Planning For Disneyland Walt Disney World Style

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Sleeping Beauty Castle

Well hello there! I rarely get to chat with you all (I’m more of a behind the scenes kind of gal) so it is so nice to get out and interact with my favorite readers in the Disney blogosphere.

As graduate school comes to a close and causes a hair-falling-out type stress in my life I decided I needed a little bit of my favorite place in the world. Yes, and although I’m a WDW vet, that place is Disneyland. The trip is coming up in less than two weeks so I thought I would do a little planning blog on how this incredibly anal Walt Disney World vacation planner plans for Disneyland. I hope it gives you some tips!

Where to stay? This was easy. I’m a DVC member. So one day over a cup of coffee I rang member services and secured Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel for six days. Let’s not start a debate on Disney’s Vacation Club’s value here, but search the rack rate of that hotel for five nights in October and you’ll see how glad I am points were an option. For amazing tips on hotel savings at the Disneyland Resort, check out this amazing blog post by Tammy who explains that there really is no need to stay at the Grand Californian if it is out of your budget.

Mickey's Fun Wheel!

Planes, trains and automobiles. Clearly, planes. If you readers frequent WDW more than DLR, I’m assuming that maybe this is because it is easier to get to. I’m offering my advice now to get a credit card with points for airlines or hotels or, like mine, both. These things have a stigma of not really being worth it, but often I am able to travel only because I have so many credit card points. I use and promote and gush about the SPG AMEX card. The SPG Flights are flawless and the Swan and Dolphin in Disney World are Starwood hotels so I can often stay there on points free. This trip, I secured excellent flights under the program with a short lay over into SNA airport totally on points. This is the airport I’ve flown into before and its quiet atmosphere and proximity to Disneyland make it so much easier to fly into. I fear LAX. From here, there are shuttles available for dirt cheap to get you into Disneyland or you can rent a car. These shuttles are literally around $10 a person. Check out Mousesavers.com for more information on this. Hope that helps your travels!

Tickets. This one is tough! Want to do some math? I paid $403 for the Disney World Annual Pass just a bit ago. Now it is time to decide whether to upgrade to the magical gold card or just buy some park hoppers for our Disneyland trip off of a Mousesavers.com discount affiliate. The cost of the premier pass is $798 with tax so I’ll need to come up with $395 if I want to upgrade. If I do however, that is good for a year and I get that even more magical 20% discount in many places. However, times as a grad student are tough, who knows when I’ll get to Disneyland next, and my favorite Mousesavers.com affiliate is offering 4 day Disneyland park hoppers for $229. I’d save $166 doing this. I think this will be a last minute, tough decision.

The reason I breathe-World of Color!

Touring. Even though I work for TouringPlans.com this can be daunting. I know the parks at the Walt Disney World Resort like the back of my hand (okay, there’s a little mole right there..) and, having only been to Disneyland once, it still makes me nervous I won’t see it all. So enter my touring strategy: Lines. As it is just adults on the trip and we’re staying a relatively long time for a Disneyland stay, I’ll be mixing the one day touring plan for adults and the two day plan for the whole family so I can make sure to see all of Disneyland. We’ll be spending just one day at Disney California Adventure and luckily there is a touring plan for it. If you haven’t seen, you can now check off what you’ve done on the plans. Seriously, how helpful is this? In the meantime, I’ve also been hanging out in the Disneyland Lines chat to talk with other fans and see if there is anything going on in the parks from the locals perspective and monitoring the crowd levels for our dates on the crowd calendar.

The oh-so-famous Blue Bayou.

Halloween fun. If there is anything in the world I’m excited for it is that I’m going to get to see Ghost Galaxy, The Haunted Mansion overlay and Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland. Those things right there should prove to you just how special Disneyland is in theming and magic. If you’d like, when I return, I’ll do a whole post on the wonder of it. Fitting these into a touring plan can be a little difficult because, if you’re like me, you know you want to ride Ghost Galaxy around 462 times. Remember, TouringPlans.com offers customizable touring plans that you can create to your needs and will also be available in your Lines app. Please check out this amazing feature.

Dining. It still weirds me out a bit that ADRs just aren’t that pressing at the Disneyland Resort. I just called and secured a couple reservations for Blue Bayou lunch, a World of Color dinner package and Napa Rose. It is less than two weeks out and I was fine in getting them. I’m now working on making a couple customized touring plans including our dining.

So I know where I’m staying, how I’m getting there, how I’m getting in and how I’ll see it all. Disneyland Resort, planning and visiting, is just way more stress free. It truly is a vacation if you can’t tell. If you have a little spark now that a Disneyland trip may be feasible for you, please check out all of the information linked here as I think it may be easier to get to Walt’s park than you think! I’ll be back with more information from my travels and some fun stories from the original. In the meantime, you guys let know here in the comments of any tips and tricks you have, ok?

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Posted on September 26, 2011

9 Responses to “Planning For Disneyland Walt Disney World Style”

  • We did the math, and it was actually substantially cheaper for us to get the Deluxe Annual Pass (make sure to check block-out dates if you go this route) than to upgrade to the gold card since the gold card doesn’t offer DVC discounts. YMMV on this depending on when you travel and if you visit water parks.

  • One of our favorite Disneyland hotels is Hilton Anaheim! They’re so close to Disneyland and have lots of great amenities. Looking forward to visiting again soon.

  • My husband and I are in our late 60′s , we do not ride many rides but enjoy the shows, we have been to Disney World several time and have enjoyed it very much, we will be going to Disneyland and wonder how many parks are there, how many days will it take to tour DL and would we need a hopper pass or do the parks take a full day to tour. Thank you

  • i used to go to world- still might, but after my move to San Diego- I bought a Disneyland AP. I enjoy driving up, and when family visits we stay on property with a discount (ap rate).

    I think Disneyland is definitely a whole day- perhaps two. It has all the headliners of MK plus Star Tours and Indy.

    DCA- not really a whole day yet but pretty close- has Toy Story, Soarin, Tower, and now World of Color- perhaps the best nighttime show.

  • Tips for dining:
    -Mimi’s for sit down breakfast http://bit.ly/pLzZWp or the golden arches for quick breakfast http://bit.ly/oZcVRF .

    -I would suggest changing your ADR from Blue Bayou to Cafe Orleans AND ask to sit outside. Blue Bayou is dark, more expensive and shares the kitchen with Cafe Orleans (and Club 33). Cafe Orleans is the closest thing to a Paris cafe in Disney. They also serve up the best cup of coffee in the park! Plus, you can get the Monte Cristo for lunch. Lately the seafood crepe is our fave. http://bit.ly/r45wv4

    Napa Rose is our favorite restaurant for dinner. It is the finest dining option at the resort. http://bit.ly/fuUd17 We’ve even gone in at last minute with kiddies and been allowed to dine in the waiting lounge. Fantastic option! The club chairs are comfy and it’s as if you have a large private dining room! The staff, food and service is SUPERB!

    Bengal Barbeque is perfect for beef skewers late at nite just after riding a night-time ride on the Jungle Cruise.

    Best late night snack after the park closes is on Main Street. Main Street shops stay open an hour after the park closes. So if you have the munchies pick up a hot dog from the Coke Refreshment Corner.

    Cheapest eat is either the hearty chowder or spicy gumbo in an edible bread bowl at the Royal Veranda in New Orleans Square http://bit.ly/pI2Av7

    Tastiest and most relaxing meal: Hungry Bear Restaurant and a waterside table. Love the sweet potato fries. The lemon cupcakes are so cute and the blueberry pie is yummy! http://bit.ly/jQ8J7G

    DL Ride tips:
    -Get fast pass for the new revamped Star Tours. On our visit it had a ridiculously long wait time of 2hrs – 45min all day.

    -Get fast pass for Indiana Jones. It always has a wait.

    -If you can’t ride Peter Pan, Mr Toad, or Snow White 1st thing in the AM, after opening, then wait until after the fireworks. That area of Fantasy Land closes for the fireworks and re-opens 30 minutes later. If you mill around by the Cast Member chording off the area, the wait time right after reopening is just 10 minutes tops.

    Best mid-afternoon activity is the canoe ride in Critter Country. Be sure to ask a Cast member to take your picture as soon as you get in the canoe. You will always treasure your memory on the canoe ride! I think it’s because you actually paddle and the cast members are the wittiest in the park with the exception of Maynard at the Tiki Room.

    If you’re lucky, the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough will be open and you can enjoy the gorgeous dioramas. http://bit.ly/nOorxJ

    CA ride tips:
    Get fast pass for Soarin’ Over California , Tower of Terror and the roller coaster California Screamin’.

    Don’t miss the Aladdin show. It is not offered every day. The performance is worth the price of admission!

    Tips for future lodging.
    -Stay at the Howard Johnson. Not your typical HoJo. 1380 South Harbor Blvd. http://www.hojoanaheim.com/ they usually have a Mousesavers rate.
    -Last month we stayed at The Comfort Inn & Suites 300 East Katella Ave. They were great for $99/nite. http://bit.ly/piiO2W

    The Anaheim shuttle is very convenient & less expensive than driving and parking at the park.

  • I am really impressed with your writing abilities as well as with the format in your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way stay up the excellent quality writing, it is uncommon to see a nice weblog like this one nowadays..

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