3 days Grand Cali or 4 days Disneyland Hotel?

80sTerraceCafeFan

Earning My Ears
Joined
Oct 5, 2018
Is your trip the weekend before Presidents’ Day (February 18th)? If so the parks will be VERY busy, especially on Monday the 18th. Universal included.
no - I land on the 20th.....tough calls but good info....seems like park hopper is a must since I'm doing MAX pass....Still debating hotel and whether to do non disney stuff first - pushing disney to weekend...all good problems!
 

damo

Proud Redhead
Joined
Jan 1, 2001
I'd do Disneyland hotel and 4 nights. Grand Cali is not my favourite.
 

SOCALMouseMommy

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 5, 2017
no - I land on the 20th.....tough calls but good info....seems like park hopper is a must since I'm doing MAX pass....Still debating hotel and whether to do non disney stuff first - pushing disney to weekend...all good problems!
Excellent! So much better than the previous week.

I still advocate for starting with the offsite hotel and non-Disney parks and ending with four days at the DLH and going to Disney parks. It will be a let down to start of great and then downgrade. Maybe universal on Thursday, Knotts on Friday and then Disney Sat-Monday. Unless you cut out one the non-Disney parks and add a Disney day (Friday to Monday).
 
  • ktlm

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2008
    I am also a long time WDW person, but we have been going to DLR every year for the last 9 years. To us, GC is just a scaled down version of WL at WDW. We prefer DLH because it is different than any WDW resort. Yes- GC is a little closer to the gate, but by WDW standards, DLH is really close. It is about the same distance as walking from the Contemporary to Magic Kingdom. We stayed offsite for one day a couple of years ago as we wound up coming in a day early due to a storm and DLH was full-- having done that- as a WDW person I would absolutely pick DLH and do the extra night there. We like staying inside the Disney bubble at DLR.

    Also-- I would highly recommend hoppers. Unlike WDW, at DLR hopping is a 5 minute process. You can get from the back of one park to the back of the other in 10 minutes. You do not have to go through security again to go from park to park. They are separated by a plaza and it is about the distance of a football field between the gates. For a WDW person, it is like one big park. We go back and forth all the time.
     

    dizzymomx4

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2008
    I would choose Disneyland Hotel. We have stayed at both and the feel of the Disneyland Hotel is so much nicer to us. I know, the Grand Californian is closer to the park BUT the grounds are beautiful at DLH ! The walk through DTD is not bad AND we grab beignets on the way into the park every morning !
     

    80sTerraceCafeFan

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 5, 2018
    I am also a long time WDW person, but we have been going to DLR every year for the last 9 years. To us, GC is just a scaled down version of WL at WDW. We prefer DLH because it is different than any WDW resort. Yes- GC is a little closer to the gate, but by WDW standards, DLH is really close. It is about the same distance as walking from the Contemporary to Magic Kingdom. We stayed offsite for one day a couple of years ago as we wound up coming in a day early due to a storm and DLH was full-- having done that- as a WDW person I would absolutely pick DLH and do the extra night there. We like staying inside the Disney bubble at DLR.

    Also-- I would highly recommend hoppers. Unlike WDW, at DLR hopping is a 5 minute process. You can get from the back of one park to the back of the other in 10 minutes. You do not have to go through security again to go from park to park. They are separated by a plaza and it is about the distance of a football field between the gates. For a WDW person, it is like one big park. We go back and forth all the time.
    This and other recent comments have likely made DH for 4 the favorite in this no losing race....i was thinking about the WL comparison as well...i always parkhop at wdw bc I stay at either boardwalk or contemporary and want to be able to go in epcot or mk at will, but your 1 big park with no security needed also makes great sense here.
     

    azdisneylover

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2008
    You have been given stellar advice already about where to stay, park hoppers over single park tickets etc. I agree with it all. You can't go wrong with either hotel. We prefer GCH because of Grizzly Rapids. My family has a habit of riding this ride over and over at night until DCA closes and they squish walk back to the hotel room. (very close when staying at the Grand). I love staying here because I have a bad hip, and at night, every step does count for me.
    As for Knotts, I suggest to go there at the beginning of your trip. We were at Knotts this past Friday. It opened at 10am and closed at 10pm. Check park hour times and ride closures on their website. You can purchase tickets for a discount online too. You can make a reservation online for Mrs Knotts Chicken Dinner Restaurant. I would highly suggest making the reservation if you plan on eating here. As for TS restaurants inside the park, I do not remember seeing any, or it could be one I think I saw in Ghost Town. Ghost Town Grill is a TS in Knotts. I can't recommend eating at Grizzly Creek Lodge. Family was not happy,(bad burger, salad just lettuce, list goes on) especially when we could have driven to DTD and eaten at Tortilla Joe's! There is a Panda Express and a Johnny Rockets in the park. Don't know if they take gift cards. The Coffee Hut inside Knotts sells Starbucks drinks, BUT does NOT take Starbucks gift cards. There is a Starbucks outside of the park that does. Loved the shows we were able
    to catch. Some of the family loved the thrill rides. Some of the family loved the shopping.:rolleyes1 Again, I suggest going to Knotts first, then end your vacation at Disneyland. Make magic morning/early entry every day, park hop using Maxpass, go back to the room for a quick nap/rest, then head back to the parks. Others here can tell you what shows, fireworks are shown only on weekends during the slow months.
    What ever you decide, have lots of fun and make a list of what you want to do/see when you go back!
     
  • 80sTerraceCafeFan

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 5, 2018
    You have been given stellar advice already about where to stay, park hoppers over single park tickets etc. I agree with it all. You can't go wrong with either hotel. We prefer GCH because of Grizzly Rapids. My family has a habit of riding this ride over and over at night until DCA closes and they squish walk back to the hotel room. (very close when staying at the Grand). I love staying here because I have a bad hip, and at night, every step does count for me.
    As for Knotts, I suggest to go there at the beginning of your trip. We were at Knotts this past Friday. It opened at 10am and closed at 10pm. Check park hour times and ride closures on their website. You can purchase tickets for a discount online too. You can make a reservation online for Mrs Knotts Chicken Dinner Restaurant. I would highly suggest making the reservation if you plan on eating here. As for TS restaurants inside the park, I do not remember seeing any, or it could be one I think I saw in Ghost Town. Ghost Town Grill is a TS in Knotts. I can't recommend eating at Grizzly Creek Lodge. Family was not happy,(bad burger, salad just lettuce, list goes on) especially when we could have driven to DTD and eaten at Tortilla Joe's! There is a Panda Express and a Johnny Rockets in the park. Don't know if they take gift cards. The Coffee Hut inside Knotts sells Starbucks drinks, BUT does NOT take Starbucks gift cards. There is a Starbucks outside of the park that does. Loved the shows we were able
    to catch. Some of the family loved the thrill rides. Some of the family loved the shopping.:rolleyes1 Again, I suggest going to Knotts first, then end your vacation at Disneyland. Make magic morning/early entry every day, park hop using Maxpass, go back to the room for a quick nap/rest, then head back to the parks. Others here can tell you what shows, fireworks are shown only on weekends during the slow months.
    What ever you decide, have lots of fun and make a list of what you want to do/see when you go back!


    Thanks for the Knotts info - I remember the chicken dinner from when I was a little kid and will make the reservation!

    ok...my last comment, now that I am park hopping and likely sticking with DLH for 4...the only thing keeping me from doing knotts/universal first is the weekend crowds at Disney. Am I crazy to still think Sat/Sun will be the worst crowd days at DL/DCA with all the local kids....vs thursday/friday when they are in school? I know going to Knotts will be a downer after disney but I can prep the family and oversell its lower standard....and even do Disney again on Monday to bring it back up (even if im sacrificing the extra hour b/c would have checked out, we'll have a nice Disney breakfast and deal with it for our third disney day)
     

    SOCALMouseMommy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 5, 2017
    Thanks for the Knotts info - I remember the chicken dinner from when I was a little kid and will make the reservation!

    ok...my last comment, now that I am park hopping and likely sticking with DLH for 4...the only thing keeping me from doing knotts/universal first is the weekend crowds at Disney. Am I crazy to still think Sat/Sun will be the worst crowd days at DL/DCA with all the local kids....vs thursday/friday when they are in school? I know going to Knotts will be a downer after disney but I can prep the family and oversell its lower standard....and even do Disney again on Monday to bring it back up (even if im sacrificing the extra hour b/c would have checked out, we'll have a nice Disney breakfast and deal with it for our third disney day)
    I would go to Disney on the weekend. You will get longer hours, nighttime entertainment and fully staffed parks. On the Saturday, the two lowest level passes are blocked (Southern California and SoCal Select). Plus, a good number of locals who aren't die-hards (like me, hee hee) tend to subscribe to the "we better go during the week when it's less crowded" mentality, which can add to the week day crowds. With early entry every day, park hoppers and MaxPass, I wouldn't rearrange your trip to a less-than ideal schedule simply to avoid the weekend. Just my two cents!
     

    ktlm

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2008
    ..i always parkhop at wdw bc I stay at either boardwalk or contemporary and want to be able to go in epcot or mk at will, but your 1 big park with no security needed also makes great sense here.
    If you always parkhop at WDW, you definitely want to at DLR! We were just at Yacht Club for a week last month- so nice to be able to walk to either EPCOT or DHS. The walk from DLH to the park gates is probably just about the same distance as the walk from the Boardwalk to the International Gateway. The difference will be that at DLR, the walk is directly through DTD, so it is lined with stores, restaurants, etc. It is a nice walk.

    We love WL---we have stayed there a few times, but it is very easy to get spoiled with the convenience of the Poly, GF, or YC. Once of our favorite things about DLR, is that everything is close together and you can walk anywhere in a matter of minutes.

    We usually go to DLR in the summer months so I can't say much about weekends v. weekdays the time of year that you are going--- but what I can tell you is that unlike WDW where nighttime entertainment happens about every day year round, at DLR in the off-season the fireworks and fantasmic typically only run on the weekends. Also- at least in the summer when the passes are blocked on the weekends, they aren't that bad and can be less crowded than the weekdays- so if the passes are blocked as a PP Said, then the weekends might be fine. Someone who typically goes that time of year will have better information.
     

    Tedwash

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2018
    Stayed at both.

    GCH Pros
    • GCH is larger and grander
    • Has more restaurants
    • Connected to DCA for immediate access to the park.
    • Connected to Downtown Disney so short walk to monorail for park entry to Tomorrowland
    • Has a spa
    DLH Pros
    • Has the full Disney / nostalgic feel on the property
    • Has Goofy's Kitchen (Buffet style w/ All Disney character visits and pic opportunity)
    • Has Disney Club Level (extra charge) Located at the top floor of Frontier Tower, it hosts complimentary breakfast, lunch and light dinner buffet. Free soda, water and juices. Nice view of the resort. Snacks, deserts, Disney Movie DVD checkouts, Watch firework shows w/ music piped in for a relaxing VIP experience
    • Bigger pools
    • Lots of Disney artifacts and memorabilia, historic photos in back lobby of Main Tower its like a Disenyland museum.
     
  • twodogs

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 20, 2012
    GCH also has Club Level and a lounge with similar amenities as the DLH. GCH also has Storyteller’s character breakfast.
     

    MonocularVision

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 3, 2017
    Thanks for the Knotts info - I remember the chicken dinner from when I was a little kid and will make the reservation!
    Be prepared for some major disappointment. No idea if it has gotten worse or if I have gotten pickier as an adult but we stopped by there a few months ago and were very unimpressed. Food was very bland, especially the fried chicken. So disappointed.
     

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