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Old 03-27-2013, 05:35 PM   #1
WDWsBFF
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Cool Your mission should you choose to accept it...

IS to help me plan my 1st anniversary married trip to Disneyland!!!!

It will be my 3rd time (I've stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Garden Grove and the Portofino Inn and Suites back in 09) and my hubby's 1st! I am a WDW vet and have already checked out HydroGuy's thread on the topic...Regardless, I am out of my comfort zone because I am doing the planning all by myself. Which is why I need your help in this important mission!

Here are the details:

We're going August 1-4, 2013 and we would like to stay within walking distance (don't we all lol /we won't have a car) and would like to spend no more than $80-90 a night.


...Now I have found a great rate at the Jolly Roger hotel for $72 per night, but I have yet to really hear nice things about it. Has anyone had a good recent experience there? How about the pool? Is it swimworthy?

Other hotel suggestions would be lovely though too!

Also the debate of 2 day PH vs. 3 day PH is something we're battling with...Our trip runs Thursday-Sunday and I know weekends are always going to be more crowded.... Any thoughts on this? Cause I'm so baffled on that, that I don't really have any thoughts on it myself. I think most of the APs are still blocked out on those days so that might help a little.

One other big topic: Airfare.
...Anyone have any tips or tricks in this area? ...I'm not sure what the rules are on the board for this but if any promo codes/pins can be shared (same goes for hotels), all I can say is please and thank you!!!! I keep checking everyday but it's not changing...neither going up or down.

Some other quick questions:

~Is there a certain touring plan I should construct for this time of year? I would love to hit everything in both parks at least once. I know BTMRR will be down.
~How far in advance should/can I get a reservation for Blue Bayou? Is it really worth it? We do want one romantic dinner during our trip.
~OR should we do a World of Color dinner package? ...Or would we be better off just getting a FP for it in the AM?
~Are there certain FPs that need to be obtained right after rope-drop?
~Outside dining vs. in-park/DTD dining....Is one really cheaper than the other? How do you dine while visiting?
~Anyone have any good experiences using SuperShuttle from SNA?


....PHEW....I think that's all my overwhelmed brain can come up at the moment. Also, please note I have searched this forum as much as I can, though I noticed since it isn't visited too too often, a lot of the posts are outdated so I figured I'd start fresh. Plus we don't have any kiddos yet so that changes our vacation style by quite a bit I think....

Any and all help will be appreciated!!!

~Shelby
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Resorts I've stayed at: All-Star Music, Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans: Riverside, Contemporary, Polynesian, and Bay Lake Tower.
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:41 PM   #2
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"Really nice", right near Disney and $80-$90 is not generally a realistic expectation. "Clean" is about what you get in that range and area. Under $100 in peak season on a weekend is hard to find and I'd be inclined to hop on that $72 if price is a priority.

It's farther away that we like to be, so I can't give first hand experience. Have you looked at Yelp?

I'd go with the extra day if you can swing it. A non-weekend is a good thing.

For airfare, I have a friend in the industry and he says his best tip is kayak.com.

We enjoyed the WoC dinner at Ariel's. The cioppino remains the single best thing I've had in a Disney restaurant other than Club 33 and the now defunct Vineyard Room. (Which are both MUCH pricier.)

I do not consider the food at BB worth the prices anymore. I'd put that money toward dinner somewhere else, although the atmosphere at BB is nice.

We have found that DTD and the surrounding area are either as expensive or close too, so we stopped trying to save money that way. I have noticed that the food in DCA, particularly in quick service tends to be higher quality and with larger portions for similar prices to DL. There are exceptions, but as a whole, that's our experience.


We honeymooned in Disneyland. Our take on it is that every moment is magical and anything can be an excuse for a kiss. Remember that sometimes sitting on a bench doing "nuthin" is the best use of time in Disney with your beloved.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:59 PM   #3
sherilaine
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In searching for a hotel I find tripadvisor.com to be a great site. Here you see real pictures guest have taken and get some honest opinions from people who have already stayed there. Jolly Rancher is listed as the 73rd out of 107 hotel to stay in for Anaheim - so it's more than towards the bottom half of the pile. To me, booking anything under $100, especially with carsland and the economy picking up bringing prices up from a few years ago, should be done with a great deal of research to make sure you are getting a good deal and not wasting your money.

As to the extra day - if there is an option to go for an extra day - always take it, is my advice.

You have come to the right place though - there is a lot of great advice to be found here.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:26 PM   #4
ManusDei
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDWsBFF View Post
Some other quick questions:

~Is there a certain touring plan I should construct for this time of year? I would love to hit everything in both parks at least once. I know BTMRR will be down.
~How far in advance should/can I get a reservation for Blue Bayou? Is it really worth it? We do want one romantic dinner during our trip.
~OR should we do a World of Color dinner package? ...Or would we be better off just getting a FP for it in the AM?
~Are there certain FPs that need to be obtained right after rope-drop?
~Outside dining vs. in-park/DTD dining....Is one really cheaper than the other? How do you dine while visiting?
~Anyone have any good experiences using SuperShuttle from SNA?
I can only touch base on a couple of these, but here goes my humble opinion:

-RSR is the only that FP that must be obtained after rope drop, and even then, that's not a hard rule. Especially if you can go to DCA on a morning without Early Entry for that park, you can do Wide Right to get on RSR first thing, then scurry back to BVS and get in the FP line for a second ride, hopefully in evening (though I don't know if they stopped giving evening FPs out, I had heard they did...)

-It sounds like money might be tight for you, so iono if BB is a great choice, but if you do have extra money, I might recommend Carthay Circle or Napa Rose as romantic dinners. Both are more expensive than BB (Napa Rose a LOT more), but they're a lot better IMO. Some don't like Carthay's food, but DGF and I thought it was great, plus the great atmosphere, and you can do WoC dining there too (I hear WoC dining seats are great). Napa Rose food is a step further and is simply to die for , but your wallet might die too

-Lastly, if you're really trying to save money on food, you can always pack your own lunches, security doesn't seem to care if you bring in a full cooler of food. Just pack something easy to carry and eat, like sandwiches, water, and snacks, and you could save some money there.
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:26 PM   #5
Astylla
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDWsBFF View Post
IS to help me plan my 1st anniversary married trip to Disneyland!!!!

It will be my 3rd time (I've stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Garden Grove and the Portofino Inn and Suites back in 09) and my hubby's 1st! I am a WDW vet and have already checked out HydroGuy's thread on the topic...Regardless, I am out of my comfort zone because I am doing the planning all by myself. Which is why I need your help in this important mission!

Here are the details:

We're going August 1-4, 2013 and we would like to stay within walking distance (don't we all lol /we won't have a car) and would like to spend no more than $80-90 a night.


...Now I have found a great rate at the Jolly Roger hotel for $72 per night, but I have yet to really hear nice things about it. Has anyone had a good recent experience there? How about the pool? Is it swimworthy?

Other hotel suggestions would be lovely though too!

I usually do not recommend this from personal experience but check out Expedia/Hotwire but put in for 4 star..you may get lucky.

Otherwise I rather enjoy most all of the Best Westerns in the area..though may be hard to come by at that price , search around you may find something !


Also the debate of 2 day PH vs. 3 day PH is something we're battling with...Our trip runs Thursday-Sunday and I know weekends are always going to be more crowded.... Any thoughts on this? Cause I'm so baffled on that, that I don't really have any thoughts on it myself. I think most of the APs are still blocked out on those days so that might help a little.

I wouldn't go any less than 3 day PH unless it was absolutely no way to swing it otherwise.

One other big topic: Airfare.
...Anyone have any tips or tricks in this area? ...I'm not sure what the rules are on the board for this but if any promo codes/pins can be shared (same goes for hotels), all I can say is please and thank you!!!! I keep checking everyday but it's not changing...neither going up or down.

My new favorite airline is Virgin America and they often have good rates. Southwest is an option too. Lastly Kayak seems to be good. keep checking and sign up for Airfarewatchdog.com. Keep checking especially mid week , they change all the time !


Some other quick questions:

~Is there a certain touring plan I should construct for this time of year? I would love to hit everything in both parks at least once. I know BTMRR will be down.

Make a list of what is important to the both of you. Get FP early in DL for the Mountains/Star Tours. Don't worry about seeing everything , worry about seeing and doing the things you will enjoy most!

~How far in advance should/can I get a reservation for Blue Bayou? Is it really worth it? We do want one romantic dinner during our trip.

~OR should we do a World of Color dinner package? ...Or would we be better off just getting a FP for it in the AM?

Ive done the WOC dining packages several times for Ariels Grotto. I very much enjoyed it but honestly the FP are probably your better option here. I love Blue Bayou and we go every trip. If you are looking for something more special Napa is much more expensive ( or so I hear..) but is another option. I personally say if you have never dined at Blue Bayou to do it. I usually book it out 60 days ahead

~Are there certain FPs that need to be obtained right after rope-drop?

If its DCA - RSR for sure. Other than that we usually grab Space Mountain first , then Star Tours , then Splash Mountain.

~Outside dining vs. in-park/DTD dining....Is one really cheaper than the other? How do you dine while visiting?

We do a little of everything. ESPN bar , Rainforest Cafe is fun but can be a little overpriced..Raplh Brennans Kitchen is popular..Cafe Orleans inside is a great option that is moderately priced and very good food , we always hit up Blue Bayou and Hungry Bear for quick service !

~Anyone have any good experiences using SuperShuttle from SNA?

No experience with this one..sorry !
Hope this helps.
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:27 PM   #6
WDWsBFF
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Thank you Mama Who, Sherilaine, Manus Dei, and Astylla for your help! Y'all rock!

Turns out we'll most likely be staying at the fairfield inn now, thanks to an early anniversary gift. Has anyone stayed there?

....After seeing another thread from someone saying the Blue Bayou has gotten better, I'm not gonna lie I am leaning towards it. I think I want the Disney ambiance anyways.

Okay so if I get the 3-day PH which would be better for the 3rd day: Thursday or Sunday???? ...I'm guessing Thursday, cause of the whole weekend rule yes? Or is it really not that bad the first week of August?

Also one more question (hopefully ) do y'all know if Sams Club or Costco has a great deal on tickets? I'm trying to decide where's the best place to get them.
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Shelby (Me) DH Nathan
Resorts I've stayed at: All-Star Music, Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans: Riverside, Contemporary, Polynesian, and Bay Lake Tower.
Been to WDW every other year: 1995-2012 all on-site
3 DLR trips: 2 in 2009 and 1 in 2013 all off-site

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Old 03-29-2013, 11:49 AM   #7
ManusDei
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDWsBFF
Thank you Mama Who, Sherilaine, Manus Dei, and Astylla for your help! Y'all rock!

Turns out we'll most likely be staying at the fairfield inn now, thanks to an early anniversary gift. Has anyone stayed there?

....After seeing another thread from someone saying the Blue Bayou has gotten better, I'm not gonna lie I am leaning towards it. I think I want the Disney ambiance anyways.

Okay so if I get the 3-day PH which would be better for the 3rd day: Thursday or Sunday???? ...I'm guessing Thursday, cause of the whole weekend rule yes? Or is it really not that bad the first week of August?

Also one more question (hopefully ) do y'all know if Sams Club or Costco has a great deal on tickets? I'm trying to decide where's the best place to get them.
I would also guess Thursday. Sunday is usually unblocked for most APs for most weekends, but I don't have much experience going in August so take my advice with a grain of salt.

Costco had a great deal recently but that's probably over by now. Still, I would check those stores, when it comes to Disneyland tickets any legitimate discount is good.

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Old 03-29-2013, 12:28 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=WDWsBFF;47929744]

Re: Fairfield Inn
A close friend has stayed there & a coworker of mine stayed there, too. They both have reported that it's nice, clean, comfortable beds, and within walking distance.

Re: 2-day vs 3-day PH tickets
My philosophy is to only do what you can afford. So here's where you have to kind of juggle priorities sometimes. For example, if eating every meal at a sit-down restaurant is priority (i.e., Blue Bayou for lunch, Carthay Circle for dinner) and you can't afford the 3-day PH tickets, then just get the 2-day PH tickets.

BUT maybe you can forgo a fancy meal and in exchange afford an extra day at DL instead...thus getting the 3-day PH and eat mostly at counter service places, eat breakfast in your room or with a "grab-and-go" meal (yogurt, granola bars, fruit, etc.) rather than spend $50 on a sit-down breakfast.

See what I mean?

Re: airfare
My sister travels a lot and she swears by looking for tickets on a Tues or Wed because the tickets tend to be less expensive. I am not a proponent of buying airline tickets from places like Priceline, Expedia, etc. because my parents have been burned multiple times by trying to save a buck that way (and when I say burned, I mean they were stuck in the airport for a couple of days and missed a cruise on 2 separate occasions). Southwest tends to have good deals & they don't charge you to check luggage.

Also, when looking for airfare, remember to clear the cookies in your browser because the travel websites keep track of how often you've come back to check on airfare based on that cookie...and a result, they show higher fares.

What touring plan to use?
Some folks swear by Ridemax, but it requires a subscription. Same thing for Touringplans.com. Hydroguy has an interesting thread from a couple of years ago where he compared the two. Generally speaking, if you want to go on every ride at least once, then you need to:
1. Get in line 30-40 minutes before the park opens.
2. Go on "slow load" rides in Fantasyland first.
3. If you have a 3-day Parkhopper pass, then you get early entry to Disneyland on ONE day. This will give you early entry to many rides in Fantasyland and some in Tomorrowland.
4. Use Fastpasses.

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner reservations:
I don't know how far in advance you can call for reservations, but call (714) 781-DINE or (714) 781-3463 to make reservations. A lot of people on the DIS who go to the Blue Bayou REALLY want a water-side table. Those folks, generally speaking, pretty much swear by making a BB reservation for the 1st seating (at 11:30am - so you'd go for lunch obviously). Get to the restaurant 15 or so minutes before that and ask for a water side table and you likely won't have to wait that long for one.

Plus lunch prices are cheaper at BB than at dinner.

World of Color
I haven't done World of Color myself, so my advice here is just based on reading other people's experiences here. Some folks love doing the dinner package, but others have had very good success with just getting a World of Color fast pass in the morning. So I'd say do what your budget affords.

FPs to get right after rope-drop
Radiator Springs Racers. that's it.

Outside the park vs inside the park dining
Dining outside the park & outside Downtown Disney might be a bit less expensive, but you would lose valuable time trekking in and out of the park for every meal.

...which is why, in your case, I would advocate for:
1. do a grab-and-go cheap breakfast @ your hotel
2. pack a lunch-sized cooler of drinks & snacks. Or pack some in a purse/backpack.
3. you can save $$ by bringing water bottles & filling them for free. If you like flavored stuff, bring some single-serving crystal light packets with you. Thus, no spending $2.99 for each soda.

Supershuttle
I haven't used Supershuttle from SNA, but every time I've used Supershuttle at any airport, it's been very reliable & professional.
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Old 03-29-2013, 01:36 PM   #9
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Just an FYI - Virgin doesn't fly to/from CO but Southwest probably does and pretty much always has the cheapest flights and more often than not they're direct.
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:40 PM   #10
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Honestly, I would probably apply for the Hilton Reserve credit card from Citi bank. After $2,500 in normal spend (gas, groceries, etc) over 4 months, I'd get two weekend nights at any Hilton, which I would likely use at the Hilton Anaheim. Then, I'd just need to pay cash for one night and maybe parking, which is in the budget range mentioned. In addition, the card gives Gold status in the Hilton program, granting free internet, continental breakfast (or a discount on regular breakfast), room upgrade, and maybe lounge access (instead of breakfast). There are other Hilton options nearby, too.

As an alternative, the Hyatt card from Chase rewards 2 nights after $1,000 spend, which I'd use at the Hyatt Regency Anaheim (it is a mile down the street near the Target and Red Robin). Thus, you'd want to pay for their shuttle to get to the parks (or walk a bit, but that stinks after a long day in the park ).

As for flights from Colorado, the handy-dandy ITAMatrix (same platform as kayak.com) says there are non-stop flights from DEN to LAX or SNA on Frontier, United, Alaska, and American airlines. All range from $258-$294 per person. As mentioned, you can also look at Southwest airlines, as they are not on the Matrix. When you find a rate you like, book it, especially this close in. Bing Travel's Rate Predictor recommendation is to Buy, as well.

Good luck, and have fun!
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