Keeping your hands free with theme parks' package check services
Published: October 26, 2009 at 2:56 PM
What does that have to do with the Disney Gallery? Well, that's where I blew most of the cash from my Birthday Fun Card. Since my birthday fell on a day not blocked out by my annual pass, I didn't need the free admission offered by Disney. So I got to choose from three options:
- A Fastpass for everyone in my group (up to five people) for each of the rides at Disneyland which offers FastPass
- A free one-day, one-park ticket good for any day between now and my next birthday
- A $72 Birthday Fun Card, good for merchandise, photos, guided tours or an annual pass upgrade.
I chose the Fun Card. (Why? I didn't want the ticket, since I visit the park enough on the days when my AP gets me in. I thought about the FastPasses, but figured that we'd be able to ride all we wanted to ride without them. Why give up $72 in Disney stuff to save an hour or so to ride a few extra C- and D-tickets?)
I suspect that many people have selected the Fun Card and used it for annual pass upgrades, potentially allowing tens of thousands of SoCal Select annual passholders to upgrade to the Southern California AP (which also get you in the parks most Sundays). This way, the "get in on your birthday free" promotion turns into a "get in free on Sundays for the next 12 months" for thousands of Disneyland Resort visitors, driving Disneyland attendance through the roof (and even bumping up California Adventure attendance from what it would have been, too).
Remember that when the TEA/ERA annual attendance report comes out next spring, and Disneyland Park has added more new visits in 2009 than any other theme park in the country.
Anyway, back to the Gallery. That's where I found lovely matted attraction posters from some of my favorite attractions. At $35 each, I could afford two. And if you can't guess which two I selected, well, allow me to suggest that you haven't been reading this site very long.... ;-)
Also, for recently renewing my annual pass, Disney sent me a 20%-off coupon for any merchandise purchase over $50. I used that here, to take care of the tax and knock my total purchase price for the matted posters to $60.90. (I later bought a box of Disney dark chocolates for $10.95, bringing my total spent on the $72 card to $71.85. How's that for coming close to the price without going over, Mr. Barker?)
So now I had two coveted posters, and a half hour until I could use my FastPasses for Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. I didn't want to haul my nice posters around the park. What could I do?
I knew, but the cast members at the gallery didn't hesitate to make the suggestion anyway: Just take your bag to the Newsstand shop, next to the front gate, and check the posters there.
Disney offers package check service at Newsstand, Star Trader (in Tomorrowland) and Pioneer Mercantile (in Frontierland). Just hand over your packages, show your receipt and fill out a short form. The CM will hand back a copy of your form and store your stuff until an hour after the park closes. You pick up your packages at the same location simply by showing the copy of the form that you were given.
(If you forget to pick up your packages, Disney will ship them to address you put on the form, though it'll be at your expense.)
You can't use the package check as a free locker service - Disney wants to see the receipts for what you are storing. (Though, frankly, if you quietly slipped in your jacket with your just-bought T-shirts, I don't think anyone would care.) No storing leftovers from the Blue Bayou, either. Disney won't accept food in package check.
So, with my hands now free, the kids and I hit our final two rides of the day, stopping for a moment on our way out of the park to pick up the goodies I'd quickly and conveniently stashed right there.