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Old 04-02-2007, 12:19 PM   #1
Lives4Disney
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Talking Just Back From Our First Dlr Trip!

We just got back this morning REALLY early from our first ever DLR visit, and all I can say is.......WE LOVE THAT PLACE!

We stayed at the DLH - all that was available was standard view, but at check in I was told we were bumped up a little (I asked if I could pay for a better view) and we wound up in Bonita on the 6th floor over the koi poind facing the waterfalls. It was way better than parking lot. The hotel CMs were all really nice. I was pleasantly surprised at how large the room was. It compared to the monorail resorts at WDW in size. I just really didn't care for the bathrooms. It's always nice to have the sinks in a separate area than the shower/toilet. I also thought our bathroom was kind of rundown as were the towels. JMO. It didn't keep us from loving everything else about DLH and we really enjoyed our time there. Housekeeping was great. We asked for turndown service and they actually did it every night! Compared to YC at WDW that was a surprise because they did it only once out of our entire stay there. My DD lost her tooth at Minnie's bfast and we put it under her pillow and I snuck back in and put a little gift under her pillow and thought to leave a note so housekeeping didn't move it. I just wrote "Tooth fairy gift" on top of it. Well, the next day a beautiful balloon bouquet, chocolates and shortbread cookies, towel bunnies, and an autographed princess photo and cute pin show up marked "Special delivery". So sweet.

We have been to WDW a gajillion times so this first visit to DL had us worried because I really thought I'd be wishing we booked WDW instead. NO WAY! WE LOVED DL. It is so beautiful, IMO cleaner than WDW and upkept better, the guests were more polite and seemed to be much better behaved (again just my experience), people knew how to wait in lines w/out cutting smoking guests actually smoked in the designated smoking areas , CMs were so cheerful and helpful (sometimes at WDW it seems they are burned out and weary), the details on the rides were awesome, Wishes was better at DLR than at WDW - I love them at WDW, but these at DLR were better! The evening parade at DL was awesome. We loved seeing Tink and the other characters you don't see at WDW.

We spent only one day at DCA and could have spent more because it seems we didn't do a whole lot due to crowds....I waited 40 minutes in line at Corn Dog Castle (ugh...because DD7 is a mega picky eater but LOVES corndogs), We wanted to go back to DCA but time was too limited. We did ride the water ride twice, Soarin, and Monsters....I left w/ my friend to change our shoes so the rest of our group stayed and did more - I missed a lot! We stayed 5 nts at DLH and wish it were twice that. The crowds were enormous. We fastpassed and got lucky a couple times (Pooh was a walk on) and we got in line for Thunder MTn and a super nice CM saw my DD's white cane and told us we could use the exit to enter, so we got on way quick. We were told a few times by CMs that we should just go ahead and use the exit, but we only did this on BTM because it was our last day and we had to leave in about an hr, so what the heck!?! I have never had this experience at WDW with CMs telling us we could get any shortcuts, so didn't really know what to think. NICE for sure, but we didn't want to take unfair advantage. Very different CM attitudes at WDW from DLR. CMs at DLR seemed very much more Disney if you know what I mean. So friendly and helpful and not overworked (Maybe they are, but it didn't show in their attitudes )

My kids had a blast pin trading. The DL CMs had great lanyard pins and the girls collected some neat ones.

We were on Pirates when it broke down....for us, just near the exit so we sat and chatted with a CM that told us January is dead at the parks so DH is already plotting a January return. Just wish the flight wasn't so darn long. We flew Jet Blue for the first time and they delayed us so long both ways. Funny thing is on the way back last night the Travel Channel had WDW on all the way home!

I didn't want to do a formal trip report, but wanted to let other WDW fans know DLR will not disappoint. It was great - beyond all expectations and we just really loved it and had a ball despite the mega crowds. Also THANKS to all the great Disers that helped me and answered all my questions.

I happened to run into TwingleMum (another WDW fan) in DTD! She really ran into me, but she said she's having a great time as well.

I will answer any questions....I could go on and on, but I'll spare you!

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Old 04-02-2007, 12:33 PM   #2
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Wow! Sounds like you had a GREAT time!!! My family and I are going down there in less than a week. I can't wait!!! xo Linda
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Old 04-02-2007, 12:54 PM   #3
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We just got back Sat night and stayed at DLH too!! We were in the main building on the 11th floor. We saw the fireworks every night from our room. We really enjoyed DL too. I do have to say the only thing that was slightly disappointing was the castle is soooooo much smaller that WDW!!

Hope I didn't hijack your TR.......glad you had a great time. We did too!!!
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:01 PM   #4
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Thanks so much! We've been to WDW twice and I was worried we would wish we'd booked it again. We'll be at DLH too and after reading your post, I'm getting super excited about the experience. We watched the Travel Channel's special on DLR last night. What a great mood enhancer!
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lives4Disney View Post
...We were told a few times by CMs that we should just go ahead and use the exit, but we only did this on BTM because it was our last day and we had to leave in about an hr, so what the heck!?! I have never had this experience at WDW with CMs telling us we could get any shortcuts, so didn't really know what to think. NICE for sure, but we didn't want to take unfair advantage.

Thanks for writing of your experience...it's so nice to hear a positive report! And, for what it's worth, I think your not using the exit is building a lot of character in your girls. Most people would jump at the chance to bypass the huge lines at this time of year. Way to go!!!
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:43 PM   #6
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Channing,

So glad you had a good time! We are leaving in two months...can't believe I have to wait that long. We have been reading some really good reports, lately so I am getting really excited.

Let's see some new pic's of your adorable girls having fun at DL!
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:48 PM   #7
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We are thinking about at Disneyland vacation, either this January or the next. Would you say a 4 day ticket would be enough or even just a 3?

Thanks and welcome home!!

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Old 04-02-2007, 01:57 PM   #8
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Glad you had a great time at my "Home" parks. My son and I will be there tomorrow and Wednesday, so we are looking forward to just hanging with the two of us.
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Old 04-02-2007, 03:21 PM   #9
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We are thinking about at Disneyland vacation, either this January or the next. Would you say a 4 day ticket would be enough or even just a 3?

Thanks and welcome home!!

We had 5 day hoppers, but arrived Wednesday late afternoon and had to leave Sunday afternoon. I really could have stayed longer. There was quite a bit we didn't have a chance to do. I left w/out a souvenier! Didn't have a whole lot of extra time to spend shopping. Maybe due to crowds, but I think it would have been better for us to have spent more DL time vs. what we did do - a San Diego/DL split. We were out in the parks ALL DAY and we were so tired and achy at bed time. Took a couple afternoons off for swim breaks, but still it was too rushed. I think the longer the better and promised the girls that we would take at least a week next time to S L O W down and enjoy!

3forMe, you will have a wonderful time. The rides seemed LONGER and even though the walkways were crowded, the lines moved quickly. I was really happy with DLH & very happy I didn't pay twice as much for the GCH (although we were crazy busy and didn't even have a chance to go peek at it, so I don't really know at all what I missed)...we were hardly in the room at all, and didn't miss not having booked concierge. Turndown was a great thing - request it with housekeeping. They left tons of character chocolates on the beds each night and it was fun to come back to. Sometimes at WDW they cheap out - despite staying concierge - and only leave one or two per bed....We received 10 each nt!! We really want to go back. I will post pics later. My friend that met us there had a fabulous camera so she wound up taking most of the pics. I have a lot, though.


I just booked a WDW summer trip!!!

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Old 04-02-2007, 03:26 PM   #10
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We are visiting in May our first trip, we are arriving on a Thursday around 2pm and catching the redeye (11pm) on Sunday night. So we will have 3 full days and 1/2 day on our arrival. Do you think we will be able to do a whole lot? We are staying at DLH standard city view. How long does it take to get to the parks from DLH? What kind of touring strategy did you use? I've heard someone mention ridemax, is this worth looking into! Help please, anyone!
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Old 04-02-2007, 05:28 PM   #11
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Becca, its a 3 minute walk to the monorail and about a 5 to 7 minute walk to the parks depending on how long it takes to get through the security checkpoint. Please remember that unlike WDW the parks and onsite hotels are all connected via Downtown Disney, which I understand is MUCH MUCH smaller than the one at WDW. I would not even give it a second thought about the distance. And you can park hop between the parks all day long. These parks are even closer together than Epcot and MGM (there is only a courtyard separating DCA and DL.

You will have a blast.
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Old 04-02-2007, 06:40 PM   #12
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Glad you had a wonderful stay!! If you do go in January you will be amazed at how much you can get done in a shorter amount of time with most rides being walk-ons if it's not a holiday week!! I love it when frequent WDW visitors enjoy DL for what it is and I am glad your family made great memories there.

I remember how stressed you were when you were booking hotels. Are you glad you went with the DLH? Sounds like you really liked it!!


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Old 04-02-2007, 06:46 PM   #13
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3forMe, you will have a wonderful time. The rides seemed LONGER and even though the walkways were crowded, the lines moved quickly. I was really happy with DLH & very happy I didn't pay twice as much for the GCH (although we were crazy busy and didn't even have a chance to go peek at it, so I don't really know at all what I missed)...we were hardly in the room at all, and didn't miss not having booked concierge. Turndown was a great thing - request it with housekeeping. They left tons of character chocolates on the beds each night and it was fun to come back to. Sometimes at WDW they cheap out - despite staying concierge - and only leave one or two per bed....We received 10 each nt!! We really want to go back. I will post pics later. My friend that met us there had a fabulous camera so she wound up taking most of the pics. I have a lot, though.

************Ooooh, I just can't wait, now! The GCH is not available for our dates anyway, so no worries there. I have already requested turndown when I made my ressies, but will definately ask again at check-in.

I am worried, though that we don't have enough time to do everything! We'll have a couple of hours on a Monday night, Tues., Wed., and 1/2 a day Thursday...that's all we can swing though, so I'll have to make it work!*****


I just booked a WDW summer trip!!! **********You CRACK ME UP! I want you to adopt me so that I can take all these FAB trips with you! Did you book GF?? As if I had to ask. *************

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Glad you had such a great time, and I'll keep my eye out for pictures!
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Old 04-02-2007, 06:56 PM   #14
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Becca, its a 3 minute walk to the monorail and about a 5 to 7 minute walk to the parks depending on how long it takes to get through the security checkpoint. Please remember that unlike WDW the parks and onsite hotels are all connected via Downtown Disney, which I understand is MUCH MUCH smaller than the one at WDW. I would not even give it a second thought about the distance. And you can park hop between the parks all day long. These parks are even closer together than Epcot and MGM (there is only a courtyard separating DCA and DL.

You will have a blast.
Becca, I agree you will have a blast. It took us longer to walk because we were in Bonita and had 7 yr old walking with us & the crowds were LARGE and difficult to navigate thru. We didn't park hop at all (except on our DCA day we ended up at DL for the parade) because the crowds just to enter and exit & get handstamped were large and it really wasn't worth it to us to be in another line. We didn't use Ridemax. We just wanted to do what we wanted and have a less planned out trip than our WDW trips usually are (all based on TGM and our ADRs because I hate WDW counter service choices) IMO I would really love to slow down next time and ENJOY the scenery more and have more than 5 nts. The crowds were just so huge due to spring break & that slowed us down, I'm sure. DTD was mobbed every trip we took back and forth and the line for the monorail was long too so mostly we hoofed it all the way to the main gate.

I tried to cut back on my ADR planning and be a bit more spontaneous, but on Friday night we were shut out of just about everything. (lesson learned - make lots of ADRs) We wound up at Hook's Point and it was OK, but not great. I woudn't do it again unless I was in a pinch. That's the day I waited 40 min in a corn dog line at 1 pm. Crazy. I'd have prefered a sit down meal.

We loved Goofy's for bfast and Minnie's at the Plaza had the best character interaction. There were so many it was hard to eat. Lilo & Stitch had a fun meal but not a lot of characters and I wasn't impressed with the food selection. Very limited. I wish there were more character lunches and dinners. I am not crazy about large bfasts.

We wound up eating at Croc's at the DLH Sat night for a quickie dinner and it was fine - the nachos were great!

Blue Bayou was the best IMO. I had the pork chop and just loved it. I would have gone back another night, but no ressies to be had. The desserts were wonderful. DDs and I split a chocochip cookie boat and it was so yummy. DH had some sampler thing with a sugar treasure chest.

The girls had fun at the Neverland pool. We played with the remote Jungle boats a couple times & had fun. Didn't do too much exploring at the hotel because we were so park busy. Overall, we were just toooooo busy and rushed & really wish we only did 2 San Diego nights.

I know somebody was curious about Paradise Point Resort in San Diego. I wouldn't stay there again. I was really disappointed. I booked a "Garden Bungalow" and it was (as I was TOLD on the phone by the reservationist) supposed to either have a garden or pool view. It had a parking lot view - and I mean RIGHT there 3 ft outside my windows - or a cement patio view with the next ugly brick "bungalow" about 10 ft away. Yuck. We had two Adirondack chairs on our cement patio that were so dirty we never sat on them. The decor inside was cute - very beachy cottage style and the bathrooms were pretty nice. We had a cute little kitchenette, too, which was handy. Our king bed was OK, but kind of lumpy and squishy and the sofa bed was unusable. The mattress was like a chain link fence. Luckily the girls slept on my parent's unused queen in their connecting room. If we didn't have connecting rooms there would have been a real issue. We talked to the manager about switching mattresses & he tried, but they are all crummy. It's just what they have.... Crummy sofa bed mattresses. I know good ones exist in the hotel world, but they only had cheap thin ones. He credited us some money back but on check out it was ADDED vs deducted from our bill ! Good thing we caught that or it would have been really ironic, haha. As it turned out, my son did not come and that was lucky for us because everybody had a bed at least. The housekeeping at that resort was horrendous. They would forget toiletries & coffee every day. We flagged somebody down for extra towels (they only left 4) and got them....well, housekeeping TOOK them away the next day so we were left with our standard four towels! They also kept making up the sofa bed which was kind of annoying since we wanted that room as a living room area and they moved all furniture around and it was unusable anyway. The most cruddy thing was that the TVs only got 12 channels and CBS, NBC, and ABC were unwatchable and unaudible there was so much static and buzzing. Most of the time FOX was, too. The other channels consisted of the news channels and ESPN. Not even the weather channel! It was BORING there. I like to fall asleep at night to something on TV....NOT CNN. That's the stuff nightmares are made of, lol. We asked the front desk about it and they gave me some story and sent an engineering guy over for what I don't know because it was all 3 TVs in our suite & was defintely the cable connection. So he tells us they are in the process of switching cable co's and will be adding more channels any day now. Great. I felt bad for my parents because I am the one that chose that resort. The main pool was nice, but nothing special other than a small zero depth entry. The other pools were blah. Just circles or rectangles. I didn't like that we arrived at 11 pm ( my parents had already checked us in) and there was no valet, nothing other than we were handed a map and expected to find our way in the dark in this confusing, winding road. Service was very limited overall at this hotel. There were some pretty lushly planted areas and lagoons, but too much pavement and parking all near the little ugly bungalows. The bungalows were brick square buildings with flat roofs that looked very ugly and cheap to me. We did the zoo which was fantastic and such a great value compared to a disappointing Sea World which we did our first day. We bought the Sea World "fun cards" good for a whole yr. I wouldn't care to go back, though. The zoo puts Sea World to shame and it was a deal, too.

I am just writing as I am remembering stuff. It was 9 nts, but it seems like there was so much crammed into it.

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Old 04-02-2007, 07:05 PM   #15
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We are visiting in May our first trip, we are arriving on a Thursday around 2pm and catching the redeye (11pm) on Sunday night. So we will have 3 full days and 1/2 day on our arrival. Do you think we will be able to do a whole lot? We are staying at DLH standard city view. How long does it take to get to the parks from DLH? What kind of touring strategy did you use? I've heard someone mention ridemax, is this worth looking into! Help please, anyone!
One thing to remember, because DLR is a "local" park, weekends are often twice as busy as weekdays. Do you have EE ?

Doing DL is like MK and MGM put together attraction wise, then add DCA which is another all day park.
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