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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Blacksburg, VA
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    Default Help! Where do I start planning?

    We are WDW veterans, having taken over 20 trips there since 2000. But we've only been to DL once, in 1996, before children, DTD, California Adventure, etc. We're planning a trip out there in a couple of years...hoping to use DVC points, and probably pay for the entire thing with Disney Visa rewards we will have built up.

    Our trip will likely be five us, but four will be adults, and one teen.

    How many days do we need?
    Are there perks to staying in the Disney hotels?
    Do they use MagicBands?
    Is there a dining plan?
    How far out do I need to book dining?
    What are some suggestions for restaurants?
    Do you have to book rides? I.E. have they implemented FP+ for attractions?
    What attractions are the busiest and we should hit at rope drop?

    Any and all help is appreciated!
    2002 - 2017 - 20+ visits (POR, BW, All Stars, VWL, CSR, BLT, BC, SSR, CB, Dolphin, OKW, offsite x4)
    I survived Hurricane Irma @ OKW!
    Next up - Disneyland Fall 2019

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    Disneyland is much easier than Disney World
    No magicbands.
    Dining can be booked 60 days out, but you don't HAVE to for most restaurants. Blue Bayou and Goofy's Kitchen are my must do's. Blue Bayou you need to book 60 days out. Goofy's Kitchen I have easily been able to get reservations the night before.
    No FP+. You can use the old fastpass method where you go to the kiosks, but they have recently implemented Maxpass. With Maxpass, you can book your fastpasses on your phone. It is $10 per person per day, but also includes all your photopass photos. I found that it made my life 10x easier having maxpass.
    You will probably get different answers for how long to stay, but my preference would be 3 days at Disneyland and 2 at California Adventure.
    The Grand Californian has its own entrance to DCA. You get some "perks" for having a Disney Visa if you stay at a Disney hotel - we got a little Disney bag last year. The early entrance is only for one hour . If you can stay using DVC points, it would be nice. If not, I think the Disneyland hotels are way overpriced for what you get. There are several good hotels within walking distance of the park that are much cheaper.
    Right now, Guardians of the Galaxy and Radiator Springs Racers are very popular.
    Be still and know that I am God - Psalm 46:10

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    San Francisco Bay Area
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    While they don't really advertise it, there is a dining plan at Disneyland but DO NOT get it. It's basically a voucher system. If your meal costs more than the amount of the voucher, you need to pay the difference. If the meal is less than the voucher you don't get any money back.

    Disneyland is much easier to do than WDW and doesn't need as much planning. As was mentioned before, dining can be booked 60 days out, but most restaurants you don't need to book that far in advance. I'd also mention that the quick service restaurants (with one or two exceptions) are really ver good.

    Disneyland uses the old paper fastpass system but they did just implement the Maxpass system for $10 per day or ticket. You need to purchase it AFTER you go through the turnstyles and buy it each day, so you can choose to only buy it certain days of your trip. I was really reluctant to try it because I felt it was just a money grab, however I used it when I was down there for the Super Heroes marathon weekend and it turned out to be really time saving (and helped with cutting down on added walking).

    The crowds at DL are more based on annual pass holders than tourists. Weekends and afternoons are noticiably more crowded. If possible try to find times when the annual pass holders are blocked out.

    Staying at a Disney hotel will get you early morning entry into one of the parks each day. You can also have merchandise shipped to the hotel rather than carrying it around. (But you can always have your purchases shipped to the front of the park and pick it up at the end of the day.) I do recommend staying at an offsite hotel that's in easy walking distance. The cost will be significantly less and some of the offsite hotels are actually a shorter walk than from the Disney hotels! Most tickets that I've purchased will give you one magic morning that you can use as an offsite guest.

    I highly recommend getting the park hopper option. The two parks are litterally just across a courtyard from each other and it takes about three minutes to get from one to the next.

    The Star Wars land is supposed to open sometime next year so keep that in mind with your planning.

    I am the rebel spy.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Silver Spring,MD
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    Star wars land is supposed to open in 2019. You do need at least 2 days to enjoy DL. You can do DCA in a day, but to enjoy everything 2 days would be better. The Grand California hotel entrance to DCA is now, I believe, only for guests of the Grand California.
    First visit 1976
    Offsite 1982/1985/2000
    Disneyland July 1996
    AKL 2002
    Paradise Pier-DL July 2005
    Contemporary Sept 2006/Nov 2014
    Port Orleans-Riverside Sept 2008
    AKL-Sept 2011
    Port Orleans-FQ-Nov 2012
    Paradise Pier-DLH DL 2013/2015/2017 and D-23 Expo
    Port Orleans-Riverside July 2014

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    I bought my Maxpass before I got to the park. I did it all through the Disneyland app. You can't use it until you get through the gate though.
    Be still and know that I am God - Psalm 46:10

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