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Thread: Actual time for Disneyland Resort Express? Check in time for Paradise Pier?

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    Registered User Merih's Avatar
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    Actual time for Disneyland Resort Express? Check in time for Paradise Pier?

    We are flying into SNA at 5:10 on Friday. We chose to skip the rental car and just do the bus. While I lived in LA for three years I never really noted to travel route from SNA to DL. We have two small children who are used to eating dinner by six. If we do not check any bags, gate check our stroller, and run for the 5:30 Express--is it reasonable to expect to make it to Downtown Disney before 6:30? I don't mind carrying our one carry on suitcase and two backpacks while we grab dinner. The website says it is 19 miles/about 30 minutes depending on traffic. Has anyone taken this bus?

    Also, how long does the check in at Paradise Pier take on a Friday evening? Are we completely fooling ourselves into thinking we can get the bus, eat a quick/take out dinner, check in and get the kids to sleep by 8:30? They get up around 5 with the darn sun and usually go to bed at 7.

    Maybe one of us can check in to the hotel while the other goes to grab some take-out? Any tips or restaurant suggestions would be greatly appreciated. As best I can recal SNA has crappy food and it would be best to skip it in favor of a somewhat later dinner.

     

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    ♥ Disney Lover ♥ Jenasweetemotion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merih View Post
    We are flying into SNA at 5:10 on Friday. We chose to skip the rental car and just do the bus. While I lived in LA for three years I never really noted to travel route from SNA to DL. We have two small children who are used to eating dinner by six. If we do not check any bags, gate check our stroller, and run for the 5:30 Express--is it reasonable to expect to make it to Downtown Disney before 6:30? I don't mind carrying our one carry on suitcase and two backpacks while we grab dinner. The website says it is 19 miles/about 30 minutes depending on traffic. Has anyone taken this bus?

    Also, how long does the check in at Paradise Pier take on a Friday evening? Are we completely fooling ourselves into thinking we can get the bus, eat a quick/take out dinner, check in and get the kids to sleep by 8:30? They get up around 5 with the darn sun and usually go to bed at 7.

    Maybe one of us can check in to the hotel while the other goes to grab some take-out? Any tips or restaurant suggestions would be greatly appreciated. As best I can recal SNA has crappy food and it would be best to skip it in favor of a somewhat later dinner.
    A couple of things one it does say the busses arrive every half hour but in our case they usually don't arrive until 10-15 minutes later. Paradise Pier does try to check in people as fast as they can, but it depends on how many people are also trying to check in on your bus or arriving by other means.
    In terms of food the PCH Grill that is in the lobby area has really great food and big portions and might be an option for you to consider, they have great pizza's and such. If you don't think you have time to check in then you can leave your luggage with the bell desk and go where you need to and come back and check in. Just a few options for you
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  4. #3
    Registered User Merih's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenasweetemotion View Post
    A couple of things one it does say the busses arrive every half hour but in our case they usually don't arrive until 10-15 minutes later. Paradise Pier does try to check in people as fast as they can, but it depends on how many people are also trying to check in on your bus or arriving by other means.
    In terms of food the PCH Grill that is in the lobby area has really great food and big portions and might be an option for you to consider, they have great pizza's and such. If you don't think you have time to check in then you can leave your luggage with the bell desk and go where you need to and come back and check in. Just a few options for you
    I mentioned making this post to my husband who was looking up places to eat and thought he'd like to eat in a jazz club or something? He reminded me that we have concierge level which is a separate check in. I hope that means we will move through a little more quickly. I'm not sure how my husband thinks we are going to take the kids out for an extended dinner, though! Sometimes I swear he forgets we have small children! They're going to get up at 5 am regardless of what time they go to sleep! I'm going to push for the hotel place and just remind him that when we have more time next year--or the year after that--and we can send the kids to some kind of child care, that we can indulge in marguritas and jazz!
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenasweetemotion View Post
    In terms of food the PCH Grill that is in the lobby area has really great food and big portions and might be an option for you to consider, they have great pizza's and such. If you don't think you have time to check in then you can leave your luggage with the bell desk and go where you need to and come back and check in. Just a few options for you
    I think this is an excellent suggestion.

    To the OP: You're arriving at 5:00 on a Friday - You might get to DLR by 6:30 but you have to keep in mind, there will be some degree of traffic. It might not be horrible, but from SNA to DL you will be driving with traffic, not against it, and that's assuming your flight arrives on time.

    In addition, being a Friday night, Downtown Disney will be busy.

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    Catching that 5:30 bus assumes that your flight is on time and that you're near the front of the plane. I've had planes where it's taken 30 minutes just to get everyone off. At least SNA is a small airport, so you don't have to worry about being at the far end of the terminal, but I think catching a 5:30 bus with a 5:10 scheduled arrival time is VERY optimistic.

    Cathy

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    Registered User Merih's Avatar
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    Cathy--I made a 6:40 reservation at PCH grill. That allows 70 mins from the 5:30 and 40 minutes from the 6 o'clock shuttle. Hopefully everything will line up nicely--especially since most planes I've been on recently have landed 10-15 early (My husband says they pad the time so they don't have to record late landings)--and we get to the hotel and checked in before dinner. Would love for them to turn down our beds before we get there after dinner so we can put the kiddies to bed.

    We are flying Southwest and will do our best to jump on the plane and get the front-most seats--provided they still skip that whole assigned seating thing? I haven't flown with them in a while because I HATE that feature. But it might come in handy in this case.

     

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    Waiting impatiently for next trip quackinup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merih View Post
    We are flying Southwest and will do our best to jump on the plane and get the front-most seats--provided they still skip that whole assigned seating thing? I haven't flown with them in a while because I HATE that feature. But it might come in handy in this case.
    It's been a while for me too, but I believe if you check-in online the day before you can probably guarantee yourself an A boarding pass so you go on in the first group at least. Then you just have to get to the front of that group.
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    Southwest changed their boarding a year or 2 ago, and then again this month.

    You can check in (or checkin using SWA language - I refuse to make that one word!) 24 hours in advance and you'll get a number and letter. Letters A, B, or C, and numbers 1-60. That will be your actual boarding position, so you don't have to line up when you get to your gate, you can stay seated in the comfy(?) chairs. When the call your group, you'll line up in numeric order (there's stantions in place to help with this) and that's the order you'll board in.

    • Business select gets A1-A16, and they pay for that.
    • A List gets the first set of A17-whatever, and that's based on having flown X number of times in the last 12 months.
    • Next is the people who pay an extra $10/ticket each way to get early bird check in and the 'best' boarding (click here for SW's page about that).
    • Then the rest of the people in the order that you checked in. You can check in 24 hours in advance, so if you're not one of the above groups, I highly recommend doing that at 23 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds before flight time if you're on a popular flight.

    Here's the SW Boarding School website

    If you're flying with children 4 years or under and have a B or C boarding group, you are allowed to board after the As and before the Bs.
    Last edited by Drince88; 09-21-2009 at 09:59 AM. Reason: Added the bullets
    Cathy

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    I went back and checked the last month of Fridays, and they have been within 2-3 mins of touchdown. Remember, when they classify "on-time", they go by landing touchdown time, and not at the gate time. Touchdowns have been in the 4:50pm time frame, they generally need 10-12 mins minimum for taxi to the gate. You should be beginning to deplane about 5:10, so you would be right on time.

    Planning 3 trips at once...

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    Registered User Merih's Avatar
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    Mal--that's awesome. Thanks so much for looking into that for me. I know it doesn't seem like such a big deal--but with kids who are used to going to bed early to get too little sleep the night before a big day--it's enough to make a mama worry! My husband is grumpy enough without the kids being uber-grumpy!

     

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    Oh, wait. Is SNA the airport that has things really backed up on the runways? There was basically a one-way entry from the runways/taxiway to the terminal. It was really ridiculous! I think we were stopped for 10-15 minutes before we got to the gates.

    It was really recently. I remember running into that issue on my flight from New Orleans to John Wayne Labor Day weekend -which means it was either SLC or SNA.

    (Sorry for adding to the worries!)

    Cathy

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    At home in the hills candles71's Avatar
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    We fly Southwest from sacramento to SNA all the time and never have had to wait for a gate if that helps. Now that time on a friday night.... I really hope you get the 5:30 bus. I would also think about packing the kids' dinners. Sandwiches or something, to help with the time frame. Where Southwest pulls in the terminal has, McD's, Starbucks, and Wolfgang puck express (or something like that) As of December.


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    I agree with candles 71... packing them something to eat may be a good idea if you are worried about time. You can't take drinks through security, but I've taken plenty of snacks and stuff without a problem. Also, SNA does have a lot of options for food when you land, it's pricey, but it may be worth it to stave off starving kiddos...

    Churros anyone??

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    Registered User Merih's Avatar
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    You guys are awesome! Thanks so much. I think I'll keep up my optimism and assume we'll make our 6:40 reservation. After all.. it is the happiest place on earth and starting it that way would be great.

     

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    Disney Loving Mommy momlissa's Avatar
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    Not to be a downer, but we took the DL Express for our trip last April. We landed at 8:45 a.m. and arrived at our hotel around noon. I was beyond frustrated. We waited a good hour, then had almost an hour drive in traffic, then had to wait for the bus to drop off every single traveler (we were last). I was so frustrated, we took Super Shuttle on the trip back, even though we'd already paid for DLE. Honestly, I would not choose that option ever again.

    Again, don't mean to be a downer, but just being honest.

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    Registered User Merih's Avatar
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    Momlissa--where were you staying on that trip? Do you think they drop off at the Resort Hotels first and then go on to the good neighbors ones?

     

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    Also, Momlissa, wanted to verify that you were at Orange County aka John Wayne aka Santa Ana aka SNA and not Los Angeles International aka LAX.

    That can make a huge difference.

    Cathy

  19. #18
    A pirate's life for me! misdisney's Avatar
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    I have used the bus several times and it seems like they do drop off the DL resorts first, hope it all works out for ya!

    Looking forward to "Pirates 4" another red carpet premiere....can't wait

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    ♥ Disney Lover ♥ Jenasweetemotion's Avatar
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    They typically do the Resort hotels first, only one time a while back did they go to a good neighbor first and everyone on the bus let the driver know lol. Disneyland Resort Express has always been 10-15 minutes late almost every time, the only complaint was on the way to the airport the bus was a half hour or more late and Hotel guest services was calling them, once the driver got there (PPH) he drove to DLH and told us to switch busses because he was off. We got to the airport 30 minutes before the plane left. So the last time we drove

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merih View Post
    We are flying Southwest and will do our best to jump on the plane and get the front-most seats--provided they still skip that whole assigned seating thing? I haven't flown with them in a while because I HATE that feature. But it might come in handy in this case.
    My mom works for Southwest and as long as you check in 24 hours in advance you should have a really good chance of getting near the front of the plane. If you forget to check in and end up in the B or C boarding group then you board after the A's but before the B's & C's in the family boarding. It usually runs really smoothly as long as long as people are where they are supposed to be and not holding up the whole line.

    Another suggestion is that one of you sit on the aisle seat and as soon as they pull up to the gate and bring the jetway up you jump up and grab your stuff out of the overhead bin so that you're ready to go when everyone starts exiting the plane.

  22. #21
    Registered User sierranevada's Avatar
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    Are you set on using the DR Express Bus? Supershuttle is fast and inexpensive and they also have numerous vans waiting at SNA airport. Supershuttle is $10/pp (under 3 yrs old are free). The fastest option is taxi. Not sure what the Bus cost is for 4 people but a taxi is about $35-$40. Otherwise, definitely bring snacks and I think making the PCH Grill ressies was a great idea. Yes, you should have a separate check in line at PPH for concierge so that should help. But if it looks too long, one of you can go straight to PCH and at least get the kid's food order while the other checks in.

    Have a great time!



     

  23. #22
    Macabre Debutante leota's necklace's Avatar
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    I would advise against SuperShuttle. Granted, I only have experience with them at LAX and not SNA; and the OP will be arriving at a busy time so the driver may not need to try and fill up the van -- but my last two or three experiences with SS involved an endless series of laps around the airport to pick up enough fares to fill the van, followed by stops out in Placentia and beyond before heading to the Resort. DLExp will go whether the bus is full or not and will head to the Resort hotels first.

    Going back to the airport, no problem with SS, but leaving the airport and trying to get a vacation started on a schedule -- I'd steer clear.


  24. #23
    Registered User Merih's Avatar
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    THe two times I've taken the Supershuttle--I thought I was going to die. NO THANKS! THose drivers are cuh-razee! when I wasn't riding with them, I've had them cut me off on the highway trying to get an exit from three lanes over. I'll take the possible delays on an actual bus over that stuff!

     

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