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Guide to DLR for WDW Veterans!

Discussion in 'Disneyland Resort' started by GiveMeTheMusic, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. GiveMeTheMusic

    GiveMeTheMusic Well-Known Member

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    Since we get this ALL the time in this forum, I thought it would be nice to condense it into one place that the mods could make sticky - this stuff gets repeated ad naseum around here since the site caters to a WDW fanbase.

    I'll start with this:

    GiveMeTheMusic's INFALLIBLE List of Unique DLR Attractions/Shows PLUS Those Considered to be Superior to their WDW Counterparts!
    (This list does not take into account international Disney resorts; it only lists attractions that are available in DLR and not at WDW)

    Disneyland
    Attractions
    Main Street Vehicles
    Disneyland Railroad featuring the Grand Canyon and Primeval World Dioramas (closed until late spring 2017)
    Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
    Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough
    Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
    Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
    Autopia
    Space Mountain/Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy/Hyperspace Mountain
    Matterhorn Bobsleds
    Alice in Wonderland
    Storybookland Canal Boats
    Casey Jr. Circus Train
    it's a small world/it's a small world Holiday
    Snow White's Scary Adventures
    Peter Pan's Flight
    Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
    Pinocchio's Daring Journey
    Fantasy Faire and Royal Theater
    Mickey's Toontown (in general)
    Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
    Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    Golden Horseshoe
    Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island (closed until summer 2017)
    Sailing Ship Columbia (closed until summer 2017)
    Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes (closed until summer 2017)
    New Orleans Square (in general)
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    Haunted Mansion/Haunted Mansion Holiday
    Indiana Jones Adventure

    Entertainment
    Main Street Electrical Parade (through June 18, 2017 only)
    Paint the Night Parade (returns summer 2017)
    Fantasmic! (returns summer 2017)
    Remember...Dreams Come True fireworks spectacular
    Believe...In Holiday Magic (runs mid Nov - early Jan)
    Mickey's Soundsational Parade (plays mid Jan - mid Nov)
    A Christmas Fantasy Parade (plays mid Nov - early Jan)
    Mickey and the Magical Map
    Royal Theatre Storytelling at Fantasy Faire

    Disney California Adventure
    Attractions
    Cars Land (in general)
    Radiator Springs Racers
    Mater's Junkyard Jamboree
    Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters
    Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout!
    Buena Vista Street (in general)
    Red Car Trolley
    Monsters Inc: Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
    Disney Animation (Sorcerer's Workshop)
    a bug's land (kiddie rides)
    Grizzly River Run
    Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
    California Screamin'
    Goofy's Sky School
    Mickey's Fun Wheel
    Golden Zephyr
    Silly Symphony Swings

    Entertainment
    World of Color (runs early Jan - mid Nov)
    World of Color - Season of Light (runs mid Nov - early Jan)
    Pixar Play Parade (on hiatus, future uncertain)
    Frozen - Live at the Hyperion!
    Red Car Newsboys
    Five & Dime

    WDW Veterans FAQ!
    Do I need to stay on-site? DLR's hotels are very expensive.

    DLR is so compact that staying on-site is nowhere near necessary. There are dozens of reputable hotels within short walking distance to the park gates at a fraction of DLR resort prices.

    Which airport should I fly into? There's like 12. And what about Magical Express?
    The closest (and arguably nicest) airport to DLR is John Wayne International (SNA). About 20 minutes from the resort without traffic (LOL), it's the easiest choice. LAX is further but services more flights (and many hate LAX for how huge and unwieldy it is). Long Beach is another closer option, and is a very small airport. You could also fly into Ontario or Burbank. DLR does not offer Magical Express; but there is a separately operated bus line called Disneyland Express that is available from LAX and SNA. Of course, no one would recommend you come all the way to Los Angeles and JUST visit DLR - there are so many amazing things to see and do in Southern California, and DLR is just one of them. I recommend renting a car.

    What about dining reservations? What do I need to book at the 180 day mark?
    LOL. Nothing. DLR dining reservations are only available 60 days out, and are not a requirement like they are at WDW. If you want to eat at the Blue Bayou, a reservation is recommended to ensure availability. It's also wise to book entertainment dining packages (available for Frozen Live, Paint the Night, World of Color and Fantasmic) in advance, regardless of the venue.

    I can't wait to get my MagicBand! What about Fastpass+?
    Double LOL. No wristbands or Fastpass+ here, just traditional tickets and old school Fastpass. One Fastpass per ticket at a time, per park. MaxPass, an upcharge service, will become available later this spring and allow guests to book Fastpass digitally.


    I only have ONE day! Will the parks be crowded? Which rides should I go on?
    If you're a WDW vet with one day at DLR, you need to make every moment count. The parks will probably be crowded to some degree - there is little to no off-season left on DLR's calendar; the parks are exceedingly popular. If you'll be park hopping, start your day with the most popular attraction - Radiator Springs Racers. Either nab a Fastpass, get in a short standby line or ride single rider. Decide which attractions are important to you in both parks, and hit them next. At Disneyland, the mountains and Indiana Jones Adventure are the most popular attractions and get the longest lines.

    Anything I should know about Fastpass?
    Yes! Fantasmic! and World of Color Fastpasses are freebies.

    Oooo, I want to see World of Color!
    You should, it's amazing. If you don't book a dining package that includes show passes, you will need to get Fastpasses for the viewing area. They're distributed throughout the day at Grizzly River Run, but will run out on crowded days. Be sure to show up well before showtime if you want your pick of "seating", especially on crowded days.

    I heard your Fantasmic has no seats! What are you, barbarians? I like to watch Fantasmic from the comfort of a rock hard metal bleacher.
    The trade-off is a show that is unlike any other in the world, including the pale imitation at Disney's Hollywood Studios. You will have to stand, just like World of Color, unless you sit all the way down at the river's edge, where you will have to sit on the concrete.

    Fantasmic! is now Fastpass-only reserved viewing, like World of Color. Fastpasses will be distributed from park opening to one hour before showtime (or until they run out, which they usually do) on the Big Thunder Trail in Frontierland. There will be some minimal viewing areas reserved for non-Fastpass guests.

    Dining packages are also available that include Fantasmic! Fastpasses. They can be booked 30 days in advance on disneyland.com or by calling 714-781-DINE. They include three course meals at the Blue Bayou ($61/adult, $23/child) and River Belle Terrace ($41.99/adult, $21.99/child, table service only exclusively for Fantasmic! guests) and grab-and-go meals at Aladdin's Oasis ($19.99/adult, $13.99/child). All of these dining packages include Fantasmic! Fastpasses, with Blue Bayou and River Belle guests seated in the prime front and center sections.

    NOTE: Fantasmic! closed January 10, 2016, for at least 18 months to facilitate Star Wars Land construction. A new version of the show with updated scenes will open in summer 2017.

    Can I see the fireworks, MSEP/Paint the Night and Fantasmic in the same night?
    Absolutely, but not without some skill. If you see the first Fantasmic, you will be held in the Rivers of America area during the fireworks, which follow immediately. Disneyland's fireworks shows offer several effects that can only be viewed at Sleeping Beauty Castle, so you do miss out on some things (like Tinker Bell) by not being in the Hub.

    If you want to see all three shows in their full glory, you'll need a Fastpass for the late Fantasmic! performance. Start by watching the first Paint the Night in the hub. As soon as the parade passes, move to a great spot for the fireworks show on the Frontierland side of the Hub. As soon as the finale goes off, start lovingly shoving your way to Frontierland, and keep walking until you hit the rope by the Mark Twain dock. Cast Members will hold guests there until the Fantasmic area is clear, and then release you to go to your holding area for the 10:30pm show. Now, it is basically impossible to see World of Color, Paint the Night, Disneyland Forever and Fantasmic! all in one night, at least from their optimal viewing areas, so don't even try.

    I see that DLR offers a Dining Plan. Hooray!
    Slow down there bucko. The DLR Dining Plan doesn't resemble WDW's in any way, and is a complete rip-off. You are given vouchers with a dollar value that can be spent at participating restaurants resortwide, and no change is given. You are GUARANTEED to LOSE money on the Dining Plan. Don't do it. Pay out of pocket and pretend you're visiting WDW pre-2005.

    Does Disneyland offer the MyDisneyExperience app or Fastpass+ reservations?
    No, at this time DLR still uses standard paper Fastpasses. There is an official iPhone app with wait times that also allows digital ticket purchases (available on Android as well). TouringPlans.com's Lines app is great, and available if you have a subscription with them. MaxPass, a paid digital Fastpass service, will debut sometime in 2017. Pricing and options are still TBD. The following attractions offer Fastpass:

    Disneyland
    Hyperspace Mountain
    Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (freebie)
    Star Tours
    Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
    Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    Splash Mountain
    Indiana Jones Adventure
    Haunted Mansion/Haunted Mansion Holiday
    Fantasmic! (freebie)

    Disney California Adventure
    Radiator Springs Racers
    California Screamin'
    Soarin' Over California
    Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! (opens summer 2017)
    World of Color (freebie)
    Grizzly River Run
    Goofy's Sky School
    Toy Story Midway Mania

    Freebie Fastpasses don't count - meaning you can hold a freebie and another ride Fastpass at the same time.

    What's new at the Disneyland Resort?
    Condor Flats has been rebuilt and rethemed as Grizzly Peak Airfield. Disneyland's 60th anniversary Diamond Celebration brought a slew of exciting new offerings, including the groundbreaking (and now retired) Disneyland Forever fireworks spectacular and Paint the Night parade. The Haunted Mansion has a new resident (the Hatbox Ghost), the Matterhorn has all-new Audio Animatronics and show scenes. Peter Pan's Flight got a mild update in July 2015 as well.

    In late 2015, Star Wars Launch Bay took over the former Innoventions space. Meet-n-greets, interactive exhibits and merchandise will fill out the large former Carousel Theater. Jedi Training Academy has been upgraded with more characters.

    Season of the Force kicked off in November 2015 and will run indefinitely. Star Wars has taken over Tomorrowland with a new overlay on Space Mountain, redubbed Hyperspace Mountain, new food and beverage options and entertainment.

    Luigi's Flying Tires were re...tired and replaced by Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters, which opened in March 2016.

    An elaborate Frozen stage musical premiered in DCA's Hyperion Theater on May 27, 2016.

    Soarin' Around the World will replaced Soarin' Over California in late June 2016.

    The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror closed and will reopen May 27 as Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. The ride system will remain the same, but the show scenes will be completely altered to reflect the new Marvel theme. This attraction is expected to anchor the new Marvel land coming to DCA in the next few years.

    The Main Street Electrical Parade returned to its original home, Disneyland, on January 20, 2017. This limited encore engagement will end August 20, 2017. At that time, it's likely Paint the Night will return.

    Also in summer 2017, the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America attractions will reopen in their new configurations due to Star Wars Experience construction. Fantasmic! will return with new show scenes and updates at the same time.

    I heard that there's a secret club in New Orleans Square. How do I get in?
    You can't. Club 33 is a members only lounge and restaurant, and its entrance is what is formerly known as the Court of Angels in New Orleans Square. Only members or guests of a member are allowed in, so unless you know someone who can make that reservation, don't get your hopes up.

    When does Disneyland.com publish hours and show schedules?
    Often less than 60 days in advance. There isn't a hard and fast schedule for the release of hours, so keep an eye on Disneyland.com as your trip draws closer. On off-season weekdays, Disneyland is open from 10am - 9pm, while DCA usually closes at 8pm. On weekends and during peak season, the parks can open as early as 8am and close as late as midnight.

    How will Star Wars Land construction impact Disneyland?
    Big Thunder Ranch (as well as Festival Arena and Big Thunder BBQ) closed permanently on January 10, 2016. In addition, Fantasmic!, Disneyland Railroad, Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, Pirates' Lair/Tom Sawyer Island and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes closed for at least 18 months on January 10, 2016. The Mark Twain Riverboat is docked in Frontierland and available for guests to board during its closure. The New Orleans Square and Main Street USA Disneyland Railroad stations are also open with parked trains and exhibits available.

    While an opening date for Star Wars Land isn't known, it's been rumored to be aimed at a late 2018/early 2019 opening.

    What else should we add friends? @raven24 @TP2000
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  2. raven24

    raven24 Well-Known Member

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    Oh my goodness, @Cosmic Commando and I were talking about making one of these a long time ago. We never got to it haha. Glad you finally started it, @GiveMeTheMusic.

    I will add as much as I can, when I actually can. I'm actually at Disneyland with @Cosmic Commando ...
     
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  3. Figments Friend

    Figments Friend Well-Known Member

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    Great idea....this will be a handy tool for those making the trek to the Left Coast.

    Another thing to toss in is to mention the 'Disneyland Express' is not in any way like WDWs 'Magical Express'.
    I find lots of WDW vets get confused about that, exspecially when they stay at a Disney owned hotel.
     
  4. raven24

    raven24 Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I have a little bit of time to cover something.

    Number of days to spend in the park:

    I'd recommend at least three days, five days maximum. One should be able to do everything in five days. Although the DLR has more rides than WDW, it is thought to be easier to get things done quicker because the two parks sit right across from each other. From Toontown, which is located in the back of Disneyland, you can get to California Adventure in under ten minutes, depending on how fast you're walking. Also, Disneyland, and somewhat California Adventure, isn't spread out, so one does not have to walk for miles to get to the next attraction.

    For those wanting to add a sixth day, you have to buy a separate 1-day park hopper.
     
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  5. thomas998

    thomas998 Well-Known Member

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    Not sure why you have Fantasmic on the list... having seen the DL version and the WDW version I wouldn't say there is any significant difference except that at DL you have to stand up while at WDW you get to sit down in comfort.
     
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  6. raven24

    raven24 Well-Known Member

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    @Cosmic Commando would you like to explain to Sir Thomas here the significant differences between each Fantastmic!? Or @GiveMeTheMusic
     
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  7. ajrwdwgirl

    ajrwdwgirl Well-Known Member

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    Fantasmic at DL has the great Peter Pan scene and WDW does not. Plus there is a section at DL were you can sit on the ground and watch the show and not stand (I've sat there twice). DL also has the dessert package with decent seating, the cost is a little pricey but we enjoyed the treats and our seats.
     
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  8. GiveMeTheMusic

    GiveMeTheMusic Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Gladly @raven24 - DLR's Fantasmic has vastly superior jungle (Kaa), battle (Peter Pan with real stunts vs Pocahontas with human target practice), dragon (full AA as opposed to head on a stick) and finale (Mark Twain vs. plywood riverboat) sequences, in addition to the wow factor of a spectacular show emerging out of nowhere on Tom Sawyer Island and the Rivers of America. Lighting is crisper, effects are newer, choreography is better and the use of space is unparalleled.

    WDW's Fantasmic is a pale imitation that doesn't begin to capture the magic of the original, which is astonishing considered they were both created by the same team.

    In my book, the only thing DHS' show has over DLR is Frollo's closing line of "Wiiitchcraaaaft," which makes me LOL every time. Funny as hell.
     
  9. raven24

    raven24 Well-Known Member

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    Superb job.
     
  10. Cosmic Commando

    Cosmic Commando Well-Known Member

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    All wrong. DL's Fantasmic is so great because during the day, you can walk right on top of the spaces where Mickey and the Evil Queen stand for most of the show and do your own re-enactment! ;):eek::cool:
     
  11. thomas998

    thomas998 Well-Known Member

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    As I stated, no significant differences. basically the same show... Doe some effects look like the cost more? Yes... but it isn't significant enough for me to jump for joy over one vs the other.
     
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  12. Virtual Insanity

    Virtual Insanity Well-Known Member

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    The 2 coasts F!'s are as similar as Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom park. Basic idea is the same, totally different execution. About the only things the 2 F!'s share are the same name, basic storyline, storyline telling techniques, some of the same tech and a few scenes. They each have different scenes, set pieces, lighting packages, technology, seating arrangements etc etc. I could go on. All this create an entirely different mood to the show.

    There are more differences than similarities and warrants being included in this list. Most strongly prefer the DL version, but there are those who like the WDW version better.

    Fun fact: According to Wikipedia (so take it with a grain of salt) DL's is 4 minutes shorter yet costs $75,000 per show vs WDW's $45,000 per show.
     
  13. thomas998

    thomas998 Well-Known Member

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    I suspect the difference in cost is more a matter of the labor cost differential between California and Florida. While California might have "better" effects, those are all pretty much fixed costs and I doubt they were factored in at all.
     
  14. Cosmic Commando

    Cosmic Commando Well-Known Member

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    I think those 4 extra minutes are all in the Pocahontas scene. Woof.
     
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  15. Figments Friend

    Figments Friend Well-Known Member

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    The DL Fantasmic is the ONLY version. Period.

    Ignore the FL version...or if you have seen it, wipe it clear from your memory.

    The DL version is infinitely better in ALL aspects.

    SEE IT.
    Don't waste your time in Florida with this show.
    DL is 'it'....!

    :)
     
  16. Animaniac93-98

    Animaniac93-98 Well-Known Member

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    I'm just quoting this comment becuase I love it so much.

    It's amazing how many people are more focused on this than the actual content of the show. :confused:
     
  17. merry68

    merry68 Active Member

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    Thank you for this... we were supposed to go to DL this past summer, but my mother became very ill, and we had to cancel that trip. So we are now hoping to head West in early summer 2014. With everything going on with SillyMagicBands at WDW, we are a bit more excited to see DL. It's been over 30yrs since I've been there.
     
  18. Bolna

    Bolna Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for putting all the great info together - however, maybe instead of "unique" it should say "attractions not available at WDW" - you have listed quite a few that are not unique as they are also in DLP, but not at WDW (Storybook Canal Boats, Pinocchio, Casey Jr, Snow White and the Castle walkthrough). ;)
     
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  19. ParentsOf4

    ParentsOf4 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much for that!

    We just booked 6 nights in a 2-bedroom at VGC for March 30 to April 5, 2014. DW and I haven't been to DLR in over 15 years. We'll have our 4 teenagers in tow. It's our school vacation week but we've been told school is in session in California. Touringplans.com reports reasonable crowd levels during the week.

    We are planning on doing other LA area attractions (also staying in a hotel away from DLR for a couple of nights) and planned on doing non-DLR things while we were at VGC. Based on your advise, it sounds like we need at least 3 days at DLR and possibly a fourth.

    Keeping in mind that we have teenagers who have no desire to ride kiddie attractions such as Dumbo or Disney Junior (but definitely will want to try Peter Pan, iasw, Mr Toad's, etc.) or wait for meet & greets, what's the best attractions for us to FP? In other words, which non-kiddie rides are DLR's equivalent of WDW's TSM or Test Track, which often have 2-hour Standby waits?

    At night, DW and I might want to find a place to relax with drinks while our teenagers tour the parks on their own. Not sure if the best place to do this is within DCA or back at the Grand Californian. What do you recommend?

    Not sure where to eat but we do want something different than WDW. I’m sure we’ll try a couple of QS places. Maybe we’ll try one or two TS restaurants at the parks, maybe skip TS completely if prices are just stupid. The kids are not picky eaters but are not connoisseurs either. For example, DHS’s Brown Derby is not their cup of tea but they are good with Hollywood & Vine or Mama Melrose’s. DW and I are more adventurous but, oh well. What do you recommend?
     
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  20. raven24

    raven24 Well-Known Member

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    @ParentsOf4 Really the only attraction at the DLR that sees a two hour wait is Radiator Springs Racers. I'd recommend FPs for Space, maybe Splash, Indy (you'd miss the great queue, though) and Radiator Springs Racers. There usually isn't a need for a FP for Tower and Screamin'.

    For drinks, I'd definitely recommend Trader Sam's. It's such a fun bar. It's located at the Disneyland Hotel, which isn't far from the Grand Californian.

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to copy and paste an old post in regards to food.

    My absolute favorite spot to eat at at Disneyland is the Plaza Inn at the end of Main Street. It's a beautiful restaurant and the food is really good, specifically the fried chicken.

    [​IMG][​IMG]I also really enjoy Rancho Del Zocalo in Frontierland. The area is beautiful and the Mexican is decent for theme park food.

    [​IMG][​IMG]Hungry Bear also makes my list, due to its location. It's in Critter Country (a land not found at WDW) and it sits right across from Tom Sawyer Island and the Rivers of America. It's got a woodsy/backyard picnic-type feel. Their onion rings are so good, as well as their burgers and chicken sandwiches.

    [​IMG]

    French Market. Great ambiance and good food. There's usually a band that plays right out front. Cafe Orleans is great, too.

    Cafe Orleans:

    [​IMG]

    The counter service spot at the Disneyland Resort with arguably the best ambiance is Flo's V8 Cafe at California Adventure in Cars Land. Its location is perfect. It's smack dab in the middle of Cars Land, and, depending where you sit, you can see the cars from Radiator Springs Racers driving by you. The restaurant plays themed, Motown music and serves classic, American comfort food.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    On to the table service restaurants.

    Carnation Cafe is on Main Street, and the food is great. Space is not bountiful here, so make a reservation, just in case.

    [​IMG][​IMG]Carthay Circle Restaurant in California Adventure. I've yet to eat here, but I've heard the food is good. It's a very beautiful restaurant.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Napa Rose at the Grand Californian Hotel. I haven't eaten here either, but I haven't heard one, single bad review about it. The food is excellent, from what I hear. It's a bit pricey, FYI.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I've heard the exact same thing about Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    In my opinion, the table restaurant with the best ambiance at the Disneyland Resort would be Blue Bayou at Disneyland. It is located in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, and it is very popular. You can't beat its location. If you decide to eat here, make sure to ask for seats inside the restaurant, across from the ride, as seen in the photos. This is also a pricey restaurant.


    [​IMG]
    I will add one restaurant to this old post... That would be Tortilla Jo's in Downtown Disney. The food is tasty and I really love the atmosphere. If you're lucky, you'll be able to catch the Mariachi singers and the balloon makers (I doubt you'd want a balloon).
     

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