Grand Californian Advice-Newbie

My mom and I only have 1 day to explore the parks so I booked the Grand Californian for two nights. I need advice on a plan! We are WDW regulars, so I would like to concentrate on things unique to the Disneyland parks. Some questions I have are:
-GC has an entrance to the DCA park. How early should we line up there to get in and maximize morning time? We are early risers.
-Advice on where to go first? The park reservation is for DCA but I think availability is still good if we need to change to DL as the first park.
-We have park hoppers and genie+. I am not opposed to buying ILL either.
-I have made lunch and dinner reservations for sit downs since we plan to be in the park all day or as long as possible. Mom may go back to rest/nap when needed.


With one day only, I would start at DL and be at the taps about an hour prior to opening. Hit Fantasyland at opening because many of the dark rides are unique to DL and do not have LL. I would probably spring for ILL for all three rides that offer it (Rise, RSR, WS) unless you are comfortable doing single rider lines for RSR and WS. Or if you visit WDW fairly regularly, you may not find SWGE a great use of time as it is pretty much the same as the HS version. I think you can do the highlights pretty easily in one day using Genie+.

My priorities at DLR would be:
Indiana Jones

I would still try to ride these but they are more similiar to WDW:
Tiki Room

At DCA, I would prioritize:
Everything. Just kidding!
Try to catch some of the little shows in Avengers Campus.


I’m not a huge fan of TS at DLR. We usually do QS and snack our way through the day. It can be a nice break, I guess. But I would definitely think about a late breakfast at Storyteller’s on your checkout day!


Just to clarify this, you are only allowed a max of 2 ILLs per day. As RSR has a ride photo and WS doesn’t, I’d go for SR on WS as it’ll be a huge timesaver. Rise sells out first (though not immediately, as it does at WDW). And note that, also unlike WDW, you can’t choose your ILL return time. So when you’re picking your ILL for the opposite park, the app will automatically schedule you after 1pm. (Also true with Genie+ selections.)

I recommend starting at DL, as above, so you can get more done. You can use Genie+ to stack LLs before you hop to DCA.

Lunch and dinner ADRs are good for a rest with no hassle of finding a table. If you go for quick service, use mobile order and grab a table first so Mom can sit while you get the food.

Have a great trip! GCH is lovely.


I knew that! But I have only purchased ILL one time and that was for Remy in epcot! Thanks for the correction.


And of course, Disney love reminding us things are always subject to change!

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This is a great article for the Grand Californian :heart: Also the 6th floor viewing area is a nice place to catch World of Color if you can’t catch it in park. I’ve spent many hours just wandering around GCH because it is just so beautiful.


I just saw from a Disney blogger family that GCH has brought back the early risers walk in DCA too! Definitely something to check out! It is for onsite guests who sign up at the front desk and get to stretch and then walk the park at 5 am.