1st Disneyland trip, and only for 1 day

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by 2009CAN, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. 2009CAN

    2009CAN Mouseketeer

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    I've been to WDW at least a dozen times, know what to expect, stay on-site, love magic bands, etc.

    I will be in LA for work and have the opportunity to stay and extra day and visit Disneyland by myself, no one else with me (last week of November)

    What do I need to know for a 1st time, 1 day trip?
    Do I get the hopper?
    Do I say on-site? Is there an off-site I can walk to the park from?
     
  2. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    Start here: A DLR Guide for WDW Vets. This thread will give you a good idea of the differences and similarities between WDW and DLR so you'll know what to expect.
    As for hotels: yes, there are many off site hotels that are walking distance and relatively affordable. See this thread: www.disboards.com/threads/choosing-the-right-hotel-for-you.3656512/.
    You'll be at DLR during Holiday Time (a lovely time at the resort!). The first post in this thread has lots of info on Holiday Time's offerings: OFFICIAL 2018 Christmas & Holiday Time at DLR Superthread!!.
    Hopping is super easy at DLR. Whether you get a park hopper ticket depends on your priorities. How much time will you have? What do you want to see/do/focus on, especially for a first trip? Rides, rides, rides? History, especially of Walt's original park? See things you've always heard about?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  4. WonkaKid

    WonkaKid DIS Veteran

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    This is my POV. Others may disagree.

    1. Don't get a park-hopper. There's plenty to see/do at Disneyland alone in one day. Getting a PH might make you feel obliged to run around too much. Moreover, DL is a way better park.
    2. Target the attractions that are important to you and concentrate on those. Max Pass is handy but not essential.
    3. We used to stay at the Candy Cane Inn, which is about a ten-minute walk from the Harbor entrance. It's a very decent place and reasonably priced. The Grand Californian is nice buy profoundly overpriced.
    4. Absolutely rope drop if you can. Friends and I always say/joke when we RD on Sundays that we get more done between 8:00 and 10:00 than we do for the rest of the day. It may be a slight exaggeration but not much :-).

    Hope you have a great time! What day of the week will you be there? Hopefully it's not an EMH day at DL (Tues, Thurs and Sat).
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
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  5. Geemo

    Geemo DIS Veteran

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    For a one day trip I wouldn't stay onsite. For the cost, there isn't time to appreciate what the hotels have to offer.

    If the hours are long and you'll be there the whole day a hopper ticket is a MUST! What day of the week will you be in the parks?
    Figure out where you want to stay and book now.
    The places on Harbor are easy walks to the park. I go often on solo trips and I feel safe staying on Harbor.
    For quick trips I like the Tropicana or Desert Inn & suites. Nothing special but they have always been clean and comfortable.

    Start at park opening and enjoy your day.

    Geemo
     
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  6. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    No magic bands at DLR. We have free legacy FP or the digital version, MaxPass ($10/person/day -- comes with free PhotoPass for the day). Download the free Disneyland app now and start getting used to it. It will save so much time if you already know how to use it. Have a credit card on file and you'll be able to use Mobile Ordering, too. You can buy your ticket through the app and go straight to the gates. The CM at the turnstile will print you a paper ticket which you can use at the FP machines and to scan in at the FP return lines (unless you want to use MP or scan your ticket on the app). You will need the paper ticket if you want a free FP for Fantasmic! (if it is showing on your visit date). What is the date of your visit? If you want the best view of F!, and it is showing on your date, I would suggest booking a dining package (Hungry Bear is the cheapest and most flexible), maybe for the second show -- dining package reserved viewing is the most front and center, all seated on the ground.
    Agree with the above poster that the Candy Cane Inn is a great hotel. They offer various discounts, so check to see if you qualify for something. I also agree with the other poster that staying on site is probably not worth the high cost for just a one day visit. But if you have time before you leave the next day, you could book breakfast at Steakhouse 55 in the DLH -- that is a great breakfast and would let you at least see one of the on site hotels should you want to stay there in the future.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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  7. SOCALMouseMommy

    SOCALMouseMommy DIS Veteran

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    I would most definitely get a park hopper with MaxPass! Get to the gates at rope drop to take advantage of the early morning hours with few crowds... what day of the week will you be going?
     
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  8. PinkHelloKitty

    PinkHelloKitty Earning My Ears

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    You definitely do not need to stay onsite, it's crazy expensive and 2/3 hotels are just as far if not farther than many of the hotels on Harbor. As a solo adventurer you'll be able to accomplish a lot even if you're only there for a day. I recommend getting a park hopper since you're a WDW vet so you'll be able to see a lot of your favorites plus experience California Adventure. Maxpass, starting early, and taking advantage of single rider when available will let you do all the attractions you want at least once. My SO and I only go up for 1-2 days as well and we still accomplish SO MUCH especially with Maxpass. Have fun!!
     
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  9. darph nader

    darph nader <font color=green>Went APE-CRAZY with suvies<br><f

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    If you haven't already,,book your room asap.
     
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  10. midnight star

    midnight star DIS Veteran

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    I would get a one day parkhopper with maxpass (don't pass out when you see the price though, lol). Learn how to use maxpass. I learned on youtube. One day trips are very tiring but so much fun. Over the summer I went with some friends who hadn't gone in a while, and we did a total of 17 rides in a 12 hour period.
     
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  11. WonkaKid

    WonkaKid DIS Veteran

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    Seventeen rides in twelve hours? Wow! Was the park closed to everyone but you that day? ;-).
     
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  12. webcreatrix

    webcreatrix Mouseketeer

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    I have the same opportunity, November 3-4. What I've found is with the Good Neighbor hotels, you have to book two nights, so I opted for Paradise Pier. Would have loved to save the $, but didn't find it possible.
     
  13. ExcitedMama

    ExcitedMama DIS Veteran

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    If you have any flexibility on your day, to go before or after your work days, check out the calendar so you can see the entertainment offerings. DL is much more limited on its nighttime shows and fireworks. If you want to see Fantasmic you have to do a dinner package. Have a great time!
     
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  14. MrJT

    MrJT Collector of Mickey Merch

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    My wife, son and I are driving from San Antonio to Redding, CA for the week of Thanksgiving. My wife and I talked about going for one day right after Thanksgiving, on our way back home. To save money, we would have just done one park and make the best of it. In the end, we decided that it was still going to be too expensive for an extra day on our trip from San Antonio to Redding, CA.
     
  15. midnight star

    midnight star DIS Veteran

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    LOL! it was a mix of low crowds, maxpass, and walking fast between rides. We even had time for snack and meal breaks!
     
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  16. WonkaKid

    WonkaKid DIS Veteran

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    If there were a Nobel Prize for Disneyland, you'd win it ;-).
     
  17. smartlabelprint

    smartlabelprint DIS Veteran

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    I’ve never heard of that. Through Disney site?
     
  18. ColoradoMom!!

    ColoradoMom!! Disneyland 1971 with Mickey and Me

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    I never reply to disagree and be a busy body - but .....

    Look again. I just put in a dummy reservation for some hotels near by - and there is some great availability at decent prices. They may not be listed as "Good Neighbor" hotels, but that doesn't mean they aren't awesome. Many are walkable, and with the savings, you could consider an Uber too

    Agree Smartlabelprint - she maybe only looked through a Disney or other TA type site.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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  19. Winnowill

    Winnowill DIS Veteran

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    Last Christmas week, we did 36 attractions (including World of Color and Mickey & the Magical Map) in two days, one of which hit capacity (happily, that was the day we were doing DCA). On day 1, we also took a three-hour break. We didn't take a break on day 2, but we were done (exhausted) by 9:00 pm. It can be done in any crowd level with judicious use of MaxPass.
     
  20. midnight star

    midnight star DIS Veteran

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    Holy cow! I must learn from you! Lol :worship:
     
  21. cinnaminny

    cinnaminny Mouseketeer

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    I would try to stay across the street. Its a quick walk to the maingate. I would get the park hopper w/mpass. It is so easy to switch parks, to me CA is worth in the very least a walk through.

    How exciting, for you though! You're going to get to see what Pirates of the Caribbean is really supposed to be like. ;) Seriously though, the classics are pretty great at Disneyland. The Haunted Mansion during the holidays is my favorite, I love the Nightmare before Christmas theme. Its pretty great.
     
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