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ariel03
03-20-2008, 03:35 PM
Ok my family and I are thinking about a trip to disneyland. We live in NJ and have been to WDW quite a few times but have not been to disneyland yet. It would be a trip for me 27, my DH 28, and Mom 50's. I would like it if you would write out what you think would be the best plan for my family and I for our first trip to disneyland. We would like info from what airport to fly into to what resort and to get a dining plan or not. Just plan what you think the perfect vaction would be. We are clueless so any info would be great. I love to see the ideas that everyone has. Also we don't want to rent a car so any info on what taxis, buses, etc that would be best would be great.

WDWizard
03-22-2008, 02:11 AM
Airports: If you are staying in the Disneyland Resort Area, the closest airport would be John Wayne Airport in Orange County, although you will likely find cheaper rates for flights flying into Los Angeles (LAX), which is about an hour away from DLR.

How Long/Car Rentals: We visited the DLR theme parks 2 days out of our trip, but I recommend 3 days if you want to see it all since there's so much to do in Disneyland Park alone. If your planning on traveling around SoCal - renting a car is necessary.

Hotels: As far as hotel options go, any hotel in the Disneyland Resort Area would be ideal since most hotels are within walking distance to the parks and it's centrally located in the middle of SoCal - leaving you within close proximity to L.A., Orange County's beaches, and San Diego.

I highly recommend the Candy Cane Inn (an inn down the street from the main entrance) - very clean, nice hotel, friendly staff, decent rates, free internet, free transportation to the parks, free breakfast (the list goes on...)

What to do: Once you're done seeing Disneyland and DCA, take the time to walk around Downtown Disney and explore the GCH and DLH for a while on your spare time.

As far as non-Disney activities to do...we enjoyed driving down the Orange County coast visiting beach towns like Laguna and Newport along the way - which both offer beautiful beaches and lots of things to see and do.

We also took a drive down to San Diego, where we visited La Jolla (a San Diego beach town) where you can have a nice lunch and walk by the great beaches where you'll probably see a few seals playing in the sand. We also went to Mission Beach and drove down to Coronado Island where we explored the Hotel Del Coronado, a very nice historic resort.

In L.A., there is plenty to see in Downtown such as Chinatown, Olvera Street, etc. and of course the overated and very touristy but fun Hollywood Blvd where you can see Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Walk of Fame and the Hollywood & Highland complex (you can see the Hollywood sign from here). We also took the time to go to Studio City to see a tv taping of NBC's Americas Got Talent and took a look around Universal Hollywood's CityWalk (didnt have time to see the park). Other than that, we took a quick drive by Beverly Hills, Malibu, and Santa Monica Pier (which I do not recommend you visit).

Wow...I really got carried away and ended up writing a lot on this post but hope it helps !! :D

EDIT: Just remembered, Adventures by Disney offers a great tour covering Hollywood and the Disneyland Resort, although it is very expensive (starting at $2,079 per adult in value season, including hotel and most meals, airfare not included). Highlights of the tour include tours of Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Studios - the only chance the public has to view these facilities plus VIP tours of the parks. Find more info here. (http://abd.disney.go.com/abd/en_US/destination?name=HollywoodDLRLandingPage)

ariel03
03-22-2008, 09:07 AM
Thanks for the info! :thumbsup:

Aisling
03-22-2008, 11:33 PM
Hey Ariel,

Okay, my favorite Disneyland hotel is the GCH, but if you don't want to shell out the big bucks for the room, then my second choice is the DLH. I love, love, love to stay on property, but there are lots of threads on here that recommend off site places that are great. I'm usually with my kids, so we like the on site for the convenience, the pools, and the concierge benefits. Disneyland is my favorite place on earth, I'm so excited you're going to visit!

You didn't mention a date, so here's my recommendation: either in early to mid May, or in October. Stay away from here in the summer if you can. It gets crowded, hot, lots and lots of sun, ugh. Another of my favorite times is the first week in December when they have all the Christmas decorations up, gorgeous!

Since you are three adults and your mom is pretty young, you could do both parks in 3 days no problem, 4 if you want to take some tours and do some extra fun stuff. The Vactations by Disney thing mentioned above sounds like fun, but pricey. My sister went to England and Paris with Vacations by Disney and they loved it. Me? I don't like being on someone else's schedule and shuttled about with a limited time frame to visit/do/see. I'm more of a 'hop in the car and let's see where we end up' kind of traveler.

If you are thinking of getting out and about and seeing a bit of Los Angeles or San Diego, wow, you have so many options available to you! San Diego has some wonderful wine tasting areas in the North County, great beaches, and of course, the fabulous Zoo and Wild Animal Park (some wine tasting places are right by the Wild Animal Park). And Los Angeles, well, what DON'T you want to do? That's a shorter list! Hollywood is cheesy but fun. Beverly Hills is great for people watching and window shopping (I spend all my money on the GCH, can't afford anything at BH!!!) Santa Monica and Venice are very hip and exciting places to go as well. Melrose used to be a great place for shopping, but I haven't been there in a long time, so I don't know if it changed or not.

As also posted above, a rental is such a good idea. California is sorely lacking in good public transport. Although, L.A. does have a Metro now (I've never used it), but getting up to L.A. is the hard part. You could take the train, but really, renting a car is your best bet. Oh, yeah, and if you and your family are shoppers, South Coast Plaza is amazing!

If I think of anything else, I'll let you know.

Mrs. Bee
03-24-2008, 03:59 AM
I think I'm just going to be restating things already said. But I wanted to respond anyway. I'm just going to tell you what my husband and I do.

We always fly into John Wayne airport (AKA Santa Ana, SNA, Orange County.) It may be more expensive but it's so close and easy to get in and out of. None of the hassle that I've heard LAX has.

We also rent a car. It's just easier. We like to be able to go to the store for bottled water and snack and stuff. (We also visit relatives while we're in town.)

We stay off-site. If we could afford one of the onsite hotels (there are only three of them) we'd stay in one. But for us, they are just too expensive. The last two times we've gone we stayed at the Anaheim Plaza. It's an older hotel but it was only around $70 a night or something like that. Plus it was within walking distance to the parks. I've also stayed at the Anabella hotel which is a bit more expensive but nicer. Still within walking distance.

As far as dining goes...I don't believe DLR has a dining plan like WDW. We also found the food and things to be slightly more expensive at DLR compared to WDW.

I'm sure you'll love DLR (just don't expect it to be exactly like WDW.) Disneyland is my favorite Disney park. For me, it's just a million times better than WDW's Magic Kingdom (I feel kind of guilty saying that since the MK was the park I went to as a child.)

Have a great time!!!

WDWizard
03-24-2008, 07:48 PM
Try staying at one of the 3 official Disney resorts if not a hotel in the DLR resort area. I'm not sure if DLR still offers a dining plan, but I remember hearing that it was not worth it. Also, if you end up getting a 3-day ticket to the parks, you'll end up getting 2 more days free according to this special (http://disneyland.disney.go.com/disneyland/en_US/reserve/specialOffers/detail?name=DTI_FY08Q2_2DaysFreeDetailPage)I found when looking for info on my future DLR trip - so I guess that will tempt you to stick to the parks for the entire vacation, although you still should probably take a break and drive to LA or San Diego. If you do stick to the parks for the whole vacation, though, a rental car might not be necessary so maybe it might be cheaper? Anaheim GardenWalk complex with shops, restaurants, and more is opening this summer which will provide more things to do in the area within walking distance.

Mrs. Bee
03-24-2008, 08:05 PM
Try staying at one of the 3 official Disney resorts if not a hotel in the DLR resort area. I'm not sure if DLR still offers a dining plan, but I remember hearing that it was not worth it. Also, if you end up getting a 3-day ticket to the parks, you'll end up getting 2 more days free according to this special (http://disneyland.disney.go.com/disneyland/en_US/reserve/specialOffers/detail?name=DTI_FY08Q2_2DaysFreeDetailPage)I found when looking for info on my future DLR trip - so I guess that will tempt you to stick to the parks for the entire vacation, although you still should probably take a break and drive to LA or San Diego. If you do stick to the parks for the whole vacation, though, a rental car might not be necessary so maybe it might be cheaper? Anaheim GardenWalk complex with shops, restaurants, and more is opening this summer which will provide more things to do in the area within walking distance.

Not sure when the original poster said they were going (did I miss where they said?)

That offer of two free days is only valid until April 24th.

jennsky
03-24-2008, 10:30 PM
I'm looking at my first DLR trip as well so I'm finding this thread interesting. So, if I want to spend three days at the parks, and then check-out the neighbouring areas on the other days, do you all stay at the same Disneyland area hotel or do you change hotels? I really have no concept of how long a drive it is to San Diego, LA, etc., so I don't know if you need to "re-locate" your hotel or simply take a daytrip to visit those places....

Mrs. Bee
03-24-2008, 11:49 PM
I would probably just stay in the same hotel. San Diego is maybe an hour and a half or so (depending on traffic.) I think that's right..if not, someone feel free to correct me. L.A. would be maybe an hour. And there a lot of beaches that are close by to visit.

Aisling
03-25-2008, 12:08 AM
Jennsky - yeah, San Diego is at the minimum an hour and half drive (there's always traffic now, bummer!), and that's just to downtown SD. If you go out to Wild Animal Park, or other areas, you'll drive more. You could absolutely do SD as a day trip and not change hotels. I'm all about convenience and if I can skip down somewhere without packing all my stuff to move to a new hotel, then yay! And L.A. is about an hour, again, you'll hit traffic so it could take longer. General rules of thumb apply here - stay off the freeways during rush hour (that could be from 7am to 10am and from 3pm to 7pm) and be patient. California drivers can be testy at times (don't villify me, I'm one of them!!) Remember, they have to drive in that muck every day and it can be taxing.

One caveat to this - if you are thinking of going to Sea World or another park up the L.A. way, then you might want to switch hotels to one closer. There's nothing worse than being dog tired at the end of the day and knowing you have at least an hour's drive home.

Have fun!

NotaGeek
03-25-2008, 12:33 PM
I'm looking at my first DLR trip as well so I'm finding this thread interesting. So, if I want to spend three days at the parks, and then check-out the neighbouring areas on the other days, do you all stay at the same Disneyland area hotel or do you change hotels? I really have no concept of how long a drive it is to San Diego, LA, etc., so I don't know if you need to "re-locate" your hotel or simply take a daytrip to visit those places....

You can also take Amtrak from Anaheim (10 minutes from the DLR) to downtown San Diego for a day trip, just take the early train out, stay all day and take the last train back. It's about 2 hours and less than $20 ... it's a beautiful trip on the coast!

Why not start a new thread so we can answer any other specific questions you might have? :thumbsup:

LandFan
04-16-2008, 03:27 PM
I'm going for the first time in June so I am interested in this too. Thanks for all of the info!