Disneyland trip report July 2019

I responded to some previous posts with some specific updates, but I am going to try and do a trip report now.
We are in Seattle area and flew in and out of Long Beach (Lyft to resort). I prefer Orange County, slightly, but there was a big price difference this time between the 2.
We usually go to DL every 3 years or so, last trip in 2016, before maxpass, Guardians, and Pixar Pier/Incredicoaster retheming. We did go to WDW last year, so our experience with FPP made me very exciting for maxpass.
We got a discount for DD’s dance competition and stayed at DLH, same as last time. We bought 5 day parkhopper with maxpass, through Undercover Tourist. I was a little concerned about converting to Disney tickets, but it was super easy, just had to pull up the email link on my phone and they gave us the tickets and took our photos super quick. If you are nervous about doing it on the phone in the moment, print them out and bring the hard copies instead.
Our immediate family was me, wife, DD16 and DS11. My sister and brother in law also came, with our 2 nieces, 8 and 6. They were first timers. We asked for connecting rooms and even though we arrived on different days, they were able to accomodate us. We stayed in Frontier Tower. Had not been there before. My family got used to the location after a day or 2 and ended up liking the tower and the room. They think it was bigger than our last stay in Fantasy Tower, but we had a room with a daybed then, I am not convinced it was bigger. There were some built in USBs, but I still found the room did not have enough convenient ports/outlets. Not complaining, just an observation to share for others.
We are big into rides,less into shows, atmosphere, taking it all in (teenagers!).
Coming from our WDW trip last year, I couldn’t wait to start on maxpass. Even reading ahead of time, I was familiar with some of the “rules” for getting new ones. Some we got sooner than the 90 minutes, which was great. it always says when you can get another one. I either set a timer, or took a screenshot so I didn’t have to keep checking. It was great, and fit perfectly into how we “do Disney”. Other than a few things like Racers and Space Mountain, which booked further out than we wanted sometimes, we mostly grabbed what we could as they came up. Some we saved for later. One day, I spent half the morning just watching the return times so I could get both Racers and Grizzly River Run for right after our lunch at GCH. By the time we sat down,I had gotten both. By the end of our meal, both were down. Aarrghh!! We got replacements, but it changed our whole afternoon plan. They had to drain at least half the water out of Grizzly, so who knows what happened there…
DS11 and I did do SWGE twice. First time was the Friday night of our trip. I was watching wait times on the TP DL Lines app. It said posted 60, actual 45, so we did it. It turned to be almost exactly 45, which at the time, the line was just at the entrance to the actual attraction (not stretching outside), maybe that’s a good barometer for others. I kind of messed up the next morning. It was an early entry day (which we could do, but couldn’t quite do for 7am). We took the monorail in, got off in Tomorrowland and starting walking to SWGE. The line from that direction was about by Dumbo so we got in it. I knew SWGE didnt open until 8, but they merged the 2 or 3 lines, and marched us around Rivers of the Americas. We had already invested that much time, but that whole experience to end of ride was easily 70-90 minutes, counting the lining up before opening. I asked him the rest of the trip if he wanted to go back, but only if it looked like 35 minutes or less. I kept checking, even at night, and couldn’t find that when we would have been able to make it. so we just rode twice. I liked the ride well enough, but was also fine not waiting over an hour more than once. When it first opened, I had read that they were putting smaller riders in the pilot seats. That was not our experience. we were engineers twice and gunners twice. I am wondering if they stopped doing that because the smaller (younger) pilots weren’t very good and it makes it a more challenging ride for the rest of the group. We had some not so great (adult) pilots on ride 2, and it was quite the bumpy ride. I did not like being engineers because we kind of did have to pay attention to the panel and hit specific buttons, and we were farther away. Gunner was easier. Just one button, so we could keep tapping it and mostly pay attention out the front window. I’d like to get back to try pilot, hopefully next time.
We were big fans of Tower of Terror, so not sure what to expect with Guardians, having not seen the movie. we all LOVED it. turned into our favorite and most often ride. Kids were finally ready to enjoy Incredicoaster as well, they were too young before, so I did a lot of single rider. Coincidentally, our favorite rides at WDW were Rock N Roller Coaster and ToT.
For meals, we tend to not eat in the park, nothing is really a favorite. We do more in downtown Disney, and usually end up with one big sit down meal each day. Earl of Sandwich is one of our favs and we ate there for lunch several times. We had a lunch at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and would go there again. We had a dinner at Black Tap. Even with all 8 of us, we worked our way through the regular line, ordered, and had to wait just a bit for them to seat us together (2 tickets), but it all worked out. Excellent burgers and shakes. We had a dinner at Naples. Our family of 4 had the 20" round pizza and that took care of all of us. Very similar to Via Napoli at Epcot, but still not exact as far as quality and service, at least for us that night. Our character meal was brunch at Storyteller’s Cafe. We had previously done Goofy’s Kitchen, and before that, the princess dinners at Ariel’s Grotto. I picked the brunch because it looked like a great combination of breakfast and lunch selections. And it was, my family was very pleased. omelette station, breakfast meats and potatoes, plus prime rib carving station, salads, chicken fajitas. Wife and I didn’t eat the rest of the day. kids needed just a little bit more. Last day we had “lunch” at Ghiradelli at Pacific Wharf. This was our 4th trip to DL and we had never even checked out Pacific Wharf before, go figure. But everyone needs a hot fudge sundae for lunch at some point.
We saw the Frozen play twice and really liked it, but plus a nice break in the A/C. We aren’t even Frozen fans, kids are a little old to have latched on to it. We really enjoyed Aladdin, so didn’t know what to expect, but glad we saw it (wasn’t a priority on our last trip).
Last point was the early entries. We did a good job of taking advantage of those, better than years past. We were up and out of the room by 7:15 each day, in the parks by 7:30, got in several big rides and were able to start accumulating fastpasses earlier each day as well. That, plus the so easy lines at security on that side, make staying at DLH a huge thing for us. Fortunate we got the group rate we did.
Hope this is helpful for others planning a trip, happy to answer any questions.


Sounds like an amazing trip! My family is a lot like yours. Two teenagers and high priority on rides, rides, and more rides. I do get them into shows sometimes (they humor their mom) without too much complaint. But we’ve never done a character meal! Some of that was budget related. When we first started going to the parks, we were really scraping together the pennies to make it happen so no extras. And then they were old enough that they decided that wasn’t something they wanted to do. I’m still hoping to make that happen - if not with my kids, then with my niece and her family.

I was also nervous about the transition of ToT to GotG, but we also LOVE it. I think it’s so much better now - and I liked it before! It is my favorite ride in both parks. And if possible, I love the overlay they do at Halloween even better.

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