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  1. #1

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    DLR trip advice!

    Hello all -- I don't post much on here, but I'll be making a trip to Disneyland in July, and I could use some advice. I go to WDW often, so I feel like I'm in my element there, but I'm much less knowledgable about DL and I haven't been there since before DCA opened, so I have a few questions for all you experts!

    1. I booked a Carthay Circle/WoC dining package that will get me into the second WoC showing (at 10:15). About what time should I plan on getting to the WoC area? Are people who saw the first showing allowed to hang around for the second showing as well? If I end up in a "splash" zone, how wet should I expect to get?

    2. I would like to get a Fastpass to ride RSR at night at some point during my trip. Anyone know about what time I should plan on obtaining my Fastpass so it will have a nighttime return time?

    3. What are some of the best counter service restaurants? Any that I should make a point to avoid? Are there any table service restaurants where I could expect to get a table without a reservation?

    4. I'm a little scared of how crowded it is going to be...all my most recent trips have been to WDW, which absorbs crowds more easily, and I've gone during off-peak times. I'm thinking I will plan on getting to the park at opening each day, head back to my hotel for a snooze and a swim from around 1 until 5, and then go back until closing. Does that sound like a good crowd avoidance strategy? Any other tips? The good news is that I am older than I used to be, and I feel like I've been to Disney enough times that I will not be devastated if I don't get to go on a zillion rides every day. I'll be content to sort of "hang out" in different areas of the park and not just run from ride to ride. What are some of your favorite places to just hang out in the parks?

    Thanks in advance to those who take the time to read and respond!

  2. #2

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    Re: DLR trip advice!

    I'm sure your trip will be fun! Some basic info on your questions:
    1. The first showing will end at about 9:45 or so if memory serves me right so I would make sure to get in line about then.

    2. RSR fastpasses for a specific time are tricky. They sell out quicker some days than others, and it's almost impossible to know when to get in line for a specific time slot as it varies daily. If you aim for a nighttime slot you could find they are gone by the time you get ot the front. You could get in line about 1/2 hour after park opening and hope for the best but you risk not getting any. The best way to ensure a night-time ride with minimal wait is to get a Fastpass for whatever time you can get and if it's during the day, go Single Rider at night.

    3. There is a mexican restaurant near Pacific Wharf in DCA that is really good and Hungry Bear in Disneyland is good as well. It's really hard to get table service without a reservation even at non-peak times, but you might be able to get them as late as one day ahead while at the parks if you see someplace you really like.


    4. It will be crowded, but longer hours and Fastpass can help mitigage that a little. A break from 1 - 5 seems kind of like a long time - you might want to consider eating lunch at 2 when everyone else is done, or come back at 4 to eat dinner early before the rush begins and just take a 2 hour break in the middle.

  3. #3

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    Re: DLR trip advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by PBandJ View Post
    Hello all -- I don't post much on here, but I'll be making a trip to Disneyland in July, and I could use some advice. I go to WDW often, so I feel like I'm in my element there, but I'm much less knowledgable about DL and I haven't been there since before DCA opened, so I have a few questions for all you experts!

    1. I booked a Carthay Circle/WoC dining package that will get me into the second WoC showing (at 10:15). About what time should I plan on getting to the WoC area? Are people who saw the first showing allowed to hang around for the second showing as well? If I end up in a "splash" zone, how wet should I expect to get?

    2. I would like to get a Fastpass to ride RSR at night at some point during my trip. Anyone know about what time I should plan on obtaining my Fastpass so it will have a nighttime return time?

    3. What are some of the best counter service restaurants? Any that I should make a point to avoid? Are there any table service restaurants where I could expect to get a table without a reservation?

    4. I'm a little scared of how crowded it is going to be...all my most recent trips have been to WDW, which absorbs crowds more easily, and I've gone during off-peak times. I'm thinking I will plan on getting to the park at opening each day, head back to my hotel for a snooze and a swim from around 1 until 5, and then go back until closing. Does that sound like a good crowd avoidance strategy? Any other tips? The good news is that I am older than I used to be, and I feel like I've been to Disney enough times that I will not be devastated if I don't get to go on a zillion rides every day. I'll be content to sort of "hang out" in different areas of the park and not just run from ride to ride. What are some of your favorite places to just hang out in the parks?

    Thanks in advance to those who take the time to read and respond!
    I am no expert but here are my responses to your questions....ymmv....

    1) 9:30ish / I don't think so / Misty mostly unless you happen upon a stroke of luck (good or bad, depending)....nothing like Splash Mt.

    2) That's a tough one......Just grab one when you can and if it ends up being too early ride it anyway and then get in the standby line afterwords to ride it at night.

    3) For counter service I like Bengal BBQ and The Stage Door Cafe in Disneyland.....I've yet to have anything all that recommendable in DCA. Depends on how long you're willing to wait......Except for the Blue Bayou I've never had any problem getting a table at any of the restaurants at the Resort within an hour of putting my name it (and usually it's more like 20 min).

    4) I usually retreat to my Hotel when the crowds get unbearable and the mouse starts treating me like livestock.

    Hopefully an AP holder will chime in with some better answers than mine.....
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  4. #4

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    Re: DLR trip advice!

    I am totally not familiar with the fastpass system, but are the FPs able to be traded? If so you could get in line, get passes, then wait until night passes are showing up and offer to trade someone your earlier FPs for their night ones. Most folks would likely jump at the chance for earlier passes.

    If they can't be traded, I guess you could get in line and let people go past you until the kiosk is spitting out night time tickets. If, of course, the CM in charge of the FP line will let you do this. If you explain your reason they just might say OK. I know people who do this in the actual ride line at HM to avoid going through with groups that look like they may be rowdy/loud.

    Of course, both of these solutions mean you lose park time but, if the night ride is that important it might be worth the wait.

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  5. #5

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    Re: DLR trip advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by PBandJ View Post

    1. About what time should I plan on getting to the WoC area? An hour before the show? Are people who saw the first showing allowed to hang around for the second showing as well? No.

    2. I would like to get a Fastpass to ride RSR at night at some point during my trip. Anyone know about what time I should plan on obtaining my Fastpass so it will have a nighttime return time? At park opening on a 7/10 busy week we lined up first thing in the morning. We were waiting near the Animation Academy. Our FP was for 3 p.m.

    3. What are some of the best counter service restaurants? Our favorites are Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, Award Wiener's veggie sub in DCA. In DL Tiki Bar-dole whip, Bengal BBQ, Mint Julep Bar-beignets, French Market, Rancho del Zocalo, Harbour Galley, Coke Corner hot dogs seemed bigger than the ones at Award Wieners in DCA. Any that I should make a point to avoid? We don't like the sweet potato fries at Hungry Bear. When we went to Redd's Rocket Pizza Port in Tomorrowland it seemed like the salad portions were smaller and the pasta dryer than at Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta in DCA. The Sicilian dog at Award Wieners made us sick.

    Two adults shared most meals on our trip. We kept our food budget to an average of $37.50 over 4 days. We ate breakfast out of the park. We bring a water bottle and fill it with ice. I also brought crystal light style lemonade to put in it. We skipped snack foods like cotton candy in exchange for a real snack like spaghetti to share.

    Happy planning!

  6. #6

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    Re: DLR trip advice!

    Thanks so much for all the replies! I made a list of all the good restaurants you mentioned, and I will probably just plan on using the standby and/or single rider line for RSR at night.

    I thought of another question -- would y'all recommend any apps to use in the parks? Something that reliably tells you wait times, FP return times, etc.? I have an iPhone 4, if that is relevant...

  7. #7

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    Re: DLR trip advice!

    MouseWait is a good app

  8. #8

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    Re: DLR trip advice!

    Since you have the WOC dinner package, you should not have to wait in line. I believe they recommend you arrive 1/2 hour before the show. Pretty much they section off an area for the dinner package folks and keep it for ticket holders only until about 15 minutes before the show. Then anyone can get in that area. If you want to stand in a very specific place, you might want to get there earlier, but both times I've done the dinner I was able to arrive about 20 minutes before the show and still find a decent space. Of course, your mileage may vary

    DCA does a pretty good job of absorbing the crowds. Radiator Springs Racers and Toy Story Mania (no Fastpass) being to the 2 main exceptions. Your idea to wait around the Fastpass machines to see if you can get a later time sounds like a great idea. I'm sure you can find someone that would like to go on the ride sooner rather than later. I would just be happy if I can get a Fastpass for Racers at all. I've seen these disappear as soon as an hour after the park opens. Mater's Junkyard and Luigi's Tires are both slow loaders but since they are outside, you can take a quick look and decide if the wait is worth the attraction for you.

    If you are staying on property, a good food option is the White Water Snacks restaurant near the Grand Californian pool. You do not have to be a hotel guest to eat there, but because of its location it can be quite a distance to get back into the park if you do not have a Hotel Key to use the DCA specific entrance at the Grand Californian.

    Hope this helps and have a great trip!

  9. #9

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    Re: DLR trip advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by PBandJ View Post
    1. I booked a Carthay Circle/WoC dining package that will get me into the second WoC showing (at 10:15). About what time should I plan on getting to the WoC area? Are people who saw the first showing allowed to hang around for the second showing as well? If I end up in a "splash" zone, how wet should I expect to get?
    Unlike WDW, I am able to walk into restaurants at DL/DCA and just eat. This worked for me at the Trattoria place that offered WoC tickets too. The only problem was that the lunch meal was so big that I had food coma while on a few rides afterwards

    Quote Originally Posted by PBandJ View Post
    2. I would like to get a Fastpass to ride RSR at night at some point during my trip. Anyone know about what time I should plan on obtaining my Fastpass so it will have a nighttime return time?
    There is a sign that will tell you when the fast pass return time is. If you have problems, I was able to get through the single rider between 15-30 minutes when I went.

    Quote Originally Posted by PBandJ View Post
    3. What are some of the best counter service restaurants? Any that I should make a point to avoid? Are there any table service restaurants where I could expect to get a table without a reservation?
    The pizza joint in Tomorrowland is horrible, but the people that work there are awesome. If you have problems, then just eat at downtown Disney.

    Quote Originally Posted by PBandJ View Post
    4. I'm a little scared of how crowded it is going to be...all my most recent trips have been to WDW, which absorbs crowds more easily, and I've gone during off-peak times. I'm thinking I will plan on getting to the park at opening each day, head back to my hotel for a snooze and a swim from around 1 until 5, and then go back until closing. Does that sound like a good crowd avoidance strategy? Any other tips? The good news is that I am older than I used to be, and I feel like I've been to Disney enough times that I will not be devastated if I don't get to go on a zillion rides every day. I'll be content to sort of "hang out" in different areas of the park and not just run from ride to ride. What are some of your favorite places to just hang out in the parks?
    The trick is to spend time in the resort until the AP folks show up, so it really gets busy after 5p during the week. Of course, if you want to see the fireworks and shows, then you're gonna have to deal.

  10. #10

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    Re: DLR trip advice!

    For RSR FP it's hard to determine how quickly they will go in summertime, but I would get inline before opening and once you get to the front, if they won't exchange them, don't get them, just wait until the time you are looking for comes up. Likely it will be within the first half hour of opening.

  11. #11

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    Re: DLR trip advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by PBandJ View Post

    1. I booked a Carthay Circle/WoC dining package that will get me into the second WoC showing (at 10:15). About what time should I plan on getting to the WoC area? Are people who saw the first showing allowed to hang around for the second showing as well? If I end up in a "splash" zone, how wet should I expect to get?

    2. I would like to get a Fastpass to ride RSR at night at some point during my trip. Anyone know about what time I should plan on obtaining my Fastpass so it will have a nighttime return time?

    3. What are some of the best counter service restaurants? Any that I should make a point to avoid? Are there any table service restaurants where I could expect to get a table without a reservation?

    4. I'm a little scared of how crowded it is going to be...all my most recent trips have been to WDW, which absorbs crowds more easily, and I've gone during off-peak times. I'm thinking I will plan on getting to the park at opening each day, head back to my hotel for a snooze and a swim from around 1 until 5, and then go back until closing. Does that sound like a good crowd avoidance strategy? Any other tips? The good news is that I am older than I used to be, and I feel like I've been to Disney enough times that I will not be devastated if I don't get to go on a zillion rides every day. I'll be content to sort of "hang out" in different areas of the park and not just run from ride to ride. What are some of your favorite places to just hang out in the parks?
    1. Attempt to arrive to World of Color by 9:40. You won't get wet unless a fountain breaks, which I haven't experienced for awhile. People who visited the first showing are definitely ushered out of the viewing area.

    2. For Radiator Springs Racers, I would either show up to get a FastPass and just wait until later at night. Obviously the times differ. Or, I would just go single rider, the lines are about the same wait at that time or night.

    3. My favorite restaurants are Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta in Paradise Pier, Corn Dog Castle, some of the best Disney corn dogs, and Ranche de Zocalo Restaurante, a fantastic Mexican restaurant outside of Big Thunder Mountain.

    4. Get to the parks early, almost before the parks open. Make sure to get as much done in the first hours as possible. If you have early morning hours get all of Fantasyland done, Space Mountain, and also the Matterhorn. Make sure to be at the entrance to Adventureland right at eight/when the parks opens and head strait to Indiana Jones.

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  12. #12

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    Re: DLR trip advice!

    Wow, more great replies! Thanks so much! I'm staying at one of the Harbour Blvd hotels right across the street from the parks for 4 nights. My flight gets in in the late morning, and the plan is to go to a park that night.

    I'm glad to hear that the WoC reservation works so well. I'm usually mostly into rides, but I think WoC is what I am looking forward to the most on this trip!

    I have a 4-day park hopper, so I will have one "magic morning" available at DL...is the entire park open for that early hour, or is it just certain attractions? I just keep thinking of more questions, and you guys answer them so much more directly and thoroughly than internet searching does

  13. #13

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    Re: DLR trip advice!

    The only parts of DL that open early are Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

  14. #14

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    Re: DLR trip advice!

    If you really want to Ride RSR at night you should get in the Standby Line at Closing, that way you can ride it in the morning with a FP and then at night.
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  15. #15

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    Re: DLR trip advice!

    For your magic morning I would do all of FL (PP for sure), plus Space and Nemo. Get to the park about 15 minutes prior to the start of MM and go straight for FL, PP first, then toad, then dumbo, as these lines get the longest. You can probably do those three in 15 minutes, hit Casey jr. SW, Pinocchio, then head to space and at least be in line or on for Nemo when the main parks opens. On my early entry day with my AP I was able to do 19 rides, including all e tickets except Indy which was closed, in 5 hours on a June morning following this plan

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