• Welcome to the WDWMAGIC.COM Forums!
    Please take a look around, and feel free to sign up and join the community.You can use your Twitter or Facebook account to sign up, or register directly.

Trip Report Sunscreen & Skeletons: HalloweenTime in Summer at DLR

IMG_1873.JPG


First vacation anywhere in 2 years, had not been to DLR since 2018.

Lots of new things at the resort for me. Both new builds and attractions that, for one reason or another, I hadn't done before.

Was it worth the hassle to do it?

*SPOLIER ALERT*

Yes, yes it was. :)
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Park Tickets

I got a 5-day hopper for this trip and went to the parks over Labor Day weekend, and the weekend after that.

I also had a ticket for Oggie Boggie Bash. I had done Mickey's Halloween Party in 2018 and thought it was inferior to MNSSHP. It sounded like Oggie Boogie would be better than that, so I gave it a try.

Accommodations

For the first weekend I stayed at the "Majestic Garden Hotel". Last time I stayed there it was still branded as a Sheraton. Not much has changed since. It looks more like a country club from the outside, not really like a hotel. My King bed room was much larger than a regular hotel room. Though not dated or dirty, mine did look a little worn. The hotel in general had that kind of feeling. They're pushing a theme of knights and princesses (the hotel has one for a mascot the kids can see), but it's pretty superficial overall. Many on-site amenities including a large convenience store and a free bus to the parks which takes about 5 min each way. It used to run every 30 minutes, now does so once an hour. If nothing else, it's punctual. The hotel is big for weddings and conventions and one was happening when I was there. I would stay here again. It's not a 4-star property, but it's a very solid 3 or 3.5 star (depending upon how you look at it). The hotel also has a "Disney desk" in the lobby. It was closed this time, but I remember before you could buy tickets and I think make dining reservations there too.

The second weekend I stayed at the Hilton Anaheim. Will never do so again. It's a huge convention hotel next door to the Anaheim Convention Center, but the room was far below what I would expect from a "Hilton" property, or one that advertises itself as 4-stars. The furniture was beat up, the carpet and tub looked stained. Water was dripping from two spots in the ceiling, including in the shower. Lighting was poor. They charged $13/day for basic internet, unless you were a Hilton member who booked direct. I didn't get to see the pool, gym or any other amenities. They have a good general gift shop with some grab and go food items. At least the staff I spoke with were nice and helpful.

I thought about saying something when I was there, or writing an email afterwards, but I think it would fall of deaf ears. The hotel was obviously busy when I was there, with at least two conventions going on, (including one involving elaborate cosplay!). They're getting their business regardless of what I think.

Airport Transfers

Every time I went to DLR prior to this I took the "Disneyland Resort Express". Not free like Magical Express, but inexpensive and easy to use. It went to both LAX and John Wayne airports.

Now that's gone, and so are any other shared rides from LAX to the resort district. It's Uber/Lyft/Cab and rental car only. Expect to pay approx $100 + tip to get each way from LAX with a taxi.

Side note, I'll be skipping LAX or try to avoid it next time. It's an awful airport. The international terminal I got stuck in had almost no place to sit or eat, and what food options were open were out of many menu items. Place was packed and it was very chaotic to get around. You now need to take a bus to get to the ride share/taxi area after you land too. Not worth the hassle to then have to drive 45-60 minutes (depending upon traffic) to get to your hotel. I've flown into John Wayne before and it is much closer and not as terrible an airport. Only downside is the lack of direct flights to get there.


Next up, the parks!
 

Songbird76

Well-Known Member
Are you an international traveler, then? Or were they just using the international terminal for overflow? I didn't think any of us Internationals were allowed into the US right now!
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Are you an international traveler, then? Or were they just using the international terminal for overflow? I didn't think any of us Internationals were allowed into the US right now!

I am an international traveller.

Those from certain countries, like Canada, can come if they test negative for COVID within 72 hours of departure.

I also had to take a test within 72 hours of flying back to Canada. Both were PCR tests.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I don't normally take food pictures, but I did eat at GCH Craftsman's Grill the first evening. I made a reservation, but showed up early because I was hungry. I was sat in the bar area and they gave me the food there. This was the dessert 😋

IMG_1874.JPG


Sitting in the California sun, by the pool, with some ice cream was a great way to make the most out of the last days of Summer.

I didn't have any of the pizzas, but saw others and they were big enough to split.

I had read complaints before hand that the restaurant's speaker music was too loud. That was not the case, and instead I saw two live performers over in the main dining area, but they were too far away to hear over the general pool and bar chatter.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
IMG_1875.JPG


Day 1

The picture above was taken at rope drop. The park looks empty from this angle, but behind me were hundreds of people and more all coming up Main Street trying to get to whatever ride first.

If you wanted to be in my spot you had to get there early. People started lining up at the Downtown Disney security entrance (where Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier Hotel guests enter, the entrance on Harbor Blvd should be avoided IMO because it's where EVERY non-Disney hotel guest walks in and it's always a mess in the morning) shortly before 6:30am. Security began letting people in at 7:00am, Main Street opened at 7:30am and the park itself at 8:00am.

Getting up that early paid off. I was able to do all 5 Fantasyland dark rides within the first half hour the park was open. Until 9:00am, it felt like I had Fantasyland to myself. Then when Toontown opened at 9:00am, again, that area was empty. Many guests assumed the land was closed because there was a large construction wall blocking the entrance (prep work for Runaway Railway coming).

But by 9:30am the park was packed. It was the Saturday of the long weekend, and I would say the parks were not limiting capacity. For the rest of the morning I did less crowded attractions like the Tiki Room plus went to the character breakfast at Plaza Inn, while waiting for a chance to get a 12:00pm boarding group for RotR.

IMG_1887.JPG

You could sit inside or outside for this buffet breakfast. Characters paraded through the patio and dining room several times. Lots of chances to get pictures, though obviously no hugs. Buffet spread was decent. Best part? Made to order custom omelets! The worst? Cold scrambled eggs.

For months I had been stressing about getting a boarding group for this ride. I heard the stories about how they were gone within seconds. I knew how busy the parks were. I had never done it before, but a guest at the park entrance was kind enough to explain to me and another family the process.

Would you believe I got one on the first try?

In fact, I was so lucky with boarding groups my whole trip only twice was I unsuccessful in doing so (both trying to get RotR at 7:00am. I would say that one was impossible. It was much easier to do so at 12 noon).

The only downside was waiting in the hot afternoon sun (90+) in Galaxy's Edge waiting for my boarding group to be called. I had no idea how long it would take, and in hindsight I should have gone back to the room for a break. After I had finally done the ride I went back to the room, hot and tried after a long, but successful day.

The ride itself was excellent, and in full working order. I was very glad to see it in person as even though I had spoiled the whole thing ages ago on YouTube, it was still a thrill to actually do it. As I said in another thread, it's the best ride Disney has built in the USA since Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land.


Speaking of Cars Land, that's where I would begin day 2...
 

Songbird76

Well-Known Member
I am an international traveller.

Those from certain countries, like Canada, can come if they test negative for COVID within 72 hours of departure.

I also had to take a test within 72 hours of flying back to Canada. Both were PCR tests.
Nice!!! I guess I already knew Canadians could get in, but I forgot. I still can't. :(
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
IMG_1895.JPG

There were many live bands throughout the day performing at both parks, Five & Dime was at DCA on Buena Vista Street

Day 2

My strategy for DCA was much the same as Disneyland and paid off equally as well. I was among the first 25 people to ride Radiator Springs Racers, which was good because as soon as I got off the ride the posted wait time was 90 minutes, with the line stretching down to the entrance of Cars Land!

Next up was Paradise Pier. I did Midway Mania, IncrediCoaster, Silly Symphony Swings, Goofy's Sky School and Little Mermaid in that order. When I got in line for Midway Mania, it said a 15 min wait. After I finished? 40 minutes! Knowing what rides to do in what order makes a difference. Using the single-rider line for both coasters helped a lot too.

By the time I finished in Pixar Pier it was time for breakfast. But that was easier said than done. I actually asked a CM is anywhere bu Starbucks was even open. They mentioned Avengers Campus so I went their to grab something to eat.

Unfortunately there was a giant, slow moving line to order food at Pyms. This was a common theme throughout the trip. If you didn't have ADRs or do Mobile Order, you were stuck waiting up to an hour to get any food anywhere. CMs mentioned staffing issues being the reason. This is especially bad in places like Avengers Campus where there is almost no shade of any kind and by 10:00am it was 90 degrees outside.

The bright side was that the food at Pyms was good and I was able to see several characters running about doing things while eating at my table. Avengers Campus certainly had more of that than Galaxy's Edge, where the only three I ever saw were Kylo Ren and two Stormtroopers.

I had managed to get a BG for Spider-Man at 7:00am so after breakfast I waited for that.

IMG_1898.JPG


Was Spider-Man good? Waiting to get inside was a bad way to start. The queue is mostly outside with no shade and was awful to be stuck in for 30 min or more. I think its inexcusable in 2021 for Disney to be building lines with no shade or A/C. Once inside the pre-show was cute, but the ride itself was a chore. It left my arms sore and the mechanics of the "web shooting" were never clear to understand. I tried to do various things beyond just shooting stuff, but I never understood if it worked or not. After having done both in the same day I felt Toy Story Midway Mania was better. Easier to do and just more fun. This ended up being my only time on Spider-Man.

I went back to the hotel room for lunch before returning to Disneyland Park for the evening.

IMG_1900.JPG

Above: A skeleton avoiding the sun. Characters were everywhere in both parks and they were all easy to see and interacted with everyone

The parks were much more enjoyable after the sun went down. I also got lucky with dinner and having no wait trying to grab food at the French Market in New Orleans Square.

In the evening I did several more rides, including another turn on RotR after getting a noon BG for that day too.

Every time they did the fireworks I ended up skipping them, because the waits for rides were walk ons. It was the only time I could do Haunted Mansion Holiday with less than a 30 minute wait. Because Labor Day was the first weekend they did it, the ride was consistently among the most popular every day with 45-60 minute waits.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
IMG_1908.JPG


Day 3

Started the day with a "grand circle tour" aboard the Disneyland RR. Disneyland's train ride around the park may be the only one at any Magic Kingdom that you could consider an E-ticket. There's lots to see, the best part being the dinosaurs at the end. A nostalgic sight for fans of old EPCOT as these dinos were the basis for the ones in Universe of Energy.

The shot of the band above was right after I got off the train. I'm not exaggerating when I say characters and entertainment were constant throughout the park. You didn't have to look for them, they were waiting for you. I saw the Dapper Dans multiple times, including seeing them ride the horse-drawn streetcar up Main Street.

IMG_1910.JPG


IMG_1911.JPG


After doing a few rides at Disneyland I made my way over to DCA, and guess who I saw when I got there?

IMG_2003.JPG


Oswald! I don't remember seeing him before out for greets. That was a nice surprise.

This was also my first time riding Grizzly River Run. Every time I've been to DLR it's either been too cold or closed, so I didn't know what to expect. It's great! I loved it, especially skipping the hour long line thanks to Single Rider. It's longer and better than Kali River at Animal Kingdom (2 drops instead of 1) and the scenery is great. You get to see lots of Grizzly Peak that you wouldn't just walking around it.

Lunch was at Smokejumpers Grill. Another 45 min-hour long wait for food (yuck). After that I swore to make ADRs for the next two days. The best thing as far as food goes was the smores shake. 😋

I left DCA at about 3pm. It was the shortest day I spent at the parks, but that was fine as I still had 2 more to go.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
IMG_1902.JPG


Day 4

This was the weekend after Labor Day and you could tell the crowds were not as bad. Still hour long lines for headliners, but I knew which single rider lines to take advantage of. I was able to get a BG for Spider-Man 45 minutes after they started taking them in the morning, but ended up not using it.

I finally did Soarin' this day. It was the first time I saw the wait posted below 30 min. It's not a must-do for me, but I figured, why not? Glad I did as I was able to get near front-row center seating without even having to ask for it!

I had dinner at Wine Country Trattoria at DCA, because, well that's what was available on short notice at a reasonable time. I didn't read any reviews before hand, but I saw the menu and figured it would be a safe bet. I had the chicken parm and the chocolate tiramisu for dessert (the only dessert option, but after having seen it delivered to every table around me the whole meal, I had to have it lol) and while neither was amazing, they both did the job just fine. The patio was packed, with many large groups, but I wasn't in a rush to finish. I would eat here again if I could get an ADR.

There were no printed menus anywhere this time, they had two QR codes on the coasters to see the menu in English or Spanish.

After dinner was another drive thru Radiator Springs. Hardly any wait thanks to single rider. I got off just as the nightly lighting ceremony took place, this time with its Haul-O-Ween twist (a bit early IMO, it was still daylight outside).

IMG_2008.JPG

I only did BTMRR once the whole trip because it was broken all day on the 4th and 5th days

It was then a hop over to Disneyland for the rest of the night. Lines were short as everyone waited for the fireworks, shockingly short in Fantasyland. I blitz through several rides, including Alice and Casey Jr with 15 min waits each. Even Dumbo was only 10 min!

I tried to sneak another ride on RotR, without a BG, only to find out they close the line at 9pm, even if the park is open until 11pm. You can only get lucky so many times, I guess.

Indiana Jones had a posted wait of 25 min (shortest I ever saw it all trip), but the wait was only about 10 min. After that I walked onto a Jungle Cruise boat for a night time cruise (and I mean walk on. I exited IJA, went through the queue, and right onto a boat just before it left the dock). I then got a snack at Bengal BBQ because for once their was no line (again the benefit of doing this all right before and during the fireworks). I had the rice bowl with beef skewers in the sticky sauce. They need this place at WDW's Magic Kingdom ASAP!

I left the park around 10:00pm, despite it not closing just yet.

I was tired and still had one more big day to go that I wanted to make the most of.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
IMG_2006 2.jpg


Day 5

Going to split this up into two posts, pre-Oggie Boggie Bash and the party itself

After being up late the night before, I didn't make it for rope drop today. Set my alarm to try and get a 7:00am BG for RotR, but no such luck.

First thing I did was do Matterhorn with the single rider line. I used that three times total this trip and IMO, if the posted wait time is 30 min or less? Just get in the regular line. Even if there were less than 10 people a head of me single rider for this line moved very slowly. The night before I actually ended up waiting longer than had I did standby!

This was also the first trip I actually got a chance to ride Matterhorn. I did the Tomorrowland side twice during the day and the Fantasyland side once at night. The ride is pitch dark at night, as dark as WDW's Space Mountain. I'd say the Fantasyland side is a slightly smoother ride, but this is the roughest Disney coaster I've ever been on. Really bangs you around and the seats are not very well padded. Still a fun coaster, but not one to do more than once a day. For reference, I didn't think WDW's Space Mountain is as bad, but I know some people really think it's worse. Your mileage will vary.

IMG_1907.JPG


This canvas print was for sale at Disneyana on Main Street for $399. I spent every day of this trip trying to get a regular print to take home and had no such luck....until the last day! I finally saw one on the shelf and grabbed it. Was 10% of the cost, lol. Disney's cartoon of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorites and on this day I managed to see both Ichabod and Mr. Toad while visiting the two parks.

IMG_2019.JPG


Lunch was at Cafe Orleans, where I was serenaded by the Bootstrappers pirate band who came by to do their set shortly after I was sat at my table. Had the Monte Cristo sandwich (a Disneyland must) and another Mint Julep (one of several this trip).

As I was having my drink, this poor dad came along and saw it. He got so excited for a moment. "Is that a mojito!?" he asked. I told him no, it's a mint julep. "Alcoholic?" he replied, hopefully. I crushed his Disney Dreams by saying it was not.

Later that day I heard several adults say that "1:00pm was beer time", referring to when they could hop over to DCA and get something stronger than Coca-Cola. At this point in time Oga's Cantina and Blue Bayou are the only places to get alcoholic drinks in Disneyland are both are near impossible to get reservations for.

Following lunch I took my julep to go and asked if I could take it aboard the Mark Twain. The CM told me she'd seen people take fried chicken dinners on the ship (so the answer was yes). Twice on this trip I sat on one of the chairs on the front deck, with a drink in hand, and it's one of the best rides in Disneyland IMO.

I did get a BG for RotR at noon and foolishly thought I could get on before the Halloween Party started. Shortly before my BG was called, the ride broke down. By this point the party had already started and I decided to head over to DCA instead of waiting it out (of course, shortly after I got there, it was called. There's no re-entry allowed for OBB, so once I got to DCA I was no longer allowed to hop back-and-frorth).

IMG_2005.JPG


The party begins....
 

Register on WDWMAGIC. This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.

Top Bottom