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Old 07-04-2014, 10:27 PM   #1
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For those who have been to Disneyland

I posted about this in the DL section but figured I would get some good responses here as well. I have only ever been to WDW. I have been about 13 times. I'm heading there twice this year. We are thinking of mixing it up in 2015 and heading to DL for five days in Nov. Coming from someone who lovessss WDW, I am wondering what the big difference is? Which one do you all prefer? Is five days enough to see it all? Which hotel is best? Will I be disappointed since I have been going to WDW all these years? Do they decorate for Christmas like WDW? Any advice/suggestions is greatly appreciated.

Looking forward to Sept 2014 at YC!!

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Old 07-05-2014, 06:06 AM   #2
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You'll get the best answer to this question from your post over on the DL board. HydroGuy has a great super thread there about the differences.

Some personal opinions:
  • Which is better? Both. Seriously, they are very, very good.
  • Is 5 days enough to see it all? Yes, that's enough. You could even do it in 3 or 4.
  • Which hotel is best? We love both the DL Hotel and the Grand Californian.
  • Will you be disappointed? Doubtful. The original park is really special. The new DCA has some really great, unique features.
  • Do they decorate for Christmas like WDW? No, they do it better

One suggestion. When you first enter Disneyland, look to the left above the fire station and say to yourself "Thanks Walt".
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Old 07-05-2014, 06:11 AM   #3
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I've never stayed on site or been to CA. I've only done 2 one day trips to DL and loved it. It is not a disappointment when you're used to FL-more like a breath of fresh air! And the magical feeling of being in the original. Plus, a lot of the "same" rides are better at DL.
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:26 PM   #4
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Went last November, just before Thanksgiving and loved it, planning to go again next year in September as it was quite chilly. I stayed at BW Anaheim Inn as someone told me that the Disney Hotels are nice, but, not worth the money. My hotel was literally across the road from the park entrance and comfortable. I had a four day pass and it was just enough for me, I could have done with another day, so next year I'm hoping to do 5 days at DL and one day at US Hollywood. The parks are smaller than those at WDW and do have a different feel, but, there were different shows on, but, all the usual high quality you get at Disney. I slightly preferred California Adventure. I felt it was slightly more expensive for food in DL, Starbucks certainly was. Many of the rides have the same names as in WDW,but, the rides are actually different in the main, but, some are identical, I love the Space Mountain at DL more than the one at WDW. And why can't you get those Giant Mickey cookies at WDW? I had one every day when I was at DL with a coffee, yum!

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Old 07-05-2014, 04:09 PM   #5
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I have only been to DL once when my daughter won us a free trip and we loved it. We actually prefer it to WDW. We stayed at the Grand Californian, which was gorgeous, and to be able to walk out of the door of the resort and into the parks was amazing. We are hoping to go back again one day, but it's much more expensive to get to California from NY versus to FL.
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Old 07-06-2014, 04:38 PM   #6
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We have been to DL 3 times and love it. We stayed offsite twice and most recently onsite at paradise pier. The prices were comparable. We just got back from wdw and my oldest (20) said he prefers dl. It is great to walk from place to place and not deal with the buses! We didn't see cars land, they were building it during our last trip. World of color was great!! 5 days is more than enough.
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:31 AM   #7
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Have been to DL about 25 times (I'm originally from California) and can tell you it beats WDW is some ways.
1) It has more charm,
2) Park Hopper tix make sense here, as you can simply walk across the plaza to the other park,
3) Make sure you do Casey Junior, Storybook Boats, Matterhorn, Roger Rabbit and Cars Land, as these are ONLY in DL,
4) Many of the CA rides are only available in DL
5) Take a good look at Main Street--lots of great stuff there that people often overlook as they are racing to get onto a ride,
6) Offsite hotels are within walking distance and are usually a bargain, so no buses to deal with.

On the other hand, WDW does have more to do--AK, etc.

4 days may be enough, if you are able to keep going. At 60, I now have to rest often. I spent 5 days on my last trip. Can't stress enough to go to Cars Land--all three rides are fantastic, Flo's cafe is great, just walking through the land is great fun!!!
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:36 AM   #8
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We finally made it back to WDW this year after four trips to DLR since our last visit to WDW. We didn't feel, being back at WDW, that it blew DLR away nor did we wish we were at DLR instead. There are absolutely a lot of great things about each resort. It is also kind of fun trying to get your bearings at one park after being at the other, but it doesn't take long to get adjusted.

Simply stated, if you love Disney parks, you will love DLR as much as you love WDW.
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Old 07-08-2014, 03:24 PM   #9
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I'm originally from NJ and have been living in California for 14 years now. We are about 5 hours North of Disneyland, not including traffic so add another hour or two. Been to WDW many times, even got married there. IMO, WDW is better. More to see, more to do. Disneyland is a lot smaller, it's just that and California Adventure. When we go, it's just usually 3 or 4 days and we always find ourselves getting bored at the end. Don't need nearly as much time at DL than you do at WDW. We are DVC Members so we usually stay in the villas at the Grand Californian. It has it's own entrance into California Adventure. We have also stayed at the Disneyland Hotel which is nice and has a lot of history to it. Yes, they decorate for Christmas and it is nice, it's just done on a grander scale at WDW. Though It's a Small World is always nicely decorated.
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:30 PM   #10
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We just did a June trip to DLR. We stayed at Paradise Pier Hotel onsite because it was the most economical onsite resort. We usually stay at The Wilderness Lodge at WDW. The Paradise Pier is no where near as nice as The Wilderness Lodge, but it was significantly cheaper than the other two Disney hotels. We spent 4 full days on the two parks. There were just a handful of things we didn't get to do. We could've gotten to them with one more day, but we did all the things we really wanted to do in 4 days. We took nap breaks every afternoon because I have a 3 year old. Without those breaks we could have done more, but they were very necessary for my son. Arrive at the parks as early in the morning as possible. You can get a lot done before 11 am if you have a 7 or 8:00 entry time. Staying onsite allows you early entry to one of the parks everyday. Only onsite guests get the chance to enter DCA early. This comes into play with getting some of the headliners done before the park opens to the general public. Carsland is amazing. The Aladdin stage show is the best Disney show in either DLR or WDW. Things feel much more laid back in DLR than WDW. I guess it's the California lifestyle! Pirates is so much better at DLR as is Big Thunder Mountain. Being able to walk everywhere and not have to rely on buses is awesome. Park hopping is easy. It's literally almost like walking from Future World to World Showcase at Epcot. The two parks are that close together. The parks still use the paper Fastpass system.

I love WDW and I love DLR. They share many characteristics but each manage to retain their own unique qualities. I have been to WDW around a dozen times and have been to DLR twice. WDW is much closer and a much more convenient trip from where I live. I know that we will take many more trips to WDW in the future than we will to DLR, but we will make another west coast excursion to DLR in several more years. Once my son is tall enough and old enough to do all of the rides in DLR we will head back that way.

The best advice I can give is to approach DLR with an open heart and resist the urge to compare every little thing to WDW. If you do that I have no doubt you will fall in love with the DLR. The Disneyland boards are full of great advice for getting the most put of your trip.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:12 PM   #11
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My family loves WDW--we've made 16 trips in the past 10 years. We have also been to DL twice. Our first trip was in April 2012 and we went again in March of this year. We really enjoyed DL. It has a totally different "feel" than WDW. We are DVC members and stayed at the Grand Californian both times. Being able to walk out of the resort and into the parks and Downtown Disney is very nice. No time is wasted on transportation--this is one of the biggest differences. As mentioned before, it's really neat to visit "where it all began" and we did the "Walking in Walt's Footsteps" tour and even got to visit his apartment. There are definitely some rides at DL that are the "same" as WDW but better! (IMO Pirates and Space Mountain) When we went in 2012 Carsland wasn't open yet--so we were anxious to see it this year. Wow. It alone was worth the trip! Amazing. I wish they'd build a Carsland at WDW!! And World of Color--also at California Adventure--is spectacular.

Five days should be enough to see it all at a nice pace. Our last trip we arrived on a Saturday night and left on a Friday morning--so we had 5 full park days. Definitely read Hydroguy's tips on the DL boards. They were EXTREMELY helpful.

You will NOT be disappointed--but if you're like my family you will still miss WDW--because that's where your heart is. We are going to WDW next week--even though we weren't planning a trip this year because we missed "the world". But I am still so thankful we've been to DL and I'm sure we'll go again some day.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:32 AM   #12
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DLR has been our "home" for 50+ years but we now visit WDW quite often due to our CM daughter being based there. We enjoy experiencing all the differences in the parks and know you will, too!

mesaboy2 has begun his DLR Trip Report. A great resource for you as he's writing from a WDW fan's point of view and gives a very accurate description of the differences between WDW and DLR.
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Old 07-12-2014, 03:56 PM   #13
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I have been to WDW 8 times and am looking into DVC. I LOVE WDW but DLR will always have a sweet spot. Anyway, I heard so many mixed reviews comparing the two that I was extremely nervous. I stayed at the Sheraton in Anaheim and miss it. It was very clean, the grounds were well kept. The outside was SO cute! It reminded me of Pinocchio Village Haus. I dreaded the shuttle service since WDW buses are.... WDW buses however in mid August, the buses were never more than half full (if that). I was on one of the first buses out and left at closing. I spent the whole day there for 3 days and it was wonderful. I could have done another two. I didn't miss much (except Matterhorn!!!), the Disney Junior stuff as it was just me, and never waited more than a half hour (except for the Nemo Subs). But I took advantage of the single rider lines and buddy passes. I had park hopper and certainly used it. Watching Wishes from Main Street is always a must on my first night at WDW but I didn't watch any fireworks from Main St!! I love Fantasmic so I had to see that. Once I saw World of Color, I was hooked! I bawled the first time I saw it so I HAD to see it again. I was breathtaking. It's the absolute best show I've ever experienced. I walked past the fireworks at Disneyland and watched from the walkway between the parks. It was good but I didn't hear the music so it didn't have the same effect. Be sure to talk to the CMs! I talked to the sweetest lady in the bookstore. She had worked there since she was a teen. She said that her dad had done construction building DL. When she was a kid, she was walking around looking for restrooms. She was stopped and questioned by a kind guy near PoC. He asked her thoughts and what she liked/would change about the park and then pointed her in the direction of the closest restrooms. The guy was Walt Disney!! I walked away with tears in my eyes,

NOTE! I didn't do my research before I went and didn't know that Matterhorn was only open on the weekends! That was the only low point of the trip. One day, I'll make it back!
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Old 07-13-2014, 04:49 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Moseymouse View Post
NOTE! I didn't do my research before I went and didn't know that Matterhorn was only open on the weekends! That was the only low point of the trip. One day, I'll make it back!
I've never heard of this. Matterhorn is open on weekdays just like the other rides; there must have been another reason for it to be closed.

We are AP holders at DL. According to my online profile on their site, I've been to DL 114 times in the last 10 years. We love it, and I regularly take my children for short days during the week.

I have also been to WDW 3 times. They are both great! The two resorts have a different feel though. DL can be done in 3-4 days, and it is really nice to be able to just walk from one park to the other. If you stay at one of the hotels in DTD or across the street on the other side, you won't even need to use your car. I haven't stayed in the hotels down there, so can't comment on that.

Christmas decorations are amazing! Everything is beautifully done, and two of the rides receive holiday makeovers, Haunted Mansion and Small World. November will be a nice time to go too, weather wise.

In short, I agree with everyone else. You won't be disappointed, because it's different. Even the rides that are "the same" are different. I'm looking forward to seeing what my kids think of WDW's version of their favorite rides is.
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Old 07-16-2014, 02:34 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Moseymouse View Post
NOTE! I didn't do my research before I went and didn't know that Matterhorn was only open on the weekends! That was the only low point of the trip. One day, I'll make it back!
DLR doesn't run any of the rides just on weekends or weekdays. All of the rides are open when the park is open. I'm sorry you didn't get to experience the Matterhorn, there have been shutdowns intermittently throughout the day because it gets too hot inside the mountain.
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