Updated May 25, 2018
Paint the Night Parade returned to the Disneyland Resort on April 13, 2018 with Pixar Fest.
With it came three new dining packages. Yay! The Carthay Circle dining package allows guests to dine at the restaurant and then enter the reserved viewing section for the parade. You won’t watch the parade from the actual restaurant. The viewing section is located just outside the restaurant.
On April 15, 2018, I reviewed this dining package. Scroll through this post for everything you need to know about this option to see if it’s a fit for you and your visit.
- Pricing for adults is $99 and pricing for kids (age 3-9) is $45. ***Plus tax and tip.
- Carthay Circle only has a dinner option for this dining package.
- Infants (up to age 2) are FREE. Children age 2 and under do not have to pay for the meal and do not have to have a voucher to enter the viewing area. A meal will not be provided to your child, but he or she can eat off your plate.
- Children age 2 and under will not have their own seat, so be prepared to hold a child of this age in your lap. Strollers are allowed in this section on a case-by-case basis. Meaning, if you arrive with a sleeping baby, you might be able to take the stroller in, as long as it’s not a hazard to other guests in the event the area is evacuated.
- When making a reservation with children age 2 and under, include them in your party count so that Disney can make seating accommodations for everyone in your group. If you have 5 people in your party and 1 person in your group is a child age 2 or under, you will only have to pay for 4 people. But, by letting Disney know there are 5 of you, you’ll be seated at a table for 5.
- Dining times for this dining package start each day at 5:00pm. All guests enjoying this package will watch the earlier parade at 8:45pm.
- There is only room for about 60 guests per night for this package.
- Dining packages are always popular at Disneyland and with the return of Paint the Night, these are initially in high demand. Do not hesitate to book your package now. If you change your mind on using it, cancel within 24 hours of your dining time so that your credit card on file is not charged the $10 per person cancellation penalty. This package does not require pre-payment. All you have to do now is make the reservation. The app does not allow you to make these reservations. You must use the Disneyland site or call Disney directly at (714) 781-DINE (3463) between 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM daily (Pacific Time) to book.
- Annual Pass discounts do not apply to this dining package.
- Dining packages can be booked 60 days out from the day you plan to dine.
- Disney makes every effort to accommodate guests with dietary restrictions. If you call in to make your reservation, let the cast member know your requests. If you book online, enter your requests in the space provided.
- Book this package online here.
Carthay Circle is the premier dining experience within the two theme parks and never disappoints. The cast members are fantastic and the food is divine.
Here is the outside of the restaurant:
Here is the inside:
Although this is a fine dining restaurant, feel free to wear your normal park attire. Ironically, this was the most casual day of our trip and I still felt comfortable in what I had on.
The menu is super simple!
Choose an entree. That’s it! The rest is decided for you.
Let’s take a look at each course.
Not listed on the menu – the bread. This will come out first.
When to Arrive to Watch the Parade
After paying your bill, you’ll be given a voucher (also referred to as a FASTPASS or return ticket) just like this one pictured below. All paying guests will be given a voucher. Children age 2 and under do not need a voucher to enter the viewing section.
Put your voucher(s) in a safe place because if you lose it, it cannot be replaced. It cannot be scanned into your app via MaxPass or the Disneyland app. The paper voucher is your ticket to view. Hold it tight!
You’ll also receive a light up lanyard like this one:
The Viewing Section
Your voucher states to arrive 30 minutes prior to the parade starting at 8:45pm. With every dining package I have ever done at Disneyland Resort, I always arrive an hour early. You certainly don’t have to, but I’m a big fan of front row viewing and an early arrival will make this happen.
Cast members may not allow you to enter the viewing section an hour early. And, you may not be allowed to form a line to enter. Don’t worry about that. Show up an hour early. Lurk around the area until you see guests entering or lining up. Make your move as soon as cast members allow it.
If you aren’t concerned with front row, arrive at the 30 minute mark – or even 15 minutes prior to parade time – and grab a spot. Your voucher guarantees you a spot in the viewing section.
Here is a map of where the viewing section can be found:
Here it is:
In this next photo, I’m standing at the other end, facing the street.
This viewing section is located just outside the restaurant on Hollywood Blvd, facing Elias and Company.
Each guest will get a chair to sit in. It’s glorious.
Look for PhotoPass photographers to walk by prior to the parade and grab this photo if you can. I love it.
Look at that view! So awesome.
I loved how we were able to watch the parade trail off in the distance as it made it’s way toward the Hyperion Theater. You can see just how close we are in this photo…..notice the other guests in front row right at the street.
- This was my favorite of all the dining packages we reviewed opening weekend. The food is so delicious, the service is unparalleled, the seat at the parade was awesome and the view can’t be beat.
- This much fun comes with a price tag, however. By the time I signed my bill, it was $170. Just for me! The package is $99 plus tax and tip. I had two glasses of wine with dinner (YOLO) and we ordered the famous Carthay biscuits with our meal. Since annual passholder discounts don’t apply, that bill added up quickly.
- This package includes both a lanyard and the return ticket. You must have the return ticket to enter the viewing section. A lanyard on its own won’t suffice.
- Paint the Night is a super popular parade with a huge fan base. For that reason, the dining packages seem like a good option to secure your viewing location at this time. The parade route at California Adventure is quite long, however, which opens up many, many more options for parade viewing compared to what we had at Disneyland when Paint the Night was over there. As the initial excitement of this parade’s return dies down, dining packages may not be nearly as necessary. For my top three picks on where to watch the parade “for free”, visit this link.
- Strollers, wheelchairs and scooters are allowed in the viewing location.
- The closest restrooms (outside of the restaurant) are down Hollywood Blvd across from Award
- Disneyland is super accommodating with food allergies. If you have specific needs, share those when you book online in the section provided. If you call in to book, let the cast member helping you know your needs. Then, when you check in at your dining time, reiterate those details again.
- In an ideal world, reservations for dining at Disneyland would open exactly 60 days out, as is the goal. This doesn’t always happen, so don’t panic if you don’t see availability on the 60 day mark. Keep checking back.
- If you try to make a reservation and the date you’re interested in is not available, don’t count on booking a regular reservation for Carthay Circle and then being allowed to upgrade/change it to the Paint the Night package. Instead, choose another package or check back often to see if any reservations open up for your timing. As you get closer to the date you’re visiting, reservations will sometimes become available due to guests cancelling.
- Paint the Night Parade lasts approximately 20 minutes. The 8:45pm parade begins near Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta and ends near Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! For lots more on the parade, visit this link. The parade takes about 15 minutes from the starting time to makes its way to the Carthay Circle viewing section.
- Is this meal too pricey for you? Check out my review on the Wine Country Trattoria Dining Package. I also reviewed the Sonoma Terrace Reception. Check out this post for all you need to know about this option.
- I’m a big fan of taking young children to “fancy” dinners like this, but do consider the meal lasts about 1.5 hours. You won’t want to rush through if you think your kids wouldn’t last that long. This option has indoor seating only, too, so if you’re concerned with loud voices or kids squeaking, another dining package might be better.
- Want to watch fireworks (that start at 9:30pm) at Disneyland after the 8:45pm parade? Exit California Adventure and walk into Disneyland and onto Main Street if you have a park hopper ticket. If you do not, walk out of California Adventure and have a seat in the esplanade between the two parks. This post goes into lots more detail about fireworks.
- As with any new event at Disneyland, cast members are working hard to ensure your experience is the best it can be. Please be patient with them as they learn how to best manage the viewing sections.