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Guide to DLR for WDW Veterans!

Figments Friend

Well-Known Member
I've never done it this way. I've always gone 3 days. 1 day at DL, 1 day at DCA, and one day of park hopping. I think the next time we go I'll do it your way. Really soak in everything.

I did a 'two days only' kind of visit my first time at DL and left feeling i needed more time to really soak in the atmosphere.
I felt rushed...but i was with other people and i wanted to be polite to their needs, especially since I was a guest on one of said friend's Silver Pass.

When i returned again a few years later it was another 'two day-er' out of my own pocket and even though i had visited previously, it still felt 'too short' to me.
I made a pact with myself that i would return again, this time on my own, and stay much longer.

That finally happened when i visited this past Autumn, and spent six days in Anaheim, five of which were focused on DL only.
It was epic and awesome...as my trip-report thread covered..( "The Fabulous Tony Baxter Tour of Disneyland" ). Had a absolute blast.
Four days focused on DL, one day i hopped over the DCA for half a day and then back to DL in the evening.

I highly recommend a longer, multi-day visit if you are a big Parks fan.
For your typical Guest, two days may be plenty of time, but for a serious 'Park geek' the longer stay will help you to appreciate this particular property on a deeper level.
You will absolutely gain a real feeling of the special vibe there and definitely have plenty of time to enjoy soaking up the atmosphere.
Time well spent, indeed!

:)

And Southern California has a LOT more to offer then just DLR too...so one can easily spend two weeks out there on vacation ( or more ) and not find a lack of things to do.
 
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Wilt Dasney

Well-Known Member
Are you kidding???? 5+. LOL! I know y'all think I'm crazy for putting so many days in. In my defense, here's my thinking: of all the things I will someday do in California, DL tops the list. Next on my list is San Fran but with only Sunday thru Saturday I know feeling satisfied with time for both isn't going to happen. My first trip to CA I really wanna keep it simple and not chance spreading myself thin. Its vacation. We won't be full commando sun-up to sun-down. I don't work that way. I need a nap or someone could get hurt in the late afternoon. ;) I want to take it slow and explore every nook and cranny. I don't want to leave with regrets. So, to keep it simple, we'll plan for DL for this trip. That's not to say I wouldn't rent a car on the fly and go go go if that becomes the thing to do. I've been carefully watching y'all's "other things" thread and making mental notes. I don't super crazy micro-plan. Mostly I'm keeping the slate clear and thrilled to be experiencing Uncle Walt's park. If we decide on the fly to venture off a bit, well, that's all lagniappe for us. ;)

So, yeah! Arriving Sunday, 4/27 and staying thru Saturday, 5/3. WooHOO! I'm so stinkin' excited!
This was how I did my first trip from Georgia before I moved out here. I wandered off to Newport Beach and LA for 2 days, but for most of the week I was at DL. It's great to be able to get a sense of the different rhythms of the resort in the morning, afternoon, and late, which a long trip lets you sample all of. I poked my nose into every corner that seemed even remotely interesting in the parks, hotels, and DTD. Many happy memories from that solo trip.
 

raven24

Well-Known Member
This was how I did my first trip from Georgia before I moved out here. I wandered off to Newport Beach and LA for 2 days, but for most of the week I was at DL. It's great to be able to get a sense of the different rhythms of the resort in the morning, afternoon, and late, which a long trip lets you sample all of. I poked my nose into every corner that seemed even remotely interesting in the parks, hotels, and DTD. Many happy memories from that solo trip.

I'm curious, why did you move to SoCal, if you don't mind me asking?
 

Cosmic Commando

Well-Known Member
Do you think we would be able to see enough of both parks to make it worth the additional almost $200?
Glad to hear there is good QS with such limited time we don't want to waste time on TS.
I'll play a little bit of Devil's advocate here. Obviously, you guys have to decide if you can afford it, but don't discount the park hopper. Ideally, you'd be able to add a second day and do one park per day, but you guys probably already thought of that I'm sure. You said it yourselves that Cars Land is what you're most looking forward to, and with good reason... it's the crown jewel of the Disney empire right now. DCA gets you access to Radiator Springs Racers, World of Color, and Aladdin... three of my personal top 5 or 6 attractions at DLR. Do Disneyland with no regrets!
 

Wilt Dasney

Well-Known Member
I'm curious, why did you move to SoCal, if you don't mind me asking?
Don't mind at all. The official reason is I moved here to go to graduate school. The unofficial reasons have to do with the weather and local attractions (including a certain theme park resort, naturally). Basically I'm starting a new career, and wanted to add some new scenery to the mix while I'm at it. (I didn't move here for Disneyland if that's what you were thinking, but it helped factor into the decision.) :)
 

raven24

Well-Known Member
Don't mind at all. The official reason is I moved here to go to graduate school. The unofficial reasons have to do with the weather and local attractions (including a certain theme park resort, naturally). Basically I'm starting a new career, and wanted to add some new scenery to the mix while I'm at it. (I didn't move here for Disneyland if that's what you were thinking, but it helped factor into the decision.) :)

Nope, wasn't thinking that at all.:) Interesting. How long have you been here?
 

tracyandalex

Well-Known Member
I'll play a little bit of Devil's advocate here. Obviously, you guys have to decide if you can afford it, but don't discount the park hopper. Ideally, you'd be able to add a second day and do one park per day, but you guys probably already thought of that I'm sure. You said it yourselves that Cars Land is what you're most looking forward to, and with good reason... it's the crown jewel of the Disney empire right now. DCA gets you access to Radiator Springs Racers, World of Color, and Aladdin... three of my personal top 5 or 6 attractions at DLR. Do Disneyland with no regrets!


Unfortunately it's a work trip so we will only have the 1 day. We are completely torn because we really do want to see both parks, but we don't want to feel like we wasted the money for the park hopper. I think also we are so used to WDW and how there is no way you can even see 1 whole park in a day that it makes us hesitant to "go for 2." I think we are leaning towards the hopper because of Carsland and Wold of Color. We also think DD would like the Bug's land stuff. @Cosmic Commando you may have steered us to the hopper!
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
Unfortunately it's a work trip so we will only have the 1 day. We are completely torn because we really do want to see both parks, but we don't want to feel like we wasted the money for the park hopper. I think also we are so used to WDW and how there is no way you can even see 1 whole park in a day that it makes us hesitant to "go for 2." I think we are leaning towards the hopper because of Carsland and Wold of Color. We also think DD would like the Bug's land stuff. @Cosmic Commando you may have steered us to the hopper!

Either park can occupy you for full day... you won't get good value out of park hoppers on a single day during a busy period (parks will still be busy that weekend). DCA is going to be a little less given you are in january you might not be as interested in the e-tickets. Grizzy due to cold, soarin' because it's the same, and ToT due to being 'largely' the same. Offsetting those are desirable.. WoC, Aladdin show, Carsland

DL will seem like more duplicate than WDW.. but offers Fantasmic!, Indy, Space Mountain, different fantasyland, pirates, the christmas overlays (HM, IASW) as major things to make you pick DL. Plus see Nemo before it may go away...

Given the park will be extremely busy... I wouldn't waste money on the park hoppers. I would also recommend DL just to see IASW holiday, HM holiday is an entirely different attraction than HM, F!, and the classic DL varients. Wanting to see Carsland is of course highly desirable... but if I had one day.. I'd like to fill out my day :) YMMV
 

Cosmic Commando

Well-Known Member
Either park can occupy you for full day... you won't get good value out of park hoppers on a single day during a busy period (parks will still be busy that weekend). DCA is going to be a little less given you are in january you might not be as interested in the e-tickets. Grizzy due to cold, soarin' because it's the same, and ToT due to being 'largely' the same. Offsetting those are desirable.. WoC, Aladdin show, Carsland

DL will seem like more duplicate than WDW.. but offers Fantasmic!, Indy, Space Mountain, different fantasyland, pirates, the christmas overlays (HM, IASW) as major things to make you pick DL. Plus see Nemo before it may go away...

Given the park will be extremely busy... I wouldn't waste money on the park hoppers. I would also recommend DL just to see IASW holiday, HM holiday is an entirely different attraction than HM, F!, and the classic DL varients. Wanting to see Carsland is of course highly desirable... but if I had one day.. I'd like to fill out my day :) YMMV
Value is in the eye of the beholder, my friend. ;)

In one version of this day, they get to see the thing that they are most looking forward to, and in one they don't. I can only speak for myself, but if I made my first trip to Disneyland in 2013 and didn't see Cars Land, I would definitely feel like I missed out. Would I pay $200 per day for park hopping on a 5-day trip? Not a chance in :devilish:! You have other options in that situation. This is trading some money to balance out the time that you don't have. If you have one day, can't stay any longer, and want to see XYZ, then I think a park hopper could be worth it.

One day in DLR where I make a list of the ten things I want to do most across both parks and knock them all off? I think it's do-able and it sounds awesome, even on a busy day. Worth a premium price, I'd say.
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
Value is in the eye of the beholder, my friend. ;)
[...]
One day in DLR where I make a list of the ten things I want to do most across both parks and knock them all off? I think it's do-able and it sounds awesome, even on a busy day. Worth a premium price, I'd say.

My suggestion was purely on 'getting the most'. Carsland is awesome.. but seeing it means committing to DCA for the day. So is DCA in the winter the right park if you can only see one park when visiting DLR for the first time? I think that's a tough call... I picked DLR just because it has more things you can only see there.. vs the 'one big thing'.

When making this decision.. key inputs are
- It's the holiday season.. so HM and IASW are in play. Unfortunately it means christmas fireworks which BLOW...
- It's a peak day.. meaning both parks are going to be very busy. Given you only have ONE day.. you don't want to waste time where not necessary.. park hopping will burn time AND just means heading into another crowded park. Doing so hurts the ability to use FP effectively.. another critical tool in a one day trip.
- it's a VERY busy time.. expect big waits

I was there that very same week this past January and we had to deal with lines that most locals tell you don't exist.. like 40min waits for Toad.. took three attempts to get in the materhorn single rider line (kept shutting off).. 30-40min waits for almost anything. And I was there for 3 days :)

Carsland you can see anytime... Christmas in DL is only seasonal :)
 

Cosmic Commando

Well-Known Member
My suggestion was purely on 'getting the most'. Carsland is awesome.. but seeing it means committing to DCA for the day. So is DCA in the winter the right park if you can only see one park when visiting DLR for the first time? I think that's a tough call... I picked DLR just because it has more things you can only see there.. vs the 'one big thing'.
But why choose if you don't have to? An hour in DCA in the morning will likely get you your RSR FP for mid-afternoon, WoC FP, and one parent can knock off Mermaid & Monsters or a bug's land while the other parent gets the FP. Actually, that doesn't make sense... the whole family needs to ride Monsters, of course! Still, just an hour should get you your RSR and WoC FP and the kiddo can ride a bug's land stuff. You can even get an additional FP on the way out with the way the RSR FP has traditionally worked (redeeming that FP in the window could be tricky, though). Then head to Disneyland proper at 9 AM? You won't be behind the eight ball. There's no ride in Disneyland that has the FP demand that TSMM does at DHS or RSR does at DCA. You'll still have the entire menu of attractions to choose from. Your RSR FP will likely be early-to-mid-afternoon... enough time to make the trek back and forth to Disneyland "worth it" time-wise. If they are the crazy people that get there first thing and their RSR FP is early in the morning, then they can do Monsters, Mermaid, Soarin, Disney Junior, the Challenge Trail, etc.

And for Nemo: stand there and look at the subs and admire how cool they are. Take lots of pictures. Listen to the seagulls. Look at how pretty it is when you have the subs floating by in the lagoon while the monorail glides by above... then keep walking on by! You ain't got time for that! The Nemo ride in Epcot gives as good or better in the actual ride experience category.
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
But why choose if you don't have to?

Because doing so means spending $45 x 3 to start with... nearly 50% more for a option that will only further strain what is going to be a very busy day to start with. The poster already mentioned the concern over additional cost.

If it's your first trip... you don't want to go all commando and run from corner to corner of the park with a small child during an extremely busy park day. It's their only day... why try to run from place to place vs just enjoying the visit?

You're suggesting they walk to get a RSR FP (and stand in a line), then walk all the way around the trail to get a WoC FP, then walk to Mermaid (do that), then walk all the way back across the front of the park to ride Monsters (in line and ride) and then rush back to the front of the park and across the esplanade and up main street in under an hour? Not likely for a family on a busy day.. and really a disservice (IMO) to run from corner to corner to corner vs being able to just enjoy the theme park.

YMMV I guess... but I wouldn't want to spend my first and only day in the park running my family ragged.
 

Cosmic Commando

Well-Known Member
Because doing so means spending $45 x 3 to start with... nearly 50% more for a option that will only further strain what is going to be a very busy day to start with. The poster already mentioned the concern over additional cost.

If it's your first trip... you don't want to go all commando and run from corner to corner of the park with a small child during an extremely busy park day. It's their only day... why try to run from place to place vs just enjoying the visit?

You're suggesting they walk to get a RSR FP (and stand in a line), then walk all the way around the trail to get a WoC FP, then walk to Mermaid (do that), then walk all the way back across the front of the park to ride Monsters (in line and ride) and then rush back to the front of the park and across the esplanade and up main street in under an hour? Not likely for a family on a busy day.. and really a disservice (IMO) to run from corner to corner to corner vs being able to just enjoy the theme park.

YMMV I guess... but I wouldn't want to spend my first and only day in the park running my family ragged.
But going back to California costs....?

They want to get value from their $200, which is slightly different than worrying about affording it... I don't know which (or how much of each) is the issue. Having the entire resort available to you if you only have one day is worth that premium, IMO. BTW @tracyandalex , there are some legitimate ticket brokers out there who can save you at least a few dollars on whatever ticket you buy. Try mousesavers... they should be able to help.

One person can stand in line to get RSR and WoC FP, while the other takes the wee one on bug's land stuff. Mermaid's right there, and then you could do Monsters on the way over to Disneyland, for example. Spending all day in a theme park involves walking around from place to place; with a good plan, I don't think you'll be hopping back across the esplanade 7 times. An all day affair involves a lot of walking already, so are a few trips across the Esplanade going to be the deal breaker? The entire resort is on the scale of Epcot; do you worry about walking across the causeway from Future World to World Showcase a couple times? It's just not that far. Imagine if you started your day in Epcot at International Gateway, then had to go to Norway for a FP first thing, then went to Future World... would you say "Forget it!"? It's all about expectations, IMO. If you do this and plan on doing 30 attractions, then that will be running ragged; I think there's a reasonable way to do this, though.

If you made a list of ten things you wanted to do, I think you could do all of them in a reasonable manner without going crazy. A plan of attack would probably be very important for something like this, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're running yourself down... more than an all day theme park affair is going to be, anyway. If they say, "Hey, we're looking to show up at around 10 and be out by nap time...", then that changes the equation. It's my assumption that someone who is going to DLR for one day plans on a fairly long day already.
 
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Figments Friend

Well-Known Member
I did DCA on only one of my five days in the Parks...and only a couple of hours at that.
DCA is not a big favorite, but i do enjoy it much more now then i did in it's previous incarnation.
Cars Land is absolutely worth admission to see and experience...and that is coming from a non-Pixar fan.
It easily gives the impression of being a completely separate gated experience in some respects.

I bought the Hopper option solely to just experience the few DCA offerings i wanted to check out during the first half of a day.
After seeing the 'new additons' added since the overhaul of the Park, i jumped right back over to DL.

Post-visit i realized buying the Hopper option would probably not be needed in the future in my case, since i spent most of my time in just one Park.

It all comes down to each person's own personal game plan.
 

harveyt0206

Well-Known Member
I'm so thrilled that I found this thread. Hubby and I decided to "treat" ourselves to a Disneyland trip for our birthdays next year. His is 1/31 and mine is 2/6. We arrive in California on Friday, 1/31 and are staying five nights at Paradise Pier. Since this is our first trip to Disneyland, I really wanted to have time to take in all of the ambiance and appreciate the differences between WDW and Disneyland/CA. I'm so disappointed that Fantasmic will be down while we are there and I am really concerned that we are flying into LAX instead of SNA (dang it! Wish I had known the difference before I booked our flights). But other than that, we are soooo ready and soooo excited. Thanks for all the tips.
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
I am really concerned that we are flying into LAX instead of SNA (dang it! Wish I had known the difference before I booked our flights). But other than that, we are soooo ready and soooo excited. Thanks for all the tips.

Nothing to be concerned about... worst thing that happens is you sit in more traffic and you need to plan a bit for your return to the airport. It's not going to hurt you or ruin the trip :) Enjoy!
 

sweetpee_1993

Well-Known Member
I'm so thrilled that I found this thread. Hubby and I decided to "treat" ourselves to a Disneyland trip for our birthdays next year. His is 1/31 and mine is 2/6. We arrive in California on Friday, 1/31 and are staying five nights at Paradise Pier. Since this is our first trip to Disneyland, I really wanted to have time to take in all of the ambiance and appreciate the differences between WDW and Disneyland/CA. I'm so disappointed that Fantasmic will be down while we are there and I am really concerned that we are flying into LAX instead of SNA (dang it! Wish I had known the difference before I booked our flights). But other than that, we are soooo ready and soooo excited. Thanks for all the tips.

We're taking our first trip to DL next year, too! Flights are booked. It's happening! Isn't it so exciting?!?!
 

harveyt0206

Well-Known Member
We're taking our first trip to DL next year, too! Flights are booked. It's happening! Isn't it so exciting?!?!
It really is so exciting. I've been to WDW so many times, and I still love it dearly. But it is definitely time to explore the West coast parks. There is something to be said for the excitement of a first time visit. I was 3 years old the first time I visited WDW, so obviously I don't remember it. That's just one reason I am so excited for this trip. I will actually remember it!!! Well, at least until my Alzheimer's sets in in a few years.

Can't wait to read your trip report on this one Kelly. It will be fun to see if your first time likes and dislikes are similar to ours.
 

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