* Time of Year: Spring
* Travel Method: Plane, Rental Car
* Resort: Desert Inn and Suites
* Ages Represented in Group: Elementary, Adult
* Disneyland Experience Represented in Group: Virtual Rookie -- it had been years (but WDW Vets)
* Comments: Judy provides a taste of the new Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and the wonderful experience of visiting Disney's original park. Particularly helpful for trip planners is the lists of hints and tips and favorite attractions that Judy provides to summarize the report.
* May 31- June2
* Plane, Rental car, walking !
* Desert Inn and Suites
* Parlor Suite
* Family of veterans
Hi, we got back yesterday from the magic kingdom of Disneyland, and I want to share our trip with you while it is fresh in my mind. Our family consists of David ( 38 and CPA ) Judy ( 36 and RN ) and Mackenzie ( 7 and ready to start 2nd grade ). We are all veterans of anything Disney ! So, you are probably asking yourself why we would be venturing to DL in the Summer? Good question. We are confirmed off-season travelers, however the timing for this trip was built around visiting Daves 2 sisters and his father. And, the only thing we could think of that was worse than touring DL in the summer, was being in Los Angeles and not visiting DL at all! I was also curious about how bad it would really be since we have avoided it for the last 20 years.
Day 1 ( 5-31 )
We didnt want to get stuck in morning traffic , so after sleeping in and eating a hearty breakfast at I HOP , we got on the road to Anaheim. We drove straight to our hotel.
Desert Inn and Suites on Harbor Blvd
We arrived at 1:00. They did let us check in, but our room wasnt ready. So we parked the car, and changed into our shorts in their restroom. We were then off to the park by 1:30. One of the reasons I picked this hotel is because of its location. It is located on Harbor right next to the cross walk that allows you to walk safely to DL. This used to be some what of a pain since you were dodging around parked cars in the parking lot. But with the new construction for the CA park addition , the parking lots are no longer ! DL parking is practically " off Campus " by the convention center. What is now in this area where we walk is the tram and courtesy van loading areas. this has made it even more convivent to walk as there is now a straight paved pathway that leads right to the front gate.
So, we exchanged our ticket vouchers for our flex passes. (We had purchased a package from Southwest airlines that included our 3 round trip airfares, rental car for the week, and (3) 5 day passes, for $888) and were in the park at 2:00.
My first impression was one of disappointment . It just wasnt the same walking through the tunnel at midday in the heat. But one look at my daughters face and I knew that she wasnt having the same problems. As usual we headed straight for Fantasyland. We rode everything but Dumbo, and once again I was reminded how superior Dls fantsyland is to the one at WDWs Magic Kingdom.
Next we headed to Tomorrowland to scope out the changes. One of the things I have never understood about WDWs Tomorrowland is "what is with the rocks ? " The red rocks which guard its entrance has nothing to do with the space theme. So, it was with amazement that I saw that the first addition to the new Tomorrowland at DL is.......Red rock formations at the entrance ! Once we beyond that the new themeing is terrific. The astro orbitor is the same ride , but very snazzy new exterior. All of the entrances to the rides have been re-done and make it easy to find what you want. The fountain is a ton of fun especially on a hot day. One of my favorite new things is the sculpture that is where the old rockets where. It plays music every half hour or so, that is very well done and fits with the theme. The Star tours and Space mountain rides havent changed, but are excellent as is. The Honey I shrunk the audience is good. I couldnt pick up any differences from the WDW version. The Rocket Rods are a BUST ! DO not stand in line for this one! They were just fast enough not to be relaxing like the old beloved people mover, but not fast enough to be thrilling. This ride might be good for people who are afraid of roller coasters, but like the feel of the wind in their hair.
Around now we were feeling hot and hungry and crowded so we left the park and headed back to the Hotel. We picked up our key, and unloaded the car. We had booked a parlor suite for $89 a night. The room wasnt fancy, but had a microwave, fridge, TV, and a couch area separate from the beds. Another good thing about our hotel was the Dennys restaurant right next door.
We all felt much better after a dinner of "real" food, and a rest in our room. So we changed into long pants and headed back to the park. It was so much nicer returning to the park in the cool evening. Nighttime is my favorite time at DL. This time we branched out to the other lands , and caught up on our favorites. We ended the night with the 10:30 showing of Fantasmic. It is great. We didnt even stand in line to get a good seat, instead we had been riding Indiana Jones! A great ride ! So, we just leaned against the wall of the Pirates of the Caribbean bridge, Dave put Kinzer on his shoulders, and it was still enjoyable. After that we headed to our beds!
Well, we did 2 more days, but let me skip to the summary lists !
Our personal top 5 lists
1. Space Mountain
2. Indiana Jones
3. Big Thunder Mountain
4. Star Tours
5. Honey I shrunk the audience
1. Space Mountain
2. Indiana Jones
3. Big Thunder Mountain
4. Pirates of the Caribbean
5. Tea Cups
1. Space Mountain
2. Tea cups/Alice in Wonderland
3. Small World
4. Casey Junior train
5. King Arthurs Carousel
Best places to be at Dl when its hot and lines are long
1. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
2. Small World
3. Bear country Jamboree
4. Tom Sawyer Island
5. Your hotel swimming pool
Rides to avoid if your kids are afraid of the dark, or evil witches !
1. Snow White
4. Haunted Mansion
My Favorite things to do at DL
1. Walking down mainstreet in the early morning or just after dusk
2. Eating a late breakfast on the River Bell terrace
3. Offering to take pictures of families so they all can be in the picture
4. Listening to music in New Orleans square, and eating jambolaya at the same time !
5. Sitting by the river on the west side of Thunder mountain ( just take the back pathway from Fantasyland , youll find it ).
My biggest pieces of advice
1. Always focus on having fun. If you are not, have a family conference and do something else! Some options are returning to your hotel for a rest or swim, or getting a decent meal off site. Otherwise see my suggestions for rides at the park that are cool and usually have short lines.
2. Especially if you go during the summer, get there 30 min prior to the stated opening. If you have an early "magic morning", use it to ride the popular rides.
3. Dont cheat yourself out of DL at night. It is wonderful. Nap during the day if you need to.
4. Bring a backpack full of snacks and water bottles. Also sunscreen, clean socks, visors, hand lotion, anything that will make you comfortable.
5. Part of the Disney Magic is helping others have fun. Smile at people, make small talk in line, sing along with the songs, keep complaints to yourself.
6. Consider staying at the hotels in the 1600 block of Harbor Blvd. The ability to walk to DL is great!
In conclusion, I would never choose to tour the parks during summer or holidays. I like my Disney unhurried. It is also just extra special to leave the snow of Boise and come to the flowers of Disney in the winter. However, if you have at least 2 days ( one with early entry ) it is possible to see it all and stay sane.
Judy Bicknell Taylor