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Guide to DLR for WDW Veterans!

Cosmic Commando

Well-Known Member
Homeopathic Remedies for the Homesick WDW Veteran #2

Suffice it to say, if you like Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards at Disney's Hollywood Studios, you'll feel right at home on Buena Vista Street (and to a lesser extent Hollywoodland) at DCA. They represent slightly different time periods, but there are still many similarities between both parks.

Start with the entry gates, both inspired by the former Pan Pacific Auditorium

DHS
2852578273_04655450d0.jpeg

DCA
2011-0927-dca_entrance.jpg


The original (it burned down):
0tl729a.gif


There is a filling station immediately when you enter both parks.
DHS (on your right)
authentic-filling-station.jpg

DCA (on your left)
DSC_0268.JPG


Bas relief details:
DHS
carthay_studiogate2009ww.jpg

DCA
BuenaVistaStreet19.jpg


Mission Style
DHS:
DSC00670.JPG

DCA:
IMG3384-X2.jpg


Bungalow Style
DHS:
sid_cahuenga0002.jpg

DCA:
DCA2-030.jpg


DHS (proposed as an attraction, eventually surfaced as a pin cart)
sunset_blvd_trolley_st.jpg

DCA
Red-Car-Trolley.jpg


Carthay Circle Theater at DHS (Thanks, Yesterland for most of these)
carthay_hollyvinemural2011ww.jpg

carthay_gatewaydetail2011ww.jpg


replica_carthay.jpg

...and also in the mural behind check-in at All-Star Movies, I'm pretty sure:
All%20Stars%20108.jpg


Carthay Circle Theater (restaurant) at DCA
7494525040_2358a3ed9c_z.jpg


DHS
4508578955_468ec4b304_z.jpg

DCA
P6103177.jpg
 
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raven24

Well-Known Member
Homeopathic Remedies for the Homesick WDW Veteran #2

Suffice it to say, if you like Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards at Disney's Hollywood Studios, you'll feel right at home on Buena Vista Street (and to a lesser extent Hollywoodland) at DCA. They represent slightly different time periods, but there are still many similarities between both parks.

Start with the entry gates, both inspired by the former Pan Pacific Auditorium

DHS
2852578273_04655450d0.jpeg

DCA
20120708_082-a.jpg


The original (it burned down):
Pan-Pacific_Auditorium_fire.png


There is a filling station immediately when you enter both parks.
DHS (on your right)
IMG_7428.preview.JPG

DCA (on your left)
DSC_0268.JPG


Bas relief details:
DHS
carthay_studiogate2009ww.jpg

DCA
BuenaVistaStreet19.jpg


Mission Style
DHS:
DSC00670.JPG

DCA:
IMG3384-X2.jpg


Bungalow Style
DHS:
sid_cahuenga0002.jpg

DCA:
DCA2-030.jpg


DHS (proposed as an attraction, eventually surfaced as a pin cart)
sunset_blvd_trolley_st.jpg

DCA
Red-Car-Trolley.jpg


Carthay Circle Theater at DHS (Thanks, Yesterland for most of these)
carthay_hollyvinemural2011ww.jpg

carthay_gatewaydetail2011ww.jpg


medium_carthaycircle1.jpg

...and also in the mural behind check-in at All-Star Movies, I'm pretty sure:
All%20Stars%20108.jpg


Carthay Circle Theater (restaurant) at DCA
IMG_9650.jpg


DHS
4508578955_468ec4b304_z.jpg

DCA
P6103177.jpg

I find this entire post hilarious.
 

eilie

Member
OK, I'll add my two cents. I am a long-time WDW veteran but visited DLR for two 4-5 day trips in recent years. Here are some of the major distinctions:

The Locals
The DLR locals are frequent and passionate visitors, and they know what they are doing (unlike most of the guests at WDW). They know all the tricks - the "secret" bathrooms, the best FP strategies, the best parade viewing spots, etc. Knowledge of good touring strategies is a must. The high percentage of locals also has some strange impacts on daily attendance - a random Tuesday in June may be much more crowded than a Saturday, for example, due to local AP block-out dates. But their ownership of the park is just amazing, and it helps make DL feel more authentic than WDW. On a Saturday evening, I sat and watched the swing dancers at the Carnation Plaza Gardens stage - these were people who had been dancing here every Saturday for decades. Meanwhile, over at the castle, there were two marriage proposals within the span of a 1/2 hour. You can really tell how much this park means to them.

New Attractions
New attractions are absolutely mobbed, even more so than at WDW (given the high percentage of local visitors). On my first visit, the Nemo subs were new and had consistent 2+ hr waits. On my second visit, Star Tours 2.0 was new: the FP ran out by 10:00 AM every day, and wait times were in the 75-90 min range. Likewise, the Little Mermaid ride had just opened at DCA a few weeks before, and consistently posted 60+ min waits. Meanwhile, the rest of the attractions were not neary this crowded. Keep this in mind for touring strategies.

Live Entertainment
Live entertainment at DLR is absolutely top notch. The daytime parades are actually worth watching, Fantasmic! is absolutely amazing, the Aladdin show is awesome, etc. Billy Hill and the Hillbillies are retiring this week but I loved them. I especially loved all of the street entertainment, which is everywhere - jazz bands in New Orleans Square, steel drum players in Adventureland, etc. Often you aren't hearing the area loops because you are listening to live bands - it's fantastic.

Size
DLR is very compact, making it very easy to criss-cross the parks. The smaller walkways make it feel crowded almost all the time, even on days when it is not particularly crowded. During the evenings, it is particularly a struggle to navigate the parks. At DL, for example, there is so much evening entertainment (the fireworks, F!, the projection show at IaSW) that the walkways are mobbed. The CMs institute crowd flow measures, like setting up strollers as a divided highway in Adventureland, or forcing counterclockwise movement around the hub, etc.

Design / Area Development
At DL park, there is a density and layering to the theming, from decades of development, which make it feel more organic and authentic. However, given DLR's small size, the transitions between lands are often lacking or non-existent. But what it lacks in grand vistas and cohesive transitions, it more than makes up in the details and charm. The trees are older here, and everything feels like its been here for ages. New Orleans Square and Fantasyland are thematic highlights.

DCA, on the other hand, feels a whole lot like parts of DHS and DAK. The make-over has helped enormously, but it still feels a bit incoherent to me.

Attractions
Much has been said about which coast has the better version of specific attractions. Some are identical to their Florida counterparts (mostly recent attractions, like TSM and the Little Mermaid ride), while most have some differences. I recommend riding all of the DLR counterparts to spot the differences and see which you like better. Some are significantly better at DLR, like Pirates. I also recommend riding some of the old-school attractions, like the Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes and Storybook Land Canal Boats, which really give you a sense of the history of the park and let you marvel at how the lawyers haven't shut these down yet.

Queues
Many/most of the DLR queues are outside and unthemed. Waiting outside is fine, given the mild and dry weather. The elaborate queues at WDW (like Pirates, Everest, etc.) are missed. A notable exception at DLR is the queue for Indiana Jones, which is one of the best themed queues anywhere. And in some cases, the outdoor wait at DLR is greatly enhanced by the surrounding theming - such as at It's a Small World or at Alice in Wonderland / Teacups. And it is easier to estimate the actual wait time, when you can see the whole queue.

Weather
The dry, moderate weather in DLR is gorgeous compared to hot, swampy Orlando. However, it can get cool in the evenings. On my late June trip, I needed long pants and a jacket for the evenings - these can be easily stashed in the lockers midway down Main St. (much more easily accessible than those at MK).

Food
The food is generally good, but there are much fewer TS than WDW. My impression was that there were many more vegetarian/vegan options at DLR, and many of the dishes were infused with local California flavors (like avocado). For QS, much of the seating is outside.

Snacks
For you churro fans out there (like me), there's a cart in nearly every land. The Dole Whip stand is very popular (the longest line for me on one trip, at 45 min), but you can take the Dole Whips into the Tiki Room. In general, I think WDW has superior snack options - mostly because of WS.



Apologies for the long length. But I will say this: Disneyland is absolutely amazing, and you owe it to yourself to get out there and see it. Disneyland is by far my favorite park. It's where I've felt the greatest connection to the other guests and to the history of Disney. Walt was right: Disneyland is our land.
 
My DH and I have been discussing for years that one of these years we need to take the kids to DL. We have been taking them to WDW every Dec. After experiencing a very disappointing trip last Dec with the FP+, it makes me think we need to try out DL now before they meet the same FP+ fate. Is early June a bad time to go for weather or crowds? I know at WDW it would be but not sure how it would be in DL. I hate crowds and super hot temps. Also, can anyone recommend a reasonably priced hotel that is super duper close to the parks, clean and nice? Would love to stay at the GC because of it's proximity but refuse to pay that much. Also, is it safe to walk from the parks to the hotel at night? Or should we drive to the parks and park even though we will be close?

Thanks for starting this thread! We are definitely WDW veterans. But, I am the only one in the family that has been to DL - only one time for one day back in March of 1998. Back then there were NO crowds at all till 3pm. I suppose it's not like that anymore?? :)
 

GiveMeTheMusic

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
My DH and I have been discussing for years that one of these years we need to take the kids to DL. We have been taking them to WDW every Dec. After experiencing a very disappointing trip last Dec with the FP+, it makes me think we need to try out DL now before they meet the same FP+ fate. Is early June a bad time to go for weather or crowds? I know at WDW it would be but not sure how it would be in DL. I hate crowds and super hot temps. Also, can anyone recommend a reasonably priced hotel that is super duper close to the parks, clean and nice? Would love to stay at the GC because of it's proximity but refuse to pay that much. Also, is it safe to walk from the parks to the hotel at night? Or should we drive to the parks and park even though we will be close?

Thanks for starting this thread! We are definitely WDW veterans. But, I am the only one in the family that has been to DL - only one time for one day back in March of 1998. Back then there were NO crowds at all till 3pm. I suppose it's not like that anymore?? :)

Early June isn't the worst, but it's not the best. Weekdays will still not be horrific because most schools are still in session, but it will be medium crowds at least. Since you normally go to WDW in December, why not try DLR at the same time? Christmas at DLR is absolutely unparalleled.
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
Also, can anyone recommend a reasonably priced hotel that is super duper close to the parks, clean and nice? Would love to stay at the GC because of it's proximity but refuse to pay that much. Also, is it safe to walk from the parks to the hotel at night?

The resort district is pretty safe - but is is open city. Driving would be overkill. Your best choices are walking or the ART buses which is a bus system just for the resort arrears hotels.

We walk every night down to the convention center area.

Hotels are a tough re due to different desires. Look at the map and look at the hotels on the harbor and katella sides of the park. Some like the smaller, but updated motels... Like the candy cane, Annabella, hojo. Etc. I like price lining the marriott there. A nice well known commodity... But it is about a 15min walk door to door.

I think the hotel walk home would probably be the worst aspect for an uncertain wdw vet (in terms of comparisons) so I recommend minimizing that. I think losing thAt part of the Disney bubble was the most detracting for my wife
 

DznyRktekt

Well-Known Member
My DH and I have been discussing for years that one of these years we need to take the kids to DL. We have been taking them to WDW every Dec. After experiencing a very disappointing trip last Dec with the FP+, it makes me think we need to try out DL now before they meet the same FP+ fate. Is early June a bad time to go for weather or crowds? I know at WDW it would be but not sure how it would be in DL. I hate crowds and super hot temps. Also, can anyone recommend a reasonably priced hotel that is super duper close to the parks, clean and nice? Would love to stay at the GC because of it's proximity but refuse to pay that much. Also, is it safe to walk from the parks to the hotel at night? Or should we drive to the parks and park even though we will be close?

Thanks for starting this thread! We are definitely WDW veterans. But, I am the only one in the family that has been to DL - only one time for one day back in March of 1998. Back then there were NO crowds at all till 3pm. I suppose it's not like that anymore?? :)

The ART shuttles are great! Allears.net has a comprehensive list of good neighbor hotels and ammennities. Have a great trip!
 

Cosmic Commando

Well-Known Member
Homeopathic Remedies for the Homesick WDW Veteran #3

Camp Minnie-Mickey was never heavy on the attractions but I did always find my short time there pleasant while on my way to FotLK. Now that it's gone forever, you'll find yourself missing that CMM/Wilderness Lodge/Fort Wilderness vibe. The landscaping around Critter Country reminds me a lot of Minnie-Mickey and the outdoor areas of Wilderness Lodge, but I never bothered to take pictures. Thanks to this picture I stole borrowed from @DznyGrlSD , I can actually illustrate my point now!

WDW:
disney-s-wilderness-lodge.jpg

0.jpg

Camp_Minnie-Mickey.jpg

oie398726LARGE.jpg

camp2.gif


DLR:
bearcountry_crittersign2009ww.jpg


I think those now-displaced statues from WDW would look great here!
DSCN0395.jpg

hungry-bear.jpg
 

Cosmic Commando

Well-Known Member
Homeopathic Remedies for the Homesick WDW Veteran #4

While we're kinda on the subject, I felt like now would be a good time to do the obligatory Wilderness Lodge - Grand Californian comparison post. For those who don't know, Grand Californian is basically a ritzier, smoother-around-the-edges version of what Wilderness Lodge represents.

WDW:
01_wilderness_lodge_approach.sized.jpg

DLR:
disney-s-grand-californian.jpg

WDW:
Wilderness-Lodge-Lobby-and-Christmas-Tree.jpg

DLR:
lobby.jpg


WDW:
Wilderness-Lodge-Lobby.jpg

DLR:
macvod-b781002463z.120120914125949000gvr1977bi.2.jpg
 
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Cosmic Commando

Well-Known Member
Homeopathic Remedies for the Homesick WDW Veteran #5

One thing they're just never gonna have at DLR is Kilimanjaro Safaris, and I love that darn ride. You can, however, get some of the same experience at the tiny little Disneyland Resort, however. :p

Do all of your pictures from Kilimanjaro Safaris end up looking like this?
2665451795_e6b1e92dfc_z.jpg

2802042520_d93f18cec0_o.jpg


Well, I didn't realize it at the time, but I have successfully recreated that experience trying to take pictures of the decorations along the tram route to/from the Mickey & Friends parking structure! Either I'm getting older or those trams are getting faster, but I did not have much luck getting pictures of the "Hallowee" decorations!

IMG_8959.jpg

IMG_8960.jpg
 

jamesgf

Active Member
My DH and I have been discussing for years that one of these years we need to take the kids to DL. We have been taking them to WDW every Dec. After experiencing a very disappointing trip last Dec with the FP+, it makes me think we need to try out DL now before they meet the same FP+ fate. Is early June a bad time to go for weather or crowds? I know at WDW it would be but not sure how it would be in DL. I hate crowds and super hot temps. Also, can anyone recommend a reasonably priced hotel that is super duper close to the parks, clean and nice? Would love to stay at the GC because of it's proximity but refuse to pay that much. Also, is it safe to walk from the parks to the hotel at night? Or should we drive to the parks and park even though we will be close?

Thanks for starting this thread! We are definitely WDW veterans. But, I am the only one in the family that has been to DL - only one time for one day back in March of 1998. Back then there were NO crowds at all till 3pm. I suppose it's not like that anymore?? :)

We just booked our trip to DL for the last week in June. I know it will be crowded but after our last three trips to WDW we wanted to try something different as it has gotten stale for us at WDW, plus we are looking forward to seeing CA. I haven't been there since I was 6. We are staying at the Anaheim Marriott Suites after hearing good things about it from friends, it's about a mile from the gate.

This thread has been a great read, thanks for all the info!
 

teacherlady19

Active Member
>One thing they're just never gonna have at DLR is Kilimanjaro Safaris, and I love that darn ride. You can, however, get some of the same experience at the tiny little Disneyland Resort, however. :p>

When we were at WDW back in 2012, we had a bit of deja vu with the Kilimanjaro Safari! Actually, just walking into DAK was really a sense of a parallel universe, but not Disney to Disney. Instead, it was DAK to San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park (now "Safari Park"). Walking into DAK felt like we were walking into the trails in the SD Zoo. Then when I got on the safari, I felt I had just boarded the safari at SD WAP. Come to find out, DAK was designed for Disney by a former CO of the Zoological Society of San Diego and some of his team.

But you're right, there's probably going to be no parallel between DAK and anywhere in DLR.


Donna
 

stevehousse

Well-Known Member
Tons of great info in this thread! My family is slowly putting together ideas for our trip to DL in 2015! My wife and kids have never been, and I haven't been in 20+ years!!! ( I think I was 6 or 7 last time I was there and only have been twice) the boys will be 4 and almost 7 when we go. we go to wdw all the time and hve been anxiously awaiting the boys to be tall enough to go on most of the rides! A few answers to questions I have would be so much help!

We want to stay at the Disneyland Hotel! The makeover looks stunning! When you take the monorail from the hotel to the parks, does it drop you off at the main gates?

Which would be a better (least crowded ad less refurbs) time to go? Beginning of May or middle of November?

Looking at the website, it's hard to find a character meal for dinner? Seems like mostly breakfast! We would like to do one character breakfast and one character dinner! Suggestions? We alrady know we want to dine at Blue Bayou for dinner one night and maybe Steakhouse 55.

Would 4 day tickets be sufficent to see everything and not feel rushed? We are not park hop people...is 2 days in each park enough time to see everything?

Thank you to whoever can answer some of my questions! I greatly appreciate it!
 

Cosmic Commando

Well-Known Member
- There are two stops on the monorail: Downtown Disney/Disneyland Hotel and Tomorrowland.
- Personally, I think the middle of November is better: I think the crowds will be similar if not better, but you'll get Haunted Mansion Holiday and IASW Holiday. IASW Holiday opens Veterans Day weekend, generally.
- Goofy's Kitchen has dinner.
- Either 4 or 5 days should be enough. Don't discount park hoppers so quickly, though... it's really just like one big park. No buses or boats or monorails required to park hop!
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
The monorail doesn't goto the hotel like you are used to in wdw. That part of the hotel that was there is long gone... But the station never moved. Result... Station is 'near' the hotel in walking distance.

The dl hotel is the premium hotel on property sill regardless. You just walk through DTD to the main gates. The other monorail stop is in tommorrowland on top of nemo.
 

stevehousse

Well-Known Member
Thank u guys! Any info on character meals? If goofys kitchen does a character dinner we would most likely do that. Which character breakfast is the best? Also, is the wine trattatoria in DCA good? Menu looks decent?
 

GiveMeTheMusic

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Thank u guys! Any info on character meals? If goofys kitchen does a character dinner we would most likely do that. Which character breakfast is the best? Also, is the wine trattatoria in DCA good? Menu looks decent?

Goofy's Kitchen does dinner. It's okay. Best character breakfast IMO is Surfs Up at Paradise Pier PCH Grill or Minnie & Friends in the park at Plaza Inn. Trattoria is okay, best used as a way to get World of Color dining packages. It's not exceptional.

The thing to remember with DLR dining is that table service does not reign like it does at WDW. Blue Bayou is a unique experience (but it's also hugely expensive and the food doesn't quite match the pricepoint), Carthay Circle is way overpriced with lousy service and weird food options - the only true can't-miss table service is Napa Rose at the Grand. Everything else is missable, and the fabulous counter service options more than make up for it. Flo's and Paradise Garden Grill at DCA are exceptional, as are Plaza Inn and French Market at Disneyland. Cafe Orleans is a better table service option in my mind than Trattoria, unless you really need those World of Color passes.
 

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