Need Help Planning our 1 Day Disneyland and DCA Trip

We are doing a one day Disneyland and DCA trip during Spring Break this year as part of a larger southern California tour. We will be staying off site within 10 minute walk of the parks. We will be there on a projected crowd level 9 Saturday. We did WDW last spring break and are generally familiar with the Genie+ and ILL system, but understand there are a few important differences in California. We do plan on purchasing ILL and genie+ if it will help us get to more of our wish list attractions.

We have watched several attraction videos with the kids and have settled on the the following priorities in order of importance by park with the emphasis on doing new rides we didn’t get a chance to do in WDW. We did RISE, MFSR, Space Mountain, BTMR, and POC on our WDW trip multiple times, so if we need to cut any of those we would do that before cutting a new ride. Can you help me figure out a good touring plan that gets us to most of our wish list?


  1. Radiator Springs Racers
  2. Webslingers
  3. Incredicoaster
  4. Gaurdians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout
  5. Redwood Creak Challenge Course
  6. Goofy’s Sky School
  7. Pixar Pal Around Swinging
  8. Luigi’s Rockin Roadsters
  9. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  10. World of Color


  1. Space Mountain
  2. Matterhorn Bobsleds
  3. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  4. Star Wars Rise of Resistance
  5. Millenium Falcon Smugglers Run
  6. Big Thunder Mountain
  7. Pirates of the Caribbean

Looks like I should start the day in DCA and then hop to Disneyland.

Any other Disneyland/DCA tips most welcome. Also, what are the best spots for Churros and Corn Dogs? Any other good food item recommendations?


Not to be a downer, but there is NO WAY that you’ll be able to do all that in one CL 9 day; what you have listed would be an ambitious 2 day plan - especially as you get none of the on-site perks. I would narrow it down to maybe 5 things at each park, try to fit them in, and anything beyond is icing on the cake.


I disagree. With Genie Plus, and buying ILLs plus open hours of 8am-midnight, all of that plus more is likely attainable. Genie Plus works amazing at DLR, especially since so few buy it there.


For corn dogs- only the Little Red Wagon will do. They are the best!
Churros- they are everywhere but not really something I get on a regular basis. Willie’s churros on the way to Soarin seems to be pretty popular.
I will try to return later to the thread (I am on vacation) and provide some tips for a successful day.


I haven’t been since Genie, so your info is certainly more current.

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Here are some suggestions.

Yes, use Genie+. It will save quite a bit of time.

The Redwood Creek Challenge is really good if you have little ones that need a break to run around. There is usually no line so this is not something I would add to the schedule unless everyone needs a break or you are waiting for your time on a ride.
Webslingers was fun, but depending on the wait. We have only done it once, and haven’t gone back. It’s only okay, unless you have a Spider-man fan,
Luigi’s Rockin Roadsters is meh. Not worth the time.
Pixar Pal is fun for little ones but can be easily cut. I love Mater’s so even though it is a low key ride, I always fit it in.

Overall, the DL list looks good. Those are our favorites too.

I also suggest taking advantage of single rider if your kids are old enough. That can save quite a bit of time on some of these rides. For example, maybe you have a Genie+ pass waiting, you might go on another ride as a single-rider. You can check out the list here.

I don’t have suggestions on the order, except maybe not to crisscross the park multiple times. Even though they are close to each other and the parks are smaller. We used Genie+ heavily to plan our days.

Don’t worry about the Churros. Unlike WDW, the carts are everywhere. There is are two corn dog spots, one in each park and they are both good. Other food we like is in DCA, Lucky Fortune Cookery & Paradise Garden Grill. They are usually never crowded and we like the food. In DL we like Bengal Barbecue but all of the quick service places are good. Make sure to take advantage of mobile order. It saves so much time.

I hope that helps.


I hope you report back on how it goes/what you’re able to do! Sounds like a fun day.

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Since you’re planning to use both Genie+ and ILL I’m not sure it matters which park you start in. Most of the attractions you listed have LL. If this is your first DLR experience, I’d recommend starting in DL. Soak in the magic of Walt’s park in the morning and enjoy the energy of DCA in the evening.

One important note is that you can make your first LL reservation as soon as you tap in at the turnstiles. So 30 minutes before official opening (assuming you rope drop). I like to make my first reservation for a high priority attraction at the other park, which automatically pushes the return time to 1:00. This means the first 90 minutes will be using standby only, but it’s the least busy time of the day.

It’s tough with only one day available, but I do want to put in a good word for some of the other charming Fantasyland attractions not available at WDW - Alice, Storybook boats, and Casey Jr in particular. They always put me in a good mood.


Well this portion aged quickly. :laughing: With Disney announcing 11am hopping the return time will be 11 instead of 1. That’s a quick hop, so I probably would change strategies. Might still be doable for you if your DL list stays that short.

Should also note the parks will open 30 minutes early for onsite guests. How old are your kids and how long of a day are you planning on? Spring break so DL hours are probably 8am to midnight with DCA closing a couple hours earlier.

Is this your family’s first trip to DLR?

While I do agree with everyone’s recommendation to start with DL, there are a few DCA rides on your list that are not on Genie+ and can have really long lines!

I do agree with Wahoohokie that it is feasible to do everything on your list.

Buy ILL for RISE
LL for Webslingers. Return time tends to be within the next 2 hours.
RD Radiator Springs Racers
Ride Luigi’s and Mater’s
Ride Incredicoaster
Depending on your LL return time, you may have time to ride the Swings and Goofy’s (put Goofy’s is on Genie+)
Ride Webslinger
LL for GotG
LL for what works into your time at DL
Pick up whatever else and you should be able to hop to DL before noon.
Remember to join Virtual Queue for WOC at noon! If you want a railing spot, you still need to show up an hour ahead of showtime.

Mr. Toad and Pirates do not have Genie+.


I would definitely not make a list that long for a single day a WDW, but I am hoping that the reports of much better Genie+ availability at DLR works in our favor. Each park’s list has a few things that are not must do and are only our add ons if time allows.

Thanks for the corn dog recommendation! I am very excited to try them at DLR. We are planning on lunch at Flo’s V8 along with a few snack locations in DCA. Any other suggestions for a good QS or snack spot in Disneyland?

My kids saw a video of the Redwood Creek Challenge trail and both put it in their top 5 things they wanted to do. Never mind that we have several awesome zip line places that we have already tried out within 30 minutes of our house. My son is also a big Spider Man fan, so that and the gaming set up for it makes it a must do for us. We were intrigued by so may people’s fear of the swinging cars on the Pal Around, and I have never experienced a ferris wheel like that either. Thanks for the food tips!

Thanks, yes we plan to rope drop and go all day. Kids are 7 and 12 and we were able to do it no problem at WDW last spring. It’s unlikely that LA will be as hot and humid so, I’m planning on doing rope drop through WOC. I want to do DL first then hop to DCA, so that we get that mainstreet/castle ambiance first thing too. I made sure we did Magic Kingdom on our first day at WDW for just that reason, but since most of our must do’s are in DCA I am leaning towards starting there in order to get the rush/hustle over with and then take a more relaxed pace at Disneyland in the afternoon. Mr. Toad is my one forced concession to the old style rides. Neither kid had it on their list, but it’s definitely making the final list since it seems pretty unique. Would you put one of the other dark fantasy land rides ahead of it?

Yes, it’s our first time at DLR. I have plugged all of our rides into a few different touring plans and according to TP it should work. I am leaning towards starting in DCA and hopping to DL once we accomplish our must do’s there and then going back for WOC in the evening. I also want to walk through Cars Land and Pixar Pier at night to see the lights. Thanks for the ride order suggestion. I’ll put that into a TP and see how it works out too. Also, thanks for the WOC tip!

Bengal BBQ is my favorite snack spot.

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Fried chicken at the Plaze (right on Mainstreet). In my top 5 fried chicken in the whole world. Giant portion. And carrot cake if they have it.

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Especially that now hopping has been changed to 11am, I would start in DCA, do all the rides. Depending on what time the park opens, you could be easily done by noon.

Switch over, ride everything, than switch back for WoC/experience the park at night. That’s what I always did when I had visitors for one day. We usually knock down pretty much everything.

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The QuesaBarria tacos at Cocina Cucamonga are one of my new favorites. A little spicy, but so flavorful!

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