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Old 12-16-2013, 09:30 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Christmas Trip - Disappointing.

Just returned from a trip Dec 8th to 15th. Some observations (I know most of you will disagree and that's fine):

1. The Disneyland Hotel: We had always wanted to stay here, hearing so many good things about it. My quick summary after staying here a week though is that this might be the most overrated hotel I have ever stayed at. With my AP discount, I got my room for about $320 on average per night. I don't know what I was expecting, but it was very underwhelming. The room is fine....its about what you might expect at say a Marriott or a Hilton. The bathroom was a bit below par, thought I must admit the room was...well....roomier than most 4 star hotels. Be aware that the wifi is terrible and drops off often. Be aware that if you want to park a car there, you have to pay them $15 per night on top of the outrageous rate already....and you have to walk what seems like a mile to your room. Be aware that if you want to use their business center, they'll charge you $5 per ten minutes and $1 per printed page. The pool is very large and nice, but really nothing special. The waterslide is good for small children. My breaking point came when I wanted to take my family to Goofy's for dinner. I walked in and they wanted $48 for each of us......anyone over 9. I don't know about you, but my 10 and 11 year old don't eat $48 worth of food in 4 days let alone one meal. What a joke.

2. Since we stayed on site, we tried many of the restaurants in downtown Disney. We tried House of Blues, ESPN, Naples and Earl of Sandwich. House of Blues was decent, but VERY expensive for what you get. $9 cocktails and overpriced food for the most part - however that was expected. I had always wanted to try it and did. I probably will never go back. Napes was horrendous. Extremely expensive and we got Pizza that tasted like it was an undercooked frozen pizza. Do not go. ESPN - we liked this place. Biggest reason was that I am a huge hockey fan and I could see my team play here - while the kids entertained themselves in the games area. Like everything it's not cheap though. The games will cost you a fortune - use your AP to get double points. Earl of Sandwich is ok. Good sometimes, bad others.

3. The worst thing about staying on site is that you can't get away from any of the price gouging. Wherever you eat, you get hammered - and the food is not even that good. Mimi's across from Disney was just as good as any meal I have had at Disneyland, and it's reasonable with lots of extra's. Most of the big shiny bright lighted restaurants in Downtown Disney are all style and no substance.

4. Park food is not that good and costs a fortune. I think everyone knows this already.

5. The CM at Disney have become progressively ruder each time I have visited. There is an underlying notion from many of them that you are lucky to be there and having them serve you, not the other way around. Most of them talk to me like they are my teacher. Don't get me wrong, many are very nice......but there is a very large contingent that simply have no customer service skills. Disney needs to get to work on this.

6. The whole Christmas thing did nothing for me. It was 23 degrees and warm......hard to get into the Christmas spirit. This is probably because I come from snow.....many of you will not have this issue.

7. The crowds were extreme. Most days during the week I was there - 8th through 15th - it was about a 6/10. Friday and Saturday were 10/10. You could not move in Disneyland either of those days. That was very disappointing - as we had expected mid week crowds to be low.

8. There is such a thing as too much Disney, imo. Staying off site allows you to get away from everything every day and recharge a bit. I missed that. I missed the slow pace of Mimi's or the Howard Johnson. Staying on site - you always have the Disney music in the background, Disney characters roaming - you just never get a break. For some that's a good thing, I suppose. For me it was not.

Perhaps I just need a break from Disneyland, I am not sure. I am not one that minds paying for entertainment, meals, etc. What I felt like this time though - was that I was being gouged at every turn and that most of the people gouging me made me feel like I was the recipient of an unbelievable privilege just to be served by them. I paid $499 x 5 for AP's this year, because we were visiting twice. For that, I got a reduced rate on site - at about $320 average (LOL - reduced!), and 10% off inflated food and merchandise. It's all just too much for what we are getting, IMO. Disneyland will start pushing people away. Once it gets a rep like that, I am concerned it may turn people off long term. It's really straddling the boundary between acceptable and overpriced....but I suppose in their opinion if saps like me are willing to shell the money out, might as well charge them. I do hope they scale it back a bit though.
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:39 PM   #2
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Last edited by alicia1506; 12-19-2013 at 12:59 AM.
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Old 12-19-2013, 04:55 AM   #3
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Try Knottsberry?

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Old 12-19-2013, 05:44 AM   #4
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Now this looks awesome!


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Old 12-19-2013, 05:50 PM   #5
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to me it sounds like you had made assumptions and had expectations for your trip that perhaps could have been adjusted with a little forethought and research.

personally, i research for ages when planning a trip to ensure that my expectations are reasonable. a quick visit to the disneyland hotel website, a quick visit to tripadvisor.com or the disneyland hotel forum here on the dis, or even google.com would have given you the info about the charges at the hotel, and you could have factored them into your budget.

a quick trip to touringplans.com and you could have learnt to expect high crowds on those dates and either adjusted your expectations and/or travel dates accordingly.

tbh, research goes a long way. and really, if your entire trip is ruined and you want to avoid experiencing this kind of thing again -- maybe invest some time into asking these types of questions on a forum like the dis and/or googling -- it will save you this disappointment you seem to be feeling, and will save you from writing off an entire vacation destination simply because you had expectations that couldn't have been met in reality.
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Old 12-20-2013, 11:14 PM   #6
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I've got to agree with Alicia. While I'm sorry to hear your trip was a disappointment, research may have spared some of those disappointments. .. At least you can say you've learned what you like/dislike about Disney.
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Old 12-20-2013, 11:52 PM   #7
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I am sorry you did not have the greatest of time on your DL vacation.

Reading over your post, I live here in the OC so I have not stayed on property so that I cannot comment on.

DTD, I will be very honest with you my family have eaten at ESPN zone 2x and both times the food was awful. First time we thought it was maybe an off day for them; so we tried it again........even worse. Now NAPLES, I ate at NAPLES with tons of family and friends twice last week! We love it!

Crowds; ya, this is probably DL's busiest time but had you done a bit of research you would have known that.

Its my favorite time hands down. What did you mean by 23 degrees and warm?

I love HMH and IASW is amazing! The Christmas Parade is just so fabulous! The Christmas decorations all over both parks are festive!

As far as too much Disney, my DH and I just renewed our passes and went from Deluxe to Premium!

We just love all the Magic that is found in Disneyland/DCA!!!!!

OP, what were some of the highlights of your trip? What did your kiddos like the best?


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Old 12-21-2013, 08:17 AM   #8
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"Its my favorite time hands down. What did you mean by 23 degrees and warm?"

I have a feeling that 23 degrees is referring to Celsius not Fahrenheit. Which would mean the weather is about 73 degrees F. That is great Disneyland weather to me, but to each his own.
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Old 01-14-2014, 09:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ttig34 View Post
"Its my favorite time hands down. What did you mean by 23 degrees and warm?"

I have a feeling that 23 degrees is referring to Celsius not Fahrenheit. Which would mean the weather is about 73 degrees F. That is great Disneyland weather to me, but to each his own.
Yeah, this baffles me. Being from somewhere that is cold and snowy, I would love to get away to someplace warm for Christmas. Walking around Disneyland in snow and freezing temps sounds awful.
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:49 AM   #10
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I'm sorry you had such a horrible experience. But, it kind of sounds like you were expecting a WalMart/Target price for a full Disney experience? That's not realistic if staying and dining at a DLR property

Hopefully you and your family had SOME level of fun on the trip.
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:35 AM   #11
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Although we all know Disney hotels are expensive, food in the parks & DD are expensive, and they might nickle and dime us in some cases, we all go back...WHY? Because we LOVE Disney! Call me "Goofy" but I know exactly what I am paying for. I feel happy when I'm there, I leave all my cares behind, and have the best time ever!

Sorry you had such a bad experience, it sounds like nothing was to your satisfaction. Where do you normally vacation? You might want to try other areas, maybe a cruise or an all inclusive where everything is included?

I for one, am looking forward to our Disneyland vacation in November, can't wait to see all the decorations, see all the characters dressed up in their holiday finest, Haunted Mansion & IASW and all the other beautifully decorated areas! Can't wait to eat gingerbread beignets & have hot chocolate with peppermint, and smell all the other heavenly smells, along with seeing the fireworks, WOC, holiday parade!! It's magical and amazing during that time of year!

I'm with the other poster who said that with a bit of research, a lot of your financial surprises could have been avoided.

I suggest you try a quiet, secluded area with a lot of reasonably priced restaurants and Motel 6's! You get your moneys worth there, maybe even a free breakfast!
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:47 PM   #12
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I'm sorry to hear you had such a disappointing experience. I went shortly after you did and we had a great experience generally, although the crowds were insane. One of the reasons I like the VGC was in addition to proximity, parking is included. Like you said, there is such a thing as too much Disney for some folks and there is no such thing for either. While I'm sure I could be eventually done of it, GC's understated nature made it so we didn't have that problem. At least you tried something new and now have the benefit of knowing where you are happier when visiting the park again. FWIW, while not as kid friendly, Napa Rose was out of this world and we thought well worth the price.

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