Romantic weekend away from kids at Disneyland

DW and I decided on a trip to DL for the first time. We are going to leave the kids at home and have a nice long weekend to ourselves in January. Biggest one will almost be 4 so they will be fine by themselves…

So now been going through some crash courses on DL as we have never been and don’t really know much about it. I think we’ve settled on staying at Westin Marriot as it is slightly cheaper than Paradise Pier, not too bad of a walk, on the Downtown Disney side, and is pretty new. Couple questions for the group.

  1. I’ve compared booking the hotel directly from Marriott’s website or through Disney’s website. Through Disney’s website, its about $200 cheaper than buying tickets and resort seperately. Is this normal, what’s the catch? Am I missing something.

  2. I’d be willing to pay more to stay on site if I felt like there were more benefits, but without early entry, why would I do that? We are young and can walk an extra 5 minutes to save a couple hundred. And frankly, the Westin’s rooms look nicer than Paradise Pier. However, I’m too cheap to stay at Grand Californian.

  3. What youtuber or blogger should I crash course with? I have my usual WDW podcasts, vloggers, etc, but don’t know about DL. Is their a DFB for DL?

  4. I’ve seen people complain about walking back to hotels, but is it any further of a walk at MK from main street back to ferries and then back to the parking lot?

  5. Is DCA a half day park? Or maybe, 2/3rd day park? My plan would be to do 1/2 day DCA and 1 1/2 days DL. Based on my TP, I think I could get the park done by 2:00pm-ish. The days we are going are around CL 2-3.

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Watch Fresh Baked for DL news. He also does videos where he just walks around the parks filming the sights and sounds.

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  1. Be sure to also check the packages at which might be cheaper.

  2. I don’t currently see any reason to stay at Paradise Pier.

  3. Podcasts: Fresh Baked Presents (also very active on youtube), DL Weekly, Mousetalgia Fastpass, Rope Drop & Park Hop

  4. The walk from Westin is about 0.7 miles. So it’s very easy. Especially without kids needing to go back for an afternoon nap. Offsite is a much better option at DL than it is at WDW imo. And as far as time spent getting to/from hotels, offsite at DL is often better than onsite at WDW. Just walking to the correct bus stop at WDW could be half a mile.

  5. It really depends on what you’re interests are. I’d recommend hopping over to see DCA at least one night though. The park has a totally different look and feel in the evening, especially Paradise Gardens Park and Cars Land. If you’re used to WDW, the ease of park hopping here will blow your mind.


Not normal. I assume you’re missing something or it’s not comparable between the two. Booking direct is usually more expensive. But check the components and see what’s driving the difference.

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I’d go Westin over PP for sure. I’d only stay on site for GCH or DLH frankly. Check out Harbor Blvd hotels for the closest walk. Courtyard, Fairfield, and Tropicana all get good recommendations.

Nope, you need a full day to see everything. You might have a spare hour or two at the end of the day, but I wouldn’t bet on it for a first timer. There are plenty of small diversions or attractions you’ll want to repeat.

Nah it’s comparable. Shorter if you’re at Harbor Blvd or on-site.

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Is Galaxy’s Edge pretty much identical to HS’s version? We’ve done HS’s version a few times now and so ROTR or MFSR won’t be high priorities if they are identical.

Just thinking of ways to shave time to give more time to the stuff that is different from WDW and unique to DL. This might be a one time trip for us.

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Good point on the night time at DCA. I have seen enough pictures and videos of it that it looks great. I will want to walk through that.

I imagine the park hopping is similar to our previous experiences with Universal Orlando, where even though its two parks, its pretty much one big park if you have hoppers.


Yes, the rides are exactly the same. The layout of the land is slightly different, but that’s about it. Maybe some of the land’s coloring is also different. Focusing on the unique and different is the way to go.

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Cool, will probably plan to walk through it, just because its always cool to see. If I get BG’s for ROTR, then great, but will skip waiting in line for MFSR or spending too much time there.

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Yep. You don’t even have to go through security again, just the ticket gate.

And for a romantic getaway the DCA dining options beat what you can find at DLR. Carthay Circle Lounge (or restaurant), Wine Country Trattoria, and Lamplight Lounge are all in my plans for December.


I would spring for the Genie+ assuming it’s available at that time. Lots of attractions between the two parks. I agree about focusing on what’s unique (or sometimes the same but better) at DLR, but that’s still a huge list.


Definitely will go for Genie+, assuming it’s active in January. I do like that DLR throws in photo pass with it.


I plan to use Genie+ if it’s out by my travel date because DLR is not a set of parks we have been to before or will get to as often as WDW. We want to maximize our time there and if that requires Genie+ we will do it. Also it’s a shorter trip with just the two of us so the expenditure is less than our usual family trips which are 7-10 days with four of us.


This advice is spot on. There are people who once they’ve been in DCA fall in love with it as one of the best Disney parks. It’s got a bit of an Epcot meets Hollywood studios (pre-all the recent expansions, especially Star Wars) with a very chill California vibe. And many people appreciate its wider walkways and more open spaces to be able to not feel so jammed in as a lot of the walkways in DL. And so if you happen to click with that space, then you will most definitely want more than 2/3 day.

I will say, I do absolutely hate that you can’t hop before 1pm. My preferred day with a DCA start is to ping pong back and forth, hopping at least 2-3 times around what entertainment and headliners we want to see in both parks, almost always doing our first hop before noon (and usually even by 10am-ish). But now that once you start there, you’re there until 1pm, it messes with that.