Hey Everyone, it’s Kimberly with Packed with Fun, the official blog for Get Away Today. The words summer vacation and Disneyland go together like peanut butter and jelly. With all of the fun going on, it’s easy to see why Disneyland is easily one of the most popular summer vacation destinations for families. If you’ve been thinking about going to Disneyland, but have been scared about booking because of rumored crowds, don’t worry. There are so many ways to skip the lines, beat the crowds, and still have a fantastic vacation that everyone in the family will love. I recently returned from one of many Disneyland trips, and even though we tried to time it to be during a slower travel time, it was packed. To help you out, I’ve put together a list of tips and tricks on what to do at Disneyland when it’s packed so you can still have a magical vacation at the Happiest Place on Earth, even when it may feel like the busiest place on Earth!
First, know that Disneyland expands their hours during their busiest times of the year, and that includes summer. You’ll always experience the fewest crowds early in the morning closest to park opening, or later at night, closest to park closing. Depending on your family’s personalities and ages, try to keep that in mind.
Second, take advantage of the early mornings. All 3-day and longer tickets come with a Magic Morning early entry into Disneyland, so even if you’re not a morning person, you’ll want to use it. Along this note, even without early entry, both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park let you into certain areas of the park (Main Street, U.S.A. and Buena Vista Street) half an hour before the park opens. If you can be in those areas before the parks open, you’re much more likely to get a great jump start on your day. Remember, that during busy travel times the parks may open at 8am, which means that the extra hour will begin at 7am. If you can get there right at 7am, or even a little bit before, you’ll have a HUGE advantage. When we stayed at Disney’s Paradise Pier, we got into California Adventure early (only available to Disney hotel guests) and were able to do everything in Cars Land before the park even opened with a 7am start time!
Use the FASTPASS System and use it wisely. You can normally have one FASTPASS out at a time, but during busier times, your return time for an attraction could be hours later, or even for that night! You don’t have to waist your whole day waiting for the next FASTPASS, you can get the next one two hours after the current ticket is issued. So, let’s say you run to Radiator Springs Racers and get your FASTPASS at 10am, but your return time isn’t until late afternoon, your next FASTPASS will be available at noon, two hours after you collected the ticket, regardless of return time. The hottest FASTPASS tickets for the summer are Radiator Springs Racers and Soarin’ Around the World (opening June 17) at Disney California Adventure, and Hyperspace Mountain (part of the limited time Star Wars Season of the Force), Indiana Jones, and Splash Mountain at Disneyland. You’ll want to get those first thing, because they do run out!
Use Rider Swap and/or Single Rider Lines if applicable. All attractions with a height requirement have an option where your group can wait for the attraction while someone stays behind with any smaller kids who aren’t able to ride. Once the first group has ridden, whoever stayed behind can go to the front of the line with up to two other riders. That way, no one has to wait twice for one attraction. You can combine this with the FASTPASS to really maximize your time. This was a lifesaver on our last trip. If you have older kids or adults traveling, you can try out the single rider. You won’t be sitting right next to your party, but a lot of times, you’ll end up on the same car, like on Radiator Springs Racers or California Screamin’. In fact, some attractions like Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue will even have what they call a “buddy pass” during peak travel times. The buddy pass is like a single rider, but applies to attractions where your party will only take up one row instead of one seat, and you can go through a much shorter line. Considering you can fit up to four riders with one lap child on Monsters Inc., this is a great way to go for us. We waited for about two minutes instead of half an hour by splitting up our group of seven into a group of three and a group of four. We weren’t in the same car, but got off immediately after. It was awesome!
Watch the shows. Shows are great because, well, they’re Disney. But, they fit a lot of people, there are normally not lines, and you’ll almost never get turned away. Some great shows to catch are Mickey and the Magical Map, Turtle Talk with Crush, Frozen Live at the Hyperion (opening May 27), Disney Playhouse Live, Path of the Jedi (part of the Star Wars Season of the Force), and Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple. You can also watch an extended movie preview at the “it’s tough to be a bug” theater. This month the featured film is Tim Burton’s “Through the Looking Glass.”
Ride attractions that have quick moving lines and are longer attractions. Pirates of the Caribbean is a great example. Sure, there may be a line, but it moves quickly because those boats can hold almost 20 people at a time! Plus, once you get on the ride, you’re on it for almost 15 minutes, which makes it a good investment of precious vacation time. The Little Mermaid Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and “it’s a small world” are other good examples of fast loading attractions.
Stay at one of the Disneyland Hotels, or as close as possible. This way you’ll maximize your time by not waiting for shuttles or parking. It’s also nice to be close by if you want to take a little nap or swim break during the heat of the day. Plus, if you stay at one of the Disney properties, you’ll get early morning entry into Disneyland or California Adventure each day of your stay. It’s always valuable, but especially valuable during busier travel times.
The star of the Diamond Celebration at the Disneyland Resort is without a doubt the Paint the Night Parade. When it’s packed, people start staking out their spots on Main Street U.S.A. hours before the parade begins. When we were there people were starting to fill the curbs 3-4 hours before parade time! You can avoid that by purchasing a Paint the Night Dining Package with reserved viewing included. For premium viewing, you can make a reservation for the Blue Bayou which includes a three course prix fixe meal for $62/adult and $25/child ages 3-9. Or, on-the-go dining options are available for $23/adult and $14/child are available from Aladdin’s Oasis and include reserved viewing near “it’s a small world.” This way you can arrive around 30 minutes prior to show time and know you’ll have a spot. Another option is to watch the second showing which only happens during peak travel times. Most of the crowds will watch the first parade and leave after the fireworks.
Hang out in Mickey’s Toontown in Disneyland and/or the Redwood Creek Challenge in Disney California Adventure Park. If you have kids who are a little restless from waiting in lines or being pushed in strollers, these areas are a great way to let your kids get out their wiggles. There are contained play areas where kids can explore, run and just be kids. Plus, there are plenty of benches where moms and dads can take a breather.
Make a reservation for Character Dining. Waiting in line to meet characters when it’s busy can be brutal. If you do a Character breakfast, lunch or dinner, you don’t waste any time. The characters all come to you while you eat and interact with everyone at your table. Our character breakfast was the highlight of our trip for my almost three-year-old. We got to meet Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Stitch and Pluto, and some of the characters even came by twice. Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance, so if you’re going during a busy time, you’ll want to make your reservations ASAP.
Bring snacks and try to time your meals during “off” dining times. Consider eating a late or early lunch or dinner to avoid crowds.When you’re hungry the last thing you want to do is stand in line to get food. I recommend always having something to eat nearby to tide you over during the lunch and dinner rushes. Keeping snacks handy can also keep kids content while in line. I was super grateful for Froot Loops while we were waiting for Peter Pan’s Flight.
And finally, ENJOY! You’re in the Happiest Place on Earth!
If you’d like more tips and tricks to get the most out of your Disneyland vacation, check out our blog, Packed with Fun. And if you’re thinking of booking a Disneyland vacation, I hope you’ll give our agents a call at 855-GET-AWAY or check out our discount Disneyland vacation packages at getawaytoday.com. With over 26 years of experience, we save you the most on your vacation and make sure that you have a magical time! Plus, use promo code: CraftingChicks to save an extra $10 on your 2-night or longer package. Thanks so much for reading!
Recipes for Ripe Bananas
I always seem to have a few ripe bananas sitting on my counter. That leaves me with the challenge of continually finding yummy recipes to make with my ripe bananas. Let me tell you, these are some of the best! Banana pancakes for breakfast, banana smoothies for busy mornings, cookies for after school, pies for dessert and of course banana bread for anytime!
Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins from The Crafting Chicks
Sour Cream and Banana Whole Wheat Pancakes from The Crafting Chicks
Banana & Sour Cream Cake from The Crafting Chicks
Vegan Banana Bread from The Crafting Chicks
Monkey Banana Muffins from Craftaholics Anonymous
Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes from The Crafting Chicks
Banana Bread Granola from The Casual Craftlete
Banana Mango Smoothie from Family Fresh Meals
Banana Oatmeal Cookies from Six Sisters’ Stuff
Old Fashioned Banana Cream Pie from Yesterfood
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Shake from Cooking Classy
Slow Cooker Banana Pecan French Toast from Skinny Ms.
Banana and Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal Cups from Organize Yourself Skinny
Apple Cinnamon Banana Bread from Just a Taste
Banana Coconut Cream Mini Pies from Carlsbad Cravings
Strawberry Banana Bread from Deliciously Sprinkled
Banana Mug Cake from Chocolate Covered Katie
Banana Blueberry Bread from Jo Cooks
Banana Oat Blender Pancakes from Kim’s Cravings
Cream Cheese Filled Banana Bread from Averie Cooks
Peanut Butter Banana Cookies from Gimme Some Oven
Hey everyone! I’m over on Oriental Trading’s blog, Create Fun, sharing the recipe for these yummy Cookies and Cream Pudding Pops. These pudding pops are fast and easy to make, and lots of fun to share with friends and family.
This recipe has been one that we’ve had in our family for a long time. I’m sure most families have recipes similar to this. I love how easy and fast these Cookies and Cream Pudding Pops come together. Making up this recipe with your kids is a great way to teach them about cooking and preparing food without using the stove or oven or any heat source. They’ll love crushing the cookies, mixing the pudding, and layering everything to make up the popsicles. It’s great for budding chefs or anyone who wants to make a yummy treat.
These are the perfect treat for those hot summer days.
Cookies and Cream Pudding Pops are always a hit at our house with kids and adults alike. I’m sure that they will become a favorite summer treat at your house too.
You’ll find all the information over on, Create Fun. Stop by over there to see all the other fun projects, parties and activities.
We love sharing our annual summer fun chart! It’s such a fun tradition as a family.
Each May we gather as a family and brainstorm fun things we want to do together. Most of the ideas are simple and inexpensive. It’s so fun to see what my kids come up with.
A classic summer dessert is transformed into a cupcake! Vanilla cupcakes are filled with a sweet strawberry mixture and topped with light whipped cream. A perfectly delicious strawberry dessert!
I love using fresh strawberries in desserts during the summer. There’s something about a juicy strawberry that makes a summer day that much better. Cupcakes are my very favorite desserts to make and I thought it would be so fun to combine a decadent cupcake with a light and fresh strawberry shortcake. This was one of my better cupcake choices that I will be making again and again. They’re flavorful and spongey with the creaminess of whipped topping and the sweetness of a juicy strawberry filling. This is a fun recipe!
Thanks to the greatness that is a boxed vanilla cake mix, these cupcakes come together quickly. You can bake the cupcakes and prepare the strawberry filling while they’re in the oven. Once the cupcakes are cooled, you’re good to go to fill them and top them!
Use a melon baller to scoop out the center of each cupcake. You won’t need to use the innards after this so feel free to eat them as you go. I may or may not have done that with mine.
Then fill the cupcake with sweet strawberry goodness. Add whipped topping right on top and add a fresh strawberry for garnish. Easy and so yummy!
Serves: 24 cupcakes
- 1 vanilla cake mix
- 1 c. buttermilk
- ½ c. vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 24 white cupcake liners
- 2 c. strawberries, finely chopped
- 4 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp orange juice
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- canned whipped cream
- 24 whole strawberries
- Prepare cupcakes by combining cake mix, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and eggs with an electric mixer. Once combined, scrape the bowl and mix on medium speed for two minutes. Place cupcake liners into pan(s) and divide batter evenly. Bake at 350° for 15-17 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from pan(s) to cool.
- Prepare strawberry filling by combining orange juice and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add diced strawberries and sugar and cook over medium-high heat until boiling to dissolve the sugar.
- Use a melon baller to scoop the center out of each cupcake. Fill each cupcake with about 1 Tablespoon of the strawberry mixture. Cover with whipped cream and garnish with a fresh strawberry. Serve immediately.
These cupcakes are so yummy and fun for the summer! To save time when it comes to serving, bake the cupcakes, remove the centers, and make strawberry filling ahead of time. Then fill and top with whipped cream and strawberries right before serving. I hope you enjoy this recipe!
Summer is almost here… I can feel it! (Or maybe I’m just tired of the daily school routine and I’m dreaming of summer!) Either way, we’ve gathered some of our favorite Summer Porch Ideas for you today. It’s time to get that porch ready for lazy summer days in the shade and cool summer nights eating your tabletop s’mores!
Summer Porch Ideas
DIY Moss Letters from The Crafting Chicks
DIY Welcome Post from Little Bit of Paint
Children’s Arbor Bench from The Crafting Chicks
Painted Striped Concrete Floor from Lolly Jane
Chandelier Planter Tutorial from DIY Show Off
Table Top S’mores from The Crafting Chicks
DIY Summer Banner The Happy Scraps
Drop Cloth Porch Curtains from Old Things New
Mason Jar Herb Garden from Home Remedies
Beach Towel & Bathing Suit Rack from The Summery Umbrella
DIY Magical Lights in your Fairy Garden from Little Tudor on the Prairie
Today I’m over at Oriental Trading Co. Blog, sharing this fun Springtime Blooming Tree Kids Craft. A fun project to do with kids on a rainy day or any day. This project is a great way to keep the kids busy without making the house a mess.
This project was so fun and easy. Especially if you use the free printable tree that is available over on the Oriental Trading blog.
Each child will shine through with this project. They are able to use their personal creativity to make a Springtime Blooming Tree that is just for them.
So if you are looking for a great way to keep your kids busy on a rainy day, or any day.
It seems like every year I get an email earlier and earlier to see if we are posting a new Father’s Day Handprint Tree. Well, no need to email or worry because here it is, Father’s Day Handprint Tree 2016.
All you’ll need is:
- Printable Tree
- Paint, (I like Martha Stewart Crafts High Gloss in Green Curry)
- Foam Paint Brush
- Plastic plate for you paint
Begin by painting your child’s hand with the green paint of your choice. It’s tricky with little ones, so make sure you have wipes on hand.
Carefully place their hand on the tree and press gently on each finger so that the print is nice and shows up.
So cute huh! Since I have 3 girls, they each get a branch. If you have more kids, you can add more handprints and make a bigger tree. If you have less kids, have them do more hands.
I’m kinda in love with these and so are my girls. They love to give them as gifts. And I think the grandpa’s love them too.
Here’s another link to the download. Remember all printables are property of The Crafting Chicks, LLP. Please do not alter or claim as your own. It’s good karma to leave a comment when downloading.
Each download will open in a new window. You can print from that window, or save by right clicking and saving there.
Don’t you just love baby showers? I’m a huge fan of the new Gender Reveal party trend. It didn’t happen when I was having my babies. We just told people we were having a girl. Where’s the fun in that?
I have a cute friend that is pregnant and I asked if I could do a gender reveal party for her. I was so in love with the little details but especially this gender reveal table.
I added simple decor like glitter jars, flowers, a fringe banner, and of course pink and blue balloons! I love how the balloons just made it all come together.
This party may look fancy smancy, but honestly is was super easy. I snagged one of the Balloon Time helium tanks to make decorating super easy and fast.
I grab balloons in the colors that I wanted and was able to inflate what I needed when I needed them. I love having a tank on hand for random balloon needs.
That cute chalkboard box played an important part. Inside I placed a balloon revealing what my friend was going to have.
First I filled a blue balloon, just enough so it would float and fit inside the box. Then shoved it down quickly and put the lid on.
Then when she opened the box the blue balloon floated on out. Ta-dah!
It was so cute and tons of fun.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Balloon Time. The opinions and text are all mine.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! And what is better than ice cream? Mini Donut Ice Cream Sundaes!!
Hi Crafting Chicks fans! It’s Keri from Shaken Together and this month, I am sharing another easy, no bake dessert with you. No bake desserts are pretty much my jam. I love a good no bake cookie, a fun way to dress up store bought cupcakes or a quick dessert dip to wow your guests. These mini donut ice cream sundaes are the perfect way to say hello Summer, happy birthday or yay for Friday!!
I mean, when you start off with the most adorable sprinkle frosted donuts, the cute factor can only go up!
These sundaes are SO easy … just plop a scoop of ice cream on top of a mini donut, add sprinkles (or hot fudge, a whoosh of whipped cream or a drizzle of caramel), grab a spoon and dig in!
Want to know my secret for getting mini ice cream scoops for these mini sundaes? A cookie scoop! It makes the perfect mini sized scoop and the lever mechanism pops it right out on top of the donut.
To make serving these mini donut ice cream sundaes easy (and not to mention adorable), I use colorful cupcakes papers. Each cupcake paper is the perfect size to hold one mini donut and catches any drips or crumbs!
- Mini donuts
- Ice cream
- Your favorite ice cream toppings
- Place each mini donut in a cupcake paper.
- Just before serving, use a cookie scoop (or a spoon) to add a scoop of ice cream to the top of each donut.
- Garnish with hot fudge, caramel, whipped cream or sprinkles!
If you are craving more easy no-bake desserts, take a peek at a few more of my favorites!
Banana Split Cookies – topped with fruit, frosting & hot fudge!
Strawberry Marshmallow Dip – just 2 easy ingredients!
Cheesecake Banana Splits – move over ice cream, cheesecake is here!