First Time Disneyland Visit! -Now with TR!

My kids and I are heading to CA next week! I just looked at the weather and holy smokes. I am so excited! It’s 99 in DFW today so I am so ready for a small repreive from the heat!

I haven’t really planned much at all for Disneyland other than a few TS meals (Cafe Orleans and Carthay Circle Lounge). We are staying off site and plan to use G+ to help us out. We had two day tickets - planning one day in each Disneyland and DCA.

Park hours are nice and late! How does a late arrival tend to go here? I’d like to stay for the fireworks and World of Color but I’m wondering if we will make it that late if we arrive at park open. We are normally RD-lunch, resort break, dinner-CL kinds of park people but with our off site hotel we won’t have the option to break in the room like we are accustomed to. I did make our TS reservations mid-afternoon (2-3:30ish) so I’m hopeful that will help.

If we choose to RD, we won’t have the benefit of EE. How early should we aim to arrive to give us plenty of time to park, get to taps, be semi-front of pack?


How far off site? I wouldn’t say that a mid-day break is out of the question. We’ve done it many times staying off site. But we were within walking distance of either the gates or the Toy Story parking lot.

You can get so much done at RD. The first two hours are great for riding things that don’t have a LL and just for being in the parks without huge crowds. If you’re RD’ing, I would try to be there at least 30 minutes (preferably 45) before park open.

With Genie+ you shouldn’t have any trouble doing all of the headliners. I hope you have so much fun!


We’ll be in Newport Beach. According to Google Maps it’s 20 miles - a 30 min drive.

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That is kind of far. There’s always nap time at Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln!

You really only need to stay until 10:00 ish for WoC and Fireworks. Could you do 8:00 - 10:00? It’s hard to do that two days in a row!!


I think we could for sure do that one day. Two days….I’ll have to be flexible. BUT World of Color (and correct me if I am mistaken here) seems to be the more unique offering for nighttime shows compared to what is offered at WDW and we are doing DCA our first day. So….if we make it for that day 1 I’ll call it a success.

I’m really hoping milder weather will make it more doable for us. We roasted at our local zoo today and only lasted 4.5 hours. :grimacing:

For me the DL parade is not to be missed. I prefer the night time (6:30) but ealrier works too! I also think rope drop is more important at DL because of Fantasyland.

While the Pixar pier has a lot of non-LL rides, these are less unique than Fantasyland. Plus, there just isn’t as much to do in DCA.

So - my rec is to Rope Drop DL and have a later start at DCA. If you do this, definitely plan on buying RSR ILL. Also the LL drop times will help you get all your LL (DMing those now).

Definitely be in the park by 10:30 tonget the Rogers the Musical VQ!

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Super helpful, TY! So is your recommended strategy for DL spending RD in Fantasyland?

I would rope drop Fantasyland because there are ao many non-LL rides there and then head to Adventureland/New Orleans Square.

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When we came through the tapstiles near the front of the line for early entry for DL, there were many people in the line who were sent up the middle to wait for rope drop because they were not resort guests. Point being, there were many people in line for rope drop just after 7:30 for an eight a.m. rope drop.

I don’t know what it looked like for DCA since we were doing early entry from inside the Grand Californian.


WoC is more unique, but in my opinion the new fireworks/projection show at DL is so amazing - don’t miss it if you can help it! Even if it’s just the projections! I think it’s the best show I’ve ever seen and I haven’t even seen it with fireworks yet.

I agree with starting in FL at RD and then moving to AL. Everything in TL is on Genie+. Get on as many of the FL rides as you can and then hit up Pirates right after.


In FL, you could skip Peter Pan if the line is long. I would prioritize everything else there over it since it’s similar (and shorter) than the WDW version.


We stay off-site 99% of the time and always take a midday break. If you’re along Harbor, even if you have to use a Toy Story shuttle or drive/take an Uber/Lyft to your hotel a 3-4 hr midday break is absolutely doable.

If there’s no daytime parade we want to see we usually try to stay until 2-3pm and then come back after a good nap to be able to close out the park. If there is a parade we will plan our midday break around whichever showtime we want to see (usually 3:30 & 6:30).

Editing now that I see you’re staying at Newport Beach. That is pretty far for a midday break. So I would definitely prioritize one day of RD and one day of a late start. And I second seeing the fireworks right now. And we also love the parade right now. My kids play the songs for both continuously.

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Is there a significant crowd inside by the time this group gets in for second rope drop? I had read somewhere that the EE crowd is much smaller than WDW since there are fewer on-site guests but should I anticipate there being decent lines already in FL once off site guests are let in?

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You and @Julianne_fki are both suggesting this strategy. Pirates over JC for sure? Neither have LL right?

Does the order for FL at RD matter much? In MK we always prioritize PPF and WtP at RD but does the order matter as much in DL?

I’m wondering if I should flip flop our days now. We have DCA first currently….

As of right now we are visiting DCA Thursday, DL on Friday and then we meet up with DH at LAX Saturday morning to fly to Maui at 9 am.

You are better off leaving PPF until a different time - like later in the evening. In that case I would do Alice and then Snow White’s Scary Adventure. After that order is less important.


I just looked at the refurbishment page and it looks like Alice and Soarin’ will be closed while we’re there next week. Bummer!

Oh - that is a major bummer. I love Alice!

On the JC vs Pirate front - I can’t speak to which would be better to do first as we skipped JC. I suspect either would be fine!

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PPF will build a long line almost immediately. Do not get in that line! Instead do the other rides there.

There are far fewer EE folks at DL. You will still have reasonable lines for everything except PPF in FL I think.

JC is not a priority for me which is why I said PoC. If you really want to do JC, it might be better to do that first as the Pirates line seems to move quickly.

If they are having fireworks on Thursday, I would change your park days and do DL on Th. Try to RD through fireworks and then come in a little later the next day to do DCA and stay through WoC. If they’re not having fireworks Th, it still might be worth switching up your park days because the projection show is moving and lovely even without fireworks. We watched from the middle of Main Street near the Penny Arcade. You’re further from the castle, but it’s easy exit from there and everyone can see the projections on the buildings without any issues.

I hope you have a great time! Wear yourselves out! You can rest in Maui. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: