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  • Flex Annual Pass this Year, Give me suggestions for making the most of it

    We (husband and I) like Disney but hate crowds so we have something of a love-hate relationship with Disneyland. But: we went for an overnight in early September and bought 2 day hopper tickets. We knew we'd be back for 2 days in Jan, so it pretty much made sense to buy the Flex Annual Pass. The crowds were manageable, we enjoyed it and sprung for the annual passes. We both have the Max Pass option.

    I'd like to take this year to really try to avail ourselves of a variety of Disneyland and California Adventure experiences. Not just going and riding our favorite rides + watch the fireworks +/- Fantasmic, as is our typical habit. But try more restaurants, bars/lounges, special/holiday events, tours etc. We're two people in our 50s, not particularly interested in characters or merchandise. We are interested in Disneyland history and good food and wine, plus great entertainment.

    We had the good fortune/presence of mind to buy a small DVC contract at the Villas at Grand Californian years ago when the economy was bad, we got it for a great price. So we have reservations at Grand Californian set for:

    Friday Jan 24, visiting the parks on Jan 24 and Jan 25. There will be a Lunar NY celebration then, no idea what that entails.
    Friday Apr 24, visiting the parks on Apr 24 and Apr 25
    Friday and Sat Aug 14 & 15, visiting the parks on Aug 14, 15 and 16

    We know all about things like Magic Morning and when to arrive at the parks, taking an afternoon break, and so on.

    As a DVC member, we're also eligible for the limited capacity Moonlight Magic events. There's one on Thursday Nov 14, registration opens next week. If we get the tickets, we'll be going the night of Nov 14, staying on hotel points at the Fairfield Inn and visiting the parks on Friday Nov 15.

    We live around 1hr 30min from Disneyland Resort. I work Mon-Thurs and husband is a house-husband. So our days to visit the parks are pretty much Fri, Sat or Sun, and we'll probably do a some day trips in addition to the overnight stays we have planned. Maybe sometimes Thursday night after I get out of work. We have some Bonvoy points and some Hyatt points to use on overnights stays, but we probably have a good number of overnight stays already planned this year.

    Things we really like at DLR:
    Grand Californian, the new pool bar there, Napa Rose (lounge and Chef's counter especially)
    Trader Sam's, Steakhouse 55 (but thats a little pricey for us)
    Tortilla Jo's happy hour, La Brea Bakery breakfast
    Park rides, some shows (love fireworks, like Fantasmic when we pay for a dining package and get a good view, sometimes we like parades and shows- two thumbs up for the Main St Electrical Parade). Carthay Circle lounge, Blue Bayou once in a blue moon, Corn Dog Castle, Jolly Holiday Bakery.

    Ideas I have about things I'd like to do this year:
    1. Candlelight Processional. This will have to be Dec 7- can for sure use some tips on logistics of viewing.
    2. Make a point of using the free photopass that comes with our APs- we've only used this once of twice, so ideas about locales and times of day to get good pics are welcome
    3. Maybe a few tours- Husband likes anything mechanical so would enjoy the Grand Circle Tour, I'm assuming the Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour is a good one for the basics, is the Holiday tour worth doing (the Christmas one)?
    4. Solid dining options, including bars and wine
    5. Experiences- although building a droid or a light saber is not likely to happen (last thing we need is more 'stuff'). There's a Wed behind-the-scenes tour of Soarin for DVC members. I'd like to do that but can't really imagine going on a Wed, it would be too disruptive to my work week.

    So I'm not sure how this thread will work, maybe its too broad. But basically I'm inviting suggestions as to interesting things to do this year- events (Food and Wine? Minor holidays?), experiences, dining. And also tips as to how to work around crowds (we sometimes find ourselves hating DL when the crowds are too bad, and we typically will only wait in line for a ride for 30 min max) and maximize convenience- parking, logistics and so on. Or just tell me unique things you like to do and I'll see if those things work for me.

    Fire away!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Heathpack View Post
    We (husband and I) like Disney but hate crowds so we have something of a love-hate relationship with Disneyland. But: we went for an overnight in early September and bought 2 day hopper tickets. We knew we'd be back for 2 days in Jan, so it pretty much made sense to buy the Flex Annual Pass. The crowds were manageable, we enjoyed it and sprung for the annual passes. We both have the Max Pass option.

    I'd like to take this year to really try to avail ourselves of a variety of Disneyland and California Adventure experiences. Not just going and riding our favorite rides + watch the fireworks +/- Fantasmic, as is our typical habit. But try more restaurants, bars/lounges, special/holiday events, tours etc. We're two people in our 50s, not particularly interested in characters or merchandise. We are interested in Disneyland history and good food and wine, plus great entertainment.

    We had the good fortune/presence of mind to buy a small DVC contract at the Villas at Grand Californian years ago when the economy was bad, we got it for a great price. So we have reservations at Grand Californian set for:

    Friday Jan 24, visiting the parks on Jan 24 and Jan 25. There will be a Lunar NY celebration then, no idea what that entails.
    Friday Apr 24, visiting the parks on Apr 24 and Apr 25
    Friday and Sat Aug 14 & 15, visiting the parks on Aug 14, 15 and 16

    We know all about things like Magic Morning and when to arrive at the parks, taking an afternoon break, and so on.

    As a DVC member, we're also eligible for the limited capacity Moonlight Magic events. There's one on Thursday Nov 14, registration opens next week. If we get the tickets, we'll be going the night of Nov 14, staying on hotel points at the Fairfield Inn and visiting the parks on Friday Nov 15.

    We live around 1hr 30min from Disneyland Resort. I work Mon-Thurs and husband is a house-husband. So our days to visit the parks are pretty much Fri, Sat or Sun, and we'll probably do a some day trips in addition to the overnight stays we have planned. Maybe sometimes Thursday night after I get out of work. We have some Bonvoy points and some Hyatt points to use on overnights stays, but we probably have a good number of overnight stays already planned this year.

    Things we really like at DLR:
    Grand Californian, the new pool bar there, Napa Rose (lounge and Chef's counter especially)
    Trader Sam's, Steakhouse 55 (but thats a little pricey for us)
    Tortilla Jo's happy hour, La Brea Bakery breakfast
    Park rides, some shows (love fireworks, like Fantasmic when we pay for a dining package and get a good view, sometimes we like parades and shows- two thumbs up for the Main St Electrical Parade). Carthay Circle lounge, Blue Bayou once in a blue moon, Corn Dog Castle, Jolly Holiday Bakery.

    Ideas I have about things I'd like to do this year:
    1. Candlelight Processional. This will have to be Dec 7- can for sure use some tips on logistics of viewing.
    2. Make a point of using the free photopass that comes with our APs- we've only used this once of twice, so ideas about locales and times of day to get good pics are welcome
    3. Maybe a few tours- Husband likes anything mechanical so would enjoy the Grand Circle Tour, I'm assuming the Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour is a good one for the basics, is the Holiday tour worth doing (the Christmas one)?
    4. Solid dining options, including bars and wine
    5. Experiences- although building a droid or a light saber is not likely to happen (last thing we need is more 'stuff'). There's a Wed behind-the-scenes tour of Soarin for DVC members. I'd like to do that but can't really imagine going on a Wed, it would be too disruptive to my work week.

    So I'm not sure how this thread will work, maybe its too broad. But basically I'm inviting suggestions as to interesting things to do this year- events (Food and Wine? Minor holidays?), experiences, dining. And also tips as to how to work around crowds (we sometimes find ourselves hating DL when the crowds are too bad, and we typically will only wait in line for a ride for 30 min max) and maximize convenience- parking, logistics and so on. Or just tell me unique things you like to do and I'll see if those things work for me.

    Fire away!
    You sound like you already know what to do! Lol

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