Saturday, November 30, 2013

Disneyland Trip Part 2: Tips and Tricks, + Food

I know I said I would do a three part post to our Disneyland trip but I decided to combine the food and tips and tricks into one post. This might be a little long but will be full of really helpful and useful information. Everyday of the trip Zack and I would get to the park within the first hour of it opening. If you want to be crazy you line up an hour before the park opens, go through bag check and then wait at the gates for them to scan your ticket. Security has brought it up a notch and they take your picture with your ticket now so you have to get there early your first day so you aren't held back trying to get your pictures taken for all of your party. What is really fun is they usually  choose a family to "open the park" every day. This family does the count down from 10 to 1 then yells "Let the magic begin". As soon as they say that the rest of the park is open and everybody gets to go line up inside the roped off section at the end of main street. Its really fun and if you have bright smiling kids and you look happy they usually choose you.
We got chosen our third day there and we loved it! They gave us Minnie Mouse Christmas ears to wear and the men got reindeer Christmas ears. It was so cute.

This was the day we opened the park. Its a really great opportunity because nobody else is in the park so you can take a picture with the mickey mouse that is made out of flowers and nobody will be in it. After that we went and got Zack a 1st visit button. At the town hall on main street they have buttons for all occasions, anniversary, just married, 1st visit, birthday, etc. The birthday ones are especially fun because they write your name on the button and then everyone will wish you happy birthday through out the day. My sisters and I did that and it always made people happy. Also the anniversary buttons are great because they will give you special treatment sometimes, like getting your own boat on Pirates of the Caribbean or Its a Small World, and sometimes they will put you at the front of the line if its a slow day. So if you are going for a special trip make sure and grab a button, everyone will love it. Plus other members of your party can get a "I'm Celebrating" button so everyone feels included. 
Don't be afraid to go in the rain. On Thursday when we were there the crowds were so small that we rode 20 rides in one day. My family rode 25 rides but Zack and I didn't hang out with them all day so we only got 20 rides in. That is a lot. We rode Radiator Springs Racers two times that day and it was great. So make sure you go to the park even if its rainy because the lines are so short and you can practically walk onto any ride you want to. The longest we waited that day was 20 minutes at Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land. Cars Land has a lot of cool stuff. Mater's Junk Yard Jamboree is one of my favorite rides at Disneyland now, its so fun. You can get some great buttons at Flo's Cafe, Sarges store, Mater's Junk Yard Jamboree ride, and Red the fire truck. You have to answer some questions about the movie Cars but they give you the button after you answer the questions. That is a great collection to have. 
Also in Cars Land around 5:30 they light up the street which is so cute and fun, at Christmas time it was decorated with trees and garlands and Flos cafe looks so awesome at night so make sure you stop by Cars Land in the evening time at least once during your trip. 

Speaking of lighting, they have Christmas trees up in both DCA and Disneyland so make sure and take a cute picture by at least one of the trees. Above is the tree that is in DCA. Below is the tree in Disneyland. We took a picture in front of it sometime but I don't know where it is. 

Both are beautiful and look great at night. Another fun tip is that there are some fortune tellers in Disneyland that will tell your fortune for a quarter. There is Fortune Red, Esmeralda, and The shrunken head (I think his name is ted or ned but I'm not sure). Here is my fortune I got from Fortune Red who is located just across the walkway from Cafe Orleans: 

Pretty classy. It really makes a great souvenir. Speaking of Cafe Orleans lets talk about food! 
I love the food at Disneyland. It is so delicious. We ate at Cafe Orleans one day and it was so delicious. I ordered the Salmon Sandwich:

Can you say yum! It was so delicious. It had salmon, bacon and came with sweet potato fries. Best lunch ever. Zack got the Monte Cristo Sandwich, equally as yummy: 

Its a sandwich inside a scone, he really liked it. Cafe Orleans is a little pricey so save it for a date night with just you and your sweetheart if you don't think the kids will enjoy such a fancy place. We tried a new place this trip the Stage Door Cafe which is right next to the Golden Horseshoe. It was really good and they had chicken tenders there. It was only $10.00 a plate so this is a good stop for the entire family. We really like the Mexican restaurant outside of the Indiana Jones ride. Its pretty good, I forgot the name of it, but you can look it up when you get to Disneyland. I really enjoy eating there. We also ate at Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney. Downtown Disney has a lot of really good places to eat at and Rainforest is one of my fave. I ordered the fajitas and they were delicious. 

Another fun thing is that Disneyland has all sorts of shows, concerts, etc for you to enjoy. This worked out well as we rode most of the rides we wanted to on Thursday and Friday and then Monday and Tuesday we could check out the concerts. My husband really liked the Mad T. Party in DCA, which is a concert with Alice and the Mad Hatter. There was a Beatles tribute band that played on Monday night and they were so good. Zack and I could have listened to them all night, it was at the Tomorrowland Terrace in Disneyland. 

Make sure and get an itinerary from the front gate when you first get to the park. It has a list of all the fun concerts that will be playing that day and shows you can go see. I highly recommend seeing Aladdin at the Hyperion theater in DCA. It is a fun musical and only about 30 minutes long. Its a nice cool break from walking around all day. 
Well those are all my tips and tricks, maybe one day I will write more. Anyway, hope everyone had a great thanksgiving. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New Blog, New Post! Disneyland 2013 Part 1 (and a free printable)

Hello friends!
I am loving my new blog design and that I have a fresh clean start for blogging. My old blog was great but after a while the links got messed up and my HTML/CSS was really confusing to navigate. Starting over new was just what I needed.
Today I am going to start off with sharing about our Disneyland trip! It was fabulous, and one of the best times I have had at Disneyland. I am going to do this story in three parts, the last part will be about some fun tips and tricks for you and your family to do the next time you go.
Zack and I packed up and left early Wednesday morning (6:00 am) for Anaheim, California. It's about a 10 hour drive from where we live so we settled in for the long road trip ahead of us. I had a lot of goodies to keep my entertained, my laptop with a car invertor so I could watch movies. My iPad which had my current books, some recent issues of the better homes and gardens special interest publications, my iPhone for pictures/video recording, and of course my CD case. I ended up sleeping a lot of the way and chatting with my husband about some fun old time memories. Those are the best moments about road trips, going down memory lane and laughing at awkward experiences.
We stopped in Las Vegas for some lunch at Smash Burger (so good you should try it) and then headed non-stop into California. We checked into our hotel, which is right across the street from Disneyland on Harbor Blvd. We always stay at Desert Inn Anaheim, its close and convenient and about half the price for staying on location at one of the themed hotels. The pool isn't so hot so if you have kids and you want a good pool I would check out the Sheraton or something along those lines. Once we checked into our hotel, we then went shopping at Downtown Disney. It was so fun this year, I love it when all the Christmas music is playing and the decorations are up. Zack even liked it as he said it wasn't too overdone so bonus for me. They had set up an ice skating rink down by the movie theater which was fun to see when it was so warm outside. The little kids loved it. After that we went up onto the roof and watched the Disneyland fireworks. They are always so magical and fun.

The next day we woke up early again and got in line over at Disneyland at 7:00 am. We had a magic morning entrance which allows you to enter the park an hour before it opens. This is really useful if you use it to your advantage and ride peter pan (because this line is always nuts) and other busy rides. We ended up riding about 20 rides that first day. It was raining and so many people left the park in the middle of the day. We walked onto a bunch of rides with no problem at all. It was so fun. 

I loved being at Disneyland with the love of my life. He is so great and awesome. We had such a blast. 

We met mickey mouse, minnie mouse, tinker bell and Thor! That was the best part of the whole trip for me, Thor is my favorite avenger so it was great meeting him. 

He made a joke right before we took this photo so I was laughing. I don't know how he pulled off such a serious face after being so hilarious. 

One thing that I found difficult about the trip was the budget. Luckily we came home with extra money. I over budgeted on a lot of items but it was nice having some flexibility and being able to purchase what we needed food wise and buy some fun souvenirs. I originally budgeted about $15 per person per meal. Breakfast was free at our hotel every day and we used that to our advantage. We brought a bunch of snacks with us and some days we ate so much snacking that we only needed one meal. Most of the meals I found were about $10.00 per person so I over budgeted in that aspect. I will talk in more detail about food in Part 2! 
Before we left for the trip I made a budget worksheet to help me organize what expenses had to be taken care of. I only had four categories, hotel, fuel, food, and souvenirs. This covered everything that we would buy during our trip. The final product looked like this:

It worked out great for our trip and was really nice to help me see what things worked and what didn't. At the end of the trip I filled out all the actual prices and discovered we had a few extra dollars in each category. This was great news, especially since Christmas is only a month away. 
Well folks that is it for my first blog post on the new blog. Oh and to kick things off I am going to offer the Disneyland Budget Worksheet as free printable until the new year so grab yours while you can! 
Thanks for reading and I hope you stick around for more.