Just back and for those who read/responded to my mid-week Pixie Dust plea - Thanks! We had some ups and downs and some emotional moments but nothing that wouldn't have likely happened in some form or another no matter where the vacation had taken us. I detailed a bit more in my Minmate's Amuzing Adventure post on the trip reports boards if you are a glutton for details and trip reports. However, I just wanted to thank everyone for answering all of my last minute questions and offering the support I needed when I was afraid our trip was sliding down the tubes. In the end it was great. too short as always. feet too tired and of course, today, coming home was long... and hard. But here are some things I've learned. Keep in mind, I don't profess to be a Disney expert but I have been to DLR many times as a kid, got married there ten years ago and have been to WDW a handful of times... and I'm a quick learner. My dh proudly says of me... for someone who doesn't live near here and doesn't get to go her (Disney) that much, you sure have got it covered... then again he's never met all of you -- knows about you -- and all your sage wisdom.... But here's some of my random thoughts about our recent trip to DLR. First of all, I truly enjoyed it. I think DCA and DTD has really enhanced it to be more of a "resort" experience.... obviously b/c there's more to offer and to do. While DH wasn't feeling "the magic" as much as during our WDW trips, I reminded him that was b/c we stay on-site there. But here, we stayed at Residence Inn Maingate... you could walk - it's that close, but we drove. They have disney decor in the main parts of the hotel but not in the rooms themselves. Also, I was surprised to hear him say he missed having the towel animals and all that stuff. I didn't realize he thought that was soo cool! Personally, I loved our room. It was a bunk bed suite. The beds were comfortable and enough room for our family of six to spread out. We didn't utilize the kitchen THAT much. I made some meals but I was on vacation remember!? It was nice to be able to grab a cold drink from the fridge and to pop some popcorn to watch a movie. The two key reasons I choose on-site at WDW is proximity and Early Entry/EMH. Well, off-site in DL has both those... our hotel was probably just as close - if not closer - to DLR as the value resorts at WDW plus we came at went almost of our own will -- had to wait for a tram but seriously, even with the crowds, we never waited more than five miutes, even at closing time. It was nothing like the long lines at WDW. Transportation is such a big part of the WDW experience. I don't think so at DLR. Early Entry -- at WDW is practically a must. So on-site is essential. I found EE - since offered to so many more people -- to have been the most crowded morning of all. Another note, we spent the mornings at DL but by 9:30/10ish, we got out of there and went to DCA for their opening. It really was great to hit both parks before the bigger crowd time. At WDW you'd lose so much time in transportation that wouldn't be possible. Not sure how this fits in but our 8, 7 and just turned 6 yo walked the whole time. They were definitely tired, but they walked. We still brought a stroller for our 4 yo (dare I say she's a touch lazy to begin with? lol) -- but if they can do it -- hopping back and forth, etc -- all day -- that just shows you how close the parks are. Speaking of strollers. I love that we brought our own. We didn't have to waste time and money on renting and we didn't have to switch and pull everything thing out when going from one park to the other and we had it when we went elsewhere. We didn't use it THAT much outside disney but it was nice to have while waiting in line at the gates and for what little we did at DTD. The rides -- so many of them are way cooler at DL. Even Small World, which is essentially the same ride -- maybe it was just me, but I felt "closer" to the stuff on display in the ride... closer, more intimate more almost of a sense you could "reach out and almost touch stuff" -- (but keep your hands in the boat at all times please!) -- I liked this! I just felt comfortable at DL. Attractions and restaurants were in their proper places. When I go to WDW, that whole area from Crystal Palace through to Splash Mtn. is "different." And now DL felt that way at first, but I easily settled back into it feeling familiar. I love the location of Tomorrowland... it's so much closer to Main St. Sleeping Beauty's castle is pretty but Cinderella's is definitely more impressive. Sorry! Just my opinion! Everyone who loves Disney MUST see Steve Martin's the First 50 Years of Disneyland movie. Did you know Walt loved Autopia so much that at one point there were three of them in DL? They also had real stagecoach rides - briefly - but stopped them b/c they tended to tip over easily -- with guests in them -- hm... imagine if that were to happen in this day and age? Those are just two tidbits I learned while talking to a very cool CM while waiting for that movie to start. Certainly, it would've been nice to see Fantasmic! and ride Splash at DL, but secretly, it was kind of nice to have certain things crossed off the list b/c they're not open. Pressure's off a little! Does that make sense? I love POTC! The Jack animatronics are cool - as are the other additions -- the smoke screen and the music in the ship area --- cool, coool, coool. Love the drops too. Don't love when the boats get stuck though or when the chick has to come over the mic and remind people to keep their hands in the boats. C'mon people just follow the rules! Wish I had more time for DTD and to explore the Disney hotels. I'm sure that would've helped dh with the "All-disney, all the time feel." Hmmm, could there be an on-site trip in our future? There are fewer characters out and about at DL -- however, we saw Louis from Meet the Robinsons! Kinda cool! In the future, if I have the control over planning, I will NOT go to DL on a weekend -- Friday or Saturday especially.... too much local crowd... Now, locals, please don't be offended. I think you know what I mean. It's the teens half-dressed, making out in line with their hands down each other's pants in front of my 6 yr old that bugs me... the kids who wait in line for a ride then rag on it the whole time, that takes away the magic.... the teens who complain about too many kids in the park -- hello - this IS Disneyland, not a bar! I never ran into that stuff at WDW. WDW guests are much more family-oriented. Now that's not to say they're nicer, more polite or have better etiquette all the time... The use of late FastPass is TOTALLY, TOTALLY, TOTALLY rocking!!!!!!! I love that option! Also, I found it funny there were lines for FastPass distribution. I don't remember that being used at WDW. It was a bit bothersome at first -- what? We have to wait in line to get a ticket to shorten our wait in line? But it made sense and worked fine and moved quickly. I'm so dead-tired right now I can't think of anything else to say for now.... except that I know there is probably a "perceived" value in WDW b/c there's more parks and there's a perception that there's more to do... It's more planned out -- more "resort-y" - esp if you stay on-site... all Disney, all the time. But DLR is more organic, more throwback. They didn't know what they were going to get when they built it -- and so all the hotels/restaurants popped up around it -- it's more natural actually.... But if you want to totally, go nuts and "Geek out" on Disney... at DLR, onsite is prob the better way to go -- though, let's not play naive... all those hotels know when they see a family of six, like mine, with kids as young as mine, why were in Anaheim and what it is were planning to do while we're there! Know what else is cool? Not every single ride ends in the gift shop... the gift shops are there but you aren't FORCED to walk through them and say, "NO" to your kids every five minutes! In a nutshell... had fun... very few things I could remember "missing" there not being at DLR that they have at WDW -- other than more/better food options... Festival of the Lion King is about all I can think of right now... and Splash - but that was closed anyway. I didn't even really miss Epcot... okay, "the golfball ride," "carousel of progress" and the "people mover" -- my kids asked about those and also thought the monorail was kinda lame at DLR as compared to WDW -- where it stopped more frequently. They also missed having the non-park day activities like the Mad Tea Party and Pirate Cruise. I see DLR as all the best rides at ALL four WDW parks wrapped into two parks at DLR -- which is kudos -- less walking/transporation/hopping time! Woo-hoo.