Credit Cards, Disney Cruise, Disney Gift Cards, Disney Parks, Flight Cost, Food Cost, Hotel Cost, Planning, Ticket Cost, Travel Cost

I had the great privilege and honor to be invited back on my favorite podcast, Rope Drop Radio, to discuss various ways to take Disney vacations for less money. 

Derek and Doug, the hosts of Rope Drop Radio, are two dads who love Disney.  Their goal is helping you navigate the Disney Parks and never missing a rope drop!  They want to share tips and tricks, travel plans, and must sees to help you have an amazing Disney trip! 

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.Read the rest

Disney Parks

Watching how different families tackle a Disney Park is entertaining.  There are the families who walk in with only a park map.  Other families sport waist packs and maybe carry a water bottle.  I’ve seen military-looking dads with a full battle pack loaded to the gills.  Then there are the families with strollers that are carrying bags, blankets, coolers, drinks, etc.… Read the rest

Disney Parks

Planning 1 | Planning 2 | Planning 3 | Travel | Disneyland  (1234) | Arrival | Surfing | Aulani | Excursion | Hyatt

Disneyland – Part 5, Day 4

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Another day, another park visit.  This was our last day before heading off to Hawaii.  We were going to get our second visit into Disneyland, so we headed off early.  We went straight back to Space Mountain to get some FastPasses, then headed to Fantasyland to knock off a bunch of rides right away.… Read the rest

Disney Parks

Planning 1 | Planning 2 | Planning 3 | Travel | Disneyland  (1234) | Arrival | Surfing | Aulani | Excursion | Hyatt

California Adventure – Part 5, Day 3

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Our day began with a shortcut.  We walked over to California Adventure and entered the park.  We grabbed FastPasses for Radiator Springs Racers, then left the park.  We had a date for breakfast with one of our youngest daughter’s favorite characters, Meeko!  You can meet Meeko and friends at Chip ‘n Dale’s Critter Breakfast at Storytellers Cafe at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel.  Meeko appears with Chip, Dale, Koda, and Kenai (characters from Brother Bear).  This is the only place we’ve found where Meeko makes a regular appearance.  The food is pretty much standard for a Disney breakfast buffet: the quality is fine, but somewhat overpriced.  We stopped doing most breakfast buffets a long time ago, but make time for this one. 

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Our older daughter didn’t have much interest in the character breakfast, so she choose to stay in California Adventure.  She grabbed some breakfast from a cart and spent some time soaking up the atmosphere.  We returned to the park after breakfast and met up in time for our Radiator Springs Racers FastPasses.  We also went for a spin on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree before heading off to A Bug’s Land!  A Bug’s Land is really set up for younger kids, but we love it.  I think the theming in A Bug’s Land is as good as Cars Land.  The girls rode the bumper cars and we all rode Flik’s Flyers.… Read the rest

Disney Parks

Planning 1 | Planning 2 | Planning 3 | Travel | Disneyland  (1234) | Arrival | Surfing | Aulani | Excursion | Hyatt

Part 5 – Disneyland – (Day 2)

Entrance
Entrance

What I love about Disneyland (in addition to the great cast members and intimate feel) is the ease of going on rides.  The park can get crowded, but not Disney World crowded.  You can also get paper FastPasses here, instead of having to plan your trip months in advance like at Disney World.  The cast members are really helpful and seem happy to help you.  Its like the difference between visiting a small town versus a big city. 

We managed to go on a number of rides that had been closed or that we missed on our previous trip.  The first one was the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.  The ride was interesting because we had not done it before.  It reminded me of the Nemo ride in Epcot.  There are lots YouTube videos you can view to get a feel for it, but basically you travel on a ride vehicle that looks like a submarine.  Each guest gets their own window for a view into an undersea world. 

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
Inside the Sub
Inside the Sub

  We also really enjoyed riding Space Mountain with the Star Wars overlay (Hyperspace Mountain).   The seats here are side by side as opposed to bobsled-like, which makes it easier to get into.  The Star Wars theme was outstanding and really added to the enjoyment of the ride.   Sound is piped in right behind your head, so you get a great audio effect as well.… Read the rest

Disney Parks

Planning 1 | Planning 2 | Planning 3 | Travel | Disneyland  (1234) | Arrival | Surfing | Aulani | Excursion | Hyatt

California Adventure – Part 5, Day 1

California Adventure
California Adventure

We were very slow to get up because of the late travel night.  We had originally planned to go to Storybook Cafe at the Grand Californian for breakfast the first morning we arrived.  After looking at our anticipated arrival time the night before (2:00 AM at best), we decided to reschedule this to our second California Adventure day and we were glad we did as we were still pretty tired.  We still managed to have a great time, despite being tired. 

Liquid Energy (and sugar)
Liquid Energy (and sugar)

We headed right to Cars Land to get FastPasses for Radiator Springs Racers.  Nancy split off from me and the girls so she could get some coffee and bring us some breakfast.  We love the Mickey bread!  We can spend all day eating it as a snack and its not horribly expensive.… Read the rest

Disney Parks

Planning 1 | Planning 2 | Planning 3 | Travel | Disneyland  (1234) | Arrival | Surfing | Aulani | Excursion | Hyatt

Hawaii Travel (sort of)

Flight Path
Flight Path

We started planning our Hawaii trip back in November 2014, well in advance of the actual trip.  As we detailed in our planning post, we broke our trip into two parts in order to fly to Hawaii in first class.  This first part of the trip would get us to Los Angeles, CA where we would stop at Disneyland for four days, then we would continue on to Oahu. 

After so much advance planning, we were excited when it was finally time for the trip to happen.  We got a ride from a friend to Reagan National Airport in order to take a short trip from Reagan to Newark.  We don’t usually  take United flights out of Reagan, primarily because Dulles is a United hub and Reagan National is an American hub.  However, this flight is what the “free flight fairy” delivered for us. 

We arrived at Reagan National without problem and dropped off our luggage.  Our flight was leaving from Terminal A.  We have Admirals Club lounge access, but all the Admiral Club lounges were in Terminals B and C.  We thought about going through security in one terminal, hanging out in the lounge, then coming back out to get into Terminal A before our flight took off, but we reconsidered that plan, because we didn’t want to be late for our flight.  There is a United lounge in Terminal A, so we decided to just head there.  We got through security really quickly thanks to TSA Precheck.  The terminal was really crowded.  We located the lounge and headed in.  The lounge was pretty small, but was better than waiting outside of it.… Read the rest