Advisor Spotlight ~ February, 2022
This month, Monica, our Elite Desk Associate joins us to provide her experience traveling to Disneyland with her family in January. Monica has been with Tangerine Travel for over 20 years and supports our most discerning travelers. Monica's husband of 20 years and 3 boys keep her very busy! She enjoys going to sporting events, traveling any time she can especially anywhere warm and sunny, watching too much Bravo, and hanging with her family and extended family as much as she can. Here is her Disneyland trip blog. Thanks Monica!
Disneyland Trip Highlights
My family of five, (16, 15, 9) traveled to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and had a car service to the hotel. The other airport used often is the John Wayne Airport (SNA) is much closer but we could get to the hotel and start our Disney trip hours earlier if we flew into LAX due to flight schedules. We have stayed at many different hotels both Disney properties and off site hotels. For this trip, we opted to splurge and booked Disney’s Grand Californian. Its location with direct access to Disney California Adventure (DCA) cannot be beat!
Our room worked great for us, 2 queen beds and a sofa bed.
We also upgraded to concierge floor which would give us breakfast daily along with mid day lunch snacks (mini sandwiches, salads, fruit & veggies) along with evening appetizers and all the beverages you want.
With a family of five, the cost of this upgrade was so worth it. We probably would of spent almost as much just for Starbucks in the morning! We came back to the hotel from the park twice for the lunch snacks and took advantage of appetizers for dinner our first night.
When we visited, the hotel required masks indoors. They also provided hand sanitizer stations throughout.
I highly suggest downloading the Disney Park App prior to arriving. Disney now has just about everything on the app. It is not super easy to use or find what you need at times but every cast member was so helpful. First to enter the park, your tickets for each person will be under your account on the app. Upon entering you scan each one and they take your picture and give each person their own paper ticket. Every time you enter, they would scan our paper ticket and make sure the faces match.
The New Fast Pass = Genie+
We opted to pay the $20 extra per day for Genie+ which is essentially the new version of fast pass/max pass. With this, you get 1 ‘lightening lane’ per person per day to quite a few of the big rides (Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Big Thunder etc). What we found by getting to the park at opening every day, we were able to ride many of our must do rides first thing with very minimal wait times. We saved our Lightening Lanes for later in the day when the wait times were 45 mins+. It worked very well and we did everything we wanted more than once each day.
You also now order your food thru the app. At first I was not fond of this, but later found it very helpful! When we were in line for a ride, we could get together and all pick our food, order thru the app and pick a time we wanted to pick up our food. You would then go find a table and in the app select I am here and they will start prepping your order and text you when it is ready. You go straight to the counter and bam, ready to go. I did find the lines VERY long for those that opted to order at the counter versus on the app. A few places only accept online ordering like Dole Whip!
Pictures and Genie+
The app is not super easy to use but after a few times you get the hang of it. The other perk of Genie+ is you get ALL the pictures you want for free! We took advantage and made a game of who can make the best reaction for ride photographs and were able to get some great family photos around the park from a professional photographer. With a family of 5, that is always a challenge to get a good pic!
The new Galaxy’s Edge (aka Star Wars Land) is simply amazing. All of the details were on point. Disney did an amazing job. Our first day we got to the gates 45 minutes before they opened. Disney starts letting guests into the parks about 30-45 minutes prior to the actual opening where you can wonder main street or like us and many many others, we raced to the entrance to Adventure Land to be as close as possible for ‘rope drop’. Rope drop is where the cast members have a rope to hold crowds back for entrances to the different lands off main street so once it hits opening hour, you can get to your first ride and hope to be one of the first groups!
We raced to the new Rise of the Resistance along with just about everyone else! One thing to note about this new ride, first it is simply amazing and I think a must do but the ride does often break down. It is a very complex ride but don’t give up and keep checking the wait time on the app. Or if in line, wait it out. When we
were in line it went down for about 25 minutes. Including our walking from rope drop, to the ride, the wait for the ride and the ride itself was 1 hour. I have heard that often the wait time is really less than what is posted. We went again end of the day which is another time I would suggest for shorter lines.
We were able to get reservations for Oga’s Cantina which is highly recommended especially for Star Wars fans! It is drinks only (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and we all loved it, felt like we were in the movie. We had dinner one evening at Docking Bay 7 which again we thought was great. The décor and atmosphere were incredible and actually we all had good food. My 16 year is still craving the pot roast he had! All of Galaxy’s Edge is immersive, you feel like you are in Batuu. The way the cast members speak and interact with you is so entertaining.
The rest of Disneyland is exactly what we remembered and expected. One of our favorite things about Disney is the attention to detail and cleanliness. I would also say during our 4 days in the park it did feel like all the other guests were more aware of others then previous and for the most part would give everyone personal space in lines.
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