Post your ultimate guide for people visiting DLR this summer. This is mine. Feel free to agree/disagree, add on or subtract from it with your opinions or create your own guide. This will be the GO TO guide for anyone wanting to visit this summer and won't be compiled by just one person but everyone here at MiceChat. At the end of each week, everyone's suggestions will be compiled into the original post with their names posted by it to show what they suggested. This intro post is all of my creation unless noted otherwise.
To avoid long lines for the water rides at DLR, go on them at night. GRR's line will be nonexistant after about 8 PM, and Splash Mountain's will rise and fall because of Fantasmic (rise a bit before, drop during, rise after). At about 11, the line should fall down to a 5 - 15 minute wait. I would recommend bringing an extra pair of clothes if you decide to ride either ride. Because you may be drenched and cold, I would say only do one of these rides. If you're going for more than one day, do one a day (that way you're not constantly changing clothes). If you don't care about being wet and cold, then more power to you on your GRR and SM back to back night trips with no lines.
If you're having trouble trying to decide which one, if you only have time for one or decide just to do one water ride then I suggest the following: which suits your excitement factor? If you love the traditional dark ride with a twist (that it's a flume) then you'll love Splash Mountain. If you like the scenery and excitement of never knowing who's gonna get wet next on what feels like a river adventure, then GRR. Splash Mountain is like a smooth journey down a river with 3 or 4 drops as where GRR is... well, uh, rapids. There are no animatronics, noteworthy soundtracks, or recognizable scenes on GRR. It's a pure adrenaline based water ride.
For the person(s) in your group who don't want to get wet, definitely do not ride GRR. However, they can wait at the exit as the ride at this time of night, your party will be back within 7 minutes. For Splash Mountain, have them ask or let them choose to sit in the back 2 or 3 seats. The very back is usually for BIG people or a person and a small child, which is available for seating also. This spot gets pretty much 0 wet. The spot above it is pretty much the same situation. The middle, you'll stay about 85% dry. The front two spots however, it really depends but you WILL get more than moderately wet. The very front could possibly get drenched from head to toe, depending on the weight in the log.
If all that sounds like something you'd want to do during the day, definitely utilize FastPass (unless the return time is after about 6 or so because then it's pointless). However, the experiences are pretty much the same and the ride is just as fun.
NOTE: GRR has FREE lockers near it's exit. UTILIZE it if you brought extra clothes or want to put your phones, maps, etc. in it. The time limit is not very long though so it wouldn't be wise to jump parks to SM and still use the same locker.
The basic rundown of this is to example which rides you should and shouldn't use for FastPass utilization. The ride I would say that you should definitely get FastPass for is Space Mountain. The line reaches ridiculous lengths at both day and night. Unless you're hitting this first, I'd say to grab one for this before they're gone, which can happen sometimes by 2 or 3 PM.
As for DCA, I'd say get one for Soarin' Over California. Not only does the line SLOWLY move, but the line can be up to 2, very long hours. Usually and luckily, FP doesn't run out too quickly for it but I'd suggest getting one early anyway. Even after getting a FP, the line can take another 20 minutes or so, so don't think you can do it at the end of the night and try to get one more ride in because very possibly, if at 11:30, it may be your last attraction of the day. The sooner you get it out of the way (I don't necessarily mean that negatively), the better.
Indiana Jones is huge attraction that can NOT be missed by any means. Even if you're waiting an hour or so, it's worth it but if you want to crunch some time, get a Fastpass if possible and in the meantime, enjoy the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion (all are referred to in the "E-Tickets (w/o FastPass)" section). On the plus side, the queue is somewhat of an attraction by itself by being by far the most detailed walk through area in either parks. The line moves at an OK pace since it is moderated from beginning to end by CMs letting guests in at different capacities at different sections of the queue. So it's slow, goes fast, slow, goes fast.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad isn't that bad of a wait. But the FP does get you pretty much up to the loading areas so you'll be on within a matter of minutes, if not, seconds.
Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin is the most ridiculous long wait of any ride in the park. The loading and unloading takes forever and line moves at snails pace through it's gargantuan queue. Don't be fooled by walking and seeing the cars and thinking, "oh it won't be that long." Trust me, it is only the beginning. However, the line is cool and should keep you entertained if you do decide to endure it. If it's under 35 minutes or under, I say go ahead and get on but if you don't feel like waiting that long of a wait for a generic dark ride that you can turn the car on, FP it for sure or maybe even skip it.
Autopia is your average car track, Disney style. I want to say skip it but I know how awesome of a feeling it is for a kid to drive. If in a group full of adults, skip it for sure. For the kids, I guess just wait in the line. It does shrink towards the end of the night though.
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is a ride you don't need to consider for FP. Once it hits about 10:30 PM, the line is about 15 minutes at the most and moves very quickly.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is another line that takes FOREVER, even if you use the FP. I've never ridden this during the summer so I'm not exactly sure about it's average wait time. So, I'd say FP it if you can.
California Screamin's line moves at a very good pace even if it's out of the queue area. It's still only about 35 minutes at the most so go ahead and wait for it. Plus it's a pretty good lengthy roller coaster so it'll feel worth it.
Muholland Madness you don't need an FP for. The line stays at a good pace and it's a really small queue area. Even if it says 35 minutes, it probably really means 15 (or at least it feels like).
E-Tickets (w/o FastPass):
Jungle Cruise isn't something I ride all the time or even bother to look at. It's like the midget of the siblings with Indy being the giant next door, so it's hard for me to give it a look. However, from my few times of riding it many summers ago, I remember it moving at an okay pace. If the line is trailing upstairs though, just turn and look the other way and come back when it has lowered down a bit.
Pirates of the Caribbean is a no sweat line. Just go ahead and get in no matter how long it is, it is really no longer than 15 minutes and feels like 5 because it constantly moves due to the large amount of people that get on each boat and how many boats they have going through. I once waited in line during the re-opening with Jack Sparrow and it was zig-zagging all the way near Haunted Mansion and it was the quickest 35 minutes of my life.
Haunted Mansion is another no sweat line, just a little bit longer because of the space it occupies. The line moves at a great pace if it's zig zagging in the grave yard area but because of the ride system, people are constantly pouring through. I'd even suggest skipping FP for this when it's Holiday also.
Matterhorn Bobsleds may look like a long line but really it isn't. Even wrapped all the way around the mountain, it's only about 35 minutes because there's no zig zags. If there are zig zags though, that's when I'd be concerned. The line also moves at an okay to moderate pace.
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage takes quite awhile but it won't be your longest wait in the parks. It's very stop and go due to the ride system. If there are many submarines in the lagoon, then it should move quite fast. If only a few, it could take up to 45 minutes to an hour. I have noticed though, that the popularity for the ride has shrunk and I haven't seen the line get that big lately so this summer may be a different story.
Star Tours has lost it's popularity over the years. I do think this summer will be different than most though because it is the last summer the original version will be around. It's an unpredictable situation for me to necessarily say. My gut is telling me an average 25 minute wait but the queue is awesome, so go ahead and wait for it if Star Wars is your thing.
Toy Story Midway Mania usually has the same wait throughout the day of about 45 - 60 minutes. The ride is very enjoyable though and the line moves at a moderate pace. I'd say it's a must see so make some time for it.
The Dark Rides:
All the dark rides have usually the same type of wait of about 20 - 30 minutes on peak days and they all move at moderate paces, EXCEPT for Peter Pan's Flight. PPF can take up to an hour and move extremely slow. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh on the other hand, never has more than a 5 minute wait, and if it does, each car comes rapidly that holds 6, so you'll be on in no time. Monsters Inc can also take awhile and I wouldn't suggest waiting if the line area looks full. If only one of the zig zag waiting areas is being used and goes straight to the main building, go ahead and wait and it should take about 15 minutes and move at a good pace.
Make sure to utilize the Disneyland Railroad for some nice sights and calm trips around the park. It stops at NOS, ToonTown and Tomorrowland, so if you're feet are ever hurting, make a short walk to any of the stations to get around. Sometimes train waits can take a long time though.
The Monorail is an interesting system that usually helps locals back to Downtown Disney or tourists staying in the hotels near by. If you're not either, you won't benefit from this much since it's a one way trip. You can get back on but there'd be no point in it unless you wanted to see a movie at the AMC but I'd suggest to continue on with your day at the Disney parks.
I enjoy parking in the Mickey and Friends parking lot structure but many times it fills to capacity. Plus, getting on the tram in the morning and late at night (especially after fireworks and/or closing) can be a bit hectic. Some would suggest using the Toy Story parking lot, which uses a bus system to get to the park which has yet to be discovered so crowds haven't flocked to it yet.
Celebrate - a Street Party you can easily walk up and find a spot about 5 minutes before. Make sure you go to the first area it's performing in so it can be over with quickly instead of waiting 15 - 30 minutes for the "parade" to trot by. I do believe they say when the parade should be in certain areas after the show starts but still, watch it and go on with your day as fast as possible if you decide to watch it (note: it is quite possibly the most hated show/parade of all DLR and all time so watch at your own risk)
Aladdin is an amazing show and it'll be gone after this summer so definitely check it out. It runs for about 45 minutes and you should get there at least 15 minutes early to avoid full capacity issues (don't worry about seating, all great spots) so prepare to take up about an hour out of your day for it.
The Enchanted Tiki Room is technically a show. It isn't too long and it's quite humorous so enjoy a Dole Whip (I actually never have :-/) and take a seat. I'd suggest sitting closest to the door which is kitty cornered across from the door you enter from so you can exit quickly.
I haven't seen any of the other shows/parades including Pixar Play Parade, Playhouse Disney, HSM 3, Jedi Training and sadly, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. However, Pixar Play Parade is easily accessible to watch, as is HSM 3.
As far as 3D movies are concerned, these are pretty easy to handle at DLR. Captain EO may have a 1 or 2 show wait especially since the anniversary of the death of MJ is approaching, along with his birthday.
It's Tough To Be a Bug doesn't get too crowded and is definitely one of the better technical sights at the resort with animatronics and in seat capabilities. Also smells...
MuppetVision 3D is old but it also looks the most brand new of the 3. It's also the funniest and pretty much never has a wait.
Never and I mean never, eat during normal hours. Eat at the most obscure sounding hours possible. I don't know your food tastes so I'll give some of my personal favorites. Pizza Port. Hungry Bear and sitting next to the ROA. Random places in ToonTown. Award Weiners. I have yet to eat at the more popular places such as Cafe Orleans, Village Haus, Carnation Cafe, etc.. If you're wondering about Blue Bayou, they have pretty much a similar menu at Cafe Orleans if you want to save some money. Full rundown of food at DLR - Disneyland Resort Menus
Waiting in Lines:
Bring a scrapbook to write it in or play games in like Tic Tac Toe or Hangman. I would suggest a deck of cards but there's no where to place them, unless you're in a line that completely halts for 5 minutes at a time. Maybe even bring a Connect 4 set (it's easy to assemble and can be held). Play ISpy. Bring an IPod. Make friends with the people in front and behind you. Look for Hidden Mickeys. Do improvisational games such as ABC (do an entire conversation with using the next letter of the alphabet at the beginning of the sentence), Finish my Line (your partner will say a sentence but leave out the final words for you to fill in), Word by Word Story (create an entire story by taking turns by saying only a word at a time). My best advice for improv games is to always go with it and never say no. Once you've countered either of those, the game has lost their fun. Also, a really important thing to do is look at your map and create a list of things you want to do and put them in order. It'll be fun going from ride to ride to see if you actually stuck with the list or veered off at some points.
World of Color & Fantasmic:
This new and highly anticipated show will sure be the main attraction this summer at DLR, located in DCA. First things first, get a Fastpass for the show early on in the morning so you can experience it. If this doesn't work, try to get in to either the second or third showing of the night. If water shows aren't your thing, maybe you'll enjoy Fantasmic a bit more as it contains water & fire effects along with practical sets and actors.
Fantasmic's area before the first showing crowds up real good about an hour before the show starts. Disregard this first showing and go to the second showing where crowds lighten up a bit. Plus, this is after the fireworks if you did decide to view that and also, most likely after the second World of Color showing. There are many concession carts around in NOS so grab a souvenir bucket of popcorn, a Coca-Cola and a churro to enjoy the show.
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