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DLR first visit from the eyes of a WDW veteran

Discussion in 'Disneyland Resort' started by BrianV, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. BrianV

    BrianV Well-Known Member

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    We just got back from three days at DLR April 3-6. This was our first visit ever, though we are veterans of WDW, having visited many many times dating back to 1973. We loved DLR, but inevitably ended up comparing everything to WDW. Here are our observations in a perhaps less than coherent order.

    We stayed off site at the Anaheim Hilton. Adequate hotel and the walk wasn't too bad. We (almost) always stay on site at WDW, but we were visiting for a conference so we wanted to stay in the same hotel. If visiting just for DLR, I would stay ether closer or on site next time.

    The lines for security and admission were insanely long every day we went. We aren't rope drop commando people so this was between 8:30 and 9:30 AM. I've never seen lines like this at WDW either during spring break or the summer. That said, our last WDW visit was in August so maybe things have changed. But once through, this was a memory quickly.

    I'm sure everyone says this, but the castle is so small. You can hardly see it from the end of main street. That said, I've waited for years to see the walk through and was't disappointed. (Big Sleeping Beauty fan). Otherwise, Main Street was much better than at WDW. So much more to see and do. And the dioramas that change are amazing. And more cars and carriages carrying passengers and almost always free seats.

    I'm torn on the fast passes. I liked being able to get fast passes the day of. You could actually get space mountain fast passes. On the other hand, I like how you don't have to run around at WDW.

    We loved the characters just walking around. We saw more charactrs walk past than we have seen in the past 10 years combined at WDW.

    I've never seen so many rides break down. Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Mr. Toad, Cars Racers, Soarin, and Splash Mountain were all down at some point, two of them while we were waiting on line. In 40 years of going to WDW, I can remember only once waiting on line when a ride broke. Happened twice while we were at DLR.

    As for rides, I'll summarize here:

    Hyperspace Mountain was awesome. We usually skip space mountain at WDW. This was vastly superior especially being able to sit side by side. And we loved the Star Wars overlay.

    We preferred WDW Splash Mountain because you can sit next to your spouse. But the single rider line was great!

    Pirates at DLR is vastly better. It is like twice as long. But the queue out in the middle of the pathway made the place feel so crowded. Disney World hides the crowds better. This was a repeated theme everywhere. The queues take up the street space!

    The monorail at DLR is much cleaner and nicer. That said, it serves little purpose. But we loved the great scenic tour!

    I wanted to love the submarines. I remember the WDW ones fondly. But as blasphemous as it may sound, we actually prefer the Finding Nemo Ride in EPCOT to the submarines. It was so cramped for a 6ft tall man.

    LOVED LOVED LOVED MR. Toad and Snow White. Wish they were still at WDW. Just as I remember them! Made me so happy!

    Tiki Room at DLR is vastly superior! Nuff said. And I got tiki room glasses and plates! Always was my favorite at WDW before the dark times.

    Bugs life, Ariel, Big Thunder Mountain, Soarin, probably a few others were a push. Essentially equivalent to my eyes.

    Indiana Jones was amazing. Reminded us a little of the mummy ride at UO. But Indy is a better theme.

    Which brings up Cars World. What an amazing place. And the ride was amazing. That said, we raced in in the am to get a fast pass and then we waited 20 minutes on fast pass line and then it broke down after we got to the front. We waited another 40 minutes until they said it wasn't getting fixed right away. We returned later and were able to use a new fast pass they gave us but had to wait about 30 minutes on a wicked long FP line. I know it wasn't their fault, but things seem to break way to easily there.

    We generally preferred the food to WDW. We had reservations at the Blue Bayou for my wife's birthday and sat by the water. The food was super tasty and service excellent. We had a great breakfast in cars world. And we had a great lunch at the River Belle Terrace. (But weirdly they have no bathroom and the nearest one is FAR away!) I loved that we could get same day reservations. At WDW you need to reserve months in advance.

    The first night we watched the fire works from the hotel (they have a private lounge that when it isn't being used they will unlock for you). The second night we had world of color fast passes and waltzed in at 9PM. Our space wasn't great but the show was great! We snuck out 1 minute before it ended and watched the fire works form the plaza between the parks. That was awesome!

    I'm sure there is more I am missing. Trying to organize my thoughts while I'm still a little jet lagged. So my final verdict is probably a bit of a tie. Some things at each place are better. Think I'd have enjoyed the whole experience more at a less crowded time, but that was when we could go. Love WDW and now also love DLR! Given the location (we live in Boston and go to Florida once or twice a year) we may not make it back soon. And out poor kids missed out because of school. Oh well...
     
  2. 180º

    180º Well-Known Member

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    Nice report! Thanks for sharing. I don't have much to say, but I enjoy hearing people's first impressions. Glad you enjoyed discovering DLR!
     
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  3. GiveMeTheMusic

    GiveMeTheMusic Well-Known Member

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    I also much prefer the Nemo ride at Epcot to the subs at DL. The subs are a top candidate for "Biggest Waste of Precious Space" at DLR in my book!

    Glad you had a great time! DLR does have more frequent breakdowns than WDW, and one of the reasons for that is more stringent quality controls. WDW will run rides with broken effects and missing scenes to keep them open - DLR does not (if they can help it - this used to be stricter). Sorry that it negatively impacted your experience, but it's a hard balance to strike.
     
  4. BrianV

    BrianV Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Oh, to be clear we had a wonderful time! The Spring Break crowds were far bigger issue, but unavoidable. On the RSR they actually walked all of the guests off the ride mid-ride so I suspect it was more than a few effects not working. But I do appreciate the effort to keep everything in good shape. They didn't offer to give us replacement fast passes so we were in a bind...wait for an indefinite period or miss out on riding all together. When they finally gave us all fast passes we left--perhaps an hour or more after we'd arrived. But then that meant the FP line later was gigundous. I think we may actually have cut a portion by accident because it wrapped all through Cars World. Momentarily we felt quite defeated. Returned to the hotel for a swim and felt refreshed and ready for the evening.

    I didn't mention how lovely all the details on main street and fantasy land in particular were. Mr. Toad's house was amazing. They fit a whole lot of charm into a lot smaller space.
     
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  5. Figments Friend

    Figments Friend Well-Known Member

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    I love Disneyland.
    It is my Park of choice now after 30+ years of being a long term WDW Vet.
    I used to visit WDW every so often from 79' to 89', then started visiting yearly in the early 2000s.
    That all changed in 2013, after my third visit to Disneyland.

    It was during that third visit that I finally confessed to myself that I love this place, it's details, history, pace, and presentation better then what my last few years visiting WDW had been.
    It was a amazing contrast and I loved the differences.
    Such an improvement in many respects.

    I have not been back to Orlando since.
    Gave it up cold...even my beloved Epcot.
    Anaheim is where the real Magic is for me now....on many levels.
    I'm a total 'convert' now, and try to convince other long term WDW Vets to give DLR a try.
    :)

    Glad you had a great time and enjoyed this West Coast slice of delight!


    -
     
  6. Evan-500

    Evan-500 Well-Known Member

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    So glad you got to experience the park that started it all!

    Too bad Fantasmic wasn't running, such a great version. Will be quite different when it comes back. Indy is probably one of my favourite rides, and POTC is the most insane thing, MK's might as well hide in shame.
     
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  7. drizgirl

    drizgirl Well-Known Member

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    Nice review! Glad you had a good trip.

    And just an FYI, the FP system is said to be changing in the near future to an electronic version you pay for. Same day FPs only from what I've heard, but available on the app.
     
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  8. truecoat

    truecoat Well-Known Member

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    You can still get paper tickets for free at the machines. Not sure how long that will last.
     
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  9. drizgirl

    drizgirl Well-Known Member

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    Yes, absolutely. I was just offering the option to the OP since they weren't excited about running around collecting paper FPs.
     
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  10. BrianV

    BrianV Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    To be clear, there are tradeoffs with both systems. The ability to book in advance will reduce the number available. But that would also make it more convenient. For me it is about even the good and the bad.
     
  11. BrianV

    BrianV Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Totally agree about POTC. Couldn't believe the difference here. But I've always loved the queue for pirates through the castle at WDW.
     
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  12. drizgirl

    drizgirl Well-Known Member

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    I'll reserve judgment on the system until they roll it out and we see how they handle AP's. If they just include it with certain AP's, it has the potential to ruin that system. If they make it expensive enough for AP's to add that only a small number add it, then it could be great.
     
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  13. BrianV

    BrianV Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Specifically I'm thinking of WDW vs DLR. You are correct. Until we know what they actually do, hard to tell if better or worse.
     
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  14. Evan-500

    Evan-500 Well-Known Member

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    Oh yes the queue is great, but lord have mercy the Disneyland ride experience?! Blows me away every time.
     
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  15. Curious Constance

    Curious Constance Well-Known Member

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    Just curious, are you an AP?
     
  16. drizgirl

    drizgirl Well-Known Member

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    I am not currently but have been previously.
     
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  17. BrianV

    BrianV Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    I would like to have made it into the haunted Mansion. But never got a chance. Is it similarly different?
     
  18. PiratesMansion

    PiratesMansion Active Member

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    Overall, no, not really. The stretching room is an elevator at DL and so it stretches much more than it does in Florida. And rather than immediately getting on the Doom Buggy after the stretching room, you go down the portrait hallway on foot first. Once in the Omnimover, you start with the Endless Hallway and the rest of the ride is more or less the same. There is the Hatbox Ghost, and the Hitchhiking Ghosts are still the originals. I don't think either version of HM is perfect, but I would say overall I prefer the WDW version.
     
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  19. BrianV

    BrianV Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Cool. Wish we had made it but something for a future trip! You mean it isn't an elevator in WDW? I always assumed it was...
     
  20. PiratesMansion

    PiratesMansion Active Member

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    In California, they had to get guests underground to walk under the railroad tracks into the show building on the other side. That's also why Pirates has its drops. In Florida they didn't need to worry about that, so in Florida the ceiling is rising but you don't actually move. In this POV of the WDW mansion (around 1:30), you can see the room already starting to stretch before the doors are fully closed, betraying the illusion.

     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2017
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