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  1. #1
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    Default Disneyland - first visit - one day only!

    Sadly, we cannot work Disneyland into our family road trip this summer. BUT! I'm meeting friends in L.A. in July and I'm hoping to get down to DL for a day. We'll be about 20 minutes away. What I'm wondering is.....

    None of us will have cars, we're all flying in for a book con, so what's the best way to get to DL? Uber? Everyone is shying away from renting a car because of the nightmarish stories of L.A. traffic.

    Is there any reason to buy tickets ahead of time, or can we do it day of? I don't know if I would even try for a SWGE reservation, having never been to the park at all.

    With only one day to visit, what's the best strategy to see the most?

    Is it reasonable to shoot for visiting both parks, or should we just stick with one?

    Thanks in advance for any help!
    Susanne

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  3. #2
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    Driving to Disneyland in the morning will be a pain. Rush hour traffic is no joke in LA so make sure you give yourself PLENTY of time to get there. When I go to DL I stay close by so couldn't tell you how much to budget, but between the freeway traffic, parking, busing to the park, getting through security....I'd guess 90 minutes or more. If you get an Uber then you don't have to deal with parking and the bus/tram to the park, but I'd still give yourself more time then you think you need. It's better to be early than to be late.

    I'd get tickets beforehand, just to have that out of the way and done. You don't want to stand in one more line when you're trying to enjoy the park on a limited time frame. If you're planning on doing a rope drop - to shutting down the parks day I would certainly get a park hopper ticket. The two parks are just a few hundred yards apart so it's easy to jump from one to the other as crowds get bad or with fast passes availability.

    Get there before park opening to get in early and get the most out of the lighter crowds. I would purchase the MaxPass AS SOON AS you get through the turnstyles. That will give you the opportunity to book fastpasses on your phone without going back and forth. Most (if not all) of the Fantasyland rides do NOT have fastpasses so make that your first stop. Peter Pan is always the first one to fill up - then I'd hit Mr. Toad. The rest of the Fantasyland rides will still be walk on when you get through those two. After that I usually jump over to Tomorrowland. Hopefully I'll have a fastpass for Space Mountain for that time. Star Tours is a good one - same ride as in WDW. I wouldn't bother with the Finding Nemo submarines. It's a slow loading riding and you'll be waiting forever for a so/so experience.

    Don't bother to get a fastpass to Indiana Jones. It really doesn't cut that much time off. Do single rider instead.

    In California Adventure the Radiator Springs Racer and the Tower of Terror are probably the ones that will sell out fastest. Try to get fastpasses for them - but know that Radiator Springs, at least, has a single rider line so if you're only getting a fastpass to one of those, go with Tower and do single rider for Radiator Springs Racers. I'm not sure about the rest of the rides, BUT if you're comfortable enough riding by yourself I would really look into any of the rides that do single rider and use that. ESPECIALLY Grizzly River Run, Radiator Springs and Indiana Jones. It'll save you a lot of time.

    While you'll be there during summer break I'd still try to avoid going on a weekend day if you can, UNLESS annual passes are blocked out. Be aware that it can get HOT.

    You might want a bit of a break in the middle of the day, I know that I often do, but I wouldn't leave the resort - especially if you needed to drive there. I've gone to the Grand Californian lobby, sat in a nice comfy chair, listened to the piano music and dozed for a few minutes and it's helped to refresh me enough to get back into the parks.

    It's been a couple of years since I've been to DL but that's what I would suggest. Of course, who knows what will happen with crowd patterns, etc. when Star Wars opens.
    Aryn

    I am the rebel spy.

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  5. #3
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    Great advice above.

    Just to add two dining tips:

    I think the Plaza is a must do. Not only for their Chicken, but it's a quintessential part of Disneyland and one of the last significant additions Walt oversaw. Plus its fairly quick counter service which should help maximize your day.

    For Quick Snacks, the Mickey Beignets & Mint Juleps at the Mint Julep Stand in New Orleans Square and the Cord Dogs from the Corn Dog Wagon on Main Street are unique to Disneyland, iconic, and really tasty. Both lines can get a little long, so an 'off meal time' is best to avoid a moderate wait.

    Final note on rides:

    Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and Big Thunder are significantly "plussed" from their Magic Kingdom counter-parts. Try not to skip as they aren't identical attraction on the East Coast.
    Figment! aka Jason o
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    ~Its what us storytellers do; we restore order with imagination, we instill hope again and again~

    ~We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things~

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  7. #4
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    I love Blue Bayou at Disneyland It's a restaurant inside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It books up pretty fast. You can make your dining reservations 60 days out, I believe.
    Fantasmic doesn't have stadium seating like Disney World. I don't know if you want to take the time to watch it, since you've probably already seen it at Disney World.
    If you want to see World of Color, I get the World of Color dining package at Wine Country Trattoria. I'm not sure if World of Color is open again or not.
    You've gotten a lot of good ride advice. Matterhorn is another ride that is at Disneyland but not at Disney World. Maxpass is a good idea if you can afford the extra money. You can make your fastpass reservations on your phone once you are in the park. You will also get your photopass pictures, so all the friends can be in the pic
    We believed in our idea - a family park where parents and children could have fun- together

    Not
    We believed in our idea - a place to line the pockets of CEOs and shareholders

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  9. #5
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    You guys are the best!! Thank you so much! It looks like I can include MaxPass with my ticket purchase online. If I can get over there, I'll get both the hopper and MaxPass.

    If I'm buying tickets online close to the day I'm going (possibly the night before), what's the best strategy for actually getting my tickets in hand? Should I bring a MagicBand to attach them to? Do I have to go to a will call window or guest services?

    Is Uber a reasonable option to get there? Any other suggestions that would be better? I'm guessing an LAX hotel won't offer transportation to DL.

    Thank you so much again!
    Susanne

  10. #6
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    It's been about five years since I bought a ticket beforehand so this may have changed. Just have the ticket purchase confirmation (it should have a barcode) and bring it to the turnstile. They will scan it and print out a paper ticket for you. Disneyland does NOT have magic bands.

    I have Ubered to the park before, but it was a short ride (approx. a mile down on Harbor). It worked out very well. That's probably the best option for you. As I said before, though, make sure to give yourself PLENTY of time.
    Aryn

    I am the rebel spy.

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  12. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheVBs
    If I'm buying tickets online close to the day I'm going (possibly the night before), what's the best strategy for actually getting my tickets in hand? Should I bring a MagicBand to attach them to?
    Disneyland doesn't use MagicBands. You will either have a hard media ticket or you can use a virtual ticket in the Disneyland App on a smart phone.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheVBs
    Do I have to go to a will call window or guest services?
    Yes, you can setup to pick up your ticket from Will Call, Print out a Paper Copy, or use the virtual ticket in your Disneyland App.


    Quote Originally Posted by TheVBs
    Is Uber a reasonable option to get there? Any other suggestions that would be better? I'm guessing an LAX hotel won't offer transportation to DL.
    Not sure how close to LAX you are staying, but LAX to Disneyland is about a 45 minute drive from what I recall (traffic being a big multiplier).

    If you can get to LAX, there is the Disneyland Express that will take you direct back and forth. However, there may be an option from other hotels in that area as well. Not something I have personally looked into much.
    Figment! aka Jason o
    INTERCOT STAFF
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    ~Its what us storytellers do; we restore order with imagination, we instill hope again and again~

    ~We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things~

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  14. #8
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    Ooo! Good to know about the Disneyland Express from the airport! Hopefully you don't need a hotel reservation for it. I'll look into that. Maybe that will be the easiest option. I'll ask the hotel as well of course, even though it seems unlikely that they would have a shuttle. Thank you again for all the info!
    Susanne

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