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2018 Disney Gift Guide: Small Shops

Basics, BeginnersKelseyComment

It’s time for this year’s gift guide!

This year I’m focusing solely on featuring small shops. Since we happen to run one, we know how important it is to support the lil creative makers. Plus! The money spent in small shops goes directly towards making even more cool things. Also there’s something really special about wearing small-shops merch in the parks. You feel like you’re part of some exclusive club, which you are! But everyone’s invited. ANYWAY go check out these REALLY COOL THINGS!


Lost Weekenders

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Sorry not sorry. I’m just so in love with everything we’ve made, y’all. Everything is true to size, with a little give, made from super soft material, and there’s a choice of colors for every shirt and sweatshirt! We just released FIVE new designs which are christmassy but can be worn year round.


Foolish Mortals

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I’m gonna not get all sappy but Foolish Mortals is what inspired us to create our own line. I’ve ordered a whole lot from them, and I’m never disappointed. Their designs are the COOLEST. The shirts are unbelievable soft, they fit amazing, are super comfy, and I get unending complements when I wear them in the parks. Also they have A Goofy Movie shirt so you KNOW they’re legit. Check them out!


Adventureland Ears Co.

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These ears are the coolest! Lizzy 3D prints her ears WHICH IS SO DOPE. The ears are perfect quality and really easy to wear all day. Plus there are tons of ways for you to customize your ears because she makes each pair (including bow) herself. Go support her and get some rad ears!



Big Thunder Designs

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I JUST found this shop and I’m so bummed it took me so long. All of their designs are so friggin clever, but I especially love their neon series. There are tons of designs and you can pick your shirt color, too (which I love). Go look!


Lillian and Co.

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Ugh their braceletes are the sweetest. They don’t just do Disney, either, so there’s definitely something for everyone on your gifting list no matter their interests. My favorites are the Up and the Toy Story designs, but everything they do is really lovely and simple. Plus, they do lots of afflilate codes, so keep an eye on your favorite Disney instagrammers for a code. Also while you’re at it you might as well follow us.


Magical Thunder Press

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They just wrapped up their latest kickstarter campaign (which I backed and am very pumped about) but you gotta check out their awesome pins! I love all the enamel pins in Disneyland, so you can imagine how stoked I was to find a small shop that made their own enamel pins. I’ve been eyeing that Hercules pin for a while…


Lost Bros

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I just ordered the snack keychain set and I’m dying they’re so cute. They’ve got so much stuff you could probably outfit your entire next Disney trip (and life) solely from their shop.


Kreative Kingdoms

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They make super cute sweatshirts and beanies (called something else in Canada???) and they’re Canadian so you KNOW they’re actually warm and comfy.



What are some other small shops you love? I’d like to keep adding to this list and eventually create a long lasting resource for Disney small shops.

Five Things You NEED For Your Disney Trip

Basics, BeginnersKelseyComment

What are the best shoes for disneyland? Or pants? How do you make sure you’re comfortable for a 16 hour day walking around in changing weather and/or eating your weight in pretzels?

Y’all, I’ve been doing a years-long test-run to find an A+ collection of things to help get me through the day at the Land comfortably and also not looking like I’m going to run a marathon. Which is fine if it’s your thing! But when I’ve searched for recommendations in the past, athletic wear is usually what takes up ALL the lists, which can get frustrating for a person who doesn’t really love to live in athleisure wear.

This list isn’t very long because these are my absolute saviors. There’s no fluff on this list. So if you want to know what I NEED to be comfortable in Disneyland, read on!

FYI all the links below open into new windows. I’m lookin out.


Vaserette Slip Shorts

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If you ignore everything else pay attention to this one. If you’re a dress wearer these are a MUST. My thighs touch and I have a bad habit of not paying attention to whether or not the skirt portion of my dress is all the way down so these shorts are a lifesaver. They keep your thighs from rubbing and if your dress flies up WHO CARES, you’re covered.



I’ve always worn shorts under dresses, but it took me a while to find the perfect ones. I used to wear jean shorts (what was I thinking), and then I moved to bike shorts. The problem with bike shorts is they’re usually made out of a thick material that tends to cause static and makes your dress cling. The Vaserette shorts are made out of slip material, so they’re thinner, SUPER comfy, and your dress just glides over. They’re a little long so sometimes I have to fold them up BUT they don’t roll up the thigh and they don’t roll down on the stomach. I’M TELLING YOU THESE ARE A GODSEND. TRUST ME.


Old Navy Rockstar Jeggings

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Yes. Jeggings. You can scoff all you want but let me tell you. These stay up, have amazing stretch, and are on the thicker side so they look like regular ole jeans. They also hold their shape really well so there’s no weird diaper butt situation. I don’t know how people wear regular jeans in Disneyland. These are so ungodly comfortable you could probably sleep in them. They run pretty true to size but I usually go up a size for MAXIMUM comfort and to allow for that Disneyland expansion from all those churros ya know.

It’s probably best to try these on in-store, because they make a few different versions but they all have the same name (which is an Old Navy classic, pls stop Old Navy we are begging you). The ones I get are the ones in the picture. They don’t have a button or zipper, and I always opt for black.




Jack Black Lip Balm

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The SPF is the important part. If your lips burn they’re gonna be chapped and flaky for a while and it sucks and you probably don’t even realize they’re nonstop chapped because they’re burned. I always carry this kind because it actually moisturizes unlike a lot of SPF lip balms I’ve tried. It’s also in a squeezy tube, not a stick. So it won’t melt all over the place like a stick will. Plus they all smell really good. I just generally stay away from minty balms because I feel like they dry my lips out and they can BURN if your lips are already chapped.

But honestly, the best SPF is the one you use so I would say find your favorite balm with an SPF and use it!

Supergoop Powder Sunscreen

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I don’t care who you are you need to reapply sunscreen every two hours. I’m militant about this because 29 year old Kelsey doesn’t want wrinkles but I’m sure 65 year old Kelsey will also be pleased with the lack of skin cancer.


I’m a makeup wearer and I have very oily skin. This stuff is great because it’s a self contained brush-powder combo that has SPF. So you just shake it a little so the brush gets some of the SPF powder in it, and buff over your face. It will take down shine, make your makeup last longer, and provide SPF. I usually do this whenever I’m in line for a ride. This stuff doesn’t break me out, and it makes my makeup last. Plus I never burn with it on. Even after a long day in the sun, my red-prone skin looks nice when I take my makeup off.


These Sketchers Shoes

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This has been a journey, y’all. Shoes are a very personal thing. It all depends on what you need with support and arches and blah blah blah.

However, if you’re like me and you don’t need specific orthodics or shoes, these are your new love. They look like regular van slip ons, but they’re VERY cushy on the inside with some memory foam gel thing going on, and it’s got a good amount of sole as well so you got double the cushion.

I can go a REALLY long time with these on which is a huge deal because I used to be in a lot of pain walking around, it would often prohibit me from doing a lot. I can go so much further in these and be fine. Highly recommend checking them out!

I really hope this helped! These are truly my tried and true products I’ve been searching for and using for years, and I genuinely take with me on every Disney trip. Let me know if you try any of these things!






Hidden Gems of Cars Land

Basics, BeginnersKatComment
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1. The Third Blink

If you’ve seen Cars, you’re familiar with Fillmore dazedly trying to explain that the third blink of the stoplight in town is just slightly longer than the other two. Maybe it’s just his imagination, but next time you find yourself outside of Flo’s V8 Cafe, take a look for yourself - the third blink might be longer afterall.

2. New Pavement

Though it’s faded a bit in the California sun, if you pay attention to where you’re walking in Cars Land, you can tell that the pavement on the main road is much flatter and looks newer than the roads leading up to it - thanks to Lightning McQueen’s paving job.

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3. Lighting At Night

Do yourself a favor and get to Cars Land right as the sun is going down (check your daily schedule for the exact time of the neon lighting). Radiator Springs undergoes a transformation just like in the movie, and being there for it is a magical experience - and one that is very easy to miss.

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4. Luigi's Souvenirs

The next time you’re in line for Luigi’s Festival of the Dance, be sure to check out the giant shadowbox frames filled with Luigi’s souvenirs!

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5. Toy Story Toys Hidden in Cozy Cone Lobby

Easy to miss unless you’re looking for them, be sure to keep your eyes out for a nod to Toy Story 2 in the lobby of the Cozy Cone.

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6. Cars Land Model

In the back of Sarge’s Surplus Hut, be sure to check out the full model of Cars Land, complete with the cars you know and love.

Hidden Gems of Main Street, USA

Basics, BeginnersKatComment

Main Street, USA isn’t just a bunch of shops – it’s home to all kinds of hidden gems that are way too easy to miss, especially if you're hustling to get to Space Mountain or Indiana Jones. The next time you find yourself walking down Main Street, keep an eye out for these little surprises:

1.     Walt’s Bench

In the entrance to Great Moments with Mr Lincoln, you’ll see a small green bench – the same bench that Walt Disney sat on in Griffith Park while watching his daughters play and came up with the idea for Disneyland.

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2.     Main Street Residents

Hang out in the small alleys of Main Street, especially between Disney Clothiers and Market House (Starbucks), and listen to the residents of Main Street, USA.

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3.     Penny Films

These are hidden in plain sight, but in the Penny Arcade, you can actually watch the variety of films in the entrance for 1 cent.

4.     Tilly

The ticket agent of Main Street Cinema, Tilly, happens to be from Marceline, MO (as stated on her ID badge) – Walt Disney’s hometown.

5.     Walt’s Light

The light in Walt Disney’s apartment (over the fire station in Town Square) is always kept on, as a symbol of Walt’s presence in the park.

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6.     Music Machine

That giant organ-looking machine in the Penny Arcade shop is actually a Welte Orchestrion, and it is older than the park itself. 

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7. Houdini on the Phone

In the Magic Shop on Main Street, you can pick up the vintage phone next to the poster of Houdini and listen in on a recording of Harry Houdini himself.

8. Victorian Era Party Line

Speaking of listening in on phone conversations, the next time you're waiting for your latte in Market House, pick up a vintage phone receiver and observe a Victorian-era party line.

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9. Disneyland Railroad Miniature

The next time you find yourself in Emporium, be sure to look up. There are tons of easily-missed decorations throughout Disneyland's shops, but this one is one of the best - a miniature Disneyland Railroad. Be sure to watch the whole loop to see all of the interactions.

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10. The Painted Lightbulb

The story goes that Walt Disney noticed two lightbulbs painted the same color next to each other over the doorway to Coke Corner and couldn't accept the break in the alternating pattern - the best compromise was to paint one lightbulb half white and half red. While you're checking out the lightbulb, be sure to take a gander at the vintage coke bottle museum surrounding the door. 

Halloween Time is Coming to Disneyland Resort!

Basics, BeginnersKatComment

On September 7th, Disneyland Resort is changing over to Halloween time – one of our favorite times of year. If you’ve never experienced the Disneyland Resort during this special season, we HIGHLY recommend it. And just to entice you further, here’s what to expect from Halloween Time this year:

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1.     Decorations

Main Street USA will be lined with carved jack-o-lanterns and themed buntings. A giant Mickey lantern will sit by the flag pole for photos. Everywhere you look there will be spooky touches, especially in Cars Land (where they really go all-out), New Orleans Square (more on that later), and Buena Vista Street. Also keep an eye out for your favorite Disney characters in their Halloween costumes!

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2.     FOOD

If you thought Disneyland had a huge array of snacks and treats before, just wait until Halloweentime. Special flavors will be offered for churros, pumpkin beignets from New Orleans Square, new ice cream offerings, and all kinds of new treats at the Jolly Holiday café and Buena Vista street. We’re especially excited about the new pumpkin shake coming to Flo’s V8 Café.

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3.     Haunted Mansion Holiday

Starting in the Halloween season and running through the Holidays, the Haunted Mansion is transformed into Jack Skellington’s Halloweentown, and the difference between this new ride overlay and the original Haunted Mansion is pretty staggering. You’ll definitely have to enjoy this attraction more than once to take in the whole thing.

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4.     Cars Land

Cars Land decorated for Halloween for the first time last year and no expense was spared. There are themed jack-o-lanterns everywhere you turn, a giant spider tractor, and even Mater’s Tow Truck Jamboree and Luigi’s Festival of the Dance get a Halloween-themed overlay.

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5.      Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy

Space Mountain is an already great ride, but when Halloween Time comes around, they add in an overlay that is legitimately kindof scary that makes the ride that much more fun. Definitely don’t miss this one.

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6.     Mickey’s Halloween Party

Mickey’s Halloween Party is a separately-ticketed event that you’ll need to reserve tickets for (and good luck if you haven’t yet, because those go FAST). The up side is there are fun activities that Disneyland only has on these select nights, but the down side is that the parks close early for regular visitors, and you have to deal with the Halloween Party crowds.

If you couldn’t tell, we’re super excited for Halloween Time to get here as fast as possible, and we highly recommend everyone visiting the parks during this great time of year!

Things We'll Miss about A Bug's Land

Basics, BeginnersKatComment

A Bug’s Land is closing forever very soon (September 4th in fact), and with that closing, we’d like to take a moment to remember all of the things we loved about this underrated little land.

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1.     Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train

Heimlich’s Chew Chew was such a stupid ride that it became legendary (we’re going to miss it so much that we made a shirt to remember it forever). It hardly ever had a line (because it lasted approximately 2 seconds), but was a delightful train ride aboard everyone’s favorite caterpillar through the scents and aromas of quickly-designed giant food props. The smell of the animal crackers will be in our hearts forever!

2.     The Talking Bathrooms

The first time we used the restroom and randomly heard Heimlich and Flik talking over the soundsystem, we were surprised. It was such a miniscule Disney touch that made a huge difference (even though those bathrooms were always a hot mess).

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3.     It’s Tough to Be a Bug

We sing ‘We’re Pollinators’ at least once a week, and the Bug’s Life Theater was a great way to beat the heat on a hot summer day – a long show in a dark theater with plenty of air conditioning and fun visual effects? Yes please. Not having this show around is going to force us to seriously re-evaluate our summer day DCA break options.

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4.     Shade

Speaking of hot summer days,  one of the things that made Bug’s Land great was the fact that it had plenty of shade! Those giant clover leaves made the whole land feel less hot than the rest of the park – especially CarsLand, cause wow, that land is SWELTERING. Shade is always a bit tough to come by in DCA, so it was great that Bug’s Land had so much of it.

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5.     The Theming

The little bugs that lit up at night, the old popsicle stick benches, the lights that looked like little smiling worms, the exit through an old cereal box – Bug’s Land was a great example of the theming that Disneyland Resort is known for.

So so long, Bug’s Land! We’ll miss you! 

A Better Trip with the Disneyland App

Basics, BeginnersKelseyComment

I’m sure there was a time in my Disneyland trip history where I would only pull out my phone to snap a few pictures then put it away and forget about it.

Ah, how far we’ve come.

When Disneyland first launched their parks app, it wasn’t too impressive. They might have had wait times, but honestly MouseWait was a better crowd sourced option. Disneyland recently completely overhauled their app, and now I can’t imagine going to a Disney park without it.

And while I don't advocate having your phone out at all times, using the app strategically can help give you a leg up on accomplishing all your Disneyland goals. 

I’ll be giving you the whole rundown from downloading and installing to utilizing all the different features so you’re having the best possible trip. Let’s get into it!

You can download the Disneyland Mobile app on both the Apple app store, and the Google Play store. And I’m happy to report it has thousands of nearly five-star reviews on both sites, meaning they didn’t skimp on Android, which can tend to happen.

Current tickets/ buy tickets

You know how I’m always harping on you to buy your ticket ahead of time? Good news! You can buy park tickets and annual passes right from the app. On our last trip, Stephen renewed his annual pass on the tram from the parking lot to the park. It was super easy and way faster and more convenient than waiting in the ticket line which is NO JOKE PEOPLE.

You can also add the tickets of everyone in your group and create a “party” in case you have a forgetful person who’s prone to losing things, or if you don’t want to dig around for everyone’s tickets every time you want a fastpass or switch parks.

When you’re added to a party, anyone who has the Disneyland app installed on their phone can see all the tickets in the party and any reservations made. Which is super helpful if you’ve been in charge of dealing with the tickets all day and want to pass off the responsibility to someone else.

To add other tickets, open the app and go to “My Tickets”.You’ll see your pass and everyone else in your party.

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Maxpass

Are you sick of me talking about Maxpass. Y’all- seriously. For ten bucks extra you can elevate your entire trip. You don’t have to go tracking down fastpasses that typically run out fast (Radiator Springs Racer fastpass kiosks have lines no joke, skip that nonsense).

Plus with Maxpass you get photopass included, meaning you can have the professional photographers all around Disneyland take your picture and download them for free. You also get free downloads of all the ride pictures. Just do it.

I wrote an entire post all about using maxpass, I recommend giving it a read! 

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Photopass

Speaking of photopass, you can access your photopass photos right from the app.

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Reservations

You can check out all the restaurants menus in the park regardless of whether or not they take reservations but you can also book all your dining reservations right from the app. Which is so much easier than when you used to have to call.

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Map with wait times

The paper Disneyland maps make great free souvineers and they’re super cute, but for quick access to check out what’s around you or where you want to go, there’s a map built right into the app.

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Mobile Order

I tried out mobile order for the first time on my last trip and it’s a life-saver (post on that coming up soon). On a hot day that ice cream line can get intense and now you don’t have to wait. You can mobile order and have your food and drinks and treats ready for you from some of your favorite places in the parks.

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Times Guide

When you enter the park, right next to the maps are another little pamphlet you’ve probably ignored (unless you go with Stephen who always gets one). The times guide!

Seems kinda boring but it legit gives you a rundown of allllll the different shows and character meet and greets in the entire park. We can’t survive a trip without one, and now you don’t have to remember to grab one. All of that day’s show times and character meet and greet times are in the app, ready for you.

 

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Hours (calendar, with blockout dates)

Super handy to have at a glance. If you’re an annual passholder you can see any blockout dates, and if you’re there for a few days you can check open and close times. There’s nothing worse than getting to the park at 8am and realizing you could have slept in for another hour.

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See? The app is so helpful. I’m sure Disneyland without the app can be done, because for a while it was the only choice. But if there’s a new tool to help make your trip more magical and less frustrating, you might as well give it a try. And once you’re in line for that ride you maxpassed, check out the Disneyland Play App, for fun games and trivia.

 

 

 

Best Ride Order of Toontown

Basics, BeginnersKelseyComment

Welcome to the next post in the series where I give you the rundown of a pretty perfect ride order of each Land. Check out parts one, two, three, and four for complete Land domination tips and tricks plus the reasoning behind every decision so you can make informed choices should anything happen.

And here we are! The last in the series tackling Disneyland proper: Toontown.

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Oh, Toontown. You really are...something.

I’ll start off by being very honest, I don’t care much for Toontown. When Disney first introduced the concept of Galaxy’s Edge, I was hoping they’d raze Toontown to the ground and start anew, which, perhaps, is an unpopular opinion.

Alas, people lose their damn minds for Toontown. And I suppose this series wouldn’t be complete without a rundown of the washed out, useless stretch of land others so lovingly flock to.

I’ll stop being cynical now.

Like Critter Country, Toontown is a dead end, and it only has two rides. It does however host a bunch of other experiences, and the entire land is more interactive than any other at the resort. I’ll give you some sweet tips so you can enjoy and explore the land as a whole. Let’s get to it!

***PSA: This order works best if you’re at Toontown when it first opens.***

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RIde Order

Toontown doesn’t operate like every other land in the park. It’s at the very northern tip of the park, just past Small World. It opens late, usually an hour or two after regular park open, so you can tackle another land first thing in the morning and still get to Toontown at its open. On the flip side, Toontown also closes early for fireworks, usually around 8:30 pm, since they launch the majority of the fireworks from there.

1. Beeline for Gadget’s Go Coaster, fastpass Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin on the way or maxpass in line.

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Since Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin is at the opening of Toontown, it’s just as easy to grab a fastpass on your way to Gadget’s, which is at the very furthest edge of Toontown.

Depending on Gadget’s return time, explore. There’s lots to see!

2. Ride Roger, maxpass your next ride.

Duh, always maxpass your next ride. 

 

Annnnnd you did it! Whether or not you got to explore in between rides, there’s probably a lot more to see. One charming aspect to Toontown is the ability to tour the houses of the classic Disney characters.

Minnie and Mickey’s houses can stack up the wait since they’re a walkthrough and a character meet and greet. So if the wait is long, you can still explore the houses (recommended, they’re pretty cool), and then check the times guide to see when Mickey and Minnie appear for photo opportunities throughout the park (which is frequently).

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Chip and Dale, Donald Duck, and Goofy also all have their own houses you can play in and explore, however they don’t offer character meet and greets.

 

Toontown is also super interactive. When exploring make sure to push every button, step on every bit of ground that looks different, and pull every lever. It’s a fun place to explore and create some magical moments without having to wait in lines.

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If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, Toontown is the only place in the entire Disneyland Resort that offers frozen yogurt, so be sure to check out Clarabelle’s.

 

Also! Right outside Toontown is the Fantasyland Theater. Make sure to catch a showing of Mickey and the Magical Map; we generally view on the tipsy side and I have to say I recommend a few drinks beforehand. The Fantasyland Theater also has some of our favorite snacks in the park (hellllllo bratwurst), so it’s definitely worth a visit.

 

Right next to the Fantasyland Theater you’ll find the Disneyland Railroad station, so duh now’s the time to hop on for a full circle tour.

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And that’s it! We’ve covered the best ride orders for EVERY land in Disneyland. I’m so excited by this series, it’s been a really fun puzzle to piece together. I’ve got lots of ideas for more series but let me know if you’d want a guide series for California Adventure.

 

Happy riding!

 

Best Ride Order of Critter Country

Basics, BeginnersKelseyComment

Welcome back to the series where I give you the best (in my humble opinion) ride order of each land at the Disneyland Resort. In parts one, two, and three, we tackled the busiest lands with the most rides. In this post, I’m going to go a bit deeper into one of the smaller lands, the ever beloved Critter Country.

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You know how in the last three posts I was like “hey every single person on the planet is going here in the morning”? Good news! Not one single person is going to Critter Country in the morning. No one is even going to Critter Country like an hour after park open. Sorry, Critter Country! I still love you.

 

And while we covered how you can incorporate Critter Country in the Adventureland post, we have some more tips to share. Because while the littlest land that dead-ends over the hill from the Haunted Mansion probably doesn’t need to be your first stop, it does tend to fill up mid-day and of course we can give you the rundown on what do and see (aka eat).

Ride Order

Critter Country is perfect to do after you’ve dominated one of the other lands (particularly Adventureland/Frontierland/New Orleans Square since they’re right next to each other) and you’re almost ready for lunch. Winnie the Pooh line should still be short, and fastpasses for Splash Mountain should still have a fairly quick return time.

Since most people come to Critter Country for Splash Mountain and it’s a dead end, the whole area dies down at night or when it’s cooler out. Once Galaxy’s Edge (Star Wars Land) opens, there will be a walkway that connects into Critter Country, so take advantage of the lack of people there for now.

1. Hop in line at Winnie the Pooh, maxpass Splash Mountain in line.

Never wait longer than five minutes for Winnie the Pooh. If the line is longer, come back at night when everyone is cleared out.

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Poke around Pooh’s Corner and grab a treat, it’s law that you have to grab a treat after you ride Winnie the Pooh. I recommend the giant peppermint patty, the peanut butter sandwich, the rice krispy treat, and the oatmeal cookie.

Depending on how much time until your Splash Mountain fastpass return, go grab lunch at Hungry Bear, which is definitely a hidden gem restaurant in the parks. The fried chicken sandwich is incredible. They have onion rings (!!!!!) and funnel cake. FUNNEL CAKE! YOU GUYS. It looks like a subpar burger place in passing but it has some amazing views of the Rivers of America and the menu is so different from anywhere else in the park. Don’t sleep on Hungry Bear!

 

2. Ride Splash Mountain, maxpass another ride.

Always maxpass your next ride right when you scan in line, you know this by now. Quick ride tip: If you want to get wet, sit in the first few rows. If you want to avoid getting soaked, aim for rows four through six. You can always request preferred seating in Disneyland, they just might have you wait for the next log/ car/ doombuggy.

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And that’s your ride order with a couple extra tips mixed in. But of course I have a couple more.

I’ve said above that Critter Country being a dead-end really dictates the crowd size, and you can totally use that to your advantage. We particularly love a Critter Country visit in the evening, when the rest of the park is bananas. It takes a trek to get there, but once you’re there, you can ride Winnie the Pooh in peace over and over and stretch out on a bench and not interact with another soul.

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Another magical aspect of night time in Critter Country is getting a Fantasmic sneak peak. If you hang out on the walkway by the Hungry Bear bathrooms, you’ll get a good view of the Fantasmic actors loading and getting prepped to go on stage.

So we tend wait and watch them load in peace, then saunter around the bend at the beginning of Fantasmic and pop into the standby area across from Haunted Mansion. Most of Fantasmic requires fastpasses, but the fastpass viewing areas aren’t great, you have to get there early, and the system is utterly confusing. If you watch the loading and then drop into the standby area, they usually let you into the fancy all seated area typically reserved for the dining plan people, and there’s no wait time and no fuss. Highly recommended.

One more tip! When you’re walking away from Critter Country towards Haunted Mansion, there’s a fruit stand on the left. Just beyond the stand there are stairs. If you go up those stairs, it leads you to a hidden pathway free of people, with a great view of the Splash Mountain Drop. And it drops you right in front of Haunted Mansion without fighting through a crowd. Another one of my favorite spots in the whole resort.

 

 

And those are our favorite tips and ride order for Critter Country. Who knew such a little land could have so many hidden treasures. What’s your favorite thing to do in Critter Country?

 

Best Ride Order of Tomorrowland

Basics, BeginnersKelseyComment

Welcome back to round three in the series of complete Land success! 

It’s time for the e-ticket hub of Disneyland, Tomorrowland! Tomorrowland is always packed to the friggin brim, which can probably make it seem pretty scary from the outside looking in. Also it’s kind of scary on the inside, too.

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The layout of Tomorrowland lends itself for an utter nightmare for people flow, it’s kind of long and skinny, with the middle usually taken up by strollers. It can also be painful because most people who aren’t going to Fantasyland, are making the mad dash for Tomorrowland. And unlike the other lands, where there’s ebb and flow to the day, Tomorrowland gets busy in the morning and stays busy right up until closing. Like Fantasyland, you might have to come back a couple times during the day. Am I pumping you full of excitement, yet? 

Good! Like everything else, there is a strategy and it can be dominated. Let me walk you through it.

Check out Part 1: Adventureland and Part 2: Fantasyland, and our guide to fastpass and maxpass.

***PSA: This schedule works best if you’re ready at the Tomorrowland entrance at rope drop (park open) with maxpass up and running on your phone.***

1. Make a bee-line for Astro Orbitors, maxpass Space Mountain.

Everyone heads to Space Mountain and Star Tours first so by now you should know I’m going to tell to do something different. Luckily Disneyland is aware of the madness of Tomorrowland and almost all of the rides have fastpass capabilities. Which means you should head for the rides that don’t have fastpasses first, AKA Astro Orbitors.

For the life of me I cannot figure out why Astro Orbitors has the line it does CONSTANTLY but let me tell you, this line don’t quit. It starts early and for some god foresaken reason it will persist until close. So go here first and maxpass Space Mountain while in line.

I recommend maxpassing Space first because fastpasses run out faster for that ride, and the return time will get way late into the night the longer you wait. If you maxpass first thing you have the chance for an earlier return time.

2. Check on Finding Nemo and ride if line is short.

This is the only other non-fast pass ride, and it fills up fast. If it’s full, not to worry, it clears out when the fireworks start so revisit around 9:30pm if you didn’t get on in the morning or you want to ride again.

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3. Check on Autopia and ride if line is short.

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I know there’s a bit of “checking” on rides, but Tomorrowland isn’t as predictable in the morning as Adventureland because it tends to be on the busier side. Autopia can be fastpassed, but if the line is short, go ahead and ride. If it’s longer, wait on grabbing a fastpass for this ride until after you’ve grabbed one for Star Tours. They tend to run out later in the day than Space and Star Tours, so it’s better to grab those first.

 

4. Ride Astro Blasters, check to see if you can fastpass Star Tours

It should still be a short line for Astro Blasters so hop on in. If it’s longer than ten minutes, there are lots of fastpasses throughout the day and it should be easy to grab one. And even though you haven't been on Space Mountain, yet, you might be able to fastpass again so make sure to check in on that, and if you can, snag one up.

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5. If Space is ready to ride, jump in line and fastpass Star Tours if unable earlier.

After Space, you’ll probably be hungry, and your Star Tours fastpass might not be ready yet. Now’s a good time to grab breakfast at the Galactic Grill (only one of like four places in Disneyland that has breakfast, and you don’t need reservations!), check out the Star Wars Launch Pad (previously Innoventions), and catch a seat at the Path of the Jedi show (previously Captian EO). Also now’s a great time to shop, and that Tomorrowland shop is a good one. Kat and I generally spend too much money there.

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6. Star tours

Your fastpass might not be ready until later, but if it’s ready go ride!

You did it! Time to celebrate by grabbing another fastpass while you’re in line. And also maybe a churro.

As you can see, things fill up wonky, and some of the above ride order might not work out.

It’s helpful to know that you *cannot fastpass* Astro Orbitors and Nemo Submarines. *Everything else in Tomorrowland is fastpassable.* Also keep in mind that Space Mountain and Star Tours run out of fastpasses early, so if the park is filling up, you should fastpass Space and Star Tours first, then Astro Blasters and Autopia.

Ride order

  1. Astro Orbitors, fastpass Space Mountain
  2. Nemo Submarines

  3. Autopia

  4. Astro Blasters, check to see if you can fastpass Star Tours, yet.

  5. Space Mountain, if you were unable before, fastpass Star Tours now.

  6. Star Tours, fastpass your next ride!

Fastpass order if park is madness

  1. Space Mountain

  2. Star Tours

  3. Autopia

  4. Astro Blasters

Have fun! Is there a different order that you and your pack do things? Let us know! 

Best Ride Order of Fantasyland

Basics, BeginnersKelsey2 Comments

Welcome back to round two of The Order of Things! In this post, we’ll be tackling the ever coveted Fantasyland. 

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Fantasyland is a tricky one to tackle because Fantasyland has the most attractions in any Land, and the only rides that have fastpasses are outside the main portion of Fantasyland, AKA Matterhorn and Small World. PLUS you’re not allowed to trample people anywhere in Disneyland so you have to go about getting on all the rides in an ethical way. Which can really throw a wrench in things.  

And Fantasyland fills up fast, probably because it's so kid friendly. It also might have something to do with the fact that you can ride most rides in Fantasyland with a cup of coffee in your hand which you definitely cannot do anywhere else in the park.

Something to keep in mind with Fantasyland is the entire Land kind of operates how a child would. Pretty chill and fun first thing, around 10ish it gets crazy town, it gets reaaaaaaallly cranky around midday, and it starts to chill out again later on into the evening. Beware though, they launch some fireworks for the show from Fantasyland (as well as Toon Town), so they close it down for a few hours every night. Which means there’s a second opportunity at a rope drop if that’s something you’re into.

In the rundown below, I’ll give you a pretty good starting point to get Fantasyland checked off your list. While Adventureland through New Orleans Square is easy to do in one fell swoop, Fantasyland might require a trip or two back throughout the day to fully ride everything. But of course, I’ll be giving you the secrets and some reasoning behind every choice so you can make informed decisions and pivot when need be. I believe in you! It’s gonna be so much fun LET’S GO RIDE THINGS.


***PSA: This schedule works best if you’re ready at the Fantasyland entrance at rope drop (park open).***
 

1. Alice in Wonderland

I bet you’re wondering why I’m not telling you to sprint to Peter Pan first thing. I one hundred and twenty five billion percent guarantee you that everyone waiting by Fantasyland at rope drop is going to run immediately to Peter Pan. There is no way you can beat all those people trust me. Unless you are Inspector Gadget and can mechanically elongate your legs to step over everyone mad dashing to Peter Pan then please, save yourself.

Save your sanity and your happiness. No matter how early you get there, no matter how fast you walk, there will be an at least 25 minute wait for Peter Pan. In that wait time, all the other ride lines will fill up and you’ll have wasted your entire morning. Which kind of frees you up if you think about it. If there’s ALWAYS an at least 25-45 minute wait, you might as well do anything else. Don’t worry, I got a tip for you but that’s under the Peter Pan section because I have to trick you all into reading everything somehow.

Alice in Wonderland, on the other hand, doesn’t have a line first thing! And it will have a line that rivals Peter Pan later-on in the morning lasting through the rest of the day. So first thing on your list is go walk on Alice in Wonderland and enjoy saving yourself from that dumb Peter Pan line.

2. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride also fills up ala Alice and Peter Pan, but it takes a little bit longer. Make this your second stop after Alice and walk right on.

3. Dumbo

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Not gonna lie, we don’t ride Dumbo, Storybook, or Casey Jr. every time, but they fill up pretty quickly as well. Jump to Dumbo before the Peter Pan line starts to head to other rides. It’s generally pretty open first thing and later at night.

4. Storybook Land

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Storybook Land and Casey Jr. have stupid lines I’m just gonna say it. Even if you’re at the very front of Storybook Land there’s only like one or two boats and it takes a while to load BUT if you catch it early on in the morning, you can avoid waiting longer than necessary.

Storybook Land sometimes opens after the park, mid-morning, so if it’s still not open after Alice, Toad, and Dumbo, hop over to Casey Jr first and check back in after.

5. Casey Jr.

Casey Jr. line works a lot like Storybook Land, it moves slow and the ride is long, but early in the morning you should be fine.

6. Pinocchio

I don’t mean to wax poetic but Pinocchio and Snow White are wonderful oases of reasonable lines in a desert of Fantasyland insanity. They should still have reasonable lines once you’re done with the above list. And you can probably come back throughout the day and ride both multiple times.

However! There are some points where everything is busy and crazy, so if you see the line switchback more than once, skip and come back. There will always be opportunities to ride.

7. Snow White, fastpass Matterhorn

Read above! An oasis I tell you! It’s probably around now that you should grab a fastpass for Matterhorn. You could do maxpass, which you probably should have if you wanna keep crushing it throughout the day, but it’s not as necessary to have in Fantasyland as it is in Adventureland/ New Orleans Square/ Frontierland.

Also I don’t care what anyone says, Snow White is the scariest ride in the park.

8. Tea Cups

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Tea cups line comes and goes, because of that, I have it closer to the bottom because now would be a good time to go around and check it out. If it’s short, go ride! Have fun! If it’s long, come back at night and ride under the lights, which is my personal favorite time to ride.

9. Carousel

Also goes in and out of being busy, so it shouldn’t be too challenging to ride at any given time, but once again, it’s absolute pure magic at night.

10. Small World

If your Matterhorn fastpass isn’t ready yet, check out Small World. If the line’s long, you can always grab a fastpass after Matterhorn, but it should still be pretty much close to walk-on at this point. It may seem like there are tons of rides in Fantasyland and it would take forever to get through all of them, but they were pretty much all made a real long time ago, and they go by fairly quickly, so believe me when I tell you that you’ll still be crushing it at this point.

11. Matterhorn

Never ever ever ever wait in stand-by for this ride. It wraps around the mountain and looks like hell. They just recently added fastpass to this ride so you should take advantage of that. Hooray!

12. Peter Pan

Why is Peter Pan last, you ask? Is it not magical? Is it not wonderful? Is it not the best? It is definitely magical and wonderful and the absolute best. But it has a super long line all the time. It cannot be beat. So my big tip is don’t spend park time waiting in line. I’m about to drop some knowledge on you. Park close times are the times when the lines close, not when you have to be out of the park. Meaning if the park closes at midnight, you just have to be in line at midnight. Meaning if you HAVE to wait, might as well wait after the park closes and not waste park time.

If you’re exhausted or don’t want to wait until close, honestly just ride any time during the day because it’ll be equally bad always. I’d just maybe wait until the sun isn’t shining directly on Fantasyland so you’re not roasting in line. And you can always bring a snack and drinks in line, there are trash cans at the end so get a few churros and tuck in.

And you’re done. You did it! You dominated Fantasyland!

Once again, crowd sizes and time of day can impact how crazy a Land is, but now you have the knowledge to make informed decisions and change it up when necessary.

If you’re hanging around Fantasyland, you might as well check out some of the hidden gems around you, and of course, grab a frozen apple juice across from Red Rose Tavern.

Ride Order

1. Alice

2. Mr. Toad

3. Dumbo

4. Storybook Land

5. Casey Jr.

6. Pinocchio

7. Snow White

8. Tea Cups (Fastpass Matterhorn)

9. Carousel

10. Small World (Fastpass if the line’s too long)

11. Matterhorn

12. Peter Pan

 

Is there another way you like to take on Fantasyland? Let us know!