Must get Max Passes and early morning rides.

NicholeB630

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Have no fear! You're going to have an amazing time. We have often gone to DL at times of year when regular park opening is 8 am, so EMH/MM entry is 7-8 am. Here's a typical DL itinerary/plan that our family has done a few times now using Magic Morning (MM) on a Tues, Thurs, or Sat...when I was planning our first family trip to DL, I found info like this very helpful.
  • 6:45 am - be in line, tickets in hand, at DL main gate
  • 7:00 am - DL opens. Give high 5's to all of the CMs lining Main Street wearing their big Mickey gloves. This is my favorite part of the day. Shake hands with the maintenance CMs who are ending their work day and going home.
  • 7:00 - 8:00 am - go on rides in Fantasyland in about this order: Matterhorn (skip if you don't want to go on it), Dumbo, Alice, Mad Tea Party, Mr. Toad, Snow White, Pinocchio
  • ~ 8:15 am --> Storybookland Canal Boats (if that's a 'nice to have' ride for your trip, this is a very slow loader). While waiting to load, use MP (Max Pass) to get FP for Space Mtn, Star Tours, or Indiana Jones. Then go on King Arthur's Carousel.
  • 8:30-8:45 AM-ish --> After King Arthur's Carousel, look at wait times for Autopia & Buzz Lightyear. If the FP you got first was for Space Mtn or Star Tours, go to Tomorrowland next and go on Autopia or Buzz Lightyear. Probably Autopia first. Then go on Buzz. After that, if FP return window has opened up, go on Space Mtn or Star Tours.
  • After you've scanned your ticket at the FP entrance thingy for Space Mtn or Star Tours, while you're shuffling to actually enter/get on the ride itself, go on the app & get another FP for another ride. I'd probably pick Indiana Jones.
  • After Space Mtn or Star Tours, walk across the hub to Adventureland. If lines for Photopass photographers aren't too bad, stop to take a family photo on your way to Adventureland. If anybody needs the bathroom, use the bathroom just to the left of the Plaza Inn...it's very close to the entrance to Tomorrowland.
  • As you're walking over, check Jungle Cruise & Tiki Room wait times. Probably do Jungle Cruise first. Then Tiki Room.
  • Now check return time for IJ. If that return window has opened up, go on IJ. And do the same thing as before...after you scan your ticket the 1st time, go get another FP for another ride. I'd probably pick either Space Mtn, Star Tours (whichever of the 2 you didn't do previously) or BTMRR.
  • After IJ, do a hunger check on everybody. Anybody need a snack? Tiki Room is a good time to get a Dole Whip & eat while watching the show, by the way.
  • Ok, so after IJ (Indiana Jones), leave Adventureland and head over to New Orleans Square. Go on HM or Pirates. Then go on the other one (HM or Pirates) that you didn't go on first.
  • NOW your BTMRR return time has probably opened up. Or your Space Mtn or Star Tours return time. If you're going on BTMRR, go on that ride. Same routine as before...get another FP using Max Pass...Space Mtn or Star Tours, but the return time might be around 2 pm by this point, so consider that if you're taking an afternoon break at your hotel.
  • After BTMRR, it's probably about 11:30 am. Time to stop for lunch. Go eat somewhere in Critter Country (Hungry Bear...2nd floor right overlooking the water!), New Orleans Square (French Market - my favorite!) or Rancho del Zocalo.
  • After lunch, you could ride the Mark Twain or the Columbia Sailing Ship if that's not under refurbishment. Or take a boat over to Tom Sawyer's Island.
  • Then walk over to the train station at New Orleans Square. Take the train to Main Street station. Exit the park & go back to hotel for a break. (that's what we do anyway).
You'll be done with that by about 1:00 pm assuming you enter at 7 am EMH. 17-18 attractions by 1-2 pm.

Figure out what time you want to return to the parks...and then monitor FP return times on the app...and then pick the ride you want to FP while you're lounging around at your hotel (using Max Pass). So let's say that you decide that you want to have dinner in DCA and ride RSR. Here's how that would work...
  • Once you've gone on BTMRR around 11:30am-12:00 pm, check FP return times for RSR. Let's say you pick the FP when return window is at 5:30-6:30 pm.
  • Assuming you're staying w/in easy walking distance (i.e., on site hotel or off site on Harbor Blvd), plan on being in line about 5 pm at the DCA main gate.
  • Enter DCA & walk to Carsland. If any of the "streetmosphere" people are walking around on Buena Vista Street (Officer Blue, Molly Messenger), say hi to them. They're a lot of fun!
  • Check wait times for Luigi's & MAter's. If it's 20 min or less, get in line and go on it. Then get on RSR using your FP. Then have dinner at Flo's V-8 Café. If the weather is nice, sit outside so you can watch the cars race by. If you'd prefer to sit inside, 1 of the rooms has a huge window looking out over the RSR ride. I love that room.
  • After you go on RSR, get a FP for another attraction. Something at DCA or do a repeat of a favorite at DL. By this time of day, Space Mtn & Star Tours might be out of FP or their return times might be really late (like 10-11 pm).
  • At DCA after dinner, you could go to Animation Academy, Turtle Talk, and Ariel's. Check FP times for Toy Story Mania. Go on some rides on Paradise Pier (we usually skip most of Paradise Pier because we don't like many of those rides).
  • Hop back to DL if you're going to make a late night of it. I don't think the train or monorail runs during fireworks.
What time would you recommend booking your first Fast pass? From this it looks like you didn't get on and get one right away? What would be the ideal first hour time window? To then have enough time to ride all those rides prior to using the first FP
 

NicholeB630

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
The fireworks/projections show in DL is called Mickey's Mix Magic (about 11 minutes long). Votes right now for best viewing are Main Street and IASW. You can view it from your F! viewing area after the first show -- the projections will show on the water screens on the ROA and you'll see the fireworks, but it will look a little different in each viewing location. So try to see it on Main Street or from IASW another night if you can -- it's a fun, short show -- the kids dance to the music -- lots of energy.
MMM is running now. Soundsational parade in DL is running now (twice a day) -- this is a charming parade -- try to see it! F! will be back March 8th.
WOC is not running in DCA right now -- fingers crossed it will be back at earliest by mid-April, latest Memorial Day. If it's back by your trip, see it! It's a great show and there's nothing else really like it! (If you can book the WOC Dessert Party, even better!)
Ok great. So if we wanted to see the fireworks after F! Would you say go ahead and get up and go to Main Street or IASW and watch from one of those locations, which ever is easiest to get to I guess? Is there good time in between?

Also for parades, I haven't seen any option for VIP viewing for this with a meal? Is this something not offered? In DW you have to find a spot so early for parades and its so annoying. I hate sitting and wasting two hours to get a good spot but with little kids being on the curb and in front line is really important. What is a good strategy for seeing the Soundsational parade and a good location?
 

VandVsmama

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 28, 2011
What time would you recommend booking your first Fast pass? From this it looks like you didn't get on and get one right away? What would be the ideal first hour time window? To then have enough time to ride all those rides prior to using the first FP
Well, these days with Max Pass, I'd get the first FP when we're in line to go on our first ride. I just forgot to mention it. :-)
 
  • VandVsmama

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    Mar 28, 2011
    Ok great. So if we wanted to see the fireworks after F! Would you say go ahead and get up and go to Main Street or IASW and watch from one of those locations, which ever is easiest to get to I guess? Is there good time in between?

    Also for parades, I haven't seen any option for VIP viewing for this with a meal? Is this something not offered? In DW you have to find a spot so early for parades and its so annoying. I hate sitting and wasting two hours to get a good spot but with little kids being on the curb and in front line is really important. What is a good strategy for seeing the Soundsational parade and a good location?
    Re: seeing fireworks after Fantasmic! - If you're watching the first showing of Fantasmic, then you should stay put and watch fireworks from there. If you try to get up and make your way to Main Street or IASW, you won't make it in time !and there won't be anywhere to stand to see it anyway.

    For parades, there usually aren't VIP viewing options with a meal like you'd see at WDW. My favorite spot to watch the Soundsational parade is right near the Alice in Wonderland bathrooms. It's the bathrooms with the playing cards on the bathroom stall doors. Just to the left of those bathrooms is a stretch of concrete benches that wraps around. It's an ideal location because just across the "street" from that spot, there is no parade viewing so when the parade floats go by, all of the characters on the floats will pay attention to your side of the "street" instead of having to switch back and forth.

    So, for example, if the parade starts at 3:30, I'd probably plan on getting your parade spot between 2:45-3:00 pm...preferably closer to 2:45. The benefit of this particular location is that if your kids or anybody else in your group needs a bathroom, it's literally right there. And if you have another adult with you, then 1 of you can stay there to hold your spot while the other adult takes the kids on IASW, for example. Or gets the kids a snack to enjoy while you all then sit and rest and talk about all the fun you've had so far that day.

    In addition, that location is in the shade, which is handy when it's a warm day.
     

    VandVsmama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2011
    This post has been great. I am going to Disneyland for the first time the last week of February and it will also be the first time to Disney with my 2 year old. I have been worrying about most of the same issues as the original poster. We are planning to do EMH at Disneyland on Thursday. I keep reading different things about the order to do the rides. My biggest concern is that we will do the rides in the wrong order and get stuck in line for 1 or 2 rides the entire hour. My ideal scenario is to do most of the rides in fantasyland in the first 90 minutes, then get to toontown for opening since I know my 2 year old can't wait to meet Mickey. Is it realistic to cover most if not all of Fantasyland in the first 90 minutes? How would you decide whether to get in the Peter Pan line first or wait for later? Do you think the space mountain closure for refurb will significantly impact wait times for other rides? Thanks for your help!
    Doing most of Fantasyland is totally achievable in about 90 minutes assuming you are at the turn stiles about 20-30 min before the start of EMH. You can do it if you don't go on Peter Pan. Just park your stroller in 1 spot and go from 1 ride to the next.

    We usually go on Dumbo first because it's a really slow loader. Then we go on Alice, Mad Tea Party, Mr Toad, Snow White, Pinocchio because they are slow loaders as well. Then probably the carousel. When the 1-hour EMH is over, then you can go on Casey Jr, Storybook Land Canal Boats, and IASW. Then probably head over toward the Toon Town entrance. There's a bathroom close by. So take your little one to the bathroom first. By the time you're done with that, it'll probably be time for Toon Town to open!
     

    theluckyrabbit

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    Jul 23, 2012
    Ok so straight to whatever ride we want first and then while waiting book our first FP :)
    Whether (a) you purchase your tickets with MP already on them or whether (b) you purchase MP after you activate your tickets at the gates, you can book your first FP as soon as all of you go through the gates and all of you have MP. So if (a), grab your first FP as soon as you get through the gates. If (b), then grab your first FP after purchasing MP for your family. There's no reason to wait until you're in line for a ride unless you forgot to book your FPs earlier.
     
  • NicholeB630

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 6, 2014
    Whether (a) you purchase your tickets with MP already on them or whether (b) you purchase MP after you activate your tickets at the gates, you can book your first FP as soon as all of you go through the gates and all of you have MP. So if (a), grab your first FP as soon as you get through the gates. If (b), then grab your first FP after purchasing MP for your family. There's no reason to wait until you're in line for a ride unless you forgot to book your FPs earlier.
    Ok makes sense I guess my question is to what time my first window should be? I guess if we get in at 7 we'll want to utilize that first hour in FL .. so would FP show up at first for 8ish something for that first window? Do I book that or wait until the fast passes are showing times after say 9? I think Im understanding more how to use this. Obviously we'll have some time in-between to get on rides that don't use MP. Hoping if we get in at 7am and its not crazy we can get majority of FL done before using our first FP .. I think we'd head to Matterhorn first and get on that standby as Im pretty sure that will be a ride my kids will wanna ride more than once, maybe we grab our first FP for that an hour or so later or SM? After MH we can hit all those others in FL that aren't at DW first then we'd do the others.
     

    NicholeB630

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 6, 2014
    Re: seeing fireworks after Fantasmic! - If you're watching the first showing of Fantasmic, then you should stay put and watch fireworks from there. If you try to get up and make your way to Main Street or IASW, you won't make it in time !and there won't be anywhere to stand to see it anyway.

    For parades, there usually aren't VIP viewing options with a meal like you'd see at WDW. My favorite spot to watch the Soundsational parade is right near the Alice in Wonderland bathrooms. It's the bathrooms with the playing cards on the bathroom stall doors. Just to the left of those bathrooms is a stretch of concrete benches that wraps around. It's an ideal location because just across the "street" from that spot, there is no parade viewing so when the parade floats go by, all of the characters on the floats will pay attention to your side of the "street" instead of having to switch back and forth.

    So, for example, if the parade starts at 3:30, I'd probably plan on getting your parade spot between 2:45-3:00 pm...preferably closer to 2:45. The benefit of this particular location is that if your kids or anybody else in your group needs a bathroom, it's literally right there. And if you have another adult with you, then 1 of you can stay there to hold your spot while the other adult takes the kids on IASW, for example. Or gets the kids a snack to enjoy while you all then sit and rest and talk about all the fun you've had so far that day.

    In addition, that location is in the shade, which is handy when it's a warm day.
    Ok awesome that sounds like a great spot and plan! So theres no need to line up hours early for a spot? We'll go ahead and stay in our F! viewing spot if we end up doing that which I'm pretty certain we will. Might as well do all the night shows at once :) We will try and be in that parade viewing area earlier and maybe grab snacks and use bathrooms like you said and if kids get bored we can go on a ride while one of us waits! I don't think we'll have a stroller this time. It will be the first time not using one. My son is 6 and I just think he'll wanna walk and I really don't wanna deal with one!! So we won't have a blanket or anything to put down to save a big enough spot so hopefully it can be done with one person and our bags :)
     

    theluckyrabbit

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    Jul 23, 2012
    Ok makes sense I guess my question is to what time my first window should be? I guess if we get in at 7 we'll want to utilize that first hour in FL .. so would FP show up at first for 8ish something for that first window? Do I book that or wait until the fast passes are showing times after say 9? I think Im understanding more how to use this. Obviously we'll have some time in-between to get on rides that don't use MP. Hoping if we get in at 7am and its not crazy we can get majority of FL done before using our first FP .. I think we'd head to Matterhorn first and get on that standby as Im pretty sure that will be a ride my kids will wanna ride more than once, maybe we grab our first FP for that an hour or so later or SM? After MH we can hit all those others in FL that aren't at DW first then we'd do the others.
    Your return window is an hour, so if the window opens at at 8:30 am, it will close at 9:30 am. You'll have an hour to get to that ride. You don't have to be finished with the ride by 9:30, just through the scanner. If you ever book a FP and realize later that you're not going to be able to make it to the ride by your return window, just cancel the FP so someone else can use it. Believe me (and the rest of us here!), after the first few hours of using MP (if that), you're going to get used to it and by the next day or so, you're going to be a pro!
     

    theluckyrabbit

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    Jul 23, 2012
    Ok awesome that sounds like a great spot and plan! So theres no need to line up hours early for a spot? We'll go ahead and stay in our F! viewing spot if we end up doing that which I'm pretty certain we will. Might as well do all the night shows at once :) ...
    If you get a chance on another night to view MMM from Main Street or from IASW, do! The show will be a little different from those viewing areas. On Main Street, it snows during the show!
     
  • VandVsmama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2011
    Ok awesome that sounds like a great spot and plan! So theres no need to line up hours early for a spot? We'll go ahead and stay in our F! viewing spot if we end up doing that which I'm pretty certain we will. Might as well do all the night shows at once :) We will try and be in that parade viewing area earlier and maybe grab snacks and use bathrooms like you said and if kids get bored we can go on a ride while one of us waits! I don't think we'll have a stroller this time. It will be the first time not using one. My son is 6 and I just think he'll wanna walk and I really don't wanna deal with one!! So we won't have a blanket or anything to put down to save a big enough spot so hopefully it can be done with one person and our bags :)
    You should bring a lightweight blanket to lay down. Just your bags likely won't cut it.
     

    theluckyrabbit

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    Jul 23, 2012
    ... I don't think we'll have a stroller this time. It will be the first time not using one. My son is 6 and I just think he'll wanna walk and I really don't wanna deal with one!! So we won't have a blanket or anything to put down to save a big enough spot so hopefully it can be done with one person and our bags :)
    You should bring a lightweight blanket to lay down. Just your bags likely won't cut it.
    Something like this should work well: Matador Mini Pocket Blanket, Ultralight Hiking Picnic Blanket/Beach Blanket. Super small, very lightweight, easy to tuck into a backpack or bag. We don't fold ours up into the pocket, but fold it larger and put it in a zipper bag. (I'm not that great at folding!)
     

    NicholeB630

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    Mar 6, 2014
    You should bring a lightweight blanket to lay down. Just your bags likely won't cut it.
    Ok good to know! We can probably put one in my husbands backpack he usually doesn't mind carrying one. Or even a towel just in case we end up needing one ;)
     

    NicholeB630

    DIS Veteran
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    Mar 6, 2014
    Something like this should work well: Matador Mini Pocket Blanket, Ultralight Hiking Picnic Blanket/Beach Blanket. Super small, very lightweight, easy to tuck into a backpack or bag. We don't fold ours up into the pocket, but fold it larger and put it in a zipper bag. (I'm not that great at folding!)
    Oh awesome that looks good! I don't like carrying stuff big things it drives me nuts. I usually carry a small cross body bag but this trip I may look into getting a small back pack .. but something very small, def not a normal size ha.
     

    NicholeB630

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    Mar 6, 2014
    Ok another question .. In March its showing that both parks have 7am days during the week and the park that doesn't have 8am. If that is still the case in April when we go ... Would you recommend us doing 7am every morning and alternate parks? ( I do worry that might wear us out) Or what if we try and do just a 7am at each park once and then the other days do 8am days at which ever park that is.

    Mainly for DL I am trying to max out our morning the most but get other things done mid morning as well. One day I'd like to do Plaza Inn character breakfast and if we do 7am I am thinking that we should try for a 10:30 and then continue books FP as were dining. That will give us 3.5 hours before our meal to ride rides.

    Then Id like to schedule a BBB appointment for my kids. Again I don't wanna do it first thing but not to late in the day where they can't enjoy their makeovers. If we arrived for an 8am day maybe book it at 11ish? Again that gives us 3 hours or morning time. Would that be a waste to do something like that at that hour? I know my daughter for sure wants to do BBB again she's 10 and it may be the last time she'll want to have the opportunity. My son is 6 and I do think he'd enjoy a knights makeover mainly to get a sword LOL
     

    theluckyrabbit

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    ... Mainly for DL I am trying to max out our morning the most but get other things done mid morning as well. One day I'd like to do Plaza Inn character breakfast and if we do 7am I am thinking that we should try for a 10:30 and then continue books FP as were dining. That will give us 3.5 hours before our meal to ride rides...
    A later breakfast on a day you enter DL early is a great way to give yourself a nice break. You might want to try for something earlier than 10:30, though. Plaza Inn serves lunch, too, and they have to start cleaning things up and switching over to get ready for the lunch crowd. Some people have posted that they felt rushed dining late and that they didn't get as many characters. Also, they didn't get as much food because when they went back to the buffet, CMs were already cleaning up. How about 10? Or, if you want more time with characters and a slower pace with your food, 9:30 or 9:45? Are your kids fast or slow eaters? How do they do with jet lag and eating? My sister's kids get totally thrown off by the time difference. Slow eaters get slower! Just something to keep in mind when booking reservations.
     
    Last edited:

    VandVsmama

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    Mar 28, 2011
    Ok another question .. In March its showing that both parks have 7am days during the week and the park that doesn't have 8am. If that is still the case in April when we go ... Would you recommend us doing 7am every morning and alternate parks? ( I do worry that might wear us out) Or what if we try and do just a 7am at each park once and then the other days do 8am days at which ever park that is.

    Mainly for DL I am trying to max out our morning the most but get other things done mid morning as well. One day I'd like to do Plaza Inn character breakfast and if we do 7am I am thinking that we should try for a 10:30 and then continue books FP as were dining. That will give us 3.5 hours before our meal to ride rides.

    Then Id like to schedule a BBB appointment for my kids. Again I don't wanna do it first thing but not to late in the day where they can't enjoy their makeovers. If we arrived for an 8am day maybe book it at 11ish? Again that gives us 3 hours or morning time. Would that be a waste to do something like that at that hour? I know my daughter for sure wants to do BBB again she's 10 and it may be the last time she'll want to have the opportunity. My son is 6 and I do think he'd enjoy a knights makeover mainly to get a sword LOL
    If you're staying on site, then you could certainly do the 7 am EMH every morning, but it'll be harder to do that each subsequent day of your trip because everybody will be tired.

    My **favorite** sort of DL day is when we get to do EMH/MM from 7-8 am and then we go on rides all morning, ending the first half of the day with the character breakfast at the Plaza Inn at 10:30 am. They start serving lunch at 11:30 am. There will be characters milling about until that time (11:30). We've often had characters like Tigger and Rabbit come by our table a couple of times. As it gets closer to 11 am, the restaurant starts to clear out people-wise, so the characters can sometimes come back to your table again because they don't have anything else to do. One time, Tigger & Rabbit were playing games with each other and Tigger danced with each of my kids. My kids were in hysterics laughing over it all. It was a lot of fun.

    I think doing the BBB thing at 11 is a good idea unless they get hungry for lunch at 11...in which case, feed them a quick snack before the BBB appointment.
     

    theluckyrabbit

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    ... I am so excited to go and I think we'll be just fine and I am excited to see how differently our days flow from DW which has to be planned so much. Is there somewhere that does have info about the highest priority rides and which Fast passes go quickest for? That would help a lot I think.

    Good idea about us having top priorities even with snacks etc...
    One thing to remember is that if you find that after 4 days you still have things left on your list that you want to do (or do again), you can still add one more day to your tickets as long as you do this before the end of your 4th day. Just go to the ticket booths to upgrade your tickets. It shouldn't cost that much. It just gives you some wiggle room with your planning.
     

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