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Old 12-11-2012, 08:02 PM   #1
jhaig
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First Time To DL For A WDW Vet

My family and I have been to WDW in Orlando five times, and next year we would like to think about trying Disneyland for the first time. I have seen some information on a pretty long thread here somewhere, but I would like to hear some opinions on what we should do next. Our plan is to stay on-site and we want to be able to cover both parks completely and hit all of the major dining highlights.

- How many days would we need to do everything in both DL and DCA?
- What about transportation from the airport - no Magical Express?
- Is any one of the three hotels recommended over the other?
- Are some of the things from WDW (FastPass, PhotoPass, etc) the same at DL?
- What time of year is best to visit for a week? Should we avoid weekends?

Any info would be appreciated!
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:01 PM   #2
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If you read all of Hydroguy's stickies you'll get most of the info. you need.
As far as hotels.... you'll get plenty of opinions on these. DL Hotel is probably the most unique to DL but the Grand is the nicest and closest walk of the 3.
I'll let the experts chime in with opinions but you will have a GREAT time at DLR! Don't miss World of Color!!!
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:04 PM   #3
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The stickies here will answer all of your questions:
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1072276

A DLR Guide for WDW Vets and Hydroguy's other tips are great places to start
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue32 View Post
If you read all of Hydroguy's stickies you'll get most of the info. you need.
As far as hotels.... you'll get plenty of opinions on these. DL Hotel is probably the most unique to DL but the Grand is the nicest and closest walk of the 3.
I'll let the experts chime in with opinions but you will have a GREAT time at DLR! Don't miss World of Color!!!
I can't imagine ourselves NOT having a great time. I don't wanna say WDW is getting old, but really, how many times can you ride POTC without wanting to try something new?

I was looking at 4 nights at the Grand Californian. Shouldn't 4 days in the parks be enough to do everything at least once?
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:39 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jhaig View Post

I was looking at 4 nights at the Grand Californian. Shouldn't 4 days in the parks be enough to do everything at least once?
I'd say four days would be the minimum. We stayed five days at the very beginning of October and felt like we got to do *most* things, but still felt like there were a few things we missed. We don't do very long days, though, because DD5 tires out pretty early; I think we were back at our hotel by 6:00 every night.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jhaig View Post
I can't imagine ourselves NOT having a great time. I don't wanna say WDW is getting old, but really, how many times can you ride POTC without wanting to try something new?

I was looking at 4 nights at the Grand Californian. Shouldn't 4 days in the parks be enough to do everything at least once?
If you are not buying an annual pass, keep in mind Disneyland only sells up to 5 day passes. You'll have to start your economy of scale over again if you want to go 6 days.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:40 AM   #7
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Our first trip to DLR will be next October. We are going to upgrade our WDW APs to the full Premier Pass and are planning on enjoying ourselves to the fullest. We are so excited, we are looking at spending around four days in the parks, trying some of there unique places to eat like the Blue Bayou and Steadhouse 55. We want to take a day for Universal and their Halloween Horror Nights. Thinking of Disneyland's version of MSSHP. I've been once, but that was a long time ago as a kid. So next year can't come fast enough.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:15 PM   #8
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Congrats on thinking about going to Disneyland. We were WDW vets who went back in 2007 and have only looked back at WDW once. WE love DL! Are you thinking about going anywhere else in California? You might want to rent a car if your thinking about doing other things. If its a DL visit only then you might want to do the Supershuttle.

We prefer the Grand Californian for the onsite hotels. You can't beat location.

How many are in your family? Any time of the year your thinking about going?

As far as how many days I strongly suggest 4 to 5 days.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhaig View Post
My family and I have been to WDW in Orlando five times, and next year we would like to think about trying Disneyland for the first time. I have seen some information on a pretty long thread here somewhere, but I would like to hear some opinions on what we should do next. Our plan is to stay on-site and we want to be able to cover both parks completely and hit all of the major dining highlights.

- How many days would we need to do everything in both DL and DCA?
- What about transportation from the airport - no Magical Express?
- Is any one of the three hotels recommended over the other?
- Are some of the things from WDW (FastPass, PhotoPass, etc) the same at DL?
- What time of year is best to visit for a week? Should we avoid weekends?

Any info would be appreciated!
Maybe this is the "long thread"?

"A DLR Guide for WDW Vets" www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1162599

It answers all your questions except for Photopass (it works the same) and Disney hotels (it depends). GCH is the grandest and sort of like WL and AKL. I like it because it is so close.

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Old 12-12-2012, 09:00 AM   #10
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It answers all your questions except for Photopass (it works the same).
Yep, except it's a lot cheaper! $70 vs. $150 for PP+.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:27 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by ValpoCory View Post
Yep, except it's a lot cheaper! $70 vs. $150 for PP+.
That's a great savings to start. We used PhotoPass to the extreme on this last trip when, after doing edit, we had over 1300 pics on our account. May as well get more bang for your buck.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:05 PM   #12
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We are WDW vets, that have gone to DL at the begining of June the last 3 summers. We love DL! You will have a great time! Here are my opinions on your specific questions.

- How many days would we need to do everything in both DL and DCA?
Do you have small children with you? That can make a difference. DD has been at ages 4, 5, and 6. The first time we stayed 3 nights and got to the park at arrival day by about 2 p.m., and left the parks on departure day at about 1 p.m., so we had pretty much 3 full days. We did not feel like that was enough. The last 2 years we have increased it to 4 nights, with the same kind of park time on arrival and departure days, and it is better, but we still aren't every ready to leave Disney, and there is always more we wish we could do. We do like to spend the last half of the week visiting the beach and other Southern California desintations though. If we didn't have a smaller kid, I think we could move faster. As far as the major dining highlights, there is just no way to fit it all in. If you like character meals, I would highly recommend Minnie's breakfast. It puts the WDW character meals to shame. We have done it 3 times, and the lowest number of characters we have met during breakfast was 7, with the highest being 11. It is great random mix of characters too. We go around 10:00 a.m. so that we get some great park time in early, and then the restaurant is less crowded and the characters spend a ton of time with DD. I have fond memories of DD doing the macarena with Captain Hook!


- What about transportation from the airport - no Magical Express?
We fly into and out of John Wayne, as it is much more laid back and easier than LAX. It is also closer to DL, if I'm remembering right We do rent a car because we use it the second have of the week to travel to the San Diego area. It is kind of a waste the first 1/2 of the week, because we usually park it at DL when we arrive and don't see it again until we leave. I'm pretty sure there are services (other than cabs) that will take from from JWA to DL and back for a fee, but someone else can tell you the specifics of that.


- Is any one of the three hotels recommended over the other?
I would chose DLH or GC. They completely immerse you in Disney property. From DLH, you have a nice walk through Downtown Disney to get through the park, which we really enjoyed. GC, you actually have the entrance to CA right at your hotel, and you also walk through DTD to go to the DL gate if you want to enter that park and don't want to go through GC to hop to do it. Another point is that you definitely want hoppers at DL. It isn't like WDW. We have literally gotten from the back corner of DL to the back corner of CA in right about 10 minutes. The walk between the parks is across a plaza and is shorter than the walk from most WDW parks to the bus stops. Also the bag check is at a spot at the end of the plaza and is for both parks, so you don't have to mess with bag check lines getting from one park to another. We would go back and forth every day.


- Are some of the things from WDW (FastPass, PhotoPass, etc) the same at DL?
Yes. The photopass price is cheaper, but you also won't see as many photographers.


- What time of year is best to visit for a week? Should we avoid weekends?
That I don't know because we have been in the same time period the last 3 years. DH and I also were there once on a business trip for one day, when DD was 2 (Shhh don't tell her), and that was in July. We found it managable even in July. Some people will tell you to avoid weekends. The week we have been there, the annual passholders were blocked on the weekends, but not during the week, and our experience all three years has been that the weekends were the least crowded time, and it got pretty crowded on the weekdays because of the AP holders, and because the AP holders were going to get more and more blackout days as the summer went on. I don't know if that is typical for the rest of the year. If you are going at other times of the year, one thing to consider is unlike at WDW, sometimes the nighttime entertainment such as Fanstasmic and fireworks, only runs during (or around) the weekends and not in the middle of the week. Fantasmic is much better at DL, than at WDW. They have a terrific Peter Pan and Captain Hook section in their show.


Hope this helps! Hope you love DL as much as we do!
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:26 AM   #13
jhaig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktlm View Post
We are WDW vets, that have gone to DL at the begining of June the last 3 summers. We love DL! You will have a great time! Here are my opinions on your specific questions.

- How many days would we need to do everything in both DL and DCA?
Do you have small children with you? That can make a difference. DD has been at ages 4, 5, and 6. The first time we stayed 3 nights and got to the park at arrival day by about 2 p.m., and left the parks on departure day at about 1 p.m., so we had pretty much 3 full days. We did not feel like that was enough. The last 2 years we have increased it to 4 nights, with the same kind of park time on arrival and departure days, and it is better, but we still aren't every ready to leave Disney, and there is always more we wish we could do. We do like to spend the last half of the week visiting the beach and other Southern California desintations though. If we didn't have a smaller kid, I think we could move faster. As far as the major dining highlights, there is just no way to fit it all in. If you like character meals, I would highly recommend Minnie's breakfast. It puts the WDW character meals to shame. We have done it 3 times, and the lowest number of characters we have met during breakfast was 7, with the highest being 11. It is great random mix of characters too. We go around 10:00 a.m. so that we get some great park time in early, and then the restaurant is less crowded and the characters spend a ton of time with DD. I have fond memories of DD doing the macarena with Captain Hook!


- What about transportation from the airport - no Magical Express?
We fly into and out of John Wayne, as it is much more laid back and easier than LAX. It is also closer to DL, if I'm remembering right We do rent a car because we use it the second have of the week to travel to the San Diego area. It is kind of a waste the first 1/2 of the week, because we usually park it at DL when we arrive and don't see it again until we leave. I'm pretty sure there are services (other than cabs) that will take from from JWA to DL and back for a fee, but someone else can tell you the specifics of that.


- Is any one of the three hotels recommended over the other?
I would chose DLH or GC. They completely immerse you in Disney property. From DLH, you have a nice walk through Downtown Disney to get through the park, which we really enjoyed. GC, you actually have the entrance to CA right at your hotel, and you also walk through DTD to go to the DL gate if you want to enter that park and don't want to go through GC to hop to do it. Another point is that you definitely want hoppers at DL. It isn't like WDW. We have literally gotten from the back corner of DL to the back corner of CA in right about 10 minutes. The walk between the parks is across a plaza and is shorter than the walk from most WDW parks to the bus stops. Also the bag check is at a spot at the end of the plaza and is for both parks, so you don't have to mess with bag check lines getting from one park to another. We would go back and forth every day.


- Are some of the things from WDW (FastPass, PhotoPass, etc) the same at DL?
Yes. The photopass price is cheaper, but you also won't see as many photographers.


- What time of year is best to visit for a week? Should we avoid weekends?
That I don't know because we have been in the same time period the last 3 years. DH and I also were there once on a business trip for one day, when DD was 2 (Shhh don't tell her), and that was in July. We found it managable even in July. Some people will tell you to avoid weekends. The week we have been there, the annual passholders were blocked on the weekends, but not during the week, and our experience all three years has been that the weekends were the least crowded time, and it got pretty crowded on the weekdays because of the AP holders, and because the AP holders were going to get more and more blackout days as the summer went on. I don't know if that is typical for the rest of the year. If you are going at other times of the year, one thing to consider is unlike at WDW, sometimes the nighttime entertainment such as Fanstasmic and fireworks, only runs during (or around) the weekends and not in the middle of the week. Fantasmic is much better at DL, than at WDW. They have a terrific Peter Pan and Captain Hook section in their show.


Hope this helps! Hope you love DL as much as we do!
Thanks for the great info! We were going to fly into LAX and was worried about not having ME (which is fabulous at WDW), but if JWA will work that may be a better option. How big of an airport is it?
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:26 AM   #14
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Thanks for the great info! We were going to fly into LAX and was worried about not having ME (which is fabulous at WDW), but if JWA will work that may be a better option. How big of an airport is it?
It's fairly small-- only about 20 gates-- and extremely easy to get around in. Here's a map:

http://www.ocair.com/maps/terminal/
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:16 PM   #15
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We always fly into John Wayne as well. It's actually the most pleasant airport I visit! It's nice and quiet, but busy enough to have conveniences there.
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