Happy Disney New Year!

It’s been quite a year for 2 Miss Mouses. Time to ring in the new, but before we do, we want to share some of our most popular 2013 posts with you.

Disneyland 2014 by 2 Miss Mouses

We had no idea how many of you shared our love of Disneyland clam chowder until we put this recipe post on our Pinterest board. Just goes to show that everyone likes a bread bowl 🙂

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This year it seemed like Disney sweatshirts were everywhere and this was definitely a trend we could get behind.

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We’ve also loved showing you how to decorate with Disney in our Living In posts. Our personal favorite was Living In: Minnie’s House. We’re ready to move in right now!

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We offered plenty of Disney tips over the last year, but none was more popular than this post: Saving Up for Disneyland.

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We’re suckers for vintage Disney and  couldn’t resist sharing Life Magazine’s Prom at Disneyland photo series with you.

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There were plenty of fun Disney offerings from our Around the Web series, including this Buzz Feed article “The 16 Funniest Youtube Comments on Disney Movie Clips.

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2013 meant not just one, but two trips to Disneyland. Our May Trip was one our most special Disney ventures ever because it was our surprise Mother’s Day gift for our mom. Of course, our favorite blog projects have been our trip reports. We have loved sharing our favorite moments in the park. From teacup turns

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To Main Street laughs

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To churro breaks

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We have loved sharing 2013 with our fellow Disneyland fans and we 2 Miss Mouses can’t wait to see what 2014 holds in store.

See Disneyland by Pumpkin by 2 Miss Mouses

Tip: Send mail from the park!

Disney Tip: Send a postcard from the park, by 2 Miss Mouses

That’s right folks, not only can you find adorable Disneyland postcards throughout the park, you can also mail them directly FROM the park!  Mail boxes are located throughout the park, but we like the idea of sending from Main Street, USA. Stamps are available in the business center of the Disneyland hotels.

Tip: Watch Your Feet!

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Here’s a top tip from our May 2013 trip: bring comfortable shoes! Sore feet can ruin even the most magical of Disneyland days, so don’t make the mistake of putting style over function. Learn a lesson from Hayley (in the picture above you can see her post “foot meltdown”), pick footwear that you’ve worn on walking intense trips in the past. Just because you wear those shoes everyday at home doesn’t mean they’ll work on this kind of

Remember  to pick something with plenty of padding and don’t forget- hot weather may cause your feet to swell. If you do need to purchase a pair of shoes while in the park, head over to Adventureland & the store South Seas Trader. They have the best selection of uber comfortable (and semi-affordable) flip flops. If sneakers and Disney slip-ons are more your style, go straight to the clothing shops on Main Street USA.

Tip: How to Save Money at Disneyland

Tips for How to Save Money @ Disneyland by 2 Miss Mouses

This past weekend, Disneyland resorts increased their prices. For more on the pricing specifics make sure to check out Disney Insider’s excellent article (there’s a chart and everything). With costs rising, it becomes even more important to count your pennies when it comes to your next Disneyland vacation. In our Saving Up for Disneyland post we focused on how raise the funds for your next trip, now with our Top Tips for Saving Money at Disneyland we’re going to show you how to get more bang for your buck while you’re actually at the park.

#1 Plan Strategically

When it comes to Disneyland, timing is everything. Check out this site for when the park is mostly likely to have lighter crowds. By visiting the park on less crowded days, you may be able to reduce your trip length by a day or even two. This can lead to huge savings. Just a heads up, always be sure to check the Disneyland park calendar in advance. Less crowded days may have shortened hours and less featured entertainment.

#2 Fast Track Your Trip

If you do opt to shorten your stay to save money, don’t think this means you can’t maximize the park time that you do have. To get more out of your trip, try your best to get to the park at opening, take a break mid-day, and stay later in the evening. The park has its lowest crowds at opening and closing. You’re more likely to get on all your favorite rides and save cash by reducing the number of days you visit if you follow the come early, stay late principle.

#3 Consider Buying an Annual Pass

If you’re  making at least 2 multi-day trips to Disneyland a year, you may want to consider a Premium Annual Pass. Yes, it costs $669 (boing!), but it also offers you free parking at the park, 10-20% off merchandise purchases and 10-15% off of dining. You can even get special rates at Disneyland Hotels. If this sounds out of your price range, remember you can always get one member of your party/family a pass and have them make all purchases within the park for the discount (anytime you use the pass for a discount, you will be asked for id). Also, with monthly installments it’s a little less painful to buy.

#4 Pick the Right Hotel

 This is everything! Our absolute favorite is the Candy Cane Inn. It tends to run between $95 to $149 a night for a standard room, but it’s the perks that really make it affordable. Not only is it near the park, but it also offers complimentary breakfast, parking & shuttle rides to and from the park. Any hotel you stay at should do the same. Remember: eating breakfast at your hotel can save anywhere between $5-15 per person and parking can be over $20 a day at the park.  Also, be willing to squish into one room (especially if there are 3 or 4 of you). You won’t be spending that much time there anyway 🙂

#5 Split Meals

We’ve noticed more and more people bringing food from outside the park and while we understand the desire to cut costs with this method, we think there is an easier way. Next time your at Disneyland try splitting meals. Great places to split meals include Rancho del Zocalo & Plaza Inn. Both of these restaurants serve rather large portions, between 3 of us we can order 2 fried chicken dinners. Also, if you want to try a fancier restaurant, try going for lunch and sharing appetizers and small plates. When we were last at Carthay Circle, the fried biscuits stole the show. We got to enjoy the ambiance and we walked away with a much lower bill.

#6 Stock Up

Before your trip, try to stock up on travel essentials (ex. sunblock, tooth paste, water bottles). Convenience stores or hotel lobbies tend to charge more for these products. Also, check out a weather report to see if you’ll need any special items (hats for sun or ponchos for rain). Nothing will waste your money faster than an unnecessary purchase of Disney-priced essentials.

#7 Hydrate

This tip is going to sound a little odd, but trust us and hydrate. Water bottles at the park now cost over $3 a bottle and sodas run about the same, but many restaurants and food carts can offer you tap water for free. Think of it this way: this one tip could save you $6-9 a person per day. Plus, it helps make sure that you stay hydrated- an absolute must when you’re marching with Mickey for most of the day.

#8 Affordable Souvenirs

We LOVE Disney merchandise (don’t believe us? just check out these posts) But, we also know that many of these items can be insanely overpriced. We recommend limiting yourself to 1-2 souvenirs per trip. If you do choose to splurge, pick a signature souvenir that you may be able to bring on future trips or pick highly useful merchandise. We’ve both purchased Mickey ears in the past and have worn them on numerous trips. You can also be practical in your choices. Pens and mugs are a great way to carry a little bit of Disney with you wherever you go and get lots of use out of your purchase.

Tip: Grab a Photographer

Tip: Grab a Photographer by 2 Miss Mouses

We learned such an important tip on our May 2013 trip: grab a photographer! You’ve seen them – those photopass photographers located on Main Street U.S.A., in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, next to Carsland’s entrance…basically wherever there’s an ideal photospot, they’ll be there! Often we think that their services are only available for those who have paid for photopass, but actually these skilled photographers will take pictures of any park guest. All you have to do is ask and then hand them your own camera. While we were on Buena Vista Street in DCA, the fantastic Patrick (photopass photographer extraordinaire) saw us struggling to take a ridiculous 3-person selfie shot in front of this statue. He ever so politely offered to take the photo for us. Not only did he take a great shot, but he also gave us tips on how to effectively use our camera in the park (tip from Patrick: use the flash for full sun shots- it helps get rid of pesky shadows). What a guy! What a shot! Thanks so much Patrick and all you hard-working photopass photographers in the park who help make memories everyday!

Top Tips for Saving Up for Disneyland

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a trip to Disneyland ain’t cheap. Here are our TOP TIPS FOR SAVING UP FOR DISNEYLAND.

Saving up for Disneyland

  • Break out the piggy bank.For day to day purchases, use cash and pocket the loose change for your “Disneyland Fund.” This is especially great for kids. You’ll be surprised at how much change you’ll stack up over time in your piggy bank, and remember- each penny is one step closer to Main Street. When your piggy bank is full, roll your coins and take them to the bank, or make a quick trip to Coinstar (they take 10% or you can opt for gift cards with no service charge).
  • Give the gift of Disney. In lieu of wrapped presents, opt for “Disney gifts.” For Christmas this year we each gave each other a Disneyland treat for our next trip. Hayley gifted me a dinner at Rancho del Zocalo, I gifted her a dinner at Plaza Inn, and together we bought our Dad’s 3 day park hopper. We got to avoid the madness of holiday shopping and had two amazing meals together in the Happiest Place on Earth.
  • Have a garage sale. We have twice yearly garage sales and put most of the proceeds towards our Disneyland trips. Make sure to make brightly colored signs (date, “Garage Sale”, and a good arrow are all you need) and start early in the morning. You’ll be surprised by how much stuff you’ll be able to get rid of. You can even invite friends to bring over their stuff. Pick up donuts and you’ve got yourself a party. Declutter your home and make more room for Mickey- what’s not to like?
  • Combine goals. Have a goal, but don’t feel very motivated? Combine your goal with your Disneyland trip and get things moving. For example, trying to cook at home more? Each time you opt to dine in rather than dine out, add $5 to your Disneyland fund. Trying to get more exercise in? Each time you walk around the block, put $1 towards your Disney fund. You’ll feel motivated and be on your way to a Disneyland trip.
  • Cash in. If piggy banks are not your style, try cashing in on some credit card points. Many cards like Chase or Bank of America offer 1% to 2% cash back, or American Express points can be redeemed for cash gift cards. Do some research and find out if cash back would work for you.

We hope these tips make your next trip to Disneyland more than just a dream away. Don’t forget to check out our other tip posts and let us know what are your favorite techniques for financial trip planning 🙂

Top Tips on Having a Relaxing Trip to Disneyland

Each time we visit, it seems like Disneyland has gotten more and more crowded and with the park setting new attendance records this year, the crowds aren’t likely to be lightening up anytime soon. So, what is a Disney fan to do? Give up…go home…or- learn how to navigate a packed park and still have a relaxing and fun-filled trip.

Here are our top tips for a relaxing trip to Disneyland:

 

PRIORITIZE & MANAGE YOUR TIME

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Don’t go on long attractions early in the day (Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise- all have ride times of about 15 minutes). Your early morning hours are your best chance to get on as many attractions as possible. Try to go on attractions that tend to fill up later in the day (Indiana Jones, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain RR).
Use Fastpass! The Fastpass system was implemented in 1999 as a ride reservation system to help prevent the hassle of waiting in multi-hour lines. But so many people don’t maximize this awesome tool. When you get to the park, fastpass those rides you’d be disappointed to miss. Make sure to come back during the time window though! The park has started to strictly enforce their fast pass policy.

 

MAKE  ROOM FOR MAINSTREET
Main Street Emporium
So often, we rush past Main Street. We’re so busy and there is so much to see, do, and ride, so we just gallop past one of the Park’s greatest sights. Walt Disney modeled Main Street on his own hometown (Marceline, Missouri) and in our humble opinion, there is no spot in the Park more filled with nostalgia & heart. It’s a great place to go in the afternoon. Get out of the sun and out of the crowds by going into the shops. Pick up presents. Try on silly hats. Stop and watch the band before the parade passes by. Play games at the Arcade. Watch a classic Mickey cartoon in the Cinema. Stop at Coke Corner and listen to some ol’ timey piano music. Visit the Gallery. See Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

 

EAT AT ‘OFF-TIMES’

En Route to Corn Dogs

Believe us when we say that standing in a 1-hour line for a bread bowl is not fun. It’s just not. Trust us, we tried. Try to be in line for lunch before 11:30 am or after 2 pm. Be having dinner before 5 pm or after 8 pm. Not only will you feel less stressed, but you’ll also enjoy your food more 🙂 

 

TAKE A RIDE ON A TRAIN…

Disneyland Railroad

Walt Disney was a huge model train afficianado, so it’s no surprise that when the park was built he made sure to include a fully functioning railroad “leaving every 5-15 minutes for a round trip tour of Disneyland.”
Pick up the train at Main Street U.S.A., New Orleans Square, Toon Town, or Tomorrow Land. Especially enjoyable is the trip between Tomorrowland Station and Main Street U.S.A. because you get to take a journey back to the “Primeval World” of the dinosaurs. Your feet and your sunburned face will thank you for this vacation from your vacation.

DON’T FORGET THE SPECTACLE

Fantasmic! Mark Twain

No matter how bad the crowds, you should always make room for fireworks and Fantasmic! On super crowded days, we recommend catching the 2nd showing of Fantasmic! after the fireworks. People wait all day for the first showing, but you won’t have to wait longer than 45 minutes for the 2nd one (which they normally have on super crowded days). Watch the fireworks from Main Street then book it through Frontierland and grab a spot in the outdoor seating area of Riverbelle Terrace. Kill the time between shows by sending someone to grab dessert (we recommend Jolly Holiday Bakery or the Stage Door Cafe).

MAKE TIME FOR THE NAP RIDE

Here we are (a few years ago...) taking a nap ride

Here we are (a few years ago…) taking a nap ride

During peak park hours (3 pm – 6pm) we recommend “The Nap Ride.” Get out of the crowds and out of the sun and head back to your hotel room for a good rest. Take a shower. Take a nap. Catch up on e-mails. Let the kids play in the hotel pool. OR head the other direction and check out the AMC Movie Theatre in Downtown Disney. The truth is that if you are getting to the park by 8 am and staying till midnight, you will need this rest. If you are only staying 1 or 2 days and want to maximize your park time, try to find a cool shady spot (Hungry Bear Cafe in DL and the Animation Studio in DCA). Even a half hour off your feet can make a big difference.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY

alps & matterhorn

Your trip is not a race! Repeat that to yourself every time you begin to feel the pressure of growing queues and tired feet. Instead, view your trip as a journey and an adventure. Go with the flow. People watch- it’s hilarious and heartwarming. Try something new. Notice something you’ve never noticed before (did you know that the Alps in Storybook Canal line up with Matterhorn?) Remember, if you miss something, well that’s just one more thing to enjoy next time.