Touring Plans has Failed Me - What's your General Strategy at DL?

I feel like touring plans has failed me. I haven’t cared for it ever since Genie+ became a thing. I feel like it never recommends the best LL reservations so the plan is so hard to make…even a personalized plan.

What would be your general touring tips for us? We are WDW pro’s but have only been to DL once and it’s been years. It will be me, my hubby and 5 year old son. We are staying offsite. We are going Tuesday - Thursday in early December. We have 2 full days, one half day. We will be utilizing park hopper, genie+ and ILL. Our first day is a half day so we plan on staying most of the day at DL. Our second and third days we plan on rope dropping (being at park 45 min early) DL and then later in the day hopping to DCA. What would be your plan of attack specifically in the morning? We also want to enjoy some of the Christmas stuff like parades, etc.

We aren’t planning on doing Space Mountain unless my 5 year old musters up the courage but I’m not sure a dark roller coaster is the best idea for him haha. I have looked up thrill data and I don’t want to fight the crowds to Haunted Mansion so we don’t plan on rope dropping that. What would your strategies be for DL and DCA?

I was thinking on the first full day to rope drop Matterhorn then move to some Fantasyland rides then Toontown for MMRR and Meet Mickey then see where wait times are at. First LL would be to get one for HM. Maybe get one or two more LL for DL then start stacking LL for DCA. Thoughts on this? Any other ideas? Ideas for day 2?

Thanks y’all!! :slight_smile:

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I personally use BG1 to help me make my next LL decisions. They order them by priority or available sooner etc. but yes it’s a mix of BG1 and TPs for me at DLR. We rode everything I wanted but TSM this July 4th weekend using G+ and ILL in both parks in one day with me using the combo of those two things.

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G+ works so well in DLR with many rides having availability late into the day so I personally focus on riding things without G+ during early entry rope drop when I’m doing multiple days like you. For me I rope drop Peter Pan, Toad and Alice. When I do just Disneyland I can literally get every single G+ for every single ride it’s offered for in one day. So I’d personally get LL for Matterhorn and rope drop things without LL.

I love to RD FL. I would do that one day and RD JC and PoC the next day. Matterhorn is on Genie+ so that would not be a RD priority for me. Going early to the Nemo subs could be key if that’s a ride you want to do. Mickey and Minnie can build long lines in Toon town, but you can also see them (in Christmas outfits) in the town square area. I don’t like to wait in those lines in Toon Town, but walking through their houses is really fun.

You can churn through LL’s pretty quickly/easily there. Just make sure to book the ones that might run out early in the day. Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion, Mission Breakout, etc.

I think LL is simply to complex to be modeled effectively, unfortunately. TP sure has tried its darnedest.

I find the simplest way to get around this is to make a plan assuming you don’t have Genie+, then when you’re actually in the parks, use Genie+ to get a LL for the first attraction in your lineup with a longer wait. You can Optimize on the go after that point to see what happens.

To be honest, using a TP for Disneyland is tricky even in the best circumstances because there are so often breakdowns and other unforeseen obstacles.

On the flipside, Disneyland is much easier to do by “winging it.” With Genie+, you can churn through a lot of attractions if you get started early in the day.


We were at DLR in September. I’m not a morning person so no rope dropping. We didn’t get G+ or LLIA. I used TP for wait times and planned around that. For Radiator Springs we did single rider; standby was an hour and SR was a walk on.


Thanks for the info. I thought BG1 did not work anymore? I read that on the thread in WDW so I just assumed it didn’t work at DLR but I guess I am wrong?! That’s amazing news! We used BG1 for our WDW trip in January and had the most amazing experience. So you can use BG1 to book LL’s??

Thanks so much for all the insight. I have been looking over thrill data as well. I think focusing on non LL rides could be a good bet. I may want to hit up MMRR for rope drop as we love that ride and may want to ride it with LL as well. But we shall see. I appreciate your advice :grinning:

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Thanks so much for the advice. Very helpful :grinning:

Thanks so much for the detailed reply. I try to make another TP with that advice. It originally said my first LL of the day should be It’s a small world…it lost me at that recommendation haha.

I know you’re super active on the WDW side of the forum and always a huge help…does BG1 work at DLR to make LL reservations? I know it doesn’t at WDW anymore :frowning:

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I no longer works for DL either unfortunately. :frowning_face: Thankfully it’s not as cutthroat as WDW so booking quickly is less essential. It’s just sad to miss out on the slick interface of BG1.

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Ah sad day! It was amazing for our WDW trip. That and some other hacks I learned that I’m told don’t work now.


No not to book it but it still tells you the priority to get them. So you can look over there and see what they say is next priority and then go to Disney App to book it. It also still tells you if there is a predicted drop coming so you can set a timer for that.


You’ve got some great advice so far, but really honestly with DL you only need to plan your first few hours each day & then follow the LL priorities/shows/ambiance you want to see.

The DL Christmas parade usually has 2 showings one in the afternoon, one in the evening when it’s busier. Going mid-week early December they may only do one showing, but definitely stalk the calendar for the entertainment schedule to find out (can come out as soon as 45 days in advance but it may take until closer to 30 days for it to really start populating entertainment).

My favorite Christmas activity for all the resort is Viva Navidad in DCA. It’s a street performance with a few small floats along with dancers, drummers, mariachi’s and lots of vibrant color & music reflecting the holiday celebration for several countries in South America. Donald and his two other Caballeros pals appear on the main float plus Mickey & Minnie also fly along the sides of the performance in 2 standing pedicab type floats. It’s amazing.

DCA’s atmosphere is especially festive with entertainment/bands reflecting holiday traditions from all over the world and it just makes the whole place alive. Plenty of Christmas of course, but other less-recognized celebrations get to leave their mark.

And then there is the tree-lighting in both parks, the castle lighting in DL and then a Small World Lighting that replays on the big beautiful facade every 15 minutes once it’s lit up. All are fun & wonderful but if you have to limit what you do, I’d pick Small World first and then the castle & tree-lighting just if you have time.


I agree, TP is not very helpful for maximizing LL use. And the problem with the “cookie cutter” premade plans is they don’t make recommendations for getting Lightning Lanes. Plus, some LL get long return times very early in the day, whereas others can have returns in the next one to two hours. I’ve spent hours making up my own plans and testing using the Evaluate feature for a two day plan (Sunday/Monday) with the first half day being DCA and second half in DL, and then the next day rope dropping DL and maybe going back to DCA later that day for WoC. Had to build in a lot of buffer time using added rests for timing using/obtaining LL’s and I hope it works. I would be happy if Touring Plans would have an “optimal order for LL” plan, without the specific times, that would at least tell me the best pattern for obtaining and using LL during the day, while intermixing SB only attractions and maximizing the rope drop “golden hour.” Their software, whenever I use optimize, comes up with bizarre recommendations that will put in me in an attraction line for 45 minutes instead of recommending LL. I think their software definitely hasn’t kept up with LL implementation.

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There is a DL LL priority list at the top of the below thread, if that helps…

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I also love rope dropping FL. Don’t be discouraged by it being open 30 minutes early for on-site guests. They are the minority here.

The one caveat is to hold off on Peter Pan. The line builds prior to rope drop and stays pretty steady throughout the day. It’s better to just pick a time when the line looks reasonable, and get in it.

Focus on the other FL rides that don’t have LL, which is most of them. Dumbo, Alice, Casey Jr, Storybook, Mr Toad, Snow White, Pinocchio, and Tea Party can all be easily knocked out with short waits.

It sounds like you’ll be there during a low crowd level time, so the LLs will go even slower than usual. Book the first one (Matterhorn?) when you first tap into the park and check later to modify to a return time around 2 hours after opening when you’ll be done with the other FL rides.


Some more thoughts…

For the arrival day, I wouldn’t buy G+. Keep in mind that unlike WDW you cannot book until tapping into a park. Instead I would go to DCA and buy ILL for RSR. I don’t know where you’re traveling from, but we usually prefer an easy start with no significant lines.

For DCA that includes - Little Mermaid, the Viva Navidad parade lolabear mentioned, Redwood Creek, Avenger campus, Turtle Talk, PhilharMagic, food and drinks, and possibly other minor attractions if the lines are short (swings, zephyr, etc). These are all things you may not have time for on the full days if you’re stacking LLs.


Arrive early, leave early, arrive late, leave late. Noon-6PM is the busiest, hottest, and overall suckiest part of the day. Spent it in the hotel or in a mall; leave the mornings and evenings for mouse time.

Disneyland is not like Florida; lightning lane times will usually go down in the evening if they haven’t sold out (40/60 chance on e-tix). Also, mobile order like your life depends on it.


She’s going weekdays in early December though. It won’t be hot and shouldn’t be crowded. It’s likely the biggest crowds will be 4pm-9pm.