Can't Wait to be Walkin' Right Down the Middle of Main Street USA: A Sept 2020 Disneyland PTR

Araminta18

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
Hi all!
Image result for disney hi gif


Welcome to my PTR: Disneyland Sept 2020 here we come! Yes, you're right, that is really far away. I'm just so excited; I can't keep it to myself anymore. Gotta start planning, and at least here I'm among friends. :D

Anyways, introductions!
Me: Tiffany, 32, giant Disney fan. I live in the DC area, and I'm a librarian by education but currently I do federal records management 'cause records is where the money is in librarianship, and I need money to pay for my Disney addiction. It's just me and my husband Trevor right now, along with a cat (cat's name is Lazyboy and he came with Trevor when we got married. I mostly call him "Cat").
445467

Trevor: 34, combination Disney fan, Star Wars fan, and fan of letting me do things that make me happy. He does IT support for the government. As a huge Star Wars fan, he's really really excited for Star Wars land.
Image00001test.jpg

We'll be the main characters in this pre-trip report. My parents moved back to Las Vegas a few years ago, so it seemed like the perfect time plan a trip to Disneyland. Having rented points at WDW's Boardwalk last year and loving it, and wanting to stay onsite at one of the official Disneyland hotels, we decided to try and rent points at the Grand Californian Villas for 6 nights in Sept 2020. And just this week, we were successful! It took two owners booking us two different reservations, but we successfully rented a studio at the Grand Californian villas from Sept 13-19, 2020. 7 days, 6 nights, including over my birthday (Sept 18). Huzzah!

Trevor has never been to Disneyland, and while I've been to Disneyland a few times as a child, it was always just one day total, and we never ventured over to California Adventure. So this is my first adult trip where we can do whatever we want. I love (love) planning Disney trips, so I'm excited to learn all about Disneyland's quirks and features and make this trip AMAZING! Any tips, trips, recommendations...send them my way!

Image result for disney planning gif

Me...studying up on Disneyland :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: DLo

theluckyrabbit

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Jul 23, 2012
Come on over to the DLR trip planning board: Disneyland (California). You'll feel right at home asking any and all your DLR questions to get your trip planning rolling along. Also check out this year's Halloween Time superthread: Halloween Time Superthread 2019: "Oogie Boogie Bash" Party to Be Held in DCA ONLY! and Other Halloween Time Information, Your trip dates should hit the beginning of Halloween Time (one of the best times to visit DLR!) and you might just get the first Halloween Party (a separate ticket event). The parties (Oogie Boogie Bash -- first year at DCA) are in full swing right now. If you can get up to the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, Disney shows Halloween themed movies there -- usually during October, but this year in September -- they showed "Hocus Pocus," "Nightmare Before Christmas in 4D," and "Coco." Fun times!
 
  • dizneefan13

    Earning My Fins
    Joined
    Jul 25, 2013
    Hi Tiffany, awesome that you are planning a DLR trip! We live on the west coast so this is the park we have visited the most. Its so nice to walk out of your hotel and right into the park.. No bus rides! The trade off is only two parks, but there is so much to do. And things you don't find at Disney World, like Cars Land. You will love it!
     

    Araminta18

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2016
    Come on over to the DLR trip planning board: Disneyland (California). You'll feel right at home asking any and all your DLR questions to get your trip planning rolling along. Also check out this year's Halloween Time superthread: Halloween Time Superthread 2019: "Oogie Boogie Bash" Party to Be Held in DCA ONLY! and Other Halloween Time Information, Your trip dates should hit the beginning of Halloween Time (one of the best times to visit DLR!) and you might just get the first Halloween Party (a separate ticket event). The parties (Oogie Boogie Bash -- first year at DCA) are in full swing right now. If you can get up to the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, Disney shows Halloween themed movies there -- usually during October, but this year in September -- they showed "Hocus Pocus," "Nightmare Before Christmas in 4D," and "Coco." Fun times!
    Thank you! I will definitely be wandering over there. And YES! I'm so hopeful that we'll get to be there for Oogie Boogie Bash. We watch a couple vloggers who went to Oogie Boogie Bash this year and it looks so cool. If there are dates while we're there, we've already talked about going twice. :) I'm so excited!

    Hi Tiffany, awesome that you are planning a DLR trip! We live on the west coast so this is the park we have visited the most. Its so nice to walk out of your hotel and right into the park.. No bus rides! The trade off is only two parks, but there is so much to do. And things you don't find at Disney World, like Cars Land. You will love it!
    Yay! I'll probably have lots of questions for you, cause like I said I haven't been to Disneyland since I was 16, and I've never planned a trip there. But yea, even with two parks, it looks like so much fun. Cars land especially! Though honestly, Trevor is just over the moon-excited about Star Wars land. It's gonna be awesome. :)

    YEAH!!! I am hear. I Disneyland trip will be so fun! You will LOVE it!!
    Howdy! I'm so excited--don't know how I can wait another 11 months!
     

    dizneefan13

    Earning My Fins
    Joined
    Jul 25, 2013
    I always forget about Galaxy's Edge because I'm not a fan. Especially after they got rid of my favorite BBQ and Big Thunder Ranch where SWGE now stands. And I think its SO DUMB they put SW in both parks. oh well, that's just me. I know SW fans love it. Sorry I digress....lol
    Definitely eat at Blue Bayou. Even though some people complain about the food (I'm not one of them, we love it) the ambiance and location is awesome. Inside the Pirates ride building.
     
  • Araminta18

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2016
    I always forget about Galaxy's Edge because I'm not a fan. Especially after they got rid of my favorite BBQ and Big Thunder Ranch where SWGE now stands. And I think its SO DUMB they put SW in both parks. oh well, that's just me. I know SW fans love it. Sorry I digress....lol
    Definitely eat at Blue Bayou. Even though some people complain about the food (I'm not one of them, we love it) the ambiance and location is awesome. Inside the Pirates ride building.
    What Star Wars stuff is in California Adventure?

    Oh definitely! Blue Bayou is certainly on our list, just 'cause of the location alone. Glad to hear you like the food! Any recommendations?
     

    dizneefan13

    Earning My Fins
    Joined
    Jul 25, 2013
    No Star Wars in California Adventure. When I said both parks I meant both Disneyland and WDW.

    The Blue Bayou menu seems to change frequently. Last time we went, I had steak and lobster which was excellent. I don't see it on the menu anymore.
     

    Araminta18

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2016
    No Star Wars in California Adventure. When I said both parks I meant both Disneyland and WDW.

    The Blue Bayou menu seems to change frequently. Last time we went, I had steak and lobster which was excellent. I don't see it on the menu anymore.
    Ooooooh gotcha! I thought maybe there was something I was totally missing.

    Well hopefully they bring it back by the time we get there--I love steak! :)
     
  • Araminta18

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2016
    Initial Thoughts/Questions

    Fastpass is Confusing!
    So, I'm a big power FP+ user at DisneyWorld, and not gonna lie, the whole MaxPass/fastpass system at Disneyland sounds uber-confusing. I've been reading several of the threads on here, and I think I've got it. We're definitely getting MaxPass, so everything I'm putting below is assuming that.

    • You can have multiple fastpasses, just not two fastpasses for the same ride at the same time (ie, I can ride Radiator Springs Racers twice in a day using fastpasses, but I have to use the first RSR fastpass before getting the second RSR fastpass)
    • You can have multiple fastpasses with overlapping redemption times
    • You can get a new fastpass
      • every 90 minutes
      • whenever you use your next fastpass
      • whenever your next fastpass window opens (caveat being that it has to be at least 30 minutes in the future)
        • the only way to get a fastpass sooner than 30 minutes is by using a fastpass that opens sooner than 30 minutes
    • World of Color and Fantasmic fastpasses are special and the rules don't apply to them
    • Once I scan in at one park, I can get fastpasses for either park (assuming I have parkhopper tickets)
    So I think I have the basics down, now I need to read up on the strategy of it! 'Cause that is totally beyond me right now. Luckily I have 10 months to figure it out.

    Things we want to do:

    • Oogie Boogie Bash: we're hoping it starts as early next year as it did this year...if it does, we might be able to sneak in 2 parties! We're definitely budgeting for two
    • Star Wars land: Oga's Cantina, Ronto Roasters, souvenir shopping, and oh yea, building a lightsaber!!!!
    • Chef's Counter at Napa Rose: I want to do this for my birthday. Any ideas on how to request the kitchen view, as opposed to the dessert station view?
    • Eat at Blue Bayou and Carthay Circle
    • See Star Wars land at night
    • See Carsland at night, but specifically the transition from day to night
    • Eat beignets and churros and corndogs
    • Go to Trader Sams
    • Lamplight Lounge
    Upcharge events?
    Are any of the upcharge events worth it? There's the dessert parties and the dining packages for World of Color and Fantasmic, but are they worth it? And is there any special viewing for fireworks? Basically, any upcharge events that I should look into? It seems like there are much fewer upcharge events at Disneyland than at Disneyworld.

    Flights are also confusing!
    We live in DC, so I'm trying to figure out which airport to fly into and how to get us from the airport to Disney. We'll be flying in on a Sunday, so I'm not sure if LAX is ok, or what, and then I'm concerned about when we fly out on a Saturday about the traffic. I know we have PLENTY of time to figure out flights, but I've read a lot and there seems to be significant pros and cons to each airport. The one thing that may end up being a deciding factor is airlines. I think we're going to have to fly Southwest, just for the two free bags apiece, 'cause I know us and we're probably gonna buy a lot of souvenirs and have candy from Oogie Boogie Bash, so unless Southwest is way more expensive than other airlines, those 4 free checked bags might be a deciding factor.

    Tickets
    Ok, I need help. We're flying in on Sunday the 13th, and out on Saturday the 19th. That is 7 days, but the first day and the last day are partial days. I'd kind of planned on buying 5 day hoppers and then fly out late on Saturday and buy another 1 day hopper for Saturday. But 1 day tickets are expensive! Especially for a partial day. Too bad Disneyland doesn't do 6 or 7 day tickets. Any thoughts or insights on tickets and what we should do, or cheaper ways to get tickets? We're not really willing to forgo a ticket and use an Oogie Boogie Bash ticket as our park ticket for that day, just 'cause we want to spend all the time in the parks that we can and not being able to get in until 3pm and then only DCA, doesn't really appeal. That may change, but assuming that it won't, any ideas on good options? Otherwise we may just bite the bullet and budget the price for a 5 day hopper + 1 day hopper. Also, there isn't any advantage to buying tickets too far in advance, right? Since you can't make fastpasses in advance?

    TL;DR: I like to plan and have lots of questions and doesn't seem like Disneyland needs you to really start planning until about 90 days in advance :)
     

    dizneefan13

    Earning My Fins
    Joined
    Jul 25, 2013
    The first thing I would advise is to fly into Orange County (SNA). No way would I do LAX. Its too far and it will take you through awful traffic from there to Disney. We used to fly into Long Beach (LGB) but learned that transportation from SNA is lots more affordable. We Uber and I think its around $35 depending on time of day.
    Nevermind the above if a SW flight is lots cheaper, but me, I would still do SNA just for convenience sake. I hate LA traffic.
    Yes, WDW planning is way more involved than DLR. I don't think most people plan very much far in advance, but could be wrong. Using MaxPass is a great plus, even though you have to pay for it. It saves running around the parks and getting FPs at kiosks, which is what happened before MP.
    Your plans sound great; you should be a tour planner! You have the knack, that's for sure. I can do it, but I don't get as detailed as you. I just kinda let things happen, especially at DLR. But we are there each time for at least two weeks or more, so we take it easy.
    Happy planning and keep us updated!
     

    Raeven

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 15, 2015
    For airports near DL, SNA & ONT are closer than LAX. We flew home out Ontario airport (there were no flights to where we lived from SNA), and it was only about a half hour from DL, and wasn’t too big/it was easy to navigate.
     

    StarWarsMomofGirls!

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 16, 2015
    Are any of the upcharge events worth it? There's the dessert parties and the dining packages for World of Color and Fantasmic, but are they worth it?
    We did the World of Color Dessert Party and I think it was worth it. Especially for us first timers. They have tables and chairs and a server brings you your desserts and drinks. It was great! And it felt so much more worth the cost because of the server and table and chairs.

    We also did the Hungry Bear Fantasmic package, which I could have took or left. It was counter service meal and then a reserved seating area. It wasn't that $$ since it was counter service. But if you wanted to do 1 I would totally suggest the World of Color Dessert Party. But that is just my opinion.

    That may change, but assuming that it won't, any ideas on good options? Otherwise we may just bite the bullet and budget the price for a 5 day hopper + 1 day hopper. Also, there isn't any advantage to buying tickets too far in advance, right? Since you can't make fastpasses in advance?
    I find it so strange that they don't have longer ticket options. I don't think there is any advantage to buying them early other than spreading out our trip cost a bit.
     

    theluckyrabbit

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2012
    Initial Thoughts/Questions

    Fastpass is Confusing!
    So, I'm a big power FP+ user at DisneyWorld, and not gonna lie, the whole MaxPass/fastpass system at Disneyland sounds uber-confusing. I've been reading several of the threads on here, and I think I've got it. We're definitely getting MaxPass, so everything I'm putting below is assuming that.

    • You can have multiple fastpasses, just not two fastpasses for the same ride at the same time (ie, I can ride Radiator Springs Racers twice in a day using fastpasses, but I have to use the first RSR fastpass before getting the second RSR fastpass)
    • You can have multiple fastpasses with overlapping redemption times
    • You can get a new fastpass
      • every 90 minutes
      • whenever you use your next fastpass
      • whenever your next fastpass window opens (caveat being that it has to be at least 30 minutes in the future)
        • the only way to get a fastpass sooner than 30 minutes is by using a fastpass that opens sooner than 30 minutes
    • World of Color and Fantasmic fastpasses are special and the rules don't apply to them
    • Once I scan in at one park, I can get fastpasses for either park (assuming I have parkhopper tickets)
    So I think I have the basics down, now I need to read up on the strategy of it! 'Cause that is totally beyond me right now. Luckily I have 10 months to figure it out.

    Things we want to do:

    • Oogie Boogie Bash: we're hoping it starts as early next year as it did this year...if it does, we might be able to sneak in 2 parties! We're definitely budgeting for two
    • Star Wars land: Oga's Cantina, Ronto Roasters, souvenir shopping, and oh yea, building a lightsaber!!!!
    • Chef's Counter at Napa Rose: I want to do this for my birthday. Any ideas on how to request the kitchen view, as opposed to the dessert station view?
    • Eat at Blue Bayou and Carthay Circle
    • See Star Wars land at night
    • See Carsland at night, but specifically the transition from day to night
    • Eat beignets and churros and corndogs
    • Go to Trader Sams
    • Lamplight Lounge
    Upcharge events?
    Are any of the upcharge events worth it? There's the dessert parties and the dining packages for World of Color and Fantasmic, but are they worth it? And is there any special viewing for fireworks? Basically, any upcharge events that I should look into? It seems like there are much fewer upcharge events at Disneyland than at Disneyworld.

    Flights are also confusing!
    We live in DC, so I'm trying to figure out which airport to fly into and how to get us from the airport to Disney. We'll be flying in on a Sunday, so I'm not sure if LAX is ok, or what, and then I'm concerned about when we fly out on a Saturday about the traffic. I know we have PLENTY of time to figure out flights, but I've read a lot and there seems to be significant pros and cons to each airport. The one thing that may end up being a deciding factor is airlines. I think we're going to have to fly Southwest, just for the two free bags apiece, 'cause I know us and we're probably gonna buy a lot of souvenirs and have candy from Oogie Boogie Bash, so unless Southwest is way more expensive than other airlines, those 4 free checked bags might be a deciding factor.

    Tickets
    Ok, I need help. We're flying in on Sunday the 13th, and out on Saturday the 19th. That is 7 days, but the first day and the last day are partial days. I'd kind of planned on buying 5 day hoppers and then fly out late on Saturday and buy another 1 day hopper for Saturday. But 1 day tickets are expensive! Especially for a partial day. Too bad Disneyland doesn't do 6 or 7 day tickets. Any thoughts or insights on tickets and what we should do, or cheaper ways to get tickets? We're not really willing to forgo a ticket and use an Oogie Boogie Bash ticket as our park ticket for that day, just 'cause we want to spend all the time in the parks that we can and not being able to get in until 3pm and then only DCA, doesn't really appeal. That may change, but assuming that it won't, any ideas on good options? Otherwise we may just bite the bullet and budget the price for a 5 day hopper + 1 day hopper. Also, there isn't any advantage to buying tickets too far in advance, right? Since you can't make fastpasses in advance?

    TL;DR: I like to plan and have lots of questions and doesn't seem like Disneyland needs you to really start planning until about 90 days in advance :)
    So, trying to answer your questions in order:
    FP/MP: It sounds like you've been reading the Maxpass/Fastpass Superthread: an overview and some strategy -- if so, good for you! Don't hesitate to ask all your FP/MP questions in that thread -- the veterans there will give you great help and help you strategize! You'll have MP skillz going in no time. Don't worry -- using DLR FP/MP is really much easier than you think -- almost all the WDW vets here love it more than FP+ after trying it once.
    We have WDW vets comment frequently that their MP worries disappeared after day one of their trip -- once you start using MP, you learn quickly as you go. If you already have that superthread in your head when you arrive, MP will start making sense right away as you start using it. And the DLR board will be right there to answer any questions in real time if you need us!
    You are wise to start budgeting for the OBB now, especially if you will want to go to more than one party. Round way up -- party prices go up every year! We usually double the price of this year's ticket for next year's budget. That way, any money left over can go for souvenirs and fun extras. :)
    Chef's Counter at NR: when you make your reservation (call NR directly for reservations for this), request to sit in seats 1-4 or 5-8. Specify that you do NOT want to sit at the Dessert Counter. Repeat this request when you check in. No guarantees, but at least your seating desires will be made known.
    Upcharge events: for F!, the dining packages are totally worth it. From most expensive to least, the dining packages are Blue Bayou, Riverbelle Terrace, and Hungry Bear. All 3 packages seat you up front by the Rivers of America, centered viewing in front of TSI, everyone seated on the ground (so no shoulder kids, no one walking in front of you, no one standing). There is a Premium Package at RBT which includes dinner during the first show -- this is the only package that has actual chairs if you can't sit on the ground -- but the view from RBT is not great and can be somewhat obstructed by pedestrians walking by and by shoulder kids in the standby section in front of the restaurant. Not exactly "Premium" in my book. All the regular dining packages (BB, RBT, HB) have great viewing. The BB package includes a cute foam cushion (you get to keep this) to sit on. (Since you want to dine at BB anyway, the F! dining package may be the way to go.) The free standby sections can have okay views of the show if you are tall or if you are willing to wait for several hours to hold your spots. We think the F! dining packages are totally worth it -- great views with the least wait and a meal thrown in the bargain. HB is the most economical package because it allows you to order off the dining package or regular menu (same dining package price). We've done all 3 dining packages and prefer BB or HB.
    For WOC, read the World of Color Superthread -- read the first post carefully and maybe the last few pages for updates. WOC is a fabulous show with a problematic viewing area. We've viewed many times with free FPs, dining packages, and the Dessert Party and had great viewing in all sections. (And there is a risk of bad viewing in ALL sections, so do your research -- it will pay off.) The more time you are willing to invest to get and hold your viewing spots, the less money you will need to spend. If you can invest 90 minutes to get your spots, the free FPs should work fine. If you can invest an hour, the dining packages should work fine (and you mentioned that you wanted to eat at CCR anyway -- the WOC package there is a good deal -- lunch or dinner). If you want the least amount of wait time and an actual chair, do the Dessert Party -- a luxury splurge and a very fun experience. Ask all your WOC questions in that superthread.
    No fireworks upcharge events at DL that are worth the money. The TL Skyline package is not worth the money for fireworks. If the show gets cancelled (which happens for safety reasons, e.g. unsafe wind speed or direction), you will not get a refund. There is very good viewing for fireworks at DL by the castle, at the Hub, on Main Street, by IASW. If you do a F! dining package for the first show, you will be invited to stay in your viewing area for the fireworks after F!. The music will be played over the speakers and the projections will be shown on the water screens. If "Halloween Screams" is the fireworks show when you visit, make time to see it -- it is one of the best fireworks shows DL has! And invest the time to view by the castle or the Hub -- totally worth it for this show. IASW is good, too, but the castle and Hub have the edge here.
    Airports: flying WN (Southwest), try to use SNA (John Wayne) -- the closest airport to DLR. ONT is not that great a choice if you can avoid it -- Uber no longer serves that airport and you can hit odd traffic trying to get there. SNA is so much easier. LAX has more direct and non-stop flights and sometimes the lowest fares, but SNA will be worth a bit more money to save your sanity. Read this thread for more airport info and ask all questions there: Airport Proximity to DLR and Ground Transportation Information.
    Tickets: You may find that you do want to use your OBB tickets as your park tickets on party days, especially if you do end up attending 2 parties. Party days are tiring, and you might want to sleep in on those days, do a character brunch or a nice TS meal (Steakhouse 55 does a great breakfast!), swim at the hotel, catch up on laundry, go shopping, etc. Don't count out your OBB tickets as park tickets just yet. 5 day hoppers + 2 OBB tickets = 7 days. So that's one way to go. Another option (and more people than you think choose this) is to buy an Annual Pass -- that would give you the days you want (make sure to check for blockout days so that your trip dates are open for you) and discounts on food and merchandise, hotel discounts (possible for on site and some off site hotels offer AP discounts, too), and possible discounts for OBB tickets. The math can work out in your favor, but really crunch the numbers before deciding on this option. You might decide that one of you buys a pass and the other buys tickets -- some people do that.
    Buying in advance -- the advantage here is that you safeguard yourself against any price hikes. This is the first year in a while that we didn't get a fall price increase (knock wood that we don't get one before the end of the year...). If you buy tickets at the old price and a price increase happens before your tickets expire, you win! Your tickets are still good, and you didn't pay the higher price. That also applies to AP vouchers. You can ask about tickets, APs, and any discounts out there on the DLR forum.
    Hope all this wasn't too overwhelming and was helpful in some way!
     
    Last edited:

    PrincessJo

    Married my prince... now I just need a castle...
    Joined
    Feb 15, 2013
    DH and I are going to be at DL September 10-13, 2020!! September 18th is my birthday too 😁 After DL we'll be heading to Aulani for a week. I'm following along hoping I can learn lots! 😁
     

    Araminta18

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2016
    The first thing I would advise is to fly into Orange County (SNA). No way would I do LAX. Its too far and it will take you through awful traffic from there to Disney. We used to fly into Long Beach (LGB) but learned that transportation from SNA is lots more affordable. We Uber and I think its around $35 depending on time of day.
    Nevermind the above if a SW flight is lots cheaper, but me, I would still do SNA just for convenience sake. I hate LA traffic.
    Yes, WDW planning is way more involved than DLR. I don't think most people plan very much far in advance, but could be wrong. Using MaxPass is a great plus, even though you have to pay for it. It saves running around the parks and getting FPs at kiosks, which is what happened before MP.
    Your plans sound great; you should be a tour planner! You have the knack, that's for sure. I can do it, but I don't get as detailed as you. I just kinda let things happen, especially at DLR. But we are there each time for at least two weeks or more, so we take it easy.
    Happy planning and keep us updated!
    SNA is definitely on my radar! I've got several months (Southwest hasn't even opened up the Sept 2020 calendar), but everything I'm seeing seems to indicate SNA is the best airport.
    Yea, DLR does seem way more go with the flow. I'm good at going with the flow in the moment, I just like planning in advance, hence this PTR. :) Also, 2+weeks? That sounds amazing! Totally jealous :)

    For airports near DL, SNA & ONT are closer than LAX. We flew home out Ontario airport (there were no flights to where we lived from SNA), and it was only about a half hour from DL, and wasn’t too big/it was easy to navigate.
    Ooh, I'll have to keep Ontario on my radar--I've mostly been looking at SNA and LAX. Thanks!

    We did the World of Color Dessert Party and I think it was worth it. Especially for us first timers. They have tables and chairs and a server brings you your desserts and drinks. It was great! And it felt so much more worth the cost because of the server and table and chairs.

    We also did the Hungry Bear Fantasmic package, which I could have took or left. It was counter service meal and then a reserved seating area. It wasn't that $$ since it was counter service. But if you wanted to do 1 I would totally suggest the World of Color Dessert Party. But that is just my opinion.


    I find it so strange that they don't have longer ticket options. I don't think there is any advantage to buying them early other than spreading out our trip cost a bit.
    Good to know (about WoC dessert party and Fantasmic)! I watched one vlog about the WoC Dessert Party and while it seemed nice, I didn't get a good feel about if it was really worth it for the view and all. Your review helps! (And the tip about Hungry Bear Fantasmic package)

    Right?! I mean, I guess they must just not have that many people going for that long, but super irritating for those of us who do want to spend more time in the parks.

    So, trying to answer your questions in order:
    FP/MP: It sounds like you've been reading the Maxpass/Fastpass Superthread: an overview and some strategy -- if so, good for you! Don't hesitate to ask all your FP/MP questions in that thread -- the veterans there will give you great help and help you strategize! You'll have MP skillz going in no time. Don't worry -- using DLR FP/MP is really much easier than you think -- almost all the WDW vets here love it more than FP+ after trying it once.
    We have WDW vets comment frequently that their MP worries disappeared after day one of their trip -- once you start using MP, you learn quickly as you go. If you already have that superthread in your head when you arrive, MP will start making sense right away as you start using it. And the DLR board will be right there to answer any questions in real time if you need us!
    You are wise to start budgeting for the OBB now, especially if you will want to go to more than one party. Round way up -- party prices go up every year! We usually double the price of this year's ticket for next year's budget. That way, any money left over can go for souvenirs and fun extras. :)
    Chef's Counter at NR: when you make your reservation (call NR directly for reservations for this), request to sit in seats 1-4 or 5-8. Specify that you do NOT want to sit at the Dessert Counter. Repeat this request when you check in. No guarantees, but at least your seating desires will be made known.
    Upcharge events: for F!, the dining packages are totally worth it. From most expensive to least, the dining packages are Blue Bayou, Riverbelle Terrace, and Hungry Bear. All 3 packages seat you up front by the Rivers of America, centered viewing in front of TSI, everyone seated on the ground (so no shoulder kids, no one walking in front of you, no one standing). There is a Premium Package at RBT which includes dinner during the first show -- this is the only package that has actual chairs if you can't sit on the ground -- but the view from RBT is not great and can be somewhat obstructed by pedestrians walking by and by shoulder kids in the standby section in front of the restaurant. Not exactly "Premium" in my book. All the regular dining packages (BB, RBT, HB) have great viewing. The BB package includes a cute foam cushion (you get to keep this) to sit on. (Since you want to dine at BB anyway, the F! dining package may be the way to go.) The free standby sections can have okay views of the show if you are tall or if you are willing to wait for several hours to hold your spots. We think the F! dining packages are totally worth it -- great views with the least wait and a meal thrown in the bargain. HB is the most economical package because it allows you to order off the dining package or regular menu (same dining package price). We've done all 3 dining packages and prefer BB or HB.
    For WOC, read the World of Color Superthread -- read the first post carefully and maybe the last few pages for updates. WOC is a fabulous show with a problematic viewing area. We've viewed many times with free FPs, dining packages, and the Dessert Party and had great viewing in all sections. (And there is a risk of bad viewing in ALL sections, so do your research -- it will pay off.) The more time you are willing to invest to get and hold your viewing spots, the less money you will need to spend. If you can invest 90 minutes to get your spots, the free FPs should work fine. If you can invest an hour, the dining packages should work fine (and you mentioned that you wanted to eat at CCR anyway -- the WOC package there is a good deal -- lunch or dinner). If you want the least amount of wait time and an actual chair, do the Dessert Party -- a luxury splurge and a very fun experience. Ask all your WOC questions in that superthread.
    No fireworks upcharge events at DL that are worth the money. The TL Skyline package is not worth the money for fireworks. If the show gets cancelled (which happens for safety reasons, e.g. unsafe wind speed or direction), you will not get a refund. There is very good viewing for fireworks at DL by the castle, at the Hub, on Main Street, by IASW. If you do a F! dining package for the first show, you will be invited to stay in your viewing area for the fireworks after F!. The music will be played over the speakers and the projections will be shown on the water screens. If "Halloween Screams" is the fireworks show when you visit, make time to see it -- it is one of the best fireworks shows DL has! And invest the time to view by the castle or the Hub -- totally worth it for this show. IASW is good, too, but the castle and Hub have the edge here.
    Airports: flying WN (Southwest), try to use SNA (John Wayne) -- the closest airport to DLR. ONT is not that great a choice if you can avoid it -- Uber no longer serves that airport and you can hit odd traffic trying to get there. SNA is so much easier. LAX has more direct and non-stop flights and sometimes the lowest fares, but SNA will be worth a bit more money to save your sanity. Read this thread for more airport info and ask all questions there: Airport Proximity to DLR and Ground Transportation Information.
    Tickets: You may find that you do want to use your OBB tickets as your park tickets on party days, especially if you do end up attending 2 parties. Party days are tiring, and you might want to sleep in on those days, do a character brunch or a nice TS meal (Steakhouse 55 does a great breakfast!), swim at the hotel, catch up on laundry, go shopping, etc. Don't count out your OBB tickets as park tickets just yet. 5 day hoppers + 2 OBB tickets = 7 days. So that's one way to go. Another option (and more people than you think choose this) is to buy an Annual Pass -- that would give you the days you want (make sure to check for blockout days so that your trip dates are open for you) and discounts on food and merchandise, hotel discounts (possible for on site and some off site hotels offer AP discounts, too), and possible discounts for OBB tickets. The math can work out in your favor, but really crunch the numbers before deciding on this option. You might decide that one of you buys a pass and the other buys tickets -- some people do that.
    Buying in advance -- the advantage here is that you safeguard yourself against any price hikes. This is the first year in a while that we didn't get a fall price increase (knock wood that we don't get one before the end of the year...). If you buy tickets at the old price and a price increase happens before your tickets expire, you win! Your tickets are still good, and you didn't pay the higher price. That also applies to AP vouchers. You can ask about tickets, APs, and any discounts out there on the DLR forum.
    Hope all this wasn't too overwhelming and was helpful in some way!
    @theluckyrabbit you are a fount of information! Thank you so much! Not at all overwhelming and very very helpful. I really appreciate it, especially since I am clearly overanalyzing a lot of this stuff and doing so way too far in advance. :)
    I have indeed read the MaxPass thread. I'm sure it's just the nervous jitters most WDW vets have, but as you say, once I'm there I'm sure it will make sense. :)
    Thanks for the tip on the Chef's Counter at Napa Rose--that's a huge help!
    Oh yea, doing the Fantasmic package with Blue Bayou may be perfect, since we want to eat there anyways. And I'll definitely dive into the WoC superthread--if we do decide to do a dessert party I want to make sure we have a good view. Thanks for the pointers!
    Good to know about the fireworks upcharges not being worth the money. Clearly I need to do more research on that, but it's all moot anyways til I find out if there will be fireworks when we're there at all. :) Hopefully though!
    Airports--Uber no longer serves ONT? Good to know! So many choices. I'll have to wait til Southwest releases their schedule and then really dig into it. SNA looks like the best choice, but not sure how it will all shake out.
    I did look at an Annual Pass, but it didn't seem to be worth it--but I didn't realize the bit about the ticket price increase not happening this year! I'll have to pay closer attention to the forums. Definitely want to buy tickets before a price increase, if I can.

    DH and I are going to be at DL September 10-13, 2020!! September 18th is my birthday too 😁 After DL we'll be heading to Aulani for a week. I'm following along hoping I can learn lots! 😁
    Birthday twins!! Hope you have a wonderful time at Aulani...I'm sure it'll be amazing!

    OP: You might enjoy this recent trip report from another WDW vet -- First trip to Disneyland thoughts. This trip took place right after Halloween Time ended. Note the enthusiasm about MP -- that's a typical response once the WDW folks get MP and see how easy it is to use in both parks.
    Thanks! It's not good to be this excited about a trip so far in advance... :D
     

    goodeats

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2005
    5 days is plenty imo. You could go to the beach, enjoy the pool, or do some of the DTD/hotel activities.

    I highly recommend seeing Fantasmic at Disneyland. The one at WDW pales in comparison. We did a Hungry Bear package and somehow ended up sitting in the Blue Bayou section and it was incredible. Not sure if it was pixie dust or CM mistake, but it was so awesome to be front and center. I can take or leave World of Color.

    It can be very hot and dry in September. Be prepared! It will cool down at night though.

    It can be hard to find nonstop flights from DC to SNA, but it's so nice going in and out of.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Get Daily Email Updates


    Top