How do you rope drop coming from the monorail? I’m building a TP for an expected level 6 crowd day in October. The morning in question we will be covering Tomorrowland and would like to have the monorail be our entry. If DLP opens at 8am, how do I time that from DLH?
The monorails can be slow & most report that it’s not a reliable way to get to RD. You can certainly try for it by arriving with enough time to get through security & your trip into the parks. The trip in is about 5-6 min and I would plan to arrive at least 30-45 min to get through security & lined up for monorail but I also don’t do this regularly so don’t know if that’s generous or cutting it close.
The consensus of most is that the monorail is a great way to get back to DLH/DTD for a midday break and/or drink/meal/shopping break. It’s also really great round-trip from the Tomorrowland station but then it serves more as an attraction than as transportation.
OK so a totally different mode of transport than WDW? I’m finding EVERYTHING is different! Will plan standard RD, thank you for the heads up. A few more questions for this day…Where is the Jedi Training sign up? Is 80 minutes a decent amount to build a break for Plaza Character breakfast?
How efficient is PH? I’m struggling with EE that day 7am at CA vs RD 8am at DLP. We will be up late the night before at MHP (kids are 8 & 13). I’m thinking forgo the EE and let them sleep a bit more. What would you do?
Yes and yes!
@lolabear_la is correct. Monorail is not a reliable way to get to RD.
Additionally, monorail trains seat fewer people inside the cars than at WDW and don’t have AC. The monorail was closed most of the time that I was there in late July (probably due to the 90+ weather).
Jedi Training signup is at the entrance of Star Wars Launch Bay.
From Touring Plans https://touringplans.com/disneyland/attractions/jedi-training-academy
Disneyland now requires you to register your child in advance if he or she wants to participate in Jedi Training. Sign-up is at the entrance to Star Wars Launch Bay and begins at the park’s official opening time, though guests begin lining up as soon as early entry begins. Arrive as early as possible if your Padawan wants to test his or her midi-chlorians because all spots typically fill up in well under an hour.
Park Hopping is efficient at DLR. You simply exit the turnstiles and cross the esplanade to the other park. DL, DCA and Downtown Disney are within the same security checkpoints. It takes about 5 minutes to leave one park and be inside the other park (this will take more time if there is a line at the second park’s turnstiles). My sister and I were able to hit most of the major attractions at both DL and DCA on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. This was using 8 am EE at DL and staying until midnight.
Jedi Training is a little bit tucked away, so I would add to go as if you were heading to Autopia and just before you get to the queue, look right and there’s a ramp up towards SW Launch Bay & that’s where the sign-ups are.
The info from TP was accurate for quite some time, but I would say that the initial hype of doing sign-ups has waned & now you are likely to find spots available still at 11am-ish. But I would still encourage going in the first hour of your day, & first stop during reg park hours if you want one of the first shows.
Also, the last I heard (but it has been some time since I’ve seen it confirmed by someone in the parks) is that they do allow for sign-ups on EE mornings but will only fill up to half the spots in each show. And then open up the rest at reg park opening. If they are still doing this format I wouldn’t bother with sign-ups until the very end of your your EE (if you have it & want to sign-up on an EE day).
And then re: PH I would add that we have been out of one park & into the next in under 2 min. The only hold-up would be a line at the entrance turnstiles of the next park, but I’ve NEVER seen it be more than 10-15 min after park opening. DL may be a little slow on a Monday up until 10:30-11am-ish (lot of people start their trip on a Monday & like to do DL first & first day tickets require a photo & printing out paper tickets at the turnstile so can make the lines very slow). Also, if going on a MHP night & not doing a MHP entering DCA right around the time the party starts at DL can be backed up too with the guests who don’t have MHP ticket’s hopping over to DCA for the night.
As for your EE, are you only doing the 2 days (the day of MHP & that day after)? On the MHP will you have tickets on that first day or just the party that gets you in 3 hrs before the party? If you only have the 2 days I am inclined to say get them up early for the EE & have them come back for a midday break to rest once crowds have built & it’s hot (Anaheim can get very hot in Oct on account of the Santa Ana winds). But if you have more than the 2 days then it might not be so imperative that you make it to that EE. And if you are staying onsite (I’m assuming you are by wanting to take the monorail from DLH), you will get EE every other day you have park tickets for so it won’t be anything to miss that 1 hr of DCA.
Thanks for your helpful information!
We will be arriving 10/14, but due to a late flight out of Minneapolis we will be staying at a hotel closer to the airport and not get to the parks until late morning by the time we transfer to DHL and check our bags with bell services. Here’s my thoughts:
10/14 DL even though it will be busy. Our tradition is always to start with Fantasyland at WDW so I want to keep that the same. We will aim for “regular” fireworks that evening.
10/15 CA in morning, DL in afternoon (Fantasmic dinner at BB and 9pm show) 2-3 hour resort break midday
10/16 Storytellers breakfast at GC, followed by resort time. Tickets to MHP plan to enter DL at 3pm
10/17 DL in morning, Plaza breakfast. 2-3 hour resort break midday with a return to DL for Pixar Parade. Hit CA after parade for Carsland lights and any FP we can get earlier in the day for return times after 6:30pm.
10/18 CA to finish that park with a 2-3 hour resort break midday. Then free time for either park.
10/19 Whatever we want to do, both parks to finish favorites/shopping/characters.
The reason I ask about PH is I’ve really struggled (WDW mom here) planning dining reservations without knowing what shows/parks we will be at that day. The lack of info from DLR is so anti-WDW it’s maddening! Anyway, I booked a lunch at Carnation Cafe on Thursday and wonder if I should release it or if we are at CA if it’s reasonable to pop out and have a ressie to relax and sit and then go back without wasting too much time or walking. Same thing on Wednesday…I’d like to pop over to CA after the PP for the evening hours (hoping CA stays open til 9pm) but don’t want to waste too much or have the family feel I’m zig zagging crazy!
Sorry if that’s too much detail. I took your questions as an opportunity to just share my plan in case I’ve got things to correct. (ie monorail usage).
Too much detail? I don’t think that would be possible in my brain that loves to soak up & especially plan of all the Disney details possible!
It is SO hard to switch gears between DL & WDW. Even before I knew what planning for WDW entailed, it used to drive me NUTS that DL sometimes doesn’t know basic schedules for restaurants & entertainment & sometimes even large events with enough advance notice to release information until within 30 days. What I have found is that, as a planner looking for that kind of information, once it’s released I’m still one of the first know. And that’s all you need to still be as ahead of the game as if you were for WDW with all the exactitude of 180 ADR, 60 FPP. DL just has a different (extremely laid back) timeline. It also allows for a TON of flexibility on the ground in the parks & I LOVE that as well, being to change up on the fly without having to wreak havoc to my hard work at 5:04am 180+10 days ago to plan our most perfect vacation.
The only things in DLR that require advance reservation (and by that in DL I mean close-ish to 60 days) are: F! dining (which you have & is perfect in your plan), any Plaza pre-RD bfast you wanted (this only is advantageous if you don’t already have EE to DL which you do by staying on site, so you can ignore this & you already have a Plaza ADR to boot, so you’re again, ahead of the game), Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique & if you’re going for a super dining experience, Napa Rose Chef Counter. Everything else can be found week before, a lot of it with availability same-day. Since you have already gotten some reservations (that Carnation Cafe one specifically that you aren’t sure about), hang onto it, and if the day before you feel like you need to change up your plan, you can cancel it. And if you wanted to try it out on a different day, you can for most everything else, find a time to fit in it.
Sidenote on Carnation Cafe
It is one of our favorites (delicious large portions of good food with a great price & always sublime service) and with the exception of super-crowded 8/9/10 CL days, we are almost always able to find a same-day reservation and/or walk-up with a wait (that’s always been less than quoted & you can wander Main Street shopping & enjoying ambiance until they text you).
As for your plans:
Very fun tradition! Fantasyland is one of my favorites too! It sounds like you are already going in with the expectation of a busy day & that’s wise because Fantasyland has some pretty tight corridors that tend to fill with people after late morning so even though it is one of my favorites, it’s not my favorite to be between 10am-6pm (with the exception of when Pixar Play parade is about to run when you can potentially hit up some very light lines). Further complicating matters, only Matterhorn & it’s a small world have FPs in Fantasyland and the queues here are going to be at their peak for the day & a lot of them in the full or partial sun (Oct can still get hot in Anaheim especially if the Santa Ana winds are blowing causing a spike in the temperature). I love the tradition of starting here though, so my recommendation would be to maybe pick 2-3 ones that most draw you in & then head to a more forgiving area for crowds & sun. DCA has a lot of open spaces, wider walkways & more indoor spaces to escape from heat/sun. So maybe consider getting some FPs for DCA in the afternoon, still keeping to your plan to return for FWs because that is a perfect first night activity! If you can stay after FWs, a lot of people leave so queues are better for both Tomorrowland & Fantasyland. Fantasyland does have quite a bit that closes for the FWs so I wouldn’t hit it right after FWs, but maybe have some evening FPs lined up in TL (Star Tours, Buzz or Space) & hit those & then proceed to FL to close out the night. One of my favorite things to do with my kids as they are getting older is running around in Fantasyland from line to line seeing how many rides we can fit in before the park closes. Dumbo, Casey Jr. Storybook Canal Boats, Pinoochio’s, Snow White’s, Carousel will all be walk-ons or little wait at most & with such close proximity is a really fun way to end the night. Toad’s & Alice will still have a wait but not much. Peter Pan will have the longest wait but if you are up for it, is a great one to hop in line just before park close as you can still ride after the park closes, you just have to be in line for it before then.
10/15- Practically perfect planning in every way! BB F! is my favorite way to see F! & you’ll be in CA (hopefully to use your EE) and most importantly you won’t get caught in the Monday morning madness that is entering DL, so I wouldn’t change this a bit.
10/16-This sleep/in resort day before a MHP sounds amazing, you’ll be able to use the pools & explore the beautiful GCH. We’ve always enjoyed Storyteller’s and they recently re-vamped the characters that are at the bfast & re-did their outfits & I have heard nothing but rave reviews about them so excited to try it one of these times. DLH & DTD are also not that far if you wanted to venture that way. DLH has some beautiful grounds & while you won’t be able to swim in the pool, there’s some fun Disney history things to see, if you needed more things to do than GCH provides (which you may not, just throwing it out there in case).
10/17- Now that I know your full plan, definitely think doing DL this morning is the right call & if this is where you had planned your JTA sign-ups, then that’s perfect. If you like parades, the PTN parade in DCA is so beautiful & I would recommend seeing at least 1 night of your trip. It could go here where you are back in DCA finding a spot just after the Carsland lighting, but can also fit into either of the following nights depending on what/how you wanted to end each night.
10/18 & 19 I think leaving these 2 days with as little as planned as possible is the perfect way to do DL as it is so flexible. Use these days to repeat favorites, pick-up anything you missed in your earlier days that was planned & fit in anything that you didn’t plan for that popped up as something you’d really like to experience (there’s soo much of this at DL so I like to leave my plans open for the possibility of spontaneity here).
The only thing I would work to figure out is: what nighttime entertainment you may want to do but still being flexible and always planning at least 2 different nights (when there are more than 2 nights on a trip) for FWS. Aside from loving Disney FWS, the other reason I plan for multiple nights of FWs is that the same pesky winds that make it hot during the day, may interfere with the ability to run FWs at night. Since DL is so heavily bordered by a suburban area there’s a very small window of errror when the winds are blowing in certain directions & then becomes un-safe to run the FWs (not to mention Disney is heavily fined for debris that would potentially endager homes/freeway in the immediate area). So I like planning for our first night to catch FWs and have at least 1 other nights where we try for FWs if the first night was cancelled, and if they run both nights, then we get a bonus dose of magic!
The only night where you can’t get FWs for sure is your very last one (10/19 since it’s a MHP night you won’t be attending) and so 10/17 or 10/18 are your best bets to pick them up if the FWs were cancelled on your first night. If you decide to watch PTN instead it is a GREAT altenative, but with 10/19 not being an automatic non-FW night, I would almost automatically slate that for PTN & hopefully FWs will happen 1-2 of the other nights you pick them up. You can also stay in the show viewing area following F! & you’ll see the projections from the FWs show on the same F! water screens & be able to have a good view of the big bursts. If you wanted to consider that as one of your FW options. The projections on the water screens are the most clear of any of the other projection surfaces so it’s a great view of those with the most decent view of FWs that doesn’t require a lot of work.
And then to your last concern over PH: I would say, as long as you avoid always doing a large hop (for instance, from ToonTown or Critter Country to Paradise Garden Park/Pixar Pier then you are not going to feel that way at all. I would still plan to hit each park in a logical sequence that avoids criss-crossing the park once you’ve entered it, but the walk between the turnstiles & down each park’s main entry is so minimal that I wouldn’t worry about zig-zagging.
And now that I’ve successfully written a trip-planning novel (as I tend to do). Let me know if there’s any other questions you have, any other planning woes or decisions you can’t figure out, put them out there! As you can obviously tell, I’m very happy to throw out all sorts of Disney planning information to whoever wants it!
Will there be fireworks and Fantasmic during the week those days? We’ll be in DL for one day the week before and while I would love to see them, I thought I read they didn’t happen during the week in Oct (besides party nights)?
At WDW dining plans always have to revolve around which park you will be in (or, one might plan the park based around the dining reservation), but at DLR it’s not an issue since you can be from one park to the other in under 10 minutes. Much easier!
Oh my! Yes, I totally spaced on that! Unfortunately you are right about that. They do usually run World of Color every night, but since that is out of commission they may switch to F! nightly (on non-party nights) which they have done in the past to fill in a gap for nighttime entertainment when WOC is down. They may also just have PTN nightly so that they have a DCA nighttime show, especially for the party nights when DL is only available to party guests.
The schedule is too far out yet to know & the only announcements Disney has made are that Remember is coming back as the non-party night FWs show & PTN has been “extended past Sept 3” so we’ll just have to wait and see how that translates into the schedule.