How to Get Your Dose of Disney in the Midst of Park Closures

Alright Disnerds – the news of all these parks being closed is pretty sad, but I respect the decision being made to close the parks! Although COVID-19 is not something to panic about, I know they made the decision to close the parks because they know people like us who love Disney more than lots of things in life will still continue to go there, even if we aren’t feeling 100%.

So yes it sucks, but it was a good call!

But how do we cope with all the Disney withdrawals that we are sure to get in these next couple of weeks?

1. shopDisney

Well first off, you can go to the tried and true retail therapy that is online shopping at! Find something you love and I am sure that will lift your spirits seeing that magic mail arrive on your doorstep!

2. Disney themed sleepover

This one is a little more middle school but come on, grown up sleepovers are kind of the best! Not only can you stay up to whatever time you want, be as loud as you want, eat whatever you choose, but you can also get those good times flowing in the form of your favorite adult beverage. You can break out the DVDs or if that’s too old school for you then you can binge watch literally everything on Disney+! Lizzie McGuire, That’s So Raven, Hannah Montana? You will be entertained forever! Just make sure your invite list doesn’t ask people to come over who aren’t feeling well and make sure you have hand sanitizer for your guests upon entry.

If you would rather make it a party of one or just have a movie night with your significant other, I would say that still counts as getting a good Disney fix!

3. Adding Disney flare to your wardrobe

If you have the ability to add some Disney accessories to your wardrobe for work, then do it! A watch, a necklace, a belt – things like that are simple and subtle. I wear a uniform for my job so I will be banking on these small pieces to add to my uniform that people won’t be able to see. Like my socks!

One of my favorite Instagrammers, @britishbelle, actually does a Disney Bound every Friday at work! She has her coworkers try to guess who she bounds as and more often than not, I have been able to guess through her posts who she is. So if you have the ability to do something like this, it could be really fun for you too!

4. Follow Disney fan pages on Instagram

Trust me when I say that you are not alone in feeling the withdrawals, but this does not mean content creators, small shops, and photographers don’t have a lot of pictures to rely on! There will never be a shortage of pictures and videos of your happy place. You can even watch the new Disneyland parade, “Magic Happens”, in its entirety on YouTube!

Here are some of my favorite Disney Instagramers: @dizmagic (photographer and CM), @ashhtaylor (influencer), @holaitsraquel (influencer and CM), @brit_at_wdw (photographer), @kingdomnommies (influencer and merch guru), and @wordofmouseco (mouse ear small shop)

5. Karaoke car jam sesh

Alright, this one is pretty straight forward. Get in your car, turn the volume up, and HANDLE IT! You have tons of Disney soundtracks at your fingertips with Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and Google. Your passengers can either sing along or get out.

Obviously these are not all the things you could do with your downtime to make Disney come to you instead of you going to Disney, but at least it’s a start! So wear those Mickey sweatshirts proudly, talk to strangers about how cool Rise of the Resistance is, and don’t let those mouse ears get too dusty. It’s a temporary closure after all!

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One of the most iconic pictures to take on the new Rise of Resistance Star Wars themed experience at Disneyland and Walt Disney World - a room full of First Order Stormtroopers!

TIPS: Rise of the Resistance

I’m just going to get this out in the open now – Rise of the Resistance deserves ALL of the hype it’s getting! I rode it for the first time yesterday and I just wish they took pictures at the end of it because I know that I was wide-eyed, open mouthed, and shocked to my core from everything.

A screenshot from the Disneyland app of the main page for you to get a Rise of the Resistance boarding group.

To get on this ride, you will need to get into a boarding group. To obtain a boarding group is essentially a lottery system of getting on a reservation list. The boarding groups go fast and you will need to prepare yourself for the fact that you may not get one. To get your boarding group, you will need to download the Disneyland/Walt Disney World app so that you can make your reservation via the app. There will be a way to get a paper version of a reservation, but that will only be available if the spots have not already been filled electronically. To find a paper location, ask a cast member! But at Disneyland, you can find it near the the fast passes for Astro Blasters.

You will also need to ensure that you are IN the park before 8am. The reservations will go live at that time and if you do not have your whole party’s tickets scanned, then you will not be able to get a pass. Now that we have those basics out of the way, let’s get started with the tips.

  1. Download the app.
  2. Link your pass and everyone else’s pass onto your app.
  3. If you have multiple people’s passes connected who are NOT there, delete them. This will save you time in the reservation process.
  4. Use multiple phones. If you have a group with you, this will ensure that you can recover from someone’s phone dying, lagging, or crashing.
  5. Close all apps on your phone INCLUDING the Disney app.
  6. Shut off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. I cannot emphasize this enough – DO NOT TRY TO USE DISNEY WI-FI! Mobile data ONLY!
  7. Stand in an area that has good reception (I would try City Hall)
  8. Open the app at EXACTLY 8am. Do not try to open it early to account for load-up time, this will only result in the app not loading and showing an error code when you try to join a boarding group.
  9. Once the app is open, click “Find Out More”, this will lead to a secondary page that will say “Join a Boarding Group” – click that!
  10. Make it ALL THE WAY THROUGH the prompts. It will first ask you which passes you want to make a boarding group for, and if you ONLY have the people who are in your group on your app, then you will not be unchecking any boxes from the list of passes that pop up. From there it was ask you to confirm the reservation. The main point I’m making here is not to just click “Join a Boarding Group” and think that you got it! You WILL need to get to the end screen that shows your boarding group number.
  11. Lastly, STAY CALM! This is obviously a very anxious time and getting worked up will only cause you to panic.

Other things to note:
  • You will need to have an early morning. We were at the parking structure by 6:15am (they open at 6:30), in line out front of the park by 7, and on Main Street by 7:25am. When they opened the park around 7:20, there was a HUGE line behind us to get in so make sure you are getting there as soon as you can.
  • Do not open the app even a second before 8am. You have to open it at exactly 8am otherwise the app will not time stamp your phone at 8am so it will not register that you can grab a boarding group.
  • Boarding groups start getting called at 9am.
  • Not all boarding groups are guaranteed entry, and each day will have a different guaranteed group. It will say on the bottom of the “Find Out More” page which boarding group they are guaranteeing for that day.
  • You will not get a push notification when your boarding group gets cleared for entry. You have to be the one that checks your status.
  • You have two hours to get to the ride from the time your group is called. After that, you will not be allowed on.
  • From the time you get into the line, to the time that you get off of the ride (with no delays/ride closures) takes about 50 minutes. I am sure this will change as well since the day we went was a rather tame day in terms of park attendance and we did not see the full extent of the queue.
  • The ride will stop calling boarding groups 3 hours before the park closes to ensure that everyone who is already in line can get on the ride.
  • Even if you use multiple phones, you will still only get one boarding group! Why? Because you only have one pass per person and the app will update with who got the reservation first and will not allow you to obtain any others after that.

I want you to follow these tips to a T! I had some trouble trying to get a group because I tried to be smarter than these tips. Our biggest mistake was trying to account for load-up time. It was me, my mom, and my boyfriend all trying to make the reservation. We all had each other’s passes connected to our apps. We had my mom assigned to open the app 10 seconds before 8am, I was assigned to open the app 5 seconds before 8am, and my boyfriend was going to open the app at exactly 8. My mom and I both could not click “Join a Boarding Group” because it was greyed out. Why? Because even though the load-up time of the app put as at around 8am, the app is smarter than that. The moment we clicked the app is when our phone’s got time stamped. That time stamp determines the app’s time itself thereby making it absolutely impossible for us to get a boarding group because the app had not registered an 8am time stamp.

Only a couple of seconds had gone by but everyone around us was cheering and yelling out which group they got and that made us all so discouraged. Especially me since I was the one that brought them to the park that day – I felt like I had failed them in my expertise of Disney and that I ruined our chances of getting on the ride. But my boyfriend came in clutch! Unfortunately/Fortunately he had accidentally opened his NFL app at 8am exactly (because it was right next to the Disney app) but because he got into the app a little bit afterwards, his time stamp was the one that got us on the ride that day. By 8:01 we had a boarding group of 54!

That day they were guaranteeing a boarding group of 42 which yes seems low. We figured this was because the day we went, Disneyland was hosting 80’s Nite and the park would be closing to non-party guests at 8pm. Fortunately our boarding group was cleared for entry at 1:16pm! We kept checking the app after we had ridden it just to see how far the groups would go that day! Lucky for us and a lot of other guests that day, the ride did not shut down once and they ended the day accepting groups up to group 112!! It just goes to show that even if you don’t get a super early group, it is still VERY possible for you to get on the ride!!

I hope this helps you get on the ride as stress-free as possible! And.. may the force be with you!

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5 Tips on Feeling More Comfortable in Front of the Camera

There are two types of people in the world… the ones that entertain, and the ones that observe.

Well Britney, you are definitely right. And I have to admit, I actually lean more on the side of observing!

Now I know that’s a little hard to believe because I am usually the one modeling my own shirts, but to be quite frank, it took A LOT for me to even start getting in front of the camera. If you have been following along for a while now, you know that my friend, John (or @dizmagic for those of you on Instagram!), was helping me take my pictures. Having a friend as lively, active, and talented as he is, it was pretty easy to develop a friendship, and that made getting in front of the camera so much easier because I knew he would try to make me look good.

But the flip side of having a friend like that also meant that he would yell at me to loosen up, and to “do something different with your face!”. Of course I didn’t appreciate his loving remarks, but he called it! I was always so tense in front of the camera and it definitely showed in the pictures, so usually before one of our shoots we would go get some food and alcoholic beverages at Cove Bar (now it’s the Lamplight Lounge). And let me tell you, the liquid courage found at the bottom of any one of those beverages is probably what made my face start to do some different things! But.. alcohol is not the best way to go for long-term solutions.

Fast forward a year and I met one of the most incredible human beings on the face of planet Earth, Ashley (or @ashhtaylor). She is an up and coming influencer for all things Disney and she was killing the picture game long before we met. Sooner or later we started having our own Disney days and she gave me some tips on how to feel more confident, more smiley, and less fake-feeling in front of the camera. With both John and Ashley’s help, I have developed my own confidence in getting in front of the camera and it’s not as scary as I once thought! But to be fair, any time I have to start “modeling” in front of an entire line waiting to get on a ride, it can still be fairly weird. I mean for reference, all of the pictures I took with this Dumbo statue right outside of the exit for the Dumbo ride were in front of the longest line for both Dumbo AND Casey Jr. (yay spring break!!).

Anyway, I know how hard it is to have that confidence to step in front of the camera. Especially when it feels like everyone you follow on Instagram is naturally photogenic! I’ve been there, and now I want to pass on my own little tips that I developed for getting in front of the camera more or to just make your picture-taking more fun:

  1. Wear what makes you feel beautiful or handsome! Whether that is makeup, no makeup, high heels, jeans, a bowtie – whatever! Wearing something that you don’t feel comfortable or confident in will only result in a picture that you look uncomfortable in.
  2. Don’t try to pose! Everyone you see on those posts or in magazines developed their personal style of posing for what feels natural to them. Don’t go in front of the camera trying to mimic what someone else did. You’re you! Act and react as YOU would! Otherwise it may look fake. Sooner or later you will develop your own natural way of posing that looks and feels 100% you.
  3. Play music! Honestly, I still play music when I have the chance to without disrupting other people’s experience. I play music that makes me feel fierce, invincible, and what puts a smile on my face. My go-to is Sorry Not Sorry by Demi Lovato! Playing music will help loosen you up and it will help you have something to react to – pose wise and facial wise. (CLICK HERE for my full playlist of music that I use during a shoot)
  4. Get your photographer involved! This sounds weird, right? But trust me, if your photographer is having fun with it and being a dork or talking to you during it, you’ll find that you don’t feel so much like they are taking your picture as much as they are just hanging out with you. My boyfriend, Cody, loves doing this by saying things like “oh girl, get it. POSE POSE WORK IT! You fierce girl, you fierce!!” Having someone like this behind the camera definitely brings a smile to your face that is SO natural that it just radiates beauty for miles.
  5. Don’t be afraid to dance! This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the music tip. I found it easier to pose when I was dancing at the same time because a lot of my poses were just dance moves that I stopped doing for a picture and then kept right on going! For example, the top right picture of this blog post montage is actually me dancing to Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake!

See! It’s not so scary and it’s not that intimidating getting in front of the camera. I hope these tips help you take pictures like a freaking boss next time you need to take some pictures for your Instagram or Facebook! I’m not saying you’ll feel great right off the bat (I know I didn’t!), but it will definitely help. And I hope that you can tell me about your success soon and share some tips that you found helpful to do for yourself.

Now get our there and take some pics!!!

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