Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disneyland > Disneyland (California)
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS UpdatesDIS email updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 02-18-2012, 08:48 AM   #1
dwheaton
Mouseketeer
 
dwheaton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 373

Questions on Disneyland for Planning a Solo Trip

Hi everyone. I'm planning on taking my first solo trip, with tentative plans to go in late August or early-to-mid September. I was originally thinking DW, but the more I think about it, I've decided to try Disneyland to make it more unique. I've only been there once, and that was in 1985 when I was nine. I'm planning to do two days at the parks, which I hope is enough time to see a good portion of the attractions. I have some questions about DL that could help with my trip planning, and I'd love to hear some feedback.

1) I'm planning to go in late August or mid-September (avoiding Labor Day). I know that crowds are always fairly busy at DL, but will this be manageable if I arrive before park opening and use FP? Also, I'll be going on a Monday or Tuesday (or maybe a Tuesday and Wednesday.

2) I'm an expert on DW and know all the big tips, but I'm less certain about DL. What are some of your favorite touring tips for someone less familiar with the layouts of the parks and the best routes? Keep in mind that I'll be traveling solo and planning more of a fast-paced touring schedule.

3) I don't plan to do any sit-down meals due to the time. I definitely plan to eat at least one meal at Earl of Sandwich, if not more. What are other counter-service places (in the parks, the resorts, or Downtown Disney) that I should check out? I'm hoping to eat pretty fast, but I also don't want to eat junk. I might also consider eating more smaller meals to try different things.

4) Should I expect the most crowded rides to match DW? I know that the Cars Land will be crazy crowded. Besides that, are the big ones still Toy Story Mania, Soarin', Space Mountain, Splash, etc.? Are there any rides that are a lot busier at DL than DW? I also will be using single-rider lines at the few rides that have them.

5) This is going to be a budget-minded trip. I'm using my frequent flyer miles to get to LAX from STL (I did check and there is a lot of availability), and will just take a shuttle to the hotel. Are there shuttle companies that run from the airport to hotels near DL? Also, would they run early from the hotel to the airport if I had an early flight back?

6. Final question. My plan is to find a Good Neighbor resort that allows me to walk to the parks. I know that it may be a 10-15 minute walk, but that's fine. Do you have any suggestions for reasonable hotels that are clean? I'm fine with hotels in the 2.5- to 3.5-star range, since I'm really just using it for sleeping.

7) Also, any other tips to make for a great solo trip?

Thanks in advance!
dwheaton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 09:14 AM   #2
HGLightlyj
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 216

Just got back from my first trip to DL. Went solo. I used Super Shuttle for transportation to and from airport. $16 roundtrip w/$6.00 coupon. Highly recommend their service. Stayed 2 nights at Howard Johnsons (2 nights GCA)- got the entertainment rate of $59. No complaints - very nice - short walk to DL entrance. Flew Southwest into Orange County Airport - only 20 minutes to DL. Super Shuttle operates from both airports.
HGLightlyj is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 02-18-2012, 08:05 PM   #3
dwheaton
Mouseketeer
 
dwheaton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 373

Quote:
Originally Posted by HGLightlyj View Post
Just got back from my first trip to DL. Went solo. I used Super Shuttle for transportation to and from airport. $16 roundtrip w/$6.00 coupon. Highly recommend their service. Stayed 2 nights at Howard Johnsons (2 nights GCA)- got the entertainment rate of $59. No complaints - very nice - short walk to DL entrance. Flew Southwest into Orange County Airport - only 20 minutes to DL. Super Shuttle operates from both airports.
Thanks so much! That's a great tip on the Super Shuttle, which sounds like a good deal. I also checked, and they will pick you up even if your flight is really early. My tentative idea is to fly out in the early morning on my departure day. This is really helpful.
dwheaton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 08:20 PM   #4
Eeee-va
Happiest robot on Earth
 
Eeee-va's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: AZ
Posts: 2,501

Almost any time will be manageable if you arrive early and use FP, especially if you're on your own and don't have to wait for others to decide where to go, keep up with you, etc. If you go on weekdays in mid-September you'll probably be looking at shorter hours and little entertainment, so keep that in mind when planning. Late August will probably have 8 am-12 pm hours at Disneyland and full entertainment, even on weekends. I don't think you can do everything in 2 days, but you can do a lot.

Compared to WDW, I say for DL, you don't need to obsess with planning as much. The layout of Disneyland itself is pretty similar to MK.

I thought the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich at the Hungry Bear in Critter Country was very good, but if that doesn't sound good, you might avoid that. The new counter-service eateries in DCA (Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta and Paradise Garden Grill) get good reviews and have excellent atmosphere. I had the pesto ravioli at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta and it was excellent. There is a bakery in the Pacific Wharf area of DCA that has breadbowls with soup and salad (good tip is to ask for the salad/soup on the side so you can save the bread and eat it later!) and that was good too. Though I don't think I would be able to avoid eating at the Cozy Cone food court area in Cars Land at least once!

Soarin' is much busier at WDW than DL. Even if the parks are fairly busy you can often get a FP for an hour or so out. It does offer Single Rider at DL but that can be very hit and miss...it should be faster using SR than standby, but I think FP is usually faster. (In fact, once I was on Soarin' and there was some sort of miscount so when we got to the seats there wasn't room for the Single Rider at the end! I don't know if she had to wait another cycle or what.)

There are no FPs for Toy Story Midway Mania, but I believe the waits are substantially lower than WDW...I think 45 minutes is the norm at this point. Single Rider is amazing on Indy.

I would personally look into a 3 day hopper...sometimes they are not much more expensive than a 2 day hopper, and if you can just visit the parks a few hours on your arrival or departure date, the price may be worth it. (Crowds are SO much lower in the early mornings than they are any other time of day, I think even more so than WDW, since most Disneyland visitors are locals.)

Others can probably help more on the other questions. Have a great trip!
Eeee-va is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2012, 10:37 PM   #5
HydroGuy
The code is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules
Inquiring fairy minds want to know: Does Hydroguy like World of Color?
 
HydroGuy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Colorado, USA (formerly SoCal - now SoCol)
Posts: 14,542

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwheaton View Post
Hi everyone. I'm planning on taking my first solo trip, with tentative plans to go in late August or early-to-mid September. I was originally thinking DW, but the more I think about it, I've decided to try Disneyland to make it more unique. I've only been there once, and that was in 1985 when I was nine. I'm planning to do two days at the parks, which I hope is enough time to see a good portion of the attractions. I have some questions about DL that could help with my trip planning, and I'd love to hear some feedback.

1) I'm planning to go in late August or mid-September (avoiding Labor Day). I know that crowds are always fairly busy at DL, but will this be manageable if I arrive before park opening and use FP? Also, I'll be going on a Monday or Tuesday (or maybe a Tuesday and Wednesday.
Yes manageable especially if you are solo. Two things to watch out for. Around August 20 is when the AP blockout lifts and some years the crowds really surge. This year may be one of those years. See "Understanding AP Blockouts and Impact on Crowds" www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2365983

After Labor Day you are likely to have low crowds (yay) which means it is great time for Disney to take numerous rides down for refurb (bummer). You would almost certainly miss Haunted Mansion at that time and possibly Space Mtn, plus others. Every year folks on this forum say they are Ok with that and then with the refurb schedule comes out for September they show up here on the forum really sad. See "What You Should Know About Off-Season at DLR" www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=18462889

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwheaton View Post
2) I'm an expert on DW and know all the big tips, but I'm less certain about DL. What are some of your favorite touring tips for someone less familiar with the layouts of the parks and the best routes? Keep in mind that I'll be traveling solo and planning more of a fast-paced touring schedule.
Mine are all listed here...

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




Quote:
Originally Posted by dwheaton View Post
3) I don't plan to do any sit-down meals due to the time. I definitely plan to eat at least one meal at Earl of Sandwich, if not more. What are other counter-service places (in the parks, the resorts, or Downtown Disney) that I should check out? I'm hoping to eat pretty fast, but I also don't want to eat junk. I might also consider eating more smaller meals to try different things.
Counter service? Lots of choices and nothing really stands out for me except for Plaza Inn. I would say Redd Rockett's Pizza Port and Rancho del Zocalo are fine choices at DL. At DCA we like Taste Pilot's Grille hamburgers (yummy) and also the new Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta in Paradise Pier.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dwheaton View Post
4) Should I expect the most crowded rides to match DW? I know that the Cars Land will be crazy crowded. Besides that, are the big ones still Toy Story Mania, Soarin', Space Mountain, Splash, etc.? Are there any rides that are a lot busier at DL than DW? I also will be using single-rider lines at the few rides that have them.
Sorta kinda. TSMM has a much different pattern than DHS largely because DCA has more rides than DHS. And Soarin is not so crazy busy as Epcot. Splash and Space mtn will be similar to MK.

Rides a lot busier? Can't think of any. Understand that DLR has more rides than all the four WDW parks put together so it really spreads people out more.

There are lots more single rider lines at DLR than at WDW.




Quote:
Originally Posted by dwheaton View Post
5) This is going to be a budget-minded trip. I'm using my frequent flyer miles to get to LAX from STL (I did check and there is a lot of availability), and will just take a shuttle to the hotel. Are there shuttle companies that run from the airport to hotels near DL? Also, would they run early from the hotel to the airport if I had an early flight back?!
Early morning will likely be a problem and you may need to take a taxi for that. Otherwise here are some options:

"Airport Proximity to DLR and Ground Transportation Information" by 3TinksAndAnEeyore www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2318297



Quote:
Originally Posted by dwheaton View Post
6. Final question. My plan is to find a Good Neighbor resort that allows me to walk to the parks. I know that it may be a 10-15 minute walk, but that's fine. Do you have any suggestions for reasonable hotels that are clean? I'm fine with hotels in the 2.5- to 3.5-star range, since I'm really just using it for sleeping.
The closest is BWPPI and it is clean and quiet. The Candy Cane Inn and Hojo's are little further and a bit nicer - especially Hojo's. The CCI is about a 10 minute walk but also has a shuttle that runs like clockwork every 30 minutes.

Other folks will give you advice on this and you will find out quickly you have lots of options.

The biggest advice I would give is do not stay too far away. There are lots of fine choices really close to DLR and choose one of those.

See the links here: "HydroGuy's Hotel Rule" www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1199862




Quote:
Originally Posted by dwheaton View Post
7) Also, any other tips to make for a great solo trip?

Thanks in advance!
Learn the solo rider lines. Take time to see DLR's awesome shows - Fantasmic (better than WDW), WOC and Aladdin especially. Show up early. Use FP. Have a great trip!

__________________
Upcoming:
DLR, July 2014 (DLH) | August 2015 for the D23 Expo | WDW, 2015 May?
Completed:
DLR 11/2013 (Day Trip), 8/2013 GCH (CCI for D23 Expo), 10/2012 CCI, 07/2012 GCH, 08/2011 CCI (D23 Expo), 06/2011 GCH, 09/2010 BWPPI, 07/2010 GCH, 08/2009 (Day Trip), 05/2009 Doubletree Anaheim/OC, 11/2007 (Day Trip), 06/2007 BWPPI, 08/2006 (Day Trip), 11/2005 BWPPI, 08/2005 BWPPI, 07/2003 HoJo's, 07/2000 PPH, 1966-1998 Numerous Day Trips Including... 06/1981 (Grad Night)
WDW 05/2013 Swan, 02/2012 CBR, 03/2011 Dolphin, 05/2008 AKL, 06/2006 FW Cabins
DLR Paris 06/2007 - Newport Bay/Santa Fe/Holiday Inn (solo) - see my Trip Observations
Tokyo Disney Resort 11/2009 - SunRoute Plaza (with DS13) - see my Trip Report (with photos)
HydroGuy DLR Tips Compilation, DLR Abbreviations List, World of Color Superthread
HydroGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2012, 04:39 PM   #6
dwheaton
Mouseketeer
 
dwheaton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 373

Thanks for the all the great information. In terms of when to go, that does raise an interesting question about choosing a time that's likely busier but has longer hours versus a slower time with refurbs and shorter hours. I'm inclined to choose the earlier time, especially since I'm solo, but I'm not sure.

Mid-August might actually be a better time for me. Do you think it would make sense to go on August 13-15 (before the blackout lifts) or further into August or early September (after the blackout is removed). There will be more kids out of school in mid-August, but the blackout may nullify that difference. What do you think?
dwheaton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2012, 08:45 PM   #7
Eeee-va
Happiest robot on Earth
 
Eeee-va's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: AZ
Posts: 2,501

I would guess August 13-15 may have the lowest crowds, though early September might be OK. I'd avoid late August. (Usually at Disneyland, no blockouts+kids out of school=large crowds. Though I think late August will probably be better than mid-June, before blockouts but after Cars Land opens.)
Eeee-va is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2012, 10:05 PM   #8
BrianM
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Brentwood, Ca
Posts: 40

Another vote for Candy Cane Inn. Pretty clean rooms, basic continental breakfast. The pool can be a source of alot of night time noise but I think there are rooms away from the pool that are quieter.
BrianM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2012, 11:28 PM   #9
HydroGuy
The code is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules
Inquiring fairy minds want to know: Does Hydroguy like World of Color?
 
HydroGuy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Colorado, USA (formerly SoCal - now SoCol)
Posts: 14,542

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwheaton View Post
Thanks for the all the great information. In terms of when to go, that does raise an interesting question about choosing a time that's likely busier but has longer hours versus a slower time with refurbs and shorter hours. I'm inclined to choose the earlier time, especially since I'm solo, but I'm not sure.

Mid-August might actually be a better time for me. Do you think it would make sense to go on August 13-15 (before the blackout lifts) or further into August or early September (after the blackout is removed). There will be more kids out of school in mid-August, but the blackout may nullify that difference. What do you think?
It depends on your priorities of course. For me Aug 13-15 would be a no-brainer. But other folks really like the post-Labor Day low crowds. And others think late August after the blockout lifts are not too bad. HTH
__________________
Upcoming:
DLR, July 2014 (DLH) | August 2015 for the D23 Expo | WDW, 2015 May?
Completed:
DLR 11/2013 (Day Trip), 8/2013 GCH (CCI for D23 Expo), 10/2012 CCI, 07/2012 GCH, 08/2011 CCI (D23 Expo), 06/2011 GCH, 09/2010 BWPPI, 07/2010 GCH, 08/2009 (Day Trip), 05/2009 Doubletree Anaheim/OC, 11/2007 (Day Trip), 06/2007 BWPPI, 08/2006 (Day Trip), 11/2005 BWPPI, 08/2005 BWPPI, 07/2003 HoJo's, 07/2000 PPH, 1966-1998 Numerous Day Trips Including... 06/1981 (Grad Night)
WDW 05/2013 Swan, 02/2012 CBR, 03/2011 Dolphin, 05/2008 AKL, 06/2006 FW Cabins
DLR Paris 06/2007 - Newport Bay/Santa Fe/Holiday Inn (solo) - see my Trip Observations
Tokyo Disney Resort 11/2009 - SunRoute Plaza (with DS13) - see my Trip Report (with photos)
HydroGuy DLR Tips Compilation, DLR Abbreviations List, World of Color Superthread
HydroGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2012, 03:05 PM   #10
dwheaton
Mouseketeer
 
dwheaton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 373

Quote:
Originally Posted by HydroGuy View Post
It depends on your priorities of course. For me Aug 13-15 would be a no-brainer. But other folks really like the post-Labor Day low crowds. And others think late August after the blockout lifts are not too bad. HTH
Unfortunately, I discovered that Aug 13-15 might not work. Right now, my two main options are September 5-7 (the Wednesday to Friday after Labor Day) or September 10-12 (the following Monday to Wednesday).

I'm leaning towards the first option because it may sneak in before the refurbs (Haunted Mansion went down on September 15 last year), and kids will be in school. It also may have slightly longer hours. Thoughts?
dwheaton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2012, 09:14 PM   #11
HydroGuy
The code is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules
Inquiring fairy minds want to know: Does Hydroguy like World of Color?
 
HydroGuy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Colorado, USA (formerly SoCal - now SoCol)
Posts: 14,542

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwheaton View Post
Unfortunately, I discovered that Aug 13-15 might not work. Right now, my two main options are September 5-7 (the Wednesday to Friday after Labor Day) or September 10-12 (the following Monday to Wednesday).

I'm leaning towards the first option because it may sneak in before the refurbs (Haunted Mansion went down on September 15 last year), and kids will be in school. It also may have slightly longer hours. Thoughts?
You read something wrong. HM went down in late August and came back as HMH around Sept 15. You may also be missing the Indiana Jones ride and BTMRR going under refurb. If Al Lutz is correct - and he was last year - he related ride closures for fall in June I believe - then these will go down in the fall. That usually means right after Labor Day.

This is not to say one cannot still have a fun DLR vacation. It is more just making sure you know what may be ahead of you. If you are OK with it then go for it.
__________________
Upcoming:
DLR, July 2014 (DLH) | August 2015 for the D23 Expo | WDW, 2015 May?
Completed:
DLR 11/2013 (Day Trip), 8/2013 GCH (CCI for D23 Expo), 10/2012 CCI, 07/2012 GCH, 08/2011 CCI (D23 Expo), 06/2011 GCH, 09/2010 BWPPI, 07/2010 GCH, 08/2009 (Day Trip), 05/2009 Doubletree Anaheim/OC, 11/2007 (Day Trip), 06/2007 BWPPI, 08/2006 (Day Trip), 11/2005 BWPPI, 08/2005 BWPPI, 07/2003 HoJo's, 07/2000 PPH, 1966-1998 Numerous Day Trips Including... 06/1981 (Grad Night)
WDW 05/2013 Swan, 02/2012 CBR, 03/2011 Dolphin, 05/2008 AKL, 06/2006 FW Cabins
DLR Paris 06/2007 - Newport Bay/Santa Fe/Holiday Inn (solo) - see my Trip Observations
Tokyo Disney Resort 11/2009 - SunRoute Plaza (with DS13) - see my Trip Report (with photos)
HydroGuy DLR Tips Compilation, DLR Abbreviations List, World of Color Superthread
HydroGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2012, 09:33 PM   #12
dwheaton
Mouseketeer
 
dwheaton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 373

Quote:
Originally Posted by HydroGuy View Post
You read something wrong. HM went down in late August and came back as HMH around Sept 15. You may also be missing the Indiana Jones ride and BTMRR going under refurb. If Al Lutz is correct - and he was last year - he related ride closures for fall in June I believe - then these will go down in the fall. That usually means right after Labor Day.

This is not to say one cannot still have a fun DLR vacation. It is more just making sure you know what may be ahead of you. If you are OK with it then go for it.
I realized that after I read it. So here's the question: I do have the ability to go on the week of August 27. I know that's only a week after the AP blackout happens, but does that give me a better chance for Indiana Jones?

I could also go on August 20. That is the day of the blackout being lifted, so that wasn't my top choice due to likely big crowds. But I hate to go when so much is down, though, especially Indiana Jones.
dwheaton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2012, 06:23 AM   #13
HydroGuy
The code is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules
Inquiring fairy minds want to know: Does Hydroguy like World of Color?
 
HydroGuy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Colorado, USA (formerly SoCal - now SoCol)
Posts: 14,542

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwheaton View Post
I realized that after I read it. So here's the question: I do have the ability to go on the week of August 27. I know that's only a week after the AP blackout happens, but does that give me a better chance for Indiana Jones?

I could also go on August 20. That is the day of the blackout being lifted, so that wasn't my top choice due to likely big crowds. But I hate to go when so much is down, though, especially Indiana Jones.
My opinion is just my opinion but I would do Aug 27 if it was me and I had only the options you listed. Yes, going before Labor Day will greatly increase you chances of avoiding refurbs like the rumored Indy refurb.
__________________
Upcoming:
DLR, July 2014 (DLH) | August 2015 for the D23 Expo | WDW, 2015 May?
Completed:
DLR 11/2013 (Day Trip), 8/2013 GCH (CCI for D23 Expo), 10/2012 CCI, 07/2012 GCH, 08/2011 CCI (D23 Expo), 06/2011 GCH, 09/2010 BWPPI, 07/2010 GCH, 08/2009 (Day Trip), 05/2009 Doubletree Anaheim/OC, 11/2007 (Day Trip), 06/2007 BWPPI, 08/2006 (Day Trip), 11/2005 BWPPI, 08/2005 BWPPI, 07/2003 HoJo's, 07/2000 PPH, 1966-1998 Numerous Day Trips Including... 06/1981 (Grad Night)
WDW 05/2013 Swan, 02/2012 CBR, 03/2011 Dolphin, 05/2008 AKL, 06/2006 FW Cabins
DLR Paris 06/2007 - Newport Bay/Santa Fe/Holiday Inn (solo) - see my Trip Observations
Tokyo Disney Resort 11/2009 - SunRoute Plaza (with DS13) - see my Trip Report (with photos)
HydroGuy DLR Tips Compilation, DLR Abbreviations List, World of Color Superthread
HydroGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
disneyland, solo trip, tips and tricks



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:18 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.