WWYD: A first ever DLR trip now more complicated

Need some opinions here: we are heading to CA to visit extended family in June, and managed to carve out a couple of days for our immediate family to detour to DLR. One of the newly announced after hours events falls on our one and only DL park day. We have 2 days, 1 park per day tx on 6/12 and 6/13. Unfortunately these dates are set with our family and cannot be moved. So - WWYD? It’s myself and DH, DS8 and DD5 who will likely still be on east coast time.

Our current plan:

6/12: DCA
*driving into Anaheim in the am, probably not early enough for RD. Checking in to the Disneyland hotel
*was planning on a leisurely day at DCA, maybe an afternoon nap depending on how early we arrive and if the room is available.
*Dinner at Lamplight Lounge (have ADR for 5:30)
*World of Color early show if the kids can stay awake, back to the hotel after.

6/13: DL
*RD early entry
*long afternoon break for pool and nap
*back to park for parade, dinner, and Wonderous Journeys, push to stay as late as possible

6:14: checking out and leaving Anaheim mid morning after breakfast at Goofy’s kitchen

Since the park will now be closing early (what time - 8? 9?):
-Would you flip-flop your park days?
-Try and upgrade to Park Hoppers (is this possible? I don’t see a way to do it online)
-Just relax and enjoy the days as planned, but plan on an early night on the 13th?
-What else might we do (other than go to bed) with DS8 and DD5 after DL closes early if we can’t hop? Any fun nighttime experiences for kids around the Disneyland hotel? Does the pool stay open late? Will it be too cold to swim in the evening?

I’m a veteran WDW goer, and realize the standard advice for party nights is to enjoy the MK during the day for low crowds and hop when closes early. I imagine this might be different at DLR due to park proximity and more locals, but what might the standard advice be?

My liner brain is on overload this am… help!


Yes for park hoppers! The parks are so close and the flexibility you get with hoppers is invaluable.


I bet you can call and upgrade to park hopers. That is what I would do.


I agree park hoppers is the way to go! With the hoppers you could keep your start of the day to 6-7pm plans the same as they are but switch around your evenings so that you do DL + Wondrous Journeys night 1 & DCA + World of Color night 2. Calling first is a great idea for ahead of time.

If you don’t have time to call before, you can definitely add the park hopper upgrade at a ticket window anytime it works in the schedule that first day. You may be able to do it at the hotel when you check-in, so I would ask there as well.

It looks like the event in DL is advertised to start at 9pm, with ticketed guests allowed to mix-in as early as 6pm. In DL the mix-in hours before a party usually are the most crowded. The day-of crowd may be slightly less as those with just one park per day will be mainly in the park not holding an event, but it’s a lot less pronounced compared to WDW as a higher majority of park attendance in DLR is made up of passholders who can hop at will after 11am.

Also with the event starting at 9pm it doesn’t sound like DL will be offering any general public nighttime entertainment (so no Fantasmic!, no Wondrous Journeys), so if you were planning to see Wondrous Journey (and I highly recommend it), you will need to do that on your first night instead of World of Color. I think it’s totally ok to keep the starts of your days as planned, but this is where the hoppers come in so you can still have that afternoon in DCA, prioritize a nap or in park-rest somewhere, Lamplight Lounge at 5:30 (bonus if you can move it back a little for a nap in case the room isn’t ready until closer to 3-4pm & take a little nap later) & then after Lamplight head to DL from ~7pm until Wondrous Journeys. If you watch from the middle to the back of Main St you’ll be able to head out just 15 or so min. later than you would’ve left from World of Color early show (that was originally planned for that first night).

Then on your 2nd day do the DL early start, midday break, you could still do the parade before hopping over to DCA (dinner could be in either park) & do an evening in DCA ending with World of Color. It will be fairly busy in DCA as everyone with a hopper or Magic Key/annual pass will move over especially once the event officially starts, but you’ll be able to get both nighttime shows and finish up some things in DCA to end the trip. If your kids can at all hang (and there is a 2nd WOC scheduled) that later WOC will allow you to get more things done in DCA and still allow you to stay as late as you can like the original plan for this night.

If hoppers aren’t in the budget, then I would start looking for a Lamplight lounge for your second day and switch the days. With this much time to go, you should be able to fairly easily re-arrange.


Thanks so much for the replies! Looks like hoppers are the way to go.
Does anyone know if DLR shares the ticketing line with WDW? My only day off this week is Thursday which is when AP sales start back up… and there’s no way I’m calling then! I guess the good news is I have some time to sort it out. I feel better knowing that you guys say it’s possible to upgrade our existing tickets. It’s money we weren’t planning on spending, but will be well worth the cost with this new wrinkle in the plan.


I just have to say I LOVED following your trip report last week! My co-worker and I were following along. Both of us have DLR trips planned in the next couple of months and got so many good tips from your posts!

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Thank you for these ideas! Not having been there it’s hard to picture how everything would work out from a timing perspective.
Wonderous Journeys question: tips for viewing for short people? My DS8 stands only chest high to an adult but is too heavy to lift and last time he tried kneeling on a stroller he knocked it over into a bunch of people. I like the viewing from Main Street for a quicker exit idea, but concerned he won’t be able to see much.


We have gone with our kids from ages 2 months through 11 yo so we’ve done holding them at our waist (up until 4-5 yr old) to balancing standing up on the parked stroller from ages 5-7 to standing behind the stroller (8-10). If they stand behind the stroller it gives them that space that an adult is not right in front of them and then we’re not in front at a rope they can get a decent view by looking up at the sky to the fireworks (they won’t see the castle but at DLR it’s less of an issue to see). There are projections all along up & down Main St. which makes it one of my favorite places to watch. It can get tricky balancing between watching fireworks & projections both, but very doable. There are also several walkways they add across Main St. to use for traffic control so you can try for a front rope position at one of those. They setup one right at the front of Main St (between Refreshment Corner & the Christmas store at the Hub end) and then one right in the middle (there’s a break in the sidewalk for a ramp between Disney clothiers & Market House on the one side & Carnation Cafe & Jewelry/Fortuity store on the other side of Main St). That rope is usually where we’ll try if we want to get a front row view. You do have to arrive closer to an hour before the show & kind of know where to stand (look for the covered metal holes in the ground where the posts holding the rope will go). If that will take up too much time, then you can try for a spot a little further back in Town Square (in front of the flag pole) or even check if they will allow you to stand on the train station platform (sometimes they do & sometimes they don’t & hurry you into the queue where it’s not as great a view as out on the platform- it depends on how busy it is & how many other people will be trying to get up there and/or if they have a VIP group already up there).