at the DLR. Its good to hear from people who have only been to WDW and not DL to see what things they prefer and why. So thanks again for sharing.

Lives4Disney
04-02-2007, 09:19 PM
So glad you had a great time at Disneyland! I also love it when WDW regulars go to DL and find it as magical as I do. I am also glad you loved the DLH, we love it too, in fact prefer it over the GCH. Also, many of the rooms do have the sink outside the bathroom (in the Sierra Tower, don't know about the Marina). That is the one disadvantage to the Bonita which due to its being by the Koi ponds and waterfalls I in some ways prefer. But that bathroom situation is not the best! That is great you planned a WDW summer trip! I also found it interesting that you wished you had more than five nights. I feel the same way, we have done trips to DL with as little as 3 nights and as many as 7. This year we are pulling out the stops and doing 11 nights total. Call me crazy but I don't expect to be bored or ready to come home! I think DL is easily a week long vacation. But it can also be done in less which is nice. I would never do less than seven nights at WDW and prefer 10 or more.


Welcome Home!

Thanks! I sat by the pool and looked at the 3 towers and noticed the "balconies" were different in each and the sliders in Marina were only 3 doors vs 4 in the Sierra and Bonita. Are the room sizes different in the 3 towers?? That is good to know about the bathroom differences. I would stay at DLH again in a minute, but would definitely book the view type with the preferred bathrooms. I may be asking again in a few months which are which!!

Oh, I could easily stay there 2 wks & not be bored. We hardly had time to explore DTD. Every time we walked by we planned where we'd shop, but didn't get to.:confused: We literally RAN in and out of Basin before the airport to grab the soaps we knew from previous purchases that we'd want. The girls did BaB Thurs night with our friends because their hoppers were 3 day and didn't start til Friday. We didn't get to explore much of WoD or much of anything else. I need to go back. :thumbsup2 The marathon visit was fun but exhausting and we are all feeling rundown! We ached every night (and morning too) from being on our feet so long all day. It would be more enjoyable for all of us to have time during the day to relax and then enjoy the details of the place more. We have done quickie 4 nt WDW trips and they are fun and exciting, but I prefer the slower more relaxed pace of the longer stays. My DDs like to go back to the hotel room and spend some playtime or swim time. That's an important part of their vacation.

Lives4Disney :)

Lives4Disney
04-02-2007, 09:21 PM
Thanks so much for sharing your report. I am really happy that you enjoyed your stay at the DLR. Its good to hear from people who have only been to WDW and not DL to see what things they prefer and why. So thanks again for sharing.

You're welcome! I actually didn't get to sleep til 3 am and had such funky dreams all of DL!

My girls loved it too! I wish I lived closer. :goodvibes

Lives4Disney :)

minmate
04-03-2007, 01:48 AM
Sleeping Becca --
I tried Ridemax b/c I was nervous about the busy crowds. To be honest with you, it was unrealistic and only stuck to the plan for about three rides in a row on one day then really, just tossed out the plan. And those were for rides in DCA -- where I'd never been before. But once around the park and I felt like I knew it well enough I didn't even need or bother with Ridemax. Plus, their times, especially for the evenings -- were WAY off for us. It could be a helpful tool for others but it didn't really give us anything we hadn't already learned. As you know, it's important to be able to change your plans on the fly as things will come up and cause you to have to change. It depends on how confident you are in the layout of the parks and the FastPass system.

HydroGuy
04-03-2007, 10:56 AM
Ideally I would have wanted to book a trip during the week and not the weekend, but I didn't want DD to miss that much school. The only other option was to visit mid summer. I thought May would be less crowded than July. So, a weekday in July is less crowded than a weekend in May? This question would be best answered by a Premium AP holder who visits year round on weekends and weekdays. DLR has 650,000-700,000 AP holders, most of which live in SoCal. Some of these AP holders make monthly if not weekly day trips to DLR, and often do this on the weekends (Friday evenings, Saturdays, Sundays).

With few exceptions, it is my understanding that weekends year round are as busy (if not busier) that summer weekdays. Many of the AP holders have SoCal APs, which means they are blacked out from late June until late August. So if you go during this time, you will have mostly local non-AP day trippers and out-of-state visitors - without the AP holders.

I'm thinking about doing EE on Saturday then heading over to CA for the rest of the day. Am I right in thinking that DL will be a mob scene on Saturday? Park opening is listed as 8:00am so does that mean EE is at 7:00? Do you think that EE that morning will be OK?EE will be at 7AM when DL opens at 8AM. When EE is at 7AM, I think it is best to do EE on the first day you possibly can - preferably your very first day at DLR - as it will be easier to get to bed earlier on the previous evening. If that means Saturday, then you should do it then. Note that most of the visitors will be local day trippers, and they will not have EE. So EE on a Saturday should not be significantly worse than other days.

I have never felt like there was a "mob" of people at DLR. That sounds so negative. If you get going to the parks early, you will get lots done and it will get more crowded towards mid-day. If you collect Fastpasses, you can still work through the crowds that build. If you feel like DL is getting too crowded, then you can hop to DCA when it opens. I do not think that should be your default strategy, but DCA will be less crowded when it opens and you can head over there if you feel like it. You will have three hours at DL already if you did EE that day.

minmate
04-03-2007, 11:12 AM
Lives4Disney -- We were there pretty much the same time as you - only we returned home Monday. Sunday was so much less crowded than Friday and from what I heard -- Saturday was crowded too. We skipped Sat. and went to the beach that day instead. That really did wonders for the relax/refresh needs of such a short trip!
I'm glad you had a great time! Wish we had another trip already in the works... but we don't -- yet!

Sleeping Becca
04-03-2007, 11:16 AM
Trey,

Thank you so much for all of the tips! I read all of your rules. I esp found the fastpass information extremely helpful. When I used the term "mob scene" I didn't mean it to come across negatively, I just meant that I thought DL would be REALLY crowded on Saturday. I am used to crowds, I visit WDW during the summer, I was hoping that the crowds would be smaller at DL, but I can handle it.

I plan on taking your advice and collecting as many fastpasses as possible in the morning, taking a break in the afternoon and using my fastpasses in the evening.

Thanks again for all of the great advice! I'm getting really excited about our trip!

minmate
04-03-2007, 11:42 AM
sleeping becca -- if you use hydroguy's advice (collecting the FP's in the am and using them in the pm) I think it will be okay. That's what we did this past week/weekend and it worked fine. We had a rough day on Friday so when we went back in Friday night and were greeted with crowds -- a lot of teens -- I am presuming a large local crowd -- it was a bit much for us. It felt like bumper to bumper foot traffic. I had been to DL once in the 90's the day after Christmas when they handed out the warning notices. That day was literally so crowded it felt like at the end of the night of a concert. You couldn't go where you wanted... It was wall-to-wall people all smushed together and no way to move in or out of the crowds.
Last Friday wasn't that bad but I wasn't interested in sticking around to see if it got worse. We hopped over to DCA for awhile and it was less crowded there. We walked back into DLR right after the Electrical Light Parade at DCA and were standing at the hub when the DL fireworks started, but it was packed. We weren't there to try to find a seat... just try to get back to Indy.

We often didn't do breaks every day at WDW but for some reason, we really needed and enjoyed them during our DL trip.

Sleeping Becca
04-03-2007, 01:09 PM
I know we're going to have a great trip! DD is most interested in the rides not available at WDW, like Alice, Pinnochio, Mr Toad, Matterhorn, Roger Rabbit, Monsters Inc, and Indy. As long as we able to ride those and of course Pirates and Haunted Mansion we will be perfectly happy. Any other rides we can get in will be a bonus. I agree that Fantasmic, Tom Sawyer Island, Tarzan's treehouse and Splash are actually a relief, less for us to try and cram in. Although I am kind of bummed about Fantasmic, my last trip to WDW Fantasmic was cancelled the night we went to see it, so I was kind of looking forward to DL's version. But it does make planning a litter easier taking it out of the equation.

Lives4Disney
04-03-2007, 01:31 PM
I know we're going to have a great trip! DD is most interested in the rides not available at WDW, like Alice, Pinnochio, Mr Toad, Matterhorn, Roger Rabbit, Monsters Inc, and Indy. As long as we able to ride those and of course Pirates and Haunted Mansion we will be perfectly happy. Any other rides we can get in will be a bonus. I agree that Fantasmic, Tom Sawyer Island, Tarzan's treehouse and Splash are actually a relief, less for us to try and cram in. Although I am kind of bummed about Fantasmic, my last trip to WDW Fantasmic was cancelled the night we went to see it, so I was kind of looking forward to DL's version. But it does make planning a litter easier taking it out of the equation.

You will have a great time! You're right, it's less to cram in. I didn't even get to see the ELParade....don't know when I could have! We were crazy busy and always on the run. Just have to go back again, I guess......

I just wanted to say that we felt the same about just getting the rides done that we can't ride at WDW. You have to try and do Peter Pan, Snow White, Pooh Bear, Autopia, Buzz, and the others too - including Small World which has a few extras including mermaids. :) The rides are so much better at DL than at WDW. Once we discovered that, we had to get them all in. :goodvibes

Minmate - It was our first visit, so we didn't know what to expect as far as crowds but I agree there were a few nights of post concert crowd levels. I was so afraid of losing a kid in that (mob, lol;) ). We were at WDW last spring break, but enjoyed our DL stay a little better because of the newness of it. We LOVE WDW, so to us DL was a bit of the same, but still different. We've been to WDW too many times and this was a refreshing change! I am glad you had a nice time, too. :) We would have benefited from some breaks, but our time was so limited we felt like we had to go go go.:goodvibes


Enjoy!

Lives4Disney :)

minmate
04-03-2007, 02:31 PM
Lives4Disney -- We actually did "lose" one of our kids one night - for about five minutes. It was scary. It wasn't just b/c of crowds though -- to be fair it was night/dark and he ran off ahead of us at the end of our ride on Big Thunder.

Usually, I don't favor breaks - I figure that is time and money away from the parks -- you can rest up AFTER vacation! lol -- but we really needed the breaks this time and I think that's the most important thing -- really knowing your family and what they need for the best experience...

HydroGuy
04-03-2007, 04:00 PM
Usually, I don't favor breaks - I figure that is time and money away from the parks -- you can rest up AFTER vacation! lol -- but we really needed the breaks this time and I think that's the most important thing -- really knowing your family and what they need for the best experience...The relative importance of breaks depends on the ages of children, how long the park is open, how crowded it is, and how warm it is.

During high season or weekends with DL open 16 hours from 8AM-Midnight, and 17 hours on an EE day, there are not too many kids (or adults for that matter) that can push thru 16-17 hours a day inside DLR. For my family somewhere around 11-13 hours a day inside the parks is about right. For discussion purposes let's call it 12 hours.

So the question is, if the parks are busy, when do you want to spend those 12 hours inside the parks? From 10AM-10PM? Or from 8AM-1PM, take a break, and then 5PM-Midnight?

To anyone concerned about "losing park time" by taking a break, that is not the point. The point is when do you want to spend your X hours at the parks? If you get up early and get to the parks, take a break mid-day, and then come back in the evening, you will be spending your hours during periods of the lowest crowds, shortest lines, and least heat (if it is summer). And the nice thing is that your kids are fresh in the evening.

This was pointed out to me by my DS12 when we went on a day trip in November (when he was 11). We had a hotel the night before the day trip so we could get an early start, but checked out that morning so had nowhere for a long afternoon break. So we trudged on all day. By 6-7PM he was really dragging, and said how he was usually not very tired at 6PM at DLR. When I mentioned we did not get a nap, he said "Wow, you're right! I never realized how much of a difference that made!"

After that break and nap time, we head back to the parks at 5-7PM and everyone is fresh and good up until 11PM or midnight.

In summary, the main purpose of break times is to help you spend your park hours when they will be the most productive, and to have fresh kids in the evenings.

If the park hours are shorter (DL open from 10AM-8PM) then the parks are only open for 10 hours altogether. Taking a break is probably not worth it.

Amy&Dan
04-03-2007, 04:27 PM
Count me in as a believer in breaks. The only time I don't take a break is off season when the park hours are 10-8. But since we don't go off season anymore that no longer applies to us! Last summer we did EE each day it was offered. Which meant we were leaving our hotel room at the GCH each day by about 6:30 a.m. The park was open until midnight. If we hadn't taken a break we would have been the newest residents of the Haunted Mansion as it would have killed us! I learned about breaks the hard way during our trip back in June of 2003. It was a short weekend trip and I decided no breaks, too much to do! Ds got sick during that trip, dd whined a lot, dh and I had a rather stupid and petty disagreement in the line for Soarin and we never went that route again! We also could only last until maybe 10:00 p.m. which meant we missed those golden two hours after the fireworks when things really start to clear out. Now I figure a break into each day and even if all we do is take a quick swim and lounge by the pool we can go back and conquer the park. With all of our saved fastpasses in hand.

Lives4Disney
04-03-2007, 10:58 PM
Breaks have become a necessity for us. The best day we had was Saturday.....we started out kinda late because we were so pooped out from Friday - crazy crowded and we went from 8:30 am til we dropped about 8 pm Friday night...we had planned on closing the place that eve, but we just couldn't hack it.....Saturday we slept in, arrived about 9:30 am.....brunch with Lilo & Stitch, parks & then took a swim/pina colada break from 4 til 8 and made it back to DL for Wishes and stayed til midnight. The crowds thinned and night time in DL was beautiful with all the twinkling lights and tiki torches. At WDW we love to close the parks. I think I prefer to sleep in and stay late vs EE and crash and burn! DD's value the breaks too. It is part of their fun to be able to swim or just veg in the hotel room and play.

Minmate - I am so sorry that happened to you. :confused: I am glad it all turned out ok but I can imagine your panic. I can completely understand how easily it happens. The parks were jammed full with people going this way and that.

I forgot to mention how much we loved the Tiki Birds. :goodvibes I really don't like WDW's crazy "updated" version with those annoying, arguing birds. I wish they'd bring back this DL version! So many of the DL rides were better than WDW's. (and that opinion is from a family of WDW lovers)

Lives4Disney :)

tinkermell
04-04-2007, 01:27 AM
Lives4disney, I don't know if you remember me, but I remember encouraging you, that you might really like DL. I knew that you were so nervous that you had made the wrong decision not to go to WDW. Well, I'm glad you didn't cave in, and gave DL a chance. I'm glad that you had a great time...and I have been waiting for your report so see how you did. I was thinking to myself...here we have a WDW vet going to DL for the first time at one of the busiest times of the year...I don't know???? For alot of people, that would have been the worst thing that could have happened to them...and they would have focused on that. It's cool that you took that all in stride, and still had a great time in spite of it. I'm the same way. If I'm going after Christmas, then I just realize this is the way it is, and go with the flow.
Anyways, I'm so happy you were happy with your hotel choice, and that they gave you your turn down service. Were going to the DLH in June so I will be sure to request that also. That is what is so fun about this site...you get so much fun and great info!
I also encouraged you to see the Hotel Del Coronado. Did you have time?? And what did you think of our beaches?:beach: Oh and I also thought about you, when we had that huge rain and wind storm. Were you still in San Diego??
Oh,and sorry to hear that Paradise Point wasn't so paradise!:rotfl: I've only walked on the property, and it looked so pretty. But I guess things can be pretty deceiving. The zoo is pretty awesome! And I'm curious to your year long passes to Sea World? Are they good nation wide??? Did you get a good deal or something??? OK... I could go on. Glad your home safe and sound!:yay:
PS-Did you love Indy??? Too bad your 17 year old didn't see that!!!:sad2:

Lives4Disney
04-04-2007, 09:43 AM
Tinkermell- Of course I remember you! I appreciated all your input. :thumbsup2

OK, well, we were in San Diego from the 23 to the 28th of March. We didn't get to Coronado - which really disappointed me because the Grand Floridian is our favorite WDW resort so I wanted to see the beautiful Del C. The problem was we were there with my parents! It's hard because they've been to SD a lot so we kind of just followed them a bit and weren't as free as if it were just us visiting.

Paradise Point has a lot of prettiness about it. There were some really gorgeous areas. I am sorry to be so negative - we had several annoying things going on. We did a lot of walking around there and it was funny because SOME of the bungalows were in more grassy areas, but very few....of course the one they used for their online pics was.:rolleyes: They said I could move the next day to 708, which looked like the online pic, so we walked down to check it out. It was in a grassy area, but I peeked in the windows and the furniture looked more rundown than ours, so I said nah. PLUS it did not connect to another open room for my parents. I just didn't like all the pavement and the cars RIGHT outside our windows. I couldn't open the blinds or curtains or we'd be totally exposed. I think a lot comes down to LOCATION. Our bungalow location was not good. (plus BAD housekeeping and that awful sofa bed and few TV channels:sad2: )

On Saturday the 24th SeaWorld..(probably part of our problem with SeaWorld was it was Sat, I am sure). It was PACKED. It was hard for the girls to see the exhibits because it was just sooooo thick with people. I don't think SW is made for those crowds. I will have to check on the nationwide thing. Honestly, I have no idea where the cards are.....I didn't care! Once a yr was fine. Maybe DH has them. It was a fun day because the sun was shining and it was in the 70's and the kids were w/their grandparents that they don't see so often, so it was good.

Sunday we went to La Jolla and Pacific Beach. It was gray and cool. We walked on a huge boardwalk in PB and saw dolphins :) and people watched. Then we went down to walk on the beach and the girls tried to find shells. It was really windy so we didn't last more than an hr out there. We ate lunch at a great Mediterranean (sp?) /Greek restaurant in La Jolla (blue wave?) outside with a patio heater and our jackets on! We lucked out, had no clue about the restaurant, but it was delicious. La Jolla was beautiful. Saw the seals and gorgeous houses and neat shops.

Monday, zoo day. Wonderful. Gray and cool out, but perfect zoo weather.

Tues the wind was so strong. We must have got the rain at night, because Tues was sunny but just super windy. I saw lots of damage on the news. The kids and gparents played mini golf and a few other games. We just kind of hung out and read.

Wed we went to DL and things really picked up. :goodvibes The weather was great and it felt like "home" to me, lol. :goodvibes I know I keep saying how we loved DL, but we really did. I thought the DTD at DL was much nicer than WDW's and loved walking thru it every day. I have heard the opposite, but WDW's is soooo spread out and huge because one side of it is water. I thought DL's was prettier, too. DL is so much cleaner. I didn't see litter or melty icecream, or vomit. :sad2: It used to be like that at WDW, but for the past few years maintenance has really gone downhill. Same with the bathrooms. DL's were much cleaner. We are all really happy we tried DL. I know my son would have LOVED Indy. The girls and I told him he HAS to come next time. :goodvibes And there will be a NEXT time. :thumbsup2

Take care!

Lives4Disney :)

minmate
04-04-2007, 11:13 AM
Hydroguy -- your post explaining breaks is so articulate! Exactly how we worked it and it really does make a difference. The first day there, on our break the kids swam in the pool but didn't nap. This was the first trip sans strollers for them too (ages 6, 7 and 8). So, as you can imagine, our evening venture into the parks wasn't as fruitful, nor was our next morning b/c the kids were still soo tired. At any rate, when I calculated about how much time we spent in the parks, it was close to the same 11-13 hour window you spoke about. So, while I've said, normally I'm not in favor of breaks over time in the parks, I think those visits were more on shorter (only 1 or 2 days) trips or off-season when parks were open shorter hours... also when we used strollers and the kiddies' legs were subjected to less walking... Aha... that must be it. I had been wondering why -- if DL is considered smaller than WDW, then why were the kids so tired out compared to our trips to WDW, even though we took more breaks here... it is b/c they had used strollers there! Anyway, your explanation is very logical!

Lives4Disney: I am so glad to hear you enjoyed DL. I had been there many times in my first 20-some years of life. I had always said I would take my kids to Disneyland first, then WDW, so they wouldn't be disappointed by DL. Two things -- I said this back when there was no DCA and no real DTD - not as it is now anyway. I just always presumed WDW was "better" because it is "Bigger." Well, we did WDW first, multiple times, with the kids -- and I'm here to say that when it comes to Disney -- SIZE DOESN'T MATTER!!!!! lol....
We have enjoyed our trip to DL sooo much, I am having a hard time deciding which to visit next. Of course, there are some things I missed --a few rides/shows, but the transportation issues of navigating WDW eat up so much more time, don't you think? Here, we felt more laid-back and not so tied down by transportation.

Amy&Dan
04-04-2007, 12:45 PM
[B] I had been wondering why -- if DL is considered smaller than WDW, then why were the kids so tired out compared to our trips to WDW, even though we took more breaks here... it is b/c they had used strollers there! Anyway, your explanation is very logical!




You know your comment interested me because I have found that I walk more at DL than I do WDW(and I frequently wear a pedometer at both WDW and DL so I know this to be true). I think the park hopping thing at DL is partly responsible. We hop almost every day, mulitple times. Even though the parks are very close that can add up to a lot of walking! And at DL I spend more time in the parks in general and more time riding rides. My DL trips seem to be more about the rides and my WDW seem to be more about smelling the roses, spending time at my resort and riding around on buses getting from Point A to Point B! Dh and I always talk about how for such a small setting, DL can really pack in the action. Which is why we always take a break at DL and not always (often but not always) at WDW. Also, breaks are easier when you have at most a 10-15 minute walk to your hotel vs. walking to, waiting for and riding on a bus only to arrive at a large spread out resort where your room might be another 5 minute walk from the bus!

tinkermell
04-05-2007, 10:03 AM
Lives4disney, I wanted to bump this up for another DISSER who is asking questions about DL. A WDW vet, and a little scared to try DL, just like you were.:rolleyes1

SunBunny23
04-05-2007, 11:05 AM
Sounds like you had fun! Thanks for the info! I booked the DLH for October and I don't want a parking lot view so I'll start working on that now! :)

Hound 109
04-05-2007, 12:59 PM
....I just wanted to say that we felt the same about just getting the rides done that we can't ride at WDW. You have to try and do Peter Pan, Snow White, Pooh Bear, Autopia, Buzz, and the others too - including Small World which has a few extras including mermaids. :) The rides are so much better at DL than at WDW. Once we discovered that, we had to get them all in. :goodvibes

Minmate ....We were at WDW last spring break, but enjoyed our DL stay a little better because of the newness of it. We LOVE WDW, so to us DL was a bit of the same, but still different. We've been to WDW too many times and this was a refreshing change!
Lives4Disney :)
I so agree with both of these posters. I am glad that BOTH DLR AND WDW exist. I also LOVED going on the great unique Disneyland rides. (Toad, Alice, Matterhorn, Indy, etc.) as well as the rides in DL that are better versions than WDW.

The ability to hit many of them during EE (without lines for the most part) was great....it also allowed my family the ability to leisurely enjoy the parks since we got so much accomplished the first hour or two of the day.

hound :cool2:

nurse.darcy
04-05-2007, 03:22 PM
Hey, I am timid about my trip to WDW this summer since I am a HUGE DLR resort fan. I am an AP holder and just spend a lot of time there. Just returned from 2 days during spring break and have to tell you that I had the best time during the huge crowds than I normally do during the quiet months. . .lol.

tinkermell
04-22-2007, 05:34 PM
Bumping up again for Tonyspad. Good luck!!!:jumping3:

Lives4Disney
04-22-2007, 05:44 PM
Bumping up again for Tonyspad. Good luck!!!:jumping3:

I just replied to Tonyspad's post on the Theme Park Board!

We still want to go back in January!! Hope it works out! :goodvibes :goodvibes

DD7's bday is 1/15 and usually falls around MLK Day, so maybe that week.

Just found out DH has a conference in Orlando.....WDW here we come in May!

Lives4Disney :)

Hound 109
04-23-2007, 01:39 PM
Just found out DH has a conference in Orlando.....WDW here we come in May!
:banana: :woohoo: :dance3:



Well, if i was king of the world or ceo of a multi-national corp....ALL "conferences" would be in Orlando or Anaheim....& family attendence would NOT be optional. (it would be MANDATORY). :cool1:


:cool2: