DLR trip afterthoughts

Just returned from California and wanted to share my thoughts about DLR. I’m a WDW kinda girl having grown up in Florida. I had only visited DLR once before with my husband and we just ran around with no ideas or fast passes so this trip had quite a bit of planning involved. Just my son (7) and I were on this trip. We had 3 day military park hopper tickets.

We arrived Tuesday afternoon and checked in to the Camelot Inn and Suites. Overall our stay was fine. It was very motel-ish. The morning of check out our bathtub backed up and there was an empty condom package in the elevator. Joy. I think next trip I will plan ahead for military discounts for an onsite hotel or try the Best Western or Fairmont. Everything on Harbor street is convenient. I strongly do NOT recommend Captain Kid’s Buffet. Yuck. Just Yuck.

Anyway, Tuesday we checked in and hit DLR. We started in the Tiki room with our Dole whips and used our MaxPasses to close the park at midnight. I do like the midnight closing. We walked on the rides towards the end of the night. Overall we rode all of our favorites about three times each. Took a break to eat at Goofy’s kitchen, which was an OK experience. Probably won’t do that one again. Food was meh, characters were great.

Wednesday was California Adventure. I’m not so enthusiastic about this park, but my son LOVED the Marvel hero interactions and was quite a ham for the crowd when posing with Captain America. The character interactions were great! We rode Soarin’, Grizzly River Run, Monsters Inc, Radiator Springs Racers (FAVORITE FOR ME), Toy Story Mania and ate lunch in Cars Land. Mobile order was SO GREAT at Flo’s Cafe, I wondered why anyone would ever stand in line? We did the Paint the Night Package and I have to say that it was a great parade experience. The best moments were watching my son wave to the people in the parade.

Thursday we headed back to DLR in the morning and by 315, we headed over to CA to find Black Panther. After a character meet and greet we rode Soarin and got absolutely soaked on Grizzly River Run!! Called it a day and went back to our hotel pool.

Friday - sad to leave we at a quick overpriced breakfast at IHOP and did some Downtown Disney shopping. Afterwards we headed back to Arizona.

Pirates of the Caribbean was SO great! Definitely better than WDW. Note to self to eat at the restaurant inside the ride next time. Indiana Jones, Space mountain and character interactions were the highlights. I felt there were way more opportunities to meet characters in the California Parks which is what my son is into right now.

Max Pass is totally worth it. Only I do not like that you cannot modify your choices or pick times later in the day. I also don’t like that they are only for certain rides. No fantasyland rides have fastpass and we missed PeterPan, Snow White and Alice because of this. They didn’t re-open after fireworks and the lines were 40ish minutes each time we checked.

So we successfully navigated a very hot and crowded DLR/CA. Besides barely being able to walk by the third day - It was memorable and fun to share it with my boy. (I’m raising him right as a disney lover).

We may go back in a year or two because my mom lives in Phoenix and we visit often from North Carolina, however I’ll take my learning experiences in to account. I’m such a hotel snob and am willing to spend more for comfort/convenience and disney magic.

Next trip: Girls trip! Wine and Dine in November. I can’t wait to get back to the World!


Look into the grand legacy next time. Great location and I don’t hear any complaints. So you didn’t ride Guardians?!?! It’s our favorite. And I hope you got a chance to ride space mountain. The one in DL is so much better. Sounds like you had fun! I love reading trip reports especially with comparisons to WDW. We have APs for DL and did our first WDW trip in April. I loved it

We had a fast pass for guardians and I REALLY wanted to ride it, but my son chickened out. He has been on ToT before and I don’t think he wanted to relive it. lol. Maybe next time. Yes, I loved space mountain even though the fp line was ridiculously long. It was way more fun than I remember the one in WDW.

Sounds like you had a great time!!

We loved GotG! It is the same but different from ToT. My kids were really worried about ToT because it is quite creepy from the get go kwim? GotG is funny all the way through so I don’t think they even thought about what the ride would bring lol.

We did eat at Blue Bayou last year when we went to DL. It was pretty tasty but quite $$$$. The best tables are along the rail and we were one row back so that may have colored my experience lol, I do think it is something you should do at least once though!

1 Like

Thanks for sharing the highlights of your trip!

It has been some time since we stayed at Camelot but we’ve always thought it was a great option with roomy rooms and a clean, comfortable place to crash. And in fact, our first time we stayed there we had a view of the Matterhorn from our window & our son (4 at the time) was over the moon about it. He woke up every morning excited to see it. Sorry your experience was lacking.

I’m even more deeply truly sorry that you happened into the Captain Kidd’s buffet. I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment & wish I could warn all the world passing by not to go in. Anywhere else along Harbor (& probably most places) is better than it.

Hope you do make it back & this time with a better out of the parks experience!

We’ve tried the Grand Legacy as mentioned above & the only negatives I have encountered have vastly improved (strict & inconsistent parking policies on check-out day and poor Wi-Fi).

Another that we like that is “a cut above” the other hotels along Harbor is Park Vue Inn. If you can’t swing onsite they are a great option with great customer service & a great hotel. Also, they don’t charge for parking and have a free breakfast with hot items that are decent. A lot of the other hotels on Harbor charge at $15+/night for parking as well as resort fees (which drive me crazy) so even though you book a great nightly rate, once you add in all those extras it’s no longer such a great deal.

1 Like

We also just got back from DLR (I’ll bet we walked past each other!) and I just wanted to add another hotel possibility - the Fairfield Inn by Marriott. Minuses: We paid $19 per day for parking and no breakfast despite being a Fairfield Inn. OLD hotel so low, textured ceilings and small rooms and small pool. Plusses: It’s about an 8-minute walk from the hotel to DLR’s security lines so convenience was super. Fairfield Inn room interiors were just completely redone last year so super-modern beds, bathroom and flooring, much appreciated! One bonus I hadn’t realized until we got there was that the exterior walkways by the rooms (we were on 7th floor) provided SUPERB viewing each night of the fireworks when we weren’t in the park. So, especially for those who want to get or use Marriott points, I would recommend this hotel. Next door is the more expensive Courtyard by Marriott which has an awesome “resort-feel” pool/play area just made for kids. We just wanted a clean place to lay our heads, so we were very satisfied, overall.

And I wanted to add “ditto” to the value of the MaxPass expense. We felt it was a really worthwhile benefit which ended up saving us many hours in line without the “runner” hassle, and the free photo link was really nice as well.

1 Like

I have heard nothing but horrible things about the buffet!! We almost went becase they were handing out coupons and it seemed like a great deal, but I did a little yelp research and decided against it. No Captn kids buffet for us. wonder how the place survives if its to bad


We seriously went because I was SO tired and my feet couldn’t make the walk anywhere decent. LOL. Live and learn. They probably survive out of desperate and naive people like me. Haha.