We’re planning what might be a last CA trip for my dad (he grew up in LA, and according to his younger brother was at DL on opening day). He uses a wheelchair, and has rapidly progressing dementia, so I’m concerned about him using his scooter in heavy crowds. We’re going to Disneyland the week after Christmas (I know!), and then taking him to the Tournament of Roses Parade (which he used to sleep on the sidewalk to attend when he was a kid).
I’m terrified of the parks at a 10 level (we always plan for much lower levels), with no MaxPass (although I suspect Genie+ will debut before then). We’re currently planning on staying at the DLH (because it is close–I’ve actually never stayed there–we usually go Good Neighbor), but I just found out the monorail is down for an indeterminate time, which is making me question the cost. We got 3-day hoppers, and will be at DLH for 4 nights.
I would appreciate people’s experience with DAS (which I believe that his dementia qualifies him for, in addition to his mobility issues) at DLR and also VIP tours (we’re considering it both because of his issues and crowd levels).
Thank you. I’m a Disney hotel newb, and I appreciate the advice. I did look. It’s almost $3K more. And DLH is already $8K for rooms including tickets. I even looked into renting points for a DVC villa…
I never go to DLR during 10 days, but I think the standard advice has to be:
Have low expectations for how much you can get done
Go with the flow. Stop and smell the roses
Choose 2-3 attractions or experiences per day that are “must-do” and consider the rest icing on the cake.
Pack your patience. There will be frustrations.
The issue won’t necessarily be the lines alone (though DAS or VIP will certainly help) - it will also be navigating the insanely large number of people that can be crammed in the parks. Especially with a wheelchair. But thanks to “Project Stardust,” the walkways at Disneyland are now wider and more navigable than they’ve ever been.
DLH is 0.5 miles from the Disneyland entrance. It’s not that bad. I prefer GCH, but you’ll have a great time at DLH as well.
I don’t mean to scare you away - I’m sure you will have a fabulous time! Just need to set realistic expectations.
My ds and I did four days at DLR between Christmas and New Years in 2018. My dd marched in the Tournament of Roses Parade, as well as down Main Street in Disneyland! This was the first trip that I used DAS for ds and it really worked out well for us, especially with the holiday crowds. We also used MaxPass during that trip.
Jeff’s advice is good but we definitely did more than 2-3 attractions each day, and I didn’t use the DAS return times for every ride, just the ones I couldn’t get MaxPass for easily or had crazy long waits.
The new updates to DAS that will allow you to use your phone to request DAS return times should make it even easier to use.
You’ve got this. I historically told anyone that would listen that anyone who went to WDW during Christmas week was completely nuts…and then jumped all over the opportunity to go to DLR when they waved the Rose Parade in front of me! It was totally doable, we had a great time, and that is in spite of ds complaining that I was “making him” go to Disneyland with me! I also may have done Small World about 9 or 10 times in those four days…that holiday overlay is so awesome!!
Haha! Yes! Well, sort of. In preparation for the crowds they were anticipating to choke all of Disneyland park’s narrow walkways once Galaxy’s Edge opened, they spent about the year or so before it addressing those walkways to accommodate better flow all under the name of Project Stardust.
They were testing the monorail this weekend nonstop. I have a feeling it’s coming back soon.
Also The crowd calendar said it was 10s this last weekend. It was crowded but I’ve seen it considerably worse so maybe that’s the stardust thing or limiting capacity? But I did miss Max Pass. The first 2 hours and last two hours the park is open you could do so much but 10am-9pm considerable lines for attractions.
Looks like Disney heard your concerns on DLH and the monorail because just now I saw this. Monorail will open tomorrow
As for going during Christmas week, we have been once. It was 2014 so it has been some time since we went that specific week and it was busy busy busy. However, the blockouts they do for annual pass holders do seem to keep some of that at bay and the parks no longer close to capacity as often that week. We have been on several close to capacity days outside of Christmas and all of @Jeff_AZ’s advice is spot on. You well might do more than 2-3 attractions, but doing so may require a lot of waiting (even with DAS you do wait for the standby time of the line, but just not in the queue, you are free to wander and explore and enjoy ambiance until your return time for that specific ride). So definitely pack extra patience and really, really smell the roses this trip. Which sounds like you will be doing for your dad.
As for DAS, I’ve never used it myself, but I do know they won’t give it for mobility issues alone (but very well may for dementia- I’m not sure, but I do know their criteria is usually looking at what hardship you/your party has with waiting in the physical line).
If for whatever reason you aren’t granted DAS, there are a few rides in Fantasyland where the queues aren’t wheelchair accessible so for those select few they will have a process for him to get a return time or go to the exit (the only time we have needed a to go with a wheelchair it was that we had to go to the exit, but that was also 2014 so not sure what the process is these days). I do know that for the full DAS there are about 7 or so Guest Relations umbrella stands throughout the park where you can go to get return times. I’m not sure if the mobility specific queues can be gotten there, but when you go to Guest Relations for the initial DAS pass setup and if they deny the full DAS but know you have a wheelchair, they will let you know exactly what the current process is for those rides.
Genie+ is sure to be debuted by Christmas so I would stay tuned for that! And as for VIP tours, if it’s within your means, I would most definitely splurge for at least one day’s worth to help you navigate the crowds and have that assured easier time with your dad. Or if a few hours each day, works better for your party to have a few hours each day that you are assured will go smoothly.
Lastly, this sounds like an amazing trip you are pulling off for your dad and I am sending lots of pixie dust your way for it.
@GwynneAsh I think there are plenty of other rides that do this as well. Pirates comes to mind as well as BTMRR and Space and Splash. However, not sure your dad will be riding roller coasters. But Pirates is a good one! Maybe HM too?
Good callout- it was forever ago that we had one trip that we needed to get a wheelchair so wasn’t quite sure which ones it was, but I definitely suspected it HM, but definitely didn’t know about Pirates. I could only remember using the Fantasyland ones when we had the need of a wheelchair. I do remember everything in DCA being accessible so no need for return times there.