For years I have dreamed of going to Disneyland with Collin. I went when I was young, and so did he. Both of us really struggled to remember what it was like and it had me longing to go back. For years, literally, I have begged to go to the happiest place on earth. We have really been trying hard to stick to our budgets and not spend too crazily thanks to our friend Dave Ramsey, so we never took the plunge. Until this October.
One day I just said to Col, "Let's go to Disneyland for Halloween time!" And for once he didn't shut down the idea. Looking up flights turned into inviting friends and soon enough our trip was booked. Our friends we invited wanted us to go with them during the holidays so it worked out perfect. They are always up for a spur of the moment trip with us.
There are so many things to consider when planning a trip to Disney. I think the number one thing you need to worry about is whether you are driving or flying. We are a good 12 hours away from Disneyland so we opted for flying, since we have Case and our friends have two little girls as well. We found round trip flights for only $150 total. I didn't think that was too bad, and it seemed worth it to avoid long car rides with the kids. Keep in mind luggage fees you might have. We had to pay an additional $25 for every checked bag. Car seats are always free to check-in though, so that's nice.
After deciding how you are going to get there, you're going to want to find the best deal you can on tickets for Disneyland. A lot of resorts offer discounted ticket prices, but usually the discount isn't much from what I found. Another option is to go through your local Costco if you are a member and get one of their package deals. From what I understand if you are a member it is a pretty good deal. I think your next best option is to shop on Get Away Today (Not an ad, this is legitimately where we bought our tickets). Watch for deals where adult tickets are the price of a kid, as well as discount codes from a blogger. I have seen some discount codes before I believe. Sorry I don't have you one! Oh and one more thing about tickets, we went with the 1-park/day ticket. This means we were only allowed into one of the parks, not Disneyland and CA in the same day. We spent 2 days in Disneyland and 1 in CA. It worked out for us and I don't regret not getting the Park Hopper ticket. It saved us quite a bit of money in the long run.
Last but not least, where you are going to stay. We partnered with Howard Johnson Anaheim & Water Playground to stay in their hotel while we went. I was super hesitant because I wanted it to be nice and clean. Especially with Case crawling around I was nervous it wouldn't be up to my standards. I was so pleasantly surprised though! They have newly renovated some of their rooms, and we were lucky enough to get one of them. It looked brand new inside the room. The renovations looked amazing from what I could see compared to what they looked like before. Even if we didn't partner with them again, I would go back to this hotel in a heartbeat. The water park outside was fun for the kids, and the close 6 minute walk to Disneyland was so nice. We were able to walk back and take a little rest during the few hot hours of the day, and easily get back to the hotel quickly. I would highly recommend this hotel for anyone looking to stay somewhere close to Disneyland. You can book here.
We didn't go planning to be budget savvy on the food while we were there. We budgeted enough for ourselves to indulge and enjoy the food Disney had to offer. To me, that is half the experience, the food! We ate multiple churros, ate lunch and dinner at the park everyday, and drank way to much soda! It was worth it though. I got to try everything food wise that I wanted to EXCEPT the Monte Cristo from the Blue Bayou. I made reservations for it a few weeks in advance, but a few plans changed and we ended up in California Adventure that day instead of Disneyland. I was so sad! If you are wanting to try the Monte Cristo, try Café Orleans if Blue Bayou is booked out. They need a reservation as well though. HOWEVER the lady there did tell me that sometimes they can squeeze non-reserved tables in right when they open, or at lunch time. So that's worth a try! We didn't try it because we had a fast pass we wanted to use.
This brings me to my next topic, the MAXPASS. Is it worth it? 100% YES. We were able to ride every single ride we wanted to solely because we had the MAXPASS. We spent 2 days in Disneyland and 1 day in California Adventure and we were completely satisfied with what we were able to ride. Keep in mind it took us twice as long in some cases because we had to do the rider swap option so someone was always with the kids if they weren't big enough to ride them. Take advantage of the rider swap. It makes it to where you get an additional 1-up to 3 additional fast passes for the ride again. This makes it so parents can swap with each other if the child can't ride. There are no signs that tell you of this that we saw, and a worker never told us about it. Just do it! They know what it is.
One more thing. Download the Disneyland App. You can order your food from your phone and skip the line. They'll notify you when it's ready and it's LIFECHANGING. We rarely waited in line for any food because we always ordered it ahead of time. Not all restaurants have the feature, but a lot do! It saved us soo much time and stress. When we were hungry we just got on and ordered, told them the window of time we would be there, and by the time we walked to the restaurant we almost always had a notification telling us that our food was ready. Whoever created that feature in the app is a genius. The app also has a lot of other cool features like the current wait times for ride lines, maps, menus, and so much more!
Gosh I could go on and on and on about our trip and all the fun things we saw and did. If you have any questions at all leave them below and I'll answer them for you! I am no Disney pro by any means, but I can share what worked for us and what didn't. We loved our trip and I am already trying to convince Collin that we need to go this spring. Don't you agree?!