Cast Members will welcome you in the lobby. The parquet floors, gold trim and blue drapes bring a feeling of southern Louisiana charm. I suggest arriving early (about 30 minutes) for your reservation and requesting a table by the water. These tables will offer a perfect view of the beginning section of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. You will hear the sounds of the swamp, like crickets and frogs chirping. You can see fireflies twinkle, the old fishing boats and cabins on the bayou and watch park guests float by.
Hollywood’s Golden Age spanned three decades and gave us classic films and movie stars. From the late 1920’s through the late 1950’s, people were mesmerized by the glitz and glamorous lifestyles of film makers and actors.
Now we can relive this magical era by dining at Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure Park. A meticulous reproduction of the original Carthay Circle Theater, which premiered Walt Disney’s Snow White in 1937, Carthay Circle Restaurant is located on Buena Vista Street.
20,000 – 30,000 or more! That is the average number of steps Disneyland guests take PER DAY! That is between 10 – 12 miles of walking. After that many steps, plus the hours of standing, my poor feet start squawking by about 3:00 in the afternoon.
Disneyland’s new MaxPass system is sure to help those aching feet and put a smile on everyone’s face with the ease and convenience of obtaining digital FastPasses without the hassle of walking all over the parks.
With the old FastPass system, guests needed to visit the FastPass distribution kiosk near an attraction, insert each guest’s park ticket and retrieve a paper FastPass with a return time. Often times, one family member was assigned the task of fetching FastPasses, thus splitting up your group for a period of time. Guests would then visit other attractions or shows until their given return time. This entailed a lot of extra walking between attractions and time spent waiting in FastPass kiosk lines.
With Disneyland’s MaxPass, the extra time, effort and energy to obtain a FastPass is no more! Guests can keep their party together, eliminate hundreds of extra steps and spend their time enjoying the magic of the parks.
MaxPass is an extra paid option that allows guests access to all of their digital PhotoPass images as well as the opportunity to make digital FastPass selections from the convenience of a smart phone. The current pricing for MaxPass is $10 per person per day.
As a park guest planning my own personal trip for a family of 5, I really questioned whether I should spend the extra $50 per day. This seemed like a lot of extra money that I really had not put in my original budget. After doing some research and reading other reviews, I decided to try the system for one day. I can tell you now, after having spent three days using MaxPass, it was well worth the extra money for each day!
Here is how the MaxPass system works.
Looking for a bit of Southern hospitality and fantastic BBQ fare? Take a closer look at River Belle Terrace in Disneyland’s Frontierland. Located next to Pirates of the Caribbean and across from Rivers of America in a quaint white building with tall columns, green shutters and intricate wrought-iron railings, you can’t miss this table service restaurant.
I have officially earned my wings! I ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland! This is something I have been working towards for the last 2 years and I am over-the-moon with joy!
My Tinker Bell Half Marathon journey started several years ago when I would go on walks with my youngest daughter in her stroller. I loved to hear her squeals when I would run a bit and the wind blew her hair. “Faster, mommy! Again!” Sometimes it really took everything out of me to help my little one feel like she was flying, but I loved the exercise. My little one grew and graduated to being able to ride her bike on our walks. We never went far, but her little legs sure could pedal and that left me trotting along to keep up with her.
I have been a runner for several years and when I first heard of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland I squealed like a little girl! I couldn’t believe there was a race at Disneyland where you could actually run in the parks, meet characters and get a really cool medal. Thus began my Tinker Bell race journey in 2013. I had full intentions of signing up for the 2014 race, but due to knee and ankle injuries, I had to pass. I was really sad and friends asked why I didn’t just run a local half marathon. My response was simply, “If I am going to complete a half marathon, it is going to be at Disneyland!”
With much rest, tenderness and therapy, my injuries healed and in 2014 I was back to training and feeling very excited that 2015 was going to be my year to complete a Disney half marathon. It was even better that the races were being held over Mother’s Day weekend!
I showed my family photos of all the amazing costumes and videos of past races. They loved the race start with fireworks and Tinker Bell flying overhead. Soon everyone was on board with the idea that we would run the 5k as a family.
Registration opened for the 2015 Tinker Bell race weekend on August 12, 2014. There was a lot of social media hype about how these races fill up within a matter of minutes sometimes, so I made sure I was on my computer and ready to go before 12:00 noon EST. Thankfully, I had no problem registering the 5 of us for the 5k and myself for the half marathon.
So that left us nine months to train, prepare and get even more excited. I joined the Facebook group and took in as much information as I could from veteran runners. Every time I took a training run through my neighborhood, I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like when I actually got to run through the parks! I would even tear up with excitement. Two years is a long time to wait and train!
Overall, my training went really well. I did have some set backs with my ankle and knee, but was able to keep progressing. My husband even learned to experience the joys of running and has become quite the athlete! My three girls, however… that’s a different story.
At race time, my girls were ages 14, 12 and 9. I knew this was a “family fun run”, so there was no pressure for us to set any records or even to run the entire distance. I also knew that completing 3.2 miles was going to take some effort. My girls, being the ever-wise tweens, “knew” differently. “Mom, I dance three days a week. I am in shape!” Yes, my girls are very strong and athletic. Yet, running is an entirely different sport than dancing. I wasn’t going to force anyone to train, but really tried to stress the importance of regularly getting out for a walk/run session. I shared the Jeff Galloway run-walk-run method with them, put great songs on their playlists and hung a count down calendar.
After several months, we decided to go for a 1 mile walk/run as a family. “Mom, that’s so easy!” they said. My girls quickly discovered the need for good posture and calm, regular breaths. A few more weeks of regular family runs and all 5 of us were going the distance, plus some, with shrieks of excitement as they too began to imagine running through our Happy Place and getting pictures with characters. Soon enough, the countdown calendar showed that our Tinker Bell races in Disneyland were right around the corner.
For the young and young at heart, the anticipation of meeting a favorite character on their Disney vacation can make them simply giddy! Yes, Disney vacations are about family time, rides, great food and shows, but we all have our hopes set on meeting a special character and getting their autograph.
Characters appear throughout the Disney parks and ships, at certain restaurants and locations that can be found in your Times Guide or Personal Navigator. Other times, characters appear randomly.
Here are some important tips to remember about meeting characters and getting autographs:
Have you seen these? These tickets are left over from my husband's first visit to Disneyland in the late 1970's. Early on, guests had to buy these ticket booklets and present a ticket at each attraction. "A" tickets were the slower rides and "E" tickets were used at the thrill rides.
This type of ticket was phased out in 1981 in favor of the one time fee for full admission.
Concierge Agent with Wishes Family Travel, Authorized Disney Vacation Planner Agency
Enjoy the Wishes Family Travel Blog!