Welcome to the laid-back West!
FPs are definitely a different beast here but also usually much less of an ordeal than pre-booking, so definitely one less thing to worry as much in advance about. And you’ll find with DLR that a lot of it is easy-going on the pre-planning.
As a preface for all of the below, it’s important to note 2 things:
- Early 2020 is light-years away in terms of DLR planning and,
- A little thing called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and its impact to all things DLR (FP or MaxPass as we know it, nighttime shows offered, etc) is very much TBD.
So with that in mind, here are some answers for things as they are now:
Fireworks are usually at the top of our list but not all shows are created equal. The Disneyland Forever fireworks show that will be running this summer is one of my fave Disney fireworks shows ever so if that (or a similarly wonderful fireworks show like Magical or Remember, Dreams Come True) is running they are worth seeing for us and are our top priority. On the flip side, if one of smaller fireworks shows are running (Fantasy in the Sky, or the new Mickey’s Mix Magic that debuted this year but is ending June 6th) fireworks become much less a priority as neither of these give a good Disney umph of emotion like we love from a fireworks show.
Fantasmic! at DLR is top-notch and has some great effects that make the DHS version pale in comparison (but we love having a seat at DHS vs. DLR where it is is much more difficult to position for the show). If we are seeing F! at DLR, we need a dining package to enjoy. The FP section is just nuts and even though it’s free, it’s not worth it & standby is usually a better option than being packed to the gills for 1-2 hours for a FP spot with an ok view. The dining sections on the other hand get the front sections closest to the effects where they are best viewed and are seated (on the ground so if that will be a concern, you may want to consider the one dining package option that allows you to watch from seated in an actual chair- the River Belle Premium Package, but it is a premium price & the view while very good, is just not the same as being up close since you will be at the River Belle Terrace that is set back from the Rivers of America).
World of Color we enjoy a lot but it’s definitely 3rd on this list for me & since we’ve seen the current version showing on multiple trips, it’s not a must every trip. For the dining packages on this, we felt like fools wasting our money on the dining package the one time we did it because our view was horrible & we saved no time at all compared to the free FP section where we normally watch WOC. On the other hand, the premium dessert party was so nice but came with an oh-so-VIP price so we’ve only done it once, but if you really want to splurge on World of Color do the dessert party over the dining package. World of Color seems to have people who either love or don’t care for it so it’s hard to say which camp you’ll be in without seeing it. For us it has a lot of songs/clips from classic movies my husband & I enjoyed as kids and young adults so we enjoy it. Others feel that watching movie clips on water gets boring/old so it’s not as spectacular.
Now onto the smaller shows, my absolute favorite is Storytelling at the Royal Theater. It’s a very fun, well done re-telling of a princess tale (usually either Tangled or Beauty & the Beast) where the princess comes to visit the theater to re-tell her story with the help of the comical personas of Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones and an assortment of fair maidens. There’s a live piano player and many puns and jokes both Disney and theater related. I love it every time I see it, and there’s some audience interaction that makes it really fun if the audience gets into it.
My other favorite smaller show is Mickey & the Magical Map, it’s a great stage show & is my 2 yr old toddler’s ABSOLUTE favorite bit of Disney-parks related material ever. There are some fun stage effects with the projections & characters & a chance to see some less accessible characters that you don’t really see much of all the time at Disneyland (Stitch and Mulan for example).
Frozen at the Hyperion is a fine show but is LONG (60 min runtime plus the time it takes you to queue up for a seat which if you want orchestra or mezzanine then 30 min is recommended for queuing) so I wouldn’t recommend trying to fit into just 3 days, even if you are a Frozen fan. We usually only see it if we have a 4 day or longer trip as it’s just such a time commitment.
I think I’ve hit all the major shows, but if I think of anything else, I’ll come back to it.
Yes they are totally called QS here (well at least I call them that to anyone who knows what that is…). There are lots of snacks too at DLR that are my favorites and I put together a decent list of those in a post that I’ll look for & link when I get back to my computer. I believe that list also included my few select fave table services but if not I’ll come back to add those after I link it.
We don’t usually stay on-site so I don’t know how soon you would need to book GCH but look for discount rates on Orbitz & add on their 15% off code to get a little bit more savings too. These rooms are limited so booking right when the discounts come out (I believe Mousesavers keeps track of historical releases of these discounts).
Any other specific questions, ask away!
Happy planning till then!