Newbie Questions

Is there a spot to have our driver stop the car for a minute while we all run to the taps and tap in so that we can start getting LLs as soon as possible? Or would it be better to just run over after we check our bags with bell services?

Assuming my flight arrives on time at 10am on a Sunday, what time can I reasonably expect to arrive at DL? Assume checked baggage.

Is there alcohol at DL (other than TS restaurants)?

Does this rough outline look ok for arrival day? Will we be too tired?

7:00am (5:00am DL time) leave room at hotel at DFW
7:30am (5:30am DL time) check in for flight
8:40am (6:40am DL time) take off from DFW
10:00am (DL time) arrive at SNA
11:00am tap in to DL, check into GCV, leave bags with bell services
12:00pm snag a QS lunch either at GCV or DD (Black Tap?)
1:00pm tap into DL
1:10pm Pirates
2:00pm Blue Bayou for dessert only
3:00pm IJ (hopefully with LL)
3:30pm back to GCV for rest (hopefully room is ready)
6:30pm back to DL (hoping crowd for Candlelight Processional has passed)
7:00pm Hungry Bear for Fantasmic! Package
8:00pm Haunted Mansion (hopefully with LL)
8:30pm Big Thunder (hopefully with LL)
9:00pm stake out spot for Fireworks
9:30pm Fireworks
9:50pm Jungle Cruise
10:15pm stake out spot in Reserved Dining Area for Fantasmic!
10:30pm Fantasmic!
11:00pm Probably head back to GCV, but if we’re up for it, ride some stuff (suggestions?)

I would like to take advantage of early entry the next day at DL, but I’d also like to make sure we’re well rested for our Walt’s Main Street Story Tour at noon. Maybe plan to be at DL 7:30 - 10:00, then go rest for a bit? Or maybe power through the tour then go rest? I have no idea what going west is going to do to our bodies!

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions!


I would just check in first. It shouldn’t make that big of a difference to make it worth this extra trouble. You’ll lose more time from the back and forth than you’d gain by having an earlier LL.

11am arrival at DL property is reasonable.

Looks great! The break in the afternoon should be plenty to rest up before that late evening. I’ll admit that doing the second Fantasmic will be tricky on your first day. I recognize you are balancing a lot of things there - getting the dining package, seeing the fireworks, having lighter Fantasmic crowds, etc. But the way you have it is doable.


If you’re not really into rides, I think your plan could work. You have a ton of down time/meal time/show/tour-not sure if you’re traveling with kids? We are at the Grand now and are doing one special thing-WOC dessert party-in 3 1/2 days. But we aren’t big night time show people. I’d probably take lunch and break on first day then enter park, rather than go in for an hour or two then back.

The reviews on the Main Street tour haven’t been fab-so definitely look at those, too. For some, it’s worth the $160 to be in the apartment, which is basically all the tour is.


I’d add that I’d probably go for early entry vs staying late. It’ll be much easier with the time change, and early mornings are so wonderful. On Thursday, we did 10-11 rides in DL by 10:30.


Have fun sister!!!
I’m no help, but I’m super happy for y’all.

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I also have a 5:30 Hungry Bear that would give us access to the first show, but my understanding is that the view isn’t as good. I can also try to add the Fantasmic package upon arrival at my Blue Bayou ADR, but then I’m stuck with the prix fix menu when all we want is dessert. Also, if we do the first Fantasmic, we won’t be able to get a very good view of the fireworks because of the timing, right?

We love rides, but we’re also there for 3 full and 2 half days. We also love nighttime shows, and our first night is the only shot we have for Fantasmic and fireworks. They aren’t available any other night we are there.

We’re doing that our second night!

I’ve considered it, but there’s only a slim chance we’ll have a room by then. I’d rather rest in a room. I won’t be able to relax in a public area because I’ll just be worried about what my 4 little hoodlums are doing!

We wants the apartment!! :rofl:

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You’ve outlined the predicaments you face between Fantasmic and fireworks well. That’s really the call you have to make. I’d just stick with your plan at this point, but if you wanted to sacrifice a good view for an early night, that would work.


Yes, I’ve done something similar before and it works out fine. You need to manage your energy a little bit (aka, caffeine overdose), but if you eat well balanced meals with fruit and protein throughout the day you’ll easily make it to closing time. Just don’t expect to be up at 7 the next morning :wink:

You can reasonably arrive at the GCH by or before 11, at the absolute worst (20 minutes baggage, 40 minute drive). If it’s a quiet day, however, and baggage is fast, you can get there in under 20-30 minutes.

I would have a backup plan. The vast majority of the time it’s ready around 3, so don’t build a fallout shelter here, but I would look into a GardenWalk or Downtown Disney peruse in case of, ah, emergency.

I think Millennium Falcon is a great way to close the park (if you’re up for it), especially with a group of people. There’s zero standby wait times, but you can still book a LL and walk on to get your money’s worth (there’s no reason not to at that point!)

Excellent choice. Less crowds and more room to get comfy.

If you’re arriving at 11, you’ve already lost. I’d go to bell check immediately—-it’s just going to add 5 minutes tops and be less stressful for everyone involved :smile:

As for lightning lanes–At 11 the worst you’ll usually see at Indy is 4 hours out (about 3PM), but if it’s worse than that I would consider switching your Haunted Mansion (usually ~3 hours at that time) and Indy around (book your new Indy at 1PM instead, when your 2 hour cooldown window is up). Book your haunted for 8PM at around 2-4PM (these times will generally hover from about 8-10pm) and your Grand Thunder whenever (look out for times starting 2 hours beforehand–Usually as far out as it will go)

Your plan looks amazing (absolutely zero changes needed in my opinion) and it looks like you’re set to have a blast—I hope you have an incredible trip!


If you are tapping into DL first, it seems like a lot of extra effort.

I did have a similar question though for my family in April. Since we wi want to settle into our room and maybe take a break beofre heading to the park on check-in day, I was wondering if it was worth tapping into DCA if it is going to be an hour or 2 before we enter the park.


It absolutely is. All you have to do is tap in and walk out to exit—you can immediately start booking your lightning lanes (remember, there is a 2 hour cooldown so you can get two lightning lanes if you are in the room for two hours!)


This is what I thought! Thank you

suspect my daughter will eant to ride immediately and my husband will eant a break :laughing:


Well I feel like a dumba$$ :woman_facepalming: Fireworks are every night, not just on the weekends. I could have sworn when I first stated planning that they were only happening the first night of out trip. I mean, this certainly a welcome bit of information! Now I only have to worry about doing Fantasmic! The first night, and I have plenty of options for that! Yay!


Oooh - congratulations. I believe they usually are on the weekends only, but maybe for the holidays they are everyday? That gives me hope that they will do the same thing over Easter!

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I think I may have led you astray on the fireworks only on weekends. That’s the norm with the week of Thanksgiving and then the weeks around Christmas being exceptions. But apparently this holiday season they’re able to do fireworks nightly the whole season :woman_shrugging:t2:

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It’s good that you planned ahead because the fireworks schedule could have gone either way. Now you can relax a little!

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JIC this all important question hasn’t been answered no only at TS and even then that’s fairly new (Oga’s was first but then soon after Blue Bayou added alcohol to their meal). Also as a heads up, you aren’t able to take any alcohol outside of DCA (they stop guests approaching the exit with drinks in hand and ask them to finish them before exiting).

The GCH will be just as close if not closer than any other spot you could have your ride share park to do your tap ins so I would hit bell services first & then run over to do your taps before coming back for your lunch.

And now that you don’t have to fit in both F! and fireworks I would definitely plan for the earlier show so you can get a good night’s rest after a full travel & park day to be able to maximize the morning AND do your tour at noon. Then you can go back for midday break after the tour.


Would you try to turn the 2pm BB into a package, or just go with the 5:30pm HB package. The seating at the first show is better with the BB package, right? I also have a 7pm BB. That would probably be a second show package if I was able to convert though. I have a 5pm BB for 4, but I need another one as we are a party of 8. I think the 2pm might be the best bet if possible. We can grab a snack upon arrival, go to the parks, eat that big meal at 2pm, then go crash for a bit as hopefully our room is ready by then. The unknown of the room ready time is frustrating my ability to plan!


The BB at 2pm if they can convert would be my preference. That’s a great kick-start to the trip and gets you the earlier show. For the seating sections, in the first show BB is front and center. River Belle (non-premium package) is front and to the right when facing the stage (towards Big Thunder) and Hungry bear is front and to the left when facing the stage (towards Haunted Mansion/Splash). Since they are all front, they all have similar views and if you sit closest to the center edge your view is pretty much the same as BB’s center view so I wouldn’t stress too much about the section being worse for HB for the earlier show. It’s just a nice perk that for the later show they combine all the dining packages to one center viewing area so you have the same shot as a BB guest.

However, because you’ll want the break and if the room isn’t ready until 3:30, I wouldn’t want to be planning for coming back by 5:30 for HB. And I wouldn’t at all flirt with the 5pm since you don’t have half of what you need. And then 7pm BB gets you the later show, which is fine if you can hang, but after a long travel day unless you get a really nice midday break, it will be difficult. I know my crew needs at least 3-4 hours of a break on a travel day (ideally 2-3 hours of an actual sleeping nap) to make it to later in the evening.

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Do you think the concierge at GCV might be able to help? Like call over there and ask ahead of time?

I agree about all the later meal times. If we can’t get the 2pm BB switched to a package though, we will have to go with one of them.

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I know they will bend over to help with any of the hotel ADR’s but I don’t know that they can help with in-park ones. But it could be worth a try. Worst they say is no, and you’re in the same situation you are now. I do think though that DL updated their cancellation policy to be able to cancel 2 hours beforehand instead of the day before. So you might be able to hold out on dropping some of those later ones until you find out at 2pm from BB directly if you can/cannot convert.

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