GCH - Early Entry / Hopping w/ Park Reservation

Ah, gotcha.

I haven’t been out to DL yet (first visit this November!) but I recently watched a video review of Paradise Pier and the reviewer rated it as “perfectly fine” but definitely not their first choice. Would stay again - clean, quiet, needed updating - but wouldn’t stay there as a choice more as if it were their only option for onsite. The rooms looked okay to me, but I’m not sure it would be worth blowing up a bunch of DVC points over it.

Meanwhile DCH is top rated with nearly everyone, DL Hotel a close second (and if you’re a Disney historian, is the original Disney hotel).

A better option would be to rent the points you’d burn up with any of these hotels and pay the cash price for the room, no matter which option you chose.

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Paradise Pier is not really worth it right now. Without any on-site perks, it’s basically an expensive moderate that’s actually a substantial walk from either gate. You cannot cut through the GCH, so you have to go up past the DLH, then through DTD. I think the Good Neighbor hotels on Harbor are generally a better deal than the DLH. They’re not quite as nice but they’re super close and much more affordable.

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The maps are definitely deceiving.

PP and DLH are on the other end of DTD which is a considerable hike from the Esplanade (the point in between both park gates). DTD is also where the tram dumps all the people who park in the Mickey and Friends parking structure. If you time it wrong, it could add to lines getting in the park.

There is a Monorail at the far end of DTD by PP and DLH, but then you have the lines coming in from those hotels. The Monorail also only stops at that part of DTD by the DLH and deep within in Disneyland itself. Over the Submarines to be exact. You’d have to exit through Tomorrowland and Main Street, exit the park, and cross over to DCA if that’s your destination. Whereas GCH has its own separate entrance directly into DCA, directly next to Grizzly River Run and Wilderness Trail.

I agree that, in my personal opinion, if you are considering saving money by staying in PP or DLH, that any of the hotels off of Harbor Blvd might be a better option. Half the price of PP/DLH and you skip all the crowds of DTD and the dumping of the parking structure. In the end, it is a personal choice. My family will only stay at GCH or in one of the hotels on Harbor by the entrance or over my the convention center.

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Monorail isn’t operating right now, so it’s hike only.

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I will amend that my information was pre-covid and during insane annual pass frenzy. They have since revoked those and started the reservation system, so the crazy Parking and Friends tram dumps of the locals might not be as prevalent as before. There have also been reports of the Harbor gate getting long lines because that’s where the official Uber/Lyft drops are now too.

We just stayed at DLH Friday-Tuesday, and didn’t mind the walk through DTD at all. Plus, security there made it so worth paying twice as much as staying on Harbor, it was always empty. Empty for rope drop, empty mid day. The Harbor side security makes me nuts (we stay over there a lot more than staying onsite at DLR). It felt much more exclusive on the DLH side, it is hardly used. No homeless hanging out around which also helped, that bothers me on the Harbor side. PPH would use this security entrance as well. I’m team onsite these days.

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We just got back from a 4 night on Harbor trip. Security was not a problem at all (we rope dropped all four mornings). At most we waited 3 minutes.

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This is exactly why I changed my reservations from The Anaheim Hotel on Harbor to on-site. I’ll be paying about $2K more, but for me I’m buying ease of access and peace of mind for my wife to walk around solo to the hotel w/out being hassled by the homeless / vagrants.

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In all my life, including when I lived in downtown Boston and rode the T every single day, I have never once been hassled by homeless/vagrants. Is it different in Cali? Should I prepare myself for a more intense experience?

Even now in my home city we have a tremendous challenge in meeting the needs of the homeless population, and one of my running routes happens to be alongside - through? - an area where they are currently spending a lot of time. We share a cheerful greeting and then we both move along. I pass people panhandling often as well and have never heard more than a “God bless you” as I pass

As we are working through planning our trip to Cali, where I haven’t been in at least three decades, I am wondering what I might be walking into unawares.

As you know, I’m also a first time “to be” visitor. I only have the stories I hear on Podcasts and things I see on social media. My original DLR posts / questions in 2019 were about this very topic. I haven’t heard much about violence or such. I’ve only heard about the aggressive panhandling, bottle water “selling” (a.k.a - Gimme $5 for this or I’ll keep hounding you), non-Disney “characters” demanding photos / $$$, evangelical solicitations.

None of this is something I want to encounter when I am on vacation. To be clear, poverty isn’t a crime and homeless people are humans who need help. However, I have also worked in Metro areas with a homeless population and some people are far more aggressive - especially towards women than I would prefer.

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Glad to hear Harbor security has gotten better. Before Covid it was awful. We also went to Touch of Disney in April, and it was awful again. Went twice and both times took a very long time with their Covid protocols and amount of people. I will be back on Harbor in September and December, hope it continues to move fast. I think starting security out at the Toy Story lot has really helped, but that just started recently.

There are less there now than pre-Covid, but still some. I walked down Harbor to Katella to get our rental car last week and saw a few, but nothing like pre-Covid.

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Gotcha. I guess I’ve been lucky!

They don’t really hassle, it just upsets me to see it. We have plenty of homeless in my hometown, I just don’t want to see it on vacation.

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If you are staying onsite, you won’t see any homeless.

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I shared in another post that walking from my hotel to DLR, a woman grabbed my son and tried to walk away with him. She was clearly not in her right mind and I, having been raised by a manic depressive schizophrenic, saw that she was genuinely confused.

I also had a “monk” shove beaded bracelets onto our wrists as a “gift” for the low contribution of $20 each. My son loved his so I just ended up buying them to avoid a scene, but I really disliked him touching us without permission. Jokes on me, he suckered me into buying them anyway.

Mostly, they just lay on the sidewalk/in the bus vestibules while others panhandle. In the 7 years we’ve been staying in the Harbor hotels, those were the worst offenses. Staying onsite, Disney obviously doesn’t permit panhandling or loitering so you don’t see it.

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We stayed for four nights on Harbor last week and maybe saw one or two panhandlers every night but they were selling waters or balloons or playing music. It was never intrusive and never an issue.

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I’ve read an article that with DL shut down, a lot of the homeless in the area went elsewhere. Nearby parks, shelters etc. With it reopening, I wonder if they too will make their way back. One or two is a lot different from the 20+ I used to see.

Even then, it wasn’t enough to stop us from staying at our favorite off property site. We just keep our eyes open and give a wide berth.

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Before GCH got that gate at the entrance I had 2 different arguments with homeless dudes hanging out at the outside smoking section fireplace at GCH. Definitely better now but they will wander in front time to time if security isn’t looking.

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I too had the bracelet dude try to pass it off to my daughter! I’ve always told her never to engage in any of the Harbor Blvd people.

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