Saturday, June 11, 2011

out and about: 10 tips for Disneyland and travel

1. We decided to look at some other airline options this year and saved almost $500 by flying Jet Blue into Long Beach Airport. We really enjoyed our flight and Jet Blue doesn't charge for your first piece of luggage (per person) or strollers and booster seats. Long Beach Airport is pretty small and nasty, but you're there all of what...15 minutes? Worth $500.

2. Ella still has troubles popping her ears when the airplane is landing, so we brought some ring pops to suck on during the descent. We got this tip from a flight attendant a couple years ago. She said even if it doesn't help with kids' ears, it distracts them enough they don't notice. :) It worked great.

The grounds at the Candy Cane Inn are beautiful.

3. We stayed at the Candy Cane Inn this trip ( rated #2 on Trip Advisor), which is only 250 yards from the entrance of Disneyland. We really liked it. From now on, we'll always stay close to the park. We were surprised at how quiet it was considering how close we were to the "action." And the grounds are beautiful.

The rooms at the CCI are a bit small (we got the middle size), but they are clean. We felt the amenities made up for the lack of space.  
  • It was great to come back to our room or go swimming when it got too hot and then go back to D-land later. They have two pools and a hot tub. The second pool is a kiddie pool which was wonderful! 
  • The hotel served a nice little free breakfast in the morning (so nice not to have to worry about that!). It included cereal, muffins, toast and bagels, pastries, fruit, yogurt, juice and milk. I had raisin bran (threw in a handful of almonds I brought along) and a banana each morning. 
  • We did a couple loads of wash in the laundry facilities--nice. 
  • There was also free Wi-fi for checking e-mail, etc. (Yes, Lynn had to work a bit.)
  • We had a small fridge in our room which is great for leftovers. (Not available in the smallest size room.) 
  • On the first day there, Ella got a little Tinkerbell figurine from one of the employees. She loves it. 
  • There are two convenience stores right next door for those little things you always forget (like your daughter's toothbrush).
Great experience--no complaints. We'll stay again.

4. We like to have one good meal a day and then snack and/or have smaller entrees throughout the rest of the day. It works great for us. We always end up at the Garden Walk for a nice meal. It's about a ten minute walk from the Candy Cane Inn or 15 minutes from Disneyland. It's right off South Harbor on Katella. They have a Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen and PF Changs. There are also a few other restaurants, but those are our favorites.

Haagan Daaz is right down from Tortilla Joes. Darling sundae, huh?

5. Another one of our favorite places to eat is Tortilla Joe's at Downtown Disney. We did go inside this visit, but we usually just go to the Tortilla Joe's Taquiria that's outside the building. They serve basic mexi stuff--burritos, tacos, nachos, etc. and it's a lot less expensive than going inside the restaurant. Lynn and I split nachos and we get Ella some tortillas (4/$1) and a side of refried beans with cheese ($2). It's something she'll actually eat. It's also fun to sit outside on the patio and people-watch.

6. This next idea came from my friend, Mykel. She actually got it from Jen F., who got it from...just kidding. Ella had birthday money to spend at Disneyland, so we put $20 on a gift card. We told her she could use it to buy treats or snacks. She LOVED it! When she saw something she wanted, she would ask if she had enough left on her card to buy it. Our little "sweet tooth fairy" actually chose to use her card to have her face painted over sugary goodies (not that there wasn't a whole lotta that being consumed).

7. Remember this simple idea from this post? I saved the shower caps from our room and used them to wrap my shoes in so my clothing didn't get dirty in the suitcase. Worked like a charm. I packed multiple white and black shirts/undershirts for both Ella and myself, then had to figure out which we'd already worn. I finally started turning our clothing inside out once they were worn--problem solved.

Yes, even princesses need a nap.

8. Hauling our stroller to Cali was kind of a pain. When we got to Disneyland, I checked out the strollers for next year and they looked great--very clean and a great size with good storage. The rental is $15 a day or you can get a "multiple days" price too.

In line for Dumbo again.

9. I mentioned in an earlier post that after Lynn spend many hours--okay, days--on the kiddie rides, I took E back to the hotel early one afternoon and told him to go ride some "grown-up" rides. While at the parade, we met a young man who has a Disney website. He told us about the "single rider" option. It's just like a fast pass, but for one person. You can tell a cast member at the ride that you're a "single rider," and you'll be let in a different way. Then when they need to fill just one extra spot on a ride, you're it. Lynn was on and off some rides in 15 minutes while the regular wait time was actually 45 minutes.

10. I always type up a quick vacation log when we return from an adventure that lists what we did, our favorite memories, places we stayed/ate, things we want to remember, etc. I'll compile them in a vacation scrapbook (right now they're all in a file on my computer). I've referred back to them for subsequent trips.

Happy traveling! Hope I've shared something you can use.


  1. Wow. You are amazing. Love all the great info. Thanks.

  2. Love your site! In addition to the single rider option, there is also a 'rider switch pass' avail on most rides. One adult stays with the little kids while everyone else goes on a 'big kid' ride and grabs a switch pass from a cast member. Then when everybody gets back, the 'babysitter' can hop right on the ride (usually from the exit or fast pass line) with a friend. Complicated to explain, but actually very simple! :)

  3. Makes complete sense. We'll be using this one next time! Thanks, Kjersten.

  4. I'm visiting your blog for the first time and love it. We are frequent visitors to Disney World and I always rent a stroller from companies such as " Orlando Stroller Rental" or "Magic Stroller Rental". They are cheaper than the Disney Strollers and the big bonuses are that you do not have to leave it in the park at the end of the day AND they deliver and pick up from your hotel for free! The strollers are awesome, City Minis. You may want to check out what is available in CA.

  5. This is a great option. I'm going to check it out in Cali. I was a bit frustrated when they wouldn't allow me to take the Disneyland stroller we rented to shop or eat at Downtown Disney. I had to leave it at the tent going out. Thanks, Danielle!

  6. I just found your blog. A few jobs ago, when I did a lot of traveling, I started turning my worn clothing inside out to pack for the return trip. It is nice because whether you fold or roll your clothes, it is still super easy to tell which are which at a quick glance!