Well, I am back from my first visit to DL (after a couple of visits to WDW and numerous visits to DLP).
Apologies for this TR appearing in short bursts - my computer is down and I am having to do this on NDJnr's MacBook after he goes to bed!
The TR will take the form of sections covering different aspects of our trip. I find chronological TRs to be a little boring at times...
We (myself, Mrs D and NDJnr - aged 9) visited America for three weeks, spending 15 nights in Boulder, Colorado and six nights (9th - 15th October) at Disneyland Hotel - room 2513.
Mrs D suffers from low blood pressure and a heart condition which means that she cannot stand or sit still for long periods of time. NDJnr is on the autism spectrum meaning he cannot stand standing in lines for too long or being in large crowds. We got a GAC which will be covered later....
After spending over two weeks in the beautiful city of Boulder, we found LAX to be a big change of pace. The airport was the worst of any of the six that we spent time in during our trip although thankfully we kept our time there to a minimum.
I had booked a private Execu-car through Supershuttle and called them upon arrival. They were there within 10 minutes and the driver was friendly and courteous. Since we arrived on a Sunday afternoon, the traffic was light and we arrived at the hotel in about 40 minutes. I would recommend this method of transfer.
Arriving at a Disney hotel is always rather exciting, and it is even more so when the hotel in question is as imposing as the Disneyland Hotel. Even with the temporary boarding covering up the nearly completed renovations, it is still an impressive structure that looks better in reality than in the photos I had seen.
Sadly, our arrival was marred by several issues. Firstly, our first human contact at the Happiest Place on Earth was with a very rude and abrupt car park attendant/doorman. His attitude with our driver was terrible - so much so that after we unloaded, our driver went to complain about him. The bellhop's comment was that we were lucky - they had to put up with it all day. Hardly an impressive start to the trip!
Complimentary flavoured water and cookies were in the lobby as well as Goofy, Pluto and Chip (no Dale). The line for checking in was quite long but moved fast enough. As we had arrived at just after 2pm, we were told that our room would not be ready until between 3 - 4pm. We were given our key cards, maps etc and told to call from the house phone later to check if the room was ready and get the room number. With a couple of hours to kill, we left the bags at the luggage desk and hit Downtown Disney (my thoughts and experiences on that to follow). We returned at 4pm and called as instructed to be told that our room was not ready and wouldn't be for a further hour. At this point NDJnr was getting very stressed and Mrs D was getting very tired. I went to guest services and complained about the situation (we Brits are good at complaining!). The lady there looked on her computer and told me that our room was ready and that we could go straight up. Grinding my teeth and this lack of organisation, we made our way up to our room.
We were on the seventh floor of Fantasy Tower which is the main building. Our room faced out over the front car park and lobby (the other side looks out over the building site that will eventually be the new pool). On this side of the building, we could see the tops of the Matterhorn, Splash and Thunder Mountain over the trees and had an excellent view of the fireworks.
At the time of our stay, two of the three elevators were operational. The third (in the middle) was boxed off in the lobby. This did mean that sometimes it was rather difficult to get up or down, but this wasn't too big a deal to us.
After our less-than-impressive arrival at the hotel, it was wonderful to arrive in our room and find it perfect.
The room had two Queen sized beds, a writing desk with chair, one armchair, a chest of drawers/cupboard that housed the (very small) fridge and large flat screen TV, a built-in wardrobe with a safe, and a full wall window that made the room seem even bigger than it was (floor space was quite generous). There was a bedside table between the beds with a lamp, and a wall mounted angle lamp on the far end of each bed.
The bathroom had a separate toilet, small bath with fixed-head shower, large mirror over a good sized sink and another full length one on the door.
All the furniture was wood and the bathroom had a black granite worktop. Hidden Mickeys were in the carpet, lampshades, table lamp stand and on the bath and sink faucets. Large Mickey hands also held the bathroom lamps. The large wooden headboard that covered both beds had the castle carved into it (not actually carved, more like moulded). A switch on the bedside light made a firework effect appear above the castle while a hidden music box played a verse from 'A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes'. The first two lines of this song were also embroidered onto two beautiful blue velvet cushions on the beds. We got two bathrobes and chocolate coins on the bed daily.
The TV had all the usual channels (including the likes of Cartoon Network as well as at least one Japanese and one Spanish one). There were also several Disney channels including one that played the fireworks music and one that played the World of Color music when they were happening (Disney music at all other times), one that showed bedtime stories on a continuous loop (the one I watched was a 'live' Cinderella telling her own story to camera), a channel that showed highlights of the parks etc and one called Company Clips (I think) that basically showed adverts and trailers for Disney movies and other products and services.
House Keeping did a great job and we did once have to call security up to our room when NDJnr accidentally locked a pair of shoes in the safe and forgot the combination! After our initial problems, the hotel service was faultless.
Each floor had an ice machine and an overpriced soft drink vending machine ($3!). The lobby featured the obligatory merchandise store as well as a smaller one that also sold over-priced drinks ($3!) and snacks as well as magazines, toiletries and other holiday essentials.
The Neverland pool is still under re-construction (port holes in the temporary walls allowed us to see the progress) and so we were limited to the new D-Ticket Pool. The pool features two Monorail-themed slides, a splash zone and a medium-sized swimming pool (depth is four feet throughout). The splash zone is pretty small as most of it is taken up with the stair case to the slides and the end of the shorter slide. The longer slide empties into its own mini-pool. There are plenty of sun loungers, tables, chairs and umbrellas and towels are provided.
The pool area was ok but we were slightly disappointed and only visited once. This was mainly because even the longer of the two slides was pretty tame, and to NDJnr's disgust the water in the pool tasted salty. This was enough for him to vow never to return!
Also, we had a pool side meal and totally regretted it. It was easily the worst thing we were served in our three weeks in the States. But I don't want to say too much more yet- the 'Food' section will follow!
A nice detail the the swimming pool was incorporated into some of the yellow tiles around the edge - a replica of the original D-Ticket printed on the tile and partially submerged.
That's all for now - I am still recovering from jet lag. To follow will be sections covering DTD, Food, CMs, Tips and Tricks and of course The Parks! I will also be trying to get some photos up ASAP. Stay Tuned!!