Friday, September 28, 2007

Quick Disneyland Tip for Big Groups

This is a fun thing I've seen large groups, actually, even small families do to help keep the group together and easy to spot: All wear matching T-Shirts. You could get them at Disneyland on Main Street and put them on right away, or buy them for use the next day, or purchase before your trip. This might be the best option if you want to choose a really bright color that will be easiest to spot. I've seen fun ones celebrating someone's birthday that were customized with a message like "I went to Disneyland for Erin's Birthday," or "Jane turned 25 at Disneyland."

Matching T-shirts are also useful if, God forbid, your child gets lost. You can easily point a Cast Member to another member of the family and let her know the child was wearing a shirt just like that one. (Having a recent picture of each child with you is also a good idea.) Usually the child has just gotten captivated by something and has wandered a little too far, and an easy-to-spot T-shirt will be a good way to track him down!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

Delightfully frightful! You know you wish you were there now, descending in the Stretching room; anticipating your ride on the Doombuggy; awaiting greeting by your Ghost Host. For a little taste of the haunted magic, you may want to check out , which provides a photo-narrative of the entire attraction, plus bonus features such as the history of, and Walt Disney's inspirations for, The Haunted Mansion. A fun way to spend some "Disney Dreamin'" time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Disneyland Vacation Planning DVD

This weekend our 2-year-old found the Disneyland Vacation Planning DVD in our drawer of puzzles and videos.

"Me watch Disneyland!" she proclaimed, handing the disc to me.

I plugged it into the player and soon, we were reliving the magic :) The Magic Hat at the Disneyland Hotel, the Disneyland Railroad, the characters, the restaurants...I confessed how I was trying to find a way to get us there for Christmas.

"We just go! Go Disneyland now!" says our daughter, full of answers.

I would love to have just booked the trip then and there, but alas, my practical side says - pay off the last Disneyland trip first! The quest for cash continues.....

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Real Disneyland Advice to a Friend

Ever wonder if bloggers are their "real selves" when they blog? Well, today I have opted to share an email that I sent to a friend who asked me for Disneyland advice for her family of four. You may recognize some of the tips that I have shared on this blog.

So, here it is, what I really told a friend:
OK - this is long, but here are some considerations that will affect your budget/price:

You have a few different good options. You can book through the Disneyland Resort site and pick a Good Neighbor Hotel to save big
bucks over the Resort hotels. Their process assures you have considered everything - airfare, airport transportation, Resort tickets and you'll usually end up with some package perks. If anything goes wrong, their customer service takes good care of you:

Price is usually pretty competitive.

Great rates are available through Getaway Today:
You may have to do some things on your own, such as arrange for a
shuttle. I've not used them, but recently did some price comparisons, and they were the best. I have read this is often true. and are both reliable and depending on when you are traveling, may have great rates. You will need to buy resort tickets on your own, unless you specifically book a package deal that includes them. (I am not sure if they always offer packages with tickets, or not.)

Sometimes AAA (if you are a member). or Alaska Air has
really good deals.

Depending on how much time you plan, I would check the Disneyland
site, Getaway and Orbitz, just so you know you did some price comparisons. If Disney is close, go with them for the peace of mind.

For us to go for a family of four, staying at the Disneyland Hotel for 6 nights near Christmas, we'd be looking at about $3600 for air, transportation, hotel and tickets through You could do it for at least $1000 less by staying at a less expensive hotel. We've decided that we are spoiled and don't want to do it that way ever again since we go for the total experience, not just the park.

A top choice is Candy Cane Inn. Good rates. Decent breakfast included, plus rooms have refrigerators and microwaves, as I recall. Nice toddler-size pool and within about a 2 block walk to Disneyland, without crossing a busy street. They also have their own free shuttle. We did not like that one bed is right next to the window - bathroom in the back of the room - motel style - so you get noise from the parking lot and people passing by your window. A lot of people do not experience this problem, but we did. This is a motel, but it is consistently within the top 5 hotels/motels near Disneyland according to They are a great place to research hotels in all
price ranges.

Look for a hotel that offers its own shuttle and that is close enough you could walk if you wanted to. I personally have not enjoyed it when we relied on the local bus transportation system, ART. (Anaheim Resort Transit.) Some people don't mind it.

Depending on your boys themselves, I would plan on taking 2 umbrella strollers. You can use them in the airports and all throughout the park, and if they do get lost or stolen,
you aren't out much. Normally its not a problem. Last year, when
K was 4, he used the stroller a lot. It just makes it easier when they are tired, or when crowds are heavy, such as after a parade - put 'em in and push your way forward - easier than them getting stepped on.

I like to be sure the hotel also has a refrigerator - that way you can keep leftovers for another meal, or order a pizza, and know you don't have to throw away leftovers. You could also buy some milk and cereal,or whatever, at a local convenience store.

Food is expensive. A bottle of water at Disneyland will cost you about $4.00. A burger around $8-9. CandyCane Inn is within walking distance of a Denny's, a McDonald and a Subway, for less expensive options. If you are going for more than a couple days it may be worth ordering through or and having some easy food and water delivered to your room. We often got away with under $100 per day for food by taking our own snacks, water and relying on delivered food or the hotel's continental breakfast. (Candy Cane Inn's had a bit more
than just muffins and donuts - a variety of cereal, bagels and cream cheese and oatmeal, as I recall.)

Souvenirs are up to you, of course,but they add up fast. Expect everything to cost more than you think it should. I have heard of people that budget $1000 per day for food and souvenirs. Right. I wish!

You may find some other useful information on my Disneyland blog:

Let me know what you decide...or what the two of you decide, rather :)