What's your favorite start strategy?

Hello!! I forgot about discussion boards so I’ve been gone a LOOONG time! We leave for disneyland in 4 days!!!

I’ve been looking over touring plans, optimizing, and looking at Disneyland daily strategies and I can’t decide how to attack this trip. I’m curious what everyone’s favorite strategies are. We used to always start with fantasy land. The kids might press for that, but I don’t know which strategy to follow after that.

We will have genie plus, maybe not the separate Lightning lanes.
4 Adults, 6 kids ages 3-14
5 days with park hoppers.

Thanks for any feedback or ideas!


I usually start in Tomorrowland with Space Mountain and Matterhorn, then cut across to Jungle Cruise and Indiana Jones, with Splash just before lunch. After that, Big Thunder, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and Galaxy’s Edge late afternoon.

I like to do Fantasyland in the evening when it’s cooler and shaded. But starting in Fantasyland is an acceptable alternative if you can make full use of Genie+.


Thanks! I might have to convince the kids to wait for fantasy land for at least a little bit.

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Since you’re there five days, you might want to do fantasyland on your first morning if that’s what your kids are most excited for. You can get a LL for Space or IJ for around 10am and knock out as much as you can in FL before then.


Five days with hoppers!
You should be able to enjoy everything.
The Fab Four are crushing it there, even while finding plenty of time to eat and drink and drink.

I’d start for Fantasyland. Use your magic morning the first day and just crush it!

PP, Alice, Storybook, Toad, wheeeeee!!!


Book LL’s for rides that are down with fairly quick return times. They will convert to any time LL’s and you can use them on rides that don’t even have LL.

We rope dropped Storybook Land Canal boats and Casey Junior because we wanted to do those in daylight. I think we did the rest of FL at night.

I personally love RD in FL! But don’t try to ride PPF at that time. Are you on site? The on site guests have early entry so they will already be in line for PPF. The other ride lines will be short.

Watch out for rides being down at RD. We thought we’d RD JC, Indy, Pirates one morning and only Pirates was running.

Have fun! Hope the temps cool down for you a bit. We were roasting :hot_face:!


:frowning: They’ve never brought this back so the only way to get in before RD is to be an onsite guest.

But I would echo starting in Fantasyland if it’s what your kids are most excited for. We like to start with Alice or Dumbo and will also try to do Storybook Land Canal Boats if we can before its queue gets long. If it is long & we really want to see the miniatures, we’ll check Casey Jr. And then we usually round up with carousel, teacups before heading to breakfast or another area. Having an LL to get to another part is a fantastic tactic (I used to use that to get my kids out of Toontown when we would hit it up early to get Mickey’s House & Gadget’s done with little/no lines but then have an excuse to pull them away from the all the play areas we could come back to later).

ETA: We also do routinely come back to Fantasyland at the end of the day and that’s when we do all the other dark rides besides Alice and will usually do Dumbo & the carousel again bc those are fun at night too.


It looks like it will cool down on our first day! I think it will still feel hot to me because we’ve only been in Jan/Feb when it is cold for the locals and perfect for us :slight_smile:

Sad stuff. We usually stay onsite but we’ve outgrown a regular room and I can’t rationalize an onsite suite!

I have a similar question.
We are going to in 2 weeks and doing DP Fri/Sun and DCA on Saturday. G+ for all and will purchase ILL.
We have two small kids (2/5), the older one seems adventurous to try some of the bigger rides. He is most excited about Star Tours and Smuggler’s Run.
However, we are also going with some family members who only have one day at DP, so they are going to want to maximize all of the “adult” rides.

  1. I’m debating RD Fantasyland on Sunday, to be more little-kid centric, but I’m worried the kids (and me) will be so tired by Day 3 that we won’t make RD. Is it safest to do it on Day #1? If so, what “adult” rides (i.e. bigger coasters) should I cut out during the day, that the (non-parent) adults can do after the kids go to bed? We can make up those rides on Sunday using rider switch.

  2. I’m trying to use the personalized plans on the website, but not sure how to use them and DP. When we went to Hollywood studios, most of the rides were on G+. So we followed the plan and G+ just sped us up. Will that strategy work at DL?

  3. On the day we don’t do Fantasyland first thing, what should we prioritize? Should we hit things like Jungle cruise that don’t have G+? Or split up the Fantasyland rides into 2 days? Or go full throttle on Fantasyland on Day 1. See if the 5 yo enjoys the roller coasters later in the day, and then RD Space and Matterhorn on Day 3?

Thinking about all of the above, I’m thinking of a start strategy of:
Day 1: Some of fantasy, followed by Jungle or Star Tours, then breakfast by 9:15am. Try a roller coaster late morning, and do other rides based on G+.
Day 2: DCA (haven’t gotten to planning yet)
Day 3: Rest of Fantasy, followed by Space or Matterhorn (we leave by 4pm)

Sorry this is complicated, but I’m trying to juggle little kid energy, touring plans data, and G+.
Thanks for any advice

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Yes, I think hitting FL first is a great strategy with younger kids.

Of the rides at DL, the most “adult” ones are (roughly in order) Matterhorn, Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and to a lesser extent, Star Tours and MFSR. RotR is really tame but has a height requirement.

It should work fine, though honestly I usually use the TP as a rough guide of what I want to do. Try to chip away at the LL rides in order of which is most in demand, but use the two hours in the morning when crowds are low to ride as much of those as possible and then you can get a LL for them later as well. Here is the rough order of priority that I give in the pinned Genie DL thread:

  • DL: IJ > Space > HM * > MFSR > Splash * > Matterhorn > ST > BTMRR > iasw * > other
  • DCA: WS > Gotg * > TSMM > Soarin > Incredicoaster > GRR * > Monsters > Goofy
    *Priority may vary due to heat/weather (Splash, GRR) or holiday overlay (HM, iasw, GotG).

I have always found hitting JC early in the day to be a good strategy, because that line sucks. Otherwise, as I said above, try to knock out the highest priority LL attractions.

I like your plan. You should have plenty of time to get everything done in three days. Your DCA day will be critical since you only have one day and the lines there can get super long. I would plan to get ILL for RSR. Everything else is pretty easy to get on LL or SB if you plan it out right.

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I have similar questions. If repeating rides isn’t a priority, does RDing the rides without LLs in the first 2 hours or so seem the best strategy? Assuming I can eventually get LL for space, Matterhorn, Indy, etc…should we try to do Fantasyland or Adventureland (jungle and pirates) first?

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That’s a decent strategy. Especially the rides that tend to get long waits. But there aren’t too many without LL that get long waits. Those include JC, Peter Pan, Nemo Subs, Alice in Wonderland, Pirates (at busy times - it usually has a shorter wait honestly), and Storybookland Canal Boats.

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This is so helpful! We will be there around the same time in 2023 with kids 6/3. I think we may do 2 days at each park but definitely using LL to minimize waits. Please report back @drslesser as to how it went!

I’m a big fan of rope dropping FL on the first day. Short rides in a relatively small area make it easy to really hit the ground running with a bunch of rides in a couple hours. It’s very likely your kids will want to return for one or two favorites at some point, but I wouldn’t rope drop it again.

Peter Pan is the one complication to FL. Unless you’re at the very front of the pack it’s likely a 20+ minute wait immediately. I prefer to skip it and circle back a bit later in the morning when it’s a 30-40 minute wait. You more than make up for it with little to no lines on everything else.

Last December we went in this order - Dumbo, Alice, Canal Boats, Peter Pan, Snow White, Pinocchio, Mr Toad, Tea Party, small world, Gadget, Roger Rabbit, Matterhorn (LL), Casey Jr, Haunted Mansion (LL), 11:40 lunch at Carnation Cafe. This was with only one 5 year old though. It will be slower with a toddler. We came back to FL for the castle walkthrough and carrousel after lunch.