Thanks so much for the advice on park days. It worked out great for us even though crowd levels were high. We wound up adding a day to our tickets and went on our arrival day, Sunday the 31st, because I was itching to get to the parks. Plus, it’s always nice t
o take a few photos not at rope drop so you can walk to the rides quickly.
Loved both parks, different things about each one. Of course we loved DL because it’s the original and all of the history there, plus lots of our favorites rides from WDW: BTMRR, SM, Pirates (definitely better at DL). Plus, Paint the Night was AWESOME even though we were not thrilled about grabbing our seats 1.5 hours before showtime it was spectacular. I was relieved we saw it because we chose the night of the Anaheim power outage AND the day Disney announced it was ending officially in September. But the parade went off smoothly luckily!! We also had brunch at Plaza Inn and met 10 characters. It was a great experience all around. The only thing that did not go smoothly at DL was our extra morning hour - hopped on Alice first thing then it broke down. Matterhorn was not open then, not sure if that is normal or not for the extra hour but I did not have a plan at that point so we hopped on the submarines which were not a favorite for us – took way too much time and was simultaneously boring and scary for my daughter plus I felt kind of “trapped”. Enjoyed all other rides though.
DCA was basically a much better version of Hollywood Studios - loved CarsLand, Grizzly Peak, Paradise Pier, lots of great rides and atmosphere. We think Radiator Springs Racers is the best ride of any Disney Park (in USA anyways). Too exhausted from all the park time and the time difference to make World of Color and wasn’t too sure how all the standing would work with DD5 even though we did get a Fast pass for it. Not really a dessert party person but think this one might be one of the few that is “worth it”.