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Disneyland Resort (DL, DLR, DCA) Discussion Thread

p. 393 - Pixar Place Hotel transformation will be completed on January 30th, 2024!

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I'm so excited to visit back home to SoCal and hitting up Disney for the first time since 2011. Best part is, I get to bring my newlywed husband (we're getting married on the 26th!), for the first time with his family.

 

I leave this question to you experts. We'll be staying at the Clarion hotel from the 27th to the 30th. Attending Disney from the 28th to the 30th (3-day park hopper). What's the best course of action as far as fast pass and whatnot? I believe we get one magic morning with our vacation package. Probably going to utilize that time by going to Radiator Springs [if allowed]... I downloaded the wait-time app, I've seen how horrendous the lines get (Thursday the wait was 110 minutes. WHAT.)

 

So... if any of you have mastered a game plan to make this visit pleasant... feel free to share your tips with me!

 

I grew up 40min away from Disneyland - but this will be my 3rd time going, ever. I usually just hit up KBF and Six Flags (which we're so planning on doing again this trip!)

 

Thanks!

 

Ps. also if you have any restaurant recommendations around the area (doesn't have to be in the park). Woo!

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^ World Of Color fastpass first, Radiator Springs Racers fastpass second. Then get in line for something. Unless you're doing the dining VIP seating package, World Of Color runs out of fastpasses fairly quickly and if you don't have one you won't be able to see 75% of the show.

 

The only problem with that plan is location. World Of Color uses the Grizzly River Run fastpass location for distribution while Radiator Springs Racers is over by A Bug's Life (speaking of, whoever thought of that should be shot). Getting from one to the other is a bit of a pain in the arse.

 

Then again, if you're like my girlfriend and I, you can just forego the Radiator Springs Racers fastpasses and jump in the single rider line. 15-20 minute wait at any time as opposed to 3+ hours in standby.

 

Get over to Paradise Pier to ride Toy Story while you can. No fastpass option and the line gets insane as the day goes on. California Screamin does a good job of pumping people through so standby shouldn't get too long, but fastpasses are available if you need it.

 

Tower Of Terror will get a pretty hefty line and if they're running it anything like they were the past two times I've visited it'll crawl. The crew was pretty terrible so hopefully they've gotten their crap together.

 

Honestly for California Adventure, aside from Radiator Springs Racers, you should be fine to do the park at your leisure. The only real big issue for smaller attractions is Luigi's Flying Tires. It'll have a massive line and it's a capacity nightmare. It also isn't worth it so if the line is over 10 minutes, just move along. Goofy's Flying School is a wild mouse but it's a pretty wicked one. They also offer a single rider line. Take an afternoon break to watch Aladdin and laugh if the flying carpet breaks (like 9 times out of 10).

 

World Of Color - Get as close as you can. If you go back a few pages and read my trip report (from May) you can see my opinion on the difference it makes between being super close or in the middle. If you don't mind getting a bit drenched it is SO worth it.

 

 

Now for Disneyland, well, get to Big Thunder ASAP. There's a very good chance it'll be broken multiple times throughout the day so get there, get a fastpass (or jump in line) and get wild. Immediately after Big Thunder, GET TO FANTASYLAND! The place will be a zoo. Get a fastpass for Peter Pan because the line will probably already be 2+ hours. Get one every ride you can in Fantasyland as quickly as you can. They'll all be inundated with crying kids soon enough so you want to be fast in there.

 

If you're OK with single rider, Matterhorn can wait. If you need to ride together, get in line right away. It'll get quite long. Protip! For single riders here you have to ask the greeter by the station for access. There's a small sign you can easily miss that's on the other side of the standby line from the path. There will be a greeter standing there and all you have to say is "Hi! Single rider, please?" and they'll give you an awesome neon-colored card to let you walk right on in.

 

Fastpass Space Mountain, fastpass Indiana Jones.

 

Splash Mountain has a hidden single rider line, too. It's through the exit. Hardly anyone knows it exists and it's glorious. Just walk up the exit past everyone leaving the ride and wait for an attendant to see you and they'll wave you to the crossover when it's safe. There's also fastpass for Splash if you're not a fan of single rider.

 

Haunted Mansion offers fastpasses but it's a huge people-eater. If the line is up to the gate it's only a half hour.

 

Jump in line for Jungle Cruise and pray you have a fun skipper. No fastpass option here.

 

Fantasmic - Try to get as close to center as possible. It's an incredible show with explosions EVERYWHERE. And I do mean everywhere. On the island, in the sky, in the water, on boats, FRIGGIN' EVERYWHERE! Also lasers. And a giant dragon. And more explosions. And awesome crap. And dammit I really need to get back and see this show again!

 

I know this has been pretty scatterbrained but hopefully it helps!

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The FastPass strategy hasn't changed much. But you do now have to return during the specified return window. If your'e late, its no longer valid. The only things that get crazy lines really are Racers, Sorin' Over California, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain.

 

As for food, the entire resort went through a food re-branding. Nearly every food location has really great food options now. Take a look at the menus on the Disneyland website. Also DownTown Disney has some really good options as well. But if your'e set on eating outside Disney property, there are a few other places you can go.

 

The Anaheim Garden Walk is walking distance from the parks, and has a while bunch of food options: Cheesecake Factory, P.F.Changs, CPK, McCormick and Schmidt's, and Roy's. Also, one of my favorites is FIRE+ICE Clicky and its located in the back of the mall (its actually the closest to Disneyland)

 

If none of that suits you there is also Red Robin, Oggies, Outback Steakhouse, and Joe's Crab Shack down Harbor at Chapman. These are not walking distance, you will need to drive and parking is difficult around dinnertime.

Map.thumb.jpg.dc1b96049d4c54cbef5d857eb9b5c433.jpg

The bottom circle is the Ren Robbin area.

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Sorin' Over California

 

Forgot that one in my notes. Probably because it sucks.

 

Also, one of my favorites is FIRE+ICE

 

Didn't even notice this place last time we were there. Might have to give it a try next time. Thanks!

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^ Thanks for the heads up. I've never been through that whole area, to be honest. I've always stayed at one of the hotels across Ball Road and just walk to the parks (saves $16 on parking daily). Last time we visited in May we stopped at the Denny's simply because it was the only thing still open. Needed some food and caffeine to make the 4 hour trip back to Vegas that night, haha.

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Johnny Rockets >>>>> than Red Robin if you have a choice BTW.

 

I'm glad people hate Soarin' as much as I do. I thought it was dumb. But every "behind the magic" TV special you see you hear that same story about the guy and his erector set....

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^ Seriously, Soarin' is a joke, but the GP love the hell out of it. I don't understand why. Sure, the idea is cool and the takeoff effect is fun if you're in the first or second row, but the actual film is CRAP! Jump cuts like no tomorrow. I'm shocked that Disney allowed such an amateur effort. I mean, it's a fairly simple solution. Just have the film fly into the clouds for a scene change. Going from flying over skiiers on a snow covered mountain to instantly being over orange groves is a huge system shock and completely takes out any immersion.

 

It would also help if they stabilized the footage. There's some scenes where the camera is a bit bumpy.

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Radiator Springs Racers is over by A Bug's Life (speaking of, whoever thought of that should be shot). Getting from one to the other is a bit of a pain in the arse.

 

Then again, if you're like my girlfriend and I, you can just forego the Radiator Springs Racers fastpasses and jump in the single rider line. 15-20 minute wait at any time as opposed to 3+ hours in standby.

 

Get over to Paradise Pier to ride Toy Story while you can.

 

Get a fastpass for Peter Pan because the line will probably already be 2+ hours. Get one every ride you can in Fantasyland as quickly as you can. They'll all be inundated with crying kids soon enough so you want to be fast in there.

 

Haunted Mansion offers fastpasses but it's a huge people-eater. If the line is up to the gate it's only half an hour.

 

I know this has been pretty scatterbrained but hopefully it helps!

 

A few things:

-Congrats on the wedding!

-Mary Niven (DCA's VP during the big rehab) moved RSR's FP because the original location was a huge bottleneck. That and nobody cares about It's Tough to Be a Bug The standby time is often wayyy overestimated, so if you feel the need to do that, then do that.

-Toy Story always seems to have the exact same line whenever I visit. It's always mostly filling up the queue, which looks bad but is endurable.

-There is no FP for Peter Pan or HM (anymore) at DL. I've only seen PPF at 40 minutes, which isn't great but isn't awful either.

-Be warned about the Clarion. Yes, it's cheap, but there's a reason for that

 

Oh, and you can call me one of those people who likes Soarin' for some reason

 

Maybe it's because of the scent effects? I don't know...

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^ No FP for Peter Pan or Haunted Mansion? That has to be a super recent change because they were there in May.

 

Maybe. My recent visits have been somewhat hectic, but I could've sworn that Peter Pan FP was only at WDW, and I'm not sure I've ever seen HM's FP open in 20+ visits to the park. Maybe my memory deceives me...

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-Be warned about the Clarion. Yes, it's cheap, but there's a reason for that

 

 

I stayed at the Clarion last December and thought it was OK--just kind of stuck in the 1970s. Being as I was hardly in the room while I was there, it was OK for the price.

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^ No FP for Peter Pan or Haunted Mansion? That has to be a super recent change because they were there in May.

 

Haunted Mansion only has FastPass for the Nightmare Before Chrsitmas overlay. And Peter Pan has never had Fast Pass. You must be thinking of a different ride or a different park. The Magic Kingdom has FP for Pan though.

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On my search through records at a local thrift store, I found this gem for $1. Excellent condition, too! No scratches or anything! Does anyone else own this? They also had about a dozen movie soundtracks including Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and Peter Pan.

disney.jpg.8d9a398397847b3e319239e357dc478e.jpg

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^^ Here's my Disney Parks LP collection. And I do have the MSEP in it's entirety, but as the

second track on the original FANTASMIC soundtrack cd.

LPsCollection.jpg.0b8c7b89af17d206ca5957b35fbc2360.jpg

From the NY World's Fair, to WDW, and EPCOT. (o:

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^ Somehow I manged to never find and buy the POtC LP.

And just because, here's my Disney Parks CD Collection...

1569015103_ResizeofIMG_6270.JPG.fdef9ff29c4441ba04f18e5fc471010b.JPG

The general collection. Incl. DL's 50th anny set; DLPR's 15th anny set; TDL's 30th set.

474204386_ResizeofIMG_6273.JPG.a43ded9836ae5e52f63f875bcea91fc6.JPG

The back of the Fantasmic cd. And the Main Street Electrical Parade is listed. (o:

994795535_ResizeofIMG_6275.JPG.2a154689d7ec2c04e965f793c5d33ef5.JPG

All from TDL, Disney Sea mostly. And Big Band Beat still rules! (o;

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Johnny Rockets >>>>> than Red Robin if you have a choice BTW.

 

Im going to have to disagree with this. During my college years a friend of mine managed a JR and would always warn us about eating at any JR restaurants with emphasis on avoiding ordering the chili! Red Robin has bottomless seasoned fries! There's nothing more American than endless carbs!

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Some of my observations about visiting Disneyland.

1.) Can't disagree with starting in DCA. Upon arrival, you will have the option to either go into FP lane for RR, or head straight to the attraction. If you want to experience the ride twice in the day, I would opt to wait out in the FP lane for RR. The line looks massive, especially when it looks like it wraps back down through Hollywood, but it does move. After getting the FP, I would continue into the standby lane for RR if under 1/2 hour or so. The decor is quite nice, and a great time to take pictures over 30/40 minutes. The flats in Carlsand are ok, an worth it if it is a short wait.

 

2.) TSMM should be next priority. No FP, and line gets very long. When walking towards it, you will pass CA Screaming. It may be a walk on or very short wait early in the morning, so I would FP the attraction, then go into standby if the line is 10 to 20 minutes. Head to TSMM, and afterwards wrap up the FP use for CA Screaming. Work you way towards GRR.

 

3.) Mickey's wheel of death, boards incredibly slowly, and the perspective from inside the cage is not amazing. If it is a walk on, then do the swinging section. You will pass Goofy sky school, depending on your fondness for mice coasters and line lengthit could be worth a ride. You will pass Little Mermaid, skip it, instead to prioritize the FP for GRR and WOC.

 

4.) If you want to enjoy and amazing meal and see WOC, here is the option of doing the dining package at Carthay Circle. Carthy is more expensive, but with the dining package, you get a reserved section for WOC that is in a good location. Otherwise, get the WOC FP and the FP for GRR at the same time. Bounce down to Soarin, then back towards GRR. Depending on your GRR return time, you can also enjoy Little Mermaid. For some great photos, walk the paths around GRR.

 

5.) Then it is time for Tower of Terror. It is a personal favorite of mine. In the area, while waiting for you FP return time, you can catch the Muppet Movie 3D - at least it's in a/c environment, Monsters (if a walk on), of if you have a longer wait and the timing works, the Aladdin stage show which is quite good.

 

Some things at Disneyland to possibly make the day go better. The corn dog line gets huge for the cart in the hub, but the same corn dog is sold at Stage Door Cafe, near Pirates, and the seating overlooks the river. If you want a cheaper lunch and happen to be in T. Land, hop on the monorail and leave the park. The exit for the monorail drops you very close to Earl of Sandwich and Rainforest Cafe.

 

The monorail also gives some good views of the park. Matterhorn is not on the FP system, so I always opt to FP for Space Mt. then head towards Matterhorn. While waiting for a Splash MT. FP, I enjoy the canoes around the Rivers of America, still pretty unique for our region. If you are waiting for a Roger Rabbit FP time, check out Mickey's Magical Map, pretty well done little show and the iconic (for good and bad) Small World. One quirky thing to do to kill time at DL is the train around the park. I think it is more enjoyable at dusk/early night, when the lights come on. Very nice to be able to rest on something after a long day of walking. Also, the comedy show in the Golden Belle is actually pretty funny, worth watching if you have time to kill before redeeming a FP for Big Thunder.

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I've read reviews about the Clarion... but we got a good deal from getawaytoday.com. I figured we're hardly gonna be in the hotel anyway, so I don't think it'll be a problem. They did offer free parking, so we're just gonna trek it to Disney on foot!

 

We are in fact doing a VIP dining deal for World of Color so I think we're set for that show. Thanks for the tips on fastpasses! It's my mission to ride Indiana Jones... all my visits I've never had the chance to ride! First time I was too young and was scared to ride. THEN my last visit in 2011 it broke down AS we walked up with our fastpasses (which happened to be late in the evening so it didn't reopen for the rest of the night).

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^I know you've got several tips already, but I figure I'll throw in my advice as a local.

 

DCA: If you'll be using early entry here, go straight to Cars Land and try to get a ride or two on Radiator Springs Racers before opening. At (or slightly before) opening, go to Paradise Pier and ride Toy Story Midway Mania, then just go from there (the rest of DCA can be easily done in a day without any specific plan). If you won't or can't use early entry at DCA, arrive 45 minutes before opening and line up to get a Radiator Springs Racers Fastpass. After you get it, grab a Soarin' Fastpass and a California Screamin' Fastpass (as of my last visit, it worked), then ride Toy Story Midway Mania and go from there.

 

Disneyland: If you can, I would recommend starting two of your days at Disneyland. On one day, head straight into Tomorrowland and ride either Space Mountain or Star Tours, then get a Fastpass for the other one. Head to Indiana Jones and ride if the wait is under 30 minutes...if not, either use Single Rider or come back later. Ride Pirates of the Caribbean, then Haunted Mansion, then Splash Mountain. By now, your Star Tours Fastpass should be ready, so get one for either Indiana Jones or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, ride Star Tours, and go from there. On your other Disneyland first day, go straight into Fantasyland and ride (in order): Peter Pan's Flight, Alice in Wonderland, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. After doing all these, go to Toontown and get a Roger Rabbit's Car-Toon Spin Fastpass and just go from there (ideally this will be Day 3 of your three days, so you'll have done all high-priority attractions by this point).

 

Remember, your Fastpass attractions are...

 

Disneyland: Autopia, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Indiana Jones Adventure, Space Mountain, Roger Rabbit's Car-Toon Spin, Splash Mountain, Star Tours, and Haunted Mansion (rarely outside of Holiday Seasons, but does occasionally happen). Indiana Jones and Splash Mountain also offer Single Rider lines, as does Matterhorn Bobsleds (no Fastpass).

 

Disney California Adventure Park: California Screamin', Goofy's Sky School, Grizzly River Run, Radiator Springs Racers, Soarin' Over California, and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. All of these also offer Single Riders lines except Tower of Terror.

 

I'd recommend just keeping a Fastpass on you as much as possible and doing rides in the area while waiting for your return time. After about 11 A.M., the parks will be busy until after the nighttime spectaculars, so just minimize backtracking and plan for lines. Fortunately, you'll be visiting on weekdays when most of the APs are blocked out, so three days will be plenty of time to do everything in both parks.

 

Have Fun!

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It's my mission to ride Indiana Jones... all my visits I've never had the chance to ride! First time I was too young and was scared to ride. THEN my last visit in 2011 it broke down AS we walked up with our fastpasses (which happened to be late in the evening so it didn't reopen for the rest of the night).

 

Indy is my favorite ride in the history of everything. Seriously, that thing is wicked.

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That's what everyone says about Indy!!! I wish I took more advantage of going to the park when I was local. Of course, as soon as I moved away my family got APs and went all the time... BOO.

 

And thanks for the tips, @rcdude! My family keeps saying they don't want to "plan their whole day" but I keep telling them that it's best to at least have some sort of game plan. They underestimate how hectic Disney can (and will) be in July. Oh well, regardless, my husband and I can do our own thing.

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