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Old 08-26-2012, 04:43 PM   #1
Katems
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WDW Vet Goes to LAND for Six Days for the First Time!!

Hello All~ We go to World just about every summer and this year we began to seriously think about going to LAND! We went back and forth a hundred times trying to decide if the trip from upstate NY was worth it or not, especially as Land has so few hotels and no free dining. We have always done World at the end of August and had the wonderful free dining. I scoured these boards, both the World and Land ones, trying to decide whether or not to take the plunge. I have a stellar Land DVD that came in a six pack from BJs on several of the Disney parks and that really sold me. So we did it!! I thought my comments would help others trying to decide whether or not to go to Cali.

So, planning was stressful. I am a pro at planning World and making a schedule six months in advance and booking those dining ADRs and all that jazz. With Land there's none of that, so that really freaked me out and made me convinced I was doing something wrong. Turns out I wasn't. Choosing a hotel was very stressful. Land's hotels are all deluxes and there are only three. We couldn't afford them plus the Cali airfare, so we stayed in one of the little motels up and down Harbor Blvd. right outside the gates of Land. We usually stay at Wilderness Lodge, but have also stayed at the Poly and Contemporary, so a tiny no name motel was frightening.

I worried for nothing. We chose Candy Cane Inn with free breakfast and parking and shuttle every half hour. It was great! Room was as big as the WL, breakfast was good, and while we used the shuttle a few times, it was a joy to just WALK down the street and be there in less than ten minutes. We wait for buses and boats at WL for longer than that... Cars Land, specifically Radiator Springs Racers was DIRECTLY behind us. We could see it and hear the tires screeching. That was cool. If we could have hopped the fence we'd have had quite the advantage on the other guests, LOL!

We LOVED Land. We loved convenience of the two parks side by side and just walking to and fro with no waiting for transport. Anyone who goes there and doesn't park hop is crazy! You can go back and forth all day long and the two parks are disconnected as far as FPs go, so you can have FP at both parks for the same times. Downtown Disney is right there, too, but I don't care about a bunch of restaurants and shops, personally, so we only went there once for dinner at Rainforest Cafe.

What we liked best about Land attraction wise was the following: Pirates is longer and better, Space is AMAZING!! World's Space is an absolute travesty and should be torn down and redone like Land. It is BEAUTIFUL inside...exactly like a galaxy and SO dark you can't see ANY track and you just see stars and hear awesome music and it's SMOOTH and the cars are COMFORTABLE and there's no jerking. It's awesome. We loved Indiana Jones, too. Toontown is a real town and adorable and worthwhile, unlike the now defunct World's. Small World is beautiful, although I haven't been to World since they redid theirs.

What we didn't like about Land was the Matterhorn was just jerky and horrible sleds, much like World's Space Mountain. Splash Mountain was DARK inside...not an actual dark ride, but it was kinda dim and not the brightly lit adorable ride it is at World. Pooh is not as nice as World. You don't BOUNCE with Tigger...you just ride through with your car staying smooth. They have the original Tiki Room which is better than that awful Iago, but it's still not good.

As for California Adventure, it's great! Screamin' is smooth and super fun and long! The Monsters Inc. and Ariel rides are well done. Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land was okay but I prefer Test Track. The scenery is gorgeous though. Mator's Junkyard Jamboree was fun, but the seats are TINY, really only fitting two people. We hated the Fun Wheel....it took forever and you can't even feel yourself going up and down because it's so slow and you only get one revolution. Looks cool, but is NOT. Grizzly Peak was better than Kali, but I'm not a fan of wet rides anyway. Soarin' was the same, but Tower in World is better with a much better queue and MUCH better boiler room.

Ride queues at Land are not as wide and the turnstiles are particularly small. Pooh sized people may have issues with that. The iron exit gates are HEAVY and they were almost impossible for me to push some of them open. Some rides were really jerky, like Peter Pan! And Toy Story Mania was really jerky, too, which is odd because it's newer. The bar on the doom buggies comes SLAMMING down hard so watch out! I was disappointed that all the rides in Fantasyland that World doesn't have were just boring dark rides like Snow White. There was nothing special about them and they weren't at all exciting.

Land is filled with locals and tons of older teens and young twenty somethings. There are far fewer families there. Everyone was very nice though, and there were fewer screaming kids having meltdowns and fewer frazzled parents yelling at their kids and spanking them. I actually didn't see any of that at all, which was lovely.

We greatly missed the free dining and spent a fortune on food, although we spent much less on Candy Cane Inn than Wilderness Lodge so it probably evened out. Two of us, me and my sixteen year old daughter, now prefer Land. My husband and eleven year old daughter prefer World, but they both greatly enjoyed Land, too. We also REALLY missed Magical Express. We took the Disneyland Express for $99 round trip for four people but we had to get our own luggage and it was hard to find the bus and it's just complicated!

We had to buy five day hoppers as they don't sell six, and when we tried to add a day we ended up having to actually buy a whole new one day pass for each of us. Not at all pleased you can't buy as many days as you want.

Anyway, those are my thoughts!! If you've never been, I highly advise Land. It has a LOT to offer and it's easy to play hard all day. They were open from 8:00 AM to midnight each night, except California Adventure closed at 11:00.

OH~Land REALLY knows how to handle crowds!! They let you cross the street between parade floats!!! You are no longer trapped like you are at World! And they create roped off lines along the sidewalks for people to stand and watch, and leave a huge area behind for people who aren't watching and just need to get through. It's awesome. On that same note, however, I don't care about Fantasmic or parades or World of Color....I wish if Disney was going to do them they would have a whole extra park for them so they didn't affect the touring so much. At California Adventure they actually SHUT DOWN Paradise Pier rides for HOURS so World of Color can go on. That's just wrong! Then they open up for FIFTEEN MINUTES before closing for good. On nights when the park closes earlier than 11:00 they don't reopen at all.

Okay, I'm done now, although I'm sure I left stuff out!

Last edited by Katems; 08-26-2012 at 04:51 PM. Reason: error
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:35 PM   #2
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Very glad you and your family enjoyed yourselves! I myself love the dark rides in Fantasyland but everyone is different. Hope you guys get to come back soon!
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:49 PM   #3
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I agree that Space Mountain, Pirates, and ToT are better at DL. The entry to Small World and Haunted Mansion are fabulous. And riding The teacups under that giant tree with lanterns hanging from the branches is an experience not to be missed!
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katems View Post
What we liked best about Land attraction wise was the following: Pirates is longer and better, Space is AMAZING!! World's Space is an absolute travesty and should be torn down and redone like Land.

I couldnt agree with you more

Everyone was very nice though, and there were fewer screaming kids having meltdowns and fewer frazzled parents yelling at their kids and spanking them. I actually didn't see any of that at all, which was lovely.

oh they are there...they just spared you because it was your first time...

great planning...glad you had fun
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:17 PM   #5
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Thanks for the nice and detailed report. And somehow you never mentioned the weather in August. Although I understand Anaheim has had a heat wave recently. Not sure if you were there those days. Even so I suspect it was much more tolerable than Orlando in August!

Also, when you mentioned the teens and 20's, it made me wonder which days you visited. I would expect that to be more more true after AP summer blockout lifts on Aug 20.

What a bummer about the need to buy a whole new ticket! I think DLR has shot itself in the foot on this one. I think it is likely a short term issue until they get the biometric finger scanners like WDW.

I am afraid Matterhorn has been negatively affected by the new ride vehicles just opened in June. I know I did not enjoy it nearly as much.

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Old 08-26-2012, 07:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for sharing your experience! Glad you enjoyed yourselves. And I very much agree about Space Mountain being way better at DL!
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:32 PM   #7
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Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! We just booked our first DL trip, and it is driving me crazy not having to make ADRs, touring plans, etc. DH and I have sat here the last few nights looking over all of the menus and discussing where to eat. I have no idea why we are doing this, except that it is a Disney habit that we can't seem to break.
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:41 PM   #8
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We just got back, so we visited from August 18-August 24, taking Tuesday, the 21st off to go see the ocean.

The AP blockout ended on Monday, the 20th!! I was Scared. To. Death. about it, but it was no problem at all!! We didn't notice increased crowds at all! We made sure to get to DCA on Sunday, the 19th before the blockout ended, but we still went back each day to DCA and it was just fine. Since we are WDW vets I imagine knowing exactly how FPs work helped, plus we definitely adhere to the 'get there before it opens' rule so we knocked a lot out during the early morning, too.

We did RSR twice, waiting in the FP line for about 25 minutes each time. Then when we rode it was less than five minutes. It was one of the fastest FP lines I've ever been in! I couldn't believe how many early entry people wasted their precious hour waiting in line for FP!

I guess with the dark rides in Fantasyland I was just expecting something more, but it was all the exact same formula. I have no idea why Roger Rabbit has a FP as we walked right on each time...and Toy Story definitely needs one!! Why on earth don't they have it?? Having Screamin' disconnected from the FP 'control center' was a huge blessing....we just got FP after FP for it and rode it whenever we wanted, which was good since it shut down around 7:45-8:00 every night for three hours!! Still bitter about that one, LOL!

Oh, the weather...it was great! It was cool in the mornings and evenings (I needed a sweater) and for just a few hours in the afternoon it was really hot. I expected it to be consistently hot and sunny but that wasn't the case. No rain which was SUCH a pleasant thing considering we go in August to World and contend with rain every single solitary afternoon which is a HUGE bummer...

Last edited by Katems; 08-26-2012 at 07:44 PM. Reason: mistake
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:55 PM   #9
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...Also, when you mentioned the teens and 20's, it made me wonder which days you visited. I would expect that to be more more true after AP summer blockout lifts on Aug 20...
We are often surprised by how many groups of older teens and 20-somethings we see in the parks. (How can they afford it on a regular basis??) Part of this may be the attraction of Mad T Party, since many younger people we ask say that they are meeting up there several evenings a week, if not more often. Another possibility that crossed our minds is the effect of the One More Disney Day DLR debacle. After the gates were shut and the huge crowd was getting ugly, the ticket booths stopped selling 1 day tickets and only sold PAPs. We read this in an Al Lutz column and also heard it from other people we know who got caught in the crowd. Well, most of the people in the crowd were younger (don't know of any senior citizens who were planning on doing the OMDD thing after midnight!). So perhaps the larger number of young adult APs can be attributed in part to the OMDD effect. Late night + alcohol + impulsivity = brand new PAP! If so, it will be interesting to see how many of them choose to/can afford to renew their passes next Feb.
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Katems View Post

We did RSR twice, waiting in the FP line for about 25 minutes each time. Then when we rode it was less than five minutes. It was one of the fastest FP lines I've ever been in! I couldn't believe how many early entry people wasted their precious hour waiting in line for FP!
I'm confused. It sounds like you are saying that you waited in line for FP's but then you also say EE people wasted their time in the FP line. Did you mean you got your FP's later in the day rather than during EE hour?

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We are often surprised by how many groups of older teens and 20-somethings we see in the parks. (How can they afford it on a regular basis??)
Because SoCal AP's are MUCH cheaper than DAP or PAP's. The SoCal Select is only $269. Plus, if they live there and go all the time, it works out to be a really good bang for the buck. If I lived there I would always have an AP. The locals also don't have to spend money on hotels or travel (other than gas) and I think many don't eat expensive meals there. We noticed a lot of young people and young families also in May. I think many grew up going there and it's just a given, they meet their friends there - like the mall was the place to hang out in the 80s.
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:42 PM   #11
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We did not have EE as we didn't stay on site and we didn't buy our tickets in advance. So we arrived at 8:00 when it officially opened and joined the very long line for FP, but all those ahead of us had gotten in line at 7:00 when they came for EE.

We only waited 25 minutes in the line when we arrived at 8:00 (that's still a long time for us, but we took turns waiting in the line while the other parent and kids went off and had fun). I'm just saying if I had had EE I would have used that first hour to enjoy the attractions with little wait, and then gotten in the FP line just before the regular guests showed up at 8:00.
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:07 PM   #12
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Because SoCal AP's are MUCH cheaper than DAP or PAP's. The SoCal Select is only $269. Plus, if they live there and go all the time, it works out to be a really good bang for the buck. If I lived there I would always have an AP. The locals also don't have to spend money on hotels or travel (other than gas) and I think many don't eat expensive meals there. We noticed a lot of young people and young families also in May. I think many grew up going there and it's just a given, they meet their friends there - like the mall was the place to hang out in the 80s.
This. I don't live in SoCal anymore but grew up less than 30min from DL. MANY of my friends in high school even then had APs (I could never convince my non-disney loving dad to let me get one) and would go down all the time-even just for a few hours in the evening to see Fantasmic! (this was shortly after it debuted) or whatever.

I DESPERATELY wish they would extend the SoCal APs to all of Cali. I would be all over that-even though I'm in the bay area now.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:44 AM   #13
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...Because SoCal AP's are MUCH cheaper than DAP or PAP's. The SoCal Select is only $269. Plus, if they live there and go all the time, it works out to be a really good bang for the buck. If I lived there I would always have an AP. The locals also don't have to spend money on hotels or travel (other than gas) and I think many don't eat expensive meals there. We noticed a lot of young people and young families also in May. I think many grew up going there and it's just a given, they meet their friends there - like the mall was the place to hang out in the 80s.
While I agree with you in general, my point was that these young people have premium passes -- $499 when they bought them last year and $649 if they choose to renew. That is a lot of money no matter how you look at it. Monthly payments take much of the sting out of the price, but it still can be tough for a student. We know these have to be PAPs because we are seeing these groups on days when all other passes are blocked. In conversations, we've heard some of these young people admit that they did blow the budget on the AP, so they are determined to get as much use out of it before it expires. Thus they are at Mad T Party or other shows at least several times a week!
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:14 AM   #14
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Glad you enjoyed your time at DLR! Thank you for your insights on the differences. I will be making my first trip to WDW next Fall, and I appreciate the info.

I have to disagree with you on the FL dark rides, however. These are not thrill rides, but they are very entertaining in their artistry and history. Many DLR fans will agree with me when I say that Disney would have to pull the Mr. Toad and other dark ride vehicles from my cold, dead fingers if they ever wanted to remove them.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:02 AM   #15
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Thanks for the very detail review. It is helping to plan our first DL trip next summer 2013. We are from Pittsburgh, PA so it will be a big leap for us to go to DL instead of WDW. Candy Cane Inn is on the top of our list for choosing our motel.
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