Guide to DLR for WDW Veterans!

GiveMeTheMusic

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Since we get this ALL the time in this forum, I thought it would be nice to condense it into one place that the mods could make sticky - this stuff gets repeated ad naseum around here since the site caters to a WDW fanbase.

I'll start with this:

GiveMeTheMusic's INFALLIBLE List of Unique DLR Attractions/Shows PLUS Those Considered to be Superior to their WDW Counterparts!
(This list does not take into account international Disney resorts; it only lists attractions that are available in DLR and not at WDW)

Disneyland
Attractions
Main Street Vehicles
Disneyland Railroad featuring the Grand Canyon and Primeval World Dioramas
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
Autopia
Space Mountain/Hyperspace Mountain
Matterhorn Bobsleds
Alice in Wonderland
Storybookland Canal Boats
Casey Jr. Circus Train
it's a small world/it's a small world Holiday
Snow White's Enchanted Wish
Peter Pan's Flight
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Pinocchio's Daring Journey
Fantasy Faire and Royal Theater
Mickey's Toontown (in general)
Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Golden Horseshoe
Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
Sailing Ship Columbia
Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes
New Orleans Square (in general)
Pirates of the Caribbean
Haunted Mansion/Haunted Mansion Holiday
Indiana Jones Adventure

Entertainment
Fantasmic!
Main Street Electrical Parade
Disneyland Forever fireworks
Believe...In Holiday Magic fireworks (runs mid Nov - early Jan)
Magic Happens Parade (returning 2023)
A Christmas Fantasy Parade (plays mid Nov - early Jan)
Royal Theatre Storytelling at Fantasy Faire

Disney California Adventure
Attractions
Cars Land (in general)
Radiator Springs Racers
Mater's Junkyard Jamboree
Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters
Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout!/Monsters After Dark
Avengers Campus (in general)
WEB Slingers
Buena Vista Street (in general)
Red Car Trolley
Monsters Inc: Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
Disney Animation (Sorcerer's Workshop)
Grizzly River Run
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
Incredicoaster
Goofy's Sky School
Pixar Pal-A-Round
Golden Zephyr
Silly Symphony Swings
Jessie's Critter Carousel

Entertainment
World of Color
World of Color - Villainous (exclusive to Halloween party nights)
World of Color - Season of Light (runs mid Nov - early Jan)
Paint the Night Parade (seasonal, no return date at this time)
Viva Navidad! Street Party (runs mid Nov - early Jan)
Dora Milaje
Doctor Strange Mystical Arts
Five & Dime

WDW Veterans FAQ!
Do I need to stay on-site? DLR's hotels are very expensive.

DLR is so compact that staying on-site is nowhere near necessary. There are dozens of reputable hotels within short walking distance to the park gates at a fraction of DLR resort prices.

Which airport should I fly into? There's like 12.
The closest (and arguably nicest) airport to DLR is John Wayne International (SNA). About 20 minutes from the resort without traffic (LOL), it's the easiest choice. LAX is further but services more flights (and many hate LAX for how huge and unwieldy it is). Long Beach is another closer option, and is a very small airport. You could also fly into Ontario or Burbank. Of course, no one would recommend you come all the way to Los Angeles and JUST visit DLR - there are so many amazing things to see and do in Southern California, and DLR is just one of them. I recommend renting a car.

What about dining reservations? What do I need to book at the 180 day mark?
Nothing. DLR dining reservations are only available 60 days out, and are not a requirement like they are at WDW. If you want to eat at the Blue Bayou, a reservation is recommended to ensure availability. It's also wise to book entertainment dining packages (available for some nighttime shows) in advance, regardless of the venue.

I can't wait to get my MagicBand! What about Genie+?

MagicBand+ will arrive at DLR in 2022. Genie+ is $20 per person per day and works just like the WDW system, only it includes PhotoPass downloads. Individual Lightning Lane passes are available for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Radiator Springs Racers and WEB Slingers at varying price points and can only be purchased once you have entered the park.

I only have ONE day! Will the parks be crowded? Which rides should I go on?
If you're a WDW vet with one day at DLR, you need to make every moment count. The parks will probably be crowded to some degree - there is little to no off-season left on DLR's calendar; the parks are exceedingly popular. If you'll be park hopping, start your day with the most popular attraction not found in WDW - Radiator Springs Racers. Either nab a Lightning Lane pass, get in a short standby line or ride single rider. Decide which attractions are important to you in both parks, and hit them next. At Disneyland, the Star Wars rides, mountains and Indiana Jones Adventure are the most popular attractions and get the longest lines.

Oooo, I want to see World of Color!
You should, it's amazing. If you don't book a dining package that includes show passes, you will need to enter the virtual queue for the viewing area to ensure access. The queue opens in the Disneyland app at 12PM daily.

I heard your Fantasmic has no seats! What are you, barbarians? I like to watch Fantasmic from the comfort of a rock hard metal bleacher.
The trade-off is a show that is unlike any other in the world, including the pale imitation at Disney's Hollywood Studios. You will have to stand, just like World of Color, unless you sit all the way down at the river's edge, where you will have to sit on the concrete.

Fantasmic! is likely to require virtual queue access, like World of Color, and returns May 28. Dining packages will also available that include Fantasmic! viewing.

What about a Dining Plan?
Disneyland Resort doesn't offer a Disney Dining Plan. All meals are pay as you go for all guests.

What shows offer dining packages that include reserved seating?
Fantasmic!, World of Color, and Main Street Electrical Parade all offer dining package options. Please check Disneyland.com for current details.

Does Disneyland offer Genie+?
Genie+ reservations can be made once you enter a park and scan your ticket into the official Disneyland app. It is $20 per person, per day. Genie+ also includes free PhotoPass downloads.

The following attractions offer Genie+ Lightning Lane access:

Disneyland
Space Mountain
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Star Tours
Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Matterhorn Bobsleds
Splash Mountain
Indiana Jones Adventure
Haunted Mansion
it's a small world
Autopia
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run

Disney California Adventure
Radiator Springs Racers
Incredicoaster
Soarin' Around the World
Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout!/Monsters After Dark
Grizzly River Run
Goofy's Sky School
Toy Story Midway Mania
Monsters Inc - Mike and Sully to the Rescue!

What's new at the Disneyland Resort?
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened in 2019, and its centerpiece attraction, Rise of the Resistance, opened in early 2020.

Avengers Campus opened in DCA, replacing a bug's land, in June 2021. The sole new ride there is WEB Slingers.

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway is under construction in Mickey's Toontown, with a planned opening in 2023 alongside a completely revamped land.

Main Street Electrical Parade is back and celebrating its 50th anniversary with a new finale float. Frozen - Live at the Hyperion! has closed with no replacement in sight, while Mickey and the Magical Map will be replaced with a remount of the 2019 outdoor Lion King show from DCA.

Tarzan's Treehouse has permanently closed and a replacement is in the works. Splash Mountain will be closing at some point in the near future for its Tiana retheme.

I heard that there's a secret club in New Orleans Square. How do I get in?
You can't. Club 33 is a members only lounge and restaurant, and its entrance is what is formerly known as the Court of Angels in New Orleans Square. Only members or guests of a member are allowed in, so unless you know someone who can make that reservation, don't get your hopes up.

When does Disneyland.com publish hours, refurbs and show schedules?
Often less than 60 days in advance. There isn't a hard and fast schedule for the release of hours, so keep an eye on Disneyland.com as your trip draws closer. On off-season weekdays, Disneyland is typically open from 9am - 9pm, while DCA usually closes at 8pm. On weekends and during peak season, the parks can open as early as 8am and close as late as midnight.

How do I ride Rise of the Resistance?
You can wait in a standby line or purchase an Individual Lightning Lane pass, just like at Walt Disney World.

What else should we add friends? @raven24 @TP2000
 
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Figments Friend

Well-Known Member
Great idea....this will be a handy tool for those making the trek to the Left Coast.

Another thing to toss in is to mention the 'Disneyland Express' is not in any way like WDWs 'Magical Express'.
I find lots of WDW vets get confused about that, exspecially when they stay at a Disney owned hotel.
 

raven24

Well-Known Member
Okay, I have a little bit of time to cover something.

Number of days to spend in the park:

I'd recommend at least three days, five days maximum. One should be able to do everything in five days. Although the DLR has more rides than WDW, it is thought to be easier to get things done quicker because the two parks sit right across from each other. From Toontown, which is located in the back of Disneyland, you can get to California Adventure in under ten minutes, depending on how fast you're walking. Also, Disneyland, and somewhat California Adventure, isn't spread out, so one does not have to walk for miles to get to the next attraction.

For those wanting to add a sixth day, you have to buy a separate 1-day park hopper.
 

thomas998

Well-Known Member
Not sure why you have Fantasmic on the list... having seen the DL version and the WDW version I wouldn't say there is any significant difference except that at DL you have to stand up while at WDW you get to sit down in comfort.
 

ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
Not sure why you have Fantasmic on the list... having seen the DL version and the WDW version I wouldn't say there is any significant difference except that at DL you have to stand up while at WDW you get to sit down in comfort.

Fantasmic at DL has the great Peter Pan scene and WDW does not. Plus there is a section at DL were you can sit on the ground and watch the show and not stand (I've sat there twice). DL also has the dessert package with decent seating, the cost is a little pricey but we enjoyed the treats and our seats.
 

GiveMeTheMusic

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Not sure why you have Fantasmic on the list... having seen the DL version and the WDW version I wouldn't say there is any significant difference except that at DL you have to stand up while at WDW you get to sit down in comfort.

Gladly @raven24 - DLR's Fantasmic has vastly superior jungle (Kaa), battle (Peter Pan with real stunts vs Pocahontas with human target practice), dragon (full AA as opposed to head on a stick) and finale (Mark Twain vs. plywood riverboat) sequences, in addition to the wow factor of a spectacular show emerging out of nowhere on Tom Sawyer Island and the Rivers of America. Lighting is crisper, effects are newer, choreography is better and the use of space is unparalleled.

WDW's Fantasmic is a pale imitation that doesn't begin to capture the magic of the original, which is astonishing considered they were both created by the same team.

In my book, the only thing DHS' show has over DLR is Frollo's closing line of "Wiiitchcraaaaft," which makes me LOL every time. Funny as hell.
 

raven24

Well-Known Member
Gladly @raven24 - DLR's Fantasmic has vastly superior jungle (Kaa), battle (Peter Pan with real stunts vs Pocahontas with human target practice), dragon (full AA as opposed to head on a stick) and finale (Mark Twain vs. plywood riverboat) sequences, in addition to the wow factor of a spectacular show emerging out of nowhere on Tom Sawyer Island and the Rivers of America. Lighting is crisper, effects are newer, choreography is better and the use of space is unparalleled.

WDW's Fantasmic is a pale imitation that doesn't begin to capture the magic of the original, which is astonishing considered they were both created by the same team.

In my book, the only thing DHS' show has over DLR is Frollo's closing line of "Wiiitchcraaaaft," which makes me LOL every time. Funny as hell.

Superb job.
 

Cosmic Commando

Well-Known Member
Gladly @raven24 - DLR's Fantasmic has vastly superior jungle (Kaa), battle (Peter Pan with real stunts vs Pocahontas with human target practice), dragon (full AA as opposed to head on a stick) and finale (Mark Twain vs. plywood riverboat) sequences, in addition to the wow factor of a spectacular show emerging out of nowhere on Tom Sawyer Island and the Rivers of America. Lighting is crisper, effects are newer, choreography is better and the use of space is unparalleled.

WDW's Fantasmic is a pale imitation that doesn't begin to capture the magic of the original, which is astonishing considered they were both created by the same team.

In my book, the only thing DHS' show has over DLR is Frollo's closing line of "Wiiitchcraaaaft," which makes me LOL every time. Funny as hell.
All wrong. DL's Fantasmic is so great because during the day, you can walk right on top of the spaces where Mickey and the Evil Queen stand for most of the show and do your own re-enactment! ;):eek::cool:
 

thomas998

Well-Known Member
Gladly @raven24 - DLR's Fantasmic has vastly superior jungle (Kaa), battle (Peter Pan with real stunts vs Pocahontas with human target practice), dragon (full AA as opposed to head on a stick) and finale (Mark Twain vs. plywood riverboat) sequences, in addition to the wow factor of a spectacular show emerging out of nowhere on Tom Sawyer Island and the Rivers of America. Lighting is crisper, effects are newer, choreography is better and the use of space is unparalleled.

WDW's Fantasmic is a pale imitation that doesn't begin to capture the magic of the original, which is astonishing considered they were both created by the same team.

In my book, the only thing DHS' show has over DLR is Frollo's closing line of "Wiiitchcraaaaft," which makes me LOL every time. Funny as hell.

As I stated, no significant differences. basically the same show... Doe some effects look like the cost more? Yes... but it isn't significant enough for me to jump for joy over one vs the other.
 

Travel Junkie

Well-Known Member
As I stated, no significant differences. basically the same show... Doe some effects look like the cost more? Yes... but it isn't significant enough for me to jump for joy over one vs the other.

The 2 coasts F!'s are as similar as Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom park. Basic idea is the same, totally different execution. About the only things the 2 F!'s share are the same name, basic storyline, storyline telling techniques, some of the same tech and a few scenes. They each have different scenes, set pieces, lighting packages, technology, seating arrangements etc etc. I could go on. All this create an entirely different mood to the show.

There are more differences than similarities and warrants being included in this list. Most strongly prefer the DL version, but there are those who like the WDW version better.

Fun fact: According to Wikipedia (so take it with a grain of salt) DL's is 4 minutes shorter yet costs $75,000 per show vs WDW's $45,000 per show.
 

thomas998

Well-Known Member
The 2 coasts F!'s are as similar as Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom park. Basic idea is the same, totally different execution. About the only things the 2 F!'s share are the same name, basic storyline, storyline telling techniques, some of the same tech and a few scenes. They each have different scenes, set pieces, lighting packages, technology, seating arrangements etc etc. I could go on. All this create an entirely different mood to the show.

There are more differences than similarities and warrants being included in this list. Most strongly prefer the DL version, but there are those who like the WDW version better.

Fun fact: According to Wikipedia (so take it with a grain of salt) DL's is 4 minutes shorter yet costs $75,000 per show vs WDW's $45,000 per show.

I suspect the difference in cost is more a matter of the labor cost differential between California and Florida. While California might have "better" effects, those are all pretty much fixed costs and I doubt they were factored in at all.
 

Bolna

Well-Known Member
Thanks for putting all the great info together - however, maybe instead of "unique" it should say "attractions not available at WDW" - you have listed quite a few that are not unique as they are also in DLP, but not at WDW (Storybook Canal Boats, Pinocchio, Casey Jr, Snow White and the Castle walkthrough). ;)
 

ParentsOf4

Well-Known Member
Thanks so much for that!

We just booked 6 nights in a 2-bedroom at VGC for March 30 to April 5, 2014. DW and I haven't been to DLR in over 15 years. We'll have our 4 teenagers in tow. It's our school vacation week but we've been told school is in session in California. Touringplans.com reports reasonable crowd levels during the week.

We are planning on doing other LA area attractions (also staying in a hotel away from DLR for a couple of nights) and planned on doing non-DLR things while we were at VGC. Based on your advise, it sounds like we need at least 3 days at DLR and possibly a fourth.

Keeping in mind that we have teenagers who have no desire to ride kiddie attractions such as Dumbo or Disney Junior (but definitely will want to try Peter Pan, iasw, Mr Toad's, etc.) or wait for meet & greets, what's the best attractions for us to FP? In other words, which non-kiddie rides are DLR's equivalent of WDW's TSM or Test Track, which often have 2-hour Standby waits?

At night, DW and I might want to find a place to relax with drinks while our teenagers tour the parks on their own. Not sure if the best place to do this is within DCA or back at the Grand Californian. What do you recommend?

Not sure where to eat but we do want something different than WDW. I’m sure we’ll try a couple of QS places. Maybe we’ll try one or two TS restaurants at the parks, maybe skip TS completely if prices are just stupid. The kids are not picky eaters but are not connoisseurs either. For example, DHS’s Brown Derby is not their cup of tea but they are good with Hollywood & Vine or Mama Melrose’s. DW and I are more adventurous but, oh well. What do you recommend?
 

raven24

Well-Known Member
@ParentsOf4 Really the only attraction at the DLR that sees a two hour wait is Radiator Springs Racers. I'd recommend FPs for Space, maybe Splash, Indy (you'd miss the great queue, though) and Radiator Springs Racers. There usually isn't a need for a FP for Tower and Screamin'.

For drinks, I'd definitely recommend Trader Sam's. It's such a fun bar. It's located at the Disneyland Hotel, which isn't far from the Grand Californian.

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I'm going to copy and paste an old post in regards to food.

My absolute favorite spot to eat at at Disneyland is the Plaza Inn at the end of Main Street. It's a beautiful restaurant and the food is really good, specifically the fried chicken.

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I also really enjoy Rancho Del Zocalo in Frontierland. The area is beautiful and the Mexican is decent for theme park food.

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Hungry Bear also makes my list, due to its location. It's in Critter Country (a land not found at WDW) and it sits right across from Tom Sawyer Island and the Rivers of America. It's got a woodsy/backyard picnic-type feel. Their onion rings are so good, as well as their burgers and chicken sandwiches.

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French Market. Great ambiance and good food. There's usually a band that plays right out front. Cafe Orleans is great, too.

Cafe Orleans:

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The counter service spot at the Disneyland Resort with arguably the best ambiance is Flo's V8 Cafe at California Adventure in Cars Land. Its location is perfect. It's smack dab in the middle of Cars Land, and, depending where you sit, you can see the cars from Radiator Springs Racers driving by you. The restaurant plays themed, Motown music and serves classic, American comfort food.

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On to the table service restaurants.

Carnation Cafe is on Main Street, and the food is great. Space is not bountiful here, so make a reservation, just in case.

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Carthay Circle Restaurant in California Adventure. I've yet to eat here, but I've heard the food is good. It's a very beautiful restaurant.

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Napa Rose at the Grand Californian Hotel. I haven't eaten here either, but I haven't heard one, single bad review about it. The food is excellent, from what I hear. It's a bit pricey, FYI.

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I've heard the exact same thing about Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel.

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In my opinion, the table restaurant with the best ambiance at the Disneyland Resort would be Blue Bayou at Disneyland. It is located in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, and it is very popular. You can't beat its location. If you decide to eat here, make sure to ask for seats inside the restaurant, across from the ride, as seen in the photos. This is also a pricey restaurant.


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I will add one restaurant to this old post... That would be Tortilla Jo's in Downtown Disney. The food is tasty and I really love the atmosphere. If you're lucky, you'll be able to catch the Mariachi singers and the balloon makers (I doubt you'd want a balloon).
 

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