Scheduling help for DL and DCA

We have a mid-August, two night trip planned. Noon Monday through 4:00pm Wednesday.

Timing is everything so for Monday afternoon where do we start DL or DCA? We’ll have a Magic Morning at DL on Tuesday…we will also have a park hopper pass.

It would be no problem hopping parks, so we’re seeking some guidance to make the most of our time.


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You don’t mention who is going or if you have kids or their ages. This is assuming that you can maximize time with staying up late & getting up early, as well as you don’t have another big event to do after you leave the parks. :slight_smile:

If I was arriving at noon, I would probably start at DCA for the afternoon and part of the evening and then go over to DL, especially if I am DCA until closing and then close out DL at midnight. (You can enjoy Main Street for an hour after the park closes.)

Then get up early for early morning at DL. Stay until it is too crowded and move to CDA to catch some things you missed and close out DL again.

Again, I would get up early on Wed and go to the things that you either missed or really want to do again at either park.

I suggest making a list of the must do and would like to do. Download the DL app. That will give you some ideas of actual traffic flow right before you go. I would suggest signing up for the MaxPass for everyone who will be riding rides. It is worth it to avoid having to run around the park collecting them. I think it would be worth it for even the partial days. You want to maximize your time.

If you want sit down meals, I would suggest making reservations. Even if you make them that morning or the day before. I generally don’t have problems (except for Blue Bayou). It will be hot, so picking indoor restaurants will be a nice break.

Thanks for your help! It

Hit reply by accident.

Thanks again. Re: Evening shows the fireworks are a given. Due to time constraints I would have to make a choice between World of Color and Fantasmic. Any preferences?

It looks like you have 2 nights. Could one night be f! and fireworks at DL and another Paint the Night Parade and WoC at DCA?

Idk. Some of the reading I’ve been doing says you can’t do Fantasmic and see the full fireworks experience.

Same in DCA whether time will allow seeing both, the Paint the Night parade and World of Color.

As it stands right now, Paint the Night is at 8:50 and WoC at 10:15. I see no reason you couldn’t catch both. Also the approach for seeing F! and fireworks is to catch the fireworks first and then jump over to F! for the second showing (assuming there is a 2nd show that night). When we go in July. We are less concerned about the fireworks (which often get cancelled due to high winds) and will be watching them from F! viewing.

World of Color. Anytime over Fantasmic. I really like doing the Trattoria Dining package with World of Color reserved viewing.

Looks like you don’t need to decide. Several reports have come out that WoC will most likely be down during that period.

This is my order of preference for the night shows:

  1. Paint the Night
  2. F!
  3. Fireworks
  4. WOC

But let me be clear that doesn’t mean I don’t absolutely love WOC along with everything else. I rated them in terms of wow factor- if the FWs were a different show they may hop F! but this Pixar show while a solid Disney FWs show with heart-warming moments, it isn’t the most impressive or need-to-see over & over & over again like some others that I’ve seen.

As @carthy15 mentioned, WOC is likely out of the picture for now so that does make your choices a little easier. I absolutely 100% recommend Paint the Night as a must-do. It does make doing fireworks a little trickier (it’s possible but not ideal to book it to DL after you watch Paint the Night but you really have to be mobile/ahead of the crowds to get to DL’s gates before the FWs start & then your view is from the back of Main St/Town Sq which is pretty far off, but can still give a decent view).

What I would recommend is to do Paint the Night one night & Fireworks the other and fit in F! for the last show after either of those. If you have kids that are too short to see over people’s heads, both Fireworks & F! can get a little hard to give them a great view without camping out for 1 hr or more so I would take that into consideration of viewing those shows. Fireworks are under 15 min so it’s not a big deal to hold your kid up for that if you don’t want to spend more than 20-30 min to get a spot, but F! is ~25 min and that’s a long time to be holding up a kid so we rarely do F! with just a FP since it requires so much camping out to get a good spot where they can see over someone’s head or be in a sitting (on the ground) section. If budget allows, there are some great dining packages for F! that allow you to get prime seating with much less time dedicated to getting a spot (you just have to factor in that you’ll spend time eating the meal & weigh if that balances out taking time away from another part of your day). If a dining package isn’t in your budget (money or time-wise), then the later F! is always more tame in terms of how many people are staking out spots & you can head there right after either FWs or PTN & be there just as they are prepping to let guests into the 10:30 viewing areas.

As for the plan for which parks which days, I agree with everything @lmbc said! Most especially making that list of must-dos & like to do’s so if you have to make tough choices, you’ve got a priority list already made to help decide what you’ll need to skip/save for a return trip :wink:

Also, for your Magic Morning I highly recommend being 20-30 min. early to the gates to be ready to be let in as soon as they will let you in. You’ll have your pick of Tomorrowland or most of Fantasyland to do(Casey Jr. Circus Train & Storybook Canal Boats do not open in that extra early hour but everything else in Fantasyland is running). Fantasyland only has FPs for Matterhorn & it’s a small world but has some top-notch Disney dark rides (Peter Pan, Alice) as well as Dumbo that get build-up of lines with no FP to avoid them so those are all great choices to hit up in that early extra hour. If you love Tomorrowland though, all the rides in Tomorrowland are open as well for that hour so it’s a great way to start the day too if that’s more your speed. Just a note that most of Tomorrowland (Star Tours, Space, Buzz) has FPs that can be picked up later but there are some slow-loaders without FPs in Tomorrowland that you can knock out early too if interested- Astro Orbiter, Finding Nemo Subs- just not as many (or IMO as good) as in Fantasyland.

If you have any other questions as you plan, ask away! We here love to help give advice on all things planning for Disneyland!!