Picking a hotel

We decided last minute to take a trip this spring to DL. We consider ourselves seasoned WDW visitors, so this is a whole new ball game. The last time I visited DL was in the 80s, and I’ve heard things have changed since then.

We need two rooms, and while the reservation CM was booking them, she was able to book one room for our 5 nights, but couldn’t book a second. She was able to book a second room for the first 4 nights, and I’m hoping someone might cancel so that I can book a room for the last night later. These are at Paradise Pier. I was hoping for the Disneyland Hotel, but there wasn’t availability.

I could book at the Park Vue Inn (or other off property hotels that are recommended) for all the nights, but with a 3 year old ‘Cars’ loving son, I know Radiator Springs Racers is a must. I’ve heard that the only failsafe way to avoid a decade long queue is to be on site with magic hours.

Is this reasonable to take a chance that a room for the last night will open, or should I just book off site and face an inevitable lengthy wait for Radiator Springs Racers?

I’ve seen Paradise Pier as the lowest ranked disney hotel, so is it even worth staying there in the first place?

Paradise Pier is not as nice as the other 2, but it is still quite nice and many steps above all the older hotels across the street. But we are suckers for onsite and are usually willing to pay for it. DL is very different than WDW in that the city surrounding is huge. This means as soon as you hit Harbor Blvd you will encounter all sorts of people, I have been quite bothered by the panhandling that occurs as it takes away from the bubble. You never see these things onsite at WDW, so that may be why it bothers me so. I always recommend staying onsite if it is in the budget, which it sounds like it is for you. Have you checked Orbitz to see if there is a room available the last night? They buy blocks of rooms so often have rooms when Disney has sold all of theirs. Even if they are sold out, I would keep the rooms and keep trying. Offsite is great for people who visit multiple times a year, but for a big first trip, onsite will be fantastic.
EMH at DCA is great. That being said, you do not need to have EMH to avoid a long line for RSR. In fact we don’t usually even ride it during EMH, we head to Toy Story for a few rides as it does not have a fast pass in California. We usually just get a FP right at park open for late morning and then ride single rider if we want multiple trips. Sometimes we get a second FP later in the day to ride at night. You can head there right at the beginning of EMH, but you will want to make sure you are at the front of the pack. I’d say 90% of people head there during EMH.

Just an FYI, RSR has a Fast Pass. We never wait more than 15-20 minutes to ride. As posted above, the Magic Hours are best spent on Toy Story.

I agree. RSR has fast passes, so you can still get on the ride with a minimal wait of 10-20 minutes. During EMH almost everyone rushes to RSR so, you will still need to wait in a line, although shorter than after the park opens to everyone. Last time we were at CA we were able to ride Toy Story for EMH 3-4 times in a row, with no wait. And Toy Story does not have FPs.

Since you won’t be able to do single-rider with a 3 year old, you will want to figure out how to manage your fast passes. If everyone in your group is not into riding RSR multiple times, you could get the FPs for everyone in your group and use those extra FPs to let him ride multiple times with you.

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Thanks, I guess I’ve heard horror stories that the line to get the fastpass gets really long.

Can I ask what dates you are going to be in DCA? I may be able to give you some more info on times to get your FP.

We plan on being in the parks May 3, 4, and 6

We normally get in line 30 to 40 minutes prior to park opening, then head straight to Toy Story at opening. One of us will usually go by Soarin’ to get a FP (as long as the return time is before 9:00 AM) and then catch up with the rest at TSM. After that, we do Screamin’ and then the stupid swinging gondola on the “Fun” Wheel. As soon as out FP time is up, we go grab a RSR FP. That usually puts our return time somewhere later in the afternoon or early evening. After we grab that FP, we get our World of Color FP and ride Soarin’.
The other option is to go straight to RSR at rope drop. The line can build very quickly though, so you’d definitely need to be there very early.
We don’t have any littles in our family, so I’m not sure how that would work with the way you want to do the parks.

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I’ve not stayed onsite in DLR, and we’ve always gotten FPs for RSS with no problem. We head to the RSS FP site first thing.

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While it’s not a DLR resort room OR even a hotel for that matter, have you considered a VRBO? There are lots in the area and well within walking distance. The prices are great, too! Just throwing that out there since there have been some really great suggestions with regard to getting those much-coveted RSR FPs :slight_smile:

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I suppose I should provide an update. After checking availability multiple times, 2 rooms at the Disneyland Hotel opened up…which reminds me, I need to cancel a reservation I made at PVI

You said a 3YO–will he meet the 40" height requirement? No fun going to all effort for RSR and then getting denied at the gate.

Yeah, he’s close to 42". We put off this trip until we knew he’d be tall enough. He’s a big Cars fan, so I know he’s going to enjoy just being there


Ok, Touring Plans shows EE on May 4 and 6th at 8AM. If you are at any DLR hotel (PP, DLH, GC) you can use the entrance inside the GC. They only have two guards checking bags and two turnstiles for ticket readers, so I can’t comment on whether that’s faster than going to the main entrances. Touring Plans has specific comments on this.

Some people try to do The Gabe, which kind of makes sense since RSR has FP and TSMM doesn’t. If your son doesn’t care about TSMM, that may not make sense for you, but get back to the RSR FP distribution, which is near the entrance to Bug Land, not Cars Land, for the start of RSR FP distribution. Then make sure you are back at RSR FP distribution when your FP becomes valid so you can get another FP. Or, you may wait until later to try to get an after-dark FP; RSR is a very different ride after dark.

Have fun! Let us all know how it went!

I won’t do VRBO anymore, since I almost got badly burned on a cancellation, and VRBO was essentially useless (couldn’t force a refund when the property owner functionally refused, against their own policy). Luckly my credit card company took my docs and issued a refund (I assume from VRBO, but not sure). But I had tons of documentation, so I wouldn’t recommend it as something to rely on.