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Nervous first time Disney Land family holiday.

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Sydney, Australia
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Nervous first time Disney Land family holiday.

Hello friends,

This will be our first trip to Disneyland (6 adults and 7 kids). We will be there from Sep 12nd to Sep 19th . I am getting some great advice from this forum.

We have booked the Desert&Palm hotel to stay for the whole 7 days and car also booked and picking up at Lax. Please help with those below .

Is it Desert&Palm hotel is a good ,safe and close enough to the parks ?

Best place to buy parks tickets? should we buy it from the hotel we stay ?

We thinking of buying The Southern California CityPass but don't know which park to go first. ?

As we have a fair few of kids,should we bring any things with us to the parks (water-foods)?

Are cost of meals and drink in the parks expensive ? Options ?

Thanks in advance.

Daniel.Ng

Las Vegas, Nevada
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for Anaheim, St. George
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1. Re: Nervous first time Disney Land family holiday.

Welcome to forum posting 651Post

For you dates, you would have a few things to consider when planning what you may want to do......

>>Your dates should have relatively light crowds, except for Sept 13th-15 which is very likely Imo to be the starting weekend of Halloweentime based on previous years info. ( but no official info will be out usually till at least July) The Starting weekend brings in larger crowds especially locals to see the new decor.

However, also the only time that Fireworks and Fantasmic shows would be showing for your dates, since they are usually only on the weekends in Sept, Fri,Sat,Sun. alot of Sept. Hours usually are 10am till 8pm M-Thurs., and 8am till 12pm Fri,Sat,Sun.

>>The Haunted Mansion as well as Space Mountain are usually closed till the start of Halloweentime during at least the week before Halloweentime starts, so likely both would still be closed on Sept 12.

Heres more info on Halloweentime from last years info which may be helpful.

wdwinfo.com/Disneyland/Events/Halloween.htm

You may also want to keep in mind that mid Sept is usually the hottest month of the year to visit Disneyland with a Hot wind. Here is a good thread with ways to keep cool at Disneyland, although its for August, the same info would apply. See reply # 7 of this thread.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29092-i65-k439647… Anaheim_California.html

Heres a Map of Hotels in the Disneyland area so you can see where things are located. The Disneyland Main Entrance is off of Harbor Blvd near where it says "East Shuttle Area" on the Map. As you can see, there are many smaller Motels, some well rated in very close walking distance that would likely be quite a bit less costwise, and have larger family suites, such as the Anaheim Desert Inn, Best Western Park Place Inn, Camelot Inn.

printfreemaps.com/maps/freedisneylandareamap…

Unless you are wanting a Hotel with those amenities ect, I would look at some of the standard Motels mentioned if you want to be in very close walking distance. If you are wanting a Hotel, you can also look at something like the Fairfield Inn, Howard Johnsons, or Residence Inn Maingate ( which has full kitchens, and free full breakfast as well as some weeknight light meals)

As far as Hotels go, Im assuming you are talking about the Desert Palms Hotel, which is a pretty well rated Hotel about a 12 min walk up Harbor Blvd to the Disneyland Main Entrance and to the Turnstiles that go into either Park. It also has the Art Shuttle service available.

Here is more info about the Art Shuttle service which goes from Disneyland to alot of area Hotels multiple times per day for a small fee per person. And a recent thread on some discounts available that may be helpful for such a large group.

http://www.rideart.org/

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29092-i65-k627578…

And the Mousesavers.com website is a good resource for you as they list current discounts on attractions for you ( they dont sell tickets) as well as other discount, heres some for dining around Disneyland. The website can also compare multi-attractions tickets to individual discounts see what may work best for your situation.

mousesavers.com/disneyland-california-vacati…

Yes, you can bring some snack type of foods into the Parks which does help with costs, but no large coolers ect. You can also get a free cup of water with or without Ice at any of the counter service restaurants.

Cost of meals can run about $14 usd for adults and a little less for children if you add a drink to your meal at most of the standard Counter service restaurants, and more at the full service restaurants. Here are the menues with pricing.

http://allears.net/dlr/din/menu/menus.htm

The Southern California City Pass is a good value, and can be purchased at any of the attractions listed on the pass. Its a good value, as usually prices will rise each year on Disneyland tickets before your visit, but the price of a SoCal City Pass is a set price for the year. Keep in mind with the Pass, if you purchase it at one of the attractions listed on the pass, you must visit that attraction first to activate the pass for the first time by going through the Turnstiles. And, you have 14 days including first day of use to use all of the attractions listed on the Pass. A SoCal City Pass could easily take up a week when you factor in a few days inbetween theme Parks to rest, as you will need them.

However, were you aware that Australian residents can purchase a special 10 day Disneyland Pass for a little more than a 5 day Parkhopper? They are available at a travel agent in that area.

Edited: 9:05 am, March 23, 2013
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2. Re: Nervous first time Disney Land family holiday.

Hello,

Last year my family of 19 stayed at the Desert Palms Hotel. We all enjoyed our stay. The rooms were very clean. The continental breakfast was filling with options of hot and cold foods. Half of our family thought the walk was to long to get to the entrance. I personally enjoyed the walk. A plus is that you walk past a 7-11 store and ABC store. Both of these stores sold beverages, simple Togo meals, and souvenir items. The location is also close to the garden walk shopping and dining area. The hotel has a parking basement plus outdoor parking. It seemed very accessible.

As for snacks - I recommend going to a grocery store. There is a Walmart marketplace a mile away plus many other grocery store options. Your room should have a small refrigerator that you can stock with fresh fruits/ veggies, beverages and other favorite items. This will save money and time. You will be able to snack while waiting in line for rides. This is always a good plan of action if traveling with kids.

I recommend getting toy souvenir at the beginning of trip. I got my child a bubble gun and it was the best time ever. He played with it while waiting for rides. He was able to interact with other kids in park because most everyone loves bubbles. It broke and the Disney cast member exchanged it for a new bubble gun with no questions asked. The cast member told me they will exchange toys no problem.

If your children are very young they will enjoy bugs land in DCA. This is a favorite with our kids under age 7. For DL I recommend Winnie the pooh in critter country. While in critter country you can take a break at the hungry bear cafe. They have seating downstairs by the water. Bring some bread for the ducks and relax while everyone uses the restrooms that are in the same location.

Your vacation is going to be amazing. Have a great trip;)

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Nervous first time Disney Land family holiday.

Thank you Ak907 Mum,

Your information is much appreciated.I relieved when you said Desert Palms Hotel is fairly good as we have booked and paid in full.

pls advise if we should buy souvenir items in the shops out side the parks or inside? and what is the ideal time to leave the hotel for the parks?

Thanks again

Daniel

Sydney, Australia
3 posts
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4. Re: Nervous first time Disney Land family holiday.

Thank you happytotrip.

Great Forum ,Great people to help.Not sure what to do without all the useful information from this.Just last question ? do you know if they sell pre paid phone with sim provided in LA and can we purchase in advance by mail prior arrive to the US?

Thanks heaps

Daniel.

Mackay, Australia
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5. Re: Nervous first time Disney Land family holiday.

You and your family are going to have a blast...and you WILL be happy with your stay at Desert Palms. We stayed there for 11 nights last September, 2 adults + 2 kids, in a Yuhu Suite. We found Desert Palms great - clean, great service, great breakfast., right out front is a bus pick up for tours etc., and literally next door is a 7/11, we would get 12 packs of water etc from there - very handy, we also brought from there 2 cheap phones/sim cards for calls while we were in US, phones were a basic touch phone, cost $30 each + $20 credit (which we didn't use al up) only draw back was we couldn't ring international, probably could have got that changed but we didn't worry.

Yes it is about 10 minutes walk to the gates of Disneyland, the path is safe and very popular with other Disneylanders... at the end of the day our feet were tired but before you knew it you were back at Desert Palms ready to collapse into their comfy beds.

Something we found, the food (even in Disneyland) is not that expensive, not like we are used to in Australia (particularly at any tourist/theme park!). We didn't worry about carrying alot of snacks with us, after a hearty breakfast each morning we would usually get something light for lunch in Disneyland/DCA, in our opinion it was affordable and hey, I was on holidays, it was so much easier to just get something on the run depending what we were doing.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday...say hi to Mickey!

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6. Re: Nervous first time Disney Land family holiday.

Dear Daniel,

You can never have enough souvenir items with kids! We bought things in Disney parks and outside of parks. Some things like autograph books, coffe mugs, hats, stuffed animals and tshirts are cheaper outside gate. We bought these items in abc store. Now for the princess dresses and light sabers - we bought those in parks. If you have boys take them to tomorrow land to build there very own star wars light saber. Ask the cast member if they have special items for sale with a purchase limit. I am saying this wrong - ha ha. We bought beautiful castle throw blankets on sale when we purchased $50 worth of swords. My kids are still snuggling in them. As for food, yes it seems very cheap to us too. I am not continental USA either so we marvel at the prices but you will save a lot of time and eat healthier if you pack goodies. Plus we all have had that kid who gets hungry when you get back to the room.

I am so excited for your family. It is going to be the best time. There is something very special about going with a big group. Remember it is ok to split up and enjoy different interests. That is always hard for our family to do ;)

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7. Re: Nervous first time Disney Land family holiday.

Dear Daniel,

I missed the question on when to leave for park. With our big group we aimed for 9am. It is hard to get that many people moving in one direction. We always got held up at breakfast. The continental breakfast is nice enough that we would end up visiting on the patio as we ate. The walk does not seem long on the way to park. It goes very quickly as everyone chats about the game plan for the day. You will want to choose a couple mornings to leave early so you can get fast passes for radiator springs ride and world of color. Make sure all your people have entered park before you try to get fast passes. My mom didn't know that and all she got was a really good cardio workout.

Walking home is a little rough. There was one night we sent hubby back to room to get mini van. They have a loading zone in front of entrance. That was nice because we had many tired children after world of color show.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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for Anaheim, St. George
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8. Re: Nervous first time Disney Land family holiday.

This thread may be helpful to you about phones

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29092-i65-k618249…

Edmonton, Canada
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9. Re: Nervous first time Disney Land family holiday.

do a search. there was a recent post on how much to budget for food each day at disneyland and great information on restaurants. it was posted about a week ago.

10. Re: Nervous first time Disney Land family holiday.

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