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Guide to DLR for WDW Veterans!

CAlvares

Member
Crowd calendars are at best suspect at DLR and have been for as long as I've been going (almost 10 years now). Weirdly, weekends can sometimes be less busy, so do not assume that there will be hard and fast rules about crowding. Don't trust any resource that insists they can accurately predict roughly how busy the parks will be.

There's really not very much for an almost three year old to do at DCA, so I would recommend either just doing one day or else just getting hoppers and going back over if you feel you need to.

Keep in mind that if you're rope dropping it takes time to get to the parking lot from your hotel (with inevitable traffic), wait to pay to park, park, get on whatever transportation is provided or walk to the parks, wait for security, and then wait to get into the parks. If you're used to WDW, everything outside of the parks takes longer in California, and regrettably they have not yet invested in the very smooth new metal detectors Florida is using. So build in a fair amount of buffer time-more than you think you'll need-to get in, situated, and ready for the moment the parks open. You can get a LOT done in the early morning, but it's VERY easy to underestimate how long it will take to get into the parks to fully take advantage of those short waits.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thorough reply!! I’ve used those crowd calendars for my previous trips to WDW and they were helpful, but I totally see what you’re saying. Things are very different nowadays and I’ve been reading in many forums that sometimes the weekday are busier than the weekends.

Thanks for mentioning the many extra steps to get to the park on rope drop, I’ll be keeping them in mind. Since this is our first time taking our little one I’m positive things won’t flow as smoothly, but we’ll do what we can on our end to get there as early as possible.

I hear you on DCA having less things for toddlers but my kiddo LOVES climbing and I think she would spend a long time at the Redwood Creek challenge 😅

We’ll see how things go when we visit both parks and make any changes (if there’s availability to switch parks)

Thanks again for the thoughtful response!! :)
 

CAlvares

Member
If your Saturday is DCA then I think you'll be fine. It's not a full day's park anyway and there's probably more a 3yo can't do there than can, so even if that day is busy you'll have done most things there on your Wednesday day.

Also, and this is just my opinion, I've personally never trusted the crowd calendars since the resort reopened back up after the Covid closure. Too much has changed with the reservation system, new annual pass system, and new Genie+ system for there to be long-term historical data. Plus, Disney decides how many reservations they are going to open up on any given day (and can change between now and your trip), so it's hard to say how accurate they are.

Two days in each park should be enough time to get a lot done either way. Best thing is to just relax, have fun, soak everything in and watch your daughter have a blast, and if you miss anything then hopefully you'll get to experience it on a future trip.
Thank you!!
I totally agree with you on the lack of historical data and how different things are now after COVID and magical keys changes.

We’re definitely hoping to have fun regardless of how many rides we get to do :)

Since this is her first trip ever (Covid baby) I’m more concerned about her/myself being overwhelmed with too many people around packed like sardines (like the pictures I’ve seen of Christmas Day/Thanksgiving at the parks) which is probably not going to happen, but my mom brain keeps coming up with some “worst case scenarios. 😅

The crowd calendars just became part of my planning process over the years with our WDW trips and I see/saw them a starting point to ease those fears.

Thanks again!! :)
 

truecoat

Well-Known Member
Is there a Giordano’s near?

Deep Dish Pizza GIF
 

PiratesMansion

Well-Known Member
I feel Ike there’s not one place to gets a deep dish Chicago style pizza in all of Los Angeles. Unless you count BJ’s. I’ll see myself out
I'm sure there isn't, but stranger things have happened. Heck, my last time in Branson I discovered, to my great shock, that the even-smaller-town next door inexplicably had a wonderful deep dish pizzeria wedged into what had clearly been someone's house at some point.

If you're talking BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, I've never heard of it and there doesn't appear to be a single one in Chicago or even in the suburbs, so I'm going to go ahead and veto that on principle, haha.

Rosati's is like C-tier Chicago pizza, but it's spread like crabgrass, so I'm sure it'll reach California eventually.
 

mickEblu

Well-Known Member
I'm sure there isn't, but stranger things have happened. Heck, my last time in Branson I discovered, to my great shock, that the even-smaller-town next door inexplicably had a wonderful deep dish pizzeria wedged into what had clearly been someone's house at some point.

If you're talking BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, I've never heard of it and there doesn't appear to be a single one in Chicago or even in the suburbs, so I'm going to go ahead and veto that on principle, haha.

Rosati's is like C-tier Chicago pizza, but it's spread like crabgrass, so I'm sure it'll reach California eventually.

There was that one place in Burbank- Taste of Chicago owned by actor Joe Montegna but it closed a few years ago and I never got around to trying it
 

PiratesMansion

Well-Known Member
Planning our first DL trip in February as WDW veterans. Thoughts / advice/ suggestions?
In terms of some basic suggestions:
1. Get park hoppers
2. I recommend a minimum of three full days at the parks. You'll need more time at DL than DCA.
3. Don't feel like you need to stay at a Disney hotel, there are plenty of offsite places just as close or in many cases closer to the park gates for less money.
4. If you want to see Fireworks, Fantasmic, and/or any nighttime parade that may be running at that time, plan to attend on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. These shows DO NOT run Monday to Thursday most of the time. World of Color runs nightly.

Those are the basics. What is your plan/situation (ex. how many days/who's in your party/etc)? What do you want to see or do? Do you have any specific questions or concerns?

The more we know about your parameters, the more helpful our feedback is likely to be.
 

rlm919

Member
In terms of some basic suggestions:
1. Get park hoppers
2. I recommend a minimum of three full days at the parks. You'll need more time at DL than DCA.
3. Don't feel like you need to stay at a Disney hotel, there are plenty of offsite places just as close or in many cases closer to the park gates for less money.
4. If you want to see Fireworks, Fantasmic, and/or any nighttime parade that may be running at that time, plan to attend on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. These shows DO NOT run Monday to Thursday most of the time. World of Color runs nightly.

Those are the basics. What is your plan/situation (ex. how many days/who's in your party/etc)? What do you want to see or do? Do you have any specific questions or concerns?

The more we know about your parameters, the more helpful our feedback is likely to be.
Thanks! We are probably staying from Saturday through the following Friday. Me, my wife and our daughter who will be turning 8 on day 1 of the trip. Tbh, the thought process was that we’ve been to Wdw so many times, getting annoyed at how $$$ everything has gone up while continually taking things away, lessening offerings, etc we figure at s least if we go to DL once, we won’t notice since we’ve never been lol.

Our daughter has only been to WDW once, in October 2019, so this surprise trip will be awesome for her regardless.
 

IanDLBZF

Well-Known Member
4. If you want to see Fireworks, Fantasmic, and/or any nighttime parade that may be running at that time, plan to attend on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. These shows DO NOT run Monday to Thursday most of the time. World of Color runs nightly.
There are some exceptions though, for instance they've seen Mickey's Mix Magic and/or Fantasmic run daily before.
 

PiratesMansion

Well-Known Member
There are some exceptions though, for instance they've seen Mickey's Mix Magic and/or Fantasmic run daily before.
If it's a traditional high season (summer, spring break, Christmas, holidays), sure. But any other time, including February other than President's Day, you're out of luck.

When MMM was running daily, they'd run it without pyro if was Monday to Thursday and wasn't during one of the above times (and it sounds like the new fireworks show will be similarly programmed).

There are only rare exceptions (ex. the 60th celebration had everything running nightly for the duration of the event, other than Fantasmic when it went down with the river and railroad) to this, and I haven't seen any indication that the 100th celebrations will be one of those special circumstances.
 

rlm919

Member
I know nothing is as predictable as it used to be, but hoping for light crowds since we’ll be in and out before president’s day weekend
 

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