WDW vs DL — planning and queuing

For people who’ve been to both WDW and DL recently-ish, how do the planning and queuing experiences differ?

It seems to me that there’s very little DL planning that you can do — which seems both good and bad. No stressful constructing giant spreadsheets of FPPs and ADRs. But then maybe more stress once you’re there in terms of getting things done?

It seems like the DL Fast Past system is really not very good and that you’d typically spend a lot more time queuing at DL. Is that right?

Purely from a planning and queuing perspective, which do you prefer DL or WDW?

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I was last at DL in May 2017, before they rolled out MaxPass, but I typically go there at least once a year.

I much prefer DL. I go at quieter times of year and only use Fastpasses once or twice per trip. Everything I want to do is within a short walk of my hotel room. I can pop back and forth between parks, Downtown Disney, and my resort on a whim. The only meal reservation I bother to get before the trip is Blue Bayou.

I’m an overplanner and an overstresser and knowing that I can just show up at DL and play makes it a much more relaxing trip for me. (For me, it is also a fairly cheap, short flight, which also helps. I’m as far away from DW as anyone in the lower 48 can possibly be.)


I go to both multiple times of year. There is almost no planning needed for DL, which makes it a much more spontaneous trip. Maxpass is actually wonderful, you can easily get all headliners in one day, which would be impossible with FPP at WDW. Many think it is a much more fair system, as all bookings are day of and there is no preference to onsite guests. I love DL, there is literally no stress once there when you haven’t planned. Calitornia is very laid back and this translates to the parks. We do not wait any more at DL than we do at WDW. They have a lot less rides that feature Maxpass/fastpass (like all of Fantasyland), so those lines move quickly.
From a planning perspective, WDW is where to go if you like spreadsheets, detailed plans, planning where to eat 180 days out, and knowing what rides you want 60 days out. DL is better for little planning: most trips I just book flights, hotel, car, and buy tickets if needed (I have a pass). Then I make reservations sometime between day of arrival and 60 days before for the few restaurants that need them. Themed meals are a WDW thing, not a DL thing other than Blue Bayou. Then we just go and don’t worry about the planning. It is great, but I also love the planning that goes into a WDW vacation. This is why I go to both coasts, they are very different experiences.


We went to DL last summer and are just finishing up our trip at WDW right now.

Far less planning for DL. I did make our ADRs 60 days out because I am a planner and we had already decided which parks for which days. We did purchase the MaxPass and we loved it. We had planned to purchase the photo pass anyway so it was not an extra cost for us. Park hopping is super easy at DL, we did it at least once per day. And we walked from our hotel to the park (we did not stay in a Disney property). We really didn’t spend any great length of time in line for anything.

So for a quick trip I would say DL is better. You really only need 1-2 days.

We usually go to DL. I have generally used ridemax to plan our ride order. Until i found TP for our WDW trip this year. Last time we went was before maxpass. Now that I’ve used FPP on the app, can’t wait to go back. It’ll be like shooting fish in a barrel as they say. Last time the FP were not connected between the 2 parks but now with maxpass they are. Not sure what I will do for a plan next trip. I’m leaning towards a slow plan only with non FP rides, and veer off the plan as I pull FP for the big rides.
I have generally booked one meal a day ahead of time, just because I don’t like winging everything. But the whole trip is pretty relaxed. Get up, ride, eat, rest, eat, ride, sleep. Repeat.

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