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  1. #1

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    Planning first DL trip. Need help

    Hi, I am hopefully planning our first DL trip. I have been reading all of these boards and gaining lots of inside. We went to DW first time DeC 2010 as a family. I have been there many times but none of us to DL.


    Some ?s I see that a news car land is opening and what appears to be a lot of construction. Is this detracting from the park? I really want to go Feb-April.

    When between Feb and April would be the best time.? Looking for decent weather and low crowds

    Anyone booked a good neighbor hotel on Priceline?

    Is 3 days in the parks a good amount.?

    Thanks for any help!

    It will be a family of 4. Kids 4,7 boys

  2. #2

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    Re: Planning first DL trip. Need help

    3 Days will be fine, but I would HIGHLY recommend you wait until the California Adventure expansion is completed (your boys should love Cars Land). Even if it means that you wait until 2013.

    Especially since this will be your first time. I would also recommend visiting other areas of Southern California while you're here.

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  3. #3

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    Re: Planning first DL trip. Need help

    Any construction is going to affect your experience of the park, but that is unavoidable if you're wanting to go this year.

    3 days is good. Late April might be your best bet for good weather and low crowds - after the Spring Break crowd leaves and before school gets out for the summer.

    I always stay on property when I go, so I can't help you with good neighbor hotels, but if you can afford it I love staying on property - that way you never leave the Disney magic.

    Hope this helps!

  4. #4

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    Re: Planning first DL trip. Need help

    Quote Originally Posted by Beckypascal View Post
    Some ?s I see that a news car land is opening and what appears to be a lot of construction. Is this detracting from the park? I really want to go Feb-April.
    Yes some. There will be a lot of construction on Main Street as they reworks some of the dining locations. In DCA there is an odd entry path that goes back stage, while the main entry road is redone. Carsland may be something to wait for, it doesn't hamper being in the park now as it's mostly an expansion.

    When between Feb and April would be the best time.? Looking for decent weather and low crowds
    The later the better for weather as it will be drier and warmer. For crowds, avoid the three day weekend of Presidents Day and Spring Break approximately Mid March to Mid April. Also April is likely to have less attractions in rehab. Sorry the Matterhorn will be closed in a couple weeks until Summer.



    Anyone booked a good neighbor hotel on Priceline?
    It's tricky. Things have changed on how it worked in the Anaheim Resort. If you book a 4 star you will get a nice chain convention hotel. These can be had for $50-$75, but most require you to pay $15 for parking if you have a car.

    If you try for under that 4 stars you have a lot more trouble getting a close hotel.

    I'd suggest staying across from the resort on Harbor Blvd, all of those hotels are within a 10 minute walk to the gates. They can be old and are a bit like a WDW value resort without the themeing. Staying in these hotels will save you from having to use a shuttle to the parks, and wasting a lot of time doing that. Consider the Hojo Anaheim and Carousel Inn and suites which both give Micechatters good discounts.

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    Is 3 days in the parks a good amount.?
    Yes, but.....Make sure if you visit outside of Spring Break you included a couple weekend days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday when the hours are longer and the night entertainment running. The crowds will be greater but you will probably only be able to see the fireworks and Fantasmic on the weekend.

  5. #5

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    Re: Planning first DL trip. Need help

    Thanks so much. Will continue researching and I am sure I will have more questions.

  6. #6

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    Re: Planning first DL trip. Need help

    We go with our annual passes quite a few times and we use the Priceline's name your own price to have a hotel as we like to take our time. We normally do well with getting a decent hotel for a decent price, usually within walking distance. We are there for 3 nights starting on Jan 2nd, and got a 2 star hotel about 5 miles away for 25 dollars a night that will have a Continental breakfast. A little further then we would have liked to be, but it will work since we drive and have parking on our passes. Since this is a single bed room, we will be bringing my DD's little blow up mattress (she s 5).

    If your budget can take it, and you need a hotel within walking distance, you would be better of using a discount site for a specific hotel or booking directly with that hotel. It would ensure that you get what you want. We like staying at the 2 star level, because we get free parking and usually a fridge, a microwave and sometimes breakfast. When you start moving up to 2 1/2 star and higher, you have a higher possibility of those things, but there is also a chance you get hit with parking and/or resort fees. Move up to the 3 star level and beyond, and you will have at least one added daily charge to room and taxes.

    The Howard Johnson's near the park is nice, and is within walking distance (of course at the end of the day, walking from the tram to the car seems like to much..lol) They also host a killer entertainment rate that is like 50% off for several dates year round. And they have a wonderful little pirate water play cove that conveniently has a jacuzzi in the same area so you can relax while the kids play. (free parking, definitely a plus)

    Really, it depends on what your budget looks like, what your transportation will be, what your overall plans are, and what your expectations are in a hotel for your stay. One persons workable hotel room may not be so good for another.

  7. #7

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    Re: Planning first DL trip. Need help

    I haven't booked on Priceline, but have had great luck with the Camelot Inn on Harbor Blvd. Right accross the street.

  8. #8

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    Re: Planning first DL trip. Need help

    Just make sure you pick a time when its not spring break for schools out here. You should be ok in March, but April might be a problem. I went to DL 1st time at age 5 and it was one of my favorite memories. I was afraid of most rides but still loved it. (fond memories of the departed people mover).

  9. #9

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    Re: Planning first DL trip. Need help

    If you can work it out, I would suggest going for 4 days. 3 days is great to see everything, and the 4th day is a bonus day to relax and enjoy some favourite rides without any rush
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  10. #10

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    Re: Planning first DL trip. Need help

    Hmm, lots to think about. Part of me would love to wait for cars but we really want to go late winter/early spring. Best airfare is looking like late Feb or late March. Looking at suggestions March may be better.

    I am thinking maybe doing 7 nights and spending 3 days at Disney and maybe spending some time in the surrounding area. Maybe Universal?

    I think I will search all the good neighbor hotels and make reservation but try Priceline a little closer to see if I can snag a good deal. I would love to stay onsite but wish they had a moderate category like wow. It seems the rates are more like the deluxe.

    Again, thanks for your help. I am in a completely new area dealing with DL and CA. I have been to the SanFrancisco area about 10 years ago but that's it.

  11. #11

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    Re: Planning first DL trip. Need help

    Do consider that in you may pay less for airfare but more for a room as both fluctuate depending on dates.

    Universal is alright but for your kids ages I would suggest that LegoLand is much better.

  12. #12

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    Re: Planning first DL trip. Need help

    Others have given you excellent ideas, and I echo them. DON'T go to the park when the schools are out on break, and avoid the weeks before and after Easter.

    I haven't booked through Priceline, but I've stayed in a few hotels around Disneyland. The one I liked was the Travelodge on Ball Road. It was a cute little place, the room was clean, and it's near the ART bus that will take you to Disney. Priceline strikes me as being risky since you can't choose a hotel, and you could end up with one of the hellholes like the Rodeway Inn (don't stay there. Ever.).

    For other things to do in Southern California: there's so much. You're about halfway between L.A. and San Diego. Near San Diego you have LegoLand, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, the Gaslamp Quarter, etc. In the L.A. area you have the classic Hollywood studio tours, Universal, the Getty Center, the beaches, etc. In Orange County at that time of year, you could always take in an Angels game, go on a whale watching trip out of Dana Point, etc.

  13. #13

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    Re: Planning first DL trip. Need help

    Honestly, I'm not recommending March or April at all. It might not be busy, but many schools have different spring breaks so business may be a possibilty. In the past we've had good experience going in Februaru during the weekdays. Normally even the 3-day weekends are busy, but aren't too bad in February.

    Anyways, there will definitely be constuction all over DCAfor the next year and sometimes it feels like a hassle, but it should be no problem. It doesn't detract from much.

    As for hotels, we usually find that the Hilton DoubleTree has good rates, but it does not offer a free breakfast like a lot of other chain hotels in the area. Oh, and San Diego is AMAZING! Universal is not that great, especially compared to Disneyland standards, but they do have a cool studio tour ride. I hiiiighly recommend you drive south a little ways and check out the San Diego Zoo (the world's largest zoo, it even features the rare panda), the San Diego Wild Animal Park, or SeaWorld. San Diego also has a lot of things to do for free- like check out Sea Port Village or Old Town. I don't really recommend much north of Anaheim :P My family isn't really big fans of the Hollywood/LA area.

    I hope you have tons of fun Vacation planning is the best!!! Welcome to MiceChat and I hope we're all helping you out
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  14. #14

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    Re: Planning first DL trip. Need help

    Thanks again!

    After reading everyones suggestions I think I am going to be patient and wait u.til 2013 wheb more of the construction is finished and maybe look at an eary fall trip. I cant shake the Disney itch so I think we may head to WDW in March. They have some good room only deals right now.

    I definately will look into San Diego, I would love to go to the zoo there. If we can afford it and now we have extra time to save maybe we can see more.
    I will be readi.g the boards for thext 2 years! going to head to the WDW board and see if anything is new that I need to know.

  15. #15

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    Re: Planning first DL trip. Need help

    In my opinion...the best off-property hotel is The Desert Palms. Clean, walking distance (no major intersection to cross), and affordable. It's located on the corner behind California Adventure.

    I would stick with a 2013 plan also...if you come to San Diego, and you have the time...I might recommend taking the scenic drive through the coastal highway instead of just Interstate 5. It's my favorite way to commute between San Diego and L.A. when I'm not in a rush, and everyone visiting southern California should experience it.

    Sea World however...every time I go, I tell myself I won't come back. If you really like marine life, by all means try it. I just think 5 hours is more than enough time to see the good stuff. Besides it's pretty pricey for what you get.

    It's been years since I've visited the San Diego Zoo, but it's always the talk of the town. The Wild animal Park...not so much. For families...the best of San Diego is what's FREE. Coronado, Old Town, the beaches, etc. My opinion...your money is better spent at Disneyland.
    Oh...I'm afraid the deflector shield...will be quite operational...when your friends arrive.

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