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Guide to DLR for WDW Veterans!

GiveMeTheMusic

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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?
As always, Raven gives great advice. There are two great bars/lounges in the Grand - Hearthstone and the Napa Rose Lounge. Both are excellent and great places to relax.

I would also add Paradise Garden Grill and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta - IMO, it's the best food in DCA. The steak and tzatziki platter - Lord have mercy.

Racers and World of Color are the only must do FP things. Everything else can be done with or without, but it certainly helps at Space and Indy.
 

ajrwdwgirl

Well-Known Member
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Another vote for Trader Sam's! I love that bar, it is very relaxing and fun in there.
 

Cosmic Commando

Well-Known Member
Here's an idea I've sort of been kicking around for a while. Now that I have a clever name and the idea to do one whenever the inspiration strikes me, instead of assembling a master list all at once, I think I'm ready to go.

Homeopathic Remedies for the Homesick WDW Veteran.... #1

Are you a WDW vet at DLR? Is there an Epcot-shaped hole in your heart? Fear not! At least one little bit of Epcot has made its way to Disneyland, or rather, a little piece of Walt Disney made its way to New York made its way to Disneyland made its way to Epcot and you never knew until now.

For the 1964-65 World's Fair, Ford sponsored a ride called the Magic Skyway. It was a journey through time and space in your very own Ford convertible. You even traveled back to the time of the dinosaurs!

After the fair, all of the Disney-designed exhibits made their way back to Disneyland, either whole or in pieces. For the Magic Skyway, that meant that the dinosaurs were used as a new scene for the Disneyland Railroad... the Primeval World diorama.






So when the time came to find some dinosaurs for the shiny new Universe of Energy pavilion in the early 80's, I think it's safe to say the imagineers were "inspired" by the Primeval World dinos.




 

Figments Friend

Well-Known Member
Yeah, the EPCOT fan in me was geeking out the first time i saw that amazing Primeval World diorama on the Railroad trip.

I recognized so many of the figures from UoE...and seeing them made me realize Disney has been 'value engineering' longer then anyone suspected..!
 

Wilt Dasney

Well-Known Member
Drinks? In addition to Trader Sam's (which I have yet to try...that will be remedied soon) and Hearthstone Lounge, the downstairs lounge in Carthay Circle is a great choice...assuming you can find seats anyway. The drinks are a bit pricey, but they have a wide assortment of interesting cocktails (including Walt's own black and white scotch...at least that's what the menu says). In addition, if you can actually sit at the bar, the bartenders are very happy to talk in between making drinks. If you're lucky, you might get a demonstration of how the ice spheres are made for the martini's. There's really nothing like throwing back a few cocktails in a swanky lounge, then walking out the door and finding yourself in DCA. I love it.
 

Blueliner

Well-Known Member
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?
We did a very similar trip last Spring Break with our five kids (ranging from 14 to 5), but we started the first weekend in San Diego and finished the second weekend in San Francisco. We spent four nights in a 2BR villa at the Grand Californian, spent 3 full days in the parks, and had an absolute blast. We felt like this was a sufficient amount of time to see everything we wanted to see in the parks. My only regret is not taking just a little more time to stop and soak everything in. It was kind of hard for us to do, because we historically have had more of a WDW commando-touring style, and we were not sure when we would be back to California as a family. However, in hindisght, I think we could have slowed down a bit to take everything in. I agree with the other posters on the fastpasses.
 

wild01ride

Well-Known Member
Drinks? In addition to Trader Sam's (which I have yet to try...that will be remedied soon) and Hearthstone Lounge, the downstairs lounge in Carthay Circle is a great choice...
FYI, I was disappointed to find out that Tower 10 IPA is no longer available at Hearthstone Lounge. Being an avid IPA "enjoyer", I have always counted on being able to have one more at the Lounge after enjoying World of Color when DCA is closed. According to the bartender I spoke with, they are creating a unified menu across several of their establishments. The concept is great if one of the common menu items is something you enjoy but nothing beats the Tower 10 for me!
At least for the time being the Beer Truck and Cove Bar are still safe (I have to admit that I've never visited Bayside Brews - I can't believe it myself! - so I don't know their menu).
 

IndianaJones

Well-Known Member
You folks out on the West Coast continue to do an awesome job with information for all of us East Coasters.

For any WDW vets who are reading this and debating whether or not to make a trip, first stop debating and just do it...

Secondly, this is all fantastic advice and I can verify a good amount of it. Not that any of you DLR vets would be lying....;)

My folks and kid sister will be out there on Monday. This is the first time they're going that I won't be on the trip as well...so I guess reading these threads will have to do. When I'm not crying...

Once again, great job with this thread.
 

DznyRktekt

Well-Known Member
This week I booked our trip to Anaheim for the last week in April. It will be my DD's (3) first trip to a Disney park. Her big brother (5) is so excited to show her the ropes. Disneyland is the perfect package for a relaxed time with the entire family. The parks are easily accessible, impeccable, and ooze charm and history.
 

Figments Friend

Well-Known Member
For any WDW vets who are reading this and debating whether or not to make a trip, first stop debating and just do it...
Yes indeed.....WDW Vets need to indeed just DO IT.
Forget the comments you will get from friends about it 'being smaller' and having 'less to do'.
It's not about how much land space the Park(s) take up, it is more about what is contained in said land space that matters!

Before i went out to CA for my first visit,I envisioned DL to be this tiny little side property that was more about novelty and nostalgia.
'The Original' and i respected that, but i confess i was not expecting much.

I had been instilled with the 'belief' that everything was 'better in Orlando' due to 'size' and WDW's at that time amazing aura.
The place really was another world.

I had spent a lot of time at WDW over the years, even lived in FL in the early 1980s, and was seriously inspired by EPCOT Center in it's first few years.
Up until my first visit to Disneyland, i had never had a 'Disney Theme Park experience' outside of Florida ...so i was somewhat 'blinded'.
I was however seriously curious about what was happening on the Left Coast, especially after all the press about Dl's 50th in 2005.

So i decided to 'just do it' and GO in 2007.

People i knew at the time before i visited kept telling me that i 'won't like it because it is so much smaller...', yadda yadda...'the castle is so tiny'...whine whine..'only one Park'...blah blah.

Once i went out there are gave it a chance, i came away hugely impressed and after a third visit absolutely hooked.
I will admit that i probably see it with unique eyes, but what i see there is stunning in several respects.


Yes, it may be more quaint and compact...but i LIKE being able to walk from my off-site hotel and within five minutes be at the front gate.
Yeah, DL Park might be 'smaller' then WDW's MK, but DL itself alone has MORE attractions and shows then WDW's MK.

I highly recommend any longtime WDW vets reading take a chance and try out DL.
Do NOT be 'discouraged' by comparison comments.
DLR and WDW are two COMPLETELY different animals.
It truly is a entirely different entity and experience well worth experiencing.

You will be glad you did....as i never thought i would stray from my 'home' Park(s) and now i am happy to say
'I Did It' and will gladly do it again next year!

Adios, WDW....hello....Anaheim !

:)
 
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englanddg

One Little Spark...
Premium Member
Yes indeed.....WDW Vets need to indeed just DO IT.
Forget the comments you will get from friends about it 'being smaller' and having 'less to do'.
It's not about how much land space the Park(s) take up, it is about what in contained in said land space that matters!

Before i went out to CA for my first visit, people i knew kept telling me i 'won't like it because it is so much smaller...', yadda yadda...
Once i went out there are gave it a chance, i came away hugely impressed and after a third visit absolutely hooked.
I see it with unique eyes, and what i see is stunning in several respects.

Yes, it may be more quaint and compact...but i LIKE being able to walk from my off-site hotel and within five minutes be at the front gate.
Yeah, DL Park might be 'smaller' then WDW's MK, but DL itself alone has MORE attractions and shows then WDW's MK.

I highly recommend any longtime WDW vets reading take a chance and try out DL.
It truly is a entirely different entity and experience well worth experiencing.
You will be glad you did....as i never thought i would stray from my 'home' Park(s) and now i am happy to say 'I Did It' !

:)
When I say it is "smaller"...I mean just that. It's not a reflection of theme or what there is to do there (it's extremely well themed, and there is tons to do there)...it's just that, for a WDW vet...two images are gonna really stand out as "smaller".

The first is the Main Street Train Station. It's TINY compared to WDW.

The second is Sleeping Beauty Castle. Compared to Cinderella Castle, it feels like a toy! However, the walkthrough attraction there is really neat!

These size differences do not detract from the experience, but any WDW vet is gonna notice them. You can't avoid NOT noticing them!
 

Figments Friend

Well-Known Member
When I say it is "smaller"...I mean just that. It's not a reflection of theme or what there is to do there (it's extremely well themed, and there is tons to do there)...it's just that, for a WDW vet...two images are gonna really stand out as "smaller".

The first is the Main Street Train Station. It's TINY compared to WDW.

The second is Sleeping Beauty Castle. Compared to Cinderella Castle, it feels like a toy! However, the walkthrough attraction there is really neat!

These size differences do not detract from the experience, but any WDW vet is gonna notice them. You can't avoid NOT noticing them!
True, but i sometimes find some WDW vets are 'discouraged' from making the jump to DL because they get the impression that they are getting 'less'.
Nothing could be further from the truth, as i am sure you will agree!
This is the only reason i mentioned the 'size issue', as in my experience it was secondary.

Some folks take 'size' to mean negative things, but in DL's case i find it is actually a enhancement in some respects.

I totally agree in regards to the Castle and train station.
Yes, they do indeed look 'tiny' to someone so used to the views at WDW.
I will always recall my first reaction to seeing Sleeping Beauty Castle....thought it looked like a cake topper, but a very pretty one!

The trick is for vets to look beyond that...and see what lies within around those landmarks.

:)
 

IndianaJones

Well-Known Member
True, but i sometimes find some WDW vets are 'discouraged' from making the jump to DL because they get the impression that they are getting 'less'.
Nothing could be further from the truth, as i am sure you will agree!
This is the only reason i mentioned the 'size issue', as in my experience it was secondary.

Some folks take 'size' to mean negative things, but in DL's case i find it is actually a enhancement in some respects.
I totally agree in regards to the Castle and train station...yes, they do indeed look
'tiny' to someone so used to the views at WDW.
I will always recall my first reaction to seeing Sleeping Beauty Castle.
I thought it looked like a cake topper....but a very pretty one!

The trick is for vets to look beyond that...and see what lies within around those landmarks.

:)
This.

Anyone who has serious complaints about the size of these things just needs to look at the attractions involved. The Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough tour makes up for the lack of size. And the Dioramas that are the finale for the Railroad blow the MK one out the water.

I just hope that anyone seriously considering a DLR trip doesn't use this as an excuse to not go.

And I don't think that @englanddg is saying that the size is a bad thing. Just pointing out some peoples criticisms.
 
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MMDVC

Active Member
So glad i found this thread. I have been searching for trip info for Xmas week planning.

Does anybody know what the Carthay Circle or Storytellers did for the recent Thanksgiving menus? I assume Xmas Day will be similar. I have looked and searched and googled to try to get specific info because I am trying to decide between the two. I am also worried about exiting DCA on Xmas Day for Noon meal. Will we have trouble re-entering the park due to crowds? I also am considering the World of Color dining package. I wonder if Disney allows any discounts (PAP or DVC) or if they have the holiday up charge I have heard about…
Thanks for any info and help. Really appreciate it since we will have a large family group visiting from AZ , TX and KS.
 

englanddg

One Little Spark...
Premium Member
Has anyone

This.

Anyone who has serious complaints about the size of these things just needs to look at the attractions involved. The Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough tour makes up for the lack of size. And the Dioramas that are the finale for the Railroad blow the MK one out the water.

I just hope that anyone seriously considering a DLR trip doesn't use this as an excuse to not go.

And I don't think that @englanddg is saying that the size is a bad thing. Just pointing out some peoples criticisms.
It's not even really a criticism. It IS smaller. But, there is a lot more to do. It's different, but in a very good way.

DCA feels more like a traditional "WDW" style Disney Park in it's scope and scale, being closer to a (much better) Hollywood Studios style park.

Additionally, there is something very relaxing about the experience there, as opposed to WDW. Since the parks are quite literally a 2 minute (if that) walk from each other, and the resort hotels are also an easy walk (assuming you stay on site, but even many off site partner hotels are an easy walk as well)...

It's a wonderful experience. Their DTD is more vibrant, I thought...mostly because you can tell there are young people and locals there. We saw plenty of live music from street performers, etc. There's the Jazz show, nightly concerts, etc...

It's really just great. No other way to put it.

As I said, it's different, but in a very good way. I certainly would recommend it to any WDW fan!

That being said, when you walk through the station for the first time, and look down main street at the vista you are so used to seeing at WDW...you are gonna say "Um...that's it?"

No, that's not it. But, guarentee, a WDW vet is gonna at least think it!
 

IndianaJones

Well-Known Member
It's not even really a criticism. It IS smaller. But, there is a lot more to do. It's different, but in a very good way.

DCA feels more like a traditional "WDW" style Disney Park in it's scope and scale, being closer to a (much better) Hollywood Studios style park.

Additionally, there is something very relaxing about the experience there, as opposed to WDW. Since the parks are quite literally a 2 minute (if that) walk from each other, and the resort hotels are also an easy walk (assuming you stay on site, but even many off site partner hotels are an easy walk as well)...

It's a wonderful experience. Their DTD is more vibrant, I thought...mostly because you can tell there are young people and locals there. We saw plenty of live music from street performers, etc. There's the Jazz show, nightly concerts, etc...

It's really just great. No other way to put it.

As I said, it's different, but in a very good way. I certainly would recommend it to any WDW fan!

That being said, when you walk through the station for the first time, and look down main street at the vista you are so used to seeing at WDW...you are gonna say "Um...that's it?"

No, that's not it. But, guarentee, a WDW vet is gonna at least think it!
I agree with everything you said except for the bolded. I love that it isn't the exact same thing as ours down here in Florida. It works for me I think because it is quaint instead of grand. And I think it fits.\

That being said, my wife's reaction was exactly what you said. "That's it?" I'm sure I'm fairly alone in this thought.

And if we could get the work out in at DHS that DCA got, I'd be a very happy pass holder.
 

tracyandalex

Well-Known Member
Ok so we will have one day, Janaury 5th to be exact, do we get park hoppers? We really really really want to see Carsland, but are not sure it is worth the park hopper price. It will be me DH and DD5. For our one dinner do we do TS or QS? Should we waste the time on TS and do we need a reservation? Oh yeah this is our first time to DLR.

As always thanks a ton everyone!
 
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raven24

Well-Known Member
Ok so we will have one day, Janaury 5th to be exact, do we get park hoppers? We really really really want to see Carsland, but are not sure it is worth the park hopper price. It will be me DH and DD5. For our one dinner do we do TS or QS? Should we waste the time on TS and do we need a reservation?

As always thanks a ton everyone!
If you want to see Cars Land that bad, then get the hopper. There's more to DCA than just Cars Land.

There are great quick service spots. You should be fine with quick service.
 
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