WDW CM overwhelmed by DLR planning!

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by SunnyP4Disney, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. SunnyP4Disney

    SunnyP4Disney Mouseketeer

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    I'm a CM for WDW that visited DL 20 years ago as a child. My best friend just moved to LA, so I am in the early stages of planning a trip, either for March or June. I can't believe how overwhelming this is! I've been pricing CM rates for GCH, but it's still so much higher than I'm used to. They quoted me $787 a night for concierge level when I just stayed 2 weeks ago at Wilderness Lodge club level for $180 a night!

    It seems there are major differences benefits wise also. The Magical Express is not complimentary, I cannot get the dining plan as a CM, there's so much that is confusing me. I know so much of the ins and outs of WDW, but DL is so foreign to me. How many days would you recommend? This would be a once in a decade trip, so we are planning four days at least in the parks, then another three for San Diego and Hollywood. My son and husband have never been.

    Is there anything you could suggest to me to help me navigate this new territory? Especially any CMs or former CMs that can get me the low down on
    dining discounts and other perks. Thanks!
     
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  3. skiingfast

    skiingfast <font color=teal>Has had no bacon<br><font color=b

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  4. SunnyP4Disney

    SunnyP4Disney Mouseketeer

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    I am in the process of reading it but it was started in 2006 and is ginormous. I understand GCH is the equivalent of GF, but Ive never seen GF Theme Park View Club Level that high at CM rate. I am wondering if anyone could add anything helpful to me as a CM going as a guest.
     
  5. Disney Dreams

    Disney Dreams Proudly afflicted with TDMA!

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    As you probably tell people at WDW, first thing to remember is the Disneyland and WDW are very different --- as similar as they may also be.

    While the Magic Kingdom may seem similar to DL, it is indeed very different.

    That said, let's start with the meal plan. At DLR, it's NOTHING like WDW. Most people will tell you just to skip the meal plan at DLR. It's really not at all like what you are familiar with and not much to it.

    Next, hotels. The Grand Californian is an amazing hotel. Again, comparing to WDW (and the WL at that) is going to throw you off. Keep in mind that there are only 3 hotels on site at DLR while there are many more at WDW. Additionally, the Club Level is very popular, wanted, and exclusive -- as the price indicates. I just priced out a 4 night stay in the second week of March for four nights for two adults at the GCH for a Concierge Garden standard view room and got $770/night. So my guess is the Cast Member discount you are getting is not much. Also, your dates are popular times. Depending upon when in March you are looking at, you are sneaking up on Spring Break and June puts you right in popular summer time. Also, CarsLand is opening around then so it is expected to be a very popular time to visit.

    If you want to stay onsite and want the least expensive, check out Paradise Pier hotel.

    As for the Parks, keep in mind that the two parks are a minute walk apart from one another. VERY different than WDW.

    In your planning, fight the urge to do things the WDW way. You're coming to DLR. :wizard: Enjoy! It's the original and it's wonderful.

    Hope this helps,
    Dreams
     
  6. DisneyBride'03

    DisneyBride'03 <marquee><font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang</mar

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    It helped me! Thanks...saw the thread, thanks OP..I read that thread, (For WDW Vets) or hit the highlights...I am just interested NOW abt resort/hotel cause I do NOT think I can get in at VGC at 7 mths for a studio over DL Half weekend....ok, fingers crossed, but realistic!
    Will look into PP myself, as a WDW Vet, and while I have researched Good Neighbor hotels...I am one of those who want to be on property...even if some hotels are across the street:laughing:
     
  7. kennedyandkailey

    kennedyandkailey Mouseketeer

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    Not a CM.... but I just wanted to say I feel for you. We are WDW fans and have come to know the ins and outs of WDW over the past 8 years. We are going to DL next month for the first time and I am stunned at how different things are. I was shocked about the Magical Express vs Disneyland Express AND the WDW Dining credits vs DL dining vouchers. SOOOOO different... both better at WDW! We are excited to experience DL for a change and I love the closer proximity of parks and resorts, but it is all so confusing at times. I will be reading the thread as well to pick up on tips that might apply to non CM. Thanks for starting it!
     
  8. HydroGuy

    HydroGuy DIS Veteran

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    The DLR Guide is kept up-to-date. It was last updated in late 2010 and is pretty accurate. You only need to read the first post in the thread. It is long but broken into topics. It will help you better understand the right questions to ask.

    :wizard:
     
  9. Disney Dreams

    Disney Dreams Proudly afflicted with TDMA!

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    Again, I encourage you to view it through the eyes of DIFFERENT vs. better. As a DL veteran, I found so many things about WDW confusing and strange. Meal plans? What? Can't I just buy food? Yes, now I understand how it works, but you have to think of it as different, not better or worse. DL is not WDW so what works at WDW does not necessarily work at DL; therefore, it is not necessarily beter or worse, just different.

    Disneyland is wonderful, amazing, and magical... if you allow yourself to enjoy it and not just compare it.

    HTH,
    Dreams
     
  10. HydroGuy

    HydroGuy DIS Veteran

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    :rotfl2:

    You WDW vets have no idea how easy you have it! Here is the situation at DLR...

    - No need to make dining ADRs or choose parks 6 months or even one day in advance

    - No need to think about transportation from hotels and between parks (if you stay onsite or one of the many good neighbors within walking distance)

    - Rarely need to think about weather (I have never even thought about bringing a rain poncho to DLR)

    All of the above are big issues at WDW that require considerable effort and/or pre-planning at WDW.

    DLR does not have ME. It is not because DLR does not have its act together like WDW does. It is because there are six airports that people use for DLR while WDW has one. Further, WDW is a big fish in the small Orlando pond and has more leverage to negotiate with the city and airport. DLR is a small fish in the big SoCal pond. It has less than half the visitors each year than WDW spread out across all the airports. It does not make sense to have ME even if they could negotiate it with the different California cities impacted.

    Dining is just not as big a deal at DLR than it is at WDW and hence a dining plan is in much less demand. There are lots more locals on day trips (even partial day trips for some of the 900,000 AP holders) and they tend to not take as much time for food. There are some good dining options at DLR but it does play the same role as WDW.

    Further, a DLR trip does not lend itself to pre-planned dining reservations. It is much more dynamic and, well, flexible. You will love how easy it is at DLR to change just about anything on your trip at the last minute. Stress goes hand-in-hand with a WDW pre-planned trip. Leave the stress in Florida and be ready to relax and enjoy the flexibility DLR offers.

    I always get a little concerned by WDW vets who start comparing DLR to WDW too much at the planning stage. If they were the same why would you bother going to DLR? DLR is not WDW and has many areas that are better than WDW. Be ready to be blown away by some of the DLR major entertainment such as Fantasmic, World of Color and Aladdin. And, if it is playing, Remember Dreams Come True.

    :)
     
  11. sonnyjane

    sonnyjane DIS Veteran

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    Perfectly said.
     
  12. RweTHEREyet

    RweTHEREyet DIS Veteran

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    WDW is a WDW vets only frame of reference. What are they supposed to do, compare it to Six Flags? I was in the same boat two years ago, and the best place to start is with what you know.

    We WDW vets all know it isn't the same, but we know it is similar, and you have to start somewhere. If a person can't come to the DIS Boards and ask their questions without being criticized, then where can they go?
     
  13. DisneyBride'03

    DisneyBride'03 <marquee><font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang</mar

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    Good thing I am coming to DL to just run the Half in Sept to get my Coast to Coast medal...geez
     
  14. HydroGuy

    HydroGuy DIS Veteran

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    I was not aware of any criticism. If I came across as critical then I blew it. Sincerely sorry! :flower3:

    In answer to your question, some people (either WDW vets coming to DLR for the first time, or vice versa) set up their home resort as the "perfect" Disney experience and everything that is different is somehow a negative. The problem with this is they can get blinded because some of the differences are actually better - or at least better depending on the circumstance.

    Here is an extreme and rare experience as an example. I recall a WDW vet around here maybe six months ago who claimed Disneyland had "zero Disney magic". Excuse me? It is the only theme park in the world designed by Walt Disney personally. If DL lacks Disney magic then Disney magic has no meaning IMO. I could only conclude that in their definition that

    Disney Magic = WDW

    and anything that was not WDW was not Disney. :confused3
     
  15. IndayMichelle

    IndayMichelle Hopelessly addicted to DLR and WDW popcorn

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    DBF is a CM, but here in Seattle. He works for Disney Internet Group (or Media, whatever they keep changing the name of the brand to). I usually go to DLR without him. The time we did go together, we stayed at PPH concierge level. I think it was about half off?

    You still get dining discount in the parks, and a merchandise discount. There was also a discount on the tour we took. Just like WDW, you show your pass and your ID at the turnstile and they'll issue you tickets.
     
  16. RweTHEREyet

    RweTHEREyet DIS Veteran

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    As a WDW vet with too many trips to WDW to count, I feel for you. Let me see if I can help a little, not from a CM perspective.

    Our first trip to DL was in January 2009. We have DVC, so I did not have to worry about a room, but staying on site at DL is not as big a deal as at WDW. You might consider one of the off-site hotels right outside the DL gates. Some of those hotels are actually closer to the park entrance than the DL hotels are.

    Dining--do not worry at all about a dining plan or making advance reservations. Most dining there is outside, no advance reservation necessary. If there is somewhere you really want to try, most of the time you can book it the same day.

    Three or four days will give gracious plenty time for an experienced park person to take in all of DL. Make sure you put the attractions we don't have at WDW before anything else. Then do the duplicates that you really like to see which you like better. From experience, I really like Peter Pan, Pirates and Its a Small World better at DL.

    Fantasmic at DL is good, but a real hassle unless you book the dessert seating, which is pretty expensive. World of Color is a far better option and worth using some wait time for.

    If your friend you are visiting will be with you, and if they are going to purchase an AP, that really gives some good discounts. I think the shipping discount at DL with an AP is still 20%, and the food discount is 15%. Unlike WDW, you get the AP discounts everywhere, an the CMs always ask if you have an AP so they can give you the discount. At WDW, I feel you have to beg for any discounts due.

    The best thing you can do is to stay on this discussion board and read all the threads, making notes on what is important to you. I, too, found the thread that everyone tells you to read to be overwhelming.

    When you walk into DL, you will feel like someone has rearranged the furniture. Similar enough to be familiar, but just a little "off" in comparison to what you are used to. One of the strangest things to me was not knowing where the restrooms were and having to refer to a park map for the first time in many, many years.

    You will love DL, but don't worry if you find yourself comparing--you won't be able to help it.

    Have a wonderful trip and don't stress. DL is easier to do than WDW and you really do not have to plan as much.
     
  17. DisneyBride'03

    DisneyBride'03 <marquee><font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang</mar

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    As a WDW Vet coming here to the DL experts, I just dont want to feel like we are being :rotfl2: at:)

    Sadly, comments can be misunderstood when not spoken and typed in a forum....
    I really dont think anyone should attempt to compare WDW and DL..its like oranges and apples almost....Yes there are similarities obviously....

    I am happily overwhelmed by everything I want to learn about DL really...I just enjoy hearing from the experts and their experiences.

    I just want to find out the best way to increase my chances of a great discount at one of the DLR properties:laughing: Dont think I am getting in at VGC at 7 mths:goodvibes:rolleyes1
     
  18. RweTHEREyet

    RweTHEREyet DIS Veteran

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    If I were the OP, I would have had my feelings hurt with the comparison comment.

    On the no magic thing, this WDW vet does not feel that way at all. After all, it all began at DL, and without DL, there never would have been a WDW. I am not sure how anyone could say that DL has no magic. I was at WDW in September and November and then DL in January, and there were things I looked forward to seeing and doing at each Resort. One can't help but compare the two, but there really is no comparison.
     
  19. HydroGuy

    HydroGuy DIS Veteran

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    If it was the :rotfl2:emoticon that was offensive then I miscommuncicated. It was my first response to a WDW vet that seemed to be saying that planning for DLR was complicated compared to WDW. I just thought it was funny because by any objective measure WDW is much more complicated to plan than DLR.

    Don't get me wrong. I am not saying WDW is somehow worse because it takes more planning. Part of the reason is takes more planning is that it offers more.

    :wizard:
     
  20. DisneyBride'03

    DisneyBride'03 <marquee><font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang</mar

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    Understood:) Yes, there are folks that plan for a YEAR for WDW...lol..whether its needed or not....
    I am looking forward to learning on this forum....:thumbsup2
     
  21. JonKPest

    JonKPest 40 Years and Counting!!!

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