Saturday, June 29, 2013
After I had posted many, many, MANY installments of our last Disneyland trip I promised to compile a post about my favorite tips and tricks for going to The Happiest Place on Earth. I never did it though! Better late than never right?
This post will be broken down into smaller ones because I have a LOT to say about Disneyland.
Let's start from the beginning shall we?
You need to be able to get to Disneyland so you typically have 2 options. You can either a) drive (yuck) or b) fly (yahoo!). Either method will get you there and I have done both. Truth be told? DRIVING SUCKS. If there is any way to drain a vacation of some fun it's to sit in the car for 11 hours. I know, I know. All of you are thinking "but driving is way cheaper!". Yes sirree it typically is but I have some tips and tricks to help you fly there on some what of a budget. At the end of this section I will also mention an incredible website for great road trip ideas if you have to go that route.
Research wonderful credit card offers!
There are some AMAZING offers out there for points and sky miles. Put in the research and look at different websites and see what they are going to give you if you apply.
Compare and contrast EVERYTHING you can
You need to compare and contrast MANY offers and websites to get the best deal. Period. Before your relaxing trip can begin you need to put in the work. For me it literally was like a part-time job before our vacation. I won't even make a list of the websites I look at because there are so many. You know what all the travel websites are. Look at them and look at them often.
One thing I can say is that Delta tends to be a more expensive airline but sometimes you can find SMOKIN' deals. They have the right to change their airline prices by the hour though and I have seen this happen. For our last trip the Hubby and I found round trip tickets to Long Beach (which is about 25 minutes from Disneyland) from Salt Lake City for $177 ROUND TRIP. That is insane! We waited too long though and missed out.
If you know the dates you are traveling and spot a good deal then DON'T WAIT. Book it right then. The moral of the story is to research as much as you can to find the cheapest flight but when you find a good one, don't let it go.
I also need to add that any time you fly you need to include your frequent flier number. I don't fly Delta often but just by putting in my skymiles number from each previous flight I have taken I have about 7,000 skymiles. That's equivalent to about $70 towards a flight! I think you need 10,000 skymiles to start redeeming but I have a good start for not much work.
Also keep in mind that there are two airports close to Disneyland. There is Orange County SNA and Long Beach LGB. Orange County is significantly larger and Long Beach is the tiniest airport I have ever flown into. Both are fine. You may save money by flying into Long Beach but if you prefer larger planes and more security than definitely do Orange County. Both are about the same distance away driving-wise from Disneyland.
Once you've arrived at the airport, for the love of all that is good on this green Earth do NOT take Super Shuttle, take a cab.
Let me tell you a story. On our last Disneyland trip I pre-booked Super Shuttle to come pick us up from the Long Beach Airport. On their online form it asks when our arrival time was. Once we arrived at the airport we found out that the airline lost one of our bags. We had to put in a claim to have them deliver the luggage later on. I walked outside to talk to the driver of Super Shuttle to let him know there would a slight delay and he told me we were already late. Excuse me sir? Yes, LATE he said. Because we had arrived after our flight ARRIVAL time I put in their online form he said he was going to leave us. And that he did. We were stuck at the airport with a piece of luggage lost and no way to get to Disneyland. What a great way to start a vacation (said with major sarcasm)! Needless to say the driver from Super Shuttle was rude, the customer service hot line we called later on was very unhelpful and when we arrived to our hotel later on another couple we met in the lobby had also been abandoned by a Super Shuttle driver. They have a bad reputation in general and I can see why it was earned.
We ended up getting a credit from the airline to take a cab to our hotel. There is a LONG line of cab drivers eager for your business right outside the airport. Is it a little more expensive? Yes. Is it beyond worth it. YES. Once in the car with the cab driver we were to our hotel within 25 minutes. Take my advice and take a cab. Amen.
If you HAVE to take a road trip to Disneyland make it as fun as you can
As I mentioned before, driving for 11 hours in a car to Disneyland is the worst. However, there are some things you can do to make it more enjoyable. Research some fun Disney websites like Merry Weather's Cottage (thanks Kathryn for letting me know about that site!) for great road trip ideas. Here is also a list of my ideas for making your Disneyland road trip fun:
Listen to Disney music. Listening and singing to those tunes will make you so excited to get there!
Stop at various gas stations and pick out snacks and drinks you've never tried before. Hey, you've saved some money by driving, spend a little bit on something fun to eat and drink in the car!
Clean your car before the trip. I think too often people say they will just clean their car after their trip because it will get so dirty. Big mistake. Clean it before. Who wants to sit in a dirty car hours upon hours? Clean it outside to inside and enjoy it on the trip.
Watch some Disney movies. If you have any sort of portable DVD player definitely bring it so you can brush up on some details in some fantastic Disney movies. My major recommendation is to purchase more obscure or older movies such as the Mr. Toad series or Dumbo. The park and the rides will make so much more sense to you which will enable you to have a more enjoyable Disneyland vacation.
Check-out some Disney themed books from the library. Here in Utah we have a wonderful library system and recently I checked out a biography about Walt Disney. It was HUGE so I didn't finish it but I recommend looking online and finding some fun Disney books to take with you to read in the car. There are so many interesting facts about the parks, rides, Walt Disney, etc that are very informative and fun to read. Amazon.com also has some great deals on Disney books. Order a few and enjoy on the trip. The more you know about all things Disney the more fun you'll have. Trust me! On our last trip we purchased "The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland". It is a very fun read! You can get it on Amazon for about $5! Here is a link to it on Amazon. I also highly recommend you get "Disneyland's Hidden Mickey's". It is a wonderful guide book to almost all the hidden Mickey's hidden in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Click here for a link to it on Amazon. This one runs about $6 on there.
* I hope you've enjoyed this first installment! In the coming days look for MANY more posts about my tips and tricks for traveling to the Disneyland Resort! *