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Old 04-27-2013, 01:04 PM   #1
Mainemama
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Can DTD make for a fun afternoon?

I am trying to plan my family's first afternoon in Anaheim (a Saturday in July). We are traveling from No. Cal. Into LGB in the morning, after being at a night baseball game in Oakland, so shouldn't be too travel weary, but we have 3 kids, 8, 5, and just turning 1, so who knows! *DH is leaning towards not going into the parks until our first full day (we will have four full days at that point). *We will not have a car and may not be able to get into our hotel until 4:00 to swim and unpack. *Do you think an afternoon exploring the DTD stores and a resort hotel for a quick service late lunch/early dinner would make for a fun afternoon? *I can't gauge how entertaining DTD is for kids and could use help with this decision! *For 60$ more, we can be in the park. *Then again, we will be up earlier for our first full day if we go to bed earlier (won't happen if we are in the park).
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:15 PM   #2
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I am trying to plan my family's first afternoon in Anaheim (a Saturday in July). We are traveling from No. Cal. Into LGB in the morning, after being at a night baseball game in Oakland, so shouldn't be too travel weary, but we have 3 kids, 8, 5, and just turning 1, so who knows! *DH is leaning towards not going into the parks until our first full day (we will have four full days at that point). *We will not have a car and may not be able to get into our hotel until 4:00 to swim and unpack. *Do you think an afternoon exploring the DTD stores and a resort hotel for a quick service late lunch/early dinner would make for a fun afternoon? *I can't gauge how entertaining DTD is for kids and could use help with this decision! *For 60$ more, we can be in the park. *Then again, we will be up earlier for our first full day if we go to bed earlier (won't happen if we are in the park).
Yes, I think if you like shops and restaurants you can definitely have an enjoyable time in DTD in the afternoon. Hard to say if it will turn out to be cheaper though...LOL. Is your family full of shoppers? If you go to DTD, are you likely to buy your kids any Legos, over-priced RC cars from RideMakerz, or stuffed animals from Build-a-Bear? Were you planning to buy souvenirs anyway and would welcome the opportunity to visit the World of Disney and get your shopping done outside of park time? If you aren't planning on buying any of that stuff, do you have the kind of kids that will enjoy looking and playing and understand that they won't be buying? The Lego store has a lot of loose Legos for kids to come build and play with. Marceline's has the big window to look through to watch the CMs make candy apples or other treats. The other stores are enjoyable to browse in. There are plenty of family-friendly restaurant choices, and you can choose to have a leisurely meal. So, yes, you can definitely find things to do if you can't check in and get to the pool until 4 PM, but I wouldn't count on the DTD experience being cheaper than upgrading your park tickets and spending a few hours in the parks.
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:18 PM   #3
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Yes, I think if you like shops and restaurants you can definitely have an enjoyable time in DTD in the afternoon. Hard to say if it will turn out to be cheaper though...LOL. Is your family full of shoppers? If you go to DTD, are you likely to buy your kids any Legos, over-priced RC cars from RideMakerz, or stuffed animals from Build-a-Bear? Were you planning to buy souvenirs anyway and would welcome the opportunity to visit the World of Disney and get your shopping done outside of park time? If you aren't planning on buying any of that stuff, do you have the kind of kids that will enjoy looking and playing and understand that they won't be buying? The Lego store has a lot of loose Legos for kids to come build and play with. Marceline's has the big window to look through to watch the CMs make candy apples or other treats. The other stores are enjoyable to browse in. There are plenty of family-friendly restaurant choices, and you can choose to have a leisurely meal. So, yes, you can definitely find things to do if you can't check in and get to the pool until 4 PM, but I wouldn't count on the DTD experience being cheaper than upgrading your park tickets and spending a few hours in the parks.
This was what I was thinking! *The kids usually bring their own money, which makes it harder to part with, however it seems like we would spend some money, at least! *Thanks for giving me an idea of what stores to browse in! We will have fun, no matter what.
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:48 PM   #4
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We love to spend the evening of our travel day in DTD. Have dinner, look around, shop. I have my kids wait until the last couple days of the trip to actually spend their souvenir money, that way they've seen all their options. But, they could spend forever in the lego store on the first night. Maybe go for a swim and get to bed early so you can be up for rope drop!
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:55 PM   #5
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Every time we go to DL we drive down early morning and arrive in Anaheim around 2-3 (we live in Oakland). We generally check in to our hotel then head to DTD. We love to window shop and always have dinner the first night at Jazz Kitchen (bananas foster)! I think you can most definitely have fun in DTD. I have a 5yo girl and an almost 1 yo boy. I'm looking forward to our DTD day/night in July too!
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Old 04-27-2013, 03:22 PM   #6
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We always have fun at downtown disney. The evening has live entertainment, and my kids could hang out at that lego store all day. They have a table where kids can build legos.

I would like to add my experience about disney souveniers. Watch your receipts when you go to counter service restaurants. We received a savings coupon, it was either 10 or 20% and had to be used by a certain time in the early afternoon to be valid. We bought all our stuff on the last day with the coupon
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Old 04-27-2013, 03:27 PM   #7
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You can use the pool before your room is ready.
Just bring a bag of your "pool stuff" and get a resort key to access the pool area while you wait for your room.
When swim time is up, go unpack in the room and get ready for dinner and strolling in DTD.

That's what I would do anyway! Have fun!
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:14 PM   #8
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You can use the pool before your room is ready.
Just bring a bag of your "pool stuff" and get a resort key to access the pool area while you wait for your room.
When swim time is up, go unpack in the room and get ready for dinner and strolling in DTD.

That's what I would do anyway! Have fun!
This is exactly what I was going to say - after traveing on a warm summer day it is great to just go get into the pool and relax and cool off. Then go into DTD to look around and get some dinner.
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:48 PM   #9
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we always arrive early afternoon, with the idea of going to DTD, and we have a great time.. shopping, running round.. after flights and taxis and sitting still for hours.. get a good meal in, back to the hotel to unpack, swim and early to bed for an early morning..

Hope you have a fun trip..
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Old 04-27-2013, 05:10 PM   #10
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We spent our last partial day at DTD and had a good time. The kids played at the Lego store, spend gift cards they got for Christmas on exclusive merchandise at Build-a-Bear, and poked around the stores. Tortilla Jo's was great for lunch.

As for World of Disney, you'll likely end up with a 20% off coupon from one of your later in-park purchases (must be used before 1pm though), so I would just window shop there and plan to come back and buy with the coupon.

If you're staying at one of the Disney resorts, there may be events going on there before your check-in. Ask at Guest Services. GCH had a ladybug release party on Earth Day, for example. And every day between 4 and 5, they have a "Grand Hunt" around the resort for a small prize. On evening, they showed a movie on the terrace by the outdoor fireplace.
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Old 04-27-2013, 05:46 PM   #11
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You have swayed me! Alas, we are staying at the Fairfield (at least at no cost to us, thanks to a gift of points). We would have loved to stay on site, but this is an add on to our longer no. Cal. Vacation to see family, and since we were at WDW earlier this year, we can't justify the cost. Are there any events/movies, etc. at the resorts open to the public? We certainly hope to return, and want to check out the properties.
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:08 PM   #12
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My guess is you'll spend more than sixty dollars in dtd. I would at least entertain the possibility of going into the parks that first day BUT, I would make it an easy afternoon (early night, still) and do things like see Aladdin, a parade, some dark rides, etc. That may be hard for some kids to not jump in with the big tickets, so if it would be tough for yours, I'd probably just do dtd instead. Enjoy!
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Old 04-28-2013, 01:58 PM   #13
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My guess is you'll spend more than sixty dollars in dtd. I would at least entertain the possibility of going into the parks that first day BUT, I would make it an easy afternoon (early night, still) and do things like see Aladdin, a parade, some dark rides, etc. That may be hard for some kids to not jump in with the big tickets, so if it would be tough for yours, I'd probably just do dtd instead. Enjoy!
A slow afternoon was exactly what I had been hoping for. *I would love to just explore Main St., for instance. *That was cut out of our last WDW trip so the big kids could ride and ride and ride. *I figured if we did it first, I could guarantee that it happens. *Aladdin is a good idea, too. *I think if we were in the parks and not doing big tickets, my kids would need a very clear heads up about what we were doing. *My 5 year old discusses how he will ride CS (and watches videos of it) at least once a day. *And we are still about 100 days from our trip, so you know where he will want to go first thing! *I will have to let everyone know what we do decide. *Does anyone know if we do decide on 4 day passes and then want to add a day later if that is possible?
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:17 PM   #14
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A slow afternoon was exactly what I had been hoping for. *I would love to just explore Main St., for instance. *That was cut out of our last WDW trip so the big kids could ride and ride and ride. *I figured if we did it first, I could guarantee that it happens. *Aladdin is a good idea, too. *I think if we were in the parks and not doing big tickets, my kids would need a very clear heads up about what we were doing. *My 5 year old discusses how he will ride CS (and watches videos of it) at least once a day. *And we are still about 100 days from our trip, so you know where he will want to go first thing! *I will have to let everyone know what we do decide. *Does anyone know if we do decide on 4 day passes and then want to add a day later if that is possible?
Yes you can upgrade your tickets to 5 day tickets at guest services for sure... And probably ticket windows but I haven't upgraded my tickets there personally.
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:37 PM   #15
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A slow afternoon was exactly what I had been hoping for. *I would love to just explore Main St., for instance. *That was cut out of our last WDW trip so the big kids could ride and ride and ride. *I figured if we did it first, I could guarantee that it happens. *Aladdin is a good idea, too. *I think if we were in the parks and not doing big tickets, my kids would need a very clear heads up about what we were doing. *My 5 year old discusses how he will ride CS (and watches videos of it) at least once a day. *And we are still about 100 days from our trip, so you know where he will want to go first thing! *I will have to let everyone know what we do decide. *Does anyone know if we do decide on 4 day passes and then want to add a day later if that is possible?
Yes, you can upgrade 4 day passes. The thing I would watch out for is a price increase. Many of us have speculated that a price increase will occur before the summer season begins. Ticket prices last went up on May 20, 2012. Since your trip is still 100 days out, I wouldn't be surprised to see the price increase occur before then. If you have 4 day passes purchased before the price increase and then want to upgrade after, you will have to pay the full difference between what you actually paid for your 4 day passes and whatever the current 5-day price is. I would recommend watching the Disney parks blog and these boards for a heads-up on the price increase and trying to make a firm decision about which tickets to buy before the new prices go into effect.
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