[QUOTE=MommaMouse;1108572]Oh my! Hello! :minnie:
I found this forum last night but had to wait for my account to be approved before I could post. In the mean time, I posted at another forum where one person answered me. Now I come back here and have so many welcomes! I am relieved and so happy to have found you!
OK. I’ll go down the list. [B]Get the book.[/B] OK! I’ll work on that tomorrow. Is it short?
[B]On-site or off-site hotel.[/B] I have no clue! My husband says the on-site are 25% off right now which he thinks makes them comparable to off-site hotels. What is a normal price range? The kinds of perks we’re talking about?
[B]How old are your kids?[/B] 11 and 2.
The 11yo has anxiety. Doesn’t do well with suspense (including long waits and foreboding music) or with surprises. Prefers docile rides, non-ride experiences, and other things that are predictable.
The 2yo has sensory processing disorder. Loves surprises, adventure, and constant activity. I’m most worried about waiting in lines and balancing their very different needs on my own.
[B]How familiar are you with Anaheim/Southern California? [/B]Not at all.
[B]Will you have a car?[/B] We haven’t decided yet if we’ll fly or drive. The cost of the rest is going to be a major factor.[/QUOTE]
Hey, my kids are 11 and 3!
Okay, let’s start at the beginning.
If you husband is under the impression that on-site at 25% off is equal to offsite, BOOK NOW. :biggrin:
Actually, it’s still a bit pricier.
I love staying on-site, I really feel like I never have to leave the magic. The Disneyland Hotel is the farthest walk among the Disney hotels, but it’s my favorite. The pool is also a lot of fun, with a cool waterslide.
The Grand Californian is VERY pricey. But it’s close, and extremely convenient for afternoon breaks.
Your other option is to pick a “Good Neighbor” hotel. There’s a thread here full of lots of opinions on them. None of them will be as “Kid Fun” as the Disneyland Hotel, but they’re still nice, still have pools.
The biggest perk for staying at the Disney hotels is Early Entry privileges on days that start with “S” or “T”. You get into Disneyland an hour early. This is a fantastic time to do Fantasyland, and the only time you’ll find short (ish) lines at Peter Pan and Dumbo.
If you book a package through Walt Disney Travel Company (that would include doing it at Disneyland.com) you also get a voucher for “Morning Madness” at Toontown. Toontown opens later than the rest of the park in general, but with this voucher you’ll get in early, get some time with the characters, enjoy it in a less crowded atmosphere.
Here’s what I’m thinking for you: It sounds like Fantasyland might be a big focus for your family. You have a lot of days, mid-week, at a time when the crowds will still be manageable. Early Entry isn’t going to be the must-have that it might be under other circumstances. (Also: you can get a ticket with ONE early entry day from several sources- go to Mousesavers.com for the list.)
So… if you can afford to stay on site, do it, but if not… you’re going to be fine. The best way to figure out the prices is to go to Disneyland.com and price out some packages. Make sure you click the link for Special offers to get the discounted rates. They also have a link for the Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels.
As for driving/flying: either option is perfectly viable. Do keep in mind that if you drive, you’ll be paying parking fees almost anywhere you stay.
Moving on… the Unofficial Guide will tell you a lot about each of the attractions, so you’ll know what’s going to work for your kids. After you’ve perused that, you can ask us some more specific questions.
As for the “waiting” problem… you’re going to have to wait. HOWEVER… you’ll do less waiting if you make it to the park WHEN IT OPENS. Lines tend to be very, very manageable until about 11:30.
Also, stop by City Hall and discuss what’s going on with your kids. They may be able to offer a guest assistance card (GAC), that, while it won’t keep you from having to wait, it may allow you to wait NOT in a long line but in a different area that might be more appropriate to your kids’ needs and more comfortable for all of you.
Anyway… as you make more decisions you’ll be able to ask more specific questions… so keep asking!