Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure Baby Care Center

The Disneyland/Disney's California Adventure Baby Care Center is one that every parent with infants or young children should become familiar with. This is a place that might be overlooked or unknown.

Those of you visiting Disneyland or DCA with babies and/or small children should definitely take advantage of the baby care center. It is located down a sidewalk at the end of Main Street on the right hand side just past the photo store. Disney's California Adventure baby care care center is located directly next to their first-aid station which is found by the Mission Tortilla Factory in the Pacific Wharf area.

Inside, there are toddler sized toilets, changing tables and in my opinion best of all, glorious air conditioning. It is the perfect place to rest with the little ones on a hot summer day.There is a cast member that makes sure only a few people come in at a time to ensure this peaceful and non-chaotic place remains that way.

They sell about every baby necessity you may need. Everything from bottles, pacifiers, formula, diapers, diaper rash ointment, baby food and more. There are even bottle warmers if you need them.

My son is not yet potty trained and we use the Baby Care Center often to change his diapers. My daughter who is 4, loves using the toodler sized toilets and sinks. The centers are usually not crowded and you can change your baby or take your toddler to the restroom without having to worry about a thing.

It is also the perfect place to nurse a baby. I have nursed both of my babies at the center. It provides a calm private setting where you can lull the little ones to sleep.It also an ideal place to feed babies. There are a couple of high chairs at your dispoal and a kithcen area to wash up.

My son has sensory issues and he can be over stimulated easily and have horrendous meltdowns. The baby care center has provided an invaluable service to us. The place is a wonderful retreat when your baby or child has to calm down from a day of over-stimulation. I can't tell you enough how many times I have used the baby care center. It has been a lifesaver.

I love the Baby Center and I can't recommend it enought. It's an essential when you have the little ones.
Coming Soon!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mickey's Trick or Treat Party at Disney's California Adventure

This October, Disney's California Adventure will hold it's fifth year of Mickey's Trick or Treat party, a special ticketed event. The park adds additional decoration, special entertainment and trick or treat stations throughout DCA as it closes the park to the general public.

In the Sun Plaza, there is a giant candy corn and a DJ playing music that you can dance to and several other dance party stations. We have had the opportunity to attend almost every year and have had a blast. One of my favorite parts of Mickey's Trick or Treat Party is that there are several character greet and meet photo locations throughout the park. Our daughter's dream came true last year as she was able to meet Cinderella, who took her hand, posed with her and walked around a bit of the park with her. Needless to say it made her night and she was thrilled.

Be prepared for a couple of bagfuls of candy. You are given a bag at the entrance of the park and you will easy fill it up. My kids love trick or treating and this was definitely the highlight for them. Of course the fact that the park limits the amount of guests and it is closed down to the general public doesn't hurt to the appeal. It's my favorite part of the evening. Here is a tip -if you can, make sure to buy tickets for a weeknight. I've gone on both a weekend and a weeknight and we had a better experience on the weeknight. There are less crowds and the party has more of an exclusive feel to it.

This event invariably sells out every single year. Tickets go on sale in the beginning of summer and are usually sold out by the end of September. It is an amazing event for the kiddos. Kiddos and adults are encouraged to wear their Halloween costume to the park. I love it because it allows the kiddos to wear their costume on more than one night. It runs for four hours either from 6:30 to 10:30 or 7:30 to 11:30 PM depending on the night of the week.

If you have never had the opportunity to attend Mickey's Trick or Treat Party, make this the year. Your kiddos are going to love it!

Ticket Prices and Event Dates*

Advance purchase by Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members and Disney Visa card holders for selected dates: $26.00

Annual Passholder/DVC/Disney Visa discount is available for the following dates: October 2, 8, 15, 21, 22, 28

Advanced Purchase Ticket Prices
$32 Regular Admission Price for These Dates — October 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29

Day-of-Event Ticket Prices
$39 If Purchased and Used on These Dates — October 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29
$42 If Purchased and Used on These Dates — October 30 and 31

Ages Two and Under: No Charge

For additional information head over here

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Disneyland Resort FASTPASS System

If you are heading over to the pass and want to avoid waiting in long lines make sure to take advantage of the FASTPASS system. Basically a Disney FASTPASS allows you to cut your wait time at certain attractions by standing in line for you electronically. The FASTPASS system is included with your admission/annual pass and one that you will want to use whenever you are heading over to the Disneyland resort.

Here is how it works- You head over to one of the rides(I included a list at the end of the post) that uses the FASTPASS system. Once you are there look for the distribution area near the entrance of the attraction. Check the return time (be sure to get your passes early because on very busy days they run out!) and insert your ticket or annual pass into the FASTPASS machine. Once you insert your ticket/annual pass a ticket will print out with your return time. When it's time to return to the attraction enter through the FASTPASS line/queue and you will avoid the long wait.

It's simple, painless and will save you time!Once you have your ticket in hand head out to enjoy the other attractions. We usually grab a FASTPASS and catch a show or ride an attraction with a minimal wait line.

Here are two things that you should also know about FASTPASS.
  1. You can only have one FASTPASS ticket to one attraction at a time. This means you can't head over to Splash Mountain and pick up a FASTPASS then walk over to Big Tunder Railroad and pick up another while you wait. You can grab another FASTPASS as soon as your return time comes up.
  2. Your FASTPASS tickets don't expire. I met my sisters at the park a little late last week only to find them complaining about their FASTPASS tickets expiring. There is no such thing. Your recommended time is printed on your ticket but you are always welcome to come after that time on the day of your visit.

Here is the list of attractions at both parks that utilize the FASTPASS system.


  • Autopia
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Indiana Jones
  • Haunted Mansion(holidays)
  • Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
  • Splash Mountain
  • Space Mountain

Disney's California Adventure

  • California ScreaminGrizzly River Run
  • Mulholland Madness
  • Soarin Over California
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Have a terrific rest of the day and use a FASTPASS next time you are heading over to the parks!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Haunted Mansion Celebrates 40 years of Haunts!

The Haunted Mansion celebrates 40 years of Happy Haunts. Check out this fun little video from the Disneyland Resort about this classic attraction. Enjoy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is definitely my almost three year old's favorite attraction. If your kiddos love Toy Story this is a must ride attraction.
You and your space ranger will blast off to "infinity and beyond" as you join Buzz Lightyear on his quest to defeat Emperor Zurg. This ride is an interactive dark ride that allows you to compete with your fellow space rangers for the ultimate score. You and your co-pilot will be able to shoot at different targets with your laser blasters. Two people are allowed to ride per space vehicle and one is able to rotate and spin around.
It is so fun to compete as a family. We love comparing our scores and trying to out do each other. It is an amazing family ride.

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is located in the immediate entrance to Tomorrowland from Main Street. It is a popular ride and tends to have somewhat of a wait. I would not wait more than 15 minutes for this ride. If the wait is longer than 15 minutes, go ahead and take advantage of the fast passes and come back without having to wait. Better yet- head over towards the end of the night and you will rarely have more than a 5 minute wait.

Don't forget to stop and email your free picture and score back home as you exit the ride.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Flik's Flyers

One of our favorite attraction's at Disney's California Adventure is Flik's Flyers. The attraction which is located inside A Bug's Land is a must ride attraction when visiting the park with the little ones.

Flik's Fliers is a spinning bucket attraction. The buckets are all made to have the appearance of various containers including a Chinese food box, animal cracker box and a raisin box. The ride is approximately 90 seconds long. There are 8 boxes that can seat up to 4 people.

Kids of all ages will enjoy this fun little ride. It is primarily geared to younger children but I've yet to meet anyone that does not love this fun little ride.

Wait time is minimal and less than 5 minutes. I have never had to wait (even on New Year's Day) longer than 10 minutes. If you are heading to DCA make sure to stop and take a ride. You will love it!

Disney's Electrical Parade

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you are all having a fantastic Sunday with plenty of fun and relaxation. For this week's installment of Disney Sunday I wanted to write about my favorite parade - Disney's Electrical Parade in Disney's California Adventure.

The parade is back this summer big and better than ever. Among the new surprises is the new lead float featuring Tinkerbell. She sprinkles her pixie dust along the parade path and it can be seen sparkling along the sides of many of the floats.

Another fabulous feature is the return of the Pinocchio floats and the Seven Dwarf's mine float. Both of these went MIA after the parade's visit to Tokyo Disneyland. If you are a fan of the Parade you will also notice that the music has a new layer on the background and I think it's better than ever.

We found some terrific seats just outside the Golden Vine Winery facing the Fisherman's Wharf area, just 30 minutes before showtime. I've usually caught it at the entrance of California Adventure and it usually one of the busiest locations to catch a glimpse. If you head further down the parade route there are plenty of seats and in my opinion a better view.

We sat down and waited for a few minutes for the parade and as we waited you could feel the anticipation and excitement in the crowd. There is nothing quite like experiencing the parade up close with the kiddos. My family loved every single minute of it.

I want to hear from you. Do you love the parade? If you do what is your favorite part of it? Where do you usually sit? Would you love to see it return to Disneyland?

The parade is running nightly through August 23, 2009. It's the perfect excuse to head over to California Adventure. It then will go on a hiatus for a time. Rumor has it that it could wind up back at Disneyland next year as part of the 55th park anniversary. We'll have to wait and see.

Parking at the Happiest Place on Earth

I love going to Disneyland and DCA, as you have probably figured out. The one thing that I do not like is having to deal with parking. I usually don't mind parking in the Mickey and Friends parking lot(the big structure) unless it is a busy day. On busy days parking and then riding the tram to the entrance of the resort can feel like a bad nightmare. I can't tell you how many times I have seen people almost scuffle over their place in the "stroller line".

The stroller line is found on the very first car of the tram and the very last car. It allows you to ride without having to fold your stroller. It is very popular and the wait for a spot in the first or last car is usually long. In fact the wait on a busy days for a tram can take a long long time. It is definitely not what you want to be doing when you have tired and cranky kids and have to be around other cranky people. It's just not a good combination.

Here are a couple of alternatives to parking in the Mickey and Friends parking lot($12.00) and taking the tram.

My favorite option for parking on nights when I know that I will be spending less than 3 hours is to park in Downtown Disney. If I'm heading over for the evening- I will usually park in the Downtown Disney lot. Parking is free for the first 3 hours. When I park in the DD parking lot I either take the monorail to Disneyland or walk through the Grand Californian Hotel to the DCA hotel entrance. It's easy, painless and only a short walk.

My second option would be to park in the Mickey and Friends parking structure. Take the tram in but on the way out, only have the driver in your party head on the tram(they will usually be able to squeeze right on to a tram). The rest of the party will head over to the 15 minute parking on Harbor blvd(just follow the walkway to Harbor Blvd- it's the parking lot on the right hand side) and be picked up from there. This is what we usually do on a busy day.

The last option is to park in the Mickey and Friends parking structure. Take the tram on your way in and at the end of the night, walk the path back to the structure. It's a nice walk and on a busy night you will get to your car faster walking, then waiting and loading for the tram.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Guest post- Disney Dollars

This guest post comes from the fabulous Lisa, founder of the wonderful blog and website Babes in Disneyland. Lisa is a former Disneyland tour guide, teacher and mother of two little ones. Her website is a must read if you love Disneyland or are heading to the park for the first time with the tiny tots. It's a wonderful resource and filled with fun facts about the park.
Lisa writes
Disney Dollars save the dayDisney Dollars can easily save the day when visiting the Disneyland Resort. You don’t have to get stuck paying ATM when you need cash for items like popcorn, churros, and balloons from the outdoor vendors. Instead, stop by City Hall (located on the west side of Main Street) or the Guests Services lobby (located right inside California Adventure to the east) and purchase Disney Dollars with your credit card, check, or Visa/Mastercard ATM card. Disney Dollars are bills that come in ones, fives, and tens and can be used as cash (the same dollar for dollar exchange) at the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, Disney Stores, or on Disney cruise ships. At the end of your visit, you can cash in any unused dollars for regular cash or save a few for souvenirs.

I have found that Disney Dollars can save the day in one more fun way that I call the “Disney Dollar Budget.” Purchase an inexpensive Disney-themed wallet before your next trip and fill it with Disney Dollars. (Such wallets can often be found at dollar discount stores.) Kids who want to spend, spend, spend at Disneyland will (hopefully) think twice before parting with their Disney bucks and once they are gone from their wallet, they are gone. Disneyland does sell gift cards, but as an elementary school teacher, I feel that Disney Dollars offer a far more teachable moment for you and your child to discuss budgeting and having to make correct change when purchasing items from store cashiers.