Touring Plans & Radiator Springs Racers

Hi all, I’m heading to DCA and DLR for 4 days in two weeks and working on customized touring plans. One thing that seems weird to me is that the website is suggesting to do Radiator Springs Racers around noon. The Unofficial Guide suggests this is the ride to do first in DCA and I can’t figure out the discrepancy. Any thoughts?


Touring Plans has a hard time with rope dropping (i.e., being toward the front of the crowd heading straight to a ride right when the park opens). The software assumes you will be toward the back of the crowd, which could result in a pretty long wait. Below is a chart of average wait times for this past Sunday 2/6 from Thrill Data:

As you can see, the wait time rockets up right when the park opens, and usually (dotted line) holds steady for the rest of the day, only dropping off in the late evening.

Btw, RSR is a great option for Individual Lightning Lane, if you’re open to buying that. You will almost certainly save an hour+ in line.


OK, that makes sense, thanks! I had wanted to avoid buying ILL but I’m thinking I will cave in.

Does the same logic hold for Rise of the Resistance (which TP is telling me to hit up first)? The $20/person ILL is a lot less attractive than $7 with a family of 4.

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Yes, same logic applies. If you arrive in time to be toward the front of the rope drop crowd, you should be able to have a shorter wait. That said, I think 80 minutes is worth it for RotR. I wouldn’t wait that long for RSR. And 80 minutes is the posted wait in this chart - the actual wait is usually ~25% less than what Disney claims.


Thanks again! Any sense for how early you need to be there to be toward the front of the rope drop crowd? I’ve also got a 6yo with me so we will not be power walking – maybe I just need to accept a long wait for RotR.

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I would plan to be at the front gate at least 45 minutes before official park opening, 60 minutes if you can manage it. That means you would have to arrive at the parking structure 90 minutes before park opening if you are driving. If that sounds not fun / unrealistic, then I’d just suck it up and wait / buy ILL. Nothing wrong with that. (Or you could burn the candle at the other end and ride last thing in the evening.)


Welcome to the Forum! 4 days should be plenty of time to enjoy DLR.

To have the 10-15 minute waits for the headliners, you really do need to be at the front, front of the pack for RD. And it can be challenging to RD at the head of the line with young children.

Having said that, I think a 30 minute stand-by wait for Radiator Springs Racers is reasonable. I’ve waited longer than that on Fast Pass! Last week, we did the single rider lane and there was hardly a wait. Of course, you can’t do single rider with a 6 year old.

For Rise, we were going to RD it. On our first day, we swung by twice in the morning and the line was queuing outside and the wait time was over 100 minutes. We went by in the early afternoon. The wait time was 75 minutes. But the queue was entirely indoors! We jumpled in line. From the entering the queue to exiting the ride, it was about 60 minutes. We thought 60 minutes was pretty good. We were thinking about ILL for this ride but didn’t. Ride it as soon as you can on the trip. The ride goes down a lot. It went down 3 times on our last day. We wanted to ride it again on Day 3 but with so much down time, it didn’t fit into our touring.

I think it is best to jump in line for Webslinger when near closing. This was my 4-year old nephew’s favorite ride!

If you are interested, I did a trip report for my DLR trip last week. I talk about wait times and what we do over 3 days. LunEAR New Year - #14 by stlouie


Your trip report was great and super useful. Good to know that the 75-minute wait for RotR is really 60.


Just wanted to add to check and make sure RSR is operating at park open. When we were there Saturday it was not so we were diverted away. We were able to quickly head into Pixar Pier the back way but it would have been better to know before heading all the way to the back of Cars Land. In retrospect we should have checked with a cast member or simply looked to see if they were selling ILL return times for park open. That’s a big clue!


I personally would not ILL for RotR. It’s just down too much. We were able to get in the regular queue after it was down for about 4 hours, right at fireworks time. A posted 60 minute wait was less than 20 to the pre-show. The next day it was down a lot, too; the lines for Guest Services were pretty long both days due to this. I prefer to spend my park time doing park stuff, not waiting in line to get a refund for the skip-the-line pass that I can’t use…just a false economy.

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Good tip. What happens if you have an ILL and it’s down? That $20 (times four for the whole family) is a really tough pill to swallow — I’d expect pretty good compensation if I don’t get to use it.

Sounds like a good plan is to just try to rope drop ROTR and figure I’ll still be waiting ~60 minutes.

I would totally agree. You will need to be in the front of the pack to RD RotR, and ask every CM you see if RotR is going to open with the park (since it’s so touchy it sometimes…maybe often…does not open with the park). If it’s not…reassess and do other long lines like Indy or Space. Go jump in the RotR line when it gets to 75, which seems to be just above most people’s threshold for waiting times, and that will usually be around 60 minutes.

As to what happens, from the frustrated yelling in the guest service line, it was converted to an “all day” pass, which basically means you’re in a slightly-shorter standby line. When it went down the second time that day, a lot of people wanted their money back, but had now invested both time and money in the process and were NOT happy. Contrast that with my husband and myself, who just felt lucky to get into the standby line and walk right inside…