@lolabear_la and @Wahoohokie you both were so super helpful when we were planning our DL plans. We've gone 3 times including that first trip last November! The little one is an inch away from 42" and so we are trying to plan a trip to DCA in February for her birthday. I am having a hard time creating a TP without walking back and forth all over the park, which I am not as familiar with as I am now with DL. I was at DCA the first year or two it opened and not since!! I know you suggested not going to RSR first and just lining up early for the FP line if we are there for the early morning hour, which we will be, because we plan to stay onsite. I think we are going to skip Bugs Land completely because we will only have 1 day. There isn't much open at the early morning hour. My idea was to do Toy Story first in PP then FP for RSR and do the other rides their while waiting for our return time, then Hollywood Land stuff and then back to PP for the swings, etc. I would also love take them to Disney Junior show, which comes up in the TP for that day, but I was sure I read earlier that they were canceling it. . . I also want to see the pixar parade and Newsies. Think I can do that in a day that currently shows a 2/3 but based on earlier posts looks like they can't really be trusted. I know this is long and windy, sorry. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
How great that you have caught the bug and are planning another return trip! With having access to early entry you could take advantage of Carland because that be open, but you could also knock out Toy Story and if you or your party likes California Screamin, those are usually open. Not sure what else is usually open along the pier, but the one time we had DCA early entry I think that was about it (from the pier).
The RSR FPs would likely only be available to you 2-5 min before regular park open and more likely they just let you into the FP line right at rope drop just ahead of those who are heading from the rope. Because of this, I wouldn't head to the RSR FPs after just one attraction because I doubt it would take more than 15 min to get your first ride completed and heading to RSR FP next will mean 40 min waiting for RSR FP to open that you could spend doing attractions that are open and available.
Another thing to consider is that Disney announced that starting Nov 20th Toy Story Midway Mania will have a digital FastPass added, but no other details than that. So you may not need to rope drop it any longer because it may have a workable FP added and by your trip there should be more details to better help you plan. It also might mean you'll be working with digital FastPasses for more than Toy Story, so I would definitely stay closely tuned to at least the Disney Parks Blog for any updates on that front.
Thank you! Will stay tuned!!
Just got back from DLP/DCA, no sign of any FastPass mechanism at TSMM.
Thanks for the update!