We are planning a one day trip to both Disneyland and California adventure. We are not staying onsite and only have one day ticket/park hopper. We made ADR for 730 at Disney’s PCH Grill. Will we be able to get into park early because of our breakfast reservations even though we do not have early access? CA opens at 9 and Disneyland magic hours start at 8. We also have no idea which park to do first. Any advice?
No. Unfortunately, you will not be able to get into the park early since the PCH Grill is located at the Paradise Pier Hotel and not in the park itself.
Didn’t think so, but would it help us with getting parked early or making it a little easier to get to the park entrance? Just checking, because my kids like characters, but we aren’t huge on buffets, so wanted it to have some benefit, but it may not? Thanks!
It would seem logical that you might be allowed to park in order to get to your ADR, but I’m not certain. We always take the Disneyland Resort Express to the hotel and then walk everywhere from there, so I can’t give you a definitive answer. I am sure someone else will have the answer though.
The PCH Grill is in the Paradise Pier hotel, which is not in the park. I don’t know how you are planning on getting to the hotel, but you won’t be able to walk through Downtown Disney to get there, as the security will not be open at that time. When we have stayed at off-site hotels on Harbor Blvd, we had problems getting to early morning breakfast reservations at the hotels. You could drive over to the hotel, have your car valet parked, go to breakfast and then go to the park for the day. Parking will be more expensive, but since it is only for the day, the convenience might be worth it. (It is $35 for valet parking and $18 for 1 day park parking).
You will not be able to go into the parks early.
You do not mention what days you are planning on going to the parks. The crowds are different depending on day of the week and time of year. There are two ways to think about which park to go to first. One philosophy is to go to the park that does not have magic morning. So if it is Disneyland, you could go to CA first and then over DL. But DL does get more crowded as the day moves on, so you might want to go to DL first and then go to CA when it gets too crowded. The other way to think about it, is to look at which are the most important activities you want to do at each park. If there is one park that has way more that you want to see, then you might want to go to that one first, so that you know that you get the high priority things first. Either way, I would make a list and focus on that list and then if there is time left at the end of the day, go to the things that you missed.
Thank u so much, very good info! My family and I will be coming from manhattan beach,(my husband is there for business), and he only has one free day, February 23rd. I’ve been to Disney world several times, but obviously this will be our first to Disneyland and we wanted to make the most of it. Much appreciated!
Well, on the 23rd, DL is open from 9-9 and CDA is open from 9-8. What I might consider doing is DL from 9-late lunch. A late lunch would work if you are doing the breakfast buffet at PP. Then do CA in the afternoon. Have dinner and go back to DL for the evening. The only issue would be Radiator Springs Racers. The FPs still run out early, but since it is a weekday, you might be ok. They also have single-rider for that ride if it works for your family.
Remember that while the park officially closes at 9, Main Street will be open for another hour, so you can get something to eat (we frequently get dessert if we are not quite ready yet) and you can shop. Yes, it is when everyone else is, but you can milk every minute of the park.
You have a lot of great info so far, but just chiming in with some more information on the parking situation for you. With your breakfast reservation you get 3 hours of free parking at the hotel. This is a good easy way for you to get to breakfast especially because neither of the parking structures for off-site guests- Toy Story Lot on Harbor & Katella nor Mickey & Friends will be open. Mickey & Friends will open right at 7:30 but there is usually a line formed to get into the structure and that is your ADR time so it wouldn’t work for you anyhow.
After breakfast though you either have two options. Either keep the car at the hotel all day (I’m not entirely sure the cost of this, but looking above that $35 to valet sounds about right) OR move to a parking structure (price is now $20/day to park) and then either take the tram from Mickey & Friends or a shuttle from Toy Story lot back towards the park entrance gates. You could also walk back from either one in about 10-20 min. depending on your pace.
In my opinion the breakfast doesn’t make it any easier, especially driving in from off-site to get to the parks, if that’s what you’re looking for. Also, if you do keep the car parked at the Paradise Pier hotel you will be directed to a security checkpoint at the other end of Downtown Disney from the parks. The security checkpoint itself is very close to the Paradise Pier but does require a little bit of back-tracking as you then have to walk through Downtown Disney before reaching park gates. Not a huge deal though and the security checkpoint at that end seems to run smoothly for both hotel guests and non-hotel guests.
If you’re looking for a few extra character meets, this is a great character meal. It’s the only character meal in DLR with Mickey & Daisy and the only place period in DLR where you have a chance to meet Stitch. Mickey is the only one guaranteed though with 3 friends. We have seen Stitch in the past but last time we went I believe we had Pluto or Donald instead. We’ve always seen Mickey, Minnie & Daisy there, but again Mickey is the only guaranteed. Stitch makes an appearance in the Mickey & the Magical Map show, but he doesn’t ever meet anywhere else at DLR. Plus your ADR is early enough that you have enough time to eat and figure out how to proceed with parking & getting to parks for a 9am opening.
I would also follow the suggested plan above of DL from 9-late lunch, hop & grab RSR FPs (if available) and then do DCA until closing, then hop back and finish up a few things in DL before it closes an hour later. Also highly agree on saving the shopping in Main Street for that hour after park closes. It is crowded definitely though. You can also shop at World of Disney in Downtown Disney which has more elbow room, is also open after the park closes and isn’t very far away from the park gates. It will still be busy but it’s on the way back to your car (if parked at Paradise Pier or Mickey & Friends). And I always find I feel less claustrophobic shopping there than the Emporium in Main Street. Saving any shopping for after park close definitely allows you to maximize park time though so I am a huge fan of this suggestion, in case you couldn’t tell by my several times of saying it thus far
If you end up keeping the car at the hotel all day, at the end of the night rather than walk the whole length of Downtown Disney to get back to the Paradise Pier, you can swing through the Grand Californian by using the breezeway entrance just between Starbucks and the Anna & Elsa Boutique. You can then make your way to the lobby, turn right as soon as you are in the lobby and use the main entrance of the Grand to exit, cross the street and you’ll be at the Paradise Pier. Unfortunately, to make your way to the parks from the hotel, you will not be allowed to use this shortcut as security closely monitors all traffic coming INTO the main entrance of the Grand Californian and restricts to hotel guests with room keys. And somehow they can tell Grand Californian room keys apart from other onsite hotels. But the breezeway from Downtown Disney is not monitored to walk into so feel free to use it on the way back to save some tired feet.
If you have any other questions about the logistics or the day, ask away! Definitely make sure you download the official Disneyland app and it will help you with park and resort layout for all that I’ve described above. Most of all enjoy your 1-day DLR blitz!