Disneyland, Anaheim, California, USA
Disney California Adventure, Anaheim, California, USA
My family and I took a little vacation this weekend to the Disneyland resort. We stayed at in a two bedroom unit at the Grand Californian. I know many are familiar with the ins and outs of Disney so I’ll keep it brief.
Early entry was a pretty smooth process and didn’t feel like the herding of cattle that it feels like at Florida. In California early entry is only open to guests of the three Disney hotels. It is limited to 30 minutes but that was plenty of time. We were able to snag rides on some marquee attractions (Webslingers and Space Mountain) with short lines for Rise of the Resistance.
Genie+ doesn’t feel as necessary as it does in Florida. However the value seems to be a better proposition. We were able to score 8, 8, and 10 reservations the three days we were there. Availability of reservations wasn’t a concern either. No scrambling to get a Slinky Dog reservation.
Redeeming Lightning Lane reservations is different at Disneyland than Disney World. The rides have scanners that you place your phone in after clicking redeem on the reservation. I liked that I knew exactly which reservation I was redeeming since we did have a few any time reservation. The ability to modify reservations came in extremely handy. We had to take our daughter to the ER (more on this later) but were able to change some reservations.
I know we’ve had lengthy discussions about the rides at the two resorts but I generally prefer the rides at Disneyland to the Florida counterparts when they are not exact clones. My daughter was a huge fan of the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay on Haunted Mansion. I do love that both parks are in walking distance between each other. That makes park hopping super easy!
Storytellers Cafe was a fantastic buffet with some of the best Turkey I’ve ever had. We had reservations for Wine Country Trattoria for our second night but we’re not able to make those (maybe next time?). Instead we ended up snagging some pizza from Napolini Pizzeria in Downtown Disney. Not Chicago quality pizza but pretty good nonetheless.
The less than good
I know rides don’t always work but we had some rotten luck. On our first day at DCA Radiator Springs, Goofy’s Sky School, Little Mermaid, and Monsters Inc. were down for most of the first two hours the park was open. Space Mountain was also very spotty that day as well. Mickey and Minnie had a ton of downtime but that was to be expected from a new ride on opening weekend. The silver lining is that some of our reservations turned to anytime reservations.
Overall we had a ton of great interactions with staff members but a few rubbed us the wrong way. Since Mickey and Minnie is brand new the ride is on virtual queue. Snagging a reservation during the 1pm window was not an issue for us on the first day. The app said we should expect a callback in about two hours. Unfortunately downtime kept pushing that window back right in to our 5:30 dinner reservations. We asked a cast member who basically said either you miss out on the virtual queue or skip your dining reservation. Turns out that wasn’t true at all as were able to go straight through even though we missed our window by 15 minutes after dinner.
Our second lukewarm interaction happened when we tried to cancel our dining reservation for the second night. We explained that we were in the ER with our daughter and would not be able to make our reservation. The customer service rep told us that because we missed the two hour cancellation window we may be charged. Hmmm.
To be clear this is not Disney’s fault. My daughter inherited my natural grace and smacked her head super hard on the table in our hotel room after tripping. Luckily she didn’t have a concussion but ended up opening a 1/2 inch gash in her head that needed stitches. Thinking that a theme park is a decent place to need medical attention we called down to the front desk. They sent up a nurse within a few minutes that recommended we take her to the ER since she didn’t have the capability to suture the wound. The nurse and security guard were very helpful in making sure we got where we needed to go.
After a three hour wait in the ER my daughter got three stitches to close the cut up. Her first question to the doctor was “Can I still ride everything at Disney?” Then she asked us if we could go back that night. Sure kiddo!
Other than the ER visit it, was a really good vacation. I am definitely Disneyed out for quite awhile though.
Thanks for the trip report. It obviously doesn't help you now, but VQ boarding group returns are never enforced on the late end. I've been over 10 hours "late" for a Guardians BG and got in just fine.
Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."
A cast member essentially told us the same thing later. We eventually got on the ride but passed on a second opportunity.
Glad your daughter is okay and was able to go back in the parks.
It has actually been nine years this week since I have been to Disneyland. I really want to get back soon.
Nice report. Sorry to hear about your daughter's accident, but it sounds like it didn't slow you down much.
I've run into a less than helpful cast member when trying to cancel a dining reservations (with more than 2 hours notice but no good reason other than a desire to change plans). I don't see why they would give you any trouble for your reason.
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