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HydroGuy
08-18-2007, 01:15 AM
April 3, 2012 - Note for visitors after June 15 - there are credible rumors that starting June 15, 2012 DCA will begin opening at 8AM during the summer which will invalidate all the information in this thread. See the following link for some of the current rumors. Pay attention to Disney announcements before your trip for more info
New Al Lutz: Tons of Cars Land and BVS Updates - Soft Openings & Magic Mornings (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2904545)

This discussion applies to days you want to visit DCA when DCA opens. How should you use the time before DCA opens?

For most weekends (Fri-Sun) and for many weekdays throughout the year, DL opens earlier than DCA. During peak times DL opens two hours earlier (8AM vs. 10AM), and three hours earlier if you count EE. On moderately busy days DL opens and hour earlier (9AM vs. 10AM), and on the least busy days both parks open at the same time (10AM). Since DL and DCA are so close to each other and thus parkhopping is fast and easy, how can you use this to your advantage?

For days where they both open at the same time there is no advantage. The discussion here focuses on days when DL opens earlier.


Days When You Want To Visit DL First

If you can get to DL early, you can of course experience the rides there before going over to DCA. If DL opens two hours before DCA, you can easily get three DL FP sets before DCA. If DL opens an hour early, you can get two FP sets before DCA.

This is old news to many people, but if it is not clear how to do this, then read this link:

“Getting the Most Out of FastPass During High Season”
www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=885132 (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=885132)


Days When You Want to Skip DL Before DCA

If you want to start the day at DCA, but plan to visit DL later in the day or in the evening, you should consider getting a DL FP before entering DCA. There are two ways you can approach this. Each strategy works best if your group has a FP runner (if you do not know what a runner is, see the FP link above).


Days When Runner Wants To Experience All Morning DCA Rides

If the FP runner wants to go on all morning rides with their group, then the runner needs to get the DL FPs before the group enters DCA. Here is how:

1. Arrive at the DL gates 20 minutes before the group wants to enter DCA. Note that DCA usually opens its gates 30 minutes early and opens one ride, Soarin’ Over California. So you may want to enter DCA at its official opening time, or 30 minutes before if you want to ride Soarin first.

2. Have everyone in the group enter DL. This will initialize the entrance media for FP collection at DL.

3. Runner takes all entrance media with him/her into DL and gets a FP set for the group. The runner should walk with purpose during this time. In a time crunch the best FPs to get are Space Mtn or Indy because they are closest to the DL entrance gates. BLAB is the absolute closest, but is not as popular as the other two and can be safely saved until later in the day.

4. As soon as the group enters DL and the runner leaves to get the FPs, the group should immediately exit DL, get their hands stamped, and then go over to DCA and get in line. They cannot enter DCA yet because they do not have their entrance tickets – the runner does over at DL.

5. The runner with the FPs and all entrance media exits DL, gets his/her hand stamped, and joins the group in line at DCA.

6. The group enters DCA with a FP set for a DL ride.


Days When Runner Plans To Skip One or Two Morning DCA Rides

If the FP runner is not interested in the first one or two rides the group plans at DCA, a different approach can be used.

1. Arrive at the DCA gates and enter DCA. This will initialize the entrance media for FP collection at DCA and DL (an idiosyncrasy at DLR).

2. Runner takes all entrance media with him/her and immediately exits DCA and gets his/her hand stamped.

3. Group proceeds into DCA and goes on rides of interest without the runner. Communication is important here so that the group meets up again with no wasted time. Either cell phones or walkie-talkie radios are essential.

4. Runner enters DL with everyone’s entrance media but only needs to give one entrance ticket at the gate to admit himself.

5. Runner gets a FP set for the group. The runner should walk with purpose during this time. In a time crunch the best FPs to get are Space Mtn or Indy because they are closest to the DL entrance gates. BLAB is the absolute closest, but is not as popular as the other two and can be safely saved until later in the day.

6. The runner with the FPs and all entrance media exits DL.

7. The runner enters DCA for the second time.

8. On the way to rejoining the group the runner should pick up FPs at DCA. This will likely be Soarin Over California or ToT because they are closest to the DCA gate and thus easiest to get.

9. The runner rejoins the group.


Summary

Using the above approaches, you will have an extra FP set you would not otherwise have when you go to DL at some time later that day.

Hound 109
08-18-2007, 10:25 AM
Another great "tip thread", HydroGuy. :thumbsup2

Alot of new visitors don't realize:

- just how close DL & DCA front gates are to each other.
- how easy it is to hop. (whether it is for touring or for FP pickup)
- that once all in your party have entered EITHER park & had their tickets (entrance media) initialized, a runner can run with ALL tickets to that park OR THE OTHER PARK & pick up FPs.

hound - :hippie:

DLR29
08-18-2007, 01:35 PM
We just got back from DLR and we totally took advantage of FP. Many times we had 3 or 4 sets of FPs at a time. We did several times have 1 member run over to the other park and grab FPs. And the GRR disconnected FPs were great for the hot summer.

WDW4us2006
08-18-2007, 07:31 PM
I just did this very thing last week and I cannot tell you how great it was to have this info beforehand. Hydroguy's tips are the best.

Also, if you are going during a busy season, I cannot stress enough how important it is to GET THERE EARLY! You can really collect more fastpassess that way. We had three sets of fastpasses prior to 10:00 am last Thursday (an EE day). We collected a few more sets during the day, and two sets at DCA, and saved them all for the evening when we returned to the parks. It was more crowded than I ever could have imagined, the waits for rides were 60-90 minutes, and we just practically walked on rides in both parks with plenty of time to get seats for the fireworks. We also did this in reverse the previous day: went to DCA at opening (we needed to sleep a little bit!) and collected FP's for that park in the am, and couple in the afternoon for DL.

If you play it right, it will make your trip so much more enjoyable!

queenrollog
08-18-2007, 07:38 PM
Hydroguy,
Would you also recommend that the runner get FP for Roger Rabbit before going over to DCA

HydroGuy
08-18-2007, 07:55 PM
Hydroguy,
Would you also recommend that the runner get FP for Roger Rabbit before going over to DCARoger Rabbit is just not that popular of a ride, plus it is far in the back of the park. So IMO it is not worth it to get FPs for RR in the AM with the strategies discussed in the OP.

Rather, whenever I made it over to DL I would get a RR FP as these are available late into the day. In the bigger picture though, we usually ride RR on a day where DL is the prominent park for the day. So we end up getting RR FPs sometime late morning or mid-day and using them usually before our afternooon break.