How valuable is SDL Early Access on weekends?

confectioneer

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 13, 2010
My family will be visiting SDL at the end of November and I’m wondering how valuable the early access is for having a less-stressful day seeing the park and getting on the rides? We’re planning on a Saturday and Sunday visit and considering:
* Stick with our Courtyard reservation and pay the ~$45/day for the 3 of us to get in early
* Switch to the Toy Story hotel to get the benefit for “free” (about $80/night extra)
* Enter at standard park opening and forgo the benefit

I’m learning toward paying just for the access, but wanted to see if there’s any advice.

Thank you!
 

Sandeep1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Early entry is a massive benefit. Personally, I'd go for Toy Story hotel. I had a great stay there, rooms are nice and shuttle transport to park is a nice perk.
 

supedewoop

Earning My Ears
Joined
Feb 10, 2018
Early access is very worth it. One weird benefit is that the fast pass reservation becomes available once your ticket is scanned. So, you can get that SUPER early fast-pass for, say, Soarin' and then get another fast pass after you ride it, while there's still a high likelihood of good ones being available. And that's before you consider the 3-4 rides you can get on with virtually no wait.
That said, I love the Courtyard. I haven't yet stayed at Toy Story, although I have stayed at the Disneyland hotel. I'd do the Courtyard and get the early access and maybe take a taxi or didi if you're worried about getting there early enough to maximize the early access (but I seem to remember that I did when I stayed there! I get the benefit with my AP.)

The real benefit of the Courtyard, for me, is that they have an Airport shuttle. Getting a taxi or a didi to and from the airport is a real pain--and an added expense. None of the disneyland hotels offer an Airport pickup. Their shuttles to the airport (and disney) leave every hour or so. If you plan just a little, it's pretty convenient and the trip is pretty short. Returning literally takes minutes, since it's just over the overpass. (Another, much cheaper hotel I stayed at was every couple hours and a longer drive.)
There's a few other things I like. While families did stay there, it was less chaotic in the public areas than the Disneyland Hote, which, admittedly, is because there's less going on and things to look at. There were also other adults staying there and using the transportation, which was weirdly comforting. When I stayed, I was also able to check in right away, whereas Disney was very firm on the 3pm. That might vary, but I suspect it's not ever an option at a Disney hotel. I haven't tried their breakfast, but I suspect it's quite nice. They also held my luggage just like a Disney hotel at checkout, when I came back to get the airport shuttle.

This next visit, I'll stay at the Novotel, which they share a shuttle with. It's a bit cheaper, and I'm interested in comparing, but right now, I'd recommend the Courtyard over Disneyland Hotel, if airport transportation is a consideration. It's almost as nice and way cheaper. I'd imagine it'd be nicer than Toy Story, and still cheaper.
 
  • confectioneer

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 13, 2010
    Thanks, Sandeep1.

    And that's really good feedback, supedewoop. We're arriving into SHA, but flying out of PVG so the airport shuttle for our departure could be nice, Though, the cost difference for the Toy Story isn't hideous, so it might be a more fun experience for our daughter.

    Ah, decisions, decisions...
     

    Sandeep1

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 20, 2018
    Thanks, Sandeep1.

    And that's really good feedback, supedewoop. We're arriving into SHA, but flying out of PVG so the airport shuttle for our departure could be nice, Though, the cost difference for the Toy Story isn't hideous, so it might be a more fun experience for our daughter.

    Ah, decisions, decisions...
    Actually, I just realized you're probably talking about the Courtyard that is fairly close to SDL right? I'd still opt for Toy Story hotel but it's not a huge deal if you stay where you're at. I thought maybe you were further away.
     

    JPTexan82

    Ever which way but loose
    Joined
    Feb 10, 2008
    Not having to deal with the main entrance and the sec check, it would be worth it. Toy story hotel is very basic, but clean and nice. Our room had a cold airconditioning unit, which is very rare in China.
     

    TexasJoe

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 30, 2019
    Not having to deal with the main entrance and the sec check, it would be worth it. Toy story hotel is very basic, but clean and nice. Our room had a cold airconditioning unit, which is very rare in China.
    Agreed. I wouldn't think twice about staying at TSH in the future.
     
  • Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    My family will be visiting SDL at the end of November and I’m wondering how valuable the early access is for having a less-stressful day seeing the park and getting on the rides? We’re planning on a Saturday and Sunday visit and considering:
    * Stick with our Courtyard reservation and pay the ~$45/day for the 3 of us to get in early
    * Switch to the Toy Story hotel to get the benefit for “free” (about $80/night extra)
    * Enter at standard park opening and forgo the benefit

    I’m learning toward paying just for the access, but wanted to see if there’s any advice.

    Thank you!
    I just got back and like previous people said, the early entry is EXTREMELY helpful! The first day I did Tron, Buzz, Soaring, and was about to enter Pirates by the end. The second day I did Peter Pan (they literally started the ride for me), Buzz (Tron wasn't working yet), and Pirates. As I was leaving Adventureland I just kept seeing groups of people running towards Soaring and I was so happy I had done that already. Both of those mornings I could have done a lot more if I had planned it better or was rushing more, but I was good with what I accomplished (also was able to take some empty Castle photos).

    I would 100% switch to TSH. The hotel entrance was so peaceful in the morning compared with the main entrance which is a sea of people and just insane maze of crowd control fences! In the morning the hotel shuttles drop you off right by the Disneytown park entrance. If you haven't bought your tickets yet, you can buy them at the hotel concierge and then you each get 1 extra FP per day which you prebook. You also can get purchases sent directly to your hotel, which is handy!

    For airport transfer I used Mr Orange and can't recommend them enough! At PVG they had a sign with my name so I got to avoid the taxi craziness. Then they met me in the lobby of the Disneyland Hotel when it was time to head back to the airport. It was about $35 for the car, which was a mini van and would be big enough for a family.
     



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