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Trip Report One Day in Disneyland

DisneyDreamer08

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Hi everyone! My husband and I recently spent one day in Disneyland so I thought I would share a short little trip report (well, short compared to my normal 8 day WDW trip reports ;) ) My husband Nick and I recently celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. We decided to celebrate with a kid free vacation! We spent 6 glorious days in California, including one at Disneyland. We started up in San Francisco, then spent a few days driving down the coast, eventually ending up in Anaheim. Here we are in SF-
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I have been to DL once before, in 2010, but Nick has never been. I spent 3 days there on that 2010 trip which I feel was the perfect amount of time. I desperately begged my husband for 2 DL days on this trip (one per park) but I could only get him to agree to one. We are a big Disney family, our most recent WDW trips were in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2016. So understandably, Nick wanted this CA trip to be a little less Disney centered. Everything I read ahead of time said not to plan for DL. That your WDW planning brains needed to be turned off. However, with only one day and two parks, I knew we had to have a plan. So I did make a touring plan ahead of time. And I am definitely glad I did! Trying to do two parks in one day was rough. It was chaotic, it was crowded and it was rushed. We accomplished a lot which was great but, it wasn't quite the relaxing Disney experience so many people tried to convince me it would be. It's my own fault for cramming so much in. I don't necessarily regret the busy day though as I do think it was inevitable.

We arrived in Anaheim on Monday January 21st at about 4pm. We checked into the hotel we would be staying at for the next few days- the Del Sol Inn. When I first started my hotel search, it was a little intimidating that there were SO MANY hotels around DL. However, from my trip back in 2010, I remembered that there was only one main entrance for people walking. After some searching and googling, I found that the main entrance is right across the street from the IHOP. So while hotels look like they are walking distance to the parks, they can actually be quite a bit away from the actual entrance. Once I had this information, I very quickly decided on the Del Sol. We ended up really loving it here! It was clean, updated, the staff was very friendly and accomodating, our room was spacious, and the best part, it was a short 5 minute walk to DL! Honestly the best part about DL is probably the convenience of the parks. Having the 2 parks, Downtown Disney, and a handful of hotels all within a 5 minute walk is pretty awesome.

Here are a few pictures of our room at the Del Sol. When we checked in, the woman at the desk asked if we were there specifically for Disneyland. We said we were so she said she would give us their closest room. We were on the first floor and were literally the first room in the hotel block. There was the check in office, the breakfast room, then us. It was a little loud in the morning with people going in and out of the breakfast room but since we were up, we didn't mind at all. The location was actually perfect.
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After checking in, we walked over to Downtown Disney. Once you go through bag check and security and enter the main pavilion, DL is to your right, California Adventure is to your left, and DD is straight ahead.

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Our first stop was World Of Disney (of course). Our 8 year old daughter Sage, who is slowly growing out of the sparkly, glittery princess phase, requested a Meeko stuffed animal to go with her Pocahontas dress. And our 3 year old Aria, who for some reason always loves a good villain, requested something Tomatoa.
Here are our crazy girls from this past Halloween ~
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We sadly couldn't find anything Meeko in World of Disney (or anywhere in DD) so we put Sage's gift on hold until we could look throughout DL. For Aria, we found a Moana playset with a bunch of little characters, including Tamatoa. We held off on buying just in case we could find something that was just Tamatoa. We stopped in a few other stores but the only thing we purchased was a small print in the WonderGround Gallery (such a cool store!) I also loved the Dress Shop and Disney Home. Disneyland's Downtown is much smaller than WDW but it's a great little area.

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After getting dinner from one of the food trucks, we went back to our hotel. We needed a good night sleep for our busy day!
 

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DisneyDreamer08

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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Our Disneyland day was Tuesday January 22nd. The hours were 10am-8pm which was so strange to us as WDW visitors. It was weird to be starting our day that late. I had read in a few different places to arrive an hour before opening. We left our hotel at 8:45. It did take a little bit of time to go through security and bag check. We were starting at DCA and we ended up fairly close to the front of the pack. They opened the turnstiles at about 9:30 and we went to our first stop, Soarin'. I had paid for Max Pass ahead of time so once inside, I was able to get my first FP for Incredicoaster.
A few little side notes-even though our day was 'green' on a few different crowd calendars, it was SO crowded. Like jam packed, hard to move crowded. I bought our tickets and max pass before the recent price increase so I paid $10 each for the max pass. It was so worth it! Being able to do our fastpasses from my phone was a big time saver on such a busy day. I honestly forget the exact order of rides we had FPs for but I would say we had about 10 total throughout the day. My only complaint is that because we were trying to do so much, I spent a lot of time on my phone. It was pretty stressful actually. All day long, I was checking wait times, booking fastpasses, checking when my next fastpass was available. Many times we would pull over to the side just so I could take a break to do this and not miss anything while we were walking. It worked out well in the long run but the crowds and the constant screen time was more stressful than I thought it would be.
Anyways, first ride of the day ~

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I might be in the minority here, but I think I prefer the old Soarin'. Too much CGI this time around. Although I do appreciate the different endings here and in Epcot. After Soarin', we walked through Grizzly Peak towards Pixar Pier. This is such a nicely themed little area. Nick and I both agreed that having the hotel with its own entrance to the park was a really awesome feature. Almost makes it worth the price tag.
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In this section of the park, we went into a gift shop with a woodland creature theme and they had a Meeko stuffed animal!! We were so excited.
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We were planning on coming back at the end of the night to get it but we actually found it over in the gift shop by Small World as well. So we ended up getting it there.

We also passed Pluto with no line so we were happy to get a photo
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I had told Nick I wanted to try and get as many photopass pictures as possible since the downloads were included with the Max Pass. Unfortunately, as it also is at WDW, the photo pass lines in DL were so long that we didn't end up getting too many. I was actually pretty bummed about this at the end of the day. Just not enough time in the day! Another thing I was kicking myself about, I am so used to WDW where on ride photos load automatically, that I didn't realize you had to enter a code in the app at each ride to get your on ride photos. I didn't think of it til almost the end of the day when I realized we didn't have any on ride photos in the app. Obviously it makes sense since there are no magic bands here, I just didn't think to think of it :(
Our next stop was Pixar Pier!
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So I will admit, back in 2010, I was not a fan of DCA at all, especially the pier section. It just reminded me too much of any old amusement park. This new Pixar theme though has helped this part of the park tremendously. We actually really enjoyed all the little Pixar touches.
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I actually wish we had spent more time here. We only ended up doing Incredicoaster and Toy Story Mania. Again, just not enough time. We used FP to ride Incredicoaster and this actually ended up being our favorite ride of the entire day. Such a well done coaster and great, great theming.
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krause

Well-Known Member
I’m doing one day in Disneyland with park hopper on March 4th so I’m excited to read your report! I just checked and touring plans says that crowds were 3 or 4 out of 10 on your day same as what they had predicted. My day they predict 8 out of 10 so I hope they’re wrong! :in pain:
 

DisneyDreamer08

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
A few more pictures from Incredicoaster and the Pier ~
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The wait for Toy Story Mania was already pretty long (I want to say it was at 30 minutes) so we decided to put it on hold and head over to Cars Land. The plan was to get a FP for Radiator Springs Racers but by the time our window opened up, the next times weren't til about 3 that afternoon. We knew we'd be over in DL by then so originally, we were just going to suck it up and wait in the standby line.
What an amazing area Cars Land is!! Again, I wish we had more time to explore it in more depth.
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When we made it over to the standby, it had jumped up to 60 minutes. We stood there for a second, not sure what to do, and Nick spotted the single rider entrance. He was all for single rider but I was a little hesitant. Our last two Disney trips were with our kids so its not often we get to ride things just the two of us. Again though, we knew we were in a time crunch so he convinced me. Single rider it was!

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This was so fun! We both loved it! A few more pictures from the area ~

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We decided to pass on the other two rides in Cars Land. Our next stop was Guardians of the Galaxy!
 
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DisneyDreamer08

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I’m doing one day in Disneyland with park hopper on March 4th so I’m excited to read your report! I just checked and touring plans says that crowds were 3 or 4 out of 10 on your day same as what they had predicted. My day they predict 8 out of 10 so I hope they’re wrong! :in pain:
It didn't feel like a 3 or 4! :p We were happy we were able to get as many fastpasses as we did because a lot of the standbys were too long. We never made it on Pirates because it was between 30 and 60 minutes all day and we just didn't want to wait that long :( We also never made it on the Roger Rabbit ride, which I know isn't a headliner or anything, but it was one we were hoping to squeeze in. Again, this was in the 45-60 range all day. I was actually really glad I had that 3 day trip back in 2010 and this wasn't my first impression. It was so crowded and rushed (of course this was partially my fault for squeezing so much in) that it was really hard to see the beauty and all the details. Definitely splurge for max pass if you can!
 

DisneyDreamer08

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Walking over to Guardians ~
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So Tower of Terror is actually my favorite ride in WDW but, the DL version was slightly different and definitely not as good. I was a little sad to hear of the change here but it actually works well. I had not seen the Guardians movies but Nick was a big fan. He suggested we watch them before coming and I'm glad I did. They are really good!

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We weren't in a good spot in the library room (not sure what its called now!) so I couldn't see the Rocket AA very well. So that was a bummer. The ride is awesome though!

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After using our Guardians FP, we were able to get one for Toy Story Mania. I think it was for about 12:30ish so we thought that would be our last DCA ride before heading over to DL.

The Monsters Inc ride was a walk on so we went there next. Nick is not really a dark ride fan (I love them all!) but since this is unique to DL and we both love these movies, we took the time to do it.

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We decided to break for lunch next and the Pacific Wharf seemed like a good place to stop. We both ordered from Cocina Cucamonga and were pleasantly surprised. The portions were large, the food was really good and the area wasn't busy at all. It was a nice, relaxing spot for a quick recharge.
After lunch, we went back to the Pier for Toy Story
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Love these little food huts!

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DisneyDreamer08

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Next stop, Disneyland!! The train station and Main Street were adorably decorated for Valentine's Day.



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Lovely walls, huh? Of course the big castle overhaul was just in time for our trip :(

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So a quick little side story, Nick proposed to me in Disney World on January 22nd, 2008. Our one day in Disneyland just happened to be January 22nd. Not planned, just a really cool coincidence. We have the photo below framed ~

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We knew getting a photo in a similar location was an absolute must. I would have loved to frame this one as well but those darn walls ruined a little of the magic!

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Our plan for DL was to basically go left and try to plan our fastpasses for an attraction or two ahead of time based on wait times.

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Our first FP was for Indiana Jones but when we got over there, a CM was out front saying it was down. He said we could use our FPs at any time throughout the rest of the day. We wanted to do Pirates next (no FP for this ride) but the wait was just too long. So we continued on towards Haunted Mansion.
 

DisneyDreamer08

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
So I only took these 3 pictures in the New Orleans Square/Haunted Mansion area. My phone was almost dead by then so I put it in my bag attached to my battery pack thing to charge it up :)
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Love me some Haunted Mansion!!

Our next stop was Splash Mountain.

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Now here's the thing. Nick and I love big rides and coasters. We've been on the WDW Splash Mountain more times than I can count. Now granted, Florida is typically pretty hot and I'm sure we've always appreciated a good splash. Never once do I remember getting so wet that I actually hated Splash Mountain. Well that happened on this day. I can't even describe how soaked we got. I was in the front of the log, Nick was right behind me. There is a small, indoor drop and we got absolutely drenched. My pants were soaked through and I instantly could tell my underwear was soaked as well. I realize this may be TMI, but I feel its a necessary part of the description. Then we went down the big drop and again, buckets of water, all in my lap. When we got off the ride, I took my sweatshirt off and I could wring it out. That's how wet it was.
Exhibit A ~
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I am so scared now to go on Splash Mountain ever again. Never, never, never have we been this soaked. If we were a 30 minute bus ride away like at WDW, this would have ruined our whole day. Thankfully, we were able to walk back to the hotel, change, and walk back over fairly quickly.
 

MerMom1981

Well-Known Member
And ANOTHER ONE!
I never noticed so many Disneyland TR's until I needed them! I'm going for the first time this June, and your TR is just what I need!

I'm especially glad to hear your planning/FP thoughts. My brain is wired for WDW. The fact that I can't make ADR's yet feels wrong

Also, your engagement photo is so dreamy! 😍
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
So glad I'm not alone! It was seriously the worst Splash Mountain experience ever! :oops: Next time we are bringing ponchos for sure.
Although you can’t tell in the pictures, she was wearing jeans when the wall of water washed over her. Wet jeans are the WORST.

She still hasn’t forgiven me for making her ride Winnie the Pooh immediately after the soaking. (I mean, the attraction IS right next to Splash! 😂) But then we left the park to change into some dry clothes at our hotel.
 

DisneyDreamer08

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
And ANOTHER ONE!
I never noticed so many Disneyland TR's until I needed them! I'm going for the first time this June, and your TR is just what I need!

I'm especially glad to hear your planning/FP thoughts. My brain is wired for WDW. The fact that I can't make ADR's yet feels wrong

Also, your engagement photo is so dreamy! 😍
Thank you!!

Since we only had the one day, we didn't do any ADRs. We also didn't plan for any parades or night time shows. Do you follow Disneyland Daily? She has a bunch of different touring plans. I used hers a bit for our start at DCA. But most of her plans are based on an 8am or 9am opening so I knew I would have to adjust for our 10am start. I think it is assumed most people take advantage of the early entry but since we stayed off site, and our tickets were for only one day, we couldn't do that. :(
For Disneyland it just seemed easiest to travel to the left around the park and avoid unnecessary walking. I was just reading an article about changes Disneyland is slowly making to help alleviate crowds in the parks in anticipation of the opening of Star Wars. Basically removing things like planters and landscaping to widen the walkways. I'm sure it will take away from the overall charm but it is so desperately needed. Disneyland as a whole has a much smaller footprint than Magic Kingdom and you can really feel it. Everything is just jam packed together. Each land just feels squished on top of the other.

How long are you going for?
 

MerMom1981

Well-Known Member
Thank you!!

Since we only had the one day, we didn't do any ADRs. We also didn't plan for any parades or night time shows. Do you follow Disneyland Daily? She has a bunch of different touring plans. I used hers a bit for our start at DCA. But most of her plans are based on an 8am or 9am opening so I knew I would have to adjust for our 10am start. I think it is assumed most people take advantage of the early entry but since we stayed off site, and our tickets were for only one day, we couldn't do that. :(
For Disneyland it just seemed easiest to travel to the left around the park and avoid unnecessary walking. I was just reading an article about changes Disneyland is slowly making to help alleviate crowds in the parks in anticipation of the opening of Star Wars. Basically removing things like planters and landscaping to widen the walkways. I'm sure it will take away from the overall charm but it is so desperately needed. Disneyland as a whole has a much smaller footprint than Magic Kingdom and you can really feel it. Everything is just jam packed together. Each land just feels squished on top of the other.

How long are you going for?
We'll have one day per park. It's going to be the grand finale of a road trip from the Grand Canyon.

My intention is to focus on attractions unique to DL first, and the"duplicates" if we have time. I'm only looking to make ADR's for dinner, maybe not even both nights.

Looking forward to the rest of your day!
 

DisneyDreamer08

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We'll have one day per park. It's going to be the grand finale of a road trip from the Grand Canyon.

My intention is to focus on attractions unique to DL first, and the"duplicates" if we have time. I'm only looking to make ADR's for dinner, maybe not even both nights.

Looking forward to the rest of your day!
That sounds perfect! Two days will be good. You’ll get a good amount done in each park. I feel like with the one day we only got a glimpse of what each park has to offer.
 

DisneyDreamer08

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Thanks for the Disneyland Daily tip! I just started looking at the suggested touring plans. Looks super helpful!
You’re welcome. She’s the best, I’ve been following her on Facebook for years.

I’ll try to finish up today or tomorrow. Thursday and Friday are my busiest work days.
 

DisneyDreamer08

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
So after getting soaked to the bone on Splash Mountain, we quickly walked back to our hotel to change. After coming back in, I know we did Thunder Mountain and the Indiana Jones ride. I didn’t take any pictures at Indy though so I don’t remember the order.
Here are a few from Thunder ~

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Even though I literally know nothing about Indiana Jones, I do really love this ride. The theming and attention to detail is some of the best.

While we were in this area we also stopped in Rancho Del Zocalo, a quick service restaurant. I had read the big Disney food blog post on the special “get your ears on” foods and there was a dessert here I was hoping to get. Unfortunately when we went in and asked, we were told that particular dessert wouldn’t be available until February.

We next did a quick walk through Fantasyland. As I stated before, I love all those little dark rides but Nick, not so much. So we didn’t go on anything in this land. I really love the exterior of Small World!

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We then went over to Toontown

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We had been hoping to ride Roger Rabbit as Nick and I both grew up loving that movie. We could never work in the fast pass though and the standby was at 60 minutes while we were over there. Thankfully though, Daisy’s Diner had another snack I had been hoping to find ~

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So delicious and adorable!!!
 
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DisneyDreamer08

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
So actually, now that I’m looking at my pictures, I think we did Thunder Mountain, walked through Fantasyland and Toontown, then went over to Indiana Jones. Because my next picture is this ~

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After riding Indy, Nick got dinner at Bengal Barbecue. Since I had just had that cupcake, I just got this frozen drink. I took a picture to show Sage because she loves putting those boba bubble things on her frozen yogurt. Nick loved his dinner and we were super impressed to see everything freshly made on the open grill. Disneyland has some great quick service places!

It was getting dark by this point so I took some night time shots on our way to our next FASTPASS- Space Mountain.

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We love Space Mountain but the Disneyland version seems darker than WDW. Less stars and whatnot.

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