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View Full Version : Late decision first time trip....questions


sscheier
05-13-2008, 01:44 PM
Hi, my name is Sharon. I am from Tucson, AZ. Family consists of myself, a husband, and a wonderful 6-yr-old son.
It was kind of a late decision for us but last weekend we decided to book our first ever Disneyland trip only about two weeks away. I booked through travelocity for three days(May 26, 27, 28). We got the Disneyland Hotel, flights into LAX, and 3-day park hopper. I have been browsing around the threads here and everyone seems so nice I figured I would join and ask a few question.
My first question is how does the "magical express" van work. I got a voucher to print out and as far as instructions it just has the location (next to baggage claim) and a phone number. Do I call this number when I get there, the day before, now even??? And am I going to have to wait long or are the vans pretty regular? Our flight gets in pretty early.
Which brings me to my second question. Can we check in that early at the hotel even though I am sure our room will not be ready yet? Will they at least hold our baggage while we are at the park until it is checkin time and we would be able to get our keys and put our stuff in the room?
Third question is about the monorail and getting into the park. The voucher for the tickets says we can trade them in for the real tickets right at the hotel when we get there so that is great. But do we have to enter the park from the front entrance or can you enter by the monorail entrance?
Thanks for any answers,
Sharon

nutshell
05-13-2008, 01:54 PM
My first question is how does the "magical express" van work. I got a voucher to print out and as far as instructions it just has the location (next to baggage claim) and a phone number. Do I call this number when I get there, the day before, now even??? And am I going to have to wait long or are the vans pretty regular? Our flight gets in pretty early.

I've never actually done it, but my understanding is that you don't have to call. Instead, just go to the location next to the baggage claim and you should see the magical express. They run every 30 minutes so I think you'll be fine. I've never heard of a long wait.



Which brings me to my second question. Can we check in that early at the hotel even though I am sure our room will not be ready yet? Will they at least hold our baggage while we are at the park until it is checkin time and we would be able to get our keys and put our stuff in the room?

My understanding is you'll be able to do an early check-in. This means they will take and hold your bags and even give you a key with the understanding that you won't go into the room until after a certain time (3pm, I believe).

Third question is about the monorail and getting into the park. The voucher for the tickets says we can trade them in for the real tickets right at the hotel when we get there so that is great. But do we have to enter the park from the front entrance or can you enter by the monorail entrance?
Thanks for any answers,
Sharon


You can use the front entrance or the monorail. The monorail actually takes a bit longer because you wait for the train then it goes around the hotels and parks, ending at Tomorrowland. But - if you don't want to walk it's a good option.

HAVE FUN!:banana:

sscheier
05-13-2008, 02:19 PM
Thank you nutshell for the quick reply.

Also, do you think I will get anything in the mail from the Disneyland hotel even though we didn't buy directly through Disney?
We want to go to Rainforest, should I make reservations or is the wait resonable?
And I am a vegetarian, while my husband and son would eat steak 3 meals a day if allowed. Do most of the restaurants have large enough selections to find something for both of us?

-Sharon

toocherie
05-13-2008, 03:22 PM
My understanding is you'll be able to do an early check-in. This means they will take and hold your bags and even give you a key with the understanding that you won't go into the room until after a certain time (3pm, I believe).



Actually, they will give you the key but not tell you the room number. Then they will give you a number to call and a code, so that when you are in the parks enjoying yourself you can call (usually 3 or 4 p.m.) to find out if your room is ready and where it is.

pixiewings71
05-13-2008, 03:32 PM
Actually the monorail only goes thru the GCH and the CA on the way out of the parks, on the way in it goes thru DL only. :) But you will still have a small wait at the monorail station. Not long though. :)

RFC usually has long waits, you definitely should make a reservation, you can call them now and do that.

You can check in early, they will hold your bags for you and give you claim tickets to pick them up. :) And who knows, you may get really lucky and your room may be ready. :)

I've never done ME because we drive down. hth

DTDkettleCORNfan
05-13-2008, 03:39 PM
We enjoy taking the monorail into the park in the morning, but service seems to be spotty lately from what I have read on the internet. They are testing some of the trains, and I think only one of them is working....but maybe not all the time. Although by the time you get there all might be well.

It never hurts to call ahead at the Rainforest Cafe. We usually go mid-week off season and have had wait time of 10 minutes to 45 minutes. The only time we have called ahead was when we had a large party for breakfast, so I'm not sure what their policy is about reservations and smaller parties. But I would call.

How exciting that you are going! I hope you have a wonderful time!!!!

sscheier
05-13-2008, 04:16 PM
Thanks to everyone for your replies.
As long as questions are being answered I'll probably keep asking:)
My husband would also like to go to House of Blues, should I make a reservation there too? Those would be our two dinner nights, third night's dinner will have to be at the airport, is there a good place to eat at LAX? Where do you suggest we eat lunch in the parks that is relatively healthy and quick?

I have a couple questions from my husband too but I must request I not be judged by the man I married. He tires of family-time and kid-oriented activities after a few hours and will need a hang-out away from short loud humans. Not to mention he must be able to have his beer on vacation. Is the ESPN place a good bar for him to just chill out for awhile and watch a game or something? Or is there something else he can walk to from the Disneyland hotel? Are there any places that sell beer in the parks?

Jenn1116
05-13-2008, 04:29 PM
There's a margarita stand in DCA. I don't know of anywhere else. I'm pretty sure DL does not have any alcoholic beverages.

Hound 109
05-13-2008, 04:51 PM
Hi, my name is Sharon. I am from Tucson, AZ. Family consists of myself, a husband, and a wonderful 6-yr-old son.
It was kind of a late decision for us but last weekend we decided to book our first ever Disneyland trip only about two weeks away. I booked through travelocity for three days(May 26, 27, 28).

Are you flying in on Monday & out on Wednesday? If so you'll have Magic Morning available on Tuesday. Plan on attending & on doing many of the slow loading FantasyLand Rides during MM.

We got the Disneyland Hotel, flights into LAX, and 3-day park hopper. I have been browsing around the threads here and everyone seems so nice I figured I would join and ask a few question.
My first question is how does the "magical express" van work. I got a voucher to print out and as far as instructions it just has the location (next to baggage claim) and a phone number. Do I call this number when I get there, the day before, now even??? And am I going to have to wait long or are the vans pretty regular? Our flight gets in pretty early.

I would call now to confirm....but also when you get off the plane. FYI, i saw the Magical Express Bus picking people up at the traffic island (outside baggage claim) next to the traffic island that the Rental Car Buses were picking folks up at.

Which brings me to my second question. Can we check in that early at the hotel even though I am sure our room will not be ready yet?

You go to the hotel & check in & obtain your park tickets. You'll leave your bags with the bellman.

Will they at least hold our baggage while we are at the park until it is checkin time and we would be able to get our keys and put our stuff in the room?
Third question is about the monorail and getting into the park. The voucher for the tickets says we can trade them in for the real tickets right at the hotel when we get there so that is great. But do we have to enter the park from the front entrance or can you enter by the monorail entrance?
Thanks for any answers,
Sharon

Regarding a place to "have a beer". There are several places in Disney Cal. Adventure to relax & have a beer. One place that is VERY convenient is the Tratoria Restaurant. He can have a beer or glass of wine sitting outside a few feet above the masses while you walk a few steps over to the Flick's kid area. (Several rides your 6 y/o might like).

The Park Hopping aspect is great for your desired touring.

- Get to DL early & ride rides & pick up FPs for later.
- Hop to DCA after 2-4 hours as DL gets more crowded. (& you can have lunch & Dad can have a beer).
- Tour DCA for 2-4 hours. Ride Griz Rapids right before your "break".
- Walk thru the GCH (after riding Griz) to DTD & on to your hotel & take a nap/swim break.
- (Dad might find a place in DTD to take a liquid break at that time as well)
- Come back to DL in the evening with the FPs you collected earlier in the morning.

If you haven't seen these tip threads, they might be helpful for you:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1520483

Also I would locate a walking map (online) that includes the DLH, DTD, the GCH & the Parks so you can visualize the "stops" mentioned above.

Have a great time planning a visit to Walt's Park. :thumbsup2

pixiewings71
05-13-2008, 05:37 PM
Yes, make a ressie for HoB as well, and check the schedule, they may have a good show while you are there. :)
There are places in CA that your DH could relax and have a drink but since we don't generally do that I have no idea where they might be. lol ESPN zone might be good if he's a sports fan though, he could relax and just be alone. :)

toocherie
05-13-2008, 06:15 PM
There is also a pool bar at the DLH and a nice bar at the GCH and they both have tv's where I'm sure they show sports.

mmmears
05-13-2008, 07:00 PM
We always arrive in the morning, check-in (sometimes they even have the room ready, but dont count on it), and then go to the parks. As for vegetarian dining, there are plenty of restaurants that should be ok (almost anything in DTD), but I would suggest you read the menus on allears.net so you dont have to waste valuable park time finding the right place to eat.

I hope you have a fantastic time !!!!!

sscheier
05-14-2008, 04:02 PM
Thank you everyone for being so great. I am a bit of a nerd so I really like knowing all the details of things.
Toocherie, you mentioned pool, bar, and sports in the same sentence, I am now satisfied my husband will have his own "happy place".
Is there a Circle K (do they have those in CA) or Quikmart we cold walk to to get juice, eggos, and stuff nearby? And of course whatever the husband wants.

avalon451
05-14-2008, 05:00 PM
Sharon, there are a couple of small markets around, in the hotels on the other side of DL on Harbor (I think the Tropicana has one?) and there's a 7-11 on the corner of Katella and Harbor.

However, you might want to look into having groceries delivered to the hotel. Albertson's and Vons (aka Safeway) deliver, and if you have savings cards for those stores, they apply to your purchases. It's pretty neat; you go online and order your groceries and bottled water (we had breakfast stuff; milk, juice, cereal cups, fruit, yogurt) and pick a delivery time, usually with about an hour and a half window. The bell desk will hold your delivery for you till you get there. There's a delivery charge (I think it was $10. for Albertson's) but I read somewhere on here that if you google grocery delivery coupons, you can get them delivered free. It worked great for us.

bumbershoot
05-14-2008, 06:49 PM
Definitely check out the menus online! We're all vegetarian and there's plenty for us. My brother and SIL are omnivores and they have been happy eating at DLR too.

Rainforest Cafe doesn't have a ton of options for you, but what we've had is fine. Since you might not be sharing with your family this might be too much for you, but we enjoyed ordering their nacho appetizer without the meat. Was very good. But huge! Definitely make reservations there.

Warning about the beer at DCA...it's pretty much the cost of a 6 pack for ONE beer. Insanity. Good to know in advance. :)

Lou-Ann
05-14-2008, 08:57 PM
Just wanted to say welcome to a fellow Arizonan. We are in Sun City. Hope you have a great trip.

sscheier
05-15-2008, 06:37 PM
Hey, fellow Zonie. We have basically been in Tucson all our lives.
I was looking at the schedules today and it seems neither the Fantasmic show or the Electric will be playing during our trip. My son is going to disappointed with that. At least they have the fireworks and Sword in the Stone scheduled for Monday. I had forgot that was Memorial day.
Question about the groceries. If I am not there when they get delivered, will someone put them in a fridge until I get there?
I was thinking of calling the hotel to see if they could have a set of ears waiting for my son when we check in. Sort of a little welcoming present for him. Do you think they would be willing to do something like that? Maybe I would have to find and call the giftshop that carries them??
-Sharon

Mommy2PrincessAbby
05-15-2008, 06:44 PM
Which brings me to my second question. Can we check in that early at the hotel even though I am sure our room will not be ready yet? Will they at least hold our baggage while we are at the park until it is checkin time and we would be able to get our keys and put our stuff in the room?

Sharon


You may get lucky... our trip in October, we were in our room at the DLH at 10 am... and this trip (last week) we were in our room at GCH at 1 pm... both trips I called the front desk at the hotel a few days in advance, told them that we would be up at 3 am, and had a little one that needed a nap, and would they please put a request in for early check-in? Both times they said they'd mark my room "rush" but couldn't guarantee anything... At the DLH we were able to go right to our room, and at GCH they said they'd call us when the room was ready, but I started bugging them at 11--which they said was the earliest it coule be ready, and called about every 15-20 minutes, and at about 12:45 they found us a room and we were in it by 1 pm.

--Lisa

Mommy2PrincessAbby
05-15-2008, 06:48 PM
Hey, fellow Zonie. We have basically been in Tucson all our lives.
I was looking at the schedules today and it seems neither the Fantasmic show or the Electric will be playing during our trip. My son is going to disappointed with that. At least they have the fireworks and Sword in the Stone scheduled for Monday. I had forgot that was Memorial day.
Question about the groceries. If I am not there when they get delivered, will someone put them in a fridge until I get there?
I was thinking of calling the hotel to see if they could have a set of ears waiting for my son when we check in. Sort of a little welcoming present for him. Do you think they would be willing to do something like that? Maybe I would have to find and call the giftshop that carries them??
-Sharon

Both of our trips they stored our groceries somewhere while we were out in the parks, and when we got to the room, we called the bell captain and they brought them up. So I would suggest picking the delivery window closest to when you know you'd be in the room.

Vacation Planning can help you with the ears--or anything else you want... you'll have to pay for the ears, but they can do 8x10 signed photos for free... and latex balloons... this trip our photos were color... I think they are usually B&W... I wonder if they were color because we were at the GCH or because of Mother's Day??

--Lisa

sscheier
05-16-2008, 03:15 PM
If we just wanted to get a couple pancakes each in the morning before park opening, where would be the cheapest place to do that? We are not big breakfast eaters and it would be a waste to spend that much on a buffet when all we want is a pancake and an apple.
Does anyone have any good spots to see each of the parade float's stops? Are there any good spots to watch with shade that you would still get to see one of the stops?
-Sharon

Sleepless Knight
05-16-2008, 03:49 PM
House of Blues is excellent. I ate there with my brother and we both loved it. Since you're going in late May, I would advise having a light jacket just in case unless you just want to buy a Disney themed one, which can certainly be fun, but may not be how you want to spend vacation money. It may get more chilly than you're expecting. When my brother and I ate at House of Blues last year in late May/early June, they had the heat lamps outside and they were needed.

Since Disney now has a tremendous variety of mouse ear options, you may want to wait and make your first stop in the hat shop on the left side of Main Street where you can see all the different kinds of mouse ears they have. There are pirate mouse ears, princess mouse ears(probably not very appealing to most six year old boys:rotfl: ), and all sorts of other options that I can't remember. You're not just limited to the standard black ones.

Most of the parade route offers little shade since the store awnings are used as the pathway for those guests not wanting to watch the parade. Others may know better than I about best locales to see a certain float, but here are the ones I remember. To see the Lion King stop, view the parade near City Hall on Main Street. For the Princess/Mickey & Fab Five(they're all on the castle float) stop, you can see it from right below the railroad station on Main Street. You can also view the castle float stop down in front of the Penny Arcade. Since my favorite character is Mickey and my favorite film is Sleeping Beauty, I usually go for the castle stop. :)

Anyways, I hope this helps.