136. Disneyland Vacation Planning

Frequent Walt Disney World guests will often ask me if Disneyland is worth a visit. Not surprisingly the answer is a resounding yes! Disneyland is an especially magical place foDisney fans, and even those who infrequently visit Disney, there’s a good reason Disneylan is call the “happiest place on earth”. With two incredible theme parks (Disneyland and Disney California Adventure), Downtown Disney, and three Disney Resorts (The Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian, and Disney’s Paradise Pier), Disney;and packs an enormous number of attractions, dining options, entertainment and activities into a space so small that you can easily walk from one end to the complete opposite end of the resort in a matter of 10-15 minutes. 

In this episode, I’m joined by Brooke McDonald and Philander Butler to discuss our tips, strategies and advice for planning a first visit to Disneyland. We discuss the reasons you should consider making the pilgrimage to Disneyland, differences between the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resorts, where to stay (including some incredible “good neighbor” options), how many days to visit the parks, Genie+, and more. What do you love most about the Disneyland Resort?

[Intro music plays Matt in and continues to play under him]

Matt: Hello and welcome to the Imagineer Podcast, your unofficial guide to all things Disney. I’m your host Matthew Krul and you’re listening to Episode 136 of the Imagineer Podcast. In today’s podcast episode we’re going to be addressing a question I get all the time, which is how to go about planning a first trip to Disneyland. If you frequent Walt Disney World, you no doubt know all of the tips and tricks and strategies to make for an excellent Walt Disney World vacation. Disneyland is an entirely different type of resort experience. And if you’ve never been to the Disneyland Resort before, I of course, highly recommend planning a trip, making the pilgrimage to the place where Walt Disney walked as soon as you possibly can, or whenever is next convenient for you. And in this podcast episode, we’re going to be addressing a lot of questions that folks reach out to me to ask about, regarding how do you go about planning a trip? What are the steps involved? Where should I stay? How many days should I go to the parks? What are some of the must dos at the Disneyland Resort? Where should I eat, and so many other questions? My special guests for this episode are Philander who’s been on the show before and Brooke McDonald, who is a first time guest on Imagineer Podcast, but such an incredible part of the Disney community who many of you might follow online already. Before we go ahead and start this episode, I of course want to give a very special shout out and thanks to our sponsor WDW Magazine. You can learn more about WDW Magazine by clicking on the link in the show notes of this episode or at ImagineerPodcast.com, or just go straight to WDWMagazine.com and learn about the subscription options that are available to you. At the end of the episode, we’ll come back and I’ll tell you a little bit more about how you can connect with the Imagineer Podcast on all your favorite social media channels, and how you can help to inspire and create the future of the show. So grab some headphones, pull up your favorite armchair, and enjoy this episode of The Imagineer Podcast.

[Music fades out as interview begins]

Matt: So one of the most common questions I have received, especially in the last couple of years, from those of you listening to the show, is should I go to Disneyland? And if I go to Disneyland, how do I go about planning this trip? Is it like Walt Disney World? The short answer is no. There are so many differences. And because it is such a common question I’ve received I knew this had to be a topic that we discussed on the podcast. And more importantly, I had to make sure we brought on a couple of guests who frequent Disneyland and have a lot of great advice to share. So I first want to welcome back because I do like to go in order with our repeat guests first. So I want to first Welcome back Philander to the show.

Philander: Hello, hello. Happy to be back. Happy to be back.

Matt: So happy to have you back. It’s been, I think, a year since you’ve been on the show, which is way too long. 

Philander: Wow. I think I’m like mixing it from when we talk personally. Maybe that’s why [laughs]

Matt: That’s true. We do, we do talk in between episodes, but it makes it more challenging for me to remember when you haven’t been a guest in a while. 

Philander: [Chuckles]

Matt: But happy to have here but happy to have you here back and first time guest to Imagineer Podcasts you probably follow her already on Instagram and on social media. If you don’t, I’m gonna make sure you do because she’s an amazing person to follow. And that is none other than Brooke McDonald. Brooke, welcome to the show.

Brooke: Hello, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here.

Matt: Same here. I have been meaning to get you on the show one way or another for a while and I felt this was the perfect subject to kick us off with the first discussion. We’re gonna get right into it. Before we get to the advice and questions because I do have a a ton of questions thinking through all the steps someone need would need to plan when they are planning to visit Disneyland. I do like to start with some lightning round questions. Philander. You’ve been through this before, but I’m going to ask you 

Philander: [mm-hmm]

Matt: these questions anyway, because I don’t think I’ve asked you these in particular, but to flip the order and keep things interesting. I’m actually gonna start with Brooke for these questions. I have four questions. And I’m curious, they’re all Disneyland related to get your answers. So first up, Brooke, What is your favorite Disneyland attraction?

Brooke: Oh my gosh. My favorite Disneyland attraction is definitely Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. It is the most fun it, until I rode Cosmic Rewind at Walt Disney World I said it was the most fun Disney attraction ever. But then I would say at a very close second is Radiator Springs Racers which is just an absolutely brilliant ride from start to finish.

Matt: It is that might be my favorite at the Disneyland Resort excluding, Philander what I know our favorite is, but I’ll [chuckles]

Philander: [Laughs]

Matt: throw it over to you Philander, what’s your favorite at the Disneyland Resort?

Philaner: For me, it’s I usually toss in between Haunted Mansion and Rise of the Resistance only because there’s, you know, the technological differences and time period between them is so vast, I always have to kind of put them together at the same just cause it’s so hard to compare but those have to be my top two for sure.

Matt: Excellent choices a classic and a new classic. Going back to you Brooke, favorites, this is involving lands. So your favorite land at either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure.

Brooke: Oh, I mean, I love the history at Disneyland Park. But Cars Land is just what it is so incredible. I think that’s maybe my favorite land at any Disney park. It is so amazingly immersive. When the lights go down. It it it’s amazing. Daytime, nighttime, the holiday overlays are incredible. I just the details, it it blows my mind every time I’m there.

Matt: Cars Land is a great one. I have to agree. It’s probably the one that kind of put Disney back on the map for lands design. After that, we got Pandora: World of Avatar and there were a couple of others in between but it felt like Cars Land was the first truly really immersive land in modern Disney history. Philander, how about you?

Philander: For me, I’m gonna go with Brooke and pick something that’s unique to that resort. So New Orleans Square is fantastic. It is small but mighty. It definitely does not take up a ton of room but what they have packed into that space is really fantastic two obviously iconic attractions and such strong attention to detail, and its history of course, it ties back to Walt Disney, can’t beat that.

Matt: Yeah, great answer. Two more to go. I’ll throw it back to Brooke your favorite snack to get at Disneyland.

Brooke: Oh my gosh, no question, the Ronto-less Wrap in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. It is a plant-based Ronto Wrap. It’s made with Impossible meat and this really tangy delicious slaw. We do not have, we do have a plant-based Ronto Wrap at Walt Disney World but it’s not the same and it is not as good.

Matt: Yeah, there’s a lot of snacks 

Philander: [Laughs]

Matt: there’s a lot of reasons to go to Disneyland for snacks. It is going to be a topic we’re going to talk about today. Philander, do you have a favorite snack?

Philander: I I think for Disneyland specifically I’m going to lean on the churro but only because Disneyland specifically is constantly adapting them and changing them by adding dips and drizzles and, and canned all manner of stuff on top. So I feel like you could kind of go have like six or seven different churros on any given trip, based off of how often they change them. One cart is not the same, you’ll find something different or unique at every car and I love that type of all the possibilities that you can have with those

Matt: Churros are pretty amazing at Disneyland. And I know we share a favorite at Nomad Lounge as well for even though it’s not Disneyland, 

Philander: Yes, oh my god [laughs]

Brooke: Yes

Matt: we can get different, different churros at Walt Disney World too. This last lightning round question, I I have to say we did an entire podcast episode about it. It was episode two of Imagineer Podcast, which is the first official podcast episode I did. It’s still one of the most popular episodes by downloads. So it’s amazing to now boil this down to a lightning round question but name a Magic Kingdom attraction that you think has a better version at Disneyland.

Brooke: Oh, there’s so many [laughs]

Matt: [Laughs]

Philander: [Laughs]

Matt: Your favorite one, that you like more at Disneyland than you do at Magic Kingdom.

Brooke: I mean, it has to be pirates, no question. 

Matt: Yeah

Brooke: It’s so much longer there’s a a bigger thrill factor. Everything and when and passing by Blue Bayou in there. I’m such a sucker for the perpetual twilight dining. Everything about it. I love love, love. No question.

Matt: I would normally agree with you on that one and I think I would know in perpetuity agree with Pirates of the Caribbean. Philander. Do you have the same answer? Do you have a different answer?

Philander: That is the exact same for me 

Matt: [Laughs]

Philander: [Laughs] that I agree with Brooke wholeheartedly, pirates. I mean, you that that entire beginning part going through the bayou and then the two waterfalls, the entire cave sequence like all that is missing out of the Magic Kingdom one so that that may be the top answer if not the only answer, I think for that question,

Matt: That’s a great answer. You’re right, it might be the only one but no I think there’s, there’s some amazing attractions at Disneyland that can definitely compete with Magic Kingdom. 

Philander: [Mm-hmm]

Matt: So that being said, we have a little bit of an idea of what our favorites are I kind of threw in a couple of answers as well but I have a lot of other thoughts about Disneyland but I wanna start with the the not so obvious question, which is a lot of guests or a lot of folks who go to Walt Disney World frequently. They have never been to Disneyland because they’re they’re not really sure what Disneyland has to offer they’ve heard it smaller they’ve heard there’s not as many parks that are there and it’s hard to plan an entire you do a week long plus vacation, two weeks long vacation to Walt Disney World you might not do that at Disneyland. Why should especially Walt Disney World frequent guests who have never been to Disneyland consider making time to do a a vacation at Disneyland I’ll throw this one over to either one of you who wants to start 

Brooke: Well, I’m, go ahead

Philander: The, oh please Brooke go ahead

Brooke: I was gonna I was gonna kick the history component over to Philander for sure. 

Philander: [Laughs]

Brooke: But I would just say as a as a parent as a regular Walt Disney World guest if you love the parks, there are and even just what we were talking about with pirates there are so many different attractions. So if you if you go to Walt Disney World year after year and you you know you you hate to take Disney out of your annual vacation but you want to do something a little bit different. There are so many attractions to experience at these two parks that that we don’t have at Walt Disney World and some of the best I mean, we mentioned Radiator Springs Racers and Mission Breakout, Indiana Jones Adventure, I mean there are so many absolutely must-do, for diehard Disney fans, attractions at these two parks. And so there’s that it’s a very it’s a really manageable I think can be a really relaxing trip. It’s a lot easier to be spontaneous. The parks are the two parks are really close together, you can hop back and forth between the two so easily. There there’s a lot going for Disneyland, even though I do consider Walt Disney World my home and I love it. And and then of course the the history component for Disney fans is something that you just absolutely have to experience and dig into a little bit more.

Matt: Yeah, Philander, do you want to talk a little bit about the the historical side of it, cause that’s something you immerse yourself into every day at work and beyond? 

Philander: Yeah, you, Yeah,

Matt: Anything else you wanted to add? 

Philander: Brooke said it [unintelligible] so perfectly the, the how you can manage your time there. It it it, Walt Walt Disney World is incredible. It’s almost too incredible. In the sense that they offer so much stuff that in theory, it can be overwhelming, that Disneyland is able to kind of manage those expectations. And it’s easier I mean, crossing the Esplanade just to go between parks is is such a there’s so much ease to that. And it is funny when I’m you know meeting people at you know either at the resort or or friends that have not been out there before. And they think that there’s I think it’s going to be a longer walk to get somewhere. It’s like oh, no, it’s really just across the way you could stare from one end to the other. That is always fun to see them like oh, wow, that’s it’s so much more simpler in that way, and why I’m a big fan of, and I think you and I talked about this previously, Matt, that the transportation for me at Walt Disney World is such a part of the experience, I get it. You and I of course are people that do that often. So I think the guests don’t think about like they’re visiting. Often they’ll think about things like that. And as Brooke mentioned the history, my goodness, knowing that this was where it all started seeing the original a lot of these ideas knowing that this was the very first Peter Pan’s Flight or this was the first castle or even knowing that Walt rode a lot of these attractions like there’s such a power that exists at Disneyland that cannot be replicated at any other resort knowing that Walt’s hand was actually here decision making on that property was made by him and that kind of you know, power you just can’t find anywhere else. And if you’re a fan of that type of you know that that part of Disney the historic part than that is something that I think you just can’t not think about that while you’re there.

Matt: I love that historical aspect of Disneyland I always imagine, when I’m or I always am consciously thinking when I’m in Walt Disney World, especially in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World that this is the place that Walt dreamed. But whenever I’m at Disneyland I remember this is the place that Walt walked. And you can sense 

Philander: [Mm-hmm]

Matt: that when you’re there even just walking down Main Street USA and looking at the lamp lit above the firehouse, it’s, it’s hard not to get a little choked up when you’re at Disneyland as a Disney fan. Then there are plenty of photos out there of Walt walking through Sleeping Beauty Castle and riding the tea cups and, you know, walking around the park before it opened or after it closed or during the day with guests. And so it’s really a lot of that historical aspect that as a Disney fan, I find is worth going and Brooke to your point, the attractions themselves in the parks are, are pretty amazing. I’m glad that Philander, you brought up the fact that the the size of Disneyland is is so different and the fact that you walk onto property and the Es- you walk onto the Esplanade and you’re literally looking sort of like three directions of the compass. Do you go to Disney California Adventure? Do you go to Disneyland Park? Do you go to Downtown Disney? And they’re just a few hundred feet apart from each other, which is so hard to fathom, if you haven’t been before, if you’re used to that sprawl of Walt Disney World. Brooke especially since I know you go to both fairly frequently. How do you describe some of the differences other than the size? Cause Disneyland is so much smaller, how do you describe some of the differences between Disneyland and Walt Disney World?

Brooke: Um, I mean, I guess I would say, so Disneyland Park in particular as compared to Magic Kingdom. It’s, it’s more intimate and everything. I mean, the scale is smaller. The biggest the biggest shocker for everybody who makes the turn onto Main Street is the castle, 

Matt and Philander: [Laughs]

Brooke: Which does look very small when you’re used to Cinderella Castle. But what what constantly blows my mind is how much is in that park. You even when you look at for and I know we’ll probably talk about Genie+, for example. But if you look at you know, the list of Genie+ attractions that are available in Disneyland Park, there are so many rides in that park. So it feels both intimate and like there is so much to do there. And by the way, you’ve also got Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge like just thought it’s it it it is so hard to wrap your head around when you’re used to going to Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. So you have you have so much to do and so many so many things to appeal to different ages, I think within different ages of just preferences within a single park. And then like we’ve already said, the ability to just hop back and forth between these two parks depending on either if you’re doing Genie+ what’s available. People like even something like people liking to get a drink with dinner. And being able to go over to DCA to California Adventure versus Disneyland Park where just like Magic Kingdom, there’s no alcohol there. There’s and going to Downtown Disney. All of these things when you imag- when you’re used to hopping on a bus and having to go to Disney Springs to do all the shopping and go to World of Disney. That is the biggest I think that that’s just the biggest thing that you need to wrap your head around and it’s a huge benefit to Disneyland.

Matt: It is, I love the fact that you can hop from place to place and not have to hop on a bus or a Skyliner or monorail or ferry boat. It’s just all right there for you. And I have always, I agree we’ve been really impressed with the amount of attractions that they pack into such a small space. And I always love if it’s been a while since I’ve been to Disneyland and I’ve been to Walt Disney World frequently walking into Disneyland and then getting that sudden moment of thinking that you’re walking into Liberty Square but it’s Frontierland and then there’s Adventureland is still the same and you know, you seeing the Matterhorn on the right like it it feels so familiar to Walt Disney World guests and yet so different when you finally step into the park there’s so many differences between them. Philander, would you have anything to add? Cause I know you you frequent Walt Disney World as well.

Philander: Yeah, and and they they both I think there’s a huge difference also that you find is that everything is really spread out even within the park. So sometimes you’re walking for quite some time just to get to the next thing and everything is so tightly compacted they’ve used that space so effectively at Disneyland to squeeze every little drop, you know, everything is almost sitting on top of of the next thing. You know, even within Fantasyland proper at Disneyland you have I think it’s the al- almost 10 attractions that are all within about 100 yards of each other, which you know, some of them you know hilariously are literally sitting on top of each other you know, Alice in Wonderland sits on top of Mr. Toad, like that kind of, you know, usage of space is is so important when you don’t have a lot to work with, or Casey Jr. Circus Train runs on top of Storybook Land Canal Boats, like using that space so effectively that you could spend doing all of those things just requires more walking, you know, the distance to move around. So you’re covering a a lot more attractions without covering that much ground. And I love how even the lands are still almost on top of each other as well. And a lot of favorites that I think a person would find at Walt Disney World are all existing in- inside of Disneyland so someone’s a big fan of the type of attraction that Dinosaur is, like Indiana Jones is in Magic Kingdom you’re not having to leave Magic Kingdom to go to Animal Kingdom to ride that type of attraction, or Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is in Disneyland but you’d have to leave Magic Kingdom to go to Hollywood Studios to see that attraction there, like I like that. It’s almost giving you like the greatest hits of just Disney attractions in general, in such a tighter space.

Matt: Yeah, and the transitions I know we’ve spoken about Philander, are also part of the magic at Disneyland. They’re, I they exist at all the Disney parks, but they have to be so creative in such a small space with the transition from one land to the next. Some of the Star Wars Galaxy’s, Edge entrances, no disrespect to the Grand Avenue or Toy Story Land entrance at 

Philander: [Laughs]

Matt: at Hollywood Studios, but that Critter Country and Frontierland entrance they’re, they’re seamless, 

Philander: They’re beautiful

Matt: They’re perfect 

Brooke: Amazing. 

Matt: And even seeing the backdrop riding Thunder Mountain, seeing Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in the distance [laughs] you would think it would be off putting but it just they thought through those details and it it fits so perfectly.

Brooke: If I can add another another big component that I forgot or I left out is entertainment and characters. 

Matt: Oh yes, of course 

Brooke: The characters at Disneyland. It’s it there’s really no comparison. You see, you see a lot more. There are a lot there’s a lot more surprise and delight happening I think around Disneyland, then we see at Walt Disney World and more unique characters, more rare characters. You you know, you’ll see Alice in Wonderland and the Cheshire Cat just, you know, just off the Hub. There a lot you see a lot more all of the Winnie the Pooh characters are back for meet and greet. There are so many characters that have returned to Disneyland that we still, maybe we saw them before at Walt Disney World, but they’re not back. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, they’ve started doing the show on-stage again with the First Order Officer and Kylo and the Stormtroopers, R2-D2, roams there, the characters have been roaming for a while they I think they’re just starting to do that again at Walt Disney World. But if you really like character interactions and experiences, it’s it’s really impressive how well it’s done there. And then of course, Walt or Disneyland has just brought back a whole slew of nighttime spectaculars, there are four now, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Disneyland Forever, and Fantasmic all at Disneyland Park and then World of Color over at Disney California Adventure. So there’s a lot happening [laughs].

Matt: And oh how I Miss World of Color [laughs]. 

Philander: [Laughs]

Matt: It’s one of my favorite shows. So obviously, there’s there’s lots of differences, lots of reasons to visit. You know, the other part of the equation is trying to figure out when to go, and how long to stay. I think especially if you go to Walt Disney World, you kind of get the impression and you could do a quick weekend trip. But if it’s your first trip to Walt Disney World, you’re talking about at least doing a week to be able to see the majority of the attractions and amenities and restaurants and locations that you might want to see. You know, Disneyland is, for me always interesting, because I try to couple it with a Southern California trip. It’s not just, while I do spend a good portion of time at Disneyland, I try to also see local Los Angeles or San Diego, you know, attractions as well. So for a first-timer, who maybe even hasn’t been to Southern California before, you know, would you have a recommendation for like, best time of year to go or how long you would visit or any questions you might want to ask yourself in deciding the answers to those questions. Brooke, I’ll throw it over to you first as well. If you have any thoughts around that.

Brooke: Um, well a couple of things I’ll s-, and Philander can probably speak to the weather a little bit more. Typically, it, the weather isn’t a huge factor. You know, you have warm, sunny days and cool nights, year-round. Sometimes it gets really really hot and we actually got some really really cold days between Christmas and New Year’s, but I think that’s the exception, rather than the rule. So that’s that’s not a huge factor. Crowds also because Disneyland is such a locals park, weekends tend to be busy and weekdays are less so and you kind of get that year-round. So I would say for most families, I would base it on what works for your family rather than really trying to work around a crowd calendar, unlike what you might do at Walt Disney World. And then the holidays I think are a big consideration. Because Disneyland does do holidays really, really well. I love Halloween-time. That’s my favorite time of the year for Disneyland. And there’s a couple great ride overlays Haunted Mansion Holiday I think is one of the best, is one of my favorite attractions. It’s Nightmare Before Christmas, A Nightmare Before Christmas overlaid to Haunted Mansion, which runs basically from Halloween season through the holiday season and just into January. And their and their parties are great too Oogie Boogie Bash and Merriest Nights which launched I think that was last year. 

Philander; [Mm-hmm}

Brooke: So some things like that I would think about but overall I think time of year matters less at Disneyland. I’d love to hear what Philander has to say about that though.

Philander: Yeah, I would definitely agree, time of year doesn’t matter nearly as much. Especially because it’s like Brooke mentioned, it really is a locals’ park. Weekends, obviously are are definitely busier. But because of the local nature of the park, the families that are visiting that are locals tend to do the parks so differently. So where it doesn’t necessarily feel if you’re a family that is very, you know, riding attractions is a big part of it. Locals aren’t necessarily aren’t aren’t coming to do those exact same things. A lot of families I’m even sure this is the same for Walt Disney World locals, they are just excited and and happy to just be on property in general, while like crushing attractions and try to mark off things off a list is not such a huge, huge component. You know, if you can be there in the morning, on any trip to Disneyland, you’re going to have a great day because since it’s a locals park, a lot of families are are people that are working during the day or in school, they are not coming to the park until the evening. So our evenings are considerably busier because of the fact that everyone’s getting off of, you know, some former arrangement or errand or something and come to the park. That coupled with all the nighttime entertainment that Brooke mentioned previously is why the nights have become very, very busy in the park. But if you can either be there at rope drop or even a little bit after you’ll have a fantastic day, because so many of the locals are are focusing on the evening as much, cause they will also stay out if it’s a little on the hotter side and come down when it when it cools off. Or they’re coming to see that nighttime parade or just getting getting off of work and coming down to maybe do an attraction or two eat dinner and then go home, they just kind of look at the resort in a completely different fashion. So anytime of the year is great. Like Brooke mentioned, obviously, if you can make sure you’re there during some kind of fantastic time of the year. So Halloween and Christmas is great. Disneyland has started to get or California Adventure at least is starting to get a lot of, bring all the festivals back. So things like Festival of the Holidays, or our Lunar New Year has been fantastic in January, those kinds of times where you can kind of match it with something else will be fantastic.

Matt: And that definitely gives you a repeat factor for Disneyland as well. And I remember the first time, Joanna had never been to Disneyland. And so I said, well, we have to go. And so I took her to Disneyland 

Philander: [Laughs]

Matt: and the best time was during the summer because that was when we could go. And then I said well, we have to come back at some point in the fall. So we can do Haunted Mansion Holiday cause that’s probably to Brooke’s point, one of my favorite attractions to do period. And so we did in a future year we went in the fall and it was almost like a different park much like you would go to you know Epcot’s almost a different park four times of the [laughs] year depending on when you go. 

Philander: [Mm-hmm]

Matt: So all all great things to consider. The question that I’ll often get and is or the advice that I’ll give that is not really as comprehensive, comprehensible for folks who visit Walt Disney World is the fact that you know, when you think about where to stay, you really have so many options and there are of course the three major hotels that are part of the official Disneyland property. But then you have countless Good Neighbor Hotels, there are about a dozen resorts and hotels that literally are walking distance to Disneyland, like you walk out your hotel, you cross the street, and you’re at Disneyland that have views of Matterhorn mountain and Space mountain and Mission Breakout and Pixar Pier, it’s just really difficult to, to imagine until you go how tight everything is packed, even around Disneyland property. So when you’re thinking about giving advice for someone who’s going for the first time to Disneyland, and they are going to be spending, let’s say a few days on Disneyland property devoting that time to just being at the parks and Downtown Disney, where do you generally recommend they consider staying? I’ll throw this one over to Brooke first.

Brooke: Well, I would first say If money is no object, then hands down, the Grand Californian. Even though at a very close second, I would put the Disneyland Hotel which has a lot of history. I love the rooms, it’s a great, it’s a great resort as well, but the Grand Californian if you one, one of the the big differences is the bubble is much smaller at Disneyland so if you like the feeling of crossing under those Walt Disney World gates and not leaving during your vacation and just being completely immersed in Disney only, then that you know that wall gets broken every time you go to those Good Neighbor Hotels and there’s, you know, 7-11 and a gas station and you know, there’s the real world is there. 

Matt: [Laughs]

Brooke: It’s very convenient if you need a Walgreens or you know, groceries or just whatever you might need. But if you really like to be inside the bubble, the Grand Californian is the best resort for that, it has its own devoted entrance to Disney California Adventure. Although I think I might have heard that just today, a new entrance has now opened for Paradise Pier guests. And if it’s not, if that’s not officially open yet today that’s coming very soon. And so my my choices would definitely be Grand Californian first and then the Disneyland Hotel. The reason that that one feels a little more outside the bubble is because you have to go through security to enter Downtown Disney and cross the street and it just feels a little bit different than being really in it at the Grand Californian. In terms of Good Neighbor Hotels, a couple that I really like I I often stay at Marriott resorts. So the Anaheim Marriott is wonderful if you’re doing a convention like D23 Expo or Star Wars Celebration, and the Westin is a newer resort and it’s beautiful and a nice location and that’s a great choice. I know people really like that Howard Johnson I haven’t stayed there, but I think that that’s a nice price point. And people have, you know a lot of families like that too. So those are a few ideas.

Matt: Great ideas. Philander do usually offer, I know for you it’s a it’s just a quick drive down to a to

Philander: Yeah [laughs]

Matt: Disneyland [laughs] but and I know that you also you know you’re a DVC member like Brooke and so you’ll occasionally splurge on while it’s hard to get it’s easier for you I think being so close to find those last minutes, maybe villas at at a Grand Californian but are 

Philander: [Mm-hmm]

Matt: There any other recommendations you might offer? Or is pretty much what Brooke said cause I know there’s there’s not too many 

Philander: It’s

Matt: other options beyond that.

Philander: Yeah, she Brooke named off some of the best ones. I stayed at the Howard Johnson one time just cause they have a very really cute like adorable waterpark area which is fantastic if you have little ones that really are big fans of that but you also just you can’t go wrong with those Disneyland hotels ones. The big thing is the like Brooke mentions in the budget, if you’re willing to spend there is something very special about kind of having that magic obviously just like at Walt Disney World kind of follow you back to your room as well that that walkway into California Adventure in the Grand Californian cannot be beat. Like that in certain cases depending on where your room is located you can be from your your hotel room into the park in five minutes and that is like a an absolute dream a even more so if you have families that have little ones, having the Disneyland hotel be connected via the monorail, that’s also fantastic. You know, you you get that proximity which is great. And even the ones like Brooke mentioned the Howard Johnson is just across the street that’s I think seven minute walk also. So you’re you’re you’re almost looking at the same, the the same kind of connective tissue that like something like the Floridian or the Contemporary would have been at something at like a quarter of the price of Howard Johnson that same walk it’s almost exact same of walking acr- that distance. And it’s nice, really just kind of finding your budget. The fact that they’re Good Neighbor Hotels is kind of a sign-off kind of from Disney as well like these are hotels that they are willing to partner with. So you kind of get that that trust a little bit in it. You don’t feel like you’re you’re stepping too far outside the box, because there’s something that we kind of the company will push, and suggest as an alternative to staying at Paradise Pier Hotel or Disneyland or Grand Californian, cause I know there is that kind of feeling from guests where like, oh, you know, I think it’s almost easier at Walt Disney World, because it’s such a variety, you know, a value, moderate, and deluxe, at Disneyland there’s just the three. And while they are also broken up, you know, Grand Californian be the most, Disneyland the second, Paradise Pier is third, as far as cost, they still are on the higher end. So knowing that these hotels are almost kind of somewhat approved by Disney is a nice kind of comforting way of knowing that, while you’re not may or may not be in the bubble, this is something that the company is willing to partner with and represent. So there’s that kind of like, as I mentioned before that connective tissue, which is nice. So you’re still you feel like you’ve got a good, good piece of the magic at least as far as the accommodations that are in your price range.

Matt: Yeah, it there’s definitely a little bit I think of you know, there’s there’s some sticker shock for some people going to Walt Disney World, but I feel like there’s, for the resorts, more sticker shock in Disneyland, cause you think about the the value, moderate, and deluxe resort categories, and then you kind of go to Disneyland and you you realize that they’re all moderate and Deluxe, there’s no, 

Brooke and Philander: [Mm-hmm}

Matt: there’s no doubt there’s no, you’re not going to find All-Star Sports prices at at Disneyland no matter how hard you look, unless you start looking at hotels that are off-property like a mile away. And, you know, you are, you really want to try to budget to stay a lot closer or on property if you can.

Brooke: And you don’t and we didn’t talk about I a question that comes up 

Matt: Yeah

Brooke: a lot is like, ideal length of stay. 

Matt: Right

Brooke: And so I would say for a first time, guest, if you really really want to experience it and not feel rushed, I think three days is a nice minimum, you could you could get a lot done and definitely the highlights in two days, but maybe be a little bit rushed. And I don’t know, with my kids, there are so many attractions there that they want to do multiple times because they love them. And they’re not they know they won’t be back as quickly. So I like I like three days, at least, the longest ticket that Disneyland sells is actually a five day. So that’s where you top out, even when we we have actually stayed on-property for longer, but only got the five day ticket for the parks. So if you’re only going for a few days and you can splurge it it can be really worth it. When my kids were little, we are DVC members as you mentioned, and so we it’s easier for us when we have been able to get those rooms to stay at the Grand Californian more affordably. And when my kids were little we would run them upstairs and take baths and put pajamas on them sometimes and then go walk down right in that back entrance and watch whatever the nighttime you know watch World of Color and then be back up to bed in five minutes that’s it’s really there’s nothing like it.

Matt: Yeah, that’s such a it really is such a great benefit. Grand Californian is one of the hotels I’ve actually never stayed at. But it’s on on my list of places; I do would like to stay someday and probably will. I agree with Brooke, your your sort of points, I was going to ask this sort of the number of days to be in the parks. You know, they do have the the one park per day like Walt Disney World has and the park hopper. And at Walt Disney World, I feel like there’s a little bit more of an argument to be made as to whether or not you do the one park per day or the park hopper. Are there any circumstances at Disneyland where you feel like you would recommend one park per day over a park hopper? Or is it park hopper or bust?

Brooke: I’m a 

Philander: Ooo, I’m

Brooke: park hopper or bust personally but what do you think Philander?

Philander: I think it’s yeah, park hopper or, or or bust I think is also the same thing. And I think it’s I think the only difference in that is how much the time is someone willing to commit? Cause definitely a the proximity makes it so that you can kind of manage your expectations of what you want to get done. And you want to don’t want to feel like you’re kind of stuck, I think. And then, as Brooke was mentioning earlier, all of that entertainment didn’t come back. If you time it correctly, you can actually see I think, if not all four, three of them in a single night. And you couldn’t do that without a park hopper. And that’s really great if someone could see Fantasmic, the fireworks, and World of Color all on the same night if they’re willing to park hop over and the fact that it’s a 15 to 20 minute walk. You know, it only helps that, you know the I think the only time I would even probably say maybe like question a park hopper unless they didn’t have like a you know, know what they were going to do is just a single day like that. I think what single days for a park hopper will be tough cause at that point now you’re going to be missing something as Brooke mentioned two days is probably the bare minimum. But for a person coming for a single day like I would a I would hope that they would have, you know, if not a plan, at least, like a not a plan of attack at least, knowing like their five, I usually jokingly call them non-negotiables. Like, I must do this thing while I’m here, so that they don’t get overwhelmed with all the different options and choices like we’re going to make sure we do Guardians of the Galaxy, make sure we do Radiator Springs Racers Space Mountain and kind of whittle it down. But yeah, I will always lead to the park hopper so that you get at least a taste of both. And then the proximity makes it worth the money. If you had to, you know, at Walt Disney World, cut out an hour, or at the very, you know, an hour to 45 minutes, 30 minutes of travel time, you know, and not even the travel time, but waiting for the mode of transportation, whether it be a boat or a bus, you know, that makes that kind of tougher, but knowing that you have this kind of like free rein, at least after one o’clock of going back and forth. That makes it a the park hopper an easier an easier sell.

Matt: Yeah, I mean, if you’re unless you are dealing with park opening, but even then you’re not gonna hop at the park opening like middle of the day, walking out of Disneyland to California Adventure, gate to gate is two minutes or less. Like with 

Philander: [Mm-hmm]

Matt: with going through you know cause you don’t have to go through security again. So just walking through the turnstiles is so seamless. So I mean, I generally agree I I always I always go with the park hopper. Even if I’ve only been there for a day I’ve gone with the park hopper because they are so close. It’s like one park, one massive park. 

Philander: [Mm-hmm]

Matt: But I could see your point Philander, like if you were there for even if you couldn’t commit a whole day, you just have like a half a day to kill. Rather than divide yourself amongst two parks, it might make more sense to just to say, well, you know, first of all, plan a longer trip if you can. [laughs] But if you only have 

Philander: Yeah

Matt: that day, maybe you just see Disneyland or if you’ve seen Disneyland, maybe you just do California Adventure, or however you want to play. 

Philander: Yeah I would hope that someone that if they were to do that would just consult someone like a Brooke or like a Matt to kind of 

Matt: [Laughs]

Philander: figure it out because those individuals get can that if they’ve never been that is very overwhelming to know you have a single day to see two parks, and if they aren’t familiar with the type of attractions or what not to do or what not to do that that can get overwhelming in theory. Obviously pros like the two of you, I would easily say you rock on and get that one one day park hopper cause you both know exactly what you’re going to be doing. But like I’m a I’m always thinking of that first time person. And even more if it’s first time Disney park period, like they may have expectations having come from Florida or any other parks overseas, but if it was like a first time Disney park or Disneyland period person that is incredibly overstimulating, you know, and you’re going into it without having any like knowledge of like, the best thing, or the thing that in theory you could skip, well, I will tell someone that technically nothing is skippable, that you’ll find joy in everything. There are obviously some, you know, must dos if you had a single day that you’ve got to hit.

Matt: Yeah, all great points. And this leads us into another topic that we have to talk about. And I imagine first of all, if you’re listening and you have the budget, my top recommendation is to book a VIP tour with Philander, you will see at all 

Philander: [Laughs]

Matt: you will absolutely learn a lot doing that and have an amazing time. But assuming that’s not in the cards for you, we have to talk about Genie+, which might be the next best thing behind the VIP tour. So, Brooke, I know you’ve you’ve done Genie+ at Walt Disney World at Disneyland we’re really only not even a year into Genie+ and I feel like you already have a ton of experience with it. So when it comes to Genie+ at Disneyland is it something you recommend is are there any tips or tricks and how does it compare to Walt Disney World?

Brooke: Well, it almost doesn’t compare because it works wonderfully. And Walt Disney World you know you know, they came out recently and said, if you are buying Genie+ at Walt Disney World, you can expect to use it for two to three attractions in a day. Because they basically you know, after you book your first one in the morning, there are return times are already stacking up into the evening for your next one. That is not the case at all at Disneyland. You it it works a little bit differently. So if people are listening who are used to the rules at Walt Disney World, there’s no 7am wake up and book your first attraction you you buy and start using Genie+ once you enter the park, you might be able to buy it before you enter the park but you can’t book your first selection until you enter and basically return times all day or just even for the most popular rides are typically no more than two hours into the future. And people who are familiar with MaxPass which was the previous version, digital Fastpass version introduced that Disneyland, maybe 20 2018ish 2017-2018, it works very much like that. And it it works really well it’s $20 per person per day and includes PhotoPass downloads. And it, it’s pretty intuitive. It’s just you, you know, you book wh- you book your lightning lane and then when your time comes when you’ve ridden that one or when your time comes up to book again, you book your next one, and you can get a lot more done. I just took a look today and I was just there last week. And it it has held up throughout for the whole past you know, kind of however long it’s since it’s been around, I think it launched in December. We were there at holiday time and it still worked very well at peak crowd levels. And even the individual lightning lanes, Rise of the Resistance, Radiator Springs Racers, and Web Slingers, those don’t sell out first thing. You don’t have to worry about. I looked today and Rise was available, you know, just two hours into the future if you wanted to book that. So I’m a huge fan of Genie+ at Disneyland. I absolutely recommend it for a shorter trip, particularly if you want to get a lot done. The only reason I wouldn’t do it is if you have a really long trip and you’re taking your time and you don’t mind waiting in some longer standby queues. Great value though.

Matt: Yeah, I I I haven’t been to Disneyland since MaxPass eh MaxPass since Genie+ came out but I I’ve heard it’s lo- a lot like MaxPass and I loved MaxPass [laughs]. So it’s it’s really great to hear that that’s held up Philander I know you’re there you know every day and you chat with 

Philander: [Mm-hmm]

Matt: guests every day about it. Are there any other pieces of advice you would offer with Genie+, you know that you get from a cast member perspective?

Philander: Each day I kind of like mention to people I will always say especially that Brooke said if there’s if time is an issue that you should be getting it, but I do like that how Brooke mentioned you it you can kind of take a look at it and kind of figure out when the time is worth it for you to have. So for example if you’re like a rope drop family, and you’re there right at the beginning, it’s not really necessary at all unlike Walt Disney World in certain cases where you’ll have that like first thing balloon up to you know, two hours or whatever it may be or an hour in that first set besides Rise of the Resistance that rarely happens there that you could get on to Space Mountain and you know 5-10 minutes and go to Indiana Jones that’s 5-10 minutes right there in the morning. And I do like that at Walt Disney World like Brooke mentioned, if you were to like purchase Genie+ at noon, you’re probably not going to get anything if not like maybe a single attraction potentially two because like she mentioned the times are moving so far forward, a guest at Disneyland in theory could purchase Genie+ at at 11:30 in the morning and still have a wealth of options. And not feel like they kind of made a bad decision or choice. And I like that the system is laid out so that when you look at it, not only does it let you see what’s still left in the day and the time so you can make an accurate decision as to whether you and your family should get it. But also the way the tip board is laid out lets you see the wait time and then below it what the the next time to return back for Genie+ is. You know I like that because obviously waiting in line is very opinionated and its subjective you know 30 minutes is long for one family and it’s not long for another family. But I like that as a family you know you could come at and see, oh Big Thunder Mountain is 30 minutes. Let’s book a let’s book Genie+ for it, aw 30 minutes is not bad, let’s just get in line for it. I like that they stack them on top of each other so you can make that decision, real time there with your family to see about you know, aw well let’s not do that one let’s book it for a longer time later on. Or Indiana Jones is later on, or Space Mountain later on, or Matterhorn is later on, and let’s just stand in line for Big Thunder Mountain. But I like that the the freedom of choice is is is easily decipherable from that tap to where you can kind of make that decision on your own. Cause I know I don’t I definitely wouldn’t mind 30 minutes for Big Thunder but I’m sure there’s a family out there that that’s too long so [laugh] they will probably want to book that experience for them. But I’m a fan of you getting to have kind of all of the all the options there in front of you so you can make the best choice for your day and for your family.

Matt: Yeah

Brooke: You make a really good point about rope drop, early mornings at Disneyland are so quiet. So families who are used to getting up and really getting into it quickly, like Philander said you can do so much in the morning without Genie+ and one of the things I always remind people, particularly like there are a few rides that are so great there that we like to ride multiple times in a day. So you actually don’t want to use Genie+ on some of those favorite attractions like we love to ride Mission Breakout at night. And so if we ride it in the morning with a short you know, I always say if the standby queue is 20 minutes or less, do not use it, do not use Genie+ for it if you want to ride that again, because you can only use Genie+ one time per attraction. So I like to, there are a few that stack up quite quickly in the day. So my first Genie+ booking is usually Indiana Jones, because that’s the one that goes the latest. So you’ll get into the park first thing in the morning. And often it will be kind of backed up already to maybe 11 or 12. So I just book that one right away. And then we do standby all morning. That’s usually our Disneyland strategy. And yeah, that seems to work really well, if you’re early risers. But I bought I bought Genie+ at two o’clock this last trip and still felt like I got a ton out of it for the second half of the day.

Matt: Strong testament to the power of Genie+ in Disneyland. 

Brooke: Yeah

Matt: I think 

Philander: [Laughs]

Matt: that’s probably a no brainer for a lot of people. But if you know, if you’re doing that five day ticket, maybe you don’t need it, or maybe use it for a day, or you decide what works for you. Let’s also talk quickly about dining. There’s a lot of different places to dine at Disneyland compared to Walt Disney World. I can’t really think of any place that’s the same I mean, they both have a they really have anything that’s really the same that I could think about. It’s so Philander I’ll go to you first because you you’ve probably been to them all. What are sort of your you know, if someone only had a couple of days at Disneyland and wasn’t going to spend, you know, breakfast, lunch and dinner at at the restaurants, you know, what are some of the places that you like to eat for table service or for quick service?

Philander: We usually when I’m with families, I know that obviously not everyone eats exact same thing. So I like to send families to places that have a bit of a variety so that they can enjoy multiple things like not necessarily sending a family to a place that only sells hot dogs. While the hot dog may be great, not everybody may be as excited to have a hot dog. So I enjoy sending people to places that have multiple options and in close proximity. So as an example, the Pacific Wharf area in California Adventure has three restaurants sitting right around each other. And that’s fantastic because it almost acts like a giant food court very similar to Sunshine Sunshine Seasons at Epcot, where you have like these all these different things so that everyone has an option or has a choice, you can kind of everyone can take a look at all the menus for three different places and then decide where they want and Disneyland has a few places like that because you can count that area you can count Tomorrowland they have two restaurants right next to each other, Galactic Grill and even Pizza Planet. If you go to also in Disneyland Park over in New Orleans Square, there’s a ton of little restaurants there and a few table service restaurants that is great. I’m also a big fan of challenging your palate a little bit, so while the corndog, burger, french fries, pizza area is really good. You can also find some fantastic food that’s different almost like in theory a mini-Epcot in the sense to where you know getting Cajun or Creole in New Orleans Square or getting Asian inspired food at Lucky Fortune Cookery. You know these places offer you know something that’s a a tad bit different so that you have a lot of choices. But I always have been a big fan if it’s a party to kind of give them options. Main Street is also fantastic because you have Little Red Wagon for corndogs, Plaza Inn and Jolly Holiday all within like a stone’s throw of each other. And I like that these places are so close, you know like everyone can kind of grab a a home base table and kind of spread out and know, they’re not walking clear to the other end of the park. You know like imagine Epcot somebody wanted to eat in Mexico and the other one person wants to eat in France like you’re gonna be having separate lunches at that point. Because that’s such a hike between the two of them. But I like that you can get really strong variety not that far from each other.

Matt: Great answers and I it did make me realize that they do share Galaxy’s Edge in common. So that’s probably the one 

Philander: [Mm-hmm]

Matt: Ronto Roaster it but they have different options at Ronto Roasters and 

Philander: [Mm-hmm]

Matt: Docking Bay Seven might have about the same menu if I think about it, but that might be all

Philander: I agree with Brooke about the the kimchi slaw in the [laughs] the Ronto-less wrap. [Laughs]

Brooke: It’s so good.

Matt: Brooke, where else do you recommend people consider dining?

Brooke: Um, well Philander touched on a bunch of the great great options for a variety of palettes. So I’ll go in a different direction with just some of my favorite reservations that I always try to book. I think that Blue Bayou is in New Orleans Square, that’s the one that you know overlooks the the start of pirates. And I think that that there’s nothing like that experience. It’s if if you don’t know what it’s like, it’s kind of it it’s, it looks like it you’re outside at night, kind of like Mexico. The Mexico Pavilion at Epcot. And it’s just a classic. So I love that one. And then at Disney California Adventure, I absolutely love Lamplight Lounge. The food is great, the atmosphere is amazing. It’s Pixar themed. And it’s it’s pretty much al fresco, you know, open air dining throughout. You’ve got the Incredicoaster blasting by on one end and you’re overlooking the water. They have an amazing brunch there. So if you’re there, I think it’s Friday, Saturday, Sunday, only, highly recommend the brunch. So I always try to get those and then I really love Tangaroa Terrace and Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel. 

Matt: I do too, yeah. 

Brooke: I think even if you’ve been to Trader Sam’s at at the Poly at Walt Disney World, there’s something different and special about the one at Disneyland, the bartenders are amazing. It’s just a little bit different vibe and the food outside there is great. They’ve got the you know, the torches going at night. So those are a few I think those are my my big ones that I always always try to hit at Disneyland.

Matt: Yeah, great answers. And it’s so easy again, to our point earlier about the size, if you want to dine at the resort, it’s almost like dining in the park. It’s really simple to get to, it’s easier to get to Tangaroa Terrace from Disneyland than it is to get to a Steakhouse 71 from Magic Kingdom or about the same, it’s it’s so simple to get there. So kind of you know, as we as we’ve we’ve touched on a lot of different areas, there’s a few things we didn’t touch on, I think that there are probably some worthy and maybe this this almost could be a whole Philander, I might have to bring you on for another episode about if you were to do a a tour of Southern California with a Walt Disney fan mentality 

Philander: Oh yeah oh my gosh.

Matt: Some places to visit, so we’ll we’ll do like a planning a, a Walt Disney fan trip to Southern California.

Philaner: So many good places. 

Matt: But you know, and there’s also things about you know, there’s there’s a few different airports to fly into and how you get to, to Disneyland can depend on if you’re renting a car or if you’re if you’re spending time just taking a cab and just going to just do Disneyland and then go back. I mean, there’s a number of different things to think about logistically. But you know, what are some of the pieces of advice that maybe we didn’t touch on that you would recommend folks think about or look into or consider if they are now going to move ahead with planning a trip to Disneyland?

Philander: I think if they are someone who has visited Walt Disney World before, definitely focus on the stuff that’s different. And granted there is a lot different you consider the fact that even the same attractions like how we mentioned before, pirates are different you know, definitely touch on the things that are unique, you know, obviously Disney parks have a lot of great copied attractions but definitely hone in on those that are unique like pull up a list and see what is different that from the place that you’ve been even if it’s down to something small like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride or as big as Radiator Springs Racers, you know, find those unique things so that you are finding out what is special about this resort and specifically, while it is great to yes of course you know do Haunted Mansion, you know, or Big Thunder Mountain. Those at least are are are similar enough to where if you, time was running a little tight and you had to skip one of them you wouldn’t feel so bad but you definitely wouldn’t not want to leave without riding you know Mission Breakout or or Radiator Springs Racers or Web Slinger is like or the Matterhorn Bobsleds you know Alice in Wonderland I mentioned Mr. Toad earlier like those kinds of things are are so important especially if you’re a fan of the parks that you get to see what makes you know that park special you know seeing World of Color like you mentioned Matt like that is only at California Adventure like that its gotta be considered a must do you know so sitting down with your family and not necessarily planning out a you know, the entire day step by step but kind of thinking of those non-negotiable ones like ones that you know we we we definitely need to do these on this trip. You know, whether it be the first day or second day like Brooke mentioned three days, you know, find time in that three day trip or that two day trip to kind of make it happen. So that you know you leave without feeling like oh my gosh, we missed out on you know, this specific thing. You know, I know a lot of you know, savvier Disney Parks fans. You now, that are traveling between the two coasts, you know, they know they’re making sure they ride Flight of Passage, or Cosmic Rewind or Ratatouille and the other ones are doing Mission Breakout, Radiator Springs Racers like they are wanting to see those unique attractions, especially when they’re bigger E-ticket ones on that nature. But yeah, just sitting down and finding out what is, you know, what makes it special, you know, I I love that they’re all different, you know, we don’t want to get to a space, at least I don’t personally where you’re kind of riding the same thing over and over again, every time you go to, you know, different resort around the world. They they’re laid out differently and, and and to not only to see those attractions, but explore the spaces if you can, I know you and I Matt talk just recently about the the how the land design is so unique and so different, you know, to spend time kind of exploring, don’t feel like you need to rush from ride to ride take time to kind of walk slowly and see those transitions that the three of us mentioned, you know, appreciate how the the layout is between the different resorts, you know, do a little bit more exploring, because you’re not having to take a you know, bus, you know, somewhere, you know, you have that extra time that you would have spent at Walt Disney World traveling to you know, let the park breathe a little bit. Let it uh, you know, I’ll just let it marinate, you know, in the crock pot, [laughs].

Matt: That’s great. Brooke, any other advice to offer?

Brooke: Yeah, no, that’s perfect. I I completely agree. And I was going to say and then you did just touch on it. In addition to those rides, the lands are so special. We didn’t we haven’t talked about Avengers Campus which is you know, there’s only there’s one new attraction and then Mission Breakout we’ve had for you know, since 2017, I think. But there’s Web Slinger and then that but the land is very much alive with characters and they there are all these little shows and these moments and characters passing through all the time you could spend a couple hours there just seeing who comes through and interacting. And you know, same with Cars Land and the transition from day to night when the neon lights go on. So you know don’t just go and ride Radiator Springs Racers and check it off make sure that you allow time to be in these spaces because they are so detailed and so unique to Disneyland

Matt: Absolutely. Great advice. You know, we really just scratched the surface with this conversation. I feel like we covered a lot of the important areas but could easily come back and do a part two or or chat in greater detail about any every one of these subjects. But before before we do that I you know we’ll, we’ll come we’ll come back and maybe do another another podcast episode but I do want to make sure that folks know where to go. If they’re interested in following you. Philander, I think we’ve had you on the show 3, 4, 5 times already so people probably 

Philander: Oh wow

Matt: already know but [laughs] not enough where where can people go to to follow and connect with you online?

Philander: Oh, my over on Instagram my name and then c85 PhilanderC85 I’m usually asking people a lot of questions in a poll or loving to just always share Disney history. You know, it’s a it’s a favorite thing of mine and I do love definitely getting to chat with people about it, you know, if they choose to to message cause it is such an amazing part of the company, you know, especially with us coming up on our you know, 100 years for the Walt Disney Company next year, which is outstanding, like incredible. And the history part you know, we don’t want to get too far away from it as we get further from it. You know, that’s the the stories don’t get told as often you know, because we start to lose the people that were here for them so it’s almost more important than ever that people like myself and Brooke and Matt that are sharing these things with people because you know the further we get from them they become almost mythic and legendary at some point and we need people to continue to tell the stories.

Matt: Absolutely, Philander I think you’re understating the the questions that you ask to your followers. 

Philander: [laughs]

Matt: I think you start heated arguments and debates more than anything else. 

Philander: That’s it [laughs]

Matt: The stories you reshare are hilarious [laughs]. Brooke How about you, where can people go to find you?

Brooke: Um, yeah, I I write report on Disney parks at a lot of different sites as a freelancer so the best place to kind of find everything is on Instagram @BrookeGMcDonald, and on Twitter also BrookeGMcDonald. That’s Brooke with an E.

Matt: I will make sure all that’s in the podcast notes of this episode. But Brooke and Philander thank you both so much for chatting with me about this subject. It has been such a blast to to chat with you about planning a first trip to Disneyland.

[Music begins to play under as interview fades out]

Brooke: Thanks. This was so fun. Thanks for having me. 

Philander: So fun, thank you.

Matt: Rapid fire question real quick before we go, if you were to be at Disneyland right now, whatever time of day it is, where’s the first place you’re running to? There’s no wait at the attraction.

Brooke: Right now I’m going to Hyperspace Mountain because it’s temporary and that overlay is awesome. And I love it.

Matt: It is, Philander. How about you?

Philander: Because Brooke brought up Lamplight Lounge I’m ready to get food there [laughs]

Matt: [Laughs] Love it.

[Music continues to play as Matt gives outro]

Matt: And with that, we close out episode 136 of the Imagineer Podcast. I want to give a very special thank you to Brooke and Philander once again for taking the time to chat with me about planning a first trip to Disneyland. Personally, I haven’t been to Disneyland in a couple of years now since before the pandemic and I cannot wait to get back our next trip will be Maggie’s first time visiting Disneyland. Prior to the pandemic, I went probably once every two to three years. And as someone who frequents Walt Disney World and grew up going to Walt Disney World, I have to say if you haven’t been before, if you are a Disney fan, who loves Walt Disney World, it is absolutely worth making the trip to go to Disneyland at least once just to check it out and to as we talked about a couple of times walk where Walt Disney walked. It really is such an incredible experience. I of course want to turn this conversation over to you though. And hear if you have been to Disneyland before, what’s your favorite thing about the Disneyland Resort? If you haven’t been to Disneyland, what is the one thing you are most looking forward to on your next Disneyland vacation? You can send me your answers and feedback, as always in so many different ways you can reach out on social media on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn @ImagineerPodcast, or you can reach out on Twitter @Imagineernews. Better yet, I would encourage you to share your answers in our Facebook group the ImagiNation also called the Imagineer Podcast Disney Fan Community. I’ve got links to all those places at Imagineerpodcast.com and I’ve shared out a couple of times in previous podcast episodes that we are revamping our YouTube channel. There’s a lot of video content on there already for you to enjoy that we’ve been publishing since April of this year, and there’s so much more content to come. So make sure you’re subscribed to our YouTube channel. To sort of add to this Imagineer Podcast experience, you can subscribe at youtube.com/imagineerpodcast. If you don’t already subscribe to the show, make sure to hit that subscribe or follow button. Whether you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, PodBean, Stitcher, or any other podcast app to make sure that you were the first to know when new podcast episodes become available. And if you have a few moments to leave us a rating and a review in the Apple Podcast store. That does a lot to help us out as well. And I do want to thank the more than 650 of you who have left us a five star rating in Apple Podcasts, which goes a long way as I said to help this podcast community. And if you’d like to take your love of Imagineer Podcast to the next level, make sure to join our Patreon group over at patreon.com/imagineerpodcast and I’ve got a link to that at Imagineerpodcast.com as well. At our Patreon group you can get so much extra content, bonus podcast episodes, daily Disney Music loops, binaural audio that you can stream on demand, and access to our private Facebook group we do weekly Disney+ watch parties, the list goes on and on. These terms and conditions are subject to change depending on when you’re listening to this podcast episode, to see what is currently available just head to patreon.com/imagineerpodcast and not only just to support the show, but a portion of all proceeds go to support various charities throughout the year as well. And thanks as always to our more than 100 Patreon members. I sincerely appreciate your support you help to keep the lights on for Imagineer Podcast and I always enjoy getting the chance to chat with you, have weekly calls with you and get to connect and become even better closer Disney friends. So thanks to all of our Patreon members. And when you’re ready to book a trip to Disneyland, or Walt Disney World, or any other Disney destination, definitely look into our travel partners, Magical Park Vacations and WDW Park Planners, they are sister companies that work hand in hand. Magical Park Vacations is a complimentary service you can learn more at MagicalParkVacations.com They can help you to plan out your next trip to any of these Disney destinations work within your budget, help to you advise on the best time of year to go, and answer a lot of the specific details that we chatted about in today’s podcast episode and beyond. And their sister company WDW Park Planners you can learn more about by going to WDWParkPlanners.com They are a concierge planning service give a lot more of a personal touch. If you want help with planning out the day-by-day itinerary, making reservations for dining, or even going ahead and booking Genie+ for you giving sort of a step by step itinerary of the things you should do if you’re really wanting that extra personal support, definitely recommend working with them. I personally work with them. They are amazing at what they do and have lots of amazing strategies that they can share to really help you to get the most of your next Disney vacation. Especially if it’s been a while or if you have never gone before. They can really help to make sure that first trip is extra magical, again you can learn more about both of these companies by going to MagicalParkVacations.com and WDWParkPlanners.com. Last but not least, I want to encourage you as I always do to go after your hopes, your dreams, your goals. That goal could be as simple as I want to make a first trip to Disneyland. Do whatever you can today to make that dream come true. And remember, as always that amazing, inspiring quote from Horizons if you can dream it, you can do it. Thank you so much for listening to the show and we’ll see you again in a future episode of The Imagineer Podcast.

[Music fades out]

[Radiator Springs Racers audio begins with music under Doc Hudson’s dialogue]

Luigi: Yes yes fantastico, now you will have the chance to make this the most glorious race of your life. Uno for the money, due for the show, tre to get ready, and quattro to go 

Doc Hudson: Show me what you got kid, 

Doc Hudson: tight around the curve 

Doc Hudson: Pour it on

Doc Hudson: Hot stuff, you won! I knew you had it in you kid. Congratulations. 

[Radiator Springs Racers audio fades and commercial audio begins and plays through end of episode]

Female Commercial Narrator One: When you’re at Walt Disney World Resort for the world’s most magical celebration, every moment is amazing. The joy is never ending and the memories last a lifetime. Because when you celebrate with us, nothing could be more magical.

Matt: Contact Magical Park Vacations to book your Walt Disney World Resort vacation today. Call 585-662-3686 or visit MagicalParkVacations.com

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