T.M. asks from Dublin, CA on May 06, 2009
How Much Time for Disneyland?
We are taking our boys (6 &8 ) to Disneyland this summer for the 1st time. My husband and I haven't been in 20+ years - so I don't know how long to plan for. We want to be economical but not scrimp either. Want to have a reasonable (read short) walk to the park, we are driving down, would love to have a kitchenette type room, there are the 4 of us plus grandma going. Looking for recommendations of places to stay, how long should we plan (don't think we are going to try to do any other places like Universal or Legoland), and if you know of any good deals. Any info is appreciated!
A.S. answers from San Francisco on May 07, 2009
There is a hotel near Disneyland but it is a couple miles down the street. If that isnt a problem I would reccommend staying at the Residence Inn Marriot. I believe it is in Garden Grove or Anaheim but it is like I said a couple miles down. They have a great Kids suite that comes with a seperate king master bedroom with bath, a sleeper sofa in the living room and a kids room with bathroom and bunk beds. It also has a kitchenette with full amenities and table. We stayed here a couple years ago and loved it! They also serve a full hot breakfast buffet every morning downstairs in the dining room and their pool is fabulous! Hope this helps and good luck!
PS. I think they run about $150.00 per night
E.B. answers from San Francisco on May 07, 2009
Disneyland is wonderful & your boys are at ages they will have so much fun. My personal preference is to go for as long as you can afford - my fave amount of time is 5 nights/5 1/2 days. Usually there are specials for tickets like 5 days for the price of 3. I'm not sure what specials are going on now tho. Ok - I just checked the disnety site & yes it's 5 days for the price of 2 or 6 days for the price of 4. I would def do one of these deals.
This is a message board...read back a few pages & you can read the answers to get some great info :
This is a website that provides the best deals. You need to sign up for her newsletter & she emails it free w/ all the latest news.
Mousesavers recommends & I do too the Howard Johnson hotel - they really have amazing prices & are within walking distance. But no kitchenettes. I would look at or ask on the message board for recommendations on that.
Now I should also prepare you...Disneyland in the summer is very crowded & HOT! Personally we don't go in the summer anymore as I'd just rather take the kids out of school at this point (1st grade) but not sure what we'll do as time goes on. You WILL have fun but you need to go prepare for crowds & don't let it get you down.
Have a great time!
K.F. answers from San Francisco on May 07, 2009
My family went with our small children and grandma :) for the first time last summer. Like you, I myself,hadn't been for years. We had a great time. I don't know if you have AAA, but that is who we planned our trip through and they did a really good job for us pricewise and hotelwise. You get good perks like early entry into the park, early Toon town entry for the kids to take pictures with all the characters, free parking, etc. About $1100- 1200 for 3 adults and two children at the Fairfield Inn Marriott Disneyland Resort, about 3-4 blocks from the park. We stayed 3 days and were able to see all of the Disneyland Park attractions. Didn't have a ton of time to see California Disney but I saw enough and by the third day I was tired and my wallet was begging for mercy. The Fairfield rooms were nice (a little small)and you could see the fireworks and Tinkerbell show from the balcony if you request that side of the hotel. No kitchenette though.
If at all possible, my one recommendation would be to go to the parks Monday thru Thursday. My family and I started there on a Wed. If you get there when the parks open, the lines for most rides (even the really popular ones) were short wait times. And the restaurants and shops around the park were not too crowded. By Friday afternoon, we were walking elbow to elbow with the people around us and the lines for everything were insane. I welcomed leaving Anaheim on Saturday and vowed I would never visit Disney land again unless I went on a Monday thru Thursday schedule. Hope this helps. Have a great time!
S.W. answers from San Francisco on May 07, 2009
We stayed at Anaheim Desert Inn & Suites which is right across the crosswalk into the park. Totally convenient and very affordable. Their continental breakfast that is included isn't much... cereal, toast, coffee & juice, and fruit. We brought our own peanut butter to give the kids some protein before heading out for the big days. 3 days is sufficient to get a good taste of the park but we were there in January. I would think about the deal that they have which is 5 nights for the price of 3 right now to accomodate for longer wait times in summer. I also heard that the disney hotels are offering that same deal.
A.O. answers from San Francisco on May 07, 2009
We learned the hard way what NOT to do the first year that we went to Disneyland with our son (who was 11 at the time). Hubby and I hadn't been in around 20 years either.
Here's what we learned to do:
1. Stay at a Residence Inn (we stayed at the Residence Inn Maingate), where they serve a full continental breakfast. They serve (buffet style)waffles, pancakes, french toast, sausage, bacon, eggs, potatoes, stuff for breakfast burritos, kid's cereal, granola, adult cereals, bagels, toast, fresh fruit, yogurt, milk, coffee, and juice. Just be sure to get there early, because at the last minute, it's hard to find a table.
They have a FULL kitchen (fridge, stove, microwave, dishes, utensils, etc. And THEY will do the clean-up) in the room too, so we bought groceries for lunch and dinner after we got down there. They have rooms with one bedroom, which features 2 queen size beds. They also have a nice couch in the living area which folds out for a bed. There is a pool on the grounds, as well as a coin-op laundry. They have a shuttle to Disneyland that you pay a little extra for. We decided to:
2. Pay to park at Disney. It's one price, and you can go in and out of Disney as many times during the day as you need to.
3. Pack your lunch. We bought stuff for sandwiches, along with fresh fruit and chips. We took water bottles with the Crystal Light on the Go packets. They have a little picnic area outside the main gate, where you can take your lunch, but many people also sit at the little tables just outside the locker room on Main Street.
4. Speaking of the locker room, get a large locker (just inside Disneyland on Main Street) the first thing, when you arrive. I think it's about $14 for the entire day, but it is totally worth it! That way, you can take your lunch in a soft cooler, as well as a backpack with extras like shoes or socks or clothes, in case you get wet or cold.
5. Wear comfortable shoes!!!! Can't emphasize that enough.
6. Use the "Fast Pass" as much as you can. You can only have one out at a time, per ticketholder, but it will save you time. You'll get a little pass that tells you when to come back to that particular ride. So plan your time around that. Then with the Fast Pass, you won't have to stand in a LONG line...you can go right in.
7. The last time we went to Disneyland, which was last year, we wanted to take advantage of the time we had there, but we didn't want to overdo it. Our son is special needs, and while he is fully mobile, he only has 1/2 a heart, and has a pronounced limp because of strokes, so it was imperative to not overdo it. We kept hydrating with lots of water, because when we went, it was in the 100's.
To not overdo it, we got to the park between 9:30 and 10:00 in the morning. We would meet back at the lockers to eat lunch around noon. Then, around 4 or 5 pm, we would head back to the hotel. We would fix dinner, and either go swimming, take a nap, or just watch tv. I know, you can watch tv anywhere, but believe me, it was good to just relax, sitting down!
Then, we headed back to the park around 7pm, using the SAME parking pass which we had purchased in the morning. (You can even leave your backpack and cooler in the lockers while you're gone...just don't leave your valuables.)
The park was open until midnight, so we had another 4 or 5 hours to play.
We didn't carry a lot of bags around the park. My husband carried a backpack with lots of cold water bottles, and we had a camera bag, which we were able to fit inside a Ziploc bag for the wet rides. Inside the camera bag, we kept Band-aids, hand sanitizer, neosporin, ibuprofen, and a couple of other necessities. We had lanyards where we kept our tickets, because you need them handy when you get your Fast Passes.
We did end up eating one meal at a restaurant outside the park, and we did buy a frozen treat inside the park, because it was SO hot! We did a two day park pass, and it seemed to be the perfect amount of time.
If you go to the Disneyland website, you can find good deals on tickets. Usually even better than if you go through a "go-between". They have all sorts of different options, including hotel and ticket packages. They have options where you can get early entry into the park, or meals with the characters.
Weekdays are definitely better than weekends, but in the summer, it won't matter much. It will be crowded no matter what.
I hope this helps. Just remember, to have fun, and really see Disneyland through your children's eyes. It truly IS a magical place when you want it to be. :-)
K.H. answers from San Francisco on May 07, 2009
There is a website, getawaytoday.com that is really good. It lets you choose what kind of hotel you want, economy to luxury. They often run specials where you get a couple of free hopper passes to the park when you book 3 nights or more, and sometimes they offer a 4th night free. They tell you how far the hotel is from the park - and there is always a shuttle if it is too far to walk. If you plan on doing the hopper passes, and go between Disneyand and California Adventures (which is what I recommend), I think you need at least 3 days. Just my opinion. I love Disneyland, and we try to go almost every year...good luck and have fun!