Jan Trip Questions: Fantasmic!, MaxPass, and More!

I’ve been reading through old posts and found so many great tips! Thanks! I have some more questions, please help! We will be at DL/DCA on Jan 20, 22, 23, 24 which is a Saturday, then M-W, for reference.

  1. We’ve booked at the Tropicana. Is it clean/reputable or are we going to be unhappy, even though we’re saving so much money?

  2. I’ve read that Fastpass distribution for F! is by the Mark Twain, correct? Should someone go directly there at rope drop to get the Faspasses, or does it open later in the day?

  3. What is the best strategy for the new F! show? Dining package actually worth it? Or have someone sit forever waiting? Is the best place still along the waters of America? When/what time will CM’s let you set up camp?

  4. Schedules aren’t posted on Disney’s website yet for while we will be there. Anyone know if F! is every night at the end of Jan, or is it just weekends? Same question for fireworks.

  5. I’ve heard there are character breakfasts inside the park before park opening. Is this true? Is it worth it? Where is this and how do you get in early? Will you get to rides early too, or still be eating?

  6. Is to GofG fastpass distribution located where ToT distribution was?

  7. When using MaxPass can you start “booking” your first Fastpass as soon as you go through the turnstiles, but before rope drop actually happens? Or does the app know it’s not opening time yet and you have to wait?

  8. We plan to be at the park in line 1 hour before opening, is this still sufficient? That seemed ideal the last time we went.

  9. This goes along with my last question… My in-laws will be in town at the same time and are joining us on Saturday and Monday. They will be driving and we will be walking. They purchased our tickets with their military discount, so I’m assuming they need to be with us at the gate when we check in for the first time, but not after that, correct? Knowing we will be in line 1 hour before the park opens, what time should they be “in line” to get into the parking structure? And is there a better place to park than others?

I know this is a doozy! Thanks SOO much for your help and info!

Hello Savannah & welcome to a wonderful world of Disneyland planning! FYI the forum is less populated for the Disneyland side as opposed to the Disney World Side. Most of the Disneyland crowd hangs out on the Lines App chat feature, so if you ever want quick responses, definitely go to the app browser chat feature & ask there. BUT there are several of us that like the forum as well it just might take awhile longer to get your response.

Now down to business with your questions!

  1. Tropicana is a GREAT location, very fair rooms for their prices, but very little else to offer. If you are happy with a close room that has no frills, then it’s the perfect fit. We used to stay at the Tropicana all the time until we branched out to trying others along Harbor. We were never unhappy in any of our many stays. I have heard reports of shabby room conditions from friends & family that have stayed there more recently than I. However, they are currently undergoing room refurbishments/updates so I would request an updated room for your reservation. Important to note when staying in that location: avoid Captin Kidd’s buffet that’s on the way to the parks from Tropicana. It is a very low quality buffet & you may be tempted to try because their prices are so cheap, but skip it. It is universally poor. IHOP & Denny’'s on the other hand are great options for cheap food. At IHOP kids eat free after 4pm so a great dinner stop if you take a dinner break from the parks. Also, if you walk along Harbor away from the parks, two doors down is a McDonald’s which we utilize lots for cheap meals when we stay at Tropicana.

  2. FP for F! is indeed by the Mark Twain loading area. Can’t miss it with the signs just to the left when looking straight at it. Typically the FP! for the first show have been gone around one hour after park opening so I would definitely make it there before the first hour. Unless you want to see the later show, then you can be a little more flexible & show up within the first 2 hours. They will open the FPs at park open (but not early entry) so definitely go early.

  3. What I love about the F! dining package is you don’t feel suffocatingly closed in with the crowds to watch F! as opposed to FP areas where they get you crammed in as tight as possible & people who show up later get pushy & shovy towards the front. Also, navigating in & out through that bottleneck are of the park seems more frustrating when you are in the masses of FP crowd. With the dining package you walk down into the center, seated - on the ground- section & you can sit & relax without people cramming in on top of you. At least that was our experience. The first time we tried F! FPs after F! returned this last summer, we lucked out getting a spot 50 minutes before the show near a railing in the FP section. However, the norm is to show up closer to 2 hours before to camp out- you will be held in the Mark Twain loading area to queue & wait to be let into the FP section 1 hr before the show to get a spot. Thirty minutes before the show you’ll be asked to all stand up & that’s when people start to squeeze in so I would make sure if your whole party isn’t with you that they get there ahead of that 30 minute mark to stand as it will get really tough to hold any space that you had been already marking for your group. It’s a huge time commitment & because of the crush of crowds it creates in & around the west side of the park, doing F! with a FP is something we only like to do every once in awhile, so for us, the luxury of the dining package feels worth it. But they are pricey, so understand if it isn’t always an option. But if you have any budget for upgrades/experiences this is where I would use it first, even over staying onsite.

  4. Because the area surrounding the parks in Anaheim is very residential Disney has agreements with the city to only do fireworks on weekends except for holiday weeks, summertime (ie when school is not in session). In January F! and FWs will typically only be on weekends. Schedules will start to pull up 6 weeks before your date with operating hours & entertainment will slowly fill up closer to 30 or so days before your trip.

  5. There are two meals, one in each park. Ariel’s Grotto has a princess breakfast in DCA and Plaza Inn has a character breakfast buffet in Disneyland. I have been able to find reservations before park time, but they are more of a rarity & not super common, but don’t give up if you really want it because sometimes Disney doesn’t release all their available reservations right at 60 days & also someone could drop their reservation especially week of, so with some follow-up it’s reasonable to expect you find one. From my experience tho, especially with kids that love characters & want to get the most out of characters it’s not worth it for the potential ride advantage because we spend the whole time eating & enjoying characters. Rushing to finish to get on rides seems counter intuitive to the experience of doing the meal. . If you have a reservation in that latter half before park open & the park is open for early entry it is possible to get in rides before the start of bfast. However, we have seen it where they stop guests who are proceeding past the Plaza Inn & ask for their Magic Morning/Early Entry credentials and if you are just there for bfast & not as a Magic Morning/Early Entry guests, they can direct you back to the Plaza to wait for bfast. That isn’t always the case, but is what we have seen in the past. If you do decide to do an early dining, be sure to use the Character Dining turnstile entrance & not wait through the usually long entry lines forming at other turnstiles. For DCA they will have your name on a pre-printed list. For DL you will need to show proof of your reservation as they don’t print out a list.

  6. Yes, GotG FPs are in the exact same locationas ToT FPs used to be.

  7. The app allows you to start booking as soon as you are through the gates, even it’s before rope drop.

  8. Your plan for an hour early is very ideal. We have gotten lazy and show up closer to 20 min before but always get caught in a long line at the turnstiles unless we get lucky with a line splitting around a planter. An hour means you aren’t taking that gamble.

  9. I’m not an expert on military discount tickets so I can’t say for sure, but my hunch is yes they should be there. And it will help start the day off right if they are! Mickey & Friends parking garage will open 90 minutes before park open and a line does form about 2 hrs before. Sometimes they let in early but more often than not it seems like I hear the parking garage is delayed in opening and by the time you get your car in & situated it’s closer to 60 min before park opening. The other lot, Toy Story Midway Mania has a better flow & is easier to get into, in my opinion, but it doesn’t open until 60 minutes before the park opens & is a shuttle ride away from the park (not a very long one but can take 10-20 min to wait in the line to get on a shuttle & make it to the park). I think because you’ll probably want them with you in line, the better alternative is Mickey & Friends & hopefully it’s a smooth start day for the parking garage to get them in & parked.

Happy to help! If you have any other questions, fire away!


You are amazing! Thank you so much!!!

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:grin: It’s what Liners do, help the planners out there plan! Anything else you have a question on, don’t hesitate to ask!

I sat down to answer your questions, but stopped myself because I knew lolabear would have better answers than I :slight_smile: Welcome to Disneyland planning!

To answer your questions about military–yes, they need to be there at entry on the 1st day, but not after that. My dad is retired and checked in with us but then skipped our 3rd day entirely because we wore him out. We were just there in September and parking was NUTS–we stayed a mile away and walked to and from our condo, with my parents leaving and arriving by car and getting to the gate after us both days. Make sure they plan lots of extra time.


Thanks for chiming in on the military question!! I’m sure your answers would have been just as informational & probably more concise! I get wordy :stuck_out_tongue: There’s just so much I have to say about Disneyland and planning and I just can’t stop (case in point this very long thank you response).

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Just a quick comment. I believe Ariel’s Grotto is closing Jan 8th :frowning: and not opening until April for a short time and then closing again. I’m hoping there will be another option for princess dining since we are going in February with three little princess lovers.

If I remember correctly, it’s just the Cove Bar portion that will be reopening briefly in April and then closing again for a period.:frowning_face:

@mikeandcynthia22 & @RopeDropper Yes- thank you for catching that! Ariel’s will not be returning as Ariel’s Grotto when it does come back whenever that may be (they haven’t announced a date, but yes only the Cove Bar will be opening up in April for a short time). So the last day for a meal with Ariel is Jan 7th. I’m also hoping they get an announcement soon on where else princesses can be found, because you can’t have a Disney park without a princess meal!! My husband & I have been speculating on if they might move it over to Disneyland, maybe at the newly refurbished River Belle or maybe have Plaza Inn be a table service beyond breakfast to have a princess meal. We don’t see a good fit for a princess meal anywhere else in DCA but who knows, they could surprise us.

I just happen to remember that because we have a trip booked in early April, and we’re hoping that at least the Cove Bar will be open at the time. :anguished: I’ve got to get me some Lobster Nachos and maybe a Mickey’s Fun Wheel.

I love me those Lobster Nachos! I know they know how popular the Cove is & so I am hoping they keep it mostly the same just lightly re-themed for their Pixar Pier deal. I hope you do get the chance to have them on your April trip! If your dates line up with the start of the Pixar fesitval (April 13th) chances are good you’ll get an open Cove Bar.

Nope. Unfortunately, we’re leaving on the 12th. We didn’t know about the dates of the Pixar changes until we had already booked the hotel and purchased our plane tickets.:angry:

That’s Disneyland for ya! Hopefully they do open the Cove Bar a little bit before the start of the festival (Easter & spring break are in early April so I have to imagine that’s one of the reasons they want it open- for the capacity to absorb some of the peak season crowds). I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

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I just booked a F! dining package for a weeknight the week you are going - so it looks like they plan on running F! during the week that week. You may be in luck! No pre-park open Character Breakfast reservations were available, unfortunately.

I heard about F! midweek packages being available & I think the word on the street was that WOC will be down for its annual refurb so they will do F! nightly instead.

The UG recommended going to the Cove Bar to watch WOC. How good of a view can you get, and how early should we arrive? Weighing this vs a dining package.