Quick and Easy Mickey and the Roadster Racers Birthday Party

My son just turned six and he’s slightly obsessed with Mickey Mouse. He has dressed like Mickey for three of five Halloween costumes. And we’ve had several birthday parties in a Mickey theme (including a Sorcerer’s Apprentice party). So of course this year he was set on a Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party. I was ready to make that happen – on a budget, of course! And with four kids, I just don’t have it in me for anything over-the-top, so these are very quick and easy ideas. I’ve even included my FREE PRINTABLES so you can host your own Mickey and the Roadster Racers party!

Please note that I include affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Roadster Racers Birthday Party on a Budget

The Roadster Racers has a simple color scheme of red, black, yellow. You could add in black and white checked accents too! I went with plain red tablecloths with black plates and napkins. No expensive character-laden designs needed. Consider using the color scheme on balloons or crepe paper streamers. Or use black and white checked scrapbook paper to create pennant flags.

I had a “Kitchen Sink” bowl from Disneyland that made a perfect snack container! See what you have in the color schemes to use before making purchases.


Roadster Racers Outfit

My birthday boy wore the Mickey Mouse costume I’d made him for Halloween during his play date party. Here is my costume tutorial if you’d like to make one for your racer! If you don’t have a costume, consider having your child dress in an outfit or t-shirt that fits the theme.

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

My Roadster Racer and his Zebra sister on Halloween. The costume doubled as his birthday party outfit.


Roadster Racers Themed Food

This was a fun and quirky way to incorporate the theme of the party, with snacks inspired by the show. We had a play date at the park after lunch so we just served simple goodies like mini doughnuts (“spare tires”) and cupcakes (“traffic light treats”). I’ve included the FREE PRINTABLE for each of these so you can print at home and use for your own party!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Traffic Light Treats

I made easy cupcakes at home. On the chocolate frosted cupcakes, I split mini Oreo cookies in half and placed them in the frosting to resemble Mouse ears. On the vanilla frosted cupcakes we used plain M&M candies in yellow, red and green to look like a street light (you might see an orange M&M…we ran out of yellow – Guess what, nobody cared!)

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Nuts & Bolts and Dip Sticks

Store-bought Trail mix is a quick Nuts & Bolts treat. My friend Leslie of Trips with Tykes has a great Mickey Mouse Trail Mix so make it your own!

Pretzel sticks or rods are perfect Dip Sticks. You could also use baby carrots and Ranch dressing!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Spare Tires

Mini chocolate doughnuts make tasty Spare Tires. We didn’t have any extras of these laying around after the party!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Coolants

Our drink section was labeled Coolants, to chill down our active party guests! You could also put this label on an actual cooler.

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Links to Free Roadster Racers Party Printables

Roadster Racers Gifts

I purchased this small Mickey race car toy to use as a “cupcake topper” to set the theme for our party. It doubled as decoration and a toy to play with later as a memento for my son’s birthday.

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

What to get your Roadster Racer fan for their birthday? Check out these appropriate gifts and videos!


More Printable Party Decorations

I found all these great, free printables on the Disney Junior website that are perfect for your Roadster Racers party.

Birthday Party on a Budget

Looking for more birthday party ideas? Check out my post Birthday Party On a Budget!

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

Holiday Shopping Guide: Disney Gifts for Toddlers

That first holiday when your child is old enough to enjoy the season is just the best! They can enjoy the holiday meal. They love looking at lights in the neighborhood. And of course, they’re old enough to open gifts now too! I can’t wait for my toddler daughter to see the Christmas tree this year. But I have a feeling we won’t be setting any presents out under the tree, for fear she’ll open them all before the actual holiday! Holiday shopping for toddlers is already so much fun. And of course adding a pixie dust sprinkling of Disney in with the presents is so magical. Here is the shopping guide with my suggestions of Disney gifts for toddlers!

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Disney gifts for toddlers including stocking stuffers, toys, bath and meal time fun and favorite books and movies!

Disney Toys for Toddlers

Number one on the lists of all little boys and girls – TOYS! These adorable Disney-themed toys for toddlers include Little People and LEGO Duplo blocks.

Fisher-Price Little People

LEGO Duplo Disney blocks are adorable and really feed a toddler’s imagination!


Adorable Outfits and Clothes

Toddlers love to wear comfy clothes that also feature their favorite characters! These machine-washable outfits are great for a day at Disney…or any day!

 

Disney Books, Music and Movies

What’s better on a chilly day than snuggling up to read, watch favorite movies or listen to songs together with your toddler? These are all perfect for little ones and make great Disney gifts for toddlers. These DVDs are family favorites!


Disney Dollies

Toddlers love to emulate mama and that means having a baby to care for of their very own. Each of my kids had their own special Disney-themed stuffy or doll (even me – my lovie was Winnie the Pooh!)

 

Outdoor Play

Toddlers love to explore the great outdoors. These outdoor play items with a Disney twist will keep them active outside.

           

 

Disney Dining

A favorite character featured at meal time makes lima beans look more appealing! Okay, maybe not, but toddlers love to see Disney characters on their cups, plates, bibs and placemats.



Toddler Games

These games are fine for little ones to play on their own, but everything is more fun with family! Include these fun games on your next family game night to include your toddler as well.

  


Dressing Up Disney

Kids of all ages love to play dress-up! Toddlers too, so keep their dress-up box full and fill their imaginations!

 


Disney Travel Gear

Hitting the road? Even if you’re not headed to the Disney Parks, you can pack your toddler’s favorite characters on everything from pint-sized backpacks, lunch boxes and sunglasses.


Bath Time

I have a hard time dragging my toddler out of the tub, she loves it! But if your toddler has a bath time aversion, perhaps these fun toys and products would help encourage some clean up?

“it’s a small world” Bathtub Boat


Bed Time

What better place to read a bed time story than from your very own toddler sized Cars chair? And how sweet to cuddle up in your toddler-sized blanket set with a favorite Disney character!

Stocking Stuffers

My toddler loves seeing her favorite characters in unexpected places like on her toothbrush! Stuff their stockings with these Disney gifts for toddlers, like toothpaste, Band-Aids, slippers and undies (perfect for those toddlers who are gearing up for potty training!)



For more Holiday gift ideas,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


 

Holidays at Disneyland – Visiting Tips For Busy Days

Disneyland during the holidays is simply so magical! Sleeping Beauty Castle is dusted with the magic of snow! Parades and shows have a holiday theme. Several rides and attractions have holiday overlays. There are stunning themed winter decorations in both Parks. There are even special winter treats, like peppermint bark and limited hand-crafted candy canes. Naturally all this extra pixie dust also brings in extra crowds! And for many families, the holiday season is the only time they are able to visit the Disneyland Resort. So what do you do on busy holidays at Disneyland? Here are tons of tested tips for visiting Disneyland during the holidays!

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty Castle glistens with snow-topped turrets, holiday garland and shimmering icicles.

Holidays at Disneyland – When Are You Going to Visit?

Some days will be more crowded than others during the holiday at Disneyland season.

Thanksgiving Day – crowded in the morning with slightly lighter crowds in the evening (when some families leave for Thanksgiving dinner)

Christmas Eve & Day – extremely crowded

New Years Eve – the Parks will reach capacity – over-the-top packed!

Other busy times include the entire week of Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas all the way through to New Years.

Want to experience the holiday season but with lighter crowds? Consider early November (before the week of Thanksgiving). Or the week after Thanksgiving all the way to the week before Christmas. Weekdays (in particular, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday) will be less crowded than weekends, Monday and Friday during this time period.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Love the auto-themed holiday decor in Radiator Springs, Cars Land

Buy Your Tickets in Advance

On busy days, you might be standing in line to get your ticket upwards of an hour! Consider pre-purchasing your tickets to save time. Even better, purchase a package (I recommend Get Away Today). You’ll have the assistance of a dedicated travel agent (at no additional cost to you) and your package will help you to save both time and money.


Save Money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529


Advance Dining Reservations

While you might not normally need Advance Dining Reservations (ADR) at Disneyland, during the holidays, you should make them. The wait will be very long for a table service meal during busy times. Best to have the ADR, especially for coveted Character dining, special holiday meals and favorite restaurants like Carthay Circle and Blue Bayou.

If dining full service isn’t important, you’ll be able to eat at quick service locations. No ADR necessary! Check out this post about dining at Disney without Advance Dining Reservations.

Download the Disneyland App

The Disneyland Resort now offers WiFi, though it’s still sketchy at times. However the app is extremely helpful so be sure to download it pre-visit. You’ll be able to see live where characters are greeting guests, attraction wait times, view PhotoPass pictures, read restaurant menus and access your FastPass return times (with purchase of MaxPass).

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Extra Magic Hour

Stay on Disneyland Resort property and guests are allowed early entry on certain days. Extra Magic Hour allows registered Disneyland Resort Hotel Guests with (their valid theme park admission), entry one hour prior to the official Park opening. Here’s the schedule: Disneyland Park on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Disney California Adventure Park on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Always Rope Drop

Not an Extra Magic Hour day for the Park you want to visit? While others are sleeping in on vacation, you should be arriving to the Park gates at least 30 minutes early for “rope drop”. Even better? 45-60 minutes before the Park opens officially. Early birds may have the opportunity to walk on Main Street U.S.A. and line up at the “rope” when the Park opens.

We met Pluto during rope drop – the Park wasn’t even officially open yet but he was meeting guests on Main Street U.S.A.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Pluto is one of the characters dressed in winter finest inside the Disneyland Resort

Have a Plan

You can’t just show up on a busy day and expect to be able to see and do everything. Have a plan in place on your top 5 essentials for the day, whether it be a ride, attraction, show or parade. Make those things happen first and anything else that happens after that will just be extra special fun!

Use MaxPass

This new Disneyland app feature allows guests to schedule their FastPass reservations remotely via their mobile device. On a busy day, this will save you SO much time from having to walk physically to the attraction on order to grab your FastPass. MaxPass is an additional charge to your Park ticket. Given that MaxPass also includes unlimited PhotoPass downloads, the extra cost is well worth it.


Seasonal Overlays

The holiday season takes over several Disneyland Park attractions, adding to the seasonal magic! These attractions are ALWAYS popular during the holidays. Grab your FastPass ticket for the World of Color – Season of Light first thing in the day. Book your FastPass asap for Haunted Mansion Holiday because this is a beloved seasonal favorite and the wait can be very long. it’s a small world Holiday is delightful! Don’t miss the beautiful light display on the building outside too.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

it’s a small world Holiday

What to Do In Line?

Lines are gonna be LOOOONNNNGGG. Some lines can be avoided via strategic use of Extra Magic Hours, rope drop and MaxPass. If a stand-by line is longer than 30 minutes you might be better off skipping it. Otherwise you’ll be using up a lot of your Park time in queue. Consider only visiting those most popular rides during the early hours or very late at night when the crowds have thinned.

Other lines, like those for the bathroom or quick service dining can’t be helped. Keep fidgety kids busy with the strategies on this post about standing in line at Disney.

My kids enjoy the World of Disney Eye Found It Card Game. It’s small, requires no batteries or charger and young children can play too.

Rest in the Park, Not at the Hotel

Usually I recommend to vacationers that they leave the Parks mid-day and return to their hotel for a swim and nap. Then, once recharged, to return back to the Disneyland Resort for evening fun. However…if the Parks are at max capacity on very busy days, if you leave the Park you may not be allowed back in. Even if you have your Park ticket! Instead of leaving the Parks on these days, consider resting inside the Park by finding a dining location or bench to relax on.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Decked out with whimsy in Toontown

Meeting Santa

Guests can meet and greet with Santa at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail inside Disney California Adventure park. He’s also been spotted inside all three of the Disneyland Resort hotels (I’ve personally seen him in the lobby of the Grand Californian with a very short line!) Times haven’t been released yet.

If meeting Santa at Disney is high on your list, make that top priority of the day. We waited until about 8 pm, thinking the lines would slow. We STILL waited 45 minutes! I’d recommend meeting Santa first thing in the day if possible (before your kids meltdown or fall asleep!)

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Meeting Santa at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

Shows and Entertainment

A Christmas Fantasy Parade is absolutely delightful, with charming seasonal spirit including dancing reindeer, gingerbread and lots of Disney characters in their holiday best. We like to watch from the it’s a small world mall. Considerably less crowded than Main Street U.S.A (but you should still find a place to sit about 45 minutes early).

Disney California Adventure park offers the Viva Navidad Street Party. The Three Caballeros host dancers, musicians and traditional puppets in a South American holiday fiesta.

At night, Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle twinkles to life with beautiful lights, icicles and snow-capped turrets.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Viva Navidad!

Stay After Fireworks

The Believe…In Holiday Magic fireworks spectacular should not be missed.  If you want to see it from the front (to view the castle projections), you should stake out a spot on Main Street U.S.A. several hours before the show. However you can totally watch the fireworks from other locations, including the Rivers of America or the it’s a small world mall.

After the fireworks, massive crowds will rush out of the park, tiny tots in tow! Try not to get hung up in the crowds (that’s why we watch the fireworks from the it’s a small world area). Fantasyland will be closed for a while after the show but other areas will remain open for fun. We were able to stay until closing and my kids rode The Matterhorn Bobsleds twice in a row without any wait!

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Seasonal treats at Marcelline’s in Downtown Disney District

Other Holiday Things at the Disneyland Resort

Because you know that lines will be long for everything, take advantage of what you can as it comes! When we visited last holiday, we arrived to Disney California Adventure park around 2 pm and there weren’t any lines at all for the Festive Foods Marketplace. However by 6 pm, lines were 20 guests deep! If you see something with a short queue, go for it right then and there because crowds do build as the day goes on.

Festive Foods Marketplace serves up multicultural food and drink at Disney California Adventure park during the holiday season. Each of the kiosks offers something different including gourmet appetizers, comfort food, draft beers, and fancy drinks (alcoholic and non). The holiday desserts (mocha yule log!) are not to be missed!

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Festive Marketplace kiosk with yuletide offerings

I absolutely adore just admiring the gorgeous holiday decor that’s all over the Disney parks. From the enormous tree on Main Street U.S.A., the auto-themed holiday decor in Cars Land and even the whimsical holiday spirit in Toontown, almost every area is decked out! Be sure to take the time to look at the decorations and take plenty of photos.

If the Parks are overcrowded, consider taking a stroll over at the Downtown Disney District. Guests can dine and shop amidst holiday decor, seasonal touches and live music. Grab a seasonal treat from Marcelline’s and just wander, soaking up the holiday magic!

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland


For more Disney Holiday fun,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


One Day Itinerary – Insider Tips for Disneyland with a Toddler

I’ve been taking my little ones to Disneyland since they were babies. I’ll admit that vacationing with a toddler at Disneyland can be a challenge. There are definite considerations and adjustments that need to be made in your trip when you have a toddler in tow! Check out my ideal one-day Disneyland itinerary with a toddler.

Please note that I use affiliate links in my post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Toddler at Disneyland

Before your trip, here are a few ideas and additional posts about what you should plan ahead of time.


Disneyland Itinerary with a Toddler

This is a one-day Disneyland itinerary with a toddler. I’ll outline what things you can see, do and eat in a single day at the Disneyland park with your toddler. You won’t be able to do EVERYTHING (you’d need more than a single day for that!). But these are the essentials that your toddler will enjoy!


Save Money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529


Extra Magic Hour and Rope Drop

Most toddlers are early birds, which will make it easy for you to get to the Park before opening. Have a quick breakfast at the hotel or do what I do with my toddler – Give her a granola bar or dry cereal and a cup of milk, and let her nibble in the stroller while we’re walking to the gates!

Guests staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel can enter the Parks one hour before official opening. Not all attractions are open but Fantasyland is! And Fantasyland is the perfect place to start with your toddler! Note that there are specific days that the Disneyland Park is available for Extra Magic Hour so check at the hotel for the schedule.

If you aren’t staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel, you’ll want to take advantage of “Rope drop”. This happens in the 30 minutes before the Park opens officially. If you arrive during this time, you may be able to enter onto Main Street U.S.A. before the rest of the Park opens. There are often character greetings and the shops are open for browsing.

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Character Greetings

Toddlers are fickle little people. Some toddlers LOVE the characters. And some toddlers HATE the characters! I recommend letting your toddler watch from afar at first and judge from there if you really want to do the character meet n’ greets. There are plenty of characters around the entrance and hub of Main Street U.S.A. and if you’re there right at rope drop, you’ll be able to meet with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald and more.

Check out this TravelingMom post with tons of tips on how to meet characters (with practical advice from a mom whose toddler is scared of Mickey!)

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Fantasyland

The first two hours inside Disneyland are important to maximize! Many vacationers will sleep in and arrive to the Park later in the day. It’s good to be an early bird and take advantage of the lighter crowds during those first few hours. I recommend hitting Fantasyland first with your toddler. Walk straight down Main Street U.S.A., across the Sleeping Beauty Castle drawbridge and into Fantasyland!

Most of the rides and attractions in the Fantasyland area are toddler appropriate (save for the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which have a 42″ minimum height requirement). I’ve included all of the attractions here with key notes for taking your toddler –

  • Alice in Wonderland -Most toddlers enjoy this ride
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train- MUST DO
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant – MUST DO
  • “it’s a small world”- MUST DO
  • King Arthur Carrousel- MUST DO
  • Mad Tea Party-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (fast moving)
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (dark elements)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight-Most toddlers enjoy this ride, however it is dark inside
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (dark elements)
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough-Most toddlers enjoy this ride (lots of stairs to climb, which toddlers usually enjoy!)
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (dark elements)
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats-Most toddlers enjoy this ride (slow boat ride, storytelling & miniatures)

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Lunch with Littles

Most dining locations offer toddler meals on their menus. And of course you can always request an extra plate and feed your toddler from your own meal. Feeding your under 2 year old at a buffet location is free. I have more dining tips for little ones at Disney on this post.

I’m not a fan of full-service dining with a fidgety toddler. When toddlers are hungry they want to eat NOW! Also, my toddler tends to eat quickly and then clamor to get out of her highchair. This means I’m usually having to rush my meal or take it to-go!

Character dining can be hit or miss with a toddler. If your little one loves the characters, then yes, by all means book Goofy’s Kitchen, Disney’s PCH Grill or the Plaza Inn Breakfast with Minnie and Friends. But if your toddler doesn’t like the characters, I’d definitely skip the pricey character dining experiences.

Here are my favorite places to eat for lunch with my toddler at Disneyland:

  • French Market in New Orleans Square- outdoor covered patio dining with roast chicken, meatloaf and corn chowder. The restaurant often offers live jazz music.
  • Red Rose Taverne in Fantasyland-indoor dining. My toddler liked sharing the flatbread and fries.
  • Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country-outdoor covered patio dining with chicken nuggets on the kid’s menu.


Play Time

Toddlers can only take so much of being strapped into a stroller. They need to get out, run around and play a bit (best to do right before their regular nap time).

There are places for you to let your toddler walk (like Main Street U.S.A. and the plaza near “it’s a small world”) that aren’t too congested. Other areas like New Orleans Square and Tomorrowland tend to be very crowded and it’s easy to get separated. Here are a few places to let your toddler out for free play (for more details and more locations, check out this DisneyBaby post about play areas at Disneyland).

  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
  • Tarzan’s Treehouse
  • Toontown Play Areas including Donald’s Boat, Goofy’s Playhouse, Minnie’s House and Mickey’s House

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Nap Time

Do NOT skip the nap! I repeat, do not attempt to skip sleep with your toddler! It’s tempting to want to power through your Disneyland day but you’ll pay for that skipped nap with tantrums and meltdowns!

You have several options for nap time, whether it be returning to the hotel, finding a quiet location or letting your toddler stroller sleep (my personal choice). Read more on this DisneyBaby post about ways to encourage naps at Disneyland.


Toddlers Love a Parade

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade is an absolute delight! Toddlers will love the vibrant colors, familiar characters and dance-able tunes. I keep my toddler in her stroller and roll it right up to the curb during the parade. This allows her a front row view to the show!

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Dinner at Disneyland

As dark falls on the Park, thoughts turn to dinner. As I noted at lunch, I recommend sticking to quick service locations. These are my favorites:

  • Plaza Inn on Main Street U.S.A.- Both indoor and outdoor dining. The fried chicken, veggies and mashed potatoes can’t be beat and the large platters are perfect for sharing.
  • Rancho del Zocalo in Frontierland – Outdoor dining. I love the atmosphere here at night, with the beautiful colored lanterns that hang over the dimly lit patio. The Mexican food offerings are good. Just be sure to check the menu before sharing because some of the items are on the spicy side.

Other Must-Do Toddler Attractions

Any ride or attraction that does not have a height restriction is a-okay for your toddler! Rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion do not have a height restriction but use your best judgement before bringing your toddler aboard. Skittish little ones who do not enjoy the dark aspects or “spooky” elements likely will not enjoy these attractions!

I’ve noted the following attractions that are must-do with your toddler-

  • Disneyland Railroad
  • Enchanted Tiki Room (snacks are allowed inside!)
  • Jungle Cruise (there is a loud gunshot during the ride; the Cast Member “Skipper” will alert you to cover your ears)
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (let her wield her own “blast” gun!)
  • Finding Nemo Submarines
This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Inside Finding Nemo Submarines – Toddlers can stand and look out the porthole.

Nighttime Entertainment

If your toddler doesn’t mind the noise and can stay up late, the fireworks spectaculars at Disneyland are amazing. Another excellent nighttime show is Fantasmic! I recently viewed this show with my toddler and have a few pointers. You’ll need to collect a FastPass ticket for Fantasmic! early in the day to have standing room viewing. Note that you’ll be arriving to your designated location about an hour early and standing to wait for the show. That’s a LONG time to hold a squirmy toddler. By the time the show came my arms were spent!

I highly recommend booking a Fantasmic! Dining Package in advance. You’ll receive a meal at one of the designated locations and a seat to watch the show front and center. I’m totally doing this next Disneyland trip!

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

For more Disney itinerary ideas,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Mickey Mouse Costumes to Make at Home on a Budget

In five years of trick-or-treating, my son has been Mickey Mouse three times! The first year was the classic Mickey (which he calls, “Happy Mickey”). Then Sorcerer Mickey. And this year, it’s Mickey in his Roadster Racers costume. As a big Disney fan, I love that my son wants to dress as his favorite character so often! And fortunately Mickey has plenty of incarnations to choose from! Here’s how you can make each of these three Mickey Mouse costumes on a budget at home.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Classic Mickey Mouse Costume

This sweet Mickey Mouse costume is the easiest of the bunch! Several of these pieces can be inexpensively store-bought and the rest go together quickly. Instructions for making your own Classic Mickey costume HERE.

WHAT YOU NEED TO BUY

  • Black t-shirt
  • Black leggings (optional in warm weather)
  • Red shorts
  • Two large white buttons
  • Yellow shoes (but we settled for white!)
  • To sew the hood, you’ll need stretchy black fabric and polyfil

Three budget-friendly Mickey Mouse costume ideas for Halloween

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey Mouse Costume

With the wave of your wand (and a few stitches on your sewing machine) you’ll be able to sew up the Sorcerer’s hat that is the centerpiece of this darling costume. The instructions for putting together the Sorcerer’s Hat HERE.

WHAT YOU NEED TO BUY

  • Red tunic or over-sized t-shirt
  • Brown belt or rope to tie around the waist
  • Leggings or pants in a dark color
  • Blue and white cotton for the hat
  • Black felt for the Mouse ears

Three budget-friendly Mickey Mouse costume ideas for Halloween

Mickey and the Roadster Racers Costume

This is a completely handcrafted costume so it may take a little longer than the other two. But not more expensive, it just requires a few more creative touches. I made the jumpsuit and hood by following this McCall’s Costume Pattern. However I’ve made creative adjustments to add the color blocking.

If you’re not up for sewing something elaborate, this outfit could easily be put together by making it with a few store-bought pieces. By adding yellow felt designs to a sweatshirt and pants and then applying hand-painted patches you’ll have an inexpensive and unique Mickey Mouse costume!

WHAT YOU NEED TO BUY

When creating the patches I used the same technique as in this Finding Dory t-shirt. I fuse white cotton patches onto the fabric, stitch carefully around the outside and then paint my design onto the cotton. (The photo of my son when wearing this costume was before I finished with the patches).

SeaWorld San Diego Halloween Spooktacular offers family fun including trick or treating and Halloween activities!

I have a LOT more Halloween costume ideas HERE.


For more on the Halloween costume ideas,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Three budget-friendly Mickey Mouse costume ideas for Halloween

First Timers Guide to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney World

Last year I had the chance to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney World. I was visiting for a conference and had my (then) 5-month old daughter in tow. I didn’t do much research to prepare but these are a few things I gleaned from the visit. Here are my 20 first timer tips for taking on the Halloween Party at Disney World!

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and purchasing through the link helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

1. You Need a Special Event Ticket, Not a Park Ticket

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a “special ticket” event. You do NOT need a regular Park ticket to attend. You need to purchase the event ticket only. Prices for the event vary, depending upon the date you attend.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

2. The Party’s at Magic Kingdom

If you’re going to use a Park ticket to visit the Magic Kingdom in the morning, understand that this Park ticket doesn’t include the Halloween Party. This means you won’t be able to stay and Cast Members will be strategically clearing out the Park (Halloween Party-goers receive a special wristband designating them to stay for the party). If you have a Park ticket and not a Party ticket, you’ll be asked to leave at 7 pm.


3. Sleep In & Rest During the Day

With party hours extending to midnight, my suggestion is to take it easy during the day. The party ends at midnight and then you still have to walk to transportation and get back to your room. It was nearly 1:30 am by the time I rolled into bed!

Try and sleep in. Spend time relaxing at the Resort. Take a nap if possible. Save your ticket and skip going to the Parks that day. You’ll want to save your energy for the Party!

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

4. Tricky Weather

“Darn, It’s Hot!”

“Hey, Now It’s Raining!”

Keep an eye on the weather report. It’s likely going to be VERY hot and humid during the Party. On my visit it was already hot and then it sprinkled and the humidity shot up. I was wearing leggings and a tank with a shirt over the top. That shirt came off pretty quickly! Bring a poncho if rain is in the forecast.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

5. Plan Your Costumes

Speaking of heat and humidity, you don’t want to be overdressed in an elaborate costume. I mean, Sully from Monsters Inc. is a great costume but TOTALLY not appropriate for the Party because you’ll be way too hot. I suggest lightweight and layers. This way you can take things off as needed.

Adults are allowed to dress in costume for the Party event only. Be sure to check out the costume guidelines first.

Lots of families go with a costume theme, like all the characters from Peter Pan, Inside Out or Alice in Wonderland. Search Pinterest for lots of dressing up Disney ideas.

Nobody says you have to wear a costume, but it is a fun way to get into the Party spirit. Consider Disneybounding! Or just wear a simple Halloween or Fall-themed tee or face paint.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

6. My Disney Experience

Pre-party be sure to do your research and plan out a bit of your evening. Those 5 hours of Party time go very quickly and if there are certain things you want to see and do, try and schedule them out. The My Disney Experience app is free to download on your phone. You’ll be able to schedule showtimes into the app along with keeping track of dining reservations.


7. You Can Get In Early

Though the Halloween Party at Disney World actually kick starts at 7 pm, guests with the special event ticket are actually allowed to enter much earlier! You’ll be allowed to enter at 4 pm with your Party ticket. Plan to arrive earlier to pass through the crowds at security. Then at 4 pm on the dot you’ll be permitted into the Park!

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

8. Get a Guide Map

As you enter the Park, Cast Members will be handing out small treat bags for collecting candy along with a guide map. This guide map is your key to the evening’s activities. It includes times of the shows, which attractions are open, character greeting locations, what restaurants are serving food and where guests can trick-or-treat.

Save money on Your Disney Vacation!

Purchase discount Disneyland and Walt Disney World tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today.

Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount).

9. No FastPass During the Party (But Here’s a Trick)

True, there won’t be any FastPass distribution during the actual Party (7 pm to midnight) but here’s a little trick. With your special event ticket, you will be able to book FastPass from 4 pm to 7 pm! I was able to pre-schedule two FastPass on the day of the event before the Party began.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

3 extra hours before the Party so we went on rides!

10. Eat Early

Advance Dining Reservations will be available during the Halloween Party so book those early to dine at your favorite Magic Kingdom full-service restaurant. However I would suggest that you try to eat before 7 pm so as not to “waste” your precious Party time.

Also many of the dining locations will close during the Party so your choices will be more limited and lines for quick service will be longer. Check your guide map to verify which locations will be available. I ended up eating a boring burger & fries at Cosmic Ray’s because my first choices were either booked full or were closed.


11. Plan Your Evening

Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quartet will sing in Frontierland.

Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular happens 3 times each Party night. Singing, dancing and slightly spooky fun. This is a LOUD show and several villains appear, so if your kids are particularly nervous, you could choose to skip this. The last show of the evening is the least crowded.

Happy HalloWishes Firework show happens only once per Party night. I recommend finding a place to view it in front of Cinderella Castle at least 30 minutes early.

Boo-to-You Halloween Parade happens twice. Keep reading for why I suggest watching BOTH shows!

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

12. Party First, Candy Later

Everyone, even the grown ups, are encouraged to trick-or-treat. But don’t jump into a treat line right away. Lines will be extraordinarily long at the beginning of the Party. If your little ones can hold out, consider taking advantage of the shorter ride lines and Halloween Party shows first. Then trick-or-treat after 10 pm when the lines are considerable shorter.

13. Special Bags for Those With Allergies

Concerned about food allergies? Request a special bag from Cast Members who are handing out treat bags & guide maps. This teal colored bag will signify a food allergy. Cast Members at the various treat stations will hand out teal tokens. These tokens can be redeemed at special locations for allergy-friendly treats like cookies, gummy worms or even non-food Halloween crafts.

14. Watch the Parade Twice

Yes, the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade is that good! The Parade happens twice each night and I waited to watch the second showing. I was kicking myself for not watching it the first time too, because I LOVED it! The Headless Horseman, the elaborate floats, Gravediggers, favorite characters and the catchy theme music is not-to-miss. My favorite was the Haunted Mansion float (trust me, you’re going to want to watch it twice!)

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

15. Want to See Characters? Expect a LOOONG Wait

Looking forward to meeting with Jack Skellington and Sally? How about Snow White and ALL 7 dwarves? I’ve heard of wait times hovering around 2 hours! With the Party only lasting a total of 5 hours, I’d think twice before spending so much time waiting in a line for one photo op.

16. What’s Open & What’s Not

Some attractions do not stay open during the Halloween Party. For instance, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and Jungle Cruise are open only as treat locations to distribute candy. However Pirates of the Caribbean is open as both an attraction and as a treat location. Check your guide map before promising any rides to your kids and verify the attraction will be available!


17. MemoryMaker Photo Ops & Magic Shots

PhotoPass photographers will be located around the Park taking special photos during the Party. They will be available at character meetings to take pictures with their camera or even your own. Magic Shots and Animated Magic Shots will be taken at several locations – Magic Kingdom Main Entrance, Haunted Mansion, Town Square, Main Street, U.S.A. and Liberty Square. You’ll pose, the photo will be taken and you won’t know what surprise characters will show up in your photograph!

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

18. Happy HalloWishes is a Must-See

I love a Disney fireworks show and this one is AWESOME! I sat on one of the grassy areas in the hub (about 30 minutes before the show began). I had no problem finding a place to sit and the view of the show was perfect. I wore my Made with Magic Mickey Ear Hat and the ears lit up and flashed alone with the music for the show, it was so much fun!

19. Tips for Little Ones

When I visited Magic Kingdom with my preschooler he was able to stay up past midnight. However that’s because I’d kept him on West coast time so it was really only 9 pm for him!

If your kiddos are used to going to bed earlier than when the clock strikes midnight, consider that you may be leaving the Party early to get them to bed. Depending upon your child’s temperament (and how much candy was consumed) there might be an epic meltdown. Or take advantage of the earlier timed events and then let the kids fall asleep in their stroller.

Planning on taking a baby to the Halloween Party at Disney World? Check out my Disney Baby post.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

20. Things to Bring with You

  • If you have kids under 5 (or a child who will fall asleep early) definitely bring a stroller.
  • Glow sticks allow you to find family in the dark
  • If you want to collect LOTS of candy, bring an extra trick-or-treat bag
  • Pack in healthy snacks and bottled water to off-set the treats

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

 

 

Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road at Disneyland 2017

I have been blessed to attend a Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road event for the last three years. These conferences are definite highlights of my blogging year! Not only do I get to mingle with my blogger besties, I also get to hear about upcoming Disney news and receive invaluable social media advice. And the bonus for the last two years – admission to play in the Disneyland parks after the conference. You can’t beat that! Keep reading for what we learned at Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road at Disneyland 2017.

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road Conference. I received breakfast during the conference, complimentary park hopper tickets for me and my family, complimentary MaxPass, FastPass tickets to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: MISSION BREAKOUT, FastPass tickets for Fantasmic! and a bag of gifts from Disney. Travel expenses were paid by me. As always, opinions are my own.

The first year I applied and was accepted to attend On-the-Road in Portland, Oregon. It was my first trip to the Northwest and I loved every minute of it! Last year was invite-only and the event was held inside the Paradise Pier Hotel at the Disneyland Resort! It was the year of their 60th Anniversary and what a magical time that was. Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road at Disneyland was when I got my first look at Moana.

My first #DisneySMMC On-the-Road, in Portland Oregon

Pixie dust landed in my email once again this year as I was invited this month to attend the Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road at Disneyland for 2017. The event was held inside Stage 17 at Disney California Adventure park. Attendees of the event were allowed access early into the park. The trolley driver even stopped for us so we could capture a few photos on the empty streets of Hollywood Land!

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

My first two On-the-Road events had very similar social media tips but this year offered some fresh new advice. In fact, my brain didn’t quite catch up to my fingers and I captured as much as I could. I was really trying to soak it all in because it was all very relevant and helpful information for those in the social media/blogging community! Follow @DisneyMoms on Twitter for more details on the event (and other Disney updates).

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

A Few of the Disney players hosting and speaking at the event:

Leanne O’Regan (director of public relations at the Walt Disney World Resort – @leannej on Twitter)

Courtnee Collier (social media manager for Disney Parks – ms_courtnee on Twitter)

Erin Glover (Editorial Content Director at Disneyland Resort – @gopluto on Twitter)

Megan Sayers (Social and video strategy lead at Babble – @megansayers on Twitter)

Takeaways-

  • Video is most effective when used to share something that can’t be seen anywhere else, is personal or unexpected.
  • When planning photo and video shoots, create a video production check list. This will allow you to save time and be more efficient during actual filming.
  • 80% of videos are watched without sound. Upload a caption file for Facebook.
  • If wanting to add a link with your video, insert link in the comment and not the copy. Adding in the copy can hurt the algorithm.
  • Think about a “content franchise” and serialize your content. What do you do everyday that your fans respond to? What can you make as a episode program?

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

Rose Gold Ears (and Other Exciting Stuff!)

One of the hottest news buzz in the room at DisneySMMC was rose gold Mouse ears! Or specifically, the lack of them. Seems everyone wanted a pair but they’d been quickly sold out in the Parks. However four coveted pairs of rose gold ears were raffled off to lucky winners during the conference. And there was a spare pair for photo ops!

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

Dawn Winston of I Am a Mommy Nerd became one of my very first blogging friends when I started writing. I had the chance to meet for the first time! We’ve been on the Blogorail team together for years and have a very special connection that has to do with our Dads. My baby daughter was even born on Dawn’s birthday, which I find just perfectly delightful!

Dawn and I have bonded over our repeated applications to the Disney Parks Moms Panel Search. Several years ago we both made it to the final round, trying for a lone Disneyland opening.

We were so excited to hear during the conference that applications for the 2018 year will open on September 6th. Hey, that’s MY birthday, so that has to mean something, right?!

If you’re considering applying to the Disney Parks Moms Panel, all the information is available RIGHT HERE.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure

Kevin Deters (@storyman9 on Twitter) and Stevie Wermers (@supercaken on Twitter) from Walt Disney Animation Studios introduced clips and story line of the new installment in the Frozen series, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. They have co-directed this “featurette” that will show before the feature film Coco. Set for an November 22nd release Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will be 22 minutes long with 4 new songs. After just watching the clips I can tell you it includes so much of the charm we’ve come to expect from the Frozen series! I adore Olaf 🙂

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

Stacia Martin, Disney Artist & Historian

I soak up Disney-lore and love hearing backstories. Stacia Martin is a wealth of information. And in her 39 year stint as a Disney artist and historian, she’s a gem herself. What fun it was to watch her easily draw Mickey, Tinker Bell and Winnie the Pooh right before our eyes, while handily offering historical details on the characters and her art background.

We were each gifted one of her original drawings at the end of the event. Mine was Mickey (my favorite character!). It has my name on the drawing and is signed by Stacia as well. I can’t wait to frame it and put it in a place of honor in my home.

Here is a video I took of Stacia as she sketched during our event:

Amy Robach, Good Morning America

Our surprise guest speaker was Amy Robach (@ajrobach on Twitter) from Good Morning America. Amy’s story began with her getting a live mammogram on the show. But her story has a turn, when she found out that she had breast cancer. 80% of breast cancer patients have no family history and Robach was clearly in shock to receive such a diagnosis.

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

Amy discussed how her life-changing health event caused her to start parenting differently and begin living in the moment.

Wrapping Up the Conference

My friend and fellow TravelingMom and Blogorail team member Leslie Harvey of Trips with Tykes got her photo op with Mickey dressed in Roadster Racers costume. There is an all-new Disney Junior! Live on Stage Dance Party featuring many characters from the channel.

What’s New & What’s Ending at Disneyland Parks?

After just having visited Disneyland for a summer family media event, I’ve shared a post about What’s New, What’s Returning and What’s Coming to Disneyland.
The #SummerofHeroes event is wrapping up at Disney California Adventure park on September 10th. However some of the super hero fun lives on with the hot new attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy: MISSION BREAKOUT!

MaxPass includes unlimited PhotoPass downloads. I was thrilled to have my kids with me for the event so I could capture this great photo of us in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle! Hmm, I need to stop time because two of my four kids are now taller than me!
What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!
I hadn’t seen Fantasmic! in nearly 10 years so I have been looking forward to watching the newly updated show! We were excited to watch the show with a wonderful vantage point. One of these days I’m going to spring for a dinner package so I can have a place to sit. Standing for an hour pre-show then during the show itself with a squirmy toddler was hard!
What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

I was so excited to have the opportunity to see the Main Street Electrical Parade one last time before it “glows” away! This parade is near-and-dear to my heart as I remember watching it with my Dad. In fact, it’s the only parade I remember watching with him at Disneyland (he was more of a “ride all the rides kind of guy!”)

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

Thank you to the Disney social media team for the much-appreciated invitation this year! I truly enjoyed the new information and am already pushing myself to use some of the newer features on social media that I’ve been resisting (Instagram Stories, anyone?!) Thank you again for the magical Disneyland day, my family and I had a fantastic visit!

 

What’s New, What’s Returning and What’s Coming To Disneyland?

So much exciting news has been developing at the Disneyland Resort this summer! From the Marvel-inspired Summer of Heroes, new and updated rides and attractions, the release of MaxPass and the building anticipation of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there’s tons to explore! Find out what’s new, what’s returning and what’s coming to Disneyland Parks.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

I received complimentary Park Hopper tickets and MaxPass for myself and my children to attend a Family Media Day event at Disneyland. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

#SummerofHeroes

As you enter Disney California Adventure Park, you can’t miss the huge Marvel-style signage above the entrance. It’s the Summer of Heroes at Disneyland and there are several new things going on in the Parks. Some of these events will be ending when Halloween Time arrives. Other attractions are here to stay!

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

Entrance to Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure park for Summer of Heroes event.

Check out this video from Disney Parks Blog that outlines what’s happening at Disney California Adventure park for the Summer of Heroes event:

Super Hero-Style Dining

There are some super bites for guests to enjoy representative of Summer of Heroes! I’m mean, how cool is that Groot Bread! I had the chance to try several dishes. The yummy Obviously Nachos are made with fried blue corn tortillas and topped with red pepper cheese sauce, mojo-marinated chicken, chipotle crèma and green onions. Multiverse Parfait was rich and delicious (Chocolate cake layered with white and dark chocolate mousse and cherry jelly, topped with chocolate ganache).

Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT

The jewel of the Summer of Heroes is the most grand attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT. This ride opened to guests earlier this summer. While my three kids rode, I stayed behind with the baby. I thought since this new ride had previously been The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror there might be some similarities. As my eldest explained, “It’s nothing like The Tower of Terror!” I’m looking forward to visiting again soon so I can ride and see for myself!

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT attraction remade over the Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure Park.

MaxPass

I’ll admit that I was a little fuzzy on the details of MaxPass up to our recent visit. This new feature had debuted about a week before my trip and I’d not done much research. Fortunately it’s a very easy program to use and saved us immense amounts of time!

Here’s an outline video from the Disney Parks Blog on how MaxPass works:

A few of my own thoughts about MaxPass. At a cost of $10 per ticket, per day (along with unlimited PhotoPass downloads) I found this to be a good value. My family and I were able to experience 24 rides on our single day visit (over the course of 13 hours). This was on a summer Saturday in July!

While we were leaving one attraction, I was able to arrange a MaxPass reservation for our next ride. I appreciated being able to access the app to see which times were available next. This allowed me to pick and choose the next available time for an attraction that was nearby. This allowed us to maximize time and eliminated unnecessary running around.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

I also liked that I could quickly scan all available open MaxPass and pick and choose which attraction I wanted. This meant I didn’t have to physically go to the attraction to see the return time before choosing that reservation.

I even found that I was able to hold several MaxPass at the same time, something that didn’t happen for me when using the old FastPass system.

MaxPass Tips!

  • Start the day with a fully charged mobile device battery and bring an external charger as well. Using MaxPass all day really drains the battery! I brought my external charger and even after a full charge, my phone battery still died before the end of the night.
  • Before “locking in” on a MaxPass reservation, scroll through all the available options. Some attractions had several hour waits before we’d have been able to redeem our MaxPass reservation. Other times we were able to find some attractions with only a 5 minute wait!
  • MaxPass works between the Parks. This means you can book a Disneyland Parks MaxPass even while at Disney California Adventure. This was an awesome feature, being able to book a reservation for the opposite Park just before Park Hopping!
  • FASTPASS tickets that are printed are only your reminder of the return time. With MaxPass you won’t be printing anything so you’ll need to view your return time on your mobile device.
  • You can use either your Park tickets or your mobile device as the proof of your reservation. I used my Park tickets each time (simply to save phone battery). This meant I was pulling my tickets out to show them to Cast Members over and over throughout the day. I can see how easily this would mean losing them (in fact, my daughter DID lose her ticket, about an hour before closing). Keep your tickets in a safe place. I’d recommend a water proof lanyard.

I feel that MaxPass truly did maximize our visit and streamlined our time spent in queue. We never spent longer than 20 minutes in any one line all day, even for the E-Ticket rides like Radiator Springs Racers, Space Mountain and Guardians of the Galaxy. Here is my video review of how MaxPass worked for my family:

New FASTPASS Opportunities

Two new FASTPASS locations means that lines will be moving more swiftly! For the first time guests can book a FASTPASS for Toy Story Midway Mania and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. These two attractions are also available on the MaxPass system. FASTPASS continues to be complimentary to any ticket holders for the duration of your visit. MaxPass costs $10 per ticket, per day.

Another change is that the FASTPASS ticket that is printed is only a reminder of the time. You’ll need your actual Park ticket to redeem the reservation. The only exceptions are for special shows like Fantasmic! and World of Color, as you’ll still need the actual FASTPASS ticket to redeem when arriving for your reserved time.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

Paper FASTPASS is only a reminder. You’ll need your park ticket to redeem FASTPASS.

 

Rivers of America

The Rivers of America re-routing and Railroad track construction is complete. This means that the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes are back on the water! And Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island has reopened as well.

Here is a video from Disney Parks Blog that celebrates their return.

Disneyland Railroad

After being closed for a year, the Disneyland Railroad reopened on the day of our visit (July 29th, 2017). Several elevated trestles have been installed along the tracks and for the first time the train makes a left turn along the route.

What's new & what's coming to Dis

This new view of the Mark Twain is taken from atop the bridge for the Disneyland Railroad

With the Railroad reopening another often-forgotten attraction has been rejuvenated as well. Just after leaving the Tomorrowland Station, the train enters The Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas. This attraction has always been one of my favorites and the new updates don’t disappoint! The dioramas look refreshed and have been updated with projections that add even more interest to the dramatic scenes.

Entrance to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

With the reopening of the pathway between Frontierland and Fantasyland, guests can now access the path that will lead to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Though this new Land won’t be opening until 2019, the excitement is already building for what will be an amazing new addition to Disneyland Park.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

This is to be the entrance to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The pathway leads under a new bridge for the Disneyland Railroad.

Here’s a “fly-through” of the model that will be Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge from the Disney Parks Blog:

Red Rose Taverne

This new restaurant opened to guests earlier this year, in celebration of the feature film Beauty and the Beast. The Village Haus Restaurant in Fantasyland has been transformed into a French chateau, the Red Rose Taverne.

I dined on the Beast’s Burger, which was over-the-top yummy. A Gray Stuff Gateau (white chocolate mousse and red velvet cake with a sweet raspberry center) is offered here for dessert. We’ve heard mixed reviews so we skipped it this time.

This restaurant is being called a “limited time offering” but it’s still going strong several months later and I’m not sure when it will be ending.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

Fantasmic!

This long-running nighttime spectacular returned to Disneyland Park mid-June with updated technology. Guests who wish to watch Fantasmic! should grab a FastPass early in the day. This will allow you entrance into a reserved viewing area (you are unable to watch the show with this ticket).

There is a Fantasmic! Dining Package available, which offers you a meal along with that reserved FastPass ticket. Choose from Blue Bayou, River Belle Terrace or Hungry Bear Restaurant. The dishes look delicious and the desserts are even more amazing.

(Image: Disney Parks Blog)

Check out this Sorcerer Mickey “Fantasmic!” Dessert, with milk chocolate mousse, bananas foster sauce, milk chocolate pound cake and a chocolate glaze…wow!!!

Here’s a sneak peek video of Fantasmic! from Disney Parks Blog:

Save money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount Disneyland tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today.

Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

 

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

Phone Camera Tips for Capturing Your Best Shots

Everyone’s taking lots of pictures with their phone cameras. Naturally your phone is easy to carry with you, especially when traveling. And you can share images immediately on social media which is always fun! When traveling light, I leave my bulky DSLR camera at home and rely solely on my phone camera to take pictures. Here are a few tips for capturing your best shots on your phone camera.

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

Taking the Best Shots on Your Phone Camera

We’ve all seen some truly fantastic phone camera shots that look like they were taken with a “fancy camera”. And we’ve seen the out of focus, smudgy and too dark/overly bright cell phone shares too. Here are some phone camera tips for taking the best shots! All of these pictures were taken with my Android, Samsung Galaxy S6.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

So happy I had my camera with me to capture this first taste of a Dole Whip at the Polynesian!

Clean the Lens

That’s a no-brainer when using your regular camera, but often forgotten with your phone camera. Use a lens cloth to clean up smudges for the most crisp images. In a pinch, the edge of your shirt will do.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

Celebrating Dia de los Muertos at Disneyland during Halloween time.

Getting in Focus

Getting that beautiful bokeh (or blurred background) is easy with your cell phone camera! Simply tap the spot on the screen that you want to be in the most clear focus before you snap the picture. Having the item close to the camera will create that lovely bokeh in the background.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

Adjust Brightness Manually Before You Shoot

Things looking too dark or overly bright? Just before taking a photo, adjust the brightness manually. Simply touch your cell phone screen and slide your finger either right or left to brighten or darken your shot. My phone has a little light bulb icon that pops up on the screen to indicate brightness.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

The sun was overly bright on this day at the Wyndham in Disney World. I adjusted brightness before taking the shot.

Turn Off the Flash (or Diffuse It)

Sometimes lighting is lower than you like but always try to resist using your cell phone camera flash. The flash can create some intense shadows, hot spots and maybe even completely blacken out the background of the image. Instead of using your flash, concentrate on holding the camera very still by propping your arms or using a travel tripod.

Another option is to diffuse the flash (especially helpful when photographing food in a dimly lit restaurant). Hold a paper napkin over the flash on the camera to lessen the strength.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney!

I wanted to capture the entire scene behind the Dole Whip cup so I didn’t use the manual focus for this shot inside the Polynesian.

Night Shots

I find that I can capture better night shots with my cell phone camera than I can with my regular camera. One tip is to hold your phone very steady. For this shot of the Disneyland Hotel pool area at night, I held my elbows on a railing so I didn’t wiggle the camera when I took the picture. Use the brightness feature sparingly to lighten things up as you wish.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

Dark scenes that are far away aren’t going to show up well. You’ll need to get up close to the item and make sure that it’s fairly well lit. Also items that are moving quickly in the dark are going to blur if you try to photograph them. Aim to shoot items that are still or moving slowly and very well lit, like the float in the Paint the Night Parade (featured image at the top).

 

Crop Later Instead of Using Zoom

Zooming on your cell phone camera is going to make you photo look very pixilated and/or blurry. Better to take the photo as you see it and then crop later.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

Don’t zoom! Better to crop the image later.

Sharing on Instagram

If you’re taking a photo specifically for Instagram, set up the shot ahead of time to best fit their square frame. You don’t want to have to crop out your favorite part of the picture to make it fit into the frame for Instagram. I wanted to capture not only my kids in this photo but the sandy beach and the hotel behind them so I took a wide shot and then cropped for Instagram.

 

Snapseed

Rather than using the same ol’ filters on Instagram that everyone else is using, edit your photos in Snapseed. This free app allows you to simply crop, brighten or sharpen images. Or you can get as complicated as you would in Photoshop on your desktop with curves and healing tools. Except that Snapseed is totally easy to use!

I used Snapseed on this shot at Port Orleans Riverside, including white balance and brightness.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.


For more Disney photo tips,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Tips for Kids to Enjoy Walt Disney World Playgrounds

Working downtime into your Disney vacation schedule can benefit everyone in the family. When you’re not in the Parks, take time to enjoy the amenities like the pool, resort activities and the playgrounds. Allowing kids time to play lets them burn off extra energy. The various themed playgrounds available at many of the Walt Disney World resort hotels let kids do what they do best! Here are a few kid-tested tips to enjoying the Disney World playgrounds.

Disney World playgrounds and water play structures at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels in Orlando are another way for kids to play!

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Walt Disney World Resort Playgrounds

Playground structures are located at many of the resort hotels and are intended for kids aged 2-12. On my last Disney World trip I had my preschooler with me. I made sure we spent time at the resort playground each day. I found that he was much more cooperative about waiting in lines inside the Parks when he’d had the free play time!

Disney World playgrounds and water play structures at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels in Orlando are another way for kids to play!

Kids will love The Dig Site at Disney’s Caribbean Beach, with several areas to play.

Not all of the Disney World Resorts have a playground. Here’s a list of those that do:

  • All-Star Movies Resort
  • All-Star Music Resort
  • All-Star Sports Resort
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
  • Art of Animation Resort
  • BoardWalk Inn
  • BoardWalk Villas
  • Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Coronado Springs Resort
  • Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Old Key West Resort
  • Pop Century Resort
  • Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel

What to Expect at Disney World Resort Playgrounds

Some of the playgrounds are more elaborate than others. Certain playgrounds are themed to the resort. Other playgrounds look like they’d be at your local park. Most will have some kind of climbing equipment, bars for hanging and slides.

Disney World playgrounds and water play structures at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels in Orlando are another way for kids to play!

The Disney World playground at Fort Wilderness is under a canopy of trees.

During my visits (late spring) the playgrounds didn’t have a lot of kids. I’d expect that during busier seasons, there might be more activity. If your kids are anything like mine, they prefer when the playground has other children to play with! Check the times posted on when the playground is open (they generally close at dusk).

Some play areas at Disney World are under shade and others are out in the open. Play structure equipment can get really hot in the sunshine. Be sure to check before letting your child play.

There seems to be a good number of benches and seating for adults around the playgrounds. But of course, sit where you can supervise your kids!

Disney World playgrounds and water play structures at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels in Orlando are another way for kids to play!

Coronado Spring’s Disney World playground is Mayan-themed like the resort.

Just Add Water!

A few of the pool areas at the Resorts also have interactive play structures. Kids can climb, splash, spray and stay cool. Many have height restrictions which limit use to preschool age or young elementary. These play structures are nicely suited for little ones who aren’t comfortable with full swimming pools or can’t yet swim.

Disney World playgrounds and water play structures at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels in Orlando are another way for kids to play!

Elaborate pirate-themed water play structure at Disney’s Caribbean Beach

Other Places to Play

No playground? No problem! Many of the resorts have areas for kids to play or simply run around. Always be considerate of noise (especially if the location is near hotel room windows and/or it’s particularly early in the day). And of course observe all rules, stay out of flower beds and take heed of signs that restrict access.

Kids can run and do cartwheels on the lawn at Beach Club.

Disney World playgrounds and water play structures at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels in Orlando are another way for kids to play!

No playground? Let kids run on the grass (so long as there’s no sign restricting it)

There’s a game of corn hole in the bus waiting area at Port Orleans Riverside.

Disney World playgrounds and water play structures at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels in Orlando are another way for kids to play!

A game of corn hole at Port Orleans Riverside

Many hotels, like Coronado Springs Resort have sandy beach areas.

Disney World playgrounds and water play structures at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels in Orlando are another way for kids to play!

Kids enjoy playing in the sandy beach at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

Do you have a favorite play area at Disney World? Share with me in the comments!


For more play areas for kids at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!