So Our First DL Trip Went Like This...

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by jhaig, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. jhaig

    jhaig Not The First To Pass This Way

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,365
    We got back last week from our first ever trip to Disneyland. As WDW veterans, we wanted to experience the original park that Walt actually built.

    Armed with all of your kindly advice on how to get the most out of our day (Fri 8/3), we arrive by Uber at the DTD security screening at 8am ready to go. We were starting in DL to try and hit the rides that didn't have Max Pass. By the time we got the the main DL gate the lines were each about 30-40 people deep. The gates opened around 835 and we started in. We ended up stopping for a quick pic with Daisy Duck then made it up to the rope drop on the right side by 850, waiting to ride Alice in Wonderland first and having a Space Mtn FP ready to go. Very strange - little to no fanfare or much notice at all that the park was ready to open. The rope dropped and off we went on a brisk walk through the castle and into a huge line for something, which I had no idea what it was. Turns out I got sucked into the Peter Pan line. Desperate to extricate ourselves from this sea of humanity, we swam sideways like salmon going upstream and made it over to Alice, where about 10 people were in line. Rode Alice (very nice), then Mr Toad (very weird) then spun on the Tea Cups (very short). All the time we were thinking the same thing - "wow, this place is so tiny". Compared to WDW, it was very small, even claustrophobic.

    After Space Mtn (which blows Florida's version away) we worked over to Pirates and Haunted Mansion. Pirates was simply fantastic and HM was really about the same, which is not a bad thing. Got a FP for Big Thunder, walked towards Pooh, and turned around since it was broken. No problem. Went back to Tomorrowland to ride Buzz, 45 min wait. Nope, get a FP for later. Nemo subs? Nope, 45 min as well. So we went back on Pirates again, basically walking on. Rode Big Thunder, managed to get a FP for RSR at 220pm, then by this time the Plaza was opening for lunch. Good fried chicken for sure. Saw RSR was down so held our breath for later.

    Got to ride Small World, then Indy in single rider. Over to DCA to ride Goofy's Sky School and the Silly Swings with short waits. Made our way to RSR for our MP but it was still down. Absolutely loved everything about Cars Land. DCA should be proud, as this is the most immersive Disney world we have ever seen. Plus, the Incredicoaster blew my mind. Got to ride it three times in single rider, each time better than the last. It was almost time for dinner at Storyteller's Cafe and yes, RSR was still down.

    Dinner was finished (delicious BTW) and yes, RSR is STILL down and has been down for about 4 hours now. Wondering if we would ever make it on, we strolled over to A Bug's Land and rode Heimlich's thingy. No sooner did we get on there that we saw RSR opened back up and had a 120 min wait. That stupid caterpillar couldn't go fast enough. Fortunately our previous FP was still good, but when we got to Cars Land the FP stretch past Flo's V8 Cafe. Well, guess what we're doing the rest of the night? Waiting in line and hoping this ride doesn't crap out again. To our surprise, the FP return line moved very quickly and we got on in about 20 minutes. I thought Incredicoaster was great, but RSR was absolutely fantastic and worth the wait! It was Test Track on steroids. We watched the neon lights come on and then finished the night with a spin on Tow Mater's, then back to the hotel.

    Disneyland surprised me in one respect - usually every trip we have one or two cast members that stand out above the others, making your Disney experience memorable. I can't remember one cast member at DL that was even smiling. I just remember everyone putting their head down, giving you a safety speech then moving on. Not exactly grumpy, but not exactly chipper either. It was 92 degrees, but still, I expected a little more enthusiasm.

    The other DL thing that was not a shock was the size. I just felt cramped the whole time. It was busy, but not overly crowded that morning, maybe a 5 or 6 out of 10. The rides were great, but getting to them seemed to require a lot of effort weaving through crowds with very little open space to move. Guess we're just used to WDW's open spaces. It was nice, however, having everything closer together. We weren't exhausted and drenched in sweat at the end of the day. I can't even imagine the crowds once Star Wars land opens.

    Can't say enough about DCA. I was surprised that it was the highlight of the day. Just the right amount of headliner rides, characters, snacks, with reasonable wait times (while using MP accordingly).

    We will be back for sure and it was nice to get to experience DL. I think I still prefer the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, but will take DCA over either DL, Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studious any day.
     
    rentayenta, kyrkea333, Jaina and 8 others like this.
  2. Butterfly123

    Butterfly123 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,698
    Thanks for sharing your experience! I’m glad you had fun and will be back. I have to agree that Disney blew it out of the water when they made Carsland. I haven’t been to WDW yet, but I understand that cramped feeling...it is so much more crowded than when we started bringing our kids in the early 2000’s.
     
    smartlabelprint likes this.
  3. Avatar

    Advertisement


  4. beachdreamr1229

    beachdreamr1229 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,510
    I totally get the cramped feeling. I often have to remind myself that DL was the first Disney park ever built and they just weren't thinking about the enormous crowds there are now. I laughed a little though because even though it's cramped, it's my home park and I'm so used to it that I just forget it could be different. My only experience at WDW was in 2000. It was packed. And I couldn't actually find the entrances to any of the rides at MK, so I found it rather frustrating that everything was more spread out. I guess it just goes to show that what you're used to has an impact on your experiences.

    This is the second post I've seen this summer from a WDW vet that is not impressed with DL CMs. I wonder if it has to do with the heat. I haven't been since May and that was a whole other mess with a disorganized event, but in general, there have always been a few great CMs. I'm curious to see if there's truly a quality issue or if it's just a difference between Florida and California mentality. California natives tend to be less talkative. It's part of the car culture we live in. Anyway, I'm just musing on my thoughts for a moment. It's the sociologist in me.

    Glad you had a good trip. Carsland really is amazing and it's worth coming out here to see it.
     
  5. brich330

    brich330 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    46
    I’m glad you had fun. Disneyland seems to have a ever growing crowd control problem. Star Wars will only amplify this. I know the podcast tends to favor DL, but I think they’re looking at it through rose colored glasses due to it being a destination vacation. However, I do believe DL has several superior ride vs ride when compared to WDW. I still wouldnt recommend it over WDW for a once in a life time vacation. I’m sure the CM’s are just doing the best they can in this cramped environment. It’s not completely Disneys fault, but being a “locals park” can be a doubled edged sword for tourism. Just my opinion..
     
    smartlabelprint likes this.
  6. momof2n2

    momof2n2 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    4,648
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    As WDW vets, our family strongly preferred DL and DCA to most of WDW, and we are already hoping to get back there in 2020. I do agree that it constantly felt cramped. But we loved that there felt like so much more to do and the ease of hopping was so beautiful. We really felt like EVERYTHING was at our finger tips. I have long since stopped hopping at WDW.
     
    serendipityaey and Amw1064 like this.
  7. DharmaLou

    DharmaLou Once a Princess, Always a Princess

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,954
    Sorry you didn't have that much fun.
     
    Indiana Scott likes this.
  8. jhaig

    jhaig Not The First To Pass This Way

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,365
    On the contrary, it was a LOT of fun. Just not what we were used to. After all, it is Disney!
     
    traciruns and Amw1064 like this.
  9. jhaig

    jhaig Not The First To Pass This Way

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,365
    I certainly wouldn't call it a destination vacation either. We did so many other things (Hollywood, Santa Monica, Griffith Park, Rodeo Drive, etc.) that DL was only a part of the whole trip.

    Agreed, also, that Pirates and Space Mountain at DL are FAR superior that their counterparts at WDW.
     
  10. Amw1064

    Amw1064 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    Messages:
    974
    I get it. Being a Florida resident and after hundreds of visits to WDW in my lifetime, it was hard coming down on Main Street to see that tiny castle. However by day 2 we were in love with both the parks. Just had to get use to it. CA Adventure was by far our favorite but Disneyland grew on us. (So much so we are going back for a 16th bday trip)
     
  11. gottalovepluto

    gottalovepluto DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2014
    Messages:
    7,622
    Glad you enjoyed your trip! We’ve had multiple reports now of CM lack of enthusiasm this summer. Personally I think the relentless heat and humidity are to blame. Us Californians can totally handle a 90-100 degree day- with no humidity. Seriously! It’s just we do NOT do humid (unless it’s a foggy morning at a beach). This year had week after week of 100 degree days with humidity which was basically unheard of before, as a result I think CA CMs are at the end of their ropes and I’m beginning to suspect every last CM wants summer to end and never return!

    I completely get the cramped thing. Having grown up with DL everything at WDW is giant! SO. MUCH. SPACE.

    I’m one of the only ones but I far prefer WDW’s SM to ours. Which is super unfortunate because I have many more opportunities to ride CA’s SM, lol!
     
  12. BriannaRuth

    BriannaRuth DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 29, 2012
    Messages:
    1,516
    Thanks for the WDW perspective! What did you think of DL's MaxPass vs. the way they do things are DW?
     
  13. jhaig

    jhaig Not The First To Pass This Way

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,365
    Max Pass was SO much easier and more flexible to use. The longest I waited to book another MP was 90 min, and that was because I had just booked RSR.

    WDW and their beloved “tier” system need to be scrapped. Part of their problem there is that they have FP for ride thats never needed it and still don’t need it now. You are practically forced to waste a FP on something like Nemo or something else, creating longer waits overall.
     
  14. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    Messages:
    6,907
    So glad that your day went so well! Especially your ride on RSR, after it being down for so long, and the FP line moving so quickly for you, and exiting in time for the neon lighting! Pixie dust for sure! Knowing that you had planned for more days originally, and that the trip changed -- bravo for doing so much research and planning and for going with the flow when your day didn't go exactly according to those well made plans! This is a perfect example of what we mean when we advise people to do the research, make their plans, then let go and let the magic happen! Let us know when you're ready to come back and we'll help you plan your next trip (hopefully for more than one day)! :)
     
    smartlabelprint likes this.
  15. smartlabelprint

    smartlabelprint DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    Messages:
    2,835
    I enjoyed your report! Disneyland is so crowded. I feel bad for those not familiar with the park. One wrong turn and you hit a wall of people! We’ve gone on the same trips but my spouse still doesn’t know where we’re going half the time. :(
     
    midnight star and gottalovepluto like this.
  16. gottalovepluto

    gottalovepluto DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2014
    Messages:
    7,622
    OMG MP is SO MUCH BETTER. SO MUCH. FP+ coming to Disneyland would basically be the worst thing ever (first world problem wise :) ). The way I imagine a comparison: with MP you can easily get headliner ride FPs in DCA for 2-3 rides even on busy days but if DCA was running FP+ Guardians, Soarin, IncrediCoaster and prob RSR would all be "Tier 1". Meaning you could pick 1 to have a FP for ahead of time. Another one if you use all your FPs that day and there's some left over but what are the odds? I'd even prefer the free paper FP system at DL to FP+ being implemented at DL tbh.
     
    emmybee, tarheelalum and GatorChris like this.
  17. Eve & Wall-e

    Eve & Wall-e Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Messages:
    350
    I really enjoyed reading your mini trip report of DL and DCA. Your comment about the stupid caterpillar was funny. Isn't Cars Land and RSR amazing?! So glad you had a fun time.

    What did you think of the Indy attraction?
     
    Deadp00l likes this.
  18. Indiana Scott

    Indiana Scott Bothell Washington

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,758
    Funny but the very things about DLR that you didn't like are the things I prefer about it. I like that I don't have to walk nearly as far or worse, take a bus to more attractions.
    We sued to consider WDW the Mecca of Disney parks. It took us three trips to realize how good we have it at DLR.
     
    kylie71 and tarheelalum like this.
  19. Winnowill

    Winnowill DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2014
    Messages:
    1,840
    The problem with DCA is that there's really only 1 "Tier 2" FP attraction (Goofy). Maybe GRR. So everyone would get to choose one of either GotG, RSR, IC, TSMM, or Soarin', and then be saddled with Goofy and GRR as their other two.
     
  20. jhaig

    jhaig Not The First To Pass This Way

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,365
    Indy was pretty good. Very similar to Dinosaur at WDW but smoother and obviously much better theming.
     
  21. Amw1064

    Amw1064 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    Messages:
    974
    My daughter LOVED Indy!
     

Share This Page