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Disneyland Trip Planning

Discussion in 'Disneyland Resort' started by Evan-500, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. Evan-500

    Evan-500 Well-Known Member

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    Hey everyone! Hoping for some help/insight.

    I haven't been to Disneyland since 2011. I am a Canadian, planning on a trip for February 2018 with my partner who has never been. Thinking 4 days at Disneyland/DCA, 1 day at Universal, and maybe 1 day to explore Hollywood/LA as well. Was thinking February 12-18 or so, something like that.

    Any thoughts? Where should we stay? How should we get around? What airport should we fly into and best way from airport to hotel? Are there hotels that offer a shuttle to the parks? How do we get from Anaheim to Universal and then Anaheim to Hollywood/LA on another day? Do you have suggestions for things we should do in Hollywood/LA? Is my plan dumb and should I do something else?

    Looking for any and all insight :)
     
  2. Reggie Colorado

    Reggie Colorado New Member

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    February 16-19 is a holiday weekend (Presidents' Day), so those days may be extra crowded.

    Given the distances between the places you want to go, you probably will need a car (either a rental car or service like Uber/Lyft).

    John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Santa Ana is the closest to Disneyland and very easy to navigate. Long Beach is relatively close too. But if you start or end your trip in LA, LAX might make more sense.

    Where to stay depends completely on your preferences and price sensitivity. Two of the onsite hotels, Grand Californian and Disneyland Hotel, are quite nice, convenient, and immersive, but the rates are so steep that they are not much of a value despite the amenities. But if you want that experience and are ready to splurge, go for it. Paradise Pier is the other onsite hotel, but is a lousy value in that it is more of a standard motel but at a luxury price. The main advantage to staying there is that you still get early admission each day to one of the parks (just as you do at the other two onsite hotels).

    The hotels directly across from the parks on Harbor Blvd (north of Katella Ave and south of I-5 freeway) are easy walking distance to the main park entrances and often offer great deals.
     
  3. BubbaQuest

    BubbaQuest Well-Known Member

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    You might want to check this thread for hints on other stuff to do in the LA area: http://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/the-official-explore-southern-california-thread.872243/

    If you are flying from Canada, that probably rules out Long Beach airport as it currently does not have a customs office. I think Santa Ana only has one flight a day from Canada (WestJet?), so LAX might be your best option even though it is furthest from Disneyland.

    Personally, I'd say 4 days is one day too many for DLR. But if you haven't been since 2001 expect a very different resort!! DCA 2.0 with Cars Land and new DL Rivers of America. If you like to do things leisurely you could easily enjoy 4 days at the new DLR.

    I know people have successfully done Uber/Lyft from Disney to Universal and back, but if you really want to explore the area, I'd recommend a rental car. Keep in mind almost everything in LA charges for parking, so you'll need to include that in your total cost. Maybe you can Uber to DLR and then get a rental car when you are ready to explore areas outside the resort.

    If you want to explore Universal and Hollywood, I would recommend finding a hotel near Universal (I've been told the Hilton there is good) or near Hollywood and Highland Aves for at least one night. This will give you time to spend a day at Uni, explore the Walk of Fame, and maybe take in a movie at El Capitan (Disney's premiere movie theater in Hollywood).

    If you really want to be adventurous, I'd even recommend spending one of your DLR nights at a Huntington Beach or Newport Beach hotel to get some of the California beach vibe :). You'll lose park time because of the distance from the parks, but I always think breakfast on the beach is worth it! Or maybe a night in Santa Monica/Venice after your DLR trip on your way back to the airport so you can pretend you're on an episode of Baywatch.

    Hope this helps and have a great trip!
     
  4. Evan-500

    Evan-500 Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Thanks for all the help! This is all wonderful information :) I like to take things slow and not feel rushed, which is why I slotted 4 days. Although I know 3 would be fine.
     
  5. raven24

    raven24 Well-Known Member

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    Try not to spend too much time doing typical L.A. touristy things!
     
  6. Reggie Colorado

    Reggie Colorado New Member

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    One factor on the number of days is that the price difference between a 3-day and 4-day ticket may only be $20. On our last trip, we originally planned on only 3 days in the parks but added the 4th day just so we did not have to rush through them or feel compelled to stay from rope drop to closing. We found a more leisurely visit was more enjoyable.
     
  7. Evan-500

    Evan-500 Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Haha, see that I don't want to do. I want to do the things locals may do, but also some minor tourist things. I do live in Hollywood North after all.
     
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  8. raven24

    raven24 Well-Known Member

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    Hollywood North?
     
  9. Evan-500

    Evan-500 Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Haha, Vancouver BC. It's our nickname for it, since so many shows/movies film here.
     
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  10. raven24

    raven24 Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I see haha.

    Check out our SoCal thread for some tips and ideas. Not sure if you're into books and art, but the Last Bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles is one of my favorite places ever. It believe it's mentioned in the thread, one of many things.
     
  11. Evan-500

    Evan-500 Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Oh gosh love arts and books! I thought about our Disneyland days being during the week, but in February I assume that means rather early closing times and no fireworks / fantasmic?
     
  12. BubbaQuest

    BubbaQuest Well-Known Member

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    I think midweek Feb closing times for DL will be 9pm. DCA will be 8pm. Versus midnight/10pm on weekends. Things might be a little different the week between Lincoln's birthday (Feb 12) and Washington's birthday (Feb 19/President's Day). Some schools get a winter break during that time, so there might be a bump in some of the park hours. Expect big crowds Presidents Day weekend (Feb 16th-19th)

    Fantasmic is big question mark until the thing finally opens. I believe WoC was twice a night for a full year until crowds slowed down. It's possible Fantasmic will run every night when it reopens if the crowds demand it. Maybe plan the last day in the parks for a Friday just in case, at least until the Feb schedule is published.

    You're biggest problem though might be the weather. February is usually the wettest month for LA. And by wet we mean a couple of inches :). The good news, the parks will be empty. The bad news, no fireworks. Luckily, it seldom rains more than a couple of hours in LA so hopefully a majority of your vacation will be rain free.
     
  13. Texas84

    Texas84 DVC Fan Boy Premium Member

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    Anaheim has a resort shuttle that works well. The hotels sell passes or you can get them online.

    http://rideart.org/
     
  14. BAChicagoGal

    BAChicagoGal Well-Known Member

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    Personally, for me 5 days is never enough. Of course, I don't get out to California much. I have stayed at the Anaheim Desert Inn, Howard Johnson, and the Candy Cane Inn, and enjoyed all of them. I have used the ART buses, and they are a godsend after a long day in the parks, on your feet. I almost always fly into John Wayne Airport, because it is so much closer to Disneyland, and I do not drive. I have never had an interest in Universal, but after checking the map, I see that it's way closer to LAX, than John Wayne. If I ever have the inclination to visit Universal in California, I would look into flying into LAX airport, and staying at a hotel nearest to Universal. Not sure about the set up there, but I am sure I could figure it out. I recently did a split trip between WDW, and Universal Orlando, and we stayed at the Disney hotel for our WDW days, and the Universal hotel for the Universal days. Of course, I wasn't solo, and someone else was driving. The biggest factor here is time. I would not even entertain a Disneyland Universal trip, unless I had at least a week. Lots of shuttles, and traveling involved. I love just getting to Disneyland as fast as I can, and staying put once I am there, and ready to go home.

    Have fun.
     

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