Kirsty Connolly | Flight Centre Independent | Home Based Travel Agent
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Kirsty Connolly


Kirsty's Blog


Posted on: Monday March 14, 2016
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Disneyland during Diamond Celebration

I have just returned home from another fantastic trip to Disneyland & I am pretty sure I have 3.5 days at the Disneyland Resort down to a science! Arrive on an early flight, get almost a full day in the park then get two full days in with early morning entry & a half day of shopping & relaxing in Downtown Disney before getting a late flight home.

Over the years I have stayed offsite at Good Neighbour hotels as well as onsite at the Disneyland Hotel & swore I would never stay offsite again.  So this year I was so excited to get the opportunity to stay at the Grand Californian!  As much as I loved the Disney hotel guests’ entrance going right into California Adventure Park, I think it ends there for me with the Grand Californian.  I thought at first I might just have too high of expectations, but the more I thought about it I can honestly say I was not impressed with my overall experience.  In future I will save a couple of hundred dollars by staying at the Disneyland Hotel which is just a 4min walk away from the Disney guest entrance & a 2min walk to the Monorail which takes you right into Tomorrowland in Disneyland Park - all while still receiving the same perks as staying at the Grand Californian. 

I found the Grand Californian a bit dated, lacked the Disney ambience, not overly clean for a Disney property, the customer service was a hit or miss & the lobby was an absolute zoo as guests from the two neighboring Disney properties use it to access the Disney guest entrance.  A few things which really standout that make makes wanting to go back to the Disneyland Hotel is the customer service was consistent, rooms have been recently updated & include Disney magic which isn’t over the top, I also found the property a bit quieter & a much nicer pool facility.

Regardless which Disney property you stay at you do still receive the same fantastic Disney guest perks! 

  • Extra Magic Hour in either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park one hour before the public.
  • Quick & easy access to Downtown Disney.
  • Special entrance to Disney California Adventure Park.
  • Pinocchio’s Workshop where you can drop off the kids & go enjoy some time to yourself.
  • Character Wake-Up calls.
  • Stay at one property play at all three.
  • Key to the Magic allows you to charge meals & merchandise to your room.
  • Package Express to send things you have bought in the park to be delivered to your hotel so you are hands free to enjoy the park all day. 

As for the parks, I highly recommend staying at a Disney property to utilise the extra hour each morning! Rides like Radiator Springs Racers & Soarin over California in California Adventure Park as well as Space Mountain & the Matterhorn in Disneyland can easily have lines over a hour long & are best hit in the magic hours or as soon as the park opens.  

Without a doubt if nothing else, spend the money & reserve a dining option that you receive a FastPass for World of Color, this is the most amazing show (see a clip on my facebook - click here) & the reserved seating area is much better than the general FastPass you can get for free (you can’t see the show without a FastPass).  I thought this show was amazing before, but the new Diamond Celebration show is phenomenal!

The Diamond Celebration fireworks are an absolute must as well as, Disney has really out done themselves again! 

I really could go on about all the amazingness of Disneyland & California Adventure Parks, but this would be the longest blog post every! So please feel free to contact me anytime if you are thinking of planning any Disney holiday.
 Matterhorn                                                            Radiator Spring Racers                                                     Radiator Spring Racers


Kirsty Connolly

Port Moody, British Columbia

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About Kirsty:

I run my personal travel business in partnership with a company known throughout Canada for wonderful travel experiences at amazing prices - Flight Centre

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  • address Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada