Wednesday, December 8, 2021

For Better or Worse, Genie+ is Here


Whether we like it or not, Genie and Genie+ started TODAY at the Disneyland Resort. Let's dive in and break down all the info that we have so far. 

Let's start with the easy part: Disney Genie (the free part!). To start, always make sure your Disneyland app is up to date (the same app we've all been using for a while, nothing new here) and that it can use your location.  Basically what it'll do is help you make an itinerary for your day. It can track your must-do attractions to see when the wait times will be the shortest, it can let you know when a character you're most wanting to meet is available, and it can keep your dining reservations in mind so it doesn't tell you the best time to ride Space Mountain is right when you're supposed to be having your amazing Blue Bayou dinner. I can see this being helpful if there are certain things you want to make sure you can do but don't want to plan it all out yourself. 

**If you're a Disneyland expert and would rather not schedule your day so much, you can just ignore this whole thing and pretend it never happened!** This is totally optional and just here to help you out if you think it's useful. I think it's worth a try.

Ok, now for the part no one wants to talk about...Genie+ (aka: the paid version of what we used to get for free). Genie+ is $20 per day, per person and is basically a paid FastPass service. It allows you to schedule a time to use the new "Lightning Lane" on many attractions at both Disneyland and DCA. 

**NOTE** You can use the Lightning Lane once per day for each attraction!!! That means, for example, if you want to ride Indiana Jones twice in one day, you're going to be waiting Stand-by one of those times! This is very different from how it was with FastPass where you could do what you wanted as long as you only held one FastPass at a time. 

On the upside, you get unlimited PhotoPass downloads and there are supposed to be some pretty cool audio experiences throughout the parks that give you special behind the scenes info. I'm not sure if that's worth $20/day/person, but at least its another perk. 

WEB Slingers and Rise of the Resistance are NOT INCLUDED with the regular Genie+!! If you want to use the Lightning Lane for these rides, there is an "a la carte" style piece to the Genie+ system which are the Individual Selections. This is a separate purchase that will vary in price date, availability, and even between the two attractions themselves. 

How to buy and when to try! You can purchase Genie+ while you're getting your tickets, or you can buy it and add it to your existing tickets at any time. So here's where that might be good. Let's say you're going on a 4 day trip. You can spend your first day without Genie+, decide you want to give it a try and buy it for the next day, decide it wasn't worth it and not use it for your last two days! I do like that flexibility. Maybe use it on a day when you want to hit all your big rides and buy your ride photos. Then it could be worth it for you! But maybe you don't need it the entire time. 

My Personal Opinion: This is obviously infuriating. They're taking a free service, and making it a worse paid service. Making the two newest and most popular rides not even included is a ridiculous cash grab, although I guess you could just purchase WEB Slingers if you don't care about Lightning Lane for anything else, but unless its incredibly cheap (lol) it would be much more worth it to just buy the entire Genie+. I could see trying it out for a very fast trip where I'd worry I can't get in all the rides I want to do, or, like we mentioned before, as one day out of a longer trip. But I'm not planning on giving it a try any time soon. How about you?

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Mobile Checkout Expanded at Disneyland!


Have you ever gone into the Emporium on Main Street, taken one look at the lines, and walked straight out? It can't be just me. Well, don't worry too much about lines any more - mobile checkout is here! It's been tested off and on at different locations since last year, but it's being expanded and is now/will soon be available at the following Disneyland Resort locations:

Disneyland Park:

  • Disneyland Clothiers
  • Plaza Point
  • China Closet
  • Emporium
  • Pioneer Mercantile and Bonanza Outfitters
  • Star Trader
California Adventure:
  • Elias & Co
  • WEB Suppliers
  • Knick's Knacks
Downtown Disney:
  • World of Disney

Want to know how it works? It sounds pretty simple. Just log in to the Disneyland app where you can scan all of your merch. You'll be given a QR code that you show a Cast Member at a designated exit and you're all set.

Wondering about discounts?? If you're a Magic Key holder or a Disney Vacation Club member, you can apply your discount right there from your phone as long as your membership is linked to your Disneyland app account. If you're a Disney Visa Card holder, you should still go to a regular register in the stores to receive your discount. 

Who's going to go do some shopping and test it out for us???

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Food for the Holidays: California Adventure 2021


Last week we looked at the amazing food offerings Disneyland Park has for us this holiday season. Today we're looking at what California Adventure has on the menu! Like last time, we'll split up all of the tasty treats into three categories: food, desserts, and drinks.


Let's start off at Boudin Bread Cart and the Pacific Wharf Cafe for the Snowman shaped Sourdough Bread!

If you're lucky enough to make it to the Lamplight Lounge, try the Stout-braised Winter Short Ribs.

The Pastrami Reuben at Award Weiner definitely has my name on it! (ok, maybe hold the enormous pickle).

Smokejumpers Grill has a Cranberry Turkey Burger that looks like Thanksgiving on a bun! 


The Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Sundae at Clarabelle's is too cute for words. Covered in crushed peppermint AND Mickey shaped? Yes please. 

The Cozy Cone Motel (cone #1) has a super cute Chocolate Cherry Churro. (Say that five times fast!)

While we're on the topic of adorably fun churros, Goofy's Churro Cart has a Dusted Gingerbread Churro with cute red and green candies on top. 

Schmoozies has a Holiday Affogado with peppermint ice cream. 

Photo from Disney Food Blog


The Hollywood Lounge has this Blue Lemonade Fizz that looks like so much fun!

Lamplight Lounge has the always festive Holiday Martini. 

The Peppermint Shake at Schmoozies looks like a Santa Mickey!

Smokejumpers has an Apple Whiskey Cocktail that would pair perfectly with that Turkey Burger we talked about earlier. 

What looks good?

Now that you've had a chance to go through some of the best offerings, what looks good to you? What's on your must have list?

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Food for the Holidays: Disneyland Park 2021


Its time for another Disneyland food guide!!! With the holiday season officially starting at Disneyland on November 12, its time to take a look at the delicious goodies Disney has in store for us. There are actually SO MANY new items on the menus that we need to split this up by park. So today we've got Disneyland, stay tuned for California Adventure!

Don't forget to make sure you have the latest version of the Disneyland App so you can mobile order your food and avoid some lines. 

This is all available throughout the holiday season, ending January 9. 


Head to the Carnation Cafe for this amazing Herb Roasted Pork Sandwich.

Pizza Planet has a Chicken Parm Pizza with a sundried tomato drizzle. (I'm not a big fan of the pizza there but this has me willing to give it another try!)

If you're at the French Market, try the Smothered Beef with Mashed Potatoes. (Forget the fact that I just ate lunch... now I'm hungry!)

The Harbor Galley (reopening soon!!) has a Seafood Broil for Two, complete with shrimp, potatoes, and andouille sausage. 

Don't forget about the Spicy BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger at the Hungry Bear topped with jalapenos and an onion ring!

And if you're feeling festive, check out the Holiday Sandwich at the Jolly Holiday (turkey, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce.

The Stage Door Cafe has a Country Ham Cubano that looks incredible!

DINING PACKAGE ALERT!! There will be a dining package for the Christmas Fantasy Parade. New York Strip Loin, Mac and Cheese, Roasted Veggies, and Chocolate Bread Pudding are on the menu at the Plaza Inn, then stay for "prime viewing" of the parade. Details on how to purchase coming soon!


Cafe Orleans has this amazing Hot Cocoa Creme Brulee!

Seasonal Churros are everywhere! Check the Castle churro cart for the Chocolate Cinnamon Churro, Critter Country has the Groom Churro to go along perfectly with the Bride Churro in New Orleans Square. Tomorrowland has a Pink Coconut Churro, and Town Square has a Holiday Cookie Churro. So many options!!!

Head to the Gibson Girl if you're in the mood for a Peppermint Holiday Sundae. 

A Churro Funnel Cake A La Mode is available at the Golden Horseshoe. 

Need more funnel cakes?? The Hungry Bear has a Pumpkin Cheesecake Funnel Cake. 

The Jolly Holiday Bakery comes in again with the most festive item: the Holiday Brownie topped with which chocolate mousse, sprinkles and festive decorations.

Peppermint Beignets are returning to the Mint Julep Bar!

For all the Grey Stuff fans: the Red Rose Taverne has the Holiday Grey Stuff shaped as a Christmas tree.

If you're over at the Stage Door Cafe, be sure to try the Hummingbird Cake!


There's a fun Peppermint Mocha Frappe at the Galactic Grill.

Rancho Del Zocalo has Horchata!!

Ok, now that you've seen these new seasonal offerings, chime in! What looks best to you?

Thursday, September 2, 2021

HalloweenTime 2021: All the Details!


It's September 2nd, so you know what that means....Happy Halloween from Disneyland!! Whether you're ready for something spooky or still enjoying summer vibes, tomorrow starts official Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort. So let's check out new food offerings, returning favorite attractions, activities, and decorations, and don't forget Oogie Boogie Bash!

I'm hungry, so let's start with the food, shall we?

There are actually a TON of special seasonal offerings this year (check out the full list here). We've pulled together our top recommendations! (all food photos courtesy of Disney)

Disneyland Park 

  • Hallloween Candy Sundae (at the Gibson Girl)
  • Blood Orange Slush (at the Galactic Grill)
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake Funnelcake (at the Hungry Bear)
  • Mummy Marshmallow Wand (at the Candy Palace)
  • Halloween Gray Stuff (at the Red Rose Taverne)
  • Pumpkin Brittle (at Pooh's Corner), ONLY available in October!
  • Spicy Corn Dog (at the Stage Door Cafe)
California Adventure


  • Cookie's and Candy Sundae (at Clarabelle's Ice Cream)
  • Pumpkin Fudge (at Bing Bong's)
  • Oogie Boogie Macaron (at Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe)
  • Loaded Buffalo Chicken Fries (at Flo's)
  • Worms, Dice, and Everything Nice cocktail (at Hollywood Lounge)
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate (at Plaza de la Familia)
  • Caramel Apple Churro (at Grizzly Peak Churro Cart)

How About Attractions and Activities?

Haunted Mansion Holiday

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of Haunted Mansion Holiday (my all time favorite)!!! Watch for a special Gingerbread house with tributes to all of the previous ones. It's going to be epic.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Monsters after Dark

Photo credit: Undercover Tourist

I'll be honest, I haven't done this one. But it sounds extra scary and fun. Every day after 3pm, team up with Rocket to save Groot, with scarier monsters and a much heavier soundtrack. Keep in mind, the regular version of the ride closes at 2:00, so there's an hour timeframe where they're making whatever changes they need to do. Guardians of the Galaxy is actually closed from 2:00-3:00.

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters Transform!

Head over to Mater's Junkyard Jam-BOO-Ree and Luigi's Honkin' Haul-O-Ween. The rides are the same, but there's lots of decorations and special seasonal songs. It's pretty adorable!

Pluto's Pumpkin Pursuit in Downtown Disney

If you're a big fan of the Easter Egg-Stravaganza that Disneyland usually puts on in the spring, then this is for you! You can purchase a game board with stickers that match each of the Disney character themed pumpkins that are hidden around Downtown Disney. Once you find it, place the sticker, then return your completed board for a prize! FREE VERSION!!!! If you don't care about the prize, there's absolutely nothing stopping you from just finding the pumpkins for fun. That's for sure what I would be doing. 

Let's move on to Amazing Decorations!

The Main Street Pumpkin Festival is Back

As you mosey down Main Street (or run, whatevs), don't forget to look around at the hundreds of specially carved pumpkins that are all along the storefronts. My favorite is always the Elvis pumpkin at the music store. 

The Headless Horseman is Waiting for You...

This guy lights up, has his own fog effect, is super creepy, and I'm totally here for it! Also check out the purple lights all around California Adventure this time of year. 

Don't Miss the Halloween Tree

This is super underrated and overlooked. Based on the Ray Bradbury novel of the same name, The Halloween Tree has been sitting in Frontierland since 2007, and doesn't nearly get the love it deserves.

And Now it's Time to Party!!!

Photo Credit: Disney

If you're planning on going to Oogie Boogie Bash this year over at California Adventure, we've got the rundown for you! (If you're still thinking about it,'s sold out. Better luck next year!) With your ticket to the party (separate from park admission during the day!) you get:

  • Admission to California Adventure starting at 3pm 
    • The party starts at 6:00, so if you didn't buy park tickets that day, you can still get in early and have a few hours of DCA fun
  • Treat Trails!!!
    • Trick or Treat along special routes. I've heard the candy haul is impressive!
  • Characters in their Halloween Costumes! 
    • Keep in mind that character photo ops are a little different this year due to Covid regulations, but don't worry! You can still get that perfect shot with your fave character.
  • The Frightfully Fun Parade
    • Access to this Halloween parade is only for Oogie Boogie Bash guests and it kicks off with the Headless Horseman. What could be better?
  • See all the baddies at the Villain's Grove
    • The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail transforms into a spooky trail to follow and meet Maleficent, Facilier, the Queen of Hearts, and more!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Disneyland's New Genie Service: Everything You Need to Know


Alright guys, here it is. We'd heard the rumors that this was coming. Then they implemented a similar system in Disneyland Paris and we all said, "well that park is very different and they won't do that here." And now here we are. The new Disney Genie Service (aka Paid Fastpass) is here and emotions are running high. I don't blame anyone for being upset! I'm really not thrilled. But before we go into all of that, let's take a good look at what Disney has announced because change is hard and these kinds of announcements can seem confusing. 

**There are TWO PARTS to the Genie Service. The free part (hooray!) and the paid part (boo!). Let's look at the free part first because that's so much more relaxing. 

The general Genie Service is the free service that will be integrated into the Disneyland app (or My Disney Experience for the WDW folks) and its main focus is to help you plan your day. 

You can go in and tell the service characters or shows you want to see, rides you want to make sure to make it on to, foods you want to eat, and it'll help you organize your day. 
  • You can get current wait times and predictions for rides you like so you can try to avoid some longer lines
  • Keep track of "favorite" attractions so to help you decide where to go next
  • Get help making reservations or doing mobile ordering for food
  • Join the virtual queue for rides that use it (WEB Slingers and Rise of the Resistance)
  • Access to a "virtual assistant" if you have questions as you go
  • Get updates on all of these things as the day goes on

Here's what I like about this part:

I love that it'll help you plan your day. If you're more of a go with the flow person, this might not be for you and you can 100% ignore it. But if there are certain favorites you don't want to miss, if there are characters you want to try to meet, if you don't want to miss out on that snack at Bengal BBQ and want to grab it on your way over to Pirates, this can really help you streamline all of that so you don't wait around as long trying to figure out the next thing. 

Here's what isn't my favorite:

That app is a battery sucker!!! Bring a portable charger or two because you'll sure need it, especially if you want to use your phone for other things during the day like pictures, videos, or whatever else. 

Ok, here's the part no one is excited for...Genie +. Genie + is the paid part of the service and it's what will replace Fastpass and Maxpass. If you were already using Maxpass and loved it, then there's not much change for you. That was already an additional cost to use the app to make Fastpass reservations.

For an extra $20 per person per day ($15 at WDW, not sure why the difference), you get access to Genie +. Here's what you get:

  • Access to the Lightning Lane (the old Fastpass lines). You can make one selection at a time through the app. 
  • Audio experiences...that's really all they've said about that. I'm hoping it's special information about different parts of the parks that you can listen too. But they're literally just said "audio experiences." So stay tuned to find out whatever the heck that is.
  • Unlimited Photopass downloads

Alternatively to purchasing the Lightning Lane all day, you could purchase "individual selections" where basically you're buying access to one or two high demand attractions. The pricing on this one hasn't been announced yet but it'll vary day to day (probably based on crowds) and that will be announced closer to the launch of the program. 

Here's what I like about this part (I'm trying to stay positive, guys...bear with me):

Sometimes Fastpass actually made wait times longer. Let's use the Matterhorn for an example. It used to be a 30-35 minute wait no matter what. Once they added Fastpass, it went to closer to an hour for standby any time of day. So if this paid option is less popular because of the pricing, it could actually help standby times. 

Making Fastpass or Genie or whatever you want to call it reservations from your phone stops the need to be actually at the ride to get your return time and that can help make your day much more simple. 

I'd love unlimited photo downloads. I always hand my camera to the Photopass photographers and they usually get a good shot, but they take 1 with my camera and like 10 with theirs so odds are you'll get the perfect pic from them. Plus ride photos. I never buy those and sometimes they're amazing. I'd love to be able to grab those for free...well...$20 a day but as many as I want. 

Here's what obviously isn't my favorite:

$20 per day per person is a fortune on top of already expensive ticket prices for something that's been free for the last 20 years!!!! I can see a situation where I'm taking a very quick trip (1 day or 1 day per park or something like that) that this might be super helpful to make sure I'm getting in all my favorites. But I like a 4-5 day trip for my family of 4. That's an extra $320-$400 dollars added to the price of my vacation!

This is 100% a money grab and it's pissing off a lot of people. Now, that's not to say these same people won't just adopt the new system anyway (as with everything else that we Disney fans often get vocal about), but it's still incredibly frustrating.