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finally booked - still have questions though!

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Christchurch, New...
posts: 20
reviews: 1
finally booked - still have questions though!

Hi - our trip is finally booked! After many delays (caused mainly by the Christchurch earthquakes) we have finally booked, and have just a few days in Anaheim on our way to the UK. We will be in Anaheim arriving 14 Dec, leaving 19 Dec, a family of 5 with children aged 5, turning 7(on the 18th) and 9. Although there is so much to see and do in the area, thanks to your earlier advice we have decided to just concentrate on the Disneyland Resort. Although it is at the top of our budget we are planning to stay at the Disneyland hotel, but I guess what I really want is some advice as to whether my thoughts for doing so make it worth it to stretch the budget! - Our reasons are mainly based on the fact that we will be able to make use of the early entry to both parks. We are definitely morning people, and think we would be able to get a lot done in that first hour, especially as I am assuming it will be busy at that time? Also we are thinking about adding on the concierge. I would love to hear from anyone who has done this and especially whether we could get away with not going out to dinner with the kids every night if we did so - ie. is there enough food there to fill them up (not huge eaters - more picky/browers). Last question (for now : ) if we did stay at the DH, would it be worth while getting an Annual Pass for one of us to take advantage of the discounts? (Rest will be getting the 10 day pass). A few years ago when we first planned on going, the resort hotels had great specials come up around sept-oct for Dec dates, but I didn't see them at all last year - does anyone anything about likely specials for this year, or is it more just a wait-and-see situation? Thank you in advance - TA has been invaluable so far, and we are all very excited to have our flights booked at last.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Anaheim, St. George
posts: 15,353
reviews: 83
1. Re: finally booked - still have questions though!

Your dates should be fairly busy, but, before the majority of Schools take thier 2 week Christmas Break, alot will take it starting Dec 20th for 2013. Weather is likely to be somewhat unpredictable since it will be cooler weather and possibilities of rain in Dec.

Yes, Disneyland Hotels discounts are unpredictable as well and are sometimes offered. There is no way of knowing for sure from year to year what discounts may be offered by Disney. They do offer discounts for Annual Passholder all year long, as well as usually some specials for them during certain times of the year as well. Its possible that if you purchase an Annual Pass for one of you, it may pay for the extra of the cost from the regular tickets you are getting and the Annual pass with the discount on Hotels. Whether or not it will save you more, you would need to work it up to see. Usually the standard Deluxe Annual Pass offers its 10 to 15% off on some restaurants at Disneyland, and 10 to 15% off on Disney owned Hotels, and some specials of around 20 to 30% off, but I think those are unlikely to be happening in Dec, but again, no way to know what may be offered.

But, since you have about 5 days at Disneyland, Im not sure an early entry each day would really be needed imo.

Im not sure anyone can really advise you much as far as whether to spend the extra money or not as some people think its important to have the early entry, as well as perks of staying at a Disney owned Hotel, and some do not. I think you will just have to decide if its worth it to you or not.

Edited: 11:33 pm, May 10, 2013
Christchurch, New...
posts: 20
reviews: 1
2. Re: finally booked - still have questions though!

Thank you Happy, and I know you are right in that only we can decide - we are just having problems making the final decision :) I think one reason the early entry is so important is that I'm not sure how the kids will handle crowds - we have moved to a very small town since the earthquakes, and the highest building is 2 levels high, and not many people! So we were thinking that we would try to do as much as possible when it was quieter. I also just remembered another question - my daughter will be turning 7 on the 18th, and although I don't like the idea of the full Bibbidy boutique thingy (sure she would love it but although I'm OK with dress ups I can't cope with make-up on my little one) but can we just go in and buy an outfit or is there somewhere else we can do that? Also really like the idea of Goofys Kitchen but I have a peanut allergy - do I need to be concerned about blobs of peanut-butter pizza lying about? Thank you again

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Anaheim, St. George
posts: 15,353
reviews: 83
3. Re: finally booked - still have questions though!

One thing to keep in mind, is that the first few hours after regular opening time have the least crowds, so you would still have substantially less crowds during that time as well regardless of whether you stayed at a Disney owned Hotel or not.

Also for you time period, hours are still likely to be somewhat shortened during the daytime, around 9am till 9 or 10pm. M-Thurs and longer hours on Fri, Sat, Sun. Since its Christmastime at Disneyland there should be a nightly Fireworks show, but no Fantasmic except on weekends, Fri,Sat,Sun

As far as the Bibbidy bobbity boutique, you can just purchase one of thier dresses at the Boutique and do things yourself.

I have no idea how safe things would be for you at a buffet type of meal. However, Disneyland does offer meals for those with allergies if you contact them ahead of time to make arrangements. Heres more info.

…go.com/plan/…

Btw, make sure to go to either City Hall,or ask a Castmember about a Birthday Button for your child, its very fun, and the Castmembers do notice and wish them a personal Happy Birthday ect. Heres some ideas that are offered at Disneyland for Birthdays.

…go.com/special-occasions/birthdays/

Info on Christmastime at Disneyland wont likely be out yet for quite a while, but here is last years info that should help you see what may be going on, including the Candlelight Processional which should be about the same this year and be showing during your time period which brings in larger crowds to Disneyland for that event.

wdwinfo.com/disneyland/…holiday-season.htm

Edited: 12:50 am, May 11, 2013
Cooroy, Australia
posts: 684
reviews: 44
4. Re: finally booked - still have questions though!

Just a a note on the Bibbidy bobbity boutique , my girls had a make over and I could hardly tell they were wearing any make up and it's a little bit of eye shadow and some lip gloss. The hair styles are amazing and we also had their nails painted. You are given the left over polish and eyeshadow a as a keepsake. They both looked and felt like princesses ( ages 5/7 ).

We stayed at the Paradise Pier Hotel and upgraded to conceirge . I know the food is a little different at Disneyland Hotel but we we ate there before heading back to park at night and found we only needed a snack ( shared turkey leg etc) there was 4 of us. I found it worth while for breakfast too and being able to take snacks and water into the park.

We also took advantage of the early mornings ( 3 days of our 5 day tix) and we had a great time , went on many rides multiple times before the main opening time.

Have a great time :)

Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 23,686
reviews: 13
5. Re: finally booked - still have questions though!

If it was my money, I would stay at the Sheraton Park and upgrade to their "club" (aka Concierge) rooms. A lot cheaper, about the same distance to the park entrance, and IMHO better service and property.

SoCal
posts: 4,127
reviews: 7
6. Re: finally booked - still have questions though!

DLH is a great hotel. The Sheraton Park can't be compared to the DLH if what you want is a Disney themed hotel with a really great pool area. If the DLH is in budget, just stay there. I have stayed there several times and never been disappointed and the kids loved it. As for concierge, I have not done it but it is hard to give an opinion without knowing the price difference. How much extra is it? On costumes, they are sold at multiple places in the park and at World of Disney in DTD, not just the BBB. Also, if there is a specific size and costume your daughter really wants, you may want to obtain it at home and bring it with you. You cannot count on exactly what you want being in stock. AP discounts, how much extra is the AP vs. the ticket you plan to buy?

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 13,611
reviews: 57
7. Re: finally booked - still have questions though!

One thing to consider, I think, is jet lag. Assuming you're flying from Christchurch, you're looking at, it appears 14 or 15 hours of flying and layovers, plus time to get to the airport in NZ and to Disneyland from LAX. LA is about 19 hours earlier than NZ (or, more practically, 5 hours later) which should help you in the morning, but I still can't imagine your body clocks being "correct" the first day or two, and that might interfere with doing things in the early morning.

Christchurch, New...
posts: 20
reviews: 1
8. Re: finally booked - still have questions though!

Hi again - thank you all for the great advice - not sure whether we are any closer to a decision, but lots of things to think about! Thank to to Happy again for the great links - love looking at the Christmas stuff! Darkbeer I think we did look at the Sheraton Park but we were told in an email that they only fit 4 in their club level rooms? We have looked at Paradise Pier too, and may still go there as when I look at the full prices the difference in concierge alone seems huge - are they really that different? Yes jet leg may be a feature, but I guess we are just trying to have our options as wide as possible. The same reasoning goes for the concierge thoughts - much as we would love to go out every night and experience great food, having 3 potentially tired, grumpy and fussy kids along would not make for a good night for anyone including others around us :) The actual figures are actually a little scary - the difference between a 10 day pass and a deluxe AP is $270USD (10 day pass is $300, AP is 469) - so I think we would make back the difference (depending on the discount offered) just on the hotel, let alone any other shopping/eating? When I look at the concierge, I am all of the sudden thinking PP again - the DLH is not only much more expensive for the room, but over twice as much to add on the concierge (615 or 1255!). These are full rates, but even so that is a lot - it is a good thing I have been looking at London and Hong Kong prices as well as they are even more expensive and make Anaheim in general seem pretty good value! Thank you all again for your time and advice- I'm sure I will have many more questions to come : )

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Anaheim, St. George
posts: 15,353
reviews: 83
9. Re: finally booked - still have questions though!

Little bit of "fuzzy" math there ;) ..... $469 -$300 is $169 :) ....So, maybe a better value than you thought?

You may find just a little bit of preparation in regards to meals may save you quite alot. Alot of people will just take snacks with them into the Park, or eat a power bar, ect before going into the Park. Then in a few hours they have a late Breakfast ( brunch) as prices within the Park at the Pacific Warf Cafe, or the Tomorrowland Terrace which serves a great breakfast for about $6 per person. They feature fresh Scrambled eggs and Cheese, a Fresh Crossant, fresh Fruit, and bacon, or Oatmeal Cereal. Its usually served until about 10:45am. Which would avoid spending money on one meal really per day.

If you are thinking of using the Concierge service at a Hotel, I would also suggest doing that at a less expensive Hotel which may make it worth the extra Cost.

Christchurch, New...
posts: 20
reviews: 1
10. Re: finally booked - still have questions though!

cripes Happy you are so right - my mind obviously got confused converting from NZ$ to US$ - well that's my story anyway - I have to admit I haven't really seen any other hotels in the area that offered concierge other than the resort hotels and the Sheraton Park - have I missed something obvious?