REQUEST - Advice on Staying at a Disneyland Hotel

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My wife and I are flying out to northern California to be with family over Christmas and will be driving down to San Diego. We thought we'd spend a couple of days at Disneyland. It looks like our schedule will have us arriving by car at DL before noon. We are both members of AAA and I'm a senior but we've always enjoyed Disneyland, though its been years since we've been there and never at Christmas time.

I was looking at the hotels and we need a room for two, and the smallest rooms can accommodate up to 5 or so. We've stayed at the DL Hotel before and there used to be access to DL park from the hotel via the Monorail. I have found no mention of that anywhere in the park's online information. Is that still available? The Grand Californian mentions access to California Adventure Park.

I also noted in another thread someone commenting that the CA Adventure Park is very disappointing and not worth the time. I'd appreciate opinions on this. Comments on the thrill rides in CA Adventure will be appreciated.

Mousesavers reports the senior discount is 30% and is better than AAA. I'm wondering if there will be any discounts at all in this "high" season?

Does DL food packages like they do in Disneyworld? So far I've not seen any mention of that.

Any comments in general improve our experience will be appreciated, whether they be for discounts or how to make the most of our time in the Park or the best places to eat or .... Speaking of eating, it's possible we might allow ourselves one splurge meal, so recommendations in that areas are also recommended.

Just thinking off the top of my head, areas of comment might be (but not limited to) : Best place to watch Xmas parade, best live shows in park, how maximize ride time, best rides. Comment on anything that might be helpful. We both have iphone 4s. Are there apps that would help us in our DL experience?

Member Summary

Depending on what day over Christmas break you visit DL, you may not get in arriving at noon. Parks during that time are at peak, and often capacity controlled, with lots of times the parks being locked down by lunchtime.

You might be better off staying at one of the nearby neighboring hotels. Most of them offer shuttle service to the park and won't cost an arm and a leg for a ton of space that you don't need (2 people vs 5).

If you were going to be at the parks for 3 days I'd suggest snagging the costco deal for a 4 day pass. It's 269 with a $50 costco gift card, which comes out cheaper than a 3 day pass. But it like the senior discount is more what you're looking for.

Personally, I love California Adventure. It's more like the Hollywood Studios park at WDW. I haven't been since they opened up Cars Land but can't wait to visit. The main attraction there uses the same technology as Test Track at Epcot. California Screamin' is a really fun coaster and if the Aladin show is still running then I highly recommend seeing it, if you get a chance. And nothing really needs to be said about Soarin' Over California or The Tower of Terror. Both are incredible.There are also some great food options in California Adventure.

Touringplans.com is about 7 bucks for the year, but it may be worth it just for the wait time app to help you plan you days more efficiently.

In the main park you'll certainly want to see the Nightmare Before Christmas makeover that the Haunted Mansion has undergone. It's one of my favorite parts of Christmas at Disneyland.

As far as where to see the fireworks show, I love seeing it on Main Street as at the very end they make it snow on Main street. The other great place is from the top of the steps leading to the Main Street train station (get there early though).

If you want a fun dining experience, call ahead (they've got a number for reservations like they do at WDW) at get a seating in The Blue Bayou. Lunch isn't horribly priced if the dinner menu sends chills through your wallet. The Montecristo sandwich and a mint julep (non alcoholic) is standard for me when I'm there. The Wine Country Trattoria in California Adventure also had really good food. The Carnation Cafe is also good but usually slammed at all hours. Any place you're going to go and sit down for a meal is worth calling ahead and getting a reservation.

Hope that helps.

Have fun!

gallipingael said:   You might be better off staying at one of the nearby neighboring hotels. Most of them offer shuttle service to the park and won't cost an arm and a leg for a ton of space that you don't need (2 people vs 5).Last time I was there, I used Priceline and got a hotel room for around fifty bucks. The hotel had shuttles running to Disney all day.

There is no direct access from any of the DL hotels to DL. However, as you mentioned, Grand California has an entrance to California Adventure. I don't believe the dining plan is offered this time of the year, but the DL dining plan is basically worthless. You're not saving any money. It migh be too late to making any kind of dining reservations, but I would definitely try to get whatever you could. It gets very busy this time of the year. You almost might want to ask some of these questions at Disboards. They are the FW community of Disney.

HTH

I don't think so you will get lots of offer as because Christmas is near,used Priceline and got a hotel room for around fifty bucks. The hotel had shuttles running to Disney all day.

I haven't been to Disneyland in a long long time.

People have told me the place is an absolute disaster during the holidays. So many people that you will not have a good experience. That is just what I heard.

and here is a story I found from Dec 2010 overcrowded

I recommend a touring plan from someplace like http://touringplans.com/ so you can minimize your wait times, especially during holidays.

Just got crown plaza for $56 a night 3 1/2 star on Priceline. Shuttle every 20-30 minutes to Disneyland, free parking, free Internet, etc. Staying at the actual DL resort does not seem worth the extra $200-$300 a night to me. Use that money for meals and things maybe in the park like pictures and overpriced trinkets I know money is not an issue for some people, but let's face it... you are posting and visiting fatwallet for a reason right?

Disney just pumped over $1 billon renovating a theme park that was only 10 years old, so yes I would definitely not skip California adventure. Lots of really cool new stuff has been added to the park. Aladdin is still running and is a great show to see while you are there. Please just bear in mind that you will be shoulder to shoulder your entire time in the park. You could not pick a worse time to visit in terms of the crowds.



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