Just Back! For all WDW vets going to DLR for the first time....

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by WDW4us2006, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. WDW4us2006

    WDW4us2006 DIS Veteran

    Oct 12, 2005
    DON'T WORRY!!!

    I absolutely, positively, LOVED it! Just to give you a little background, I have been to WDW several times and always stay in the park, the last few times at the Beach Club. I love WDW for the "getting away from it all" feeling, and leaving the outside world behind. I totally did not expect to feel that way AT ALL at Disneyland, and in fact, did not have very high expectations after all I have read and all that people have told me over the years. We had planned to stay at the DLR for a couple of days during our SoCal trip, mostly because I am a Disney nut and couldn't be that close and not go. However....my husband and I still cannot get over how much we loved the entire place, and, several times walking through Disneyland we had to remind ourselves that we weren't in Florida.

    I'm not just talking about Disneyland Park itself, but the entire resort. We pulled off of the freeway from LA onto Disneyland Drive, and within minutes I realized that this was going to be special. We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel, had a GREAT room on the third floor of the Marina tower overlooking the pool. BEAUTIFUL! I reserved a standard view. We were just a few doors down from the elevator, and could be in the lobby, shops, and pool in two minutes, and the entrance to Downtown Disney was right next to us. The hotel was fabulous, and far exceeded our expectations. Clean, lushly landscaped, great choices to eat and drink, the pool was fantastic, and there was lots to do. I would put it in the "deluxe" category of the WDW resorts. I know it looks a little dated, and I can be a little picky about stuff like that, but they have done an outstanding job with the place and I would stay there again in a second.

    I absolutely loved walking through Downtown Disney to get to the parks. Everything was so close, and I never left the resort for almost three days. I absolutely had that "immersion" feeling I love in WDW. Both parks were clean, everyone was so friendly and accommodating, and we definitely could have used more time to see and do more. I felt totally at ease letting my teenagers go off on their own when they wanted to.

    So, my advice to die-hard WDW vets who are looking for the type of vacation that I was, would be to stay in one of the resort hotels, and ENJOY!!! I completely understand why people would stay on Harbor Blvd...(which I never saw)..so close! But if you are used to staying in the parks, I would definitely try the DL or the Grand Californian (also beautiful, and right inside CA!).

    OK.... a few observations:

    1. I thought DL was beautiful and SO CHARMING!! I wish I had had more time to check out every nook and cranny. I think I thought it was prettier (gasp) than the Magic Kingdom.

    2. GO EARLY GO EARLY GO EARLY!!!!!!! The place was mobbed. We used our early entry and were at the park by 6:30 am. I know, a horrible time, but well worth it. We did all the rides we wanted to and had a handful of fastpasses by 11:00 to use later that night. (Thanks Hydroguy!) We also ate breakfast at the Carnation Cafe at 9:30 (great). I felt very badly for people getting to the parks at 10 or 11. How can they possibly enjoy themselves standing in line all day? And let me tell you, the lines were VERY long, even well into the night after the fireworks. WE left in the afternoon both days to swim and nap, just like we do in WDW, and it was great. Plus, it's just a 10 minute walk back to the action.

    3. The Pirates of the Caribbean at DL blows away the one at the MK. Really. I had no idea how good it was going to be.

    4. I loved California Adventure. I know it's the Disney park everyone loves to trash, but it has good theming and there's lots to do. California Screamin is the best roller coaster ever, anywhere. I rode it three times and I never ride roller coasters.

    5. The lines for Nemo were two hours just 20 minutes after the park opened on an early entry day. We didn't ride it or even try to. I thought about maybe doing it very late but was too tired. Also, there was a problem with it the morning we were there, so everyone who rushed over to it couldn't even ride it yet. It was getting ugly. Don't waste your precious morning time waiting in a line for it.

    6. The fireworks are DL were nothing short of spectacular. I had tears in my eyes I loved them so much. How Disney can take lights, fireworks, and a castle, and make you feel like you are riding one of the attractions is beyond me. DO NOT MISS IT!!!!

    I'll write more later, too tired right now! Any questions??
  2. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2007
    Oh man, what a great review! I haven't been to WDW, but we're getting ready for our first "real" stay at DL (after two years of one-day visits), and we're staying at Paradise Pier, and your view of being immersed with the hotel and DTD gave me goosebumps!

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  4. I'mNoPrince

    I'mNoPrince <font color=darkorchid>AlterEgo tmt martins<br><fo

    Oct 1, 2006
    I totally agree with you.

    As much as I love WDW when ever I get a chance to hit DL even if just for the day I go.

    We did a family trip in June of 05 and stayed at PP it was great nice to walk past the DLH everyday into DTD or to cut through GC to get back.

    We even enjoyed watching the Fireworks from the PP pool deck on nights we did other things in the L.A. area.
  5. shrpgrl

    shrpgrl Mouseketeer

    Mar 21, 2000
    Thanks for the review. We are going the end of next month for the first time. I was a little worried ( we have been to WDW more than 20 times) but it sounds like we will enjoy it. We will be staying at GCH and have 4 days to spend after our Alaska cruise. Not sure which I am looking forward to more, Alaska or DL.
  6. disney-super-mom

    disney-super-mom DIS Veteran

    Oct 17, 2004
    What a WONDERFUL review! And from a WDW vet even!:cool1:

    Thank you so much. I feel that sometimes the Disneyland Resort gets far too little credit for all it has to offer.

    We (just DH and I) went to WDW for the first time this last January (we stayed at Saratoga Springs), and LOVED IT, but for much different reasons than why we love Disneyland. We're going back to Disneyland this October (staying at the Paradise Pier), during Halloween no less, and then we're staying a few days into November, so it should be AWESOME to see the parks all decked out for Halloween, and then see them transform into Winter Holidays splendor!:cloud9:

    But our next trip will be to WDW, so we can introduce our kids to all it's splendor too!

    So happy you had such a special time at DL!:thumbsup2
  7. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2007
    Ooh, lucky lucky lucky! Are you going on a repo cruise? If so, luckier luckier luckier!
  8. msteddom

    msteddom We always wait in line in California (something)

    May 23, 2003
    Oh I'm so happy that you loved Disneyland! It is the park I grew up with so I feel protective of it. I love both the Land and the World because they are both Disney, but offer completely different experiences. I think you may have convinced me to go watch the fireworks tomorrow night!

  9. GailT

    GailT <font color=blue>I'm ba-ack!!!!<br><font color=mag

    Apr 28, 2001
    That was a great trip report. I am going BACK to DL next month after going there last December, 9 months later,,,I LOVE LOVE LOVE it even more then DW. I was so nervous last yr not going to DW and it was a instant love affair from the time I stepped in the lobby og CG but from the it got be. Itter and better I cant wait till I go back:thumbsup2
  10. CamColt

    CamColt Moderator Moderator

    Aug 7, 2000
    Great post! Thanks for the info!

    I too was a WDW vet when I made my first trip to DL 2 years ago. I felt the same way as you describe...could it really live up to WDW, especially after all the reports I had heard of it not? But it did and more!

    My biggest surprise was when I made my next trip to WDW and realized how much of a pain those busses really are. ;) It was so nice in DL to leave the hotel room 10 minutes before our meal time instead of having to plan an hour to get to any of our PSs.

    Overall things just seem so much more laid back in DL. I have since been 2 more times and am hoping to get out there again this winter (unfortunately, airfare is the only thing possibly stopping me :headache: ).
  11. beccasmom

    beccasmom DIS Veteran

    Apr 11, 2003
    Thanks for the review! We are thinking of using airline vouchers for a trip to CA next year and Disneyland is high on the list! I have been there once, but it was a long time ago (1984). I loved Pirates and the restaurant (forget the name, but we did eat there) that overlooked it. I really loved DL and think it is a great park. I am looking forward to seeing it again. I adore WDW, but think DL is terrific as well.
  12. chrisn

    chrisn DIS Veteran

    Aug 30, 2000
    Thanks for taking me back to my happy place! I grew up in CA with Disneyland. I haven't been there for 12 years. Have been to WDW 6 times since 2000.

    POTC DL is my all-time fave attraction anywhere! It has been since I was a tiny girl. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when I glance my quaint and lovely little castle in October, I'll have to fight back the tears that I know will be there. Happy heart memories. Happens everytime!

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