I have planned many Walt Disney World trips in my past, so when I was planning my first Disneyland vacation, I was in for a surprise. I was expecting just to choose my resort, dining plan, tickets, fast passes, and put in my information for the magical express.
Transportation: Disneyland is a little different. They do not have a magical Express. They do have a bus that can pick you up at the airport; however, it’s not free. We did a few days in Hollywood before we went to Disneyland so we took an Uber to our hotel. It depends on how many are in your group to consider your transportation. Whatever you do, do not take a taxi. Taxis have to cross a county line, so the price goes up. It can cost more than $100’s if you do. There was three of us and the Uber cost us $58.00 total one way. If we had decided to take the Express Shuttle, it would have been $48 round trip per person. We didn’t save much here, but it can add up, depending on how many is in your group. You can also take the metro, but I feel like that is too much of a hassle with changing trains and your luggage.
Resorts: There is only three Disneyland resorts. This is nothing compared to the many options as Walt Disney World. You have Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, Disneyland Hotel, and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. You also have options to pick from “good neighbor ” hotels. We decided to save our money and choose a good neighbor. We stayed at the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn & Mini Suites. We were right across the street from the entrance. Please review hotels and see what fits you best along if they have shuttles to the park.
Parks: There are only two parks in California. The great thing about this, is they are right across from each other. You do not have to get on a bus to drive you to the other park. This makes it easier to park hop too and not waste the day on the bus. Disneyland is more like Magic Kingdom and California Adventure is more like Hollywood Studios.
Dining: There is no dining plan at Disneyland. You can go ahead and book your dining and pay for it in your package. When you pick up your package at your hotel, you will then have a voucher for your dining. There is not as many restaurants to choose from or character dining. We did the Minnie Mouse Plaza Inn for breakfast. You had a variety of characters here (below are just a few we saw). We loved it. When you go to the website, searching for the restaurants are just as easy as WDW.
Fastpasses: Here at Disneyland, you will have to take your entry ticket to a ride kiosk and pick up a fastpass. It will tell you what time to come back. There will be a time on you ticket, telling you what time you can get your next fastpass. If you ever went to WDW prior to the new fastpass process, you will know how this works. Disneyland does has a Max Pass you can use for ten dollars a day, per person. As soon as you go through the park gates, you can get on the app and choose your ride, without going to the kiosk. The app is also a photo pass, so you get all your photos with your favorite characters and certain rides. I felt this was much better. Also, if you are at Disneyland and have a park hopper, you can fastpass a ride at California Adventure. It doesn’t just have to be at the one park.
If you’ve never booked Disneyland before, don’t let the unknown scare you. I will definitely go back one of these days. People ask me, which one is my favorite and I can’t answer that. I love both just the same. DL and WDW both have their uniqueness. I recommend going to Disneyland at least once if you are a WDW fan. I promise you, it will not disappoint.