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Old 08-27-2008, 04:18 PM   #1
TheTXTaylors5
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First DLR Trip was magical! TR (3/09) Heading back for more magic! TR w/pics (4/10)

I am in the beginning stages of planning a trip to Disneyland and California Adventure (by way of Albuquerque, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Redwood Forest. After DL we are going to Legoland, San Diego Zoo and then the long trek home) for next December. I can't wait to make the pilgrimage to the "holy land" of DL where it all started. Our children love taking roadtrips. So, it will be fun to have our own Griswold-like Vacation (long as they don't close DLR!!!!)

Any tips on a DLR vacation/roadtrip are welcome as nothing has been reserved and we are pretty open to suggestions. We are WDW pros. DLR is a whole new experience for us (Where to eat, stay and play????????? ).

I am sure I will be on the Disneyland section of this site a lot more this upcoming year to gain more information.

Thank you in advance for any responses.

Jennifer
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Old 08-27-2008, 04:35 PM   #2
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Probably the first thing is to figure out if you want to stay in a DLR hotel or off site somewhere. You only have a choice of 3 if you want a DLR hotel. There are many less expensive choices off site in Anaheim and Garden Grove.
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Old 08-27-2008, 04:51 PM   #3
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First we will get you started on your Disneyland lingo!

Disneyland (DL) is a park at the Disneyland Resort (DLR). DLR has two parks (DL and DCA), three hotels (DLH, PPH and GCH) and a Downtown Disney (DTD) along the lines of DTD at WDW but smaller (and closer).

Abbreviations you might want to check are listed here:

DLR Abbreviations List - www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1520784

As far as hotels, here is a good starting point:

"HydroGuy's Hotel Rule" www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1199862

As far as being WDW vets, here is a lengthy thread just for you that gets lots of mileage around here:

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

DLR has it's strengths, but dining is not one of them - especially when compared to WDW. But you are not without options. See the section on dining in the DLR Guide above.

Have a great trip. California is a special place. And so is DLR.
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Old 08-27-2008, 04:56 PM   #4
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As far as dining, check out the allears menus here and also check out the DL Dining Reviews (aka food porn ) here. That will give you an idea for meals, snacks, etc.

You need to decide if you are staying onsite or offsite. If offsite, do you want to be within walking distance or are you okay with using the ART (or driving)......

It sounds like a good time
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Old 08-27-2008, 06:07 PM   #5
TheTXTaylors5
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Thanks for the DLR correction. I've been on the WDW threads so much, I need to get the DLR lingo down.

We "plan" to stay on-property just to be immersed in the whole Disney experience. So out of the three Disney hotels, what would be your personal choice and why?

Also, I've made ADRs for WDW numerous times. Does it work the same for DLR? Is there a special phone # to call? Any personal favorite restaurants/counter-service within the parks?

Is DTD at DLR the same as WDW? Having both parks and DTD within walking distance of the hotels is a major plus for staying on property too. It looks like a really neat area.

Thank you for the links. I guess I need to start reading. I love to plan. So, having this adventure ahead of us is very exciting to me. We have two WDW trips coming up (September and November (Thanksgiving)/December. Once those trips are through, I plan to make some solid decisions and book our hotel and lodging on the way to CA.

Thank you again for all the links and information.

Jennifer
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Old 08-27-2008, 06:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
Thanks for the DLR correction. I've been on the WDW threads so much, I need to get the DLR lingo down.
We will have you talkin' like a DLR vet in no time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
We "plan" to stay on-property just to be immersed in the whole Disney experience. So out of the three Disney hotels, what would be your personal choice and why?
I have only stayed the at PPH on property. I think most of us would choose the GCH (Grand Californian) if we had to choose among the three as it is the newest and, well, the grandest. Those who have stayed at the Wilderness Lodge at WDW often compare the GCH to that.

I would love to stay at the GCH but with four kids that would mean we would have to get a $uite for $ix which is just way expensive.

As discussed in the DLR Guide link, immersion at DLR is not the same at DLR as WDW and IMO you will not be that much more immersed at the Disney hotels than some of the nearby good neighbors. If money is no object then by all means go Disney. But many of us around here do not see the benefit for extra Disney hotel cost at DLR as we might at WDWas the added value to the experience is not as much. But some will disagree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
Also, I've made ADRs for WDW numerous times. Does it work the same for DLR? Is there a special phone # to call? Any personal favorite restaurants/counter-service within the parks?
Nope. Works very differently. At DLR they are called PS (Priority Seating) and you can make them 60 days in advance. While WDW publishes park hours, EMH, and entertainment 6+ months in advance, DLR does it 2-4 months in advance. Usually. Right now they apparently have not done it yet for late Sept which is only a month away.

On the other hand, a PS at DLR is just not that important. We have gotten a PS at DL's signature restaurant the Blue Bayou only a few days in advance in mid-summer. PS's are just not in demand as the ADR is at WDW. And in general dining does not play as signficant a role at DLR as it does at WDW for most DLR vets.

Regarding favorites, most of us would vote for the table service BB (Blue Bayou) at DL. It is special. My family likes the Rain Forest Cafe anywhere we go and there is one at DTD. Our favorite counter services are probably Taste Pilot's Grill at DCA and Redd Rockets Pizza Port at DL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
Is DTD at DLR the same as WDW? Having both parks and DTD within walking distance of the hotels is a major plus for staying on property too. It looks like a really neat area.
DTD at DLR is roughly similar to WDW except, as I said, it is smaller and closer to the hotels and parks.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:47 PM   #7
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to the Disneyland section from another Texan! (BTW, what part of Texas are you in?)
We are planning for our 8th annual trip to the park in November. Our very first trip sounded A LOT like yours since it was the first time we had ever headed west. I think we went to all the places you mentioned. (I want to let you know that it CAN snow in the Grand Canyon.... who'd have ever thought? Certainly not what we had ever expected! And wouldn't you know it... it was so over cast that we could barely even see the canyon. It was pretty but I hope you have better luck seeing the big hole!) In our most recent years we have taken to spending all our time at DL. (My DH does NOT make for a fun road trip companion!) Anyway, it is worth it to see the sights in the area at least once and you have made a good variety of choices. When planning to go to Legoland, be sure to check the hours and days they are closed. Their hours are much shorter than DL.

I agree with pretty much everything HydroGuy had to say. He is such a wealth of information! Only thing that I would add is that I would go ahead and make ressies at Blue Bayou just to be sure without a doubt that I could get in. It is the our favorite dining in the park. Their creme brulee is my favorite!

We are another bunch who do not stay on site. There are only four of us but we stay for 10 days which would really add up staying in a Disney hotel. We are easy to please and have never had a problem staying across the street on Harbor. We prefer a 2 room suite which we can get for what a standard room would cost on site. I often think our room is closer and I don't have to go through Downtown Disney and resist the temptation to spend even more money. I am NOT a big shopping fan anyway.

If you have any more specific questions you have certainly come to the right place! Everyone here is so helpful!
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:55 PM   #8
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We've never stayed "on-property" at DL. If we've taken a weekend there we've stayed at another hotel (usually we drove down for the day). IMO, they are way more expensive than the majority of the WDW resorts. Although if I had a choice, no expenses spared it would definitely be the Grand Californian.

It's been almost 3 1/2 yrs since I've been to DL. We moved far away so I couldn't give you any advice on what it's like now.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 08-28-2008, 12:33 AM   #9
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Ok... looking at your itinerary. The only thing that sticks out to me is Redwood National Park. You do know that this is near the Oregon border? I mean everything else on your list is within 4 hours of each other but the Redwood National Forrest is 12 Hours from Disneyland and 14 hours from Las Vegas! Just FYI!!!
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:51 AM   #10
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Ok... looking at your itinerary. The only thing that sticks out to me is Redwood National Park. You do know that this is near the Oregon border? I mean everything else on your list is within 4 hours of each other but the Redwood National Forrest is 12 Hours from Disneyland and 14 hours from Las Vegas! Just FYI!!!
We figure this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and really want the kids to see those great big trees. Also, we may try and plan something on the way from the Redwood National Park to Anaheim. Any suggestions?

Jennifer
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
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I agree with pretty much everything HydroGuy had to say. He is such a wealth of information! Only thing that I would add is that I would go ahead and make ressies at Blue Bayou just to be sure without a doubt that I could get in. It is the our favorite dining in the park. Their creme brulee is my favorite!
Yah, I did not mean to imply you should not make a PS for Blue Bayou or others. On our trip last summer I made a PS for BB 60 days in advance just to be sure. My point is that a PS at DLR is not the hot ticket like it is at WDW.

If you do go for BB request a waterside table when you make the PS.
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:41 AM   #12
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HydroGuy: Thank you for all those great links and info!

I read the "A DLR Guide for WDW Vets". I was very impressed. It must have taken them awhile to compile all that information.

I have a question regarding "Good Neighbor" hotels . . . (Which seem to be the best value. No, we aren't made of money. This will be our BIG family vacation for the year. Also, we are a family of five and since DS3 just turned 3 (last weekend), we can't squeeze into a room of 4 anymore. ). Are you able to get a park ticket/room combo discount? Also, I read about the MM (magical mornings). Do they not have extra park time in the evening for resort guests? Are the good neighbor guests able to participate in MM?

Outside of DLR:
Just for fun, after reading it on "The Guide" and seeing it in the movie "The Hammer", I want to take the kids to LA to see the tar pits and visit the museum. Our kids love things like that. Is it worth it?

We have been warned traffic going in and out of LA can be horrendous. Is it better on the weekends like mentioned in "The Guide"? We live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas. Traffic can get pretty bad around here during rush-hour. It has been compared to NY and LA regarding the amount of time it takes to go from point A to point B.

We have the DLR Samantha Brown show saved on our DVR. That is what initially got us interested in DLR for December (next year). We've been to WDW during the holidays. But, they don't change The Haunted Mansion and IASW like at DL. We really want to see DLR during the holidays. Do they have a special party at DL like at MK (Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - Which we are going to in December! )??????

I've heard of the restaurant Blue Bayou before. That must be the one people always reference to try at DL. Must be pretty good. I'll put it on the list.

You are all such a great wealth of information. Thanks!

Jennifer
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariezp View Post
to the Disneyland section from another Texan! (BTW, what part of Texas are you in?)
Hi Fellow Texan!

We live in the DFW area (near Denton). How many times did you drive from TX to CA? What month were you at the GC when there was snow? Then again being from TX, we might like the snow but not the bad visibility. We took a roadtrip while I was pregnant with DD5 from TX to Las Vegas. So, DS8 has seen the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Las Vegas. He always tells his sister he wants to take her to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. LV by the way was such a great trip with our then 2 year old. We visited all the resorts, shopped, ate and DH even won some money while we passed through the casino at The Venetian. While there, I didn't drink one bit (8 months pregnant) or gamble and still had fun!

We may fly my Mom out from VA to LV to go on the trip with us from LV to CA (I don't think I could make the whole trip with her in the car. ) Also, she has a brother that live in CA (Tehachapi). So, we'd have to visit him and his family too. I forgot about that, guess I need to work that into the itinerary.

The more I think about this trip. The more excited I am getting.

Jennifer
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:07 AM   #14
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How long are you going to be out here? That sounds like an awful lot for one trip. I checked out your kids' ages, b/c I thought maybe they were all older, but with a 5 and 3 yo? I'd think about paring it down slightly. I'd rather do half this time, and save up for another "once in a lifetime" trip in a 5-6 years. By then they will all be old enough to really enjoy and remember some of the more mature activities.

Honestly, I'm not sure kids that young would even enjoy Las Vegas, the Redwoods or the San Diego Zoo. The Redwoods, while awesome, will impress the kids for about 3 minutes...then they're going to get bored and restless and want to get out of the car b/c they've been stuck in there for 14 hours already!! If you have a zoo in your area, I would *DEF* rethink the zoo. It is a HUGE park with LOTS and LOTS of walking in between the animals and lots of up and down hills. It was rough on me as a teenager for one day, and we opted out of it when we took our kids to San Diego last year. Its really not little kid friendly. Also the animal enclosures are extremely big, so a lot of times you couldnt even see the animals (and a 3 yo def wouldnt be able to see them). And the only thing different there than most other zoos are the polar bears. Personally, I would rather take the kids to SeaWorld. And you still get to see the polar bears, but its way more kid and family friendly. And I think the little ones would enjoy it a lot more.

Also, no days at the beach?! Even if its cold I would still go. Its still fun to pick up seashells and stick your feet in and walk around. I think the beach would leave a lasting impression more than Las Vegas. An 8, 5, and 3 yo are not going to tolerate being dragged around while the adults shop and eat all day. There really isnt that much to do there for kids (and the things that are there are not worth it imo- theyd enjoy more time at DL for sure.) I just really think this trip would go more smoothly if it was centered JUST for the kids- you and hubby can go back sometime and take his sis to LV and you'd all have a lot more fun!

I just think I'd rather have more quality time at the places the kids would really enjoy, than squeezing in so much and not really having the time to relax and enjoy before packing up and heading somewhere else. I can just imagine the meltdowns going on day 4 of "hurry up, lets pack and go" and sitting in the car AGAIN, and having to leave the really fun sites early so you can squeeze in the next one...

I would plan only being at the Grand Canyon for a few hours, if that. Stop for lunch, walk around, take some pictures, you're done. Then I would spend at least 2 nights in San Diego (1 day for SeaWorld, 1 day for the beach), and at least 3 nights in Anaheim (1 day for Legoland, 2 for Disneyland). But you could even add another day in San Diego and another one at Disneyland and still have tons to do and see. We spent two days at the beach, went on a Harbour Boat tour, and I really wish we could have toured the army ships and the sailing ships at the Meritime Museum while we were there, too (my kids were salivating they wanted to go so bad, but oh well, next trip!) Also, Scrippts Aquarium is neat.
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Last edited by pinktink83; 08-28-2008 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:21 AM   #15
perlster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTXTaylors5 View Post
We figure this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and really want the kids to see those great big trees. Also, we may try and plan something on the way from the Redwood National Park to Anaheim. Any suggestions?

Jennifer
The biggest tree on Earth (and thousands of huge pals) is at Sequoia National Park. It's certainly a lot closer to Southern California.
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