Updated January 10, 2017
***Tested and updated strategy for a 9:00am official park opening with an 8:00am EMH.
***Park hour start times are fluctuating greatly right now between 8:00am and 10:00am. I’m keeping this post with the 9:00am plan so that it best accommodates most days. Adjust as needed, but the basic plan should work with each park opening.
***Not interested in Frozen? Scroll down to find your best plan of attack for DCA. Having the right approach at opening can change your entire day.
Frozen – Live at the Hyperion, debuted on May 27, 2016. I was there for the first show and have lots of tips and details on what to expect.
Let’s get started on how to see that show and how to meet Anna and Elsa. I’ll provide a plan for incorporating Radiator Springs Racers and World of Color FASTPASSES into your morning, too.
Late October 2016, the FASTPASSES for Frozen were removed. I’ve updated this post to reflect a strategy without FASTPASSES.
In this article
Basic Info for Frozen – Live at the Hyperion
- This show is included in your theme park admission ticket to Disney California Adventure (DCA). If you are visiting Disneyland for the day and want to see the show, you must have a park hopper ticket to enter DCA and watch this show.
- The show lasts about an hour.
- Since this show is new, a few technical issues might arise. Be patient if this happens. Our show was stopped about 1/2 of the way in due a microphone not working. They paused for a few moments, fixed the issue and the show resumed.
- Food is sold outside the theater and within the theater before the show by cast members walking the aisles. Food is allowed inside the theater to enjoy while you watch the show.
- All seating is now “standby”, meaning that you show up and get in line to wait for the show. Many people are panicking over this, but it’s really not a huge difference compared to when FASTPASSES were used. People still got in line an hour plus prior to showtime. Without the FASTPASS system, I suggest getting in line about an hour and a half prior. I recommend the late afternoon showing (usually around 4pm). Read why in more detail below.
- All seating options are good, as the theater is well designed. I’ve sat in every option and have been able to see just fine. The Mezzanine is the best location. The Orchestra (floor) is awesome if you’re close up to the stage, however, the projections for this show wrap around the stage and show on each side. Mezzanine allows you to see these projections, everything on the stage, and characters coming in and up the aisles throughout the performance. Balcony is a fine seat, but it’s harder to see the floor, and, of course, the view is further out.
- If you sit in Mezzanine, choose any row but the second row from the bottom. The railing will inhibit part of your view from the second row.
- As with all park visits, I recommend arriving an hour prior to official park opening. You will likely be let in 30 minutes prior to official park opening and can take your place at the “rope drop” line on Hollywood Blvd, which leads into Hollywood Land, where I recommend you start your day.
- Strollers parked within the parking section for Hyperion will likely be moved before you exit to make space for the next show’s lot of strollers. Ask a cast member upon exiting if/where the strollers from your show were moved to. I recommend tying a balloon or bandana or something eye-catching to your stroller during your visit for this very reason. Find more tips in my stroller post.
Images and Info from Frozen – Live at the Hyperion Theater
When you walk in, start down Buena Vista Street and veer left toward Hollywood Blvd when the street merges into Carthay Circle. Take that left onto Hollywood Blvd to find rope drop.
You’ll hang out in a group of people at rope drop and it looks like this:
A moment or so before official park opening, music will start playing and an announcement will be made alerting you to the rope coming down.
Now it’s time to move. Get busy with your day! (We’ll cover your strategy in just a bit. More on Frozen, Anna and Elsa first.)
When it’s time to line up for the show, you’ll go to the Hyperion Theater and choose one of the three options mentioned previously. When you enter one of these seating sections, you’ll stay here until show time. When a section fills up, it will close and you’ll have to choose another. There really are not any bad seats in this theater, so don’t panic if a section is closed.
If you are in line and need to leave for a restroom break or to grab a snack, ask a cast member for a paper “snowflake pass” to leave and return. The snowflake pass must be shown before you re-enter.
The “snowflake pass” looks like this:
The seating section entrances look like this:
You will stand in a sea of people once you choose your section. It might feel overwhelming. Don’t get scared. 1,984 people can fit in the audience for one show. The crowd has to stand somewhere before going in.
I recommend planning your day around an hour and a half prior to the showtime you wish to attend and bring a snack to occupy your crew during that wait. It’s not entirely possible to have one person go “save a spot” for a group of 5 or so because once you’re in your section, it’s not easy to move and find other people. And, if you show up too late to meet the person saving your group’s spots, that section could be closed.
Here is why. The sections will fill and look like this:
About 15 minutes prior to showtime, cast members will open the door and allow guests inside.
Mezzanine and Balcony sections require you to walk up stairs, as seen in this photo. There are elevators for those in need. Most entering the Orchestra section will walk up a short amount of stairs, too, but there is an entry that doesn’t require any stairs for those in wheelchairs and ECVs.
You made it! Sit back and relax.
Here is my view from the front row of Mezzanine.
Wheelchair Accessibility for Frozen – Live
Each floor can accommodate wheelchairs and/or ECVs. That includes:
4 spots in the Balcony, with one seat for a friend to sit with the wheelchair guest.
4 spots in the Mezzanine, with one seat for a friend to sit with the wheelchair guest.
6 spots in the Orchestra, with one seat for a friend to sit with the wheelchair guest.
Elevators are available for wheelchair guests to get to Mezzanine and Balcony sections.
If wheelchair guests can transfer, seating will work in any available seats, thus allowing more friends to sit nearby. Unfortunately, in the 4, 4, and 6 dedicated seats on each level, only one seat is reserved for a friend of the guest in the wheelchair.
***Please let me know what other questions you have regarding this and I’ll inquire during my visits.
How and Where to Meet Anna and Elsa
****They are NOT currently using FASTPASSES for this character meet-n-greet.
Meet Anna and Elsa according to the strategy. If that doesn’t work for you, avoid seeing them directly after the Frozen Live show. EVERYONE wants to see them then.
What to Bring to Meet Anna and Elsa
Most princesses are decked out for any Disneyland trip. For tips on where to find your dress – Frozen inspired or not – plus all things princessy, check my princess post. Bitts and Pieces on Etsy creates darling t-shirt style dresses that are comfortable, non-itchy and casual for the day. My daughter wears these and loves them. The Pauper’s Castle on Etsy makes fancy dresses with beautiful detail. We love these, too.
Don’t forget your autograph book so Anna and Elsa can sign it – plus a pen!
Also, don’t forget your camera, although Disneyland photographers are ready to take your photo and will hand you a photo pass card when you’re finished. One of my favorite values in the park is the PhotoPass+ and I encourage you to read that post and consider it for your visit.
Anna and Elsa can be found in the Animation Building and the building looks like this:
Your Strategy on Starting Your Day
- Since you arrived an hour early, walk as far down Buena Vista Street as you can to find the rope drop ceremony set up. This is when the park opens officially and cast members will be stationed with a rope, keeping the crowds back until it’s time to go in. Music will start and the rope will be taken down upon the actual opening time for the park.
- This is why it’s so important to arrive early. You’ll actually be allowed in the park prior to opening to browse some of the shops on Buena Vista Street and to keep lines for entry at a manageable level. For example: If your opening time is 9am, show up at 8am. Get in line and walk in as soon as they start allowing early entry.
- As soon as rope drop ends and you’re officially allowed in the park, walk directly to see Anna and Elsa. This meet-n-greet has again grown to long waits, so be sure you arrive early to get all of this done during the less crowded morning hours. Afternoon waits are averaging about an hour, but they can be much longer than that. You will see Anna and Elsa together at the same time.
- After seeing the girls, grab your FASTPASS for Soarin’ Around the World.
- While you wait for your Soarin’ FASTPASS time to arrive, grab a FASTPASS for World of Color. These FASTPASSES are “disconnected”, so you may hold this pass and Soarin’ at the same time. The WOC FASTPASS distribution point is en route to your next stop…..near Grizzly River Run…..so it’s easy to grab these FASTPASSES.
- Next, go to Toy Story Mania in Paradise Pier. This line gets crazy long as the day proceeds and there are no FASTPASSES for this ride.
- After Toy Story, your time should be up for Soarin’. Enjoy your trip around the world!
- When you’re back on land, grab FASTPASSES for Radiator Springs Racers.
- Proceed on to Paradise Pier and ride Goofy’s Sky School, the Symphony Swings and the Golden Zephyr. These all have relatively low lines in the morning. Watch your timing and do more if you can. Jumpin’ Jellyfish is nearby if you need another quick ride.
- Finally, go see Olaf, who doesn’t see guests until 10:00am or after.
So, in short:
- Meet Anna and Elsa.
- Grab Soarin’ Around the World FASTPASS.
- Grab World of Color (WOC) FASTPASS.
- Ride Toy Story Mania.
- Ride Soarin’ Around the World.
- Grab Radiator Springs Racer (RSR) FASTPASS.
- Ride Goofy’s Sky School.
- Ride Symphony Swings
- Ride the Golden Zephyr.
- Meet Olaf.
Then, proceed to: Ride RSR when your time arrives, have lunch, see Frozen Live, etc.
Here is a map for the strategy. Save this to your mobile device for quick reference:
Frozen Live’s showtimes are unpredictable right now. Many days include only two options – 1:30pm and 4:00pm. Others have three at 12:30pm, 3:30pm and 5:30pm. Check the Entertainment tab on the Disneyland app or on the paper schedule that you can pick up upon entering the park next to the park maps. I recommend attending a later showing and arriving about 1-1.5 hours prior to showtime. Again, bring snacks, have a seat, and be prepared to wait. There are some shaded areas in this section and snacks are sold nearby if you get hungry once in line.
I recommend the later showing over the earlier because earlier hours are best used “getting stuff done” instead of waiting in line. Accomplish everything in the strategy above, have lunch and even take a quick break from the park if you have time to let kids nap at your hotel. Getting in line at 2:30pm for the 4:00pm showtime (or any other late afternoon option) is also a good fit for Ergo napping or lap napping if you’re not able to leave the park. Strollers are not allowed in the seating sections, unfortunately. But, you could get settled and have your child nap in our arms if he or she will do that.
What About Extra Magic Hour?
Extra Magic Hour privileges are given to Disneyland Resort Hotel guests. With your active hotel room key, you are allowed to enter an hour prior to official park opening at Disneyland on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. You are allowed to enter California Adventure on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
With Extra Magic Hour (EMH), I recommend arriving to the park at least 30 minutes prior to the Extra Magic Hour time. Meaning, if the park opens at 8am, EMH will begin at 7am. Arrive at 6:30am.
Both parks have turn stiles noting entry for EMH. Line up there. Or, you may use the entrance from the Grand Californian Hotel for DCA. Any guest staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel can use the entrance at the Grand Californian. This line builds quickly, though. Often, it can be more advantageous to enter through the main gate.
If you have Extra Magic Hour privileges, your start for the day will be different from what I recommend above. Here is why: One of the steps in the plan above is not possible to achieve until official park opening. That is: Grabbing RSR FASTPASSES. These FASTPASSES are super popular, so they reserve them for official park opening, giving everyone a fair chance to grab them.
The good news is, you can get A LOT done during EMH.
So, amend that plan to look like this:
- Ride Soarin’ Around the World.
- Grab WOC FASTPASS
- Ride Toy Story Mania
- Ride Screamin’ (if time allows – if close to official park opening, go to get RSR FASTPASSES and ride Screamin’ later in the day)
- Grab RSR FASTPASS (at official park opening – you should be at the front of the line since EMH guests are closer to the entrance than regular park guests)
- See Anna and Elsa
- Ride RSR – should have a quick return time since you’re first in line
- Grab Goofy’s Sky School FASTPASS
- Ride Symphony Swings
- Ride Golden Zephyr
- Ride Jumpin Jellyfish
- Ride Goofy’s Sky School
- Grab Grizzly River Rapids FASTPASS
- See Olaf
This strategy is quite ambitious and works best with a 7:00am EMH, but it’s possible if you stay focused on the strategy.
(Later EMHs will prevent you from doing as much. People like to sleep. The later the park opening….the later the EMH…..the more people will be in the park. Regardless, use this strategy and get as much done as possible.)
Within the map above, note the location of each stop with these specifics:
- Anna and Elsa Meet-n-Greet: Hollywood Land; Animation Building
- Olaf: Hollywood Land; to the right of Stage 17
- RSR FASTPASSES: Bugs Land; to the left of the entrance to Bugs Land
- WOC FASTPASSES: Grizzly Peak; to the left of Grizzly River Rapids
- Soarin’ Around the World: FASTPASSES are located to the left of the attraction
- Toy Story Mania: Paradise Pier; past Mickey’s Fun Wheel, but before King Triton’s Carousel
When you finally meet Olaf, he will look like this. So sweet!
Have realistic expectations with meeting Anna and Elsa and seeing Frozen Live. This is a stressful adventure at California Adventure and things might go wrong. Characters are not always present as planned. Frozen Live shows sometimes get cancelled. Move on to your next strategy point if something isn’t available.
We visited on a day that Elsa wasn’t there. I repeat: Elsa wasn’t there! Cast members handled the entire situation with grace as they always do, but that could have gone terribly wrong.
Anna told my daughter she couldn’t wait to tell her sister about the darling dress she saw. The cast members rallied and it was an awesome experience, but plenty would have been super disappointed if that had happened to them. My daughter was upset at first, but with 2-3 years of therapy, I think she’ll come out without any long term damage done. Fingers crossed!
If your little one is interested in an Anna or Elsa or Olaf makeover, review my post telling you all about how you can find this option in Downtown Disney for a very reasonable cost. (Seriously. It’s only $35!)
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