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  1. #1
    wendmatt is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    San Antonio TX

    Default Q's about Disneyland

    We are going to San Diego in March and I'd really like to take DD (she'll be 5yrs 4mth) to Disneyland. Is it worth it to go for just one day? Where would be the best parts to go to? I just read the It's a small world is closed for refurbishment. Is that a part that she would like the best and I should put it off until next year? Is California Adventures a great place to go or should I not worry about going there?
    I thought it'd a be a quick easy trip! Ha, my head is spinning just reading a few things.
    Any inexpensive hotels nearby anyone can recommend? We'd prob drive up on a tues, stay at a hotel, go to the park on weds, stay in the hotel and drive back on thursday. Is that a crazy idea? Is it imperative to stay longer?
    Any advice? Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004


    We're Annual Passport holders here but live 2 states away.

    DD is almost 5 and loves It's A Small World, but I wouldn't stay away just b/c of that. If you go during the week when it's not as crowded, you could possibly do DL in a day, though I wouldn't recommend it if you were also planning on watching parades. DL is a LOT to do in a day and at the end it's quite exhausting. Will you have a stroller with you? I think DL is really a 2+ day-hopper park so you don't feel rushed in the park.

    IMO, CA Adventure isn't as exciting, though you could spend the whole day there. It definitely isn't as busy, either. The rides DD likes are Monsters Inc, Soaring Over CA, everything in Bugs Life world, King Triton's carousel on the pier, and Mulholland Drive. Not as much as DL but since it isn't as crowded, we don't get as tired. The thing is that to me, it doesn't feel as "Disney" IYKWIM. No princesses, which DD loves. (Although I do think that the Princess lunch is @ Ariel's Grotto, which is in CA Adv...)

    When we were there in December, Monster's Inc was closed for renovation. I don't know when they're opening that up. Also, I heard rumors that they're remodeling CA Adv (but the park will be open) since it isn't living up to the projected revenues they were hoping for, but I don't know the specifics (date, which parts, etc.) on that.

  3. #3
    SnuggleBuggles is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Sep 2005


    We did Disneyland in a day (a Wed.) with our 5year 2 month old and we had a blast! We arrived the night before and stayed at the Embassy Suites down the street. We drove to the park and were in there by 9am. The park was great that time of day! My dh and ds ran back and hopped on the Matterhorn, 10 minute line at that point. Then over to the car ride (can't remember name), got a Fast Pass for it, while waiting for that we did Buzz Lightyear. When they went to the car test track ride the boys scored Dream Fast Passes (I posted a thread about it here if you want to look it up)! We worked our way to the back of the park and had that area a lot to ourselves- it was great!

    The park got really hot and really crowded by mid afternoon. I'd have been happy to have a hotel to go and cool off in since I was pg but we had already checked out. Ds was fine though and probably wouldn't have left.

    My ds doesn't need naps or a stroller anymore (hasn't for years) and he held up great for the day. We finally were in the car at 11-11:30pm that night. We actually drove down to San Diego at that point to visit the grandparents. Your 2 night plan is much better.

    Our Dream Fast Passes allowed us to CA Adverntureland and I really liked it. We went over there around 6pm. We got on 3-4 rides. The Soarin' Over CA ride was *awesome!* But, otherwise I'm not sure I would take the time or money to go over there if I only had a day. However, if you are more into shows than rides it might be worthwhile because there was a good list of shows playing there. We had decided not to but passes to CA Adventureland and probably wouldn't have missed it. I am glad that we got over there though. If $ isn't an object then get the park hopper so you have the option.

    Even if It's a Small World had been open I wouldn't have gone it because I remember the ride being pretty dull...and the song super annoying. Plus, I know ds and know that his interests lie more in the Big Thunder Mountain realm. That ride being closed wouldn't be a deal breaker.

    I truly think that it would be worth it to go for just a day. Sure, you could do more with more time but I think you can hit the highlights in one day. You won't get to see all the shows or do extra activities but that's ok. The rides and park itself are enough for a kid, imo (and enough for me too). I was glad that we were able to get a spot for Fantasmic. I thought that was awesome though a bit scary for ds.

    I'd recommend getting your tickets in advance. We went over to the park the night before we wanted to go and bought our tickets. Then we were able to go right into the park in the morning. The lines can be really long. We were able to park in the short term parking lot (ask about it at your hotel) and then just run in and get the passes.

    I also went through my guidebook and the park map the night before and had a plan in mind.

    Highlights for our family:
    Soarin' over California
    Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    Splash Mountain

    Buzz Lightyear
    Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
    The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
    (all of the above were deemed too scary by ds but he is easily scared)

    We did not bother with Nemo. In the morning the line was about 45-60 minutes long and at peak it got to 3 hours! We asked other people how the ride was. If I had heard it was awesome we would have tried it but no one really raved about it. Good but not that good.

    We didn't make it to ToonTown due to poor planning. I hadn't realized that it would close early due to fireworks.

    Are you going to Legoland while you are in the SD area? It was a lot of fun for my Lego loving kid. They have a water play area, which was good. The rides were pretty darned lame but my ds loves rides. He still had fun. Just don't expect any thrill rides and know that there really aren't any rides worth a very long wait. It was a very relaxed park.

    Sorry for that long, disjointed reply! Bottom line is Go! And have fun!!!


  4. #4
    codex57 is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    Disneyland is doable in one day. You won't hit everything, so you pick and choose. At 5 yrs of age, she's likely not gonna be going on some of the super long line rides like Space Mountain or Indiana Jones.

    I'd take her for sure.

    And skip California Adventure. With only one day, you're going to need every minute in Disneyland. CA is universally regarded as a 2nd choice to Disneyland itself.

  5. #5
    luvmypeanut is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Jun 2003


    You can do it in a day if it's not a really busy day. DD is almost 5 yrs old but still isn't interested in the big rides. We do mostly Fantasyland - Dumbo, Carousel, Alice, Teacups, Casey Jr the train, and Small World. Toontown is great when you need a break as is the Princess Fairy Fair. I wouldn't stand in line there to see the princesses but head over to DCA for a meal at Ariel's Grotto. When we were there in Nov we did an early morning breakfast with the princesses, then headed over for the opening of Disneyland. In Disneyland, we also like the Tiki Room show, Pooh (we also get our pictures with Pooh and friends then check out the candy store), Jungles Cruise and the theatre on Main St where they show the old Mickey cartoons. If you can catch the parade and/or fireworks it's really worth it. In DCA, we mostly do the rides in Bug's Land and the Talk to Crush/the Beast's Library and Monster's Inc.

    We usually stay at the Grand Californian but I've heard the Carousel Inn and Candy Cane Inn are good and close by.

    I agree Legoland would be great for the kids. Mine love it because they can ride almost everything and it's not really scary.
    DD 4/03
    DS 2/05

  6. #6
    Tondi G is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    So. California, USA.


    I think Disneyland can be done in one day... but if you can swing a 2 day park hopper then go for it. that way you can sneak over to the CA adventure and check it out too, if D-land is really crowded! At age 5 your daughter will love it! We have annual passes and our 6 year old and 2 year old LOVE Disneyland. Small world is a great ride but not something to put off a trip for! There is SO much for your DD to do... Anything in Fantasy Land, Autopia, Rocket ships, NEMO submarine voyage (have one person stand in lind and call you on your cell when they get closer to the front... so your DD doesn't get bored!), Winnie the Pooh, haunted mansion (if she is brave), Pirates of the Carribean, JungleCruise, Toon Town!

    As far as hotels go

    across the main entrance is the park place inn or the park Vue inn... something like that (I believe it may be a Best Western). It's decent. Then there is the Howard Johnsons. Another nicer option that you might be able to get a pretty good rate at is the Sheraton Anaheim. My neighbors stayed there and LOVED it... so much that they don't even consider the D-land hotel anymore! Check it out!


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