We live in Florida and have been to WDW in Orlando over 50+ times. We were thinking about pricing a trip to CA to visit disneyland. I am clueless about planning a disneyland trip. Not familiar witht he differences in hotels, were they are locared, ticket options, the # of days we would need there, etc.

Anyone with disneyland/CA Adventure insight, please help!



Hotels: First, keep in mind that the Disneyland Resort area is SMALL compared to WDW. Everything is within walking distance of the park gates- the three Disney Hotels, as well as what they call their “Good Neighbor” hotels. Those Good Neighbor hotels can be even closer than the Disney Hotels!

Paradise Pier: I don’t really know anything about it; but I hear it’s nice, just not in the heart of things, and not, perhaps, as “Disney” as one might wish.

Disneyland Hotel: It’s at the end of Downtown Disney (which is just off of the main gates of both Disneyland and DCA). I like the walk through Downtown Disney, and I love this hotel. The rooms are beautiful (see my TR from last summer!).

Grand Californian: Grand indeed. Reminiscent of the Wilderness Lodge with a strong Craftsman influence. Right smack in the middle of Downtown Disney (and a world away!), it’s stunning. The monorail goes right alongside it, but strangely doesn’t stop there; the monorail stops further down in DTD, kind of between the Disneyland Hotel and the Grand Californian. The Grand Californian also has an entrance into DCA. One can go through the GC from DTD to DCA… but it’s a maze!

The Good Neighbor hotels I’ve stayed in have been perfectly fine, clean, your basic room you’d find anywhere. Nothing special, nothing you’d feel like you should avoid. I’ve stayed in them before, and I’m sure I’ll end up in them again.

Tickets: Go with the hoppers. Hopping is much less time-consuming than at WDW. You just walk across the promenade! I’ve gone back and forth several times during a day and not felt like I’d wasted a lot of time.

The other ticket options are just the single park tickets; there is also a ticket one can buy that is a pass for both parks- wickedly expensive, but if you’re planning a lot more WDW trips in a short time, perhaps worth it?

They run a lot of specials, but those tend to be for locals.

Number of days: Well, for me, I can get everything done in 3 days, with some repeating, and feel thoroughly as if I haven’t missed anything. That’s generally what I’d recommend to anyone. That said… you might want to try 4? Because for me, at Disneyland, I would never, ever have to consult a map- much like you at WDW, I’m sure. I have the feeling map consultation wastes a lot of time. :biggrin: (Of course, if you’re anything like me you won’t have to consult a map- I barely had to when I first went to WDW because I had studied up so much beforehand!)

Parks: Rope drop is critical if you’re concerned about getting in the big rides. If you attack it, you can get in all the major rides and attractions before noon (but all bets are off concerning the new Star Tours!). Then you can relax a bit more with the rest of the day.

Dining: Reservations are NOT the huge deal they are with WDW. If you want to do any of the sit down places, calling just a little bit ahead will probably be perfectly fine.

Do make a ressie for the Carnation Cafe for breakfast. Oscar keeps threatening to retire, but it hasn’t happened yet. He’ll treat you like you’re long-lost friends.

Get the bacon-wrapped asparagus skewer at Bengal BBQ, and the Pommes Frites at Cafe Orleans. :slight_smile:

Lately I’ve been wanted to stay for 5 days, and just take a very relaxed approach. I’m not sure I have that in me, but it sounds like a lovely idea.

Hope that helps a little!


Andrea has pretty much nailed everything

I agree that you can do everything in 3 days, but I recommend 4 to 5 so you can take your time and enjoy the parks. Also remember Disneyland although a lot like magic kingdom it is a much smaller park. You can fit far more people in magic kingdom then you can in Disneyland. However, disneyland has areas like new Orleans square that can not be found in other Disney parks. Also some classic rides like haunted mansion and pirates have different thins to them so I leave it to you to decide which one you like the best. Also cars land is opening up this summer to at DCA so that should be cool.

Also far as dining goes yes reservations are not as important unless you want to go to specific places like blue bayou or some Tyne high end restaurants at DCA. But plenty of get places to eat.

As far as the hotels I have stayed at the Disneyland hotel twice and loved it. You have to remember that it is actually the first Disney resort and have gone through a lot of changes of the years. There is a great memories wall by the convention in the lobby that will show how the resort was. Also when I was there last year they were completely renovateing the tower. We got to stay in the one completed tower and it was very beautiful. I have also stayed at the villas at the grand Californian and it is wonderful. It reminds me a lot of the WL but it does have the DCA entrance and it is just in the middle of everything. I have seen paradise pier but never been to it so I have no info.

I know I have repeated some of the stuff Andrea said but hopefully I gave you some added info.


I live in socal,and like you I have been to DLR well over 100 times,I would recomend 4-5 nights …here is the reson why …if you truly want to enjoy your stay if you want to see the new parade,world of color,and the new auriel and star tours attraction then each of these will take sometime off the calendar ,also please remember that disneyland has many ,many more attractions than the kingdom.INDIE,MATTERHORN,STAR TOURS,FANTASMIC,just to name a few …and a space mountain that is similiar but not the same,as far as eating is concerned you will need reservations for the blue bayou,counter services are very similiar …In dca they hace a good QS place right next to soarin…if you can afford it then grand californian is the best ,but we have come to like the hyatt regency one mile away,they have a very reliable and free shuttle to the parks,they have suites if needed …but our favorite is GRAND californian…but it is pricey…if this is something you are not going to often then spend the extra time…have fun


I agree, Andrea really did a great job covering it:) Even down to the Bengal BBQ…of course she wouldn’t remind you that the Dole Whips are at the Enchanted Tiki room because she’s not a fan:happy: I have had the opportunity to stay at each of the Disney hotels and like them all…but not equally. I must say that the Grand Californian is wonderful and I’d stay there again…but I also love the Disneyland Hotel too!!! We’ve loved our DTD view that also looks towards the fireworks:wub: Paradise Pier hotel is nice…quite and a bit less themed…but still nice:happy: However, it is my least favorite.

I grew up in Huntington Beach, about 20 minutes from DLR, so I could go on and on with superfluous info…so I’ll just stop here. Feel free to PM me if you like and I’ll try and answer any questions you might have. Not implying that I know everything there is to know…just want to be helpful:happy:


We’ve been to Disneyland twice and stayed at Grand Californian twice.
The greatest part of that is you’re at the end of DTD closest to the main entrances to both parks. This means you can walk to Disneyland without even crossing a street and you can hop between both parks by simply exiting one park and walking about 700 feet to the other park. GC also has a private entrance into DCA.
There are cheaper hotels, but once again, it’s all about location, amenities, dining, and service.

Disneyland is more densely packed than MK because there was less land available.
Also, Disneyland has pretty much all the attractions that MK has plus some attractions that are in DHS as well. Supposedly DCA and Disneyland have the same number of total attractions as the 4 WDW parks combined, but I’m too lazy to verify.

Both times we went we set aside 5 days for DLR and two days for Magic Mountain. While at DLR we also spent a day at Knott’s and returned to DLR in late afternoon.
The first time we went, we should have gotten in much earlier so that we would have actually gotten into the park, but because of an extreme flight delay we didn’t even get to the hotel until 10 PM.


I’m loving all this information. We, too, are planning a trip to DLR for Feb 2012 and these posts couldn’t come at a better time.

My main question would be do you think the additional $700 to stay at GC instead of Paradise Pier is worth it?


I feel that the extra money for Grand Californian over Paradise Pier is worth it.
PP appears to be just another hotel while GC has much in common with WL and ALK and even the lobby/main building of the GF. Then again, they all share the same architectural team.
In my opinion, the GC is stunning with fireplaces in public areas and huge doses of Arts and Crafts style accents and fixtures.


I would say the the GC is well worth the extra money. It is a great hotel, great theme, and the pool is wonderful for a mid day swim. Go for it you will not regret it.


[QUOTE=CaraMia;1074914]We live in Florida and have been to WDW in Orlando over 50+ times. We were thinking about pricing a trip to CA to visit disneyland. I am clueless about planning a disneyland trip. Not familiar witht he differences in hotels, were they are locared, ticket options, the # of days we would need there, etc.

Anyone with disneyland/CA Adventure insight, please help!


Hotels: The Grand Californian is the best for convenience, but I’m not sure if the price they charge is worth the expense if $$$ is on a budget. Most hotels are within walking distance or have a shuttle. Anaheim also has a city shuttle to get back and forth.
I’ve listed all the hotels I’ve stayed at, some are in a different city, as I use Priceline and had a rental car.

Andrea is right to go with the hoppers. Hopping is so convenient, since you can head over to California Adventure if Disneyland gets crowded.

I have spent three hours to ten days at Disneyland. Four to five is Optimal, with the opportunity to do every ride in both Disneyland and California Adventure without feeling rushed.

Dining: I’m a big fan of Downtown Disney’s JAZZ KITCHEN. NAPA ROSE and STORYTELLER’S CAFE, located in the Grand Californian, are also worth the time.

Not sure if you can call up my past trip reports, but Disneyland is a very walkable park and the time you spend there will be enjoyable! :pirate: