November 16, 2014

Dollar Store DIY Candle Holders (Kid Friendly Craft)

For those who do not know, the Goof is having some medical problems right now that require us to "keep him calm." As any parent of a three year old can tell you, this is definitely not easy. Especially since he doesn't "feel" sick.
So I have been trying to come up with some kid friendly crafts to do to keep us both entertained. I think I had a winner this time!

Dollar Store Craft for adults or kids alike. Make a mosaic candle holder. Costs around $1.50 each to make.

These candle holders were super easy- and best of all, outside of the mod podge, all the supplies can be found at the dollar store!

Now- on to the tutorial.

November 12, 2014

What You Need To Know About Disneyland During the Holidays

Disneyland's Holiday Season officially kicks off this weekend. If you visit the parks now you will already find most of the decorations up, but after this weekend, everything should be up and the events should be in full swing. If you want to plan a last minute vacation, or already have one on the books, we have what you need to know about Disneyland during the holiday season.

What you need to know about Disneyland Resort and the Holiday Season.

Last year, we enjoyed our first family Holiday visit to Disneyland. We had a lot of fun, and learned a lot of things. I am excited to share with you our top tips for making the most of your Holiday visit.

1) When to go- When planning a holiday visit to Disneyland there are a few things to think about. First, when does the holiday season officially start? Some of the Holiday themed rides (it's a small world for example) do not open until right before the official start of the season. Disneyland releases the dates usually in late September or October, but if you are planning before then, generally the second weekend in November to the first weekend in January is the official holiday season in the parks. Also watch for additional activities. This year the Avengers runDisney event has been added in November, which create large crowds for a few days. Finally, mid-November (after the race) until mid-December, excluding the week of Thanksgiving, is usually pretty dead. If you can go during these times, that is the best time to go.

2) Holiday activities- If you are used to Walt Disney World, or in forums that focus a lot on the east coast park, you have heard a lot about their Christmas party. You may be wondering if Disneyland has any Christmas parties. The short answer is no. Instead, Disneyland has the parade, fireworks, and other events that can be attended by all park guests at no extra cost. The parade happens daily (check your entertainment guide or the park website for times) and the fireworks happen most weekends, and during busy times, week nights as well.

3) Special attractions- One thing I love about Disneyland is that many of the rides and attractions receive a holiday layover or change up. The Haunted Mansion continues it's The Nightmare Before Christmas overlay, it's a small world has new scenes and songs, and starting last year both the Jungle Cruise and World of Color were changed up for the holiday season.  Hit up The Haunted Mansion during Fantasmic for hardly any wait. it's a small world has a short wait earlier in the day (usually), and Jungle Cruise is also shorter during Fantasmic. World of Color will still require the same fast pass as it does all year.

4) Where to view the fireworks- The "Believe...In Holiday Magic" fireworks are great, and they have a few great places to view them. Main Street USA seems to be the preferred spot for most park visitors, but you can also view them in front of it's a small world or from The Rivers of America between showings of Fantasmic (though the view of some fireworks is limited here). All three locations have the magical snow fall at the end of the fireworks.

5) Holiday Treats- There are a lot of yummy holiday treats to be found in the parks during the Holidays. None are quite as amazing as the hand pulled candy canes. The Candy Canes are only made at select locations and on select dates. Our sponsor City Stroller Rentals shared all the dates on facebook (see below) and info on how to purchase them is in the comment section.

6) Disney ¡Viva Navidad!- This is a fun addition to Disneyland's Holiday Celebrations that takes place in Disney California Adventure. Featuring the Three Caballeros, Music, and dancing. The Celebration has a grand finale January 2-6 to celebrate Three Kings' Day. You can find more information about this celebration HERE

7) Christmas Break is CRAZY!- If you plan to go to Disneyland Resort during your child's Holiday break, be ready for crazy crowds. Especially on Christmas Eve, Christmas day and New Years Eve. There is a good chance on these days that the park will reach capacity, so plan on being at the park early. New Years Eve, you will want to be close to park opening if you plan on viewing the fireworks inside the park. Usually, at Disneyland, you will be okay to leave the park and get a hand stamp to return, but there are levels of "full capacity" and one includes no readmittance. So be prepared. Plan ahead for long lines, crowded walkways, and more. Also plan on scouting out seats for parades and fireworks hours in advance. Fantasmic will be on a fastpass system (similar to World of Color) starting December 12, 2014 so you won't have to sit in a spot for hours, but you will have to race for fastpasses in the morning.

I loved visiting Disneyland during the holidays. It is truly a magical time of year to go. Will you be planning a Holiday trip there either this year or next? Let me know in the comments.

November 9, 2014

10 Products To Buy Before Your Next Disney Vacation

10 products to buy for Disney that are not on most packing lists

I don't know about you, but I am constantly looking for items that are perfect for my Disney Vacations. Some things I have learned are the numerous uses for ziploc bags, how to pack my entire medicine cabinet in minimal space, and more. I still find myself browsing for new products to use on my next vacation. Today I wanted to share with you 10 products that are perfect for Disney Vacations that I have found, many that I have even purchased and used myself. (This post contains affiliate links to some of the items listed.)

Why this water bottle and 9 other products are must haves for vacation
1) Reusable Water Bottle with mid bottle screw top. I bought a different brand of these at WalMart. Disney Daddy bought this one through Amazon and I like it better. These water bottles are perfect for Disney. About the same size as a regular water bottle, they are the perfect size for the drink packets Disney Daddy likes to mix in to his waters. They are leak proof so they can be thrown in a purse. The best part is that they unscrew just above where the grip is. This makes it so you can easily get the free ice waters from the park and pour them, ice and all, into the bottle. You can't take the paper cups of ice waters on rides, so this makes the free water more portable. You could also add lemons or other fruits to your water for a little flavor. I used the WalMart brand ones in July. My really old one the lid broke when I screwed it on too tight. This one though is a made a lot better and we have had no problems with it. And it runs under $10 on Amazon HERE.

A travel fan is a lifesaver in the heat at Disney. This and 9 other items to buy

2) Go Travel Personal Fan  I have tried a lot of personal fans. They are life savers when you are in line at Disney. This fan is by far the best one I have ever come across. We found them at our luggage and travel store in our local mall, but they are amazing. When not in use, the blades go down into the fan so they don't get bent or broken. The blades, unlike many travel fans, are hard plastic and I find they work a ton better. This fan is a bit on the spendy side at around $10-$15 but it is completely worth it. You can find it on Amazon HERE or try your local travel store or the luggage department in major retailers.

A Jackery and 9 other items to buy before Disney

3) Jackery Phone Charger I love, love, LOVE my jackery charger. There are several different sizes, but the one linked is the one I have. It has enough juice to charge both our cell phones 1-2 times each. I don't just love these for Disney, but I love them for an emergency kit. The charger holds its charge for up to 6 months, so you can have it charged and ready to go in case of an emergency that leaves you without power. It can charge any device that can be attached to a USB port to charge. Oh, and it has a flashlight on it. Of course, for bigger devices you will want a bigger Jackery. They also have the iPhone charger/phone cover duos.

4) Travel Size Laundry Detergent  Things happen, clothes get dirty, or maybe you had to pack light. No matter what, this is always a great thing to take with you on vacation. Many major brands make travel or trial size packets that you can find near other travel size items. A liquid detergent works well and you can either use it in the on site washers or even add a little to a sink or tub to wash something by hand.

Awesome products to get before your next vacation

5) Zoom Lenses for your Smart Phone So, as a blogger, I am part of some amazing groups. One of them is devoted to smart phone videos and photography. They introduced me to an amazing product that will change my Disney vacations. These lenses can attach to your smart phone either by a clip, or like some of the ones from this brand, by the thread of your lens. Before I learned about these, I took three cameras to the park. My phone, my point and shoot, and my DSLR. Now, I can eliminate the point and shoot. For some this would be enough to not have to even take a DSLR.

6) Disposable Table Toppers When you have kids, they often like to put their food down on the table. This grosses me out when you are somewhere like Disney where who knows what has been on the table. I have seen people change dirty diapers on the tables. I love being able to put these down, and they stick so they won't blow away. After you are finished, it is easy to peel up and wrap up the trash in it to carry to the garbage can.

7) Travel Razor This one is recommended by Disney Daddy. It sucks forgetting to bring your razor on vacation, but worse is leaving your good razor at the hotel when you come home. This razor is a good way to avoid that. The razor has a good close shave and runs on batteries.

This duffle and 9 other products that are perfect for Disney vacations

8) Foldable Travel Duffel Bag Nothing is worse than worrying about if you have enough room for all of your souvenirs. These bags are great because they are super durable but fold flat to sit in your suitcase when not in use. They way less than a pound so if you don't need them, they don't limit your other items, but you have them for back up if you find some awesome souvenirs that won't fit in your bag. Also, these help avoid paying for an empty suitcase to fly on the way to the parks. You only have to pay if you end up using it to pack stuff in.

9) Liquid Bandage I used to be really big on Mole Skin for the parks for blisters, etc. Then I discovered Liquid Bandage. This stuff is amazing. You can use it to cover hot spots on your feet (Pre-Blister), Blisters, Hang Nails or minor cuts. Best thing, it is clear, flexible, and it won't come off on water rides or start shifting/rubbing off as you walk. I seriously LOVE this product.

10) Water Gear By this I mean everything from ponchos (especially for Walt Disney World) to a water proof/resistant bag to put your stuff in. Even if it is not going to rain, you want bags to put your electronics in for water rides. When I went in August, I brought a gallon size ziploc bag and had it folded in my purse. When I did a water ride, I simply unfolded it and was able to put my entire purse in. If you will have a backpack, make sure it is either water proof or your electronics on the inside are protected.

Do you have a product that has changed your Disney vacations? Something that is not on the normal packing list? Were any of these products something you will be taking on your next trip?

November 5, 2014

The Best On-Site Resort for Disneyland Vacations

Welcome to those of you joining me from In The Mouse House and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail.

When my family travels to Disneyland, we usually choose to stay off site. I have been lucky enough a few times to stay on-site. Disneyland Resort offers three on-site hotels, and it can be hard to choose between the three so today I am sharing with you the overall Best On-Site Resort for Disneyland Vacations.
Which on-site hotel is best for a Disneyland Vacation? has the answer

When choosing to stay on-site, many families choose to do so because of some of the extra perks. All three hotels offer an Early Admission Entry every day to one of the parks (comparable to Walt Disney World's Extra Magic Hour), something that is only available to off-site guests for one day, at Disneyland only, with a 3 Day Parkhopper or more.

Other perks include character wake-up calls, an exclusive park entrance, and more.

So which of the three on-site hotels is best? To help decide, first let's do a quick look at each hotel, and then look at which hotel is the "best" overall.

Paradise Pier Hotel- This "beach resort" themed hotel is the most affordable of the three. It is also the furthest from the parks. It has a great rooftop pool, and select rooms and areas of the hotels have great views of Disney California Adventure.

Disneyland Hotel- A classic Disney theme carries through out the hotel. While not as close as the Grand California Hotel & Spa, it is right next to Downtown Disney, has a monorail entrance near by, and has a lot of favorite restaurants, etc right on site. The rooms include amazing headboards, very magical. The pool has a fun monorail theme.

Disney California Hotel & Spa-  This hotel is elegant. Inspired by the 19th Century Arts and Crafts movement, and the grand Redwoods, this hotel is often compared to a cross between the Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Grand Floridian at Walt Disney World. The hotel has an exclusive entrance to Disney California Adventure. This hotel also includes DVC Villas. Select Rooms overlook Down Town Disney, while others have a theme park view. This is the most expensive of the three hotels.

So which of these is the best overall?

Is the Disneyland Hotel the best on-site option for a Disneyland Vacation?

Well, each person will have their own opinion, but I think the Disneyland Hotel is the absolute best. The price is expensive compared to off-site, but it is in the middle ground of the three on-site options.

The closeness to the monorail loading area makes up for the lack of a private park entrance (plus you can still use the entrance from the Grand California). You can go through a security check right there, board the monorail and be dropped off in Tomorrowland, avoiding all of the lines at the front gates and the people pushing through main street.

The hotel is home to Goofy's Kitchen and Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar, both very popular among guests.

Everywhere you go in the hotel, there are pieces of Disneyland history. It just screams Disney through out the hotel. The rooms are extremely magical.

Have you stayed at the Disneyland Hotel or one of the other on-site hotels? Which is your favorite?

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail is Dad for Disney.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Heidi's Head - Best Resort for Animal Lovers
2nd Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney - Best Resort for Fireworks!
3rd Stop ~ In the Mouse House - Best Resort for a No-Parks Disney Vacation
4th Stop ~ Love Our Disney - Best On-Site Resort at Disneyland (You are here)
Final Stop ~ Dad for Disney - Best Resort for Transportation

*All photos courtesy of Disney

October 30, 2014

Turn Your Disney Memories Into Gifts with Dixie Midwest

I received free product in hope that I would mention these products on my site. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.

I love a good cold ice water. I really do. I almost always have one with me when I am working on the site, editing photos, or just scrolling through facebook. The problem is...I also have it sitting on wood furniture. Cold ice water and wood furniture equals this......

Well, Dixie Midwest came to the rescue. With Dixie Midwest I was able to take some of my favorite Disneyland pictures and turn them into coasters. When I opened up the package, I fell in love. The quality of the photos on the coasters was amazing. They also came with their own holder to display them in. They easily fit a standard size glass or even a mug on them.

Disney Memories into coaster with Dixie Midwest- review

The back of the coasters has cork board to help them stay in place when in use and protect your furniture.

Most of all though, they are a great way to display my Disney memories in a useful manner. We have been using the coasters for over a week now and we love them! I plan on ordering some for gifts this Christmas. They make great gifts and are affordable as well. 

If coasters are not your thing, Dixie Midwest has lots of options for displaying Disney Memories. One thing my family loves to do is collect Disney ornaments when we are in the park. What I love about Dixie Midwest is they have a lot of wonderful Disney Inspired ideas for ornaments. If the Disney designs do not fit your taste at the time, you can use their photo ornament options.

What I love about this is that we can personalize Disney vacation ornaments this way. Having that, on top of the ones we buy in the parks, makes our tree more personal. It is fun for us every year to put the ornaments up and reminisce about the trip that the ornament represents. Having a photo ornament, with the option of putting the date on it, brings those memories to life for me.

Now is the perfect time to start ordering personalized gifts from Dixie Midwest to ensure you receive them before Christmas.

Be sure to check out their entire store online and like them on facebook.

Which of these personalized gifts is more your style? The coasters or the ornaments?

I received free product in hope that I would mention these products on my site. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.