Disneyland Newbie

Jolisa

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jan 11, 2019
OK- we’ve never been to land before- world several times, tons of questions.


We are a family of four (DS’s ages 13 and 8 at time of travel)
1. Is a resort hotel worth it? Best hotel balancing cost and convenience?
2. We can spend no more than three days there. Would two days be enough, or would three be better.
3. What are the can’t miss attractions?
4. How does transport work from hotel to parks? What hotels are best for this?

TIA!
 

figment_jii

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
When are you going?
2. I think two days is enough to get a sense of the resort and hit most of the major attractions, but it's not enough time to do everything (or even close to everything). You'll need to prioritize and decide what you really want to do, what you'd like to do, and what you can skip. Three days is better, but even then you won't be able to do everything (especially if you want to meet characters or see the shows).
3. It really depends on what type(s) of attractions you and your family like. Pretty much every attraction will have its fans, so you'll get a wide range of suggestions. Personally, I like Haunted Mansion, PotC, BTMRR, Mr. Toad, Matterhorn, IaSW, Buzz Lightyear, Space Mtn, RSR, Soarin', TSMM, GotG, and Little Mermaid. Some of these rides have counterparts at WDW that are pretty similar, but very few attractions are carbon copies (even if they have the same name). There are also the shows, like Fantasmic!, which are quite popular.
4. All of the onsite hotels are within walking distance to the parks. There is a monorail station in DTD (near the Disneyland Hotel) that guests can use to get into Disneyland (Tomorrowland), but it's not always the most time efficient method of getting to the parks. There are also a number of motels along Harbor Blvd that can be less expensive and also still within walking distance.
 

gottalovepluto

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
OK- we’ve never been to land before- world several times, tons of questions.


We are a family of four (DS’s ages 13 and 8 at time of travel)
1. Is a resort hotel worth it? Best hotel balancing cost and convenience?
2. We can spend no more than three days there. Would two days be enough, or would three be better.
3. What are the can’t miss attractions?
4. How does transport work from hotel to parks? What hotels are best for this?

TIA!
1. Depends. Since you’re limited in time I lean to yes because you’ll get 3 mornings of Early Entry- BUT you have to be there when it starts to take advantage of it.

2. 3, and that’s gonna be a jam packed 3 days if you go after Star Wars is added to the mix!

3. Waaaay to numerous to list. And the list will grow with Star Wars. If you’ve been to WDW you might want to look for lists of what attractions are different from WDW.

4. Depends on the hotel. For the on-site hotels you just walk as stated above. The Grand literally has an entrance to CA Adventure.
 
  • craigkerstiens

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 11, 2014
    1. I'd recommend strongly against this, the extra morning hours might be nice, but you're paying for that more than much convenience. DL you can do hotels that are "off-property" that are a 15 minute walk to the park and closer to $100 a night as opposed to "on-property" prices. WDW we're always on property, DL we almost never are because of the difference in cost.
    2. 2 may actually be enough, but it depends on how much you pack things in. I'd recommend paying extra for the ability to have your fast passes on your phone and you can pack a lot more in that way.
    4. See number 1, you can walk in 15-20 minutes from most of the hotels to the parks. I travel for work a good bit and personally like the Sheraton and Four points for proximity.

    3. This one is a hard one...

    Ones you should do just so you can compare to WDW: Tower of terror, Haunted mansion, Pirates.
    Carsland is unlike anywhere else so make sure to squeeze in all 3 rides there, make sure you see it in the daytime and nighttime.
    Incredicoaster and Matterhorn are worth doing as you don't have them elsewhere.
     

    wendlle

    Aussie Wendy
    Joined
    Jan 7, 2014
    I'm not sure what time you are going, if it is AFTER Star Wars opens you'll likely need the 3 days. But in saying that we once got a 10 day ticket to DL and went every one of those 10 days, I could spend weeks there and not get bored.

    Having been to both DL and WDW many times the on-site hotels at DL are NOT worth the extreme extra amounts of money they cost. There are so many options across the road for less than 1/2 of what those hotels cost and they are all within walking distance. We stayed at a Super 8 on Katella Ave once that said it was a 20min walk - it was more like 10 mins and it was less than $70 a night, clean and had free breakfast. You can spend more money in the parks and for me that always wins at DL. They have better merchandise and food than WDW so I like to spend more in the DL parks that I usually do at WDW.

    Disneyland is amazing, you'll have a great time. Also you'll get to see the differences in the rides there. BTMR is so much better at DL and POTC is also. And don't forget you get to experience Indy, which is one of the best rides I've ever been on - so much fun.

    Also as a side note I'll add that MaxPass is totally worth every penny it costs - so look into adding that.
     

    The Pho

    A heck of a paleontologist if I do say so myself
    Joined
    May 9, 2018
    I’m very much a World person. We did a trip to Land a few weeks ago, second time there. Stayed at the Disneyland Hotel, much better than when I stayed far off property, it was great I would recommend it. Any of the 3 Disney hotels you walk to both parks (they’re very very close). If cost is a huge factor then there are a lot of other walkable hotels, it’s a cost that can be cut you’d mostly lose the magic hour in the morning.

    Time depends on how fast moving you are. If you move quick and all you care about are rides, you can hit most major things easily with 2 days (we did mostly everything in 1, and got around 23 fast passes, Make sure you get Max Pass).

    For what to hit, I’d recommend doing every major ride even if you think you know them from World. The versions in Land and World are pretty much all very very different. Space Mountain is a completely different ride, Pirates is much different, Dinosaur/ Indiana Jones are the same layout but vastly different experiences, etc. To me the most important things there were Matterhorn, Indiana Jones, Radiator Springs Racers (Cars), and Mr Toads Wild Ride. Then Pirates and all the other Fantasyland rides.
     
  • goooof1

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 23, 2013

    gottalovepluto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 14, 2014
    We’re going early July, so no Star Wars yet. Looks like 3 days is better. We’re tacking this on to DH’s work conference in Long Beach. Basically, I refuse to be 30 miles from Disneyland without going.
    Good thing you posted here!! Wowza, you are definitely going to need 3 days. If you can afford on-site I would absolutely do it for EMH since crowds right after SWL opens are expected to be big. Like DLR has been getting ready for this influx and it is a LOT of land bringing added, so I’m not expecting say after Xmas insanity but still- big crowds for July!
     

    Jolisa

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 11, 2019
    Wow. Google was wrong, I guess. Did I mention I’m a newbie?! Thanks everyone!
     
  • HydroGuy

    A Pirate's Life For Me
    Joined
    Jun 5, 2005
    Wow. Google was wrong, I guess. Did I mention I’m a newbie?! Thanks everyone!
    Pretty likely you or the Google article you found got Disneyland Resort (DLR) and Walt Disney World (WDW - Florida) confused.

    Disney is building Star Wars Galaxy;s Edge (SWGE) simultaneously at DLR and WDW. They started at the same time but, for whatever reason, they made faster progress at DLR than WDW. DLR says SWGE will open "summer 2019" which everyone expects to mean it will happen by late June at the very latest. At WDW SWGE is scheduled to open "late Fall 2019" which lots of folks seem to to think will be November.

    Unless you are one of the 10 people on earth that does not like Star Wars, then going in July will be a good thing because you can see it. I agree with others that this means a 3 day visit will be much better than a 2 day visit. If you are only able to fit in 2 days you can still have a blast - but you will need to prioritize more and be prepared to manage crowds.

    On your other questions, a non-Disney hotel will be fine (question #2). The hotel link given above by @goooof1 by yours truly is where you want to start. If you get a walking distance hotel (which I always recommend, highly) then your question #4 on transportation means you only need your feet.

    The final question #3 has a of of answers. Plus you should be asking about can't miss shows. If you can plan for 3 days, you should plan an evening to see World of Color at DCA. For rides, there are a lot:

    DL
    Space Mtn
    Big Thunder Mtn RR
    POTC
    HM
    Splash Mtn

    DCA
    Soarin Over the World
    Guardians of the Galaxy
    Incredicoaster
    Radiator Springs Racers

    :wizard:
     

    Malcon10t

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2006
    DCA
    Soarin Over the World
    Guardians of the Galaxy
    Incredicoaster
    Radiator Springs Racers

    :wizard:
    I'm curious why you recommend Soarin'? We skipped the WDW version as it was supposedly the same at DL, with the exception of landing in WDW instead of DL.
     

    HydroGuy

    A Pirate's Life For Me
    Joined
    Jun 5, 2005
    I'm curious why you recommend Soarin'? We skipped the WDW version as it was supposedly the same at DL, with the exception of landing in WDW instead of DL.
    Because the OP is a "DLR newbie". Maybe I missed it but I did not see anywhere they said they have been to WDW.

    :wizard:
     

    Malcon10t

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2006
    Because the OP is a "DLR newbie". Maybe I missed it but I did not see anywhere they said they have been to WDW.

    :wizard:
    First line of first post, bolding mine "OK- we’ve never been to land before- world several times, tons of questions. "

    But yes, I can see why you'd recommend it if they were a newbie to both parks.
     

    Summer2018

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 29, 2017
    We’re going early July, so no Star Wars yet. Looks like 3 days is better. We’re tacking this on to DH’s work conference in Long Beach. Basically, I refuse to be 30 miles from Disneyland without going.
    I can relate. We are tacking on a 6 day California trip, 2 days in DL after a trip to Arizona to visit my MIL. I can't imagine being out west for the first time without dropping in to DL for a couple of days.
     

    Summer2018

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 29, 2017
    I’m very much a World person. We did a trip to Land a few weeks ago, second time there. Stayed at the Disneyland Hotel, much better than when I stayed far off property, it was great I would recommend it. Any of the 3 Disney hotels you walk to both parks (they’re very very close). If cost is a huge factor then there are a lot of other walkable hotels, it’s a cost that can be cut you’d mostly lose the magic hour in the morning.

    Time depends on how fast moving you are. If you move quick and all you care about are rides, you can hit most major things easily with 2 days (we did mostly everything in 1, and got around 23 fast passes, Make sure you get Max Pass).

    For what to hit, I’d recommend doing every major ride even if you think you know them from World. The versions in Land and World are pretty much all very very different. Space Mountain is a completely different ride, Pirates is much different, Dinosaur/ Indiana Jones are the same layout but vastly different experiences, etc. To me the most important things there were Matterhorn, Indiana Jones, Radiator Springs Racers (Cars), and Mr Toads Wild Ride. Then Pirates and all the other Fantasyland rides.
    We are staying at the Disneyland Hotel in April. Do they have a quick service for breakfast like Mickey waffles, eggs, etc.? Everywhere we have stayed in WDW had a quick service restaurant where we ate unless we had a character breakfast scheduled. Also, I am freaking out not having the Disney Dining Plan. Budgeting for meals is so hard. Do they have the cups with unlimited beverages?
     

    Jolisa

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 11, 2019
    We are staying at the Disneyland Hotel in April. Do they have a quick service for breakfast like Mickey waffles, eggs, etc.? Everywhere we have stayed in WDW had a quick service restaurant where we ate unless we had a character breakfast scheduled. Also, I am freaking out not having the Disney Dining Plan. Budgeting for meals is so hard. Do they have the cups with unlimited beverages?
    I (obviously) do not know, but the links recommended above really are fantastic and worth the read if you haven’t checked them out yet.
     

    Malcon10t

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2006
    We are staying at the Disneyland Hotel in April. Do they have a quick service for breakfast like Mickey waffles, eggs, etc.? Everywhere we have stayed in WDW had a quick service restaurant where we ate unless we had a character breakfast scheduled. Also, I am freaking out not having the Disney Dining Plan. Budgeting for meals is so hard. Do they have the cups with unlimited beverages?
    No to the unlimited beverages.

    Quick dining - There are many options really! At the hotel itself, I don't know if Tangeroa Terrace will be open, if not, there is the Coffee shop. If nothing there, once you enter DTD (just steps away) there is Earl of Sandwich, Starbucks, Tortilla Jo's Taquieria (burritos, bowls), Jazz Kitchen walk up, La Brea, I believe Naples has a walk up breakfast. Not sure if Tang Terrace or Coffee Shop has the Mickey Waffles. There are also several quick service restaurants in the park for breakfast: Gallactic Grill, Red Rose Tavern, and Jolly Holiday. In DCA< there is Smoozies and Starbucks.
     

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