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  • [Question] First timer to Disneyland

    At the beginning of the year a friend asked if I would like to take a summer trip to California and of course I had never been to the west coast, I had no hesitation to go along for the trip and immediately requested that one portion of the trip be a visit to the Disneyland resort. I'm a frequent visitor to the Walt Disney World resort (1-3 trips a year for the past few years), but I've always wanted to visit Disneyland as that was Walt's park. A few people have told me I would be somewhat disappointed with how small the resort is, but I actually like the idea that I don't have to take buses everywhere. I will be visiting for 3 days and staying at a hotel a couple blocks away on Harbor Blvd. The first day I will probably go solo since we arrive at 10 am at LAX and my friends want to just relax and maybe visit Downtown Disney for the evening. I will probably use this day to do my favorites and take some photos around the parks then eat with my friends at Downtown Disney. One friend has no desire to really visit and none of them have been to a Disney park before. I assured him it's quite different than your average theme park experience so I'm hoping he actually enjoys it. I know that one night I want to see the fireworks and Fantasmic, as I love the show at Hollywood Studios, and one night I want to see WOC. I have also downloaded the wait time app to somewhat forecast what kind of crowds and wait times I can be expecting.

    I do have a few questions for those that frequent the resort:

    -I'm very excited that they still have the legacy fast pass system in place since I was used to this at WDW up until my last visit in April. Now I heard that you can hold fast passes in each park, and that certain attractions are not on the grid to hold you up from getting another fast pass, but I'm curious as to which attractions?

    -What time should I arrive for shows? I usually show up 15-30 minutes prior at any of the WDW shows (wishes, Fantasmic, ect.) And I know I need to get a fast pass first thing in the morning the day that I watch WOC.

    - I was debating on doing a character breakfast at Plaza Inn, or Goofy's kitchen. I have done the Ohana restaurant in WDW, but would it really be worth it and do you actually see a lot of characters?

    -Which character meet 'n' greets gather long lines, and what would be the best time to meet certain characters? I know that if I want to meet Anna and Elsa I better do it my solo day because I doubt my friends will want to wait. I'm hoping I can find them with a decent wait time that day (1-2 hours), but I have low hopes as I quickly decided against meeting them in April when I encountered a 6-7 hour line.

    I've got about a week and a half to go before my trip and I couldn't be more excited!

  • #2
    Re: First timer to Disneyland

    1.) I would recommend jut playing it safe as far as the Fastpasses go.

    2.) That same 15-30 minute time frame also applies to Magical, World of Color, and Fantasmic, as well as the parades at both parks.

    3.) I would say that's either character breakfasts are worth it, but there's usually not more than 5-7 characters.

    4.) Other than Anna and Elsa, other character lines should be reasonable. Some characters don't even have fixed locations, they just wander around Main Street and Fantasyland. It can get quite comical.

    Well, that should give the necessary info you need. Have fun on your trip!
    "The happy haunts have recieved a faldric nomdage." ~Paul Frees

    Originally posted by SOTSreleaseplease
    The more Paul Frees, the better I say.

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    • #3
      Re: First timer to Disneyland

      Originally posted by mousester View Post
      -I'm very excited that they still have the legacy fast pass system in place since I was used to this at WDW up until my last visit in April. Now I heard that you can hold fast passes in each park, and that certain attractions are not on the grid to hold you up from getting another fast pass, but I'm curious as to which attractions?
      Both parks are on separate grids, and Disneyland Park does not have any attractions that are not on their main grid.

      World of Color is not on the grid and can be held while still getting other passes in California Adventure. Radiator Springs Racers (at least up until I was there last May) is also not on the main grid, but they usually get used up by around 11am, so if you want to ride it and not stand in a long line, or have to wait until 7pm to ride, I'd go grab one in the morning when you get there. But if you'll be solo the first day, single rider line is an option too. The Fastpass line for that ride is not near the ride, but next to It's Tough To Be a Bug! just past Buena Vista street on your left on your way to Cars Land.

      I'll let others reply to your other questions.

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      • #4
        Re: First timer to Disneyland

        Originally posted by chadwpalm View Post
        World of Color is not on the grid and can be held while still getting other passes in California Adventure. Radiator Springs Racers (at least up until I was there last May) is also not on the main grid, but they usually get used up by around 11am, so if you want to ride it and not stand in a long line, or have to wait until 7pm to ride, I'd go grab one in the morning when you get there. But if you'll be solo the first day, single rider line is an option too. The Fastpass line for that ride is not near the ride, but next to It's Tough To Be a Bug! just past Buena Vista street on your left on your way to Cars Land.
        I plan on taking advantage of single rider lines my solo day. But there is a possibility that a friend who lives an hour away might come for the day but I'm definitely not against spending a day to myself and seeing everything that I want to see.

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        • #5
          Re: First timer to Disneyland

          1. You can have a fastpass for each seperate park, if you really wanted to run into DL and then run over to CA. Recently I have actually heard the RSR is no longer off the grid. A friend went to the park and had a wait time on the bottom of her FP.
          2. Yeah I would say 30 minutes, although know for Fantasmic some people will "campout" for hours to get a really close spot (I think that's ridiculous but it's their deal)

          3. Character breakfast always worth it because you never know who all you will see. Sometimes they bring out rarer characters. When I went to Plaza Inn I got to meet Rafiki! And both of those places are buffets so there are lots of delicious food choices.

          4. Anna and Elsa. That line gets up to a 2 hour wait in the first 5 minutes of the park opening and still gets up there, and there is no way to skip the line unfortunately. If you would like to see them and not necessarily meet them, they are in a pre-parade before Mickey's Soundsational Parade. They are standing on a float waving while "Let It Go" plays. That's better than nothing.

          You are going to have a lot of fun. I've had a lot of people tell me that they liked DL better than WDW because the CMs tend to be more polite.

          Do you have any other questions?
          I am bad and that is good, I will never be good and that's not bad, there's no one I'd rather be than me!

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          • #6
            Re: First timer to Disneyland

            Hey, welcome to this side of the Mississippi River!!!! Read that you have a reluctant first time Disney visitor and many eager visitors but never been. I help many folks plan their first trips and during the initial planning there is plenty skepticism, first about Disneyland and second, why all the scheduling and planning. So if convenient , find a CM and ask for first time visitors buttons for your friends. That should make them feel special.

            There are five myths that are the most frequent in my discussions with rookie Disney Oregonians:

            Fireworks. Tell your first time visitor that it is not sitting on grass and just watching loud noises of color in the sky. Stress to your friend that the fireworks is a show, with displays on the castle, a musical soundtrack, ( and what I thought were unique fireworks but then I saw them during the Washington DC fireworks. ). Shoulder to shoulder with happy, non-intoxicated people. And children. Smiling and clapping children. Your friends won't be able to decide to laugh or cry.

            State Fair. Now I have seen the Washington State fair, and yes that is a great fair and probably very similar to what your friend has seen in Illinois. Stress to your friends there is no similarity and they have a better chance of winning the state lottery then finding anything like a state fair at Disneyland. ( DCA not so much)

            Playground for children only. No. The ideal age for a child to visit is eight and older. many of the rides are dark and adventure seeking or fleeing away from harm. Yes, children younger can also enjoy the park as there are attractions in the sun and happily lit. But for the most part, attractions offer the thrill of what is "around the corner." (And the secret, they have roller coaster drops and climbs.)

            Long lines. Being that you are a WDW visitor, give your friends assurance that you know the tricks of not waiting in long lines, how to arrive early and bounce around in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. And that there will be a break in the middle of the day to return to your lodging and pig-out on snacks, shower, rest and return in the evening to a very comfortable park.

            Food. It is no more expensive than convention prices, theater prices or ballpark prices. The only difference is that there is wide array of sit-down choices to walking with food choices. And the food is all themed. French food, Safari food, western food, pasta and turkey legs. Soup in Bread bowls. Fries. (just a small peek at disney food offerings. ) And desserts, many long displays of desserts.

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            • #7
              Re: First timer to Disneyland

              This will be my family and myself first trip to DL EVER!! Never been to WDW either you think your excited???? We're on countdown 35 days to go we're also stayig on harbor and also staying for three days (it's a small small world after all isn't it?)

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              • #8
                Re: First timer to Disneyland

                35 days? Did you make any Small World costumes?

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                • #9
                  Re: First timer to Disneyland

                  One thing you will notice if you go to WDW is how small the DL castle is. Many WDW veterans love to point this out as somehow being inferior. But please remember that is the only castle Walt built and amazingly considering how small it is has an interesting walk through attraction inside of it.

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                  • #10
                    Re: First timer to Disneyland

                    The Disneyland Castle even had some real gold at the tips of the spires. It is a blessing that the walk through attraction remains. It was closed for some time after 9/11/2001.

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                    • #11
                      Re: First timer to Disneyland

                      I'd like to add my two cents in about the character breakfasts. I recommend going to Plaza Inn instead of Goofy's Kitchen. Not because one breakfast or experience is better than the other, just because Plaza Inn is such a lovely location. Goofy's Kitchen is fine but not much to look at. Plus it's all the way in the hotel. Plaza Inn is so pretty, so wonderfully themed and it's right there on Main Street. Much more convenient!

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                      • #12
                        Re: First timer to Disneyland

                        A good idea is to do Goofys kitchen for a dinner as it will have characters then as well. It doesn't have to be a breakfast whereas plaza inn only has characters at breakfast.


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                        • #13
                          Re: First timer to Disneyland

                          Originally posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
                          One thing you will notice if you go to WDW is how small the DL castle is. Many WDW veterans love to point this out as somehow being inferior. But please remember that is the only castle Walt built and amazingly considering how small it is has an interesting walk through attraction inside of it.
                          While I already know how much smaller the castle is and while Cinderella Castle is much more grand, I think that Sleeping Beauty's is very charming and it's kind of nice how it doesn't loom over everything. I can't wait to see it in person.

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                          • #14
                            Re: First timer to Disneyland

                            i was there like 2 days ago and Fantasmic was packed... crazy cos ive never seen that many people there for it... i always see people waiting for it 1 hour - 30 mins b4 the show

                            if i were u 1st thing id do is go to CA and get a fastpass for Racers its like in bugs land
                            and those go quick trust me...

                            are u gonna go see Aladdin ? its a fun show
                            hopefully u get to see the Alice ride upgrade
                            i luv it


                            as for M&G theres really only a few Minnie, Mickey, Frozen, Fairies, and Princess
                            which can get long...
                            everyone else just kinda pops up most of those waits are like 30 - 10 mins
                            ull see them sometimes when u walk in, Tomorrowland and Fantasy, Main St. has most of them

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                            • #15
                              Re: First timer to Disneyland

                              Originally posted by mousester View Post
                              A few people have told me I would be somewhat disappointed with how small the resort is
                              I believe this is based on perspective. Disneyland is my primary park, but when I go to WDW I feel like it's too spread out. Other people I know who have gone to WDW have told me the same thing. So I think it's what you are used to.

                              Originally posted by mousester View Post
                              I know that one night I want to see the fireworks and Fantasmic, as I love the show at Hollywood Studios, and one night I want to see WOC.
                              Do not miss Fantasmic here. WOC is pretty good too. Don't forget the Soundsational parade. Also, you don't really need to get a WOC first thing in the morning. They are usually available throughout the morning. Even if you don't get a fastpass, you can line up against the Little Mermaid ride and get a decent view. One word of advice, do not get a view in the front row, unless you want to get wet.

                              Originally posted by mousester View Post
                              - I was debating on doing a character breakfast at Plaza Inn, or Goofy's kitchen. I have done the Ohana restaurant in WDW, but would it really be worth it and do you actually see a lot of characters?
                              Goofy's kitchen is fun, and they have a great brunch. Keep in mind though this is in the hotel area, but there is a monorail station nearby, which will take you straight into Tomorrowland.

                              Some other tidbits:

                              1) Don't miss Pirates of the Carribean at Disneyland.
                              2) Don't miss Fried Chicken at the Plaza Inn
                              3) Don't miss Mad-T party
                              4) You may see groups of people wearing biker gang vests. These are the new "Social Clubs". Don't be alarmed, they don't bite.
                              5) Check out the evening entertainment at Tomorrowland Terrace. My favorite is the 80z All Stars


                              Disneyland - 1982 to Present
                              Walt Disney World - 1996, 2011
                              Tokyo Disney Resort - 2013
                              Hong Kong Disneyland - 2013


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