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Thread: Disneyland

  1. #21
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    I'm excited for you guys going to Disney! We took DD there when she was five and we had a blast. The Disboards are great for tips on how to deal with the crowds. I'd love to go back sometime soon.
    Wife: August, 2002 ~ LJ ~ Mother: May, 2005

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by laura View Post
    DD loves all rides and characters, so I'm sure she will be happy with whatever we end up doing. Her biggest issue will be wanting to go on rides she is too small for, if I had to guess!
    DD (was 2.5 when we went) tends to want to do everything her brothers do, so one thing I guess I *did* "plan" is that I measured her accurately ahead of time and then checked online to have an idea of the height restrictions for the rides in Cars Land (I already had a pretty good idea for DL rides) so that we wouldn't get in a situation where we had to walk up to a ride and then take her away. She was so familiar with all of the Cars characters so we hated to disappoint her too much! Anyway, I took her on Luigi's Flying Tires when the boys and DH were riding Racers, so I do know off the top of my head that one was fine for her height!


    ETA I realize that you said you basically already did just that (measure and check website)--sorry. I meant to say I was agreeing with the idea for DL so you can avoid major disappointments.
    Last edited by Taurus; 01-28-2013 at 03:14 PM.

  3. #23
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    We will not have a car at Disneyland, and we are taking a car service from the airport to the hotel so no way to stop. Is there a convenience store, or something either in one (or all?) of the hotels or within walking distance where I could get milk, maybe some cereal, a couple of basics for DD?
    isabella noelle :: 12.7.09

  4. #24
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    Grand Californian has groceries in their Whitewater Snacks restaurant. I'm sure DLH will have things like milk, and some basics (probably cereal), but WWS has bread, peanut butter, and jelly, and some other groceries. Nothing huge, like, we're not talking 7-11 here, but they do have that. WWS also has great prices for their counter service meals. We used to cut through the GCH on our way back to the hotel (or back to the parks) and stop in at WWS to eat or to pick up food to bring back to the room.

    FWIW, I bring cereal from home because it is cheaper and it doesn't take up much space. I buy the variety pack of small boxes (sometimes the totally junk ones, since we are on vacation, but there are Cheerios and such in another variety pack).

  5. #25
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    I'm going to bring some cereal, but DD eats it as a snack so I was just thinking in case I run out. Thanks!
    isabella noelle :: 12.7.09

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by laura View Post
    I'm going to bring some cereal, but DD eats it as a snack so I was just thinking in case I run out. Thanks!
    Last time we were there, I ordered grocery delivery from Vons. If it's your first order, it's free. It was there waiting for us when we checked into our hotel. It was a great way to get snacks, water, etc...
    Matt and Michelle - August 2003
    Madison - October 2006

  7. #27
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    Your hotel may have grocery options. Ours had a little convenience store/deli in addition to the usual restaurants. We were able to buy grocery items there, which was very convenient.


    Regarding food at Disneyland, before our trip last summer it had been several years since I'd been to the park and I knew that the restaurants had been overhauled. I did a bunch of reading on Disboards and on Yelp about the various restaurants at the park and took some notes about where we might like to eat. Just thought I'd share some of what I'd noted in case it helps anyone else.

    The food items people were most enthusiastic about:

    Monte Cristo sandwich @ Cafe Orleans
    Fried green tomato sandwich @ Hungry Bear Restaurant
    "Tigger Tails" @ Pooh's Corner
    Beignets @ Cafe Orleans
    Dole Whip @ Tiki Juice Bar

    Restaurants in the park (not CA Adventure) that got the best reviews:

    Rancho Del Zocala (Frontierland)
    Cafe Orleans (New Orleans Square) - I believe reservations are recommended here

    My DS loved the "Power Pack" which is now sold at a bunch of Disneyland cafes (string cheese, yogurt, apple slices and whole grain crackers with milk or water for $6). I was pleased to find most of the restaurants offering healthier options and what seemed to be more quality ingredients. I had a great salad at Village Haus of all places (not the fanciest restaurant in the park). We also ate at Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney, which was a zoo. The food was eh. I read good things about Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney, but we didn't end up going there.

  8. #28
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    Oh no, Rosebud, I missed your post and I could have used it! Ah well...

    We are just back from Disneyland, and we had a (mostly) great time! DD (age 3) had an absolute BLAST and that's what is important, right? I'm not a member of disboards and frankly that place scares the crap out of me, so I'm going to do a review here of our trip, with a few caveats. This was my first trip to Disneyland, and I'm definitely not a "Disney person". I've also never been to WDW, although my husband went once when he was about 13. I didn't do a ton of research outside of reading the Disneyland website and reading along in the threads here. I did go to disboards twice, but I didn't find it very helpful and it was way too much information. I totally appreciated all the advice I received from people here, it was really helpful even though I wasn't very organized. I wish I had taken better notes on the quick dining recs people had given, b/c we found food to be the biggest obstacle by far. Here and there things that people had recommended would come back to me, and that was great. Anyway...

    We went Wed-Sun, Feb 6-10. We determined for sure that we can't ever go when it's hot or when it's 'peak' b/c we would die. It was really low when we were there and it still felt packed to me. We stayed on property at the Disneyland Hotel. Overall, I am happy with that choice. We stayed in a 1BR suite, which was a complete ripoff cost-wise, but it was nice to have the extra space. Our room had a pool view, which was also nice in theory, but it was in the 50s and 60s when we were there, so we didn't swim and staring at the pool all day was like slow torture for DD. The Disney touches in the room were VERY subtle, except for our musical light up headboard !!, and the room was nice, and clean. Not the nicest place we've ever stayed, but not the worst, by far. I was surprised at how thin the walls were for a place that caters to kids, but oh well.

    Wednesday: We flew down Wednesday morning. I did not plan to do the parks this day, but I should have and I would in the future. We were at our hotel and checked in by about noon, which was WAY faster than I had anticipated. We walked to Downtown Disney to look around and eat lunch. We ate lunch at Catal Restaurant, which was pretty good. We did a little shopping after that and then headed back to our room for DD to take a nap.

    That night we had dinner at Napa Rose, which was just okay. The food wasn't bad, but it was incredibly expensive for what you got. Like my husband got 'rack of lamb' for his entree and it was actually 2 lamb chops. They were large chops and cooked well, but come on. I got short rib, which was good, but I had a mushroom soup app that was kind of weird. We also got suckered into the $15 princess dessert for DD. OMG, do not do this, it is disgusting. The "prize" is a 5 cent plastic treasure chest and a 3 cent mirror - which is fine - but the dessert itself is a practically frozen worse than supermarket disgusting cake. We saw this on the menu at several restaurants so I get that it is a 'disney' thing and not specific to the restaurant, but I find things like that just offensive. If I had known what the dessert was, I would have asked for a scoop of vanilla ice cream and paid $15 for the stupid prize anyway.

    **I know people who are 'disney fans' are going to say that it's just the "Disney way", but I call BS. By far the most annoying part about the trip was the crap food that they serve because they can get away with it. I will try not to rant about this too much, but overpriced bad food is like my biggest pet peeve.

    Thursday: This was our first day at the parks. We started with Breakfast at Minnie's- thankfully b/c the line to get in the parks was *ridiculous* already at 9:30am, but there is a really short line if you have a dining reservation. Luckily I asked someone, but I kind of had to drag the info out of them. Anyway, Breakfast at Minnie's cost $65 for 3 people and the food was borderline inedible. My husband had eggs, bacon and hash browns and he said it was all gross. I GET IT, you are not paying for the food, but it's not difficult to put out food that isn't repulsive, ykwim? Sorry to rant about food again! Anyway. There were a lot of characters at this breakfast: Minnie, Chip, Dale, a mouse from Cinderella, Fairy Godmother, Eeyore, Tigger, Captain Hook, Pooh... that might be it. The organization of the character circulation was not great. All of the characters did not come to our table and we were there over an hour. Kids kept getting out of their seats and mobbing the characters and they would never quite make it back to where we were. It was really frustrating. We saw 3-4 characters (not Minnie) and we finally left b/c DD wanted to go ride rides.

    Size-wise I felt like DL was manageable. We stuck mostly to the younger kid areas, but we did a couple of big circles while DD napped in her stroller for about an hour later in the day and it was totally do-able. For rides, DD rode the spaceships ? in Tomorrowland first, b/c they were right next to Minnie's breakfast area. From there we went to Dumbo; the Mad Tea Party and It's a Small World were both closed while we were there, or we would have done those next. From Dumbo, we went to ToonTown. On the way, we saw Minnie in her princess dress was at the Princess Walk, so we waited there for pics with Tiana, Ariel and Princess Minnie. Then in ToonTown we literally ran into Daisy and Pluto so we did pics and autographs with them. Goofy was also out, but we had already seen him the first day at our hotel. We went to Mickey's house to get a pic with him. We got tricked by the line for Roger Rabbit's ride which was thought was short but was really long once you get way inside, and DD didn't like it once we were in there, so we jumped a fence and got out of line. We did the child roller coaster (don't remember the name) in ToonTown and maybe one other thing there. When we were getting pics with Mickey, DD asked him where Piglet was (haha, and random) and the guy was like, if you want to see Piglet, go to Critter Country! So we headed there next.

    We stopped for a gross lunch at a cafe across from the statue of Walt Disney in the center of the park. Actually I got tomato soup and grilled cheese and the grilled cheese was good, but DD ate most of it so I had to trade her for her disgusting mac and cheese. I did salvage it with a giant Mickey Mouse cookie, so there was that.

    After that we headed to Critter Country. We saw Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore for pictures. The woman doing the pics said Piglet is very rare and that he wouldn't be out at all that day, so that was a bummer for DD. But she LOVED the Winnie the Pooh ride so we did that like 5 times. After that she wanted to see more princesses, but she fell asleep in the stroller on the walk over there. We got hot chocolate and walked around for like an hour while DD napped. Merida also came out for pics while DD was sleeping, but I didn't want to wake her up. After her nap, we got in line again for princesses which were Snow White, Aurora and Cinderella- DD was dying to see Cinderella. BUT. About halfway through the princesses switched and it was Tiana, Ariel and Jasmine so that was kind of a bust. But DD decided she wanted to see Tiana and Ariel again and see Jasmine (Jasmine was kind of bitchy TBH). Tiana was the same one we had seen earlier and she remembered DD, which DD loved. We had been planning to leave after that but we got tangled up in a few more rides and by the time we were finished it was like 10 minutes until the parade, so we just decided to stay for it, which was a great choice. We did leave after the parade and went back to our hotel and ordered room service. And then we all collapsed b/c omg we were exhausted!! We did see the fireworks from our window, actually, which was nice b/c DD has not seen fireworks before and that was probably a safe distance!

    [breaking this up...]
    Last edited by laura; 02-11-2013 at 03:52 PM.
    isabella noelle :: 12.7.09

  9. #29
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    Friday: Rain was in the forecast for Friday so I wasn't sure how it would go. We had a lunch reservation for Ariel's, so I figured worst case scenario, we could just look around a bit, head to lunch and then go home if the weather really sucked. We decided to take Gren's advice and stop for beignets at the Jazz Cafe, which were great! About 1 minute after we stepped inside it started POURING outside and about 3 minutes after that it started hailing! Thankfully we had a table inside, so we sat and had coffee and beignets while we waited out the rain. It was sprinkling when we left, but we decided to head toward DCA anyway. It actually ended up being great. It sprinkled a couple more times, but it was fine the majority of the day. I had umbrellas, DD's rain boots, rain coat, etc, so I was prepared for it. It was fine.

    DD LOVED DCA. Her favorite ride by far was The Little Mermaid ride, we rode it at least a dozen times. There was no waiting on Friday for it most of the day, so we rode it over and over. I didn't bother with any of the cars hysteria, but we did ride the Mater ride (right on the left when you enter Carsland) 2 or 3 times with no waiting. And DD got her picture taken with Lightening McQueen which she liked. We hung out in the Bug's Life Area and fair amount, too, and DD got her picture taken with Flick. Across from Ariel's Grotto, DD got her picture taken with that Duffy Bear.

    The princess lunch at Ariel's Grotto was by far the best character thing we did. It was the best food and the best organization. It was a madhouse when we arrived, but it ended up being fine. Not sure if it's always the same princesses, but we saw Ariel (of course), Belle, Snow White, Aurora, and Cinderella. I think that's the only place we saw Belle at all, but the rest we had seen here and there (but not close up for pics). Also my husband liked that they had a cocktail menu.

    After lunch, we headed to the pier. We did the ferris wheel which was FREEZING, but DD loved that she could see everything from the top. We did not do the Toy Story ride this day, but we should have b/c the sign said 30 min. We also did the carousel a few times. Walked back to Ariel's ride again; got a pic with Donald Duck on the way. Last weekend was the Lunar New Year, so we also got a pic with Mickey in costume for that, and Milan and Mushu were walking around that section. We saw Russell (from Up) which was an adorable costume, but the line for him closed before we got there, which was ok b/c DD doesn't know who he is anyway. We repeated rides a bunch of times, and again, we were just about to leave and we basically happened upon the parade so we stayed for it, which was very cute.

    I didn't have dinner plans for this night, but I got a last minute reservation at PCH Grill, which was disgusting. I got "wood oven flatbread pizza" and it tasted like freezer pizza. Etc. Etc.

    Saturday: It was still probably not crowded by real standards, but it felt more crowded today than any other days (obviously). I was glad we had already done way more than I anticipated in the first 2 days so it was really just a 'whatever' day. We walked through Downtown Disney again and got smoothies at Jamba Juice- felt like we needed the fruit after all the gross meals! DD chose to go to DCA again, so we did that. Repeated a bunch of rides. We saw Buzz Lightyear and Jessie for pics. We had a disgusting lunch at the mexican quick service place under the bridge across from Ariel's Grotto. On the plus side, my husband got a beer here. We waited in line for the Toy Story ride b/c DD wouldn't stop talking about it; the sign said 50 minutes and it was probably accurate. We totally should have done this ride on Friday b/c we probably could have gone a couple of times with less waiting and it was really fun. Since the wait was long, we only did it once. Later in the afternoon, DD decided she wanted to ride the Winnie the Pooh ride again, so we walked over to DL to do that. As anticipated, DD fell asleep in the stroller on the walk- which was good except that we entered the park right in the middle of the parade, so we had to kind of hide in a shop until it was over so DD wouldn't wake up. We walked around a bit while she slept. While she was sleeping, we saw Rabbit make a cameo appearance with Pooh in the picture area, but we never did see Piglet. Then we did Winnie the Pooh a few more times and walked back over to DCA to do Little Mermaid a few more times. We had a 7pm reservation for Carthay Circle, which was by far our best meal. Very good, would definitely recommend it. I had hoped we would catch the fireworks on our walk back, but we were too late. Then the waitress came to tell us she had World of Color priority area tickets for us, which I had not anticipated seeing b/c I figured we wouldn't be there that late. But at that point it was quarter to 9 already and by the time we paid and got situated, it was 9pm, so we decided to go for it. It was a good show, and worth sticking around for.

    Sunday: We flew out in the afternoon, so we did Goofy's Breakfast at our hotel before leaving. It was meh. I gather our experience wasn't typical b/c a couple of people next to us were saying it wasn't "usual" but whatever. It cost $90 for 3 people; the food was eh- slightly better than Minnie's but not good by any stretch. Characters were: Chef Goofy, Chef Pluto, Chip & Dale (with aprons on), Aurora, Mulan, Rafiki from Lion King, Baloo from Jungle Book, same mouse we saw before from Cinderella... I think that's all. The Mulan was really sweet at this one. We didn't ever see Chip, Dale or Pluto, although we did catch Pluto for a quick picture on the way out. This was especially annoying b/c we had 1 page left in DD's autograph book and either Chip or Dale would have been fine b/c we already have pics with them. But oh well. We waited like 1.5 hours. The characters were REALLY slow and poorly organized here. They kept completely bypassing our section.


    Summary: I know I wrote a lot of complaining in my review , but overall we did have a really good trip. In the future, I would better plan my meals, especially casual dining. It was just too much mental energy at the end of the day to even think about food. When we already had reservations, it was just easier. And when we were so exhausted, eating bad food just made us all grumpy. I would stay at the Disneyland Hotel again; it was overpriced IMO, but it is a good location, and it served its purpose. We did not use the monorail, I don't understand why people did unless they physically couldn't walk or your kid likes the novelty. The monorail almost always had a line and I don't see how it could have been faster than walking. Plus DD was already in the stroller, so taking her out seemed pointless. My husband didn't want to bring the stroller on our trip, but we were both so glad we did! DD napped in it 2 out of 3 days, and it just made everything easier. It's so easy to just leave your stroller wherever in the park, and I left a bunch of extra crap underneath it (diapers, wipes, coats, change of clothes for DD, etc) and no one ever bothered it.

    We did miss a few things which we wouldn't have if I had a better plan... OTOH, I would not have anticipated DD would like DCA better than DL, so even if I did have a plan, it wouldn't have worked. We did miss seeing Rapunzel and Merida who have hours in special locations. I figured we would get to it on Saturday but we were barely at DL on Saturday so it didn't work out- which is fine, but DD was asking about them later. DD LOVES characters and rides about equally, but by far her favorite ride was Ariel's and her favorite characters were the princesses, although she also likes "the fluffy ones".

    Next time I wouldn't waste so much time or money on character dining. I would do Ariel's Grotto again if DD wants to but I would probably skip all the breakfasts. The food was awful and they are just chaos. My BFF said at WDW, each character has a handler and they don't let kids run up, etc. Maybe at peak time it's like that at DL, but this time it wasn't like that at all. The characters at meals were all on their own and the system seemed very random. However, having not gone before I didn't realize how many characters would be randomly out. We probably only saw 3-4 characters at the meals that we couldn't have seen just randomly, and ALL of those characters, DD didn't know who they were anyway. So it would have been fine for us to skip them entirely. I might do 1 breakfast on the last day, maybe, but maybe not. Of course we will go back again. DD loved it so much, and it was fun to do with her. We probably won't go again until next Jan or Feb, though. A year of recovery sounds about right!

    I am sorry this is so long, but I thought a detailed review might be helpful to other people planning trips who haven't been to DL before. It was really hard for me to process the logistics in my mind prior to our trip, so I appreciated real reviews people gave!
    Last edited by laura; 02-11-2013 at 02:08 PM.
    isabella noelle :: 12.7.09

  10. #30
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    Laura, thank you for taking the time to do the review. We are going to DL in April with my DD, her DH and their two daughters(4 and 2). The girls have never been and it has been years since we have been.
    We have been trying to decide about our meals and your review will certainly help us out.

    My granddaughters are VERY interested in the Princesses. So we will be going to Ariels' Grotto.

    Thank you again for your review.

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