Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Disneyland Churros

I just wanted to state for the record that Disneyland churros are undoubtedly the best ever! The family and I bought some churros this weekend at our local science center, and though they looked similar to those in Disneyland, they were so far inferior that they should not have been able to call themselves churros. Although they were disappointing to eat, but they did bring back happy Disnyeland memories, which is always a treat. Next time you are in Disneyland, really savor the churros - the taste/texture/quality cannot be beat!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Misc. Disneyland Updates

Disneyland is getting a new monorail system. It's shiny and sleek! I love shiny objects! *grin* Darkbeer, a Theme Park Reporter and wonderful photographer, has posted some great photos on his Smugmug page: http://darkbeer.smugmug.com/gallery/4776431_gdptu#283433640_vpTZj

Toy Story Mania, a new attraction in California Adventure will be opening in June, possibly early in the month, according to rumors. There is an interesting "sneak peak" story from the OC Register from March here:

I'm sitting at home with rain falling outside, and dreaming about how nice it will be in Anaheim in June :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Disneyland Area Hotel Comparisons

OK, I have started on my spreadsheet comparing top Disneyland area hotels/motels. I have 9 criteria that I am tracking, including things like if the facility has a refrigerator, its own shuttle to Disneyland (I prefer not to use the ART -Anaheim Resort Transit - system; I am just not a huge fan of buses. Some people may love the ART.), walking distance to Disneyland and on-site laundry facilities.(Important with babies and small children! Let me know if there is something in particular that you like to know when you are hotel hunting and I will see about adding it, though I must admit, my spreadsheet is already pretty full!

I'm not sure when I will get this done or how I will share it, but you can bet I will be plugging away in my spare time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New Disneyland Family Vacation Web Site

Happy Spring! I can tell it is spring because the last few weeks have been filled with sunshine, rain, hail, clouds, snow, and then more sun....often within about 45-minutes! Also - my allergies, and those of people around me - are going nuts. Lots of sneezing, sniffling and watery eyes, but thankfully, not because of colds, for the most part. If you haven't been reading my blog long, or haven't come over from my Adventures of Law School Mama blog, then you may have just figured out by my weather description that I do not live near Disneyland. It is probably because I don't live in Southern California that I love dreaming about trips and figuring out all of the ins and outs of planning the absolute best Disneyland vacation for my family whenever we can go.

I took my dreaming a bit farther, and have created a web site, Disneyland Family Vacation, to help people plan their dream vacation to Disneyland, too. On the site is a lot of the type of info people are looking for when they first start planning a vacation to Disneyland - things like info about hotels, ticket prices, best times of the year to visit, attractions and more. Many of the best travel tips will still be posted here, but the web site should serve as another tool for anyone wanting more specifics about Disneyland vacation planning.

So, please visit my site, tell your friends, and I hope you find it useful and enjoyable. Feel free to post comments here, or via the link on my web site.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Off-Resort Hotels - Where do you compromise?

(Please note, this was orginally posted inadvertently on my Adventures of Law School Mama Blog.I left it there, but wanted to post it here, where it really belongs, too.)

I was researching off-resort hotels recently and was struck by how difficult it is to find everything that *I* want in a hotel if I am not going to stay at one of the Disneyland Resort Hotels. It may be a while before we can afford to stay on the resort - or even off the resort - but it is fun to dream! I actually really enjoy reading about hotels and what others think about each one. Strange? Nah, no more strange that people's fascination with Dancing with the Stars. Vicarious living, right?

Anyway, the things that are important to me are a refrigerator, microwave, comfy beds, good pool for the kids, relative quiet and either within easy walking distance of Disneyland or with its own dedicated shuttle that runs frequently and stays on schedule. Oh, and do I even need to say that it needs to be CLEAN? I would also enjoy a free breakfast and a visually pleasing setting. Wow....I am asking for a lot! By the time I pay for all of that....could I be at Paradise Pier? Maybe, depends on when I want to go, availability, and special deals that are happening.

What else to consider? Things that you might not think about - is there renovation happening? How frequently are the elevators out of order? Are there smoking rooms and how well are smoking areas isolated from the rest of the hotel? Is freeway noise a problem? Oh - and is it really a hotel or a motel? Does the bathroom/closet area act as a buffer between the sleeping area and the main corridor or will people be walking right by your bed, yelling to each other at all hours, separated only by a thin wall and the window, possibly with a loud air conditioner in it?

So much to consider. I am thinking about putting out a chart of the top 20 or so hotels/motels near Disneyland and whether or not they have the amenities most important to me. It will make future decisions easier for us to make, and maybe you, too!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Laptop on Vacation?

Last time we went to Disneyland, we knew we would be taking a ton of digital photos. How to store them all? We could have bought another card - or three - or - just brought along the laptop to download them onto after each day. That is exactly what we did! That way, at the end of each day, we knew our pictures were safe, so just in case the camera was lost, at least we would still have most of our pictures.

It was nice to have the laptop, too. My Wife was able to update her blog, and send off a few emails. We also had it as a backup for watching DVD's. With laptops becoming lighter all the time, and so many of us being so attached to them, I wonder how many others are toting their computer with them on vacation?

While I see and enjoyed the advantages myself, this could be a danger because it may let too much of the "real world" seep in on your Disneyland vacation. I don't think Walt would have approved! Disneyland is an escape - a perfect world - not sure my laptop belongs there!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ask a Cast Member!

A friend of ours was visiting Disneyland this past week and on her blog gave thanks to a friend who had recommended using the FastPass system. I was pretty sure this friend had been to Disneyland in the past year or so, and never thought to mention FastPass to her. I figured she knew! Then I got to thinking about this. Even people who have been to Disneyland several times have not done everything, seen everything, or know about everything. This is especially true for families with young children who have their hands full just keeping track of the kids! Others get into a pattern of doing the same attractions, maybe even in the same order, and don't necessarily notice if something new has appeared.

Where am I going with this? Ah, right.....my point is that if you do notice something you don't understand, or have a question about anything, don't simply wonder - ask a cast member! They are there to help us all have the best experience we can - and they are a wealth of information! See a FastPass sign and don't understand how to use it, or the advantages it can provide? Just ask! Of course, be polite, and do remember to say "thank you." Cast members deal with a lot of tired, cranky people by the end of the day, so your smile and kind words can mean a lot.

When I was a kid, I loved going on the Pirates of the Caribbean (still do!), but I wondered how people got to eat inside the ride. What had they done to deserve such special treatment? I finally asked a cast member and found out that The Blue Bayou Restaurant's dining area was what I was seeing. That was the place for me! I still love it there!

You never know what time-saving tip, shortcut, advice or trivia you might gain if you just ask!