DCA Evenings & WoC

Hi everyone,

Our DL days are Sun - Wed for this trip (11-3 thru 11-6). The only day DCA is open after dark in that timeframe is Sunday, so I’m imagining that’s our only chance to catch WoC. However, we had planned on doing DLR that day as we were striving to go to the opposite park of EMH, plus on your first day you kinda just wanna go to DLR. So the plan is tentatively to do DLR from 8-4:30-ish, take a break, then go back to DCA for dinner / WoC.

1). Pitch me on your fave WoC viewing experience. Wine Country? Carthay? Or just regular FP?
2). What MaxPasses will we be able to pull arriving around 6:30 or so? Won’t have time for many rides with dinner / arriving early enough for WoC but if we could squeeze in a ride or two, which ones tend to be available at short notice? As I’m sure many attractions will have their FPs exhausted for the day by then (RSR, etc).


Oh, and as it’ll still be Daylight Savings time, when we return the next day for a full day at DCA (the park closes at 8 pm), does it get dark enough for nighttime ambience? Will Cars Land turn the neon on before closing?

We did the WOC desert party last time there. It was amazing! Best desert party for any of the night time spectacular shows I’ve seen in any park in WDW or Disneyland. I don’t have any experience seeing it in the other areas. But the view was great for us. The food was good. We weren’t super hungry. We ended up taking most of the treats back to the hotel with us. But we enjoyed them later. :slight_smile:


Turning this into a general DCA question thread as I dive deeper into a TP…

DCA newbie here. DLR was easier to plan being familiar with MK but DCA is its own animal. We will be going on Monday 11-4 (9am opening with 8 am EMH which we will NOT be using, saving our one EMH for DLR the next day; I know, I know - going to the opposite park that has EMH is solid advice, but DCA has the EMH both Sunday and Monday so there’s not much choice).

My first attempt at a TP rope dropped RSR, but even first thing the estimate was a 34 minute wait time. So I tried again with a plan that rope drops Soarin’ and that is a 23 minute wait time first thing. What’s the best plan of attack? What to hit first? The current plan gives me:

No one is interested in GotG. The Frozen time is messed up - I can’t get it to commit to the 4:45 show, but that’s so late in the day that I can just wing the rest.

Might try to give it a 3rd try ropedropping TSMM just to see if I can get a better flow for the midday section.

Suggestions welcome!

I would fast pass Soarin’, personally. We’re going next week and plan to rope drop TSMM. It’s something we’ve tried to do before but every time TSMM has been out of commission first thing in the morning. Fingers crossed it’s not next Tuesday! Maybe I’ll try to screen shot my plan and share it with you. LOL

Are you using Maxpass? (We aren’t.) If you are, it should be fairly easy to use FP for all of the headliners you want to do. It’s killing me that you’re not doing GotG! My favorite ride! The only other comment I have is that Grizzly River Run in November … I hate being cold but worse cold and wet. Beware and maybe invest in the ponchos!!

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OK thanks for the suggestion - I will indeed do another pass with TSMM as first ride. Please do share! I haven’t been able to find too many people’s plans posted - when I did WDW a couple years ago I must have read dozens of posts of TPs just trying to soak them in and absorb as much knowledge as possible.

We are indeed using MaxPass - my only concern was being able to get return times reasonably close rather than having to lock into one that is not for 5 hours or something. That’s why my first instinct was to RD RSR.

My kids get motion sick to the point of vomiting, so they’re not doing many of the coasters at all. They’re old enough (11 and 9) that we can throw them on a nearby ride or just sit and wait for us while my wife and I FP things like Incredicoaster and Space Mountain. But us adults don’t care for sudden drops so I don’t think anyone is up for GotG. We skipped ToT at WDW too. :slight_smile:

I do hear your point about being wet in November, but we love raft rides and won’t be doing another DLR trip maybe ever, so we’re gonna have to suck it up. Hopefully midafternoon wearing ponchos won’t be too bad.


This is the plan I’m working on for next Tuesday (8/27). It’s very tight with no meal breaks since we don’t really have a set plan for where and when we’ll eat. I’m travelling with 5 teenagers so feel like it’s okay to push the plan a little. At this point we may ditch Frozen (although I highly recommend it!) since they are not too interested. For us just a guide. My daughter and I were there in April on a 8/10 crowd level day and did every ride at least once. It’s totally doable especially with MaxPass. Also, since your kids aren’t into the thrill rides, take advantage of single rider lines in both parks!

Edited to add: We will not be using MaxPass, but will use a FP runner so the rest of us can get in line.

Your Plan Steps

|1) World of Color FASTPASS Kiosk

Return Time: 9:00pm||9:07am|0|1|0|4|

|2) Incredicoaster FASTPASS Kiosk
Return Time: 9:00am-10:14am||9:12am|0|1|0|1|

|3) Toy Story Midway Mania!||9:14am|11|8|0|10|

|4) Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind||9:43am|11|3|0|1|

|5) Incredicoaster
Uses FASTPASS for 9:00am-10:14am||9:58am|6|4|18|2|

|6) Soarin’ Around the World FASTPASS Kiosk
Return Time: 10:40am-11:54am||10:17am|0|1|0|10|

|7) Pixar Pal-A-Round - Swinging||10:28am|8|9|20|3|

|8) Radiator Springs Racers FASTPASS Kiosk
Return Time: 11:20am-12:34pm||10:53am|8|1|0|6|

|9) Goofy’s Sky School||11:08am|16|2|0|7|

|10) Soarin’ Around the World
Uses FASTPASS for 10:40am-11:54am||11:33am|8|5|0|6|

|11) Mariachi Divas
Showtimes: 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:00pm||11:52am|8|12|0|4|

|12) Radiator Springs Racers
Uses FASTPASS for 11:20am-12:34pm||12:16pm|11|6|11|2|

|13) Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! FASTPASS Kiosk
Return Time: 4:15pm-5:29pm||12:39pm|0|1|0|6|

|14) Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters||12:46pm|12|1|0|2|

|15) Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree||1:01pm|12|2|0|3|

|16) The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure||1:18pm|8|7|0|2|

|17) Redwood Creek Challenge Trail||1:35pm|0|20|0|1|

|18) Grizzly River Run||1:56pm|31|7|0|7|

|19) Frozen - Live at the Hyperion
Showtimes: 12:00pm, 3:00pm, 5:00pm||2:41pm|19|60|0|2|

|20) Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!||4:02pm|16|5|0|1|

|21) Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
Uses FASTPASS for 4:15pm-5:29pm||4:24pm|6|6|8|1|

|22) Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!
Showtimes: 11:15am, 12:25pm, 1:40pm, 2:45pm, 3:50pm, 5:00pm||4:45pm|15|5|0|1|

|23) Mickey’s PhilharMagic||5:06pm|8|15|0|2|

|24) Sorcerer’s Workshop||5:31pm|0|30|0|1|

|25) Turtle Talk with Crush||6:02pm|4|17|15|7|

|26) Tale of the Lion King
Showtimes: 1:40pm, 2:45pm, 3:55pm, 7:00pm||6:45pm|15|24|80|1|

|27) World of Color
Showtime: 9:00pm


So first, just to address the question of after dark for your dates- by November, it’s dark VERY early (like by 5:30pm in Anaheim). I’ve always used Time and Date’s website to know what time the sun sets (and the neon lighting in Carsland is always just at/after sunset so knowing the time of sunset really helps me integrate that into our TPs).

Based on the link above, for your dates sunset just a few minutes before 5pm & the projected hours are either 10pm or 8pm close so any of your days should have a WOC and time after dark to enjoy all things night ambiance in DCA. Carsland is amazing and the new Incredicoaster & the Pixar overlay on the pier are also quite fun at night.

Moving on to WoC- My vote is for the regular FP because it’s free, requires the same amount of time commitment as any of the dining packages or dessert party and if you compare just the regular FP to the dining package, you get a better view with a regular Blue section FP vs. the dining package AND in either of those you’ll be in a standing room only section so to me it’s just not worth it to pay for the dining packages & still have to arrive 45-60 min early to get a good rail spot and have not as great a view as the for free FP that requires the same amount of time to get a good railing spot. Blue section FPs are the 1st section distributed so grab your WoC FP early- if you have MaxPass (which I see you are planning on) you can do so from the DL app just after making your 1st ride FP (WoC is a dis-connected FP so grabbing it won’t impact your ability to grab FPs for rides & vice versa if you hold one for a ride you’ll be able to also get one for WoC).

If you are looking for a more VIP experience, the WoC Dessert Party is a great one, but if budget doesn’t allow for 2 up-charge events and you find yourself picking between Fantasmic! dining or this, pick the Fantasmic! dining. The dining package for Fantasmic! alleviates quite a bit of stress that comes with the regular FP and WoC reg FP doesn’t seem to have quite that same amount of frenzy and has a lot more open space so doesn’t feel quite so sardined as Fantasmic!'s FP viewing area. But the Dessert Party for WoC is the only option available to be seated for the show (& in a chair!) & at the end of a long day in the parks, that chair alone can be worth he price & the view is spectacular, the service great, and the treats a bonus (and drinks including 2 alcoholic for 21+ or light-up cups for those under 13 or 14).

And now to your questions on your TP…

Totally true that DCA is so unique and even as a frequent visitor it can stump me (mostly because I have 3 kids all with different interest and height levels so trying to please everyone ends up with a lot of splitting up & compromising), but you are definitely on the right track with selecting to do DCA on Monday because 1) the one EMH you get for being an on-offsite guest with 3 day or longer tickets is actually only applicable in DL and 2) Mondays in DL are a bit Manic Monday starting right from the entry lines being long & slow-moving moreso on a Monday than any other day, and so DCA even with the EMH tends to be less chaotic of a start. DCA in general on an EMH day isn’t horrible to start at behind EMH at reg RD as only the 3 onsite hotel guests are able to access DCA EMH so you’re not horribly disadvantaged.

For the record, DCA plans and I do not usually get along. For starters, the FP times that I can get are usually much sooner than what the plan anticipates but also, the wait times in the plan always seem to be underestimated to what we get, especially with Luigi’s/Mater’s & Monster’s. And I feel like the only time we make-up the ground is by splitting up & having one parent take the younger & sometimes middle kid to some things while the other parent thrill rides with the older. We also tend to move much more slowly snacking our way through DCA as so much of what my husband/middle child enjoy of DCA is the food and I never seem to account for enough time of that in my DCA plans, even with buffer break times & set at the slowest walking speed. That’s more our problem than TP’s but it’s one of the factors that make it hard for me to really set out & stick to the perfect DCA plan, so our DCA days are very fluid.

That being said, my favorite start is: grabbing IC as the first FP and hitting TSMM first at RD followed closely by Pixar Pal-Around since that can build up a wait quickly (non-swinging side is a little bit slower to build so you could do Incredicoaster FP first before hitting the wheel and be ok) We also really love the Emotional Whirlwind as it’s an easy one that is one of the few in DCA we can all together as a family (if you at all like Inside Out the photo opps out in front of the ride are at least worth walking past) and my 2 younger kids that aren’t tall enough for Incredicoaster also love the Jessie’s Critter Carousel so they usually ride it a few times while the parents each take turns with our oldest on Incredicoaster. And we hardly ever turn up the opportunity to have a Jack-Jack Nom-Nom cookie even if it is breakfast time!

As soon as you can get your next FP (which will be sooner than your plan is anticpating) I’d get it for RSR and use the time in between pulling that FP and it starting to hit the smaller 2 Cars Land attractions before they get much of a wait. Then watching for FPs for Soarin/Grizzly while working around lunchtime, fitting in the smaller pier rides (Golden Zephyr, Jumpin Jellyfish, Swings) & Little Mermaid in/around those FPs but know that you can work any of those in pretty much anywhere with similar wait times so you could focus on Hollywood Land instead & move any of those back to the evening if that suits you better (and after dark the ambiance there will be neat too).

The only one I would be careful about pushing back too far in the day is the Challenge Trail because it does close at sunset (and I don’t think TP usually inputs this data to the plan) so with that being so early you’ll have limited time to make it fit back in the evening & we love it so it’s at least worth a walk-through! We also have a newfound love of Grizzly River Run but with it being November definitely put it at midday and be sure not to go into any A/C areas (i.e. PhilharMagic or Animation Building) just after (Redwood Creek is a good choice bc it’s all outdoors) and if worse comes to worse, last winter they brought out large drying machines that for $5 you could stand in a little photo-booth like (but slightly bigger) space & get blow-dried off to at least be comfortably damp instead of sopping wet. They also tend to turn down the geyser effects when it’s cooler to increased the change that you’ll ride it so you may not even get that wet. But I would definitely poncho it up to be on the safe side!


If you can feed the teens a big bfast before RD and have them hustle through the first 5-10 steps (maybe one snack squoze in there if ahead around Pixar-Pal-Around), I think it’s very feasible you’ll end up ahead enough to get a break in for lunch at/around/after the Mariachi Divas/RSR FPs but I would definitely stop by 1pm ish and push anything you haven’t done (sacrificing Frozen in the process) to get them fed if you sense a mutiny coming on LOL!

My husband & middle child often cause my plans with not enough eating time to de-rail as DCA to them is as much about their favorite snacks as it is any of the rides (except for maybe RSR/TSMM- those they love but once those are accomplished, they are looking for snacks/food) and my middle child is often known to request the Bakery Tour just for the sample of bread bc it is a guaranteed snack she doesn’t have to ask me to spend extra time away from the plan (or money on because it’s free!) and she can also usually convince us that Ghiradelli’s ice cream next door is worth a stop no matter the time (breakfast included).

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The bakery tour is a must! We love to eat at the Cafe because my girls love the bread bowls. But also found out last night that two of the kids going are in the process of making a sourdough starter!

The kids are paying their own way and worried about food costs, so we’re probably packing plenty of snacks. But it’s hard to eat that protein bar in your backpack when a corndog looks so much better! LOL We’ll have to see how that goes.


Such great information! This helped me completely overhaul a couple plans even to the point of changing parks. I had no idea Daylight Savings Time ended so early. For some reason I thought it was a week later. Knowing now that there will be WoCs every night, I’ve simplified so that on Sunday 11-3 we just stay in DLR all day and do F! (rather than leaving at dinner time and going to DCA for rides, dinner, WoC). Then on Monday 11-4 we’ll do DCA all day including WoC.

Also very helpful - we had already planned on a F! dining package, so doing WoC FP seems to be a better investment of time AND money. Thanks for the tips on how to maximize this experience.

Do you mind sharing your favorite snack options? My family is the same way (though the adults tend to like to stop for drinks while the kids are snacking). I have added a cookie stop in the morning and have a drinks stop at Lamplight in the afternoon as well as Ghirardelli for ice cream.

Took all this advice and planned a brand new TP. Pushed all the pier rides to nighttime for ambience. Cut Animation Academy and Sorcerer’s Workshop all together - the schedules just wouldn’t work out with them, and I can just add them to the “missed items” list that will comprise our Day 4 Touring Plan.

So to recap here’s how it now stands:


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PS - Day 4’s TP will include CarsLand at dusk. Is it enough to be in the land or is it worth eating at Flo’s too? Thanks.

The Adorable Snowman’s Treats on Pixar Pier is one of our favorites. I think I like the lemon freeze better than the Dole Whip! Unfortunately, the line is often long and moves slow, but I think they have mobile order now.


They do have mobile order now!! We’re excited bc that’s some of our favorite snacking as well!

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Love the new plan @shermND! I definitely recommend trying to squeeze in Animation Academy if you can as it’s such a fun experience, but if you have another day in DCA to pick up the things that get missed from this day, then that will be a fantastic one to slot in.

As for food & snacks- one of our favorites are the Chili “Cone” Queso or Bacon Mac & Cheese Cone at Cozy Cones (and I would recommend them over anything at Flo’s but do take them over to Flo’s & enjoy the ambiance in Flo’s because it’s really a great place, especially at the back patio with the view of Racers going by you). We also love a lot that you already have in your plan (Jack-Jack Nom-Nom cookie, Ghiradelli’s, the samples from the bakery & at Lamplight we love the Lobster Nachos- technically we’ve never eaten at Lamplight Lounge, but this menu item existed at the previous Cove Bar that Lamplight became & we enjoyed it many times at the Cove Bar, just haven’t made a trip back to Lamplight Lounge for them) as well as Corn Dogs, Bread Bowls from Pacific Wharf Bakery, Award Wieners always seems to have great seasonal dogs, the adorable snowman slushie treat on the pier and…oh my goodness is this a lot of snacks & food for 2 days!!!). But one last thing, well 2 actually, if you like red hots/cinnamon/spicy then the Buzz Caliente Churro (also on the pier) is fantastic as well. And lastly, churro toffee at any of the confectioneries (Bing Bong’s, Trolley Treats, and of course there are 2 confectioneries in DL and one in Downtown Disney too if you need snacking ideas for other days).

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That’s really cool & in that case the Bakery Tour will be even more meaningful to them & not just mildy interesting with a free-snack.

So much truth in this!! We often have snacks on us but when it comes down to trail mix & fruit snacks again or buying the churro (even at the ghastly prices that keep inching up around us), the churro often wins.

Yes, we do have Day 4 to pick up anything missed. Right now, I have 3 good TPs for the first 3 days, but not sure I can do an advance one for Day 4. The plan is just to add in stuff we missed / had to skip (Animation Academy, Sorcerer’s, ride the train around DLR), rope drop / ride whatever the big faves were on Days 1-3 (whatever the kids tell us), go to Downtown Disney, and do CarsLand at dusk. By that point I’m hoping to have learned the parks well enough to be able to make decisions on the fly.

It will also help to know what parade is going to replace MSEP and what time that’ll be (daytime? nighttime?). That should be announced soon, I’m guessing?

Halloween and the Halloween overlays should be over by our week, but will that impact ride availability? Will they be closing rides to remove overlays? I know HM at least will retain it’s Nightmare before Christmas theme until Christmas. And I fear we’ll be visiting in the time when IASW closes to prepare the Christmas overlay. Anyone familiar with the timing of these transitions? (we’ll be there 11-3 thru 11-6).

After our DL days, we’ll be continuing our stay at the Residence Inn Convention Center a couple more days as my wife’s convention runs through Saturday 11-9. One day I’ll planning a beach / food tour of Orange County, then one day we’ll join a convention-sponsored bus tour to LA itself for typical tourist stuff like the Observatory, Hollywood Blvd, Farmer’s Market, etc.

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My guess is that they won’t do a parade that week since it’s going to be a transition between Halloween and Christmas & starting the 2nd week of November when they kick off all the Holiday season, they’ll do the Christmas parade. But I never would’ve guessed they’d bring back MSEP over Paint the Night so goes to show what I know :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

IASW will definitely be down for the transition to the Holiday version. If you were staying until that Thur 7/Fri 8, it’s possible that they would do a soft opening a few days early, but it’s not usually on a Wednesday (my sister-in-law LOVES to go the week you are going because weather & crowds are usually amazing but she always misses IASW bc it is always down until the 2nd Fri/Sat of Nov, Space Mtn may also be closed for a day but usually that’s just the day after Halloween, maybe 2 so you should see it come back up by the time you get there & almost certainly for sure before you leave).

And as for a fluid Day 4, definitely don’t put a full plan together until you know more of what that plan will consist of. On our last day usually I just have a checklist of what’s left to get done & kinda fit it all in using a combination of the Lines App & DL app wait times & the timing of FPs (or in your case MaxPass) as our guide to what to do next. And the full loop on the train is most definitely one I hope you get time to do as well. It really is so unique and one of our faves.

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Wow! Thanks! I’ve been preparing to track this for my trip. Now, I’ve got it bookmarked!

What are the “must do” at night rides in both DLR / DCA?

Racers hands-down is easily at the top of the list, but also in DCA:
Golden Zephyr or Jumpin’ Jellyfish or Silly Symphony Swings (to get a nighttime view of the pier on a gentle ride but you don’t necessarily have to do all 3 to get the effect, pick the shortest line/most enjoyable mode of attraction to you)
If it’s Halloween, GotG: Monster’s After Dark is only after 5pm and is phenomenal
And if you don’t have an aversion to being soaked at night, I hear Grizzly River Run is better in the dark (but I do have an aversion to being soaked after sunset so we’ve never done it- if we were to stay at the GCH one trip though, it is my plan to try it out so I’m only steps away from a warm shower & PJs afterwards).

As for DL:
Big Thunder Mtn is really awesome during FWs, and while I like it during the day as much as at night, it’s one that has a rap for being “one to do after dark” bc there are some effects heightened by the dark. I personally feel that the effects of the Matterhorn are more enhanced at night than Big Thunder (plus combined with the peeks of the park you get all lit up). But for some reason it doesn’t get the same rap as BTM for being “one to do after dark”. But they are definitely both great rides so doing them at least once each way is highly recommended!

If you happen to be there on a night where the Mark Twain is running near/past sunset (more possible if you’re going late fall or winter & if you go on a slower week when F! isn’t running nightly so the Mark Twain runs later), I LOOOOOOVE a sunset or a dusk cruise on the Mark Twain- it’s a beautiful time to be slowly meandering around the Rivers of America taking in the views from a deck of the Mark Twain.

The Carousel & Mad Tea Party have some beautiful lighting that are very pretty to watch even if you don’t ride them. Also the miniature houses that you pass by on Storybook Land Canal Boats have a little bit of lighting that’s just a different feel at night, but not necessarily a must-do at night, just a nice touch for if you do happen to do it at night.

Astro-Orbiter, Autopia (and really most of all of Tomorrowland) are much more enjoyable to me at night- Autopia has some fun retro-lighting now in the queue area & Astro-Orbiter gives you a great view of the hub & Tomorrow-land lit up. And neither of these attractions are ones I’m fond of so I only really ride them at night if I can help it.

And then in general, I love to do the dark rides more at night so my eyes have an easier time adjusting & I can see more detail earlier on & throughout the queue/ride. I first realized how much ambiance I was missing of dark rides the first time we did Roger Rabbit’s at night. I never knew (because it just all looked pitched black while my eyes were adjusting from the extreme bright light outdoors to very dark indoor queue) how themed & detailed the queue was & after that I love seeing the queue at night to notice all those same details. Haunted Mansion is another one rich with details that is much easier on the eyes to do at night.

And then another 2 things that are not rides to watch out for at night that I love to talk about are:

Rapunzel’s miniature tower in Fantasy Faire - it randomly glows & plays her song at night. We’ve only happened upon it 2-3 times & as far as we could tell it was all random & nothing specifically triggered it, although the first time we saw it, we were frustrated looking for a spot to squeeze into watch Paint the Night & the traffic pattern had been adjusted to what we had been used to so we kept getting sent in different directions than where we expected & my husband was getting super-annoyed & tired so we started to head away from the crowds/confusion mess & ended up in Fantasy Faire which was completely empty & quiet and he sat down huffily on the stepped area of the Rapunzel tower & it immediately came on which was new & unexpected to us & we are all marveling at him & he immediately felt better & had the energy to carry on through the crowds & confusion so we joke that the song “healed him”. We’ve tried in subsequent trips to pin down if there’s any logic to it lighting up but so far can only tell it happens at night sometimes.

Then the other thing at the little pond in front of Pixie Hollow there’s a miniature “Pixie-sized” fountain show with music, water & lights that’s really short, really fun but if it’s going on & we aren’t headed anywhere with a time constraint we’ve stopped to see it. Usually that one is much later at night & also we’re not exactly sure at what intervals it plays or not, but it’s a good one to watch out for if you can catch it as we’ve seen it quite a few more times than the Rapunzel tower lighting up.

And then or course, I can’t talk about all those lightings without also making sure that the Neon lighting in Carsland at sunset is mentioned. It’s so cool. I believe last year they did specific songs for Halloween and Christmas, but when it’s not a season they’ll play the Sha-boom song from the movie & the way land is built you really do feel like “you are there”. So it’s a much a must-do as any of the rides listed above, just in case you didn’t already have it.