Monday, July 8, 2024

Disneyland Monorail

Mik riding Monorail

Date of Visit: June 26, 2024

The last time we rode the Disneyland Monorail was probably before Downtown Disney when we stayed the Disneyland Hotel for my birthday in 1997 (Mik’s 1st Disneyland trip). This trip Dad and I used it a few times to save some walking distance, but Mik only used it one time when Dad went back to get Mom and him to join us at Disneyland for the day.

Elevator between stairs

To get up to the Monorail from the Downtown Disney station, there is an elevator between the boarding and unloading stairs.

Wheelchair boarding area

In the boarding area, there is a zone for wheelchairs to line up. When Mom, Dad, and Mik came over in the late morning they did not have to wait, but one evening when Dad and I went over we noticed the wheelchair/ECV line was very long. We are used to Disney World where the wheelchairs and ECVs can be loaded in several different cars and they just have to move the ramp to them for loading/unloading. Disneyland’s configuration seems to have only one place, which can fit two chairs, but only one ECV leading to it easily becoming a very long long of wheelchairs/ECVs.

wedge behind wheels

They do put a wedge behind the back wheel, but since there are no tie downs for the front it really doesn’t help. The route to Disneyland is very curvy and this leads to a lot of chair movement. Mik did not freak out like his has been known to do, but Dad did notice the casters did come off the ground at least once. Mik also said the movement made him nauseous.

Mik on Monorail

Overall we found the Monorail not really worthwhile at Disneyland. Dad and I did find it useful to spend a little less time on our feet. It did not really save any time in getting to the park other than walking to the park other than maybe the ticket line took longer and it does put you in Tomorrowland. Even if it was a time saver, Mik will never go on the Disneyland Monorail again because it was too much of a thrill ride in the wheelchair.

Destination Info:

Disneyland Monorail
1313 South Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92802

Friday, July 5, 2024

The Villas at Disneyland Hotel: Accessible Studio w/ Tub

The DVC Tower at Disneyland Hotel

Date of Visit: June 24-28, 2024

When I told Mik about the new DVC at Disneyland, he was interested in trying it out and doing Disneyland as part of his 30th birthday trip, but if I was not able to get a reservation when the booking window opened, he was also good with not going to at all. I ended up being able to get an Accessible Studio w/ Tub. Glad I had not gone with a one-bedroom because I later learned you pay the taxes here like at Aulani and it certainly would not have been worth using points and still owing the one-bedroom tax amount at checkout when there are many just as close hotels we have had good experiences at when visiting Disneyland.

From the start the stay was non-magical. First off the check in process is chaotic and not clear. When we drove up to the building, they basically expected us to unload in front and use bell services, which we never do at DVC. After we explained we wanted to just go in and check in, we were directed to go around to where there are some spots for check in. There were no accessible spots available, though, as the row of them here seems to be not just for check in and can be used for your whole stay. Later when Dad parked the car he found there were none in self-parking available and in the parking garage there are not even any accessible spots.

Check in inside was slow because apparently they expect you to use online check in, go straight to your room, checkout online, and basically never interact with the front desk. Well, I have found the Disney apps to be glitchy, not user friendly, and my account in particular has long been messed up because it merged with Mom’s DVC and mine for other Disney making my experience even worse than most. I could not even check in online using the app. I did eventually get it to work on the browser, but I do not trust the digital key working and I certainly was not going to log the others into my account for them to have a digital key or trust Mom could reliably figure it out on her own. Thus, we checked in to get real key cards. Later we learned we could add everybody’s tickets to each person’s account and app and maybe that would have worked if we linked the reservation for the digital key for the others, but mine never showed digital key as available to use so did not even try. The front desk staff at check in at least was friendly and as expected. It just was having only 2 cast members at main check in time made for a slow check in.

What really got us hating the Villas at Disneyland Hotel was bell services. First, we were surprised that they did not have carts you could use yourself because we have never stayed at a DVC or Hilton timeshare that we could not do that and even all the Best Westerns we had stayed at in the week and a half leading up to this stay had carts you could use. We travel with two large storage containers and a cooler, so taking it all to our room was not exactly an option. Thus, we used bell services. We knew they probably expected a tip, but we were not expected to have to use them and had no cash. I expected the awkward pause at the end with them waiting for a tip, but the guy refused to leave without a tip and when we told him we had no cash he still refused to leave because they take Venmo. I do not use that and even if I had cash at this point I no longer even wanted to tip at all because of their attitude, especially his. At this point, Mik came out of the bathroom and told us to take the cash in his wallet and we finally got him to leave with Mik’s 5 $1 bills (Mom being Mom, then realized she had a $5 bill and paid Mik back…).

Now we were only an hour or two into our stay and done with the Villas at Disneyland Hotel. The rest of the stay really was okay to good and if the start had not been so horrible, it might have actually have been a place we would consider staying again when visiting Disneyland.

The next big issue we ran into was the room was hot. At first I thought it was just that the settings were off until we entered the room. It was set at auto and 65 when we first came in and was 75, but overnight it only ended up cooling to 71. It certainly did not feel like 71, though, as we are used to keeping our house at 77 and lower than that in a place that does not have the same humidity is cold to us. We found if we put the fan on high it felt mostly comfortable. However, anytime you touched the thermostat, it reverted back to auto and then it got uncomfortable again because Mom is known to mess with the thermostat whenever she is hot or cold. One evening we came back and it was actually off (she says she did not touch it, but more than likely she did) and again it took until morning for it to be almost comfortable in the room.

Accessible tub

The last major issue we had was there was no hot water in the shower. Having just come from a hotel that only just barely got comfortable warm, not even getting to that was extremely disappointing. The shower felt even colder because of the style of shower head that made it is so you had to keep ending up out of the water stream to get the toiletries and lather up. For once Mik was glad we did not have a roll in shower! However, a roll in shower could not have been as bad as this tub that had too short of a shower curtain resulting in way more water in the bathroom than the roll in showers we have experienced lately.

barn door for bathroom

Besides the shower, the bathroom was good. We liked that it had a barn door (and that it did not have a bottom track to potentially get messed up and trap you like the Hampton Inn we had just been at).

toilet and grab bars

The bars worked for Mik to be able to get on and off toilet himself.

mirror with fairy godmother lights

The fairy characters lights in the mirror were fun and we found them to be bright enough that we only needed the main lights in bathroom when using shower.

big lotion bottle

We appreciated that they have a large refillable for the lotion compared to most places still seeming to do just a small bottle of lotion when they have the wall mounted other toiletries.

TV and kitchenette area

The one big positive of this place was the TV. Mik liked that he could connect his iPad and stream to itThe kitchenette area is under the TV, which made this feel very much like staying in a hotel room versus a studio. While it did allow for more “counter space” than the typical studio, it was more inconvenient that you could not leave stuff on it much because then it blocked the television. It also meant that instead of having a dresser for clothes you only had cabinets for your food (or you could have used them for clothes, but then no where for the food, which I guess if we had not been on part of a larger road trip we would not have had as much to food store as we do eat at the parks especially for a Disneyland trip). We did like that it had three power outlets as well as USB and USB-C ports for charging, though.

mini fridge

The fridge was small with no freezer, which was kind of expected, but also part of what makes the studios feel like a hotel instead of a studio and being “home” like DVC is supposedly trying to be with the whole Welcome Home thing. Really do not much care about having a freezer, but really was one of the smallest fridges we had during our three week trip that also involved staying at ~10 different Best Westerns and a Hampton Inn.

Keurig

The Keurig was nice compared to a coffee pot as it allowed us to easily do decaf and regular. It still feels so wasteful and a step back when the toiletries have gone away from single use, but we now travel with reusable k-cups and ground coffee so we do not request and use more than initially stocked.

sofa

The sofa is a Murphy bed. The ottoman in front of it was nice in that it opened up to be storage, but we moved it to be by the window and just kept the bed down the whole time so did not actually use it.

sofa bed down

Once the bed was down, there was a light, 2 outlets, and 2 USB ports.

light up headboard

The bed side “tables” also had power outlets, but not USB ports. The bed also had a light up headboard. The way they had black panels covering part of it made it looked messed up and poorly done to me.

view out window

When we first got our room assignment as 1st floor, I was disappointed because I never even thought that was a possibility. It did not end up being bad, but it did odd being at the end of the hall that also had the fitness center, the model rooms they were showing, and that led out to the grill area (only even realized that was there because it was viewed from our room window). Not having to deal with elevators was nice, though, and did help it not take quite so long for us to make the four trips to get our stuff to truck at check out.

bench between window and closet

Between the closet and the window there was a bench. This worked out to be a good place to put mine and Mik’s suitcases and just not unpack them.

thick carpet

Mik liked that the only carpet in the room was the rug under the bed. The carpet in the hall from the lobby to the room, though, was annoyingly thick. This was especially a problem when we were trying to be more efficient to get everything to the truck at checkout and I could not pull a suitcase and push Mik with the other hand like I usually can because I needed two hands to push him on the thick carpet.

Overall I guess it was worth using our points to stay here as we have not been using them for anything other than our annual family trip and I had them to use, but certainly not somewhere we would ever stay again as for not much more than the room taxes we still had to pay we could have had a better stay experience with breakfast included at a nearby hotel as we have mostly done for Disneyland trips. Also, would even use DVC points for a hotel room at Pixar Place over the Villas at Disneyland as at least you know you are getting a hotel room and are closer to the parks (stayed there once with Mik using DVC points when it was Paradise Pier and we enjoyed it). 

Destination Info:

1150 Magic Way
Anaheim, CA 92802