Early entry for Disney hotel starting Aug 8

I was able to cancel my duplicate (undiscounted) reservation for the DLH online! I have never been able to do that before (at least not since Covid) - I always had to call in for Disneyland. Not sure when this change happened, but I’m happy.

Also, I looked at the detailed rates for my new reservation and I received 15% off the first night and no discount for the second night (presumably because it was a weekend - Friday night).


I cannot remember if I asked you your dates before. Do you overlap with the Fab 4 9/20-26?

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Unfortunately no! I’ll be there 9/1-9/3. I would change our dates but I am timing it to hopefully see John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl again!

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Dang. We could have had a Fab 4 + Jeff and DW meal together.


I just know this is bound to happen someday! We all travel too often for our plans to never coincide.


The number one rule for DLR is to be ready at any moment to shift/scrap plans and go with the flow because on-the-ground lots can change from what you planned to happen. I still love to plan and for every trip I map out our first several rides for the morning of our first couple of days (and leave anything after that un-planned to pick up what we decide to add/change to the plan). I also try to decide on a general slate of options for meals & pick what shows & entertainment we want to see. Then everything else in between I choose on the-ground and any more detailed plans I make are more of a checklist rather than a step by step. When I get in super planning mode, I’ll make up different sets of plans that have options to start with Must-Do’s, Want to Do’s, and Would be Nice (If there’s time) to Do’s and that way based on what we’ve accomplished, I can pick up where we need to on those (again mostly using as a checklist).

With advanced park reservations, it’s hard to gauge these days what park is “better” in terms of crowds so I’ve just picked whatever park I want to do (if I have a choice by the time I get around to making the reservations). I also work to alternate days & because of my own personal preferences will lean towards choosing more DL starting days than DCA. There are a lot of e-ticket attractions that multiple starts in DCA can help you stagger to divide & conquer, but DL just has a sheer volume of stuff that I love more so I tend to like starting there more often. But it’s definitely a preference (for me Main + Castle are far & away more of a draw). I have family that really, truly love and adore the DCA ambiance tho & DCA has a stellar line-up of e-tickets that are widely loved: Radiator Springs Racers, Incredi-coaster, Guardians, so you really cannot go wrong.

I usually pick at least 2 mornings to start in DL though to do one morning that starts with a mix of Tomorrowland/Fantasyland and a 2nd start for the West Side (Frontier/Adventurelands/New Orleans Sq). Then in DCA we almost always start out at the Pier, move up towards Grizzly Peak & make sure then in the evening focus on Carsland and Avengers Campus for nighttime ambiance.

For food, we like to use mobile order as much as possible and we try to eat at off-peak times. We do also mix in our resort food with some of our favorite off-site places (Pizza Press at The Anaheim Hotel, and we usually stop at least once at the Harbor McD’s and there is also a Panera next to the McD’s if you love that). We don’t often plan sit-down meals, but when we do Storyteller’s and Carnation Cafe are 2 favorites. We also love Goofy’s Kitchen and the Plaza breakfast with Minnie and Cafe Orleans has always been excellent the couple of times we’ve eaten there. Blue Bayou is beautiful ambiance but I feel is slightly overrated. It is well worth it through for the dining package for F! as you’re killing two birds with one stone. And as of late we are suckers for any dining packages that are worth it (Hungry Bear’s F! package is well worth it). Carthay is also one we tried more recently-ish that we want to have a good excuse to go back to.

If you’re having a hard time finding sit-down meals and you want the sit-down meal there is the walk-up feature on the app that they tend to leave availability open so that it’s fairly flexible the day of, especially if you look for availability earlier in the day.

Any other planning questions, let me know! We’ve started to get back to our frequency of trips that we had going pre-pandemic so I’m starting to feel like I have a hang of DLR again. Sorta.


Curious what do you recommend ticket wise?

Our primary focus will be the difference between
So rough plan is splitting the into sections/categories

  • DLR vs WDW- meaning attractions like radiator springs Web slingers with a big emphasis on haunted mansion space ect…
  • Things we haven’t seen or experienced in years
    Mr Toad’s and Main Street electrical parade.

Throwing in we are staying at VGC it was originally a 4 day trip and Disney miracle waitlist came through now a 7 day… probably because it’s mid January.

I had originally purchased 2 day park hoppers w/genie as gifts for my adult kids…

I am being told by friends and family who have been park hoppers aren’t necessarily- somehow everything in my gut says no way - have the ability to switch it up based random crowds

******thank you blue bayou is on bucket list for theming alone and so is HUGE to find I can do the dining packages ***** at this point in our WDW trips that’s the only way I do the nighttime spectaculars. I’d rather fix breakfast in the room and budget for the dining experiences than line up hours early for a viewing location.

Thank you Thank you Thank you


Well, of course they’re not necessary. But for a long trip like yours, I would recommend them. It’s a flat rate for length of ticket (well, I think it might step up for longer tickets, but it’s definitely not a per-day charge). So it’s not that much more for the ability to hop. Which is fun and easy to do at Disneyland! It will add a lot of flexibility. I would only omit hoppers if you are on a super tight budget.

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That was exactly my thinking with the proximity to each other how could park hoppers not be worth it…Even with restrictions in place at WDW we still park hop most days and still find it incredibly helpful.

My kids are so on tighter budgets - pretty much just learning the adult realities of the importance of budgeting. Lol - I will probably wind up blowing my budget at Christmas same as last year and buying additional tickets for the 3 of them…but hate to say it I am purchasing tickets for 5 adults it will mean serious time management & prioritizing.

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I wholeheartedly second this. I mean if you need to cut the budget somewhere that is one where you can BUT I really cannot imagine not hopping in DLR. It’s already a pain in the rear that it’s restricted to 1pm.

Not sure if this meant hopping or length of stay (or both)? So since hopping has been established, for length of stay I think with an all mobile adult crew 3 days will give you enough days to see everything at a good pace. If you want a nice leisurely pace then 4 days is good also (and is what I recommend for families with small kids that need a midday break nap).

Once we had gone a couple of times for 4 days (and before we had decided to buy the annual pass), we realized that the difference between 4 and 5 day tickets was miniscule and would allow us to go to the parks for a few hours on our last day before driving home & so I always mention that getting that 5th day for a partial day is not a bad deal at all. Upgrading from 3 to 4 isn’t bad for a partial day either. But if upgrading from 2 to 3 I would make sure that you really do have a full 3rd day for parks because it’s not quite as good a deal.


Lol I am the least mobile in the group and it’s my 20 something’s that still require a mid day nap-

DS’s GF and I now combat this by partaking in cocktails at various pool bars…

And yes it was a questioning ticket length hopping…

Original 2 day hoppers tickets were purchased with the intention of upgrading to Believe Key- we are planning at least one more trip west when Nintendo opens…I was hoping to strech out funds to cover both trips but looks like Magic keys may not be back anytime soon

We knew we wanted to do a Halloween party this year but the Magic Key we got last year expires mid-September so we had to choose: do a Halloween Party that makes us take more days off work/school but guarantees we don’t have to buy separate ticket entry to go or book a party during Fall break & gamble that we may have to buy 3 or 4 day tickets to execute the trip.

Last year for the trip we wanted to get Magic Key’s by the time we decided all Magic Key reservations were gone so we bought the tickets on day tickets with the intention to upgrade but because reservations were completely booked for Magic Keys and none opened up we had to wait until we were ready to leave the park on our last day and couldn’t get our usual Magic Key discount the whole day. So we are eager to avoid that situation again, so more days off work/school it was to go to a Tuesday night party before our pass expires.

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Any idea - have they changed the Magic Key limits or reservation restrictions yet for resort guests- not that sales will resume but given the chance I would probably grab them maybe

I know they aredifferent parks different companies but WDW APs with a resort reservation aren’t limited in reservations days while at onsite resort- and they come from a “resort guest AP pool instead…when I originally looked at Magic key announcements it was only 4 reservations at a time regardless of on/off property.
Any changes?

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So right now with what we’ve got planned, I was able to see for the first time how a Magic Key interacts with an onsite stay. We have 3 trips scheduled between now & September, two offsite sandwiching one onsite huge splurge for us at the Grand Cali. The first trip is a long one (one week total in Cali with 5.5 park days planned) and we’re staying off-site- so only Magic Key pool of reservations available to us. We’re allowed 6 total reservations on our pass so if I reserved linearly for all our trips, this one trip would take all 6 reservations.

For now, instead of reserving a park for the final day of our 1st trip (it’s on a Tuesday & would be a half-day in the parks before driving home), I’ve instead got the Saturday for the following trip booked. And ultimately, if availability isn’t there for that last day, we’d probably be ok to make it a Downtown Disney shopping & eat one meal before we drive out the door. But as we do love the parks so, I still will check for availability as soon as we’ve got a reservation available to use.

Since making the decision to book the Saturday for the following trip before booking the last day of the closer trip, we’ve also now made that following trip an onsite by booking the Grand. I’ve linked the onsite hotel stay in the app and there is clearly a separate place to click for park reservations on the screen with the hotel reservation details. My hope is that the pool of availability is most definitely separate (and less competitive than the Magic Key). Unfortunately, I have confirmed the maximum days on the pass still applies- I’ve attempted several times to make reservations through the linked hotel stay, but couldn’t because we’ve reached the maximum of our available days). So the limit out west does apply even to hotel stays, but the fact that the pool is separate than the Magic Key pool is a decent enough (hopefully) advantage.

And I just may drop the Saturday park reservation (that was booked before we had the el onsite stay) & re-book it through the hotel availability to see if there’s any noticeable difference, but maybe not right in the middle of the day.


That would be good news if the resort reservations offered a separate pool.

For us 6 park reservations at a time would definitely work lol I don’t have enough DVC points to stay longer than 6 nights at a time if I am lucky enough to even score a Villa,

Our trip is in January & know we will be headed West again when Nintendo opens ( seriously hate the *sometime Early 2023 * announcement) pretty the believe key would work out for us if it ever comes back

Again thanks for looking out

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Probably a stupid question, but does anyone have a sense of how crowded the parks will potentially get during that first half hour? We’re only spending two days, one in each park, and I don’t particularly want to splash the extra (several hundred) $$$ to stay at PP instead of one of the places directly across from the pedestrian entrance, but I could be convinced, if it will make my life easier. Plus we’ll have nearly a full day to enjoy the resort before our park days, so I wouldn’t mind a waterslide.

We’re traveling with an 8-year-old who will probably want to ride Space Mountain (and Matterhorn and Incredicoaster, probably) as many times as humanly possible and isn’t particularly interested in shows, so it’s really about maximizing rides. We’ll be at the parks midweek at the end of August, which was a great time for us a few years ago, but I don’t know what things are like these days. Thanks!

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The lines are short but there are a lot of people crowding up during early entry. It’s a good perk.

But not a necessary one. The lines are generally pretty short all morning (till around 10am). And getting Genie+ would be a much better use of money if you had to choose one or the other.

There are some good water parks / splash pads at Howard Johnson and the Courtyard and both are almost as close to the entrance as PP (well, PP now has an entrance to DCA right across the street, but still a bit of a walk to DL).

So in summary, I think it really depends on how tight of a budget you are on. If you won’t feel those extra dollars for PP, go for it. But if it’s a stretch, you can definitely do just as well for much cheaper on Harbor.


Mid-Week in August I don’t think it’s necessary at all. I will say that the early entrance at DCA will be filled up by Radiator Springs Racers riders, so by the time the day-guests get in there, even with a good rope drop, wait times will likely be 45+ minutes at least. At DL park, I would imagine most folks will head to Galaxy’s Edge/Rise of Resistance. If you are ok with buying a ILL for RSR, and just skipping or waiting for end of day/slow time to ride Rise, then I’d be totally ok with just rope dropping as per usual with the masses.

We went during a pretty busy time, mid-week in July, and would have really appreciated the head start on the day if early entrance were offered. TP estimated our CL as 9 DL/10 DCA. In the end, we got a TON of rides done using rope drop and Genie+. We did end up going on Rise in the afternoon when the wait time was down to about 45 min. We only waited about 30 min, actually, which was pretty sweet. We didn’t buy any ILL, and never made it on the webslingers but that wasn’t a priority for us, and it was down most of the day that we could’ve ridden it, so the line was mobbed with ILL people.

So while I’m a big fan of the early hours at DCA especially, bc I like to get on RCR right away (coolest story- my son, daughter and I were the FIRST of the day on that ride one early morning! So amazing) I would not say it’s worth the $$ if you weren’t already planning to stay “on-property”.


Thanks, @Jeff_AZ and @Peggy808. Definitely makes me feel less like I’m “missing out” here! Especially since very shortly after I made that post, the on-property hotels basically sold out for our dates. I’m pretty much resigned to buying an ILL for RSR since we love that ride – and saving the $$ on the hotel makes that a lot more palatable.

I don’t know that my family has any interest in the Star Wars rides, which is great for me – I can come back at the end of the day or just buy myself an ILL for Rise. Does Smuggler’s Run still have a single-rider line? I rode in 2019 shortly after it opened and there was literally zero wait for single rider; I just walked right on twice in a row.


Yes, Smuggler’s run has SR line & generally no wait.