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Old 12-08-2014, 11:36 AM   #1
939913Noles
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Considering Disneyland for our next trip

We have done several trips wo WDW and have loved each trip. that said, we are considering a trip to Disneyland for our next visit to try something new. So, who has done both and how would you compare them? It's me, my wife, 2 daughters age 9 and 7, and a 4 year old son.
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:42 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 939913Noles View Post
We have done several trips wo WDW and have loved each trip. that said, we are considering a trip to Disneyland for our next visit to try something new. So, who has done both and how would you compare them? It's me, my wife, 2 daughters age 9 and 7, and a 4 year old son.
We much prefer WDW to DL because there is so much more to do for so
many days at the Florida parks,

BUT...

Many of the attractions shared with WDW are a bit
"better" at DL.

Pirates, Fantasmic!, Space Mtn., just to name a few.

Indiana Jones ride is one of the best Disney creations
in the US parks (with, by far, the best queue.)

And, the fireworks show at DL may be the BEST, most elaborate and creative
fireworks show ever designed.

There's "World of Color" evening spectacular that just debuted at DCA.
And, DCA offer "Cars Land" which is spectacular!

And yes, DL can be crowded most any day of the year.

One more thing. WALT spent a lot of time there.
He loved that park.
DL is special for that reason alone!

Lots more, but that's a thumbnail from me.

Check below for more:

DLR for WDW Veterans by HydroGuy
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1162599
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:46 AM   #3
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We've only done DL once, but we will definitely be returning! It's neat to compare the same rides in both parks. We also found the food to be better in DL than WDW. They seemed to have healthier options at the counter service places.

It is amazing though how small DL is! The rides are literally right next to each other. It's also in a city, which is different too.

You'll have a great time! Enjoy!
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:50 AM   #4
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We made our first trip out west this year and LOVED it! The two parks have their own strengths and fun quirks. I say, go for it!!

A couple bits of advice.

Stay at a good neighbor hotel as close as you can. We stayed at Best Western Park Place Inn. It is literally across the street from the entrance. The walk is about as far as you walk from the farthest bus stop at MK. Very good complementary breakfast too.

We had three day park hoppers (you DO want hoppers here), and I thought we would have plenty of time to do everything, but we didn't. Now, the biggest reason for that was the multiple rides on Radiator Springs Racers, but one more day would've been nice to fit in some of the things we missed.

As I just said, you DO want hoppers. The two parks are right next to each other and you only go through security once. Walking from park to park is about like walking from Innoventions to the World Showcase in EP.

Please try to make the trip. I think your family will have a great time and see Disney in a different light.
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:01 PM   #5
939913Noles
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Thanks for all of the great replies. Wow!

Are they under legacy Fastpass there or Pastpass+ like at WDW? Dining plan?
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:04 PM   #6
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i think it's kind of an apples to oranges comparison. lots of similarities, but also a lot of differences. I'm a dl local. wdw for sure has a bubble to it, whereas unless you're staying deluxe, that bubble is pretty much nonexistent. it's extremely compact compared to wdw. this puts you in close quarters with everything but also everyone. certain things have a nostalgic quality to them and there's remnants of rides long past that are interesting to spot. some stuff wdw does better, some stuff dl does better.
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:05 PM   #7
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I think overall the quality of the entertainment and rides at DL is far superior to WDW. The food is better, and the character meals are not very popular, so they are super easy to get in to. Everything is really close (DL, DCA, and Downtown Disney) so very convenient.

On the downside, the CM's tend to be crabby, and it doesn't have a "vacation" atmosphere that WDW has. Because a lot of locals show up in the evenings after work or on the weekends, and are happy to grab a snack and sit for hours chatting to watch the evening shows, the waits for these can be ridiculous. I have literally seen people sitting by the Rivers of America waiting for Fantasmic! 6 hours before the show. I've seen the hub close 3 hours before the fireworks. I've seen 5 hour stand by times for new rides. The viewing for World of Color stinks. I'm honestly not sure what they were thinking.

Even though we can go to DL any time we want to, we still go to WDW every now and then because it's more of a vacation, and DL is just a day at the Park. So they both have their strengths and weaknesses.

One thing I really feel that WDW is lacking is a good firework show at the MK. The Remember Dreams Come True fireworks at DL are incredible, and like 30 mins long. Wishes is what, 12? Disappointing.
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 939913Noles View Post
Thanks for all of the great replies. Wow!

Are they under legacy Fastpass there or Pastpass+ like at WDW? Dining plan?
Nope. There is a pre pay dining thing I think, but it's not the dining plan, it costs the same or more. No one uses it.

They have the old school FP machines, but very few of them.

The dining thing: http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/disneyland-dining-plans/
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 939913Noles View Post
We have done several trips wo WDW and have loved each trip. that said, we are considering a trip to Disneyland for our next visit to try something new. So, who has done both and how would you compare them? It's me, my wife, 2 daughters age 9 and 7, and a 4 year old son.
I've done both lots. Both are awesome!

How long would you go for? DLR is a theme park zone that you can pretty much do in about 3 days. 2 days at DL and 1 day at DCA is about the sweet spot.

It's very compact... sitting in just a few city blocks, so you can walk everywhere. From the on-site hotels, to DTD, and to both theme parks. That part is really nice. As well the monorail is very functional, taking you between these 3 zones, plus - stopping inside Tomorrowland. It's neat to take the monorail from inside the park to DTD, then back again and get dropped off / picked up over by the Nemo Voyage (former 10,000 leagues ride)

Disneyland will feel comparatively less planned. The main difference is you aren't competing for ADRs 6 months in advance with a million other visitors, you're pretty much dealing with mostly west coast locals who just show up for a day here and there, like we did when we lived there. There is much less in the way of Table-Service planning, but just as much Quick-Service food as WDW.

Of course the rides and organization is all different. They have the Matterhorn which has been there forever, but no new Fantasyland or Enchanted Forest. And they still have ToonTown which I don't care for. New Orleans Square is a great zone, where you have the HM and POTC side by side along the river, and you can watch Fantasmic right in Disneyland from along the shores, it's not a theatrical ordeal like in HS.
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:15 PM   #10
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Don't forget they have the new Cars Land, which is pretty amazing. They really re-did almost all of DCA.

My kids love Toon Town, but they have a lot of "hidden" stuff there like if you step on certain places it makes noise and so on. They think that's so cool. And they have the best fruit salad in the parks at Clara's.
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:18 PM   #11
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I was recently at DL and I described it as "like being in an alternate dimension." It's so similar that you feel like you know where you are/what you will see, but then you turn around and it's different, just enough. I think it's great that they are not identical as it gives a reason to get out to the west coast now and then, but overall I still prefer WDW. Things at WDW are just a little nicer, a little grander, an little more over-the-top, and while certain attractions at DL are better than their counterparts, not all of them are.

Pirates is WAY better at DL (though the queue is better at WDW; really, all queues are better at WDW). Peter Pan is WAY better at MK. Honestly, I'm still not sure which Space Mountain I like better. On a lot of the others the differences are minimal or non-existent.

Unique attractions at DL that make it worth the trip are Indiana Jones, Radiator Springs Racers, World of Color, & California Screamin', plus all the classic Fantasyland rides that WDW has gotten rid of or never had (Snow White, Mr. Toad, Alice in Wonderland, Pinnochio).

I think it's certainly worth the trip. Bear in mind the parks can be a lot busier in what WDW vets might think of a slow times, especially on weekends. They draw a LOT of locals from the densely populated Southern California, so lines can get long, and the overall smaller space feels even more crowded. Smart planning and some old-school FastPass running can help you cope though. It's definitely something any Disney fan should visit.
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 939913Noles View Post
Thanks for all of the great replies. Wow!

Are they under legacy Fastpass there or Pastpass+ like at WDW? Dining plan?
We've done DL many times, and always enjoy it there. One of the great things (and the reason why I'm really looking forward to our next visit there) is that they still use legacy FP!
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:23 PM   #13
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You don't need as many days at DL. A three day park hopper will allow you to see everything.

Overall, it's a great park with things you won't see at WDW like Carsland.

I would add a few days at the Southern California beaches too! That would be a fantastic week!
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:26 PM   #14
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My son and I went last year. We spent 4 days in the parks, stayed at the Disneyland hotel, but it was part of a CA trip (we also did Legoland and visited family in San Diego).

Price was, the whole trip was very comparable to WDW, I thought. Since I had enough points for flights, that wasn't an additional cost.

We were there last spring when it was unseasonably hot and ridiculously windy (windy enough that rides were shut down).

DL is small (you can really tell how small when you drive around it) but it doesn't feel small at all. I liked being there during the week because it wasn't as crowded, but they don't have fireworks during the week.

You can make dining reservations in advance, but I didn't have trouble making them day or or even walking in (I think we waited maybe 20 minutes for one place but it was air conditioned so we didn't care).

At DL isn't not uncommon to see characters strolling down the street (usually on their way to their meet and greet spot because they don't have crazy backstage access like WDW). Once we high fived genie as he walked past, and another I almost ran into Cruella deVille while I was looking at my map.

I definitely think it's worth a visit, just don't expect it to be the same as WDW!
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:29 PM   #15
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If you've never been to DL, I highly recommend! Having been to both, I can't say I prefer one over the other, but DL and DCA are really something special.

It's a much more laid back environment than WDW, no FP+ and no getting up at the crack of dawn to make ADR's at 180 days out.

I personally love Christmas time at DL, the Haunted Mansion Nightmare Before Christmas overlay is one of my favorite things EVER.

Check out the DL boards here. I believe there is a thread for WDW vets.

Happy planning!
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