Looking for some guidance for trip in July To DLR

Hi All,
Heading to DLR in July, staying 7/15-7/20 at GC with a 5 day park hopper with my family of 6.
I am trying to plan dining.

  1. Does anyone have suggestions regarding trying to book at Wine Country Trattoria to view the parade as it passes? I thought there was a lunch time parade, but I’m seeing on the disney website that there is just one at 5:15 pm. Does anyone have guidance about whether to do WOC dining or just to get a separate FP for WOC and eat off the menu?
  2. We are reserved for a one BR suite at the GC and I’m wondering if anyone can give me guidance on what room or rooms or part of the resort to request? We previously stayed in April last year at the DLH and loved it, but doing the GC this trip for a new experience.
  3. We arrive on 7/15 in the morning, probably arrive at the resort around lunch time, so wondering does it make more sense to try to go right over to the parks (which one??) or check out the hotel and then just pop into DCA in the evening. We are definitely doing the 16th in DL, it’s my DD’s 11th birthday and she wants to spend it in DL, with a birthday dinner at BB.
  4. Im a little concerned about the crowd predictions- last trip in April, 15 was amazing and quiet and we did everything we wanted without really having to use the touring plans. I doubt that will be our experience this summer. Is it better to use the printed sample touring plans in the book or make a customized one? We are more than willing to show up for rope drop, and will probably bug out to the hotel for midday pool time
    Thanks for the help!

Lots of great questions, will get right to answering them as best as I know, but first, welcome back for this year’s trip! It is always so exciting to have a countdown, especially on the horizon.

Now to the answers (or at least what I know):

  1. The only DCA parade is Pixar Play almost always run at 5:15. As for WOC dining, I have only ever done the Carthay Circle one and IMHO it was a less spectacular view that requires you to be just as early as if you had pulled a FP for free. The consensus is, if you want anything in particular off the specific WOC dining menu AND were already going to be eating at the location, then it’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone, otherwise, get the free FP and save your money. If you do the WOC dining, make sure you plan to show up at least 60 min if not more before the show in order to get the best view (at the railings are best so you don’t have people blocking your view of the projections).

  2. I love DLH as well, but that’s my only experience. Only experience I have with the Grand is walking through it’s beautiful lobby and surrounding areas!

  3. Depends on what your priorities are for the rest of the 5 days. If I only have 5 days, I do like to make sure I maximize that in the parks. If your family is up for heading straight there and can’t handle the anticipation, I would absoulutely head over to the parks first. However, there’s a good case (especially staying at the Grand) for hitting the pool and then enjoying your evening wandering Downtown Disney (something I never really do enough of). There’s the Lego Store, World of Disney, Ridemakerz and Build a Bear that are all fun to shop at and of course the Marceline confectionary is a must-stop for treats and sweets and you can watch them making them as well. And you can do some dining in Downtown Disney for dinner as well (hear great things about Tortilla Joe’s and Trader Sam’s at DLH). The GC also has the best buffet at DLR at the Storyteller’s Cafe so you can easily stay put and relax and rested up for the next 5 days of park fun.

  4. Summer is busier yes, so I would absolutely have some plans (or as I like to think of them priorities rather than a firm plan) in mind. If you’re not comfortable with the lay of the land, then the sample ones are a great start. However, I love building customized plans to put attractions to my liking while getting a great estimate of what can be accomplished in how much time. Also, rope drop and midday break at the pool are excellent for helping you accomplish a lot and still keep your sanity!

EDITED to fix the numbering.