First trip since October 2015 - what's new?

tikimao

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Hi folks!

It's been since 2015, and we're finally getting the family back to Disneyland! That last time we went...our youngest was just under 3, so he was free. Cars Land was newish; Paradise Pier was still old-timey boardwalk themed, and the only kind of FastPass was a paper one.

I've been poking around here in the forums, trying to figure out what we'll need to know for our upcoming trip (October 3-7). We're staying at the Grand Californian, and getting park hopper tickets. I seem to have missed the window for dining reservations, since Blue Bayou is already all booked for our dates (so much sadness).

Any new rides to look for? What happened to the Bug's World area? Is it still there at all? Should I spring for MaxPass (is it really and extra $15/day/ticket??).

Send me to the stickies, give me the goods, help!
 

theluckyrabbit

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Jul 23, 2012
Hi folks!

It's been since 2015, and we're finally getting the family back to Disneyland! That last time we went...our youngest was just under 3, so he was free. Cars Land was newish; Paradise Pier was still old-timey boardwalk themed, and the only kind of FastPass was a paper one.

I've been poking around here in the forums, trying to figure out what we'll need to know for our upcoming trip (October 3-7). We're staying at the Grand Californian, and getting park hopper tickets. I seem to have missed the window for dining reservations, since Blue Bayou is already all booked for our dates (so much sadness).

Any new rides to look for? What happened to the Bug's World area? Is it still there at all? Should I spring for MaxPass (is it really and extra $15/day/ticket??).

Send me to the stickies, give me the goods, help!
Well, a lot has changed since your last visit, as you are finding out! Paradise Pier is now Pixar Pier. CS is now the Incredicoaster (a great re-theming!) -- make sure to ride at night!
Read this great thread for MP information and ask all questions there: Maxpass/Fastpass Superthread: an overview and some strategy.
More days is always good in my opinion -- but I'm biased! But your trip falls during Gay Days weekend, so more days might help you deal with the crowds and give you a more relaxed trip.
Bag check stations moved in 2017, so they are now located at: M&F/Pixar Pals parking structure (ground level) before your board the tram; DTD between the ESPN Zone and Rainforest Cafe buildings by the old valet parking area (those two restaurants and the AMC are now gone, by the way); DLH between the ESPN Zone building and EOS; GCH entrance to DTD between Sephora and the Disney Dress Shop (no security check to go from DTD to the GCH/must go through security to enter DTD from the GCH); and the Harbor entrance to the esplanade from Harbor Blvd.
Keep checking online and with the Dine Line for your BB reservation. Cancellations happen every day, so you might still get your reservation! Don't give up!
Bugs Land is gone to make way for the new Marvel land (Avengers Campus, coming 2020). But Flik's Flyers is now the Emotional Whirlwind ride.
Read here on all the fun things happening during Halloween Time at DLR: Halloween Time Superthread 2019: "Oogie Boogie Bash" Party to Be Held in DCA ONLY! and Other Halloween Time Information.
New land, new ride, new information here and ask any questions in this thread: New SWGE Superthread! Now Open to All! (6/24/2019).
 
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hyperminimalism

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 9, 2014
Oh my goodness, so much. Not just all the stuff theluckyrabbit said, but there's Tropical Hideaway now. A bunch of renovations done to improve foot traffic flow. Bug's Land is gone and is being replaced with Avenger's whatever they're calling it but it won't be done when you arrive. Depending on how many days you're at the parks, MaxPass may be worth it. I think it is, personally, but everyone differs.
 
  • theluckyrabbit

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2012
    Forgot to add that the free Disneyland App is new -- download it now to start getting used to using it. Make sure you have the latest version and see if your phone has any problems with it. Some people with older phones report having trouble with the app. If you have a credit card on file with the app, you'll be able to purchase MP right after activating your tickets at the gate and use Mobile Ordering at CS locations. Use the app to look at wait times and FP availability and return times closer to your trip dates to get a good feel for crowd levels and patterns before your visit.
    Also, F! is a newer version than the one you'll remember. The DLRR and Mark Twain have slightly different routes and better scenery now. Village Haus is now Red Rose Tavern -- with a better menu, too. Space Mt. is currently Hyperspace Mt. -- so fun! Muppets are gone, replaced now by Philharmagic. TOT is now GOTG -- and for Halloween Time it is GOTG:MAD. Ariel's Grotto is gone, along with the Princess Breakfast, and is now the Lamplight Lounge. The Princess Breakfast moved to NR and has a hefty price tag. The parks are now non-smoking. (The smoking area is outside the Harbor bag check.) Whitewater Snacks at the GCH is now the Craftsman Bar and Grill. And the list goes on...
    As you can tell, there is a lot that has changed/updated since your last visit. Look over the DLR website to see what looks new to you. Come back with any questions!
     
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    Plip

    Oh, bother
    Joined
    Sep 9, 2019
    Should I spring for MaxPass (is it really and extra $15/day/ticket??).
    The beauty of MaxPass is that you can buy it for one day and see how you like it, since there's really no advantage to paying for every day of your trip up front. From you sig, it looks like there are five of you, so that's $75/day total. Probably worth trying for a day to see if it's worth that expense every day. (I suspect you'll find that it is, but who knows?)
     
  • Djscarlette

    Talk Disney to me
    Joined
    Jul 10, 2014
    Also... because you're staying at GCH you get priority dining, which means they hold back some dining ressies for on-site guests. You should call the dining line and see if you can get yourself into BB. I bet you may have some luck.
     

    Deb T.

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 17, 1999
    We're going to DL & CA in November for the first time in five years! Wow - there are a LOT of changes!! This thread has been extremely helpful! Thanks to all who've contributed! :)
     

    tikimao

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2012
    OK, thank you all so much!! I had no idea Bugs Land was gone....it wasn't a fave (all those SLOW loading cute rides). I'm excited about Avengers Area--we'll have to book another trip to see that!

    We are a family of five, but my college age kiddo isn't coming--she's in school across the country in DC.

    Good to know about the changed bag check areas.

    Also, I didn't know about the dining ressies held back for hotel guests! I'll give that a try--may as well take full advantage of staying at GCH.

    On that subject, anything we should do in particular since we're staying in GCH? My son loves to swim so he's super excited about the three pools they have. I'm hoping to try a nice cocktail in the lobby bar. Is there any dining that's open early enough that we could eat before using the Magic Morning?

    After looking at the Max Pass threads, we're going to wait until we're at the park to buy it. We have three full days and two half days. Seems it'll make sense for the full days, and maybe the last half day. We'll see.

    All those with smartphones are downloading the app and getting registered. Last time I was at Disney, there was no wifi and even cell service was spotty. I remember only being able to get service in a Starbucks.

    What's Tropical Hideaway?

    Not too worried about the Princess dining. We have tried character dining in the past, and never loved it. Had a great experience at the Victorian buffet place in Disneyland where Goofy was just super sweet to my little son, but other than that, very mixed for a high price.

    If I read correctly, there's a Star Wars Cantina restaurant that sells alcohol? I feel a little weird about that, since I recall that Walt didn't really want alcohol sold in DL....anyway....is it worth trying?

    Super excited about mobile order at the CS restaurants! We're traveling with my sister in law and her sweetie and her younger son (older one just started college--no way he's skipping class for Disney!).

    Thank you all so much for the helpful responses! I knew about SW:GE, but other than that, there's so much new to take it. I'm really looking forward to our trip:-).
     

    theluckyrabbit

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2012
    ...

    All those with smartphones are downloading the app and getting registered. Last time I was at Disney, there was no wifi and even cell service was spotty. I remember only being able to get service in a Starbucks.

    ...

    If I read correctly, there's a Star Wars Cantina restaurant that sells alcohol? I feel a little weird about that, since I recall that Walt didn't really want alcohol sold in DL....anyway....is it worth trying?

    ...

    Thank you all so much for the helpful responses! I knew about SW:GE, but other than that, there's so much new to take it. I'm really looking forward to our trip:-).
    Free wifi at DLR is not park wide (there are hot spot locations noted on the map and on the app) and is spotty at best. Most people here use their own data plans. Have battery back up for your phones, especially if you plan to use the Disney Play app, too -- the combination of the DLR app, the Disney Play app, and MP/PhotoPass can really drain your battery!
    If you are a Star Wars fan, the Cantina is fun to see at least once. They do sell non-alcoholic drinks (the menu is online), so you don't have to order alcohol. You can make a reservation online up to 14 days in advance. You cannot visit the Cantina without a reservation. (Walk ins are rare.)
    Come on back with any more questions!
     
  • tikimao

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2012
    ...what's the Disney Play app? Do I need it?

    And...gosh, I'd forgotten how hard the dining can be. Just poked around at the reservations site. I guess a trip to Oga's Cantina is in our dreams...I found a couple oddball time slots for a party of 4, like 10:50pm, on a night the park closes at 11?
     
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    mamapenguin

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 15, 2006
    OK, thank you all so much!! I had no idea Bugs Land was gone....it wasn't a fave (all those SLOW loading cute rides). I'm excited about Avengers Area--we'll have to book another trip to see that!

    We are a family of five, but my college age kiddo isn't coming--she's in school across the country in DC.

    Good to know about the changed bag check areas.

    Also, I didn't know about the dining ressies held back for hotel guests! I'll give that a try--may as well take full advantage of staying at GCH.

    On that subject, anything we should do in particular since we're staying in GCH? My son loves to swim so he's super excited about the three pools they have. I'm hoping to try a nice cocktail in the lobby bar. Is there any dining that's open early enough that we could eat before using the Magic Morning?

    After looking at the Max Pass threads, we're going to wait until we're at the park to buy it. We have three full days and two half days. Seems it'll make sense for the full days, and maybe the last half day. We'll see.

    All those with smartphones are downloading the app and getting registered. Last time I was at Disney, there was no wifi and even cell service was spotty. I remember only being able to get service in a Starbucks.

    What's Tropical Hideaway?

    Not too worried about the Princess dining. We have tried character dining in the past, and never loved it. Had a great experience at the Victorian buffet place in Disneyland where Goofy was just super sweet to my little son, but other than that, very mixed for a high price.

    If I read correctly, there's a Star Wars Cantina restaurant that sells alcohol? I feel a little weird about that, since I recall that Walt didn't really want alcohol sold in DL....anyway....is it worth trying?

    Super excited about mobile order at the CS restaurants! We're traveling with my sister in law and her sweetie and her younger son (older one just started college--no way he's skipping class for Disney!).

    Thank you all so much for the helpful responses! I knew about SW:GE, but other than that, there's so much new to take it. I'm really looking forward to our trip:-).
    I don’t use their WiFi, I have ATT and had great coverage. We used Maxpass so much it tired us out.
     

    theluckyrabbit

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2012
    ...what's the Disney Play app? Do I need it?

    And...gosh, I'd forgotten how hard the dining can be. Just poked around at the reservations site. I guess a trip to Oga's Cantina is in our dreams...I found a couple oddball time slots for a party of 4, like 10:50pm, on a night the park closes at 11?
    You don't "need" the Play app, but it is fun to use in lines (interactive) and while in SWGE . Your kids may enjoy it. You can always download it, try it out, then keep or delete it. It is free, after all!
    As for Oga's Cantina, since you'll be staying at the GCH, see if priority dining can help you out with that. Can't hurt to ask! And always keep looking on the app, online, and asking the Dine Line for cancellations -- they do pop up for just about all restaurants and dining packages, so keep your eyes open!
     

    tikimao

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2012
    We learned about the dining booking slots that open up each morning at 7am, so we're going to try that to get a ressie at Oga's.

    I thought my son would need catching up on Princesses, but turns out he's seen most of the movies at our neighbor's house with his friend, so he knows them all. Well, not Snow White, so we got him caught up on her adventures.

    Our biggest priority is to figure out how to get breakfast for ourselves and still get to the parks for EMH. Going to try the new Craftsman Grill, Starbucks mobile ordering, and plain old instant oatmeal in the room. I think we can use the Keurig for hot water, right?

    I feel like I'm missing something, but I'm sure looking forward to this trip! I'll be sure to do a trip report when we get back.
     

    Becca1007

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 1, 2016
    OK, thank you all so much!! I had no idea Bugs Land was gone....it wasn't a fave (all those SLOW loading cute rides). I'm excited about Avengers Area--we'll have to book another trip to see that!

    We are a family of five, but my college age kiddo isn't coming--she's in school across the country in DC.

    Good to know about the changed bag check areas.

    Also, I didn't know about the dining ressies held back for hotel guests! I'll give that a try--may as well take full advantage of staying at GCH.

    On that subject, anything we should do in particular since we're staying in GCH? My son loves to swim so he's super excited about the three pools they have. I'm hoping to try a nice cocktail in the lobby bar. Is there any dining that's open early enough that we could eat before using the Magic Morning?

    After looking at the Max Pass threads, we're going to wait until we're at the park to buy it. We have three full days and two half days. Seems it'll make sense for the full days, and maybe the last half day. We'll see.

    All those with smartphones are downloading the app and getting registered. Last time I was at Disney, there was no wifi and even cell service was spotty. I remember only being able to get service in a Starbucks.

    What's Tropical Hideaway?

    Not too worried about the Princess dining. We have tried character dining in the past, and never loved it. Had a great experience at the Victorian buffet place in Disneyland where Goofy was just super sweet to my little son, but other than that, very mixed for a high price.

    If I read correctly, there's a Star Wars Cantina restaurant that sells alcohol? I feel a little weird about that, since I recall that Walt didn't really want alcohol sold in DL....anyway....is it worth trying?

    Super excited about mobile order at the CS restaurants! We're traveling with my sister in law and her sweetie and her younger son (older one just started college--no way he's skipping class for Disney!).

    Thank you all so much for the helpful responses! I knew about SW:GE, but other than that, there's so much new to take it. I'm really looking forward to our trip:-).
    USE ROOM SERVICE! Lol! That is our number one advice for staying at the Grand. It is so worth it to have hot caffeinated beverages and some pastries delivered to the room while we are getting ready before those early hours. We generally order the continental options and then have a mid morning (corn dog, bread bowl, etc) type snack instead of having a big breakfast.

    Depending on the ages of your party try the early morning walk through DCA before opening that is open to GCH guests. You have to keep up with the fairly fast pace and you have to sign up before hand with the front desk, but its a really cool experience.
     

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