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What's the Best Way to Enter DCA at 7am for Disney Hotel Guests?

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  • [Question] What's the Best Way to Enter DCA at 7am for Disney Hotel Guests?

    I'll be at the resort in mid-August, staying at the Disneyland Hotel. Needless to say, I want to take advantage of early entry into DCA for Cars Land.

    So, my question for those of you who've done this in the past month or so is this: Early entry is at 7 am. Is it better to enter through the Grand Californian's park entrance or the front gate? I'm guessing it's the Grand Californian entrance because you're much closer to Cars Land. Does anyone know what time the line starts forming at the GC entrance? How far in advance of 7 am do you suggest we get in line there?

    Second: are they giving out FastPasses to Radiator Springs Racers during the early entry hour (7 to 8 am) now? I heard they were not at first, but have heard they are now. Would appreciate clarification.

    Third: does this sound right: wife and daughter head straight to Luigi's while I snag FastPasses for Radiator Springs Racers. I catch up with them at the line for Luigi's after having obtained FastPasses.

    I'm basing my plan on what I would normally do at the Tokyo Disney Resort, but wondering if it will work at the new DCA.

    Would greatly appreciate any answers!
    Born in a shoebox and making the most of it.

  • #2
    Re: What's the Best Way to Enter DCA at 7am for Disney Hotel Guests?

    Skip the line to GCA. It backs up and only has 2 people working. Bag check takes forever. Go to main gate. They have a line for hotel guests. Its very fast. Skip Carsland, everyone goes there. Go do TOT and Toy Story. You can ride multiple times. At 8 send everyone to Luigi's and you go get fast passes for radiator springs. Line will be long but you will get them. This way, you get to ride many more attractions in less time. If you are at park late, do Carsland later. Crowds are lighter and its so beautiful with the lights. Also, if you are not to particular to everyone riding together, use single rider line. sometimes its only 30 mins and usually at least 2 in your party will end up in same car.

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    • #3
      Re: What's the Best Way to Enter DCA at 7am for Disney Hotel Guests?

      Thank you!
      Born in a shoebox and making the most of it.

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      • #4
        Re: What's the Best Way to Enter DCA at 7am for Disney Hotel Guests?

        Originally posted by StreetSweeper View Post
        Skip the line to GCA. It backs up and only has 2 people working. Bag check takes forever. Go to main gate. They have a line for hotel guests. Its very fast. Skip Carsland, everyone goes there. Go do TOT and Toy Story. You can ride multiple times. At 8 send everyone to Luigi's and you go get fast passes for radiator springs. Line will be long but you will get them. This way, you get to ride many more attractions in less time. If you are at park late, do Carsland later. Crowds are lighter and its so beautiful with the lights. Also, if you are not to particular to everyone riding together, use single rider line. sometimes its only 30 mins and usually at least 2 in your party will end up in same car.
        good tip
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        • #5
          Re: What's the Best Way to Enter DCA at 7am for Disney Hotel Guests?

          I'll share my strategy that we used two times (July 27 and 30) during our trip last week (staying at the Grand Californian). We were at the Downtown Disney bag check by 6:20 and were the first group in line. They usually open 3 lines for bag check, so if you walk up and see a big line, you can always ask the Cast Members where the other lines will form and then you can be first in one of those lines! Most people usually just see the one line and get in it, even though there really are 3 lines. I've used this "trick" many times to be first in one of the bag check lines when there were already many others there.

          They opened bag check at about 6:45 and we walked to the California Adventure gates. We wanted to ride Radiator Springs Racers right away and we were one of the first groups on the ride both days. Here's the number one tip I can give you for this: when the Cast Members are walking the group through the park toward Cars Land (they lead you with a rope to prevent running) stay as far to the right as possible!!! As soon as you reach Radiator Springs Racers, they let the front right corner of the mass of people enter the line first because RSR is on the right side of Cars Land. People that were on the left ended up pretty far back in line even though they were at the very front because the people on the right get to go in first simply due to the position of the ride.

          We were on and off RSR by about 7:15. We rode Luigi's and Mater's. By then it was about 7:45 and we got in line for Radiator Springs Racers fastpasses. As long as you get in line before 8, you won't have to wait very long because there are two lines to acquire Fastpasses (one for early entry guests and one for regular entry guests) and the lines don't merge until 8. To answer one of your questions, both days that we got Fastpasses, they did not start giving them out until 8 AM on the dot.

          Following this strategy we were able to ride all of the Cars Land rides with virtually no wait and get a Fastpass for Radiator Springs Racers to ride it again later in the day. And we did this all without ever splitting up our party!

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          • #6
            Re: What's the Best Way to Enter DCA at 7am for Disney Hotel Guests?

            I followed disneylandaddict13's strategy and it worked perfectly. We were there on Saturday August 4th using the AP Early Entry for DCA. We arrived at the main gates by 6:30am and there were a decent amount of people lined up across almost all of the gates. Once the gates opened, we stayed to the very far right of the rope as everyone walked to Radiator Springs Racers. They made an announcement that the ride was down but that did not seem to deter anyone. We ended up being the 8th and 9th people in line and by the time we snaked our way through the queue, everything was up and running.

            After the ride, we got in line for the FastPass and waited approximately 30 minutes for that. Quick note, by 7:30, the general public was queued up in Carthay Circle, just behind the RSR Fastpass line. I had to use the restroom but did not have one of those blue "Early Entry" tickets. I made the mistake of trying to go to the restrooms in Condor Flats and the CM gave me a hard time trying to get back in. It's easier to just use the restrooms in Cars Land instead.

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            • #7
              Re: What's the Best Way to Enter DCA at 7am for Disney Hotel Guests?

              Are hotel guests let in at 7:00 and AP Early Entry at 8:00? My AP EE confirmation says 8:00, but I keep seeing AP EE references with 7:00. Am I missing something? Thanks.
              Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.
              Mark Twain

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              • #8
                Re: What's the Best Way to Enter DCA at 7am for Disney Hotel Guests?

                I'm guessing it depends on what time the parks open. Since the parks open at 8am, Early Entry is at 7am and everyone (AP, Hotel Guests, etc) all wait in front of the gates in the same lines.

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                • #9
                  Re: What's the Best Way to Enter DCA at 7am for Disney Hotel Guests?

                  That was my question:
                  Can you tell if there's an advantage to "Hotel Guest early entry" vs "AP Holder early entry? We're staying at GC but are wondering if we should sign up for our AP morning in each park. Or does it become just one big early entry?

                  So thanks very much for the clarification! One big early entry, it is.
                  Last edited by pajohnso; 08-07-2012, 06:56 AM. Reason: Not needed, missed an answer

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                  • #10
                    Re: What's the Best Way to Enter DCA at 7am for Disney Hotel Guests?

                    Can you get early entry on checkout day?
                    "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect."

                    -Mark Twain

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                    • #11
                      Re: What's the Best Way to Enter DCA at 7am for Disney Hotel Guests?

                      Originally posted by Moonliner View Post
                      Can you get early entry on checkout day?
                      Yes you can!

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                      • #12
                        Re: What's the Best Way to Enter DCA at 7am for Disney Hotel Guests?

                        Originally posted by disneylandaddict13 View Post
                        Yes you can!
                        Excellent. Thanks for the tip.
                        "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect."

                        -Mark Twain

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