Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by RadJad56, Aug 14, 2006.
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How old are your kids? We spent a ton of time in the bugs life area with our 2 year old last time. We EASILY spent an hour at the water park thing there, then another 45 minutes -1 hour waiting and watching the parade. The California Screaming roller coaster is worth a couple rides. You could do a character meal in there at Ariels Grotto as well if you have girls. There is really a ton of stuff to do in that park. We actually spent about half our time last time we were there out of the five days in that park.
I'd stick with DL if you have only one day. Even if you go to WDW every year, DL's rides are so different (and for the most part better), that you won't get bored of them. Plus, DL has some great entertainers and shows. There are several rides that are not at WDW: Indiana Jones, Matterhorn, Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, Storybookland, & Roger Rabbit (I'd add Casey Jr to the list, but it's down for at least another couple of weeks because of some technical problems). In both but better at DL: Space Mountain, POTC, Jungle Cruise (our skippers rock, especially at night), Buzz Lightyear, & many say Peter Pan. Different but equal in my book--Big Thunder and Haunted Mansion. The only ride WDW gets the better of DL on is Splash Mountain.
I could easily find things to do in DCA for a day. What specific questions on the rides do you have? DCA does have TOT, Soarin and the rapids ride which are similar to the same rides in WDW. If those rides don't appeal to you due to similarity, maybe DCA wouldnt' be the best?
Anyway, if you do go, make sure you go to Aladdin. To me, that's worth the price of admission by itself. If I was going to DL I'd at least buy the park hopper option just to go to the Aladdin show. I'm really surprise by how many people I talk to that go to DCA and don't see that show. They're missing out.
For a first time visit to DCA, you could find enough to fill the entire day. Our first trip to DL/DCA after DCA opened we spent more time there then Disneyland.
Personally, if I only had one day, I would fork over the extra $20 so I could "do both" that way I got the best of both parks.
I would still get a hopper. If it were us, we'd do Disneyland, and later that afternoon go over to California Adventure for a while.
There are things we enjoy over there. I doubt we'd fill a whole day though, and it doesn't matter how many times we've gone to Disneyland, we'd never get bored seeing it again. So if I had to only have one day, I'd do DL as much as we wanted and then spend some of our day at CA.
I think I would spend the extra to get the park hopper ticket. As someone else said, you've just got to see the Aladdin show at DCA. It is AMAZING! I had heard it was good from reading about it, but was still totally shocked! Going over in the middle of the afternoon and taking a break to see it would be good. It's at an indoor theater with A/C and nice, comfy seats!
This would be my advice too, unless your kids are very young. CA closed at 9:00 when we were there a couple of weeks ago, and DL was open until midnight. You could easily spend most of your day at CA and still get to DL in time to see the fireworks and spend the rest of the evening.
Which ever you choose you'll have fun... it's as an investment in family time, not just how much you can do, right?
I would recommend the hopper, too.
While we like some things in DCA (like Grizzly River Rapids, the Aladdin show, and Soarin' without the long EPCOT lines), many of the rides there just aren't Disney. To us, the whole Paradise Pier area is basically a boardwalk area with carnival rides. We skip over that area. And the Bugs Life area that is mainly very cute kiddie rides that you can find in any amusement park. We spend some time in DCA, but there is so much more in DL (way more than the MK) to keep us entertained. If we had to choose one park, it would definitely be Disneyland.
I LIKE California Adventure, and if you haven't been there before, I think you can easily spend a day there! But some of it depends on the age of your kids and what you all enjoy doing. There's "a bug's land" for younger kids, but apart from that area, Monster's Inc. and Playhouse Disney, there's not as much for the younger set. For older kids who enjoy thrill rides, there's Tower of Terror, California Screamin', and Grizzly Rapids, not to mention Mulholland Madness, Soarin', and the Sun Wheel, but if you go to a theme park to ride rides, there's not as many at DCA as at DL.
But there's the Aladdin show, which is fantastic, and Golden Dreams is an interesting movie, and I can spend a long time in the Animation Building, between Turtle Talk, Drawn to Animation, the Sorcerer's Workshop, and just sitting inside watching the movie clips. The "tortilla factory" and "Boudin Bakery" tours are a little cheesy, but you DO get free samples.
I enjoy doing ALL of that, so DCA is NOT a "half day" park for me - while I don't want to ride the "carnival" type rides in the Paradise Pier area over and over again, I think they are fun to do once.
I think a lot of people go to DCA with the wrong expectations - DCA is NOT Disneyland and it's NOT Magic Kingdom - it's more like Disney-MGM Studios with a little Epcot thrown in.
I would go with the hopper. The parks are very close together. I can't imagine going to one, and not the other. If I was going to do that, I would just do DL, and it sound like you want to see DCA- so, go with the hopper. Its really worth the few extra $$.
DCA is pretty fun, it has a lot of shows you can sit and watch, moreso then DL has.
For little kids, Tower of Terror is probably not a great idea, even I get freaked out on that ride
Monsters Inc is great for little kids, Bugs life and a few of those are good for little kids as well. Mullhullan Madness is great for your little roller coaster fanatic who doesnt want to go on the big rides yet.
Screamin' is fun, but not to little kid friendly.
If you do go to DCA, DEFINITLY spend the 45-60 minutes to watch the Aladin show, you won't regret it.
I agree though, park hopper is a good value and if its a one time event why not do both? Fantasmic and fireworks are different then WDW and it's fun to see the differences.
Another user posted an excellent thread titled [thread=1162599]"A DLR Guide for WDW Vets"[/thread] I think some of your questions are covered in detail over there. Your concerns about duplicate attractions is covered for sure...
I disagree with those who say park hop. If you only have one day and you go to DW, I would spend the day in DCA so you don't feel like you have to rush from one park to the other. I haven't seen anyone mention the Redwood Creek Challenge Area across from Grizzly River Run. Besides a fun place for the kids to play it has a great little stage area where they do a Brother Bear play that I think is cute.
I don't think of the rides on the Pier as being carnival like (at least not the carnivals that I have been to.) Plus Grizzly River Run is one no matter what the age of your kids you will want to do it more than once.
And don't forget the Block Party Bash parade. it is a lot of fun and interactive. I don't know that you can really call it a parade. They pull out and then stop for 10 or 15 minutes or so and do songs and lots of fun things. My favorite place to watch it is just past the bridge going to Ariel's Grotto. There are lots of great places to eat in DCA and rarely are they overly crowded or slow as it nearly always is in DL. (I love the corndogs!)
There are a number of shows besides just the Alladin (which you HAVE to see.) There is the Brother Bear, one in Bugs Land, one over on the street in front of the Animation Building and another over across from the new Monsters Inc. ride that is a comedy show that uses the audience.
You can always take a break in the Grand Californian's wonderful lobby which has an entrance/exit by the Grizzly River Run that goes directly into the hotel, which also has a couple great resteraunts.
I agree, those kind of rides we see at regular amusement parks or the board walk all the time. So we skip that area too. When we were there it was pretty much dead over there, obviously most people don't think of those rides when they come to the DLR either.
Bugs Life rides are cute, I'd really say toddler age only though.
There is a lot of shows in DCA. Personally we did not care for Block Party Bash, we found it kinda boring, and didn't even see it this year. Probably depends on where the parade stops in front of you. I was disappointed that we couldn't actually see "all of it".
We like some of the shows there, but would never want to spend a whole day just watching shows with a few rides. Which is what a whole day of DCA would be for us. Were there for the rides, that only a Disney theme park could provide. There are other closer amusement parks for us for those basic kinds of rides. Personally we'd feel disappointed if we went to DLR and DID NOT go in to Disneyland. Can't even imagine it. For us DCA is a nice compliment to DL, and we do enjoy many things there, but would never be something we'd do alone.
If you are going when the park hours are fairly long, then a good way to use the hopper is to start in Disneyland (before DCA opens) and get things done before the crowds arrive. Then head over to DCA for the mid-afternoon/early evening. Then return to Disneyland for the last part of the day, even having time to enjoy the night time shows.
No, you don't see everything in either park, but your time is well spent and you do get the highlights of both parks.
There are some things you dont have to see in either park though so that makes the above plan useful, for instance if you have small children you arent going to want to take them on Spcae mountain or California Screamin'.
That was what it was designed as - to depict the waterfront boardwalk type amusement parks that have dotted the CA coast. It is a combination of the old Pike, Santa Monica Pier and others that I can't recall.
That is/was not the intent of the park. The park was designed to depict the flavor of California through the eyes of Disney imagineers. If you go with an expectation to see another or extended Disneyland you will be disappointed. It was never intended to be an extension of Disneyland but a whole seperate park with a whole seperate theme.
ONE FULL DAY
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