We are going on DLR September 6-11. We went to WDW in 2016 and DLR in 2014 so have gone a handful of times. We are going with my cousin and her family who have never gone so we want to make it a great experience for them. We were planning the following schedule:
Thursday Sept 6- DL- CL 2
Friday Sept 7- DCA- CL 3
Saturday- Park hop between but focus on seeing F! and Fireworks
Monday- DL- CL 3
Tuesday- Hit our favorite rides between each park
We will have Park hopper and MaxPass.
I have two questions about our plan-
1- Which day would be best to do early entry?
2- I hear Monday are often very busy at DL. Should that be an issue in September?
Any other suggestions? Getting excited!
I would 100% use your EE on Thursday - it’ll probably be quieter than Saturday and it’s always easier to get up earlier in your trip when you’re fully rested. If you arrive on Thursday and can’t make EE that day I’d use it whichever day has the earliest starting EE as the earlier it is the fewer people make it up and out on time for it.
Yes it will be busy but follow a good plan and you’ll be fine
I’ve never been on a Thursday, so I can’t speak from that experience. We’ve used early entry on Saturday and Tuesday at DL. I found the Saturday experience to be so much better. The parks stay emptier longer that early in the morning. We leave the hotel around 6 am to be first in line for 7 am EE. We take a mid day break/nap and then go back for a few rides and F! and Fireworks. The later EE on Tuesday and Thursday makes it easier for more people to be up and at it.
I just looked at hours for the week you are there. It looks like EE is at 8 on Saturday, so maybe it wouldn’t be as beneficial. We’ve only done a 7 am EE at DL on a Saturday. Some one with more experience may have to chime in
Edit: I forgot to mention. It seems like the busier days run smoother than the “slow” days. We’ve been on crowd level 3 and 8 days that seemed about the same. My husband and I joke that the “A” team is out working DL on the weekends/crowded days, and the “B” team works the weekdays. So Monday does seem like a hectic busy day at DL but I don’t think that it is often that much more crowded, but the lines move slower (which is how they judge crowd levels I believe).
I think we decided to do EE on Thursday, our first day. I can’t imagine the kids will be willing to wait until 10 am that day.
I totally get that waiting until 10am seems like a waste, so I don’t blame you at all for wanting to use it then just know it will feel pretty crowded as many can make a 9am early entry & only Tomorrowland & (parts of) Fantasyland will be open. I would avoid the dash to Peter Pan & start at either Alice in Fantasyland or anywhere in Tomorrowland.
If you can stand to wait, on Sat. EE is at 8am & even though it’s only an hour difference, it makes a difference in how many can be up & at 'em. If you feel like your group would struggle to be up & at 'em for an 8am EE after 2 days of touring, then I think that your plan to do the EE your first day makes perfect sense even if it won’t be the most optimal day to be using EE. The week you are going is historically good for getting low crowds, BUT with a later opening, instead of having staggered arrivals you’ll have most of your day guests there at once making opening feel crowded & with only 2 lands to disperse, it may still feel crowded.
I think your plan to rest on Sunday & hit Monday is still a good one because, Sunday only has 1 level of passes blocked (as opposed to 2) & it is the first Sunday of Halloween festivities so there will more likely be people that like to come on Sundays coming that specific Sunday to see Halloween festivities. Even though Monday has no blockouts, it’s projected to be about the same CL & isn’t a holiday so is less likely to have that busy Monday effect that sometimes causes Mondays to be busier.
Speaking of Halloween, Friday you may see a mad rush starting at rope drop to Haunted Mansion Holiday so either embrace it & join in the enthusiasm or avoid it if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea. There’s a very passionate local base that loves to come to all these seasonal starts so the first day of anything can be quite a craze of fans (good if you like that energy; bad if you were not expecting it and/or expected low peak crowds all around).
All in all, hope you have a blast and so jealous you get to go to kick-off the fun of Halloween at DL!!
ETA: One last thing! Haunted Mansion has some years done a soft opening on Thursday so if inclined to check for it or make it a part of your day on Thursday, that could be something very fun to be some of the first to see the overlay this year (every year there’s a different Hallowen/Nightmare Before Christmas-themed gingerbread house in ballroom scene that causes part of the craze to see it every year).
That is great advice. I was planning on hitting Alice then Nemo, then Star Tours, maybe Buzz Lightyear (should I avoid PP altogether in EE?) and meeting up with our other party at 10 am to head to Adventureland. I will keep an eye on Haunted Mansion that day for a soft open.
We will spend most of that Friday at DCA so the rush for HM should be as bad.
Funny story about Nightmare Before Christmas. (This isn’t relevant to the topic but an entertaining story nonetheless)
I have never seen Nightmare Before Christmas. During the Christmas season, in the early 90s when the movie came out, my dad took me and my siblings to go see it in the theater. My mom wanted us out of the house to wrap presents. When we sat down to watch the movie following the previews, there was a scene on the screen of a woman, in a lab coat and a clip board, walking through a lab full of cages of animals. At this point, I am thinking, are we in the wrong movie? Is this a little short played before Nightmare before Christmas? Anyway, as she is walking through the lab, it becomes obvious that something is watching her. Next, we see an empty cage with straps broken. As the suspense builds, a giant animal comes out of nowhere, rips the woman to shreds, and drags her bloody body off screen! At this point, people in the theater, mostly families with children, start to leave. Kids are crying, parents are confused. Turns out the teenagers running the film started the wrong movie. We were given our money back and reimbursed for our popcorn and to this day I have never seen the movie.
I should see it before our trip next week.
Love this start! If interested in Autopia or Astor Orbitor add those in before Buzz (can get a FP for Buzz nearly all day usually with close to immediate return if not, pretty close out).
With that late a start, absolutely yes. If I get a chance to get my phone to upload pictures, I’ll show you what the 9am dash to PP looks like (spoiler: it’s madness). The best strategy I know of for PP is to get in line just before park close as Disney allows you to ride past park close so long as you are in line before park close. It’s a beautiful way to end your day leaving with the Pixie dust magic that is Peter Pan. And even though you may still wait 30-40 min for Peter Pan, by the time you get off the ride you’ll have an empty Fantasyland with a peaceful walk through the castle & hub & out Main Street (won’t be empty but will be the quietest you’ll see it all day) on your way out of the parks.
Also, even though the line is posted at 30-40 min still, the line seems to magically move faster as if the CMs are all of a sudden in a rush to get everyone on & off as efficiently as possible
So in our experience of ending the night on Peter Pan we’ve been on & off the ride in under 30 min. Granted that was a midnight closing so not sure if that holds true with earlier closings.
That IS a great story. Thanks for sharing!
You should. It used to be on Netflix and that’s where I first watched it AFTER I rode Haunted Mansion Holiday the first time and LOVED it even though I had no idea what the story was. The next year we put it on before our Halloween-time trip & my then 2 yr old daughter fell in love with it & we watched it for a year straight nearly every day & had to put a limit on 3x a day for the days she was feeling super Halloween-y. She’s waned from that super enthusiasm, but still loves both the Haunted Mansion Holiday & meeting Jack & Sally in the parks at Halloween & Christmas time. And it’s still one of my favorite attractions of all time even with so much exposure to the movie from her toddler days!
Thanks. This is very helpful. I will definitely be watching it. It is the favorite movie of one of my coworkers.
That sounds like a great strategy for our first day. On our 2nd day (DCA) it seems like moving from FP to FP (with MaxPass) works best. I was thinking of the following order of getting FP’s:
FP for RSR
Rope drop Soarin’
FP for GOTG (once my window opens or when I use RSR)
Followed by TSMM, Incredicoaster, GRR in that order.
We will fill in other rides between headliners.
Does that sound like a decent order? What is your DCA strategy?
Following FP to FP in DCA is a great plan! I love to start with an RSR or GotG FP and we used to like to RD TSMM prior to it having a FP (and sometimes still do bc we also like the Fun Wheel now Pixar Pal Around) & it can get very long waits after the good morning hours of touring.
We have tried out rope dropping Soarin but only on days when we are in DCA behind the EMH crowd & we don’t have EMH (since Soarin is within the ropes where they hold you before the official park open & they don’t check for your to have EMH access to join the line, we can sometimes be on & off before reg park open even without having EMH). Since we have a baby that requires us doing RS, whoever isn’t riding Soarin first, goes & does the first FP run (for RSR or GotG as well as WOC, but you won’t need to worry about running around for FPs with Maxpass! and WOC still doesn’t seem to be up).
Anywho, your plan looks great! If you wanted to toy around with another way though, Disneyland Daily has a great plan for getting ALL of DCA (minus Bugsland) done by 1pm-ish on an 8am opening. Pretty sure that 9am opening would be somewhat similar so if your interested in her plan, it goes something like this:
FP for Incredicoaster
Pre-Rope drop ride Soarin’ (only works during EMH when it is running/open & typically access to EMH isn’t require to get into the line)
Rope Drop TSMM
FP for RSR as soon as window opens or scanning into Incredicoaster
Pixar Pal-Around (work in either before or after Incredicoaster FP)
Goofy’s Sky School
Silly Symphony Swings/Jumpin Jellyfish/Golden Zephyr (these can be done in any order after hitting Pixar Pal-Around/Goofy’s first that get longer lines built up)
FP for GotG as soon as window opens or scanned into RSR
All 3 rides in Carsland (using FP for RSR, try to hit other 2 rides before waits build)
Monsters (working in before or after GotG FP)
Get FP for GRR as soon as window opens or scanned into GotG
Little Mermaid (working in before or after GRR FP & also eating lunch before/after GRR FP)
Get a 2nd FP for whichever attraction you were most excited about (she usually pulls evening RSR FP when she tests the plan, but you can get 2nd GotG, or for a 2nd ride on TSMM or Soarin. RSR will go first, It depends on the day what goes second but anything out of Soarin/GotG/TSMM/Incredicoaster could go 2nd so consider that.
We don’t have MaxPass on our Annual Passes so her plan isn’t ideal for us in that order, plus we haven’t had any kids (until this summer) tall enough for Incredicoaster/Cali Screamin’ so we usually skipped it unless the husband or I really wanted a ride & even then we would SR it easily or hit it in the morning just after TSMM & before the Fun Wheel.
ETA: Meant to include this in my original response about Disneyland Daily’s plan- My son & I tried out her plan on a day we did a challenge to ride all the rides in Disneyland Resort in a Day & we did purchase MaxPass just for the day & I liked the first few steps BUT what I didn’t like was that you were hitting those 3 pier rides (Swings/Zephy/Jellies) so early when waits stay pretty low all morning & even most of the day, meanwhile in Carsland the waits for Luigi’s & Mater’s are building a bit faster. So if I were to do her plan again, I may skip the pier rides (maybe still fit in Goofy’s? but it’s also easy to grab a FP for it later) and get back to Carsland sooner to get those 2 rides done with little to no wait.
Wow. That is a great plan! We will definitely use it on our Friday. I went to her blog. She has a bunch of one day DL touring plans but nothing broken into two days. I guess I can just break them up into lands and go from there.
This is great information. Thanks. We have been before (2014) but my cousin’s family has not. We have age range from toddler to roller coaster crazy tweens. Our goal is to see as much as we can. It will be a blast.