Advice for first DisneyLand trip

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BayLakeTowers
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Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by BayLakeTowers » Sep Fri 09, 2011 1:32 pm

Okay, so after countless trips to WDW we are finally boarding a plane and going to DL next Spring. This will be the first time for all of us. We're pretty Disney savvy as far as WDW, but clueless for DL. We'll be at the resort for three days and three nights. So what are the absolute "Must Sees"? What are the good resturants? I was surprised that DL doesn't have a Disney Dining Plan, so we'll probably hit one sit-down and one counter service per day. And any tips that unique to DL would be helpful.
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Re: Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by Wizzard419 » Sep Fri 09, 2011 1:49 pm

Which hotel are you staying at?

3 days should be more than enough time and, depending on the part of spring you're going to be there for, the crowds will be reasonable.

Some attractions have copies in florida so you can skip (if you've already done them) star tours, toy story midway mania, soarin', muppet vision, tiki room (only slight difference between WDW's and our version), It's tough to be a bug and Cpt. Eo.

Since it's all built in a tight area the walkway from the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier hotel start at the end of downtown disney so you can either walk to disneyland or take the monorail.

Security is a bit more of a hassle and lines can be longer if you're trying to enter via the main entrance, if you find the lines are too long/slow you can always use the monorail to get into DLR and the grand californian entrance to get into DCA.

Resturants, there aren't any bad places and you have also got the variety of the stuff in DTD.

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Re: Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by BayLakeTowers » Sep Fri 09, 2011 2:01 pm

We're staying in the Grand Californian. We figured we'd do one park a day and pick up any "must see agains" for the last day. Has Star Tours been upgraded in DL? We saw the new version this summer at WDW, but my youngest DD wasn't 40", so she wants to see it now.
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Re: Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by Wizzard419 » Sep Fri 09, 2011 2:08 pm

Yes, it opened a week after the WDW version. Same video segments/randomizer.

The only bummer for you might be that Cars land probably won't be open yet as it is supposed to open in the summer.

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Re: Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by MmeLeota » Sep Fri 09, 2011 2:45 pm

Yes, Star Tours is the updated version that is also in WDW. Also, it will depend on when in Spring you are planning to go as Spring Breaks can prove to be a bit rough on the smaller DLR.

I did happen to find the following posted on Disneyland's website regarding their version of the dining plan:

Disney Dining
Whether dining in Disneyland® Park, Disney California Adventure® Park or one of the three Hotels of the Disneyland® Resort, Guests will find a variety of dining choices around every corner! For an extra touch of magic, don't miss our Disney Character Dining experiences, available at these locations (priority seating required*) :
Goofy's Kitchen
Disneyland® Hotel (serving breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Surf's Up! Breakfast with Mickey & Friends
Disney's Paradise Pier® Hotel
Chip 'n Dale Critter Breakfast
Disney's Grand Californian Hotel® & Spa
Minnie and Friends Breakfast
Disneyland® Park
Ariel's Disney Princess Celebration
Character Breakfast and Lunch
Ariel's Grotto in Disney California Adventure® Park
Disney's special dining plans make it easy for you to sample a bit of everything while using vouchers instead of cash. Dine in the Magic includes two (2) meals and one (1) snack per number of days selected, including dining with your favorite Disney Characters. The snack and meal vouchers are redeemable at cafes, snack spots and restaurants throughout the Disneyland® Resort. Simply choose the dining plan that works best with your vacation and add it to your package.
Character Dining
one meal per person.
Adult/Junior $33.00
Child ** $17.00
Premium Character Dining***
one lunch per person.
Adult/Junior $40.00
Child ** $21.00
Donald's 2-Day Dine in the Magic Meal Plan
6 Disney Dining choices per person.
Adult/Junior $106.00
Child $64.00
Goofy's 3-Day Dine in the Magic Meal Plan
9 Disney Dining choices per person
Adult/Junior $159.00
Child** $96.00
Minnie's 4-Day Dine in the Magic Meal Plan
12 Disney Dining choices per person
Adult/Junior $219.00
Child ** $132.00
Mickey's 5-Day Dine in the Magic Meal Plan
15 Disney Dining choices per person
Adult/Junior $272.00
Child** $164.00

*Priority Seating is required for all table service restaurants in Disneyland® Park, Disney California Adventure® and the Resort Hotels. Please call Disney Dining up to 60 days in advance to arrange Priority Seating (714) 781 - DINE

**Child Age 3-9 for all Dining experiences.

***Voucher not valid for World of Color Dinner Packages at Ariel's Grotto and Wine Country Trattoria from 5:00 to 9:00PM.

Vouchers are not redeemable for cash and are non-transferable. May be applied up to its retail price at any Full Service or Counter-Service restaurant. Not valid for alcoholic beverages., tobacoo products, room service, holiday buffets and merchandise. No change given. Not valid at retaurants or outdoor carts in the Downtown Disney® District. Daily operating hours may vary. May not be used for admission or towards the price of admission to any Disneyland® Resort theme park. Separate theme park admission may be necessary. Not valid in combination with other discounts or promotions. Restaurant seating is subject to availability - reservations are recommended. All dining locations, hours, menus and character experiences, an all elements are subject to change without notice.

Character Dining

Valid at Minnie & Friends Breakfast - Plaza Inn on Main Street, USA - Disneyland® Park; Surf's Up! Breakfast - PCH Grill, Disney's Paradise Pier® Hotel; Chip 'n' Dale's Critter Breakfast - Storytellers Café, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel® & Spa

Premium Character Dining

Valid at Princess Celebration - Ariel's Grotto - Disney California Adventure® Park and Goofy's Kitchen - Disneyland® Hotel


I hope this information helps you out! :D Glad to hear that you will be making the trip to the original Disney park!

BayLakeTowers
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Re: Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by BayLakeTowers » Sep Mon 12, 2011 1:21 pm

What great help!
I hadn't heard of their "vouchers". We had tried to make dinner reservations, but unlike WDW, they only make them 60 days out. Now I'm kind of glad we hadn't yet.
Spring break varies from state-to-state and even school district to school district, so we'll just have to be ready to brave the crouds.
Speaking of that, are there any rides in DL that are guaranteed an hour-plus wait - like Test Track is in Epcot? I won't even approach Test Track now unless I have a fast pass. The last two times I've tried the stand-by line, a 30-min expected wait grew to one hour or more due to break downs in the ride.
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Re: Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by BayLakeTowers » Sep Mon 12, 2011 1:37 pm

Well it was a good shot, but the vouchers only appear to be good with special Disneyland vacation package deals. I thought I might be able to wrap it in with an admission ticket, but that doesn't appear to be the case.
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Re: Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by Wizzard419 » Sep Mon 12, 2011 1:39 pm

Hour+ waits are very rare at DLR outside of the heavy summer months.

The longest waits are usually toy story mania, soain' (sometimes), and possibly Star Tours. But even then, they may not reach hour long waits.

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Re: Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by MmeLeota » Sep Mon 12, 2011 3:07 pm

BayLakeTowers wrote:Well it was a good shot, but the vouchers only appear to be good with special Disneyland vacation package deals. I thought I might be able to wrap it in with an admission ticket, but that doesn't appear to be the case.
Bummer...sorry about that :(

As far as waits go, Wizzard pretty much covered it. TSMM does not have FP at DCA, so everyone waits in the standby line. There are FP available for Star Tours and Soarin' though...

Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Indy (all have FP) also tend to have lengthy waits on busy days, but only on the most crowded days will you find 1 hour+ waits...

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Re: Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by Wizzard419 » Sep Mon 12, 2011 5:00 pm

And with Soain' and TSMM, it's the same ride as WDW so if you miss it you won't miss much.

At DLR (I don't recall how it was at WDW) the standby sections of FP rides builds up at the front, but once you get past the first CM or so the ride opens up.

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Re: Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by DLfan2011 » Sep Wed 14, 2011 5:20 pm

A difference between WDW and DL is the fact that all of the parades and shows in all within one of the two parks at DL. If you enjoy the shows and parades as much as the rides then you have the opportunity to catch short lines during a parade, fireworks show or fantasmic once you have already seen the shows. Then you use fast passes the other times. Being a big disney fan we usually take four days to see DL and California Adventure but do it at a casual pace catching all the rides at least once (some multiple times) and seeing all of the shows in both parks.

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Re: Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by Wizzard419 » Sep Wed 14, 2011 5:51 pm

Oh yeah, that reminds me.

If you're going to want to see world of color you have 2 options for reserved viewing areas, you can get a prix fixe dinner or "picnic" (it's a takeout box you eat in the viewing area) which will give you a pass for the green zone. If you do not like the meals offered (they put the menus online I think) you can always go and get your fastpass for free at Gizzly River Run's fastpass location. There have been some theroies on how the system works but the theoretical ideal time to get your passes would be 10-10:30 am since the system should be on red or yellow sections by then. Also only one member of your party should be in line (with all your scanned in tickets) as once you get up to the entrance of the FP area they will only let one member of the party go over to collect the tickets.

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Re: Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by ericpabear » Sep Thu 15, 2011 7:15 pm

You are gonna have a great time!!!!
Our first time to DisneyLand was last year.
Like you, we have been to WDW two dozen times.
You walk around feel'n as if you were in a dream.
It feels like home, but everything is in the wrong place. And there is no walk'n miles for the next attraction. Everything is just a few steps away. The heat is different. You don't swet to death, but it burns like standing too close to the fire. But there always seems to be a breeze.
We also stayed at the Grand Californian. The monorail passes thru it, but doesn't stop. STRANGE. Also the monorail was allways broke.(well, not allways). Too hot for it they said. We finaly got on when it was working. It doesn't have air conditioning, all the windows are half open. Talk about a great view. A must do, realy.
We were able to see "World of Color" from our window. Also we got a fast pass to see it at Gizzly River Run right out the back/side door. There is no stadium seating. You sit on the ground. A killer on your back and legs. (Same for Fantasmic). If you stay towards the back, for the "World of Color", lean on one of the fences in the higher locations with the fence in front of you. No one can get in front of you, and you are two heads above everyone. Now about Gizzly River Run. You will get soaked. We did this at the end of the day. We wore our bath'n suite under our clothes, and just got in the pool on our way back to our room.
You go out one door of the Grand Californian, you end up in Disney California Adventure. Go out the other door turn to the right, with a short walk you in Disneyland. Go out the same door and go to the left, your in Downtown Disney. Every ride has MORE to see in the que. There is sooo much good stuf to say. You are gonna have a great time, believe me. Yes you are. WHAT A TRIP.

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Re: Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by BayLakeTowers » Sep Wed 21, 2011 9:54 am

Thanks for all the great advice.
I thought there was some way to watch the World of Color from the roof of the Grand Californian -- much like you can watch the MK fireworks from Bay Lake Towers - or the California Grill. Right now we think we may do the picnic lunch box thing.
I though it was odd as to which rides in DL did and did not have Fast Passes. I guess it has to do with crowd control as much as poularity of the ride.
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Re: Advice for first DisneyLand trip

Post by horizons1 » Sep Wed 21, 2011 1:54 pm

You might want to have lunch at the Blue Bayou, the environment is really cool and lunch is less expensive than dinner.
No one's gloomy or complaining while the flatware's entertaining.
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