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Disneyland Resort

Our Trip to Disneyland

It all changes when you have children, and then some when one is diagnosed with Autism who is a boy, an energetic, always happy, giddy boy. The planning for anything is phenominal beyond your front door, always thinking ahead and pre-planning in the event of a possible struggle. That is the sole reason we have continually cruised with Disney Cruise Line (eight cruises) and visited Walt Disney World with over eighteen trips full of happy memories bonding us even closer together and why a trip to Disneyland was inevitable.

Stretching out to California is not as frequent as the jog to Orlando, with a difference of three added flight hours from Toronto, but we did it. Having movies on the airplane was great because my son watched Toy Story twice and looked out the window lots and that really helped us. I did come prepared, with his own movies loaded on his i-Pad and his own earphones from home for familiarity and those are great at blocking noise from within and out, so as not to disturb others. I also made sure to bring along and buy his favorite snacks for munching on the airplane.

Flying into LAX had us looking around for movie stars in cognito, but we didn't see anyone. A very busy airport, with a lot of hustle and bustle and we looked around for some Disney, but couldn't find much. You can't help but draw comparisons to Orlando International.

Now for the trek to luggage claim because the Disneyland Resort Shuttle doesn't offer luggage service. What we had to adapt to was that our luggage carousel was shared by other flights making it very crowded and chaotic. A little too much reality for me, but I was on my way to Disneyland and very excited!

 Make your way to the luggage claim but be sure to stop for a restroom break prior because waiting for luggage can be long and then you have to wait for the Disneyland Resort Shuttle and then add another forty-five minute ride out to Disneyland Resort. Try to come up with a plan for luggage retrieval and keeping a close watch over children, especially ones with special needs. It's very busy at luggage claim and the space is narrow and everyone passes through there for the taxi's and shuttles.

Again, we really missed Disney's Magical Express over at Orlando's International Airport but were happy to have a ride to our Disney resort, Paradise Pier.

Book the Disneyland Resort Shuttle from home by Googling it. Pre-pay your return trip, keep the vouchure they give you as they will ask to see it when it first stops at the Disneyland Hotel before going to the other hotels. Prior to your departure for home, go down to Bell Services/Concierge and book your departure time. Allow yourself one hour from your resort back to the airport and then some. Traffic in LA is hectic.

The shuttles are standard motor coaches which are air conditioned, and equipped with a restroom. The driver will store your luggage beneath and you can take smaller items on the bus with you. Although we saw screens, they do not play Disney movies or introductory welcomes with Mickey and Friends, we missed that, but the outside of the buses are all done up with Disney and characters.

To pick up the shuttle, exit after baggage claim and cross the road-way at the designated crossings to the center island and look for a green sign that say shuttles. The center island is not more than five feet wide with shuttle stops every one hundred feet. Each stop is marked by a green sign, and one bench. These stops are shared by all other surrounding airport hotels so be prepared for lines and crowding. The Disneyland Resort Shuttle comes at regular intervals depending on the time of day but does not pick up after 10:30 p.m. I took care of the kids, especially my son, while my husband kept a look out for the shuttle. We were very relieved when we boarded to say the least. It took about forty-five minutes to reach Disneyland Resort area and it first stops at the Disneyland Hotel. This is where the attendant will come around and ask to see your pre-paid vouchures.

Disneyland Resort's coziness begins with three glorious Disneyland Resort hotels on property which are the Grand Californian, the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier. The Grand Californian is located right inside Downtown Disney and is the closest to the two theme parks. It has Disney Vacation Club ownership as well.

The Disneyland Hotel was recently renovated and from what I heard and read it's beautifully appointed and the rooms boast interactive headboards. Its' pool area looked like a lot of fun for families. I wish we had some more time to explore this hotel, but it gets rave reviews.

The Paradise Pier is the last hotel in the series and is a great hotel for folks watching their budget but still has luxury ammenties, with the beds being the most comfortable I've slept in, for a hotel. It has a beach theme throughout and my son loved the beach ball pillows on the beds. We had a view of the California Adventure theme park and could see and hear The World of Color right from our room every night. You set your television to a channel which plays the soundtrack from The World of Color simutaneously. The pool area here is basic but can be busy and noisy. Try to avoid this mayhem by simpy requesting a room on a non-pool floor.

Parking when we visited in December 2011 cost a daily fee of $18 even though you're a resort guest. You can consider renting a car right from Downtown Disney if you want to venture out, it's an easy walk to the rental office because it's right in Downtown Disney.

 Downtown Disney is right at your feet! It's really cool to step out of your Disneyland hotel and right into Downtown Disney, it's all spread out right at your feet. We really loved the intimacy of everything and you didn't have to take transportation everywhere, you just walk a little.

Downtown Disney is a shrunken version of the one in Orlando but it boasts many of the same type of eateries and shops and The World of Disney is here too, jutted up against the Grand Californian, although you cannot access the hotel from the store, even though it looks as if you can. They too, have a Bibbidi Boutique here and all the glorious souvenirs we all love.

The Monorail has a stop in Downtown Disney but be prepared to show your theme park tickets and go through Security. It travels to Disneyland theme park and stops at one stop in Tomorrowland which is right beside the Nemo Submarine attraction. You can ride it back to Downtown Disney but you have to disembark and line up again as there is not continuous riding.

The Monorail is very different looking inside from the one in WDW as it is more futuristic inside because of the cool lighting and the seating configurations are very different.

On the way out of Disneyland, it glides through the gardens at the Grand Californian but it does not stop at this resort.

I marvelled at Disneyland Park. I got goosebumps here. I stood outside the Firehall and gazed up at Walt Disney's apartment window and lost my family many times because of this. They had wandered all the way up to Sleeping Beauty Castle while I was still stuck in front of the apartment window gazing upward. Then I would try to follow Walt's footsteps that he would take every morning. I was completely captivated. I was completely engrossed and mezmerized that this was the park that Walt built himself, walked through, dined in, enjoyed and basked in. My heart was stuck here.

This park is similar to Magic Kingdom but oh, much more intimate. To me, the details in the waiting areas were incredible, and the attractions themselves had a few more twists and seemed a little more up a knotch or two. You'll draw many comparisons but will soon be captivated by the detailing.

it's a small world is outstanding!!! The facade is enormous and you are greeted by a vast queue which is over a meandering water path which the boats follow. I was captivated and awestruck. What a beautiful attraction!

I loved New Orleans Square. Fabulous theming and details, you'll feel like you're in New Orleans and even think it's better than the real thing and don't leave this area without trying the famous Monte Cristo Sandwich, at least share the thing with your family, but you MUST try it.


What can I say about California Adventure?  Cars Land! They plop you right in the middle of the movie, need I say more? We watched some of the construction, as we were visiting too early to benefit enjoyment.

This park has two main sections, one with a compilation of a lot of our favorites from WDW and a pier with amusement type attractions there. You'll love Monsters Inc. where you sit in a vehicle and proceed through the story, I'm not saying more. You'll ride Tower of Terror, and really appreciate the short walkthrough areas on Soarin' both before you board and when you're done. You'll feel like a bug in Bugs Land and although it's tough to be a bug is not inside a huge Tree of Life, once you're inside you'll forget about that.

The pier is so much fun and you have to ride the best roller coaster ever, called California Screamin. Toy Story Mania is a huge production here and take a few to check out Mr. Potato Head at the entrance....The Voyage of the Little Mermaid is simply amazing and you'll want to ride again!

I highly recommend booking a boxed lunch or dinner package for the World of Color, if only to get into the specially reserved seating area. It's too tiring to stand for this.

As a Disneyland Resort guest, you do have the sensor room keys, just tap on the door pad. You can charge to these key cards but be prepared to show photo identification or they will not allow you to charge to your key card. This caught us off guard, so we were prepared the next time, eventhough we did not feel comfortable carrying around our personal identification in the event of loss. They do not roll in your theme park tickets or dining credits on your key card and we also found that a bit of a hassle. Hopefully they will ammend that in the future to make things more convenient and consistent for their guests.

Dining at Disneyland is both delicious and can be health conscious, the prices reflect the time of year so be aware of that and be prepared. We found the food prices, especially the snacks about 30% higher.

Although they have some type of dining vouchures which you can buy ahead of time, they do not have the sophisticated Dining Plan as in the one at WDW. We found this very inconvenient because we like the idea of pre-paying for everything and only worrying about dipping into our pocketbooks for souvenirs.

I have to be honest here and tell you that it cost us close to $250 a day to eat here and our typical day included a light breakfast either at our hotel lobby or Downtown Disney, a counter service lunch, and sit down, table service dinner, water and one snack throughout each day. My husband kept lamenting about the Dining Plan back at WDW and I can't say I blamed him. For a ten day trip, our food bill was high, but it was also during Christmas and New Year's.

Our overall experience was highly positive, loving the intimacy of the parks and the fact that everything was 'right there' was a huge bonus because it eliminated travel time from one park to the other, that was really, really neat.

The detailing of Disneyland theme park is something to be appreciated only if experienced and it's a small world is astounding! You'll be caught in your tracks in front of Walt's apartment too, believe me.

We can't wait to go back soon but I'll hold out for a dining package, which I'm sure will be on the horizon, especially now with the throngs of people who will be visiting because of Cars Land. And I will fly into John Wayne Airport, that is for certain.

....and, this photo certainly speaks for itself!



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