Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Random Disneyland Fun

In case you haven't checked out the deals being offered by the Disneyland Resort, there is currently a great offer of a 5-day package for the price of a 3-day package. Vacations must be booked by April 21 and travel completed by April 28. Check out the link above for more details.

Want a little random Disneyland fun? If you'd like to "remember the magic," here is a link to a video of part of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage attraction. This is undoubtedly a home video, and of questionable legality to film and post, but the quality is good, and the intentions are good. So, enjoy! (If you haven't been on this attraction, you may not want to view this "spoiler" since a video can never compare to the real thing.)

OK, last tidbit for today. If you are spending a few days in the Anaheim area, you may want to spend a day at Knott's Berry Farm. This is a fun theme park featuring areas like the Old West, The Boardwalk, Wild Water Wilderness and Camp Snoopy. There are LOTS of thrill rides, including one of the world's longest and tallest wooden roller coaster, and some fun family shows. If you are traveling with young kids, Camp Snoopy will be the area they can enjoy, but be aware that much of the rest of the park is filled with rides they will not be able to go on. Still, there should be plenty to keep you busy for a good portion of a day.

Knott's Berry Farm now has its own resort hotel, so you could plan on staying there, or just purchase tickets and the bus ride as an add-on to your Disneyland vacation package. If you go to Knott's Berry Farm knowing it is not Disneyland, and appreciating it for it's own unique features, you'll have a great time. Oh, and be sure to get one of their world famous chicken dinners from Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant, and don't forget to spread some boysenberry jam on your biscuit. Boysenberries are the trademark of the Knott's family - and you can be sure their pies, preserves and other berry products are top notch!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Searching for Cheaper Flights To Disneyland?

What do we all want out of a vacation?

I suppose the answer will vary from person to person, but in general, most of us want the most amount of fun (or relaxation) possible for the best price available. As I have mentioned before, when considering a Disneyland vacation, you may be considering the number of days you can stay, weighing the price of various hotels, and figuring how to squeeze in just one more day.

Here is a quick tip for those flying. Get on the internet and start playing with different departure days and times, and maybe accepting one stop versus a non-stop flight. I did a little experiment on Orbitz.com and found if I left on a Saturday or Sunday instead of mid-week, and accepted one-stop, I could save $136. On Get-away Today leaving on a weekend saved $44 for a family of four. Are either of those enough savings on the flight to stay an extra night? Depending on your own budget and values, maybe!

Those are just meant to be representative samples of how being flexible with your air travel could save you money. In addition to times and days of the week, try a few different travel sites before settling on one. Prices really can vary - check direct airline prices, Orbitz, Expedia, the Disneyland Resort site, and AAA (if you are a member) to get a good idea of the price range before booking your flight.

All this takes time, and some patience. Not into shopping around? Sidestep.com will search several sites at once and even up to three days around either of your chosen dates. I personally love planning vacations, and will search many, many sites before making final plans, but that's just me!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Disneyland Hotel or Some Other Anaheim Hotel?

I've gotten a few private emails lately with questions about hotels. That certainly is one of the biggest issues if you are visiting Disneyland and don't live close by. I don't think that I have made it any secret that my family by far prefers to stay at one of the resort hotels. We've stayed at both Paradise Pier and the Disneyland Hotel, and were not disappointed with either. We were downright thrilled after having moved mid-vacation from a noisy off-site motel. Our budget has not allowed us to stay at the Grand Californian, yet, but sometime we will stay there, and I am certain it will be wonderful. I get goosebumps just walking through the lobby! ( I have heard some folks say they do not feel it is worth the price, even though it is nice. Others feel it is worth it. This is totally going to be a personal preference thing for most.)

Maybe I will save comparisons of Paradise Pier and the Disneyland Hotel for another post. Yes, I will do that.

Why am I so passionate about staying at the resort? For the experience. I love being totally immersed in all Disney all the time. I love not needing to walk out onto the busy streets of the real world, or taking a shuttle to our hotel on those same busy streets. In the hotels, I get Disney staff, and hopefully, Disney service. Off-site - I had trouble getting someone to open a lobby door with which I was obviously struggling. It is so nice to not have to drive or hassle with a bus or shuttle schedules. I love walking to and from Disneyland to our hotel whenever it suits us.

Staying at the resort is wonderful, but I realize there is a drawback: the money factor. Staying on the resort will cost you more. It could cost so much more it could be the difference between going to Disneyland and not going. For us, we've decided the sacrifice is worth it and will only go when we can afford to stay on the resort. To us, it has become that big of a deal. We had years it wasn't - before kids, and before we'd tried it. Once we tried it though - there's just no going back to our old ways. Nothing against the many other good-to-great places to stay in Anaheim. There are wonderful hotels out there, with great staff and excellent amenities. They aren't Disney though. Enough said.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year Disney Fans!

Wow - have I been gone for a long time, or what? I see there are a few visitors dropping by, so I apologize for my absence! I got totally caught up in law school finals, then the Holidays (sadly NOT spent at Disneyland - but happily, they were wonderful anyway), and well, now here we are in 2008!

Happy New Year!!

Here's some useful Disney news:

The Kids Fly Free on Alaska Airlines offer is back! You must book by March 19 and complete travel by June 25.

Now, if we can just find a way to rake in some extra bucks, maybe we'll be visiting Mickey and Friends by May! I will then officially have only one more year left of law school, and will be on a 3-month vacation from school :) Lots of good family time coming up for us!