Hello, everyone! I’m so glad to have found this forum!
My 7 year old
daughter and I will be visiting Disneyland for the first time the week of
Memorial Day (arriving Sunday, May 29 and leaving Saturday, June 4) We are
staying off site (at the Howard Johnson Hotel) and are allowing for 5 days in
the park. I have visited WDW several times, my daughter went on her first
trip there 2 summers ago. We will have 5 days to spend at the Disneyland
parks (Monday-Friday). I have used your touring plans before at WDW and
loved them, so I think I’m good on the actual procedure of following the plans.
I do have a question, however, about what days would be best for which park, so
that I can make any needed reservations for meals. In other words, should
we do California Adventure on a Tuesday? I’m also thinking seriously
about doing the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique with my daughter, and would like to do
that one day first thing in the morning. What day of that week do you
think would be best to plan for that? Thank you in advance for any help
that you can give me with this.
Hello, everyone! I’m so glad to have found this forum!
Two things about this. First, you really should get park hopper tickets at DL. We don’t usually at WDW as hopping takes a lot of time. At DL it take 2 minutes. DL pathways are very tight making it feel more crowded than WDW on a similar crowd level day. Hopping to DCA (with its wider pathways) is a great way to escape the crowds. This also helps with dinner reservations as you don’t have to know which park to be in before you make them.
As for which park to start at in the morning, DL has early admission on Tuesday, Thursday, and DCA has it on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for onsite guests. No evening EMH on the west coast. Since you will not have EMH every day, I would start at the opposite park so that you are not 1 hour behind everyday. If you buy a 3, 4, or 5 day ticket before you arrive (so not at the gates), you will get 1 magic morning to DL. So on Tuesday or Thursday you can attend EMH at DL (no option for early at DCA unless you stay onsite). Here’s where I would start everyday:
Wednesday BBB in the morning
Thursday DCA (or magic morning at DL if you have one)
Friday DL (or if you went to DL on Thursday for magic morning, then maybe start at DCA even though you will be an hour behind)
I don’t think it matters what day you do BBB, though I would choose a day you will be at DL most of the day so you can take pictures around the castle. That would also be a good day to eat lunch or dinner at Ariel’s Grotto with the princesses. Of course that would require park hopper tickets if done on the same day. See, hoppers are a must . You will love the Hojo, our friends just got back from there and their 6 year old daughter loved the pool area. Easy walk to parks. Also you should know that ADR’s are not a big deal at DL at all. Very few need to be made at 60 days out. Dining packages for the nightly shows are often not released until 30 days out. Even then, they are easy to get. Just one of the many ways planning a DL trip is easier than a WDW one.
Welcome welcome @crburbee!!
Five days in DLR will be amazing & fantastic and give you SO much flexibility! I will start by saying I have a lot to say about all the topics you’ve asked! Lol so get ready!!!
First off, on which parks to do which days. We almost always base this around 1) Which park has Early Entry & 2) Are we eligible to participate in the early entry? If we are then that’s the park where we start, if not then we start at the park that doesn’t have early entry. With DCA it matters a little less avoiding the early entry & the best part about DLR is that you don’t have to avoid the early entry park all day long like some feel you do for WDW. Park hopping is very easy & I would totally spring for the park hoppers in DLR to be able to do everything you love without restraint.
As far as early entry details: it is for the guests staying at one of the 3 the Disney on-site hotels. Every Tues, Thur, Sat is usually Disneyland & then all the rest of the days are DCA. However, if you purchase your park tickets ahead of time you will also get a Magic Morning which will allow you to enter the Disneyland side one hour early (with the on-site hotel guests & other guests who have Magic Morning). It can get busy, but I have found that the earlier this Magic Morning is the better. 7am Magic Mornings at DL have been some of my favorite times to enjoy Fantasyland and there have been times when I felt 'wow, I’m almost all alone, Disneyland reay IS my land!" Having those moments at the start of your day will be crucial when at 2pm you’re trying to walk through any of Disneyland’s narrow walkways feeling like a fish stuck in school. (This is where park hoppers are a HUGE benefit because the walkways of DCA are considerably wider & help avoid you developing claustrophobia from the DL side).
If you choose to take part in Magic Morning (which I love & recommend if you & your daughter are early risers) then your other 4 days you should be able to split up your days starting at each park 2x. If you’re not doing magic morning or starting in Disneyland when Magic Morning is offered, avoid starting in Fantasyland or Tommorowland. You can start on the “West side” (New Orleans Square, Critter Country, Frontier & Adventure Lands) since those don’t ever open until regular park opening. DCA is also ok to start behind the early entry crowd because it’s a smaller audience, but as I stated above, we do start our strategy with opening at the park that doesn’t have early entry IF we don’t qualify for early entry.
Secondly, on the subject of Bibbidi Bobbidi! We just did this for our daughter’s birthday and we LOVED it. It gave us some beautiful pictures & even more beautiful memories. Plan a day of seeing characters & parades because they dote on the little Bibbidi princesses and it add a whole layer of special magic to both hers & your day!
Absolutely do it in the morning, first thing if you can, so she can enjoy being dressed up all day long. Our daughter’s hair was still in tact the next day too so we let her keep it in & wear her dress again for an added day & it was way fun to watch her walking down Main Street towards the castle with the rope drop music playing as we started the final day of our trip. One other consideration for when you do Bibbidi Bobbidi, plan time to be able to shampoo and brush out the product they use (it is a LOT & a week later we are still working out glitter after multiple shampoos). That initial scrub you will need some time to get it out though so if you do the experience early in your trip it will need to be sometime before you leave. For us I was glad I did it on our 2nd to last day because her hair held for 2 full days and we drove home the night of the 2nd day so the next morning at home we didn’t have to be rushing to a rope drop or keeping her up late after a full park day to wash it out.
For planning purposes, the whole experience from check in to styling, to dressing, to photo shoot to meeting the Princesses with the front of the line ticket, took 1.5 hrs for the full-blown Castle Package. If it will be busy on your days then the front of the line at the Royal Hall will be awesome, but if I were to book it again I would a cheaper package with our own dress & accessories skip the photo shoot & spend more time enjoying stuff in the parks. If you have an early appointment & head to the Royal Hall first after getting done up the wait will still be relatively short AND you can meet plenty of wandering princesses in DLR outside the Royal Hall which was just as fun as the 3 princesses we met inside the hall.
The pictures they do in their little studio are cute but we also got some beautiful & stunning pictures of her around the park in her dress so the package wasn’t 100% necessary for good photos, so another reason I would book a lesser package.
Hopefully I haven’t bored you to tears and I’m so excited for you & your little girl!!! You will LOVE it and can’t wait to hear how your experience goes!!
Great minds think alike! I started writing my reply before a call for work, finished it after & saw then that you had lots of great advice I was duplicating hehe.
^^^ We did this exact thing for our daughter’s bday with her BBB experience & it was awesome. ^^^^
Hi Loraine! Glad you had more info on BBB. We didn’t have our first trip until A was 7 and she wasn’t interested then so no BBB for us.
Doh! 7 is right around the age where it can go either way. One day (still plenty far off) you can take your granddaughters or grandsons on their 3rd bdays! The knigh package for X garnered almost as much as attention as E got in her princess get-up.
And E really had no choice lol! Tom has been wanting her to do it since she was 1. We asked them one of our early trips when she had just started walking and we thought how cute would a baby princess be. Since that day, we have been looking forward to taking her on her 3rd bday.
Oh, my goodness! Thank you all for the information! This is exactly what I was wanting to find out. I’m going to read through all of this in detail, and then probably get back with you with more questions. I’m so glad to hear that you have had good experiences with BBB and with the Howard Johnson’s. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Early Entry is definitely worth it at DLR as long as you are at the gates at least 30 minutes prior to opening. We always head straight to PP, then Alice in Wonderland. If we are doing CGA, TSMM is always our first stop. Definitely do not miss World of Color or Paint the Night! And, just like everybody else has mentioned, it doesn’t matter where your dining reservations are, you can easily get to them.
Hey Ladies! I too vote for BBB. Jessica and I did this last year and she loved it. now she’s too old I made sure to call first thing in the morning for an appointment. They get pretty busy and you’ll be on hold forever. @crburbee Welcome! We have an awesome group here that is always here to share info. @lolabear_la and @Wahoohokie are the best at remembering the details!!
Thank you for the welcome! I’m so glad to hear all of this great encouragement! My daughter and I are going to be traveling without my husband for the first time (he can’t get away from work–new job, etc.), so it will be interesting all around But, I am SO excited–and it has been hard keeping the secret from my daughter.
Exactly what my daughter and I did! Just us and it was soo much fun! You gals will have a blast and now you will have us following along with your trip! LOL That’s how we get our Disney fix when we are at home. You might wanna check out the DLR chat too. Most of the group is on chat but a few of us you can catch in both chat and the forum.
Welcome to the forum @crburbee !
I can’t add much to the BBB discussion since my DD is now 13 but, we just got back from DLR yesterday so I have a few observations to add for you.
- Rope drop and afternoon naps/swims will make your life much better!
- The new Luigi’s Rollicking Roadsters ride at DCA is a lot of fun. The line stays long all day long and there are no fastpasses… If you want to ride, do it first thing in the morning. We did it before RSR’s. If it has rained it will not be running until the floor is dry.
- The seats near the Alice in Wonderland bathrooms are great for watching the parade. We camped out an hour ahead of time.
- We got seated at Café Orleans without an ADR because we showed up at 11:00 AM and asked.
- On Early Entry day at DL we did Peter Pan, Alice, Snow White, Pinocchio, Matterhorn and Nemo Subs, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Winnie the Pooh and BTMRR all before 10:00 AM.
- Rope Drop, be there!
Have fun and enjoy your trip.
Thank you! It sounds like you had a wonderful trip!
Based on all of your recommendations, I thought I would share my tentative (and very loose) plans. Right now things are just in basic mode–I’m hoping to flesh them out with touring plans as we go and as I find more out about what the small one is comfortable with doing. Two years ago at WDW she was ok with everything (including Thunder Mountain, which she loved) until we took her on Splash Mountain–which she loved until it was over. Then she freaked out It wasn’t terrible, but I’m not sure I’ll get her on Splash Mountain this time. I’m not going to plan too many “scary” things too far ahead of time–we can work up to those as she feels ready for them. We also had an almost meltdown two years ago when she was asleep in a stroller before the fireworks, and then huge hated the fireworks at Epcot when they woke her up and scared her. I think after her positive response to 4th of July fireworks last summer this won’t be a problem, but we’re going to try to ease into the fireworks displays. Hopefully being at the HoJos will be that “easing” her into the fireworks. I plan on taking some noise cancelling headphones for her, just in case she gets overwhelmed.
Sunday: Arrive at LAX around 10 am, take transport to HoJo Anaheim. Arrive noonish, use time to settle in, check in at 4, and explore area. Tentative dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen. Early night
Monday: DLR day. (this is also Memorial Day) Arrive early and do the Fantasy Land stuff first, then proceed from there. Lunch at Cafe Orleans
Tuesday: DCA day. Arrive early, focus on doing the Cars area first, then proceed from there.
Wednesday: DLR day. Do Bibbity Bobbity Boutique as early as possible, then over to DCA for lunch at Ariel’s Grotto, then do what princessy things we can (probably back to DLR) for the rest of the day. Do parades, etc. as we can fit them in.
Thursday. DLR day. Use our Magic Morning pass and do whatever we missed (esp the Star Wars stuff). Hopeful Dinner at Aladdin’s Oasis with Fastpasses for parade seating and fireworks
Friday: Finish up. Start at DCA and do Anna and Elsa, etc., first thing if we haven’t already seen them. Do World of Color (if we’re ok with the fireworks at that point).
Saturday: Leave for home. Flight out of LAX around 11:00 am
That’s what I have for now. I would love any recommendations or advice, and have been pouring through the forums here for things to plan for. I am so very thankful for all of the good and kind advice that I have read. Thank you all!
By the way, it’s so easy to bounce btw parks at DLR. We even caught both nighttime shows on the same night. So, so long as you have hopers, you are good to go.
Thank you–that’s great advice! I appreciate it I’ll plan on getting them.
I love Goofy’s on arrival day because the characters are always fun here & it puts you in Downtown Disney to explore without sacrificing park time! However, as a warning Goofy’s dinner buffet is not spectacular and recently I have heard it’s even less than that. If it’s the characters you are going for it will still be fun but just wanted to warn you on the food in case that matters. Another option you can look into if that review turns you off, is Afternoon Tea Time at Steakhouse 55 right next to Goofy’s kitchen. It seems very fun & beautiful & well done. No characters, but might still be fun for starting off your Mother/Daughter trip.
Great plan to ease into all the scary stuff. I always hear that Splash seems to be a deal killer for kids if they ride it first so definitely let her say if and when she’s ready for it. My son first rode it a year ago and he loved it for awhile but recently has been less enthusiastic so it can definitely change day to day week to week for kids!
Your Wednesday sounds so perfect with Bibbidi Bobbidi and Ariel’s. We had 9:10 Bibbidi Bobbidi and 11:30 Ariel’s that worked out perfectly. We hit the Royal Hall right after Bibbidi Bobbidi and saw Aurora walking by the castle on our way out of the area too. I would try to hit Anna & Elsa this day sometime while she is in her princess get-up. The Soundsational parade in DL has a princess float, an Ariel float and a Tiana float so that will be a very awesome one to catch this day. It’s usually run sometime between 3 and 4:30. It was really fun for my daughter to meet characters in her princess dress & hair so I think we did 2 rides all day and just had a character, parade fun-filled day so depending on what she wants to do, you may end up doing the same
Also, Word of Color doesn’t have any fireworks like Illuminations does so you may not need to work up to it. It does have some fire effects but those are done over the water and are very bright but not loud and if you’re close to the front, you may be able to feel the heat which can be a little intense. They do have what my son calls “cannons” that will emit colored smoke with some hissing sounds at a few points during the show. My son isn’t terribly fond of them especially if one is behind him so just look for it in the garden area behind if you are in the back of a section or better yet be at the front of a section or the bridge leading up to Ariel’s and you won’t have to worry much about them.
Can’t wait to see how your planning and trip unfurl!
Are you able to see the Fireworks from this spot?
Don’t know. We moved after the parade. Probably not a good stop. It’s kind of a Canyon between a building and Matterhorn.