Ever wanted to throw a birthday party at the Disneyland Resort, but can’t afford one of the restaurants in the parks or hotels? The price of admission can make it difficult to splurge for extras while in the parks. Luckily, you can throw your own birthday party in the resort picnic area. The picknic area is located outside the parks, to the far west side of Disneyland’s main entrance, and you can either stop there on your way in for a quick celebration or take a break away from the parks for a mid-day break. While clearly things like over-the-top decorations and a pinata out of the question, you could very easily bring your own food, paper goods and cake to the shaded and very clean picnic area and have a nice party. It’s the perfect way to have your cake and eat it too on a budget.
The FASTPASS has been in use at Disneyland Resort since 1999. It is a virtual queuing program for certain popular attractions that allows guests at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure to receive a voucher listing a computer-assigned boarding time to return and enjoy the attraction. This popular program was first used during the 1999 holiday season on “it’s a small world holiday.” FASTPASS options on Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin” quickly followed in early 2000, and additional attractions have been added to the program since then.
Here’s how it works:
· FASTPASSES are distributed at terminals near each attraction that offers FASTPASS. (With these exceptions: Star Tours FASTPASSES are located near the exit of Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, World of Color FASTPASSES are distributed at Grizzly River Run and Radiator Springs Racers FASTPASSES are distributed near It’s Tough To Be A Bug.)
· FASTPASS is available to all guests with theme park admission.
· A guest inserts his or her park ticket into the FASTPASS terminal, which reads and returns the park ticket along with a FASTPASS ticket indicating a time period during which the guest may return to the attraction and enter a special FASTPASS priority queue for the attraction. Guests are free to enjoy the park and its attractions while waiting to return to the attraction.
· After a guest has obtained a FASTPASS on one attraction, he or she cannot obtain a FASTPASS on a second attraction for at least two hours or the beginning of the return window on the first FASTPASS, whichever comes first. The exception is World of Color. Guests may obtain other FASTPASSES in addition to the World of Color FASTPASS used to reserve seating for the show.
· For certain popular attractions, FASTPASS return times may be filled early in the day. After that, no further FASTPASS return tickets will be issued for the attraction.
· Children under the age of 3 do not need a FASTPASS.
FASTPASSES are available for the following attractions
- The Indiana Jones Adventure
- Splash Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
- Space Mountain
- Star Tours
- Matterhorn – NEW!
- Haunted Mansion Holiday (Holiday version only – September through January)
- California Screamin’
- Grizzly River Run
- Soarin’ Over California
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! (upon opening 5/27/17)
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Toy Story Midway Mania – NEW!
Want more ways to make most of the lines at the Disneyland Resort? Check out our information on single-rider lines and the rider-switch program. (And yes! Rider switch can be used in conjunction with FASTPASS.)
Editor’s Note: Updated on 5/9/17. This article was originally posted on June 6, 2013.
Ok, so we have all been waiting for the arrival of what I consider to be the second best Star Wars movie ever made, Rogue One.
Because we all can agree that this movie rocks, and if you disagree with me, you are wrong and you will not be reading this review anyways, I am going to get right into what is special about this DVD and what makes it worth buying.
Let’s start with the film itself. If looks and sounds amazing. With all new releases, you can count on the sound and quality of the BLU-RAY to blast you out of your living room. This film needs to be seen on the biggest screen you have, and this might be a reason to go out and get that 70 inch you have been holding off on.
I will start off by saying that I was initially disappointed when I looked on the back of the box and noticed that there are no “deleted original ending” scenes included. But, that did not stop me from putting the disc and checking out all of the story points and behind the scenes stories you can only get from DVD’s.
The first thing I watched was the chapter called “The Princess and the Governor.” This was amazing as we get to see the process they did with special effects and the live actors while filming the scenes with a 1977 Princess Leia, and Governor Tarkin. It looked amazing in the film and to see the amount of work that went into these small scenes, it really fun.
Next, you can check out all of the short “mini-docs” that cover the backstory of the main characters. There are interviews with the actors, the director and behind the scene scenes with each one. The best one by far is the one on K-2SO. Seeing actor Alan Tudyk walk around in sunglasses and on stilts while performing as the awesome droid, is great and wait until you see the low tech cardboard way they made K-2SO’s head appear to the actors on set. Really good stuff here.
Finally, I loved the story on how the whole idea of Rogue One came to be. I will not give anything away, but it is really surprising and great to know how obvious this idea was for a stand alone movie in the Star Wars universe.
There is also a fun little segment where you get to see a bunch of the hidden call back “Eater Eggs” for all the Super-Nerds out there!
Although there is not as much here as I would have liked, what they did include is well worth the time and the money. So go out and get this DVD because it is something that you will watch over and over alone and with the kids. It is available online and in stores and can be downloaded through Disney Movies Anywhere… or get ’em all and get the DVD and digital download.
If you did not see this film in theaters because it was too much of a hassle, then you should be the first in line to see the movie that all but gets rid of the bad taste of the prequels and completely blows your mind with a totally original film that is filled with call backs, humor and stunning special effects.
May the Force be with you!
While I’m very reluctant to admit that my kiddos are well passed the pre-schooler age, I recently had the opportunity to re-live my early years as a parent at the Disneyland Resort with my Nieces; Amelia (age 4) and Evelynn (age 3). In advance of our trip, I booked two character dining reservations, one for dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen and another for breakfast at Storyteller’s Cafe. As the ‘unofficial’ Babes in Disneyland Contributor with the most visits to Character Dining restaurants, I am very familiar with the ins and outs of the reservation system, the food, the characters, and most importantly, the overall dining experience in general. I have to admit that while traveling with my nieces was an entirely new and different experience for me (click here for my previous post regarding taking young children to Disneyland), seeing their eyes light up as the characters came to our table made my heart beam with pride and joy! Helping them choose the items that they wanted from the buffet, taking photos and videos of every moment, and even trips to the potty took me back to the days I experienced as a young parent. Our trip also reminded me of some of the challenges I faced and that many families encounter with young children face when dining with toddlers.
If you’re planning a trip to the Disneyland Resort and are wondering how best to enhance your character dining reservation, I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks, which I hope will make your dining experience much easier and more magical!
Do Your Homework
Each of the character dining restaurants at the Disneyland Resort offer a multitude of different experiences, characters, meal times, and menus. As such, I very much encourage you to research each restaurant prior to making your reservation. As an example, if your child is a Princess fan, I highly recommend you make a reservation for breakfast or lunch at Ariel’s Grotto where the only characters your children will meet will be Princesses. If the only time you have available on your itinerary is dinner, I highly recommend you book a reservation at Goofy’s Kitchen, as they are the only dinner character dining restaurant.
In my humble opinion, making reservations prior to your visit is crucial to maximize your enjoyment of character dining experiences — especially when traveling with toddlers. Reservations help you avoid long wait times and ensure that you are eating at the time that is most convenient to you and your family. Additionally, during peak travel seasons (i.e. spring and summer breaks), Disney restaurant reservation spots fill up quickly, and they allow very few, if any walk-ins. You can get ahead of the game by booking reservations well in advance either online and via the Disneyland Resort App up to 60 days prior to your visit. You can also call the dining hotline at 714-781-3463.
Know When to Go
During peak dining times, Disney restaurants tend to get a bit overcrowded. I recommend making a reservation earlier in the morning or later in the evening for less of a crowd factor and the opportunity to maximize interactions with the characters. This is also true for days of the week and/ or times of the year. Disney restaurants are generally more crowded on the weekends, so in my experience, booking on a weekday is a better option. I realize that it might be difficult to book during a non-peak travel season or on a weekday, but rest assured, no matter when you happen to book, all the characters at the restaurant on your chosen day will make it to your table and will do everything they can to make the experience as magical as possible, for your kids, and for you too!
Bring an Autograph Book
Autograph books are a great ice breaker for kiddos who might be a bit more cautious when meeting their favorite Disney characters. They are also a great way to capture your kiddo’s age, growth, and development, especially those that happen to have autograph books with a photo sleeve on one page, and the autograph page on the opposite side. Over the years, my kiddos were overjoyed when characters wrote personal notes, drew photos, and intricately autographed their books which, to this day, we lovingly look back upon as amazing Disney moments we shared of the characters we met.
Prepare Your Kids
For some toddlers, meeting a character for the first time, or even for the tenth time, might be a frightening experience. In the eyes of a young child, characters can sometimes seem a bit larger than anything they have ever experienced and even intimidating — especially if your child doesn’t associate the character with a movie or cartoon they are familiar with. If your child is unfamiliar with any or all of the characters who happen to be at the restaurant you choose, I recommend you enjoy the experience of watching the movie(s) in advance of your trip, or, if you’re short on time, searching the internet for photos to share with your child prior to your reservation to familiarize him/her with the characters and get them excited too!
Take Tons of Photos
I cannot stress enough the importance of bringing along a camera and taking as many photos as possible. As the lighting in each restaurant is different, I highly recommend taking a few test shots and adjusting your camera settings as necessary so you can capture the magical moments of your child’s first Disney character interaction! Taking video is also a good idea if you are able and many cameras these days have the option of allowing you to take photos while taking video. Lastly, if your camera has a continuous shutter option, this is a great way to capture the fast movements of toddlers and characters alike and ensures that you won’t miss the special hugs, games of peek-a-boo, and blown kisses.
To sum it all up, my most recent Disney character dining experience with my adorable Nieces and the priceless memories they evoked, has not only reinvigorated my love of all that is Disney but reminded me of all the wonderful experiences I shared with my own children and the many more memories we will share in the future! So much so that I look forward to re-visiting each of the restaurants soon to experience the magic all over again with my own kiddos, Nieces, and my soon-to-be Disney indoctrinated Nephew! As future trips unfold I’ll be sure to bring you along for the ride and offer up more tips and tricks too!
We here at the Babes in Disneyland Blog are so excited to announce that an all new show is coming to the Disney Junior Stage! Beginning May 26th, in the Hollywood Land section of Disney California Adventure Park, guests of all ages can enjoy an energetic updated show featuring some of the most popular and beloved Disney Junior television characters. “Disney Junior Dance Party” will feature “Doc McStuffins,” “Sofia the First,” “The Lion Guard,” and “Mickey and the Roadster Racers.” The new show will incorporate music, live appearances by Disney Junior characters, and other fun and interactive experiences.
The Disney Junior theater is a great place to recharge on hot days, stay dry on rainy days, nurse babies, get your kiddos out of the stroller for a bit and escape the hustle and bustle of the parks while being entertained. The show is also an excellent way to introduce your toddlers and pre-schoolers to some of their favorite Disney Junior characters in a fun and relaxed setting.
Over the years, as my kiddos have grown and Disney Channel characters have changed, I’ve quite literally seen the show hundreds of times. Each and every show is memorable and enjoyable. I loved seeing the joy and excitement in my kid’s eyes and have even bee starstruck myself a time or two at the sight of my favorite and lovable “Bear in the Big Blue House.” 🙂
I had the privilege of taking my nieces Amelia and Evelynn to the show when we visited the Disneyland Resort last month and they had a blast! It was so very exciting for them to get up close to the characters they are so accustomed to seeing on TV, sing along with their favorite songs, and experience the immersive activities incorporated into the show. Being able to enjoy the show again with my Nieces has reinvigorated me and I absolutely cannot wait to visit with them again later this year and to see what’s in store for the new show!!
Stay Tuned- we’ll update this post as more details and announcements become available!!
My trip to the Disneyland Resort was hosted so that she could write this new series of posts. All opinions are my own and not influenced by the Walt Disney Company.