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Trip planning for Disneyland 1st timer

Discussion in 'Disneyland Resort' started by Lsumatt72, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. Lsumatt72

    Lsumatt72 Member

    Jan 6, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Hi guys! Lifelong WDW visitor but have never been to DLR. A few questions:

    1) Best time of year to go? If/when we do book our trip, I'm thinking Thanksgiving/New Year's or Mardi Gras (for us Louisianians) would be the options to go

    2) Best place to stay? I know the Disneyland Hotel is across the street, but are there better options? Do any hotels provide shuttles to the parks?

    3) Food options/tips? Being a WDW visitor, the dining plan has been my go-to but I know DLR does not have that.

    4) I'm also wanting to go sight-see LA for a couple of days? Tips/things to go see while there? Best way of getting to these places (won't be renting a car.)

  2. Reggie Colorado

    Reggie Colorado New Member

    Nov 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Any of those holidays will be crowded, but New Year's likely the worst. If you have some flexibility, the crowd calendars might be your best bet.

    The three onsite hotels provide the best Disney experience and offer early park admission each day (which is probably more important here than WDW given the difference in fastpass systems). But keep in mind all are priced more like Deluxes at WDW with no real Moderates, even though only the Grand California really fits the Deluxe label. It is the nicest of the three and offers an entrance directly into DCA (although you do not have to stay there to use it). The Disneyland Hotel is the original for purists, and is only a modest step down from the Grand Californian. Neither is probably worth the cost, even when you factor in the early admission perk, but if price does not really matter, they are fun places to stay. Paradise Pier is pretty much a generic value hotel that charges a premium for the location. Skip it unless you are set on staying onsite for the lowest cost.

    The hotels on Harbor Blvd north of Katella Ave and south of I-5 are all easy walking distance to the main park entrances and can offer great deals. None really offer any frills, but most generally offer some fun Disney theming and good upkeep. As Marriott Rewards members, we liked the Fairfield Inn, which was a good deal and convenient although the rooms are a bit tight.

    If the parks are your focus, I would avoid the hotels where you need a shuttle. One of DLR's great advantages over WDW is the easy walking access to the parks, so you can come and go as you please, rather than planning around buses or crowded monorail stops.

    Food is not as big of a deal as WDW, mainly because you are not isolated and there are so many non-resort options nearby. Blue Bayou is probably the most quintessential dining experience. The Carnation Cafe and Plaza Inn are decent comfort food spots. The corn dog cart at the end of Main Street is famous for a reason (and the stand in DCA is just as good). The quick service restaurant in Fantasyland has done a Beauty and the Beast overlay, which is quite popular.
    Lsumatt72 likes this.

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