lost weekenders

February18

Best Disneyland Merch Outside of Disneyland

Merchandise, MerchKelseyComment

By now, y'all know we like to dabble in the world of Disneyland merch.

And Disneyland has some seriously good shopping, but if you can't make it to the park, or you're looking to expand your collection, grab something unique, or just support smaller creators, I have a list of favorite things, and things I'm lusting after. 

1. Foolish Mortal Supply

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I love every single thing this couple designs. I own almost everything they put out. In fact I have both a sweatshirt, and a t shirt of the Grim Grinning Ghost Tours design. I'm wearing the sweatshirt as I type. And not only are the designs incredible, and people will comment constantly when you're in the parks, but they're SUPER comfy and soft, and their sizing is pretty much perfect. 

2. EarsRPoppin

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Not gonna lie, the name isn't necessarily my thing, but their ears are adorable. If you've been coveting the rose gold ears, but haven't been able to get your hands on them, I love these as another, more unique option. You definitely won't be seeing many of the black with rose gold bow style around the park. Plus, they're super well made. I ordered a pair for me and for Kat, both were identical, and they were park caliber quality. Highly recommend. 

3. Pinup Couture

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Their line of Mary Blair dresses and skirts are seriously calling to me.

4. Marlee Mae Everyday

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Once again, I have a love for things you can find in the park with a twist. Spirit Jerseys are pretty popular in the parks right now, I have my fair share, but this isn't a color combo you can find for sale in Disneyland. Plus they'd go 👌 with those ears ammiright. 

5. 999 Spyglass

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Why doesn't Disneyland sell anything with just the castle? There's always a castle and words and I never want words. Thanks to this Etsy seller, you can get a simple dad hat in a color of your choice with a plain ole adorable castle.  

Treat Yourself: Mandara Spa at the Grand Californian Hotel

Hotels, Entertainment, BreaksKatComment
mandala spa disneyland

We’re starting a new tradition in our frequent Disney vacations of a ‘Treat Yourself’ trip. Not that every trip isn’t a ‘Treat Yourself’ trip - let’s be real - but we’re now designating one vacation above all others as a spare-no-expense extravaganza. This includes staying at the Disneyland Hotel, lounging by the pool, and eating All The Food. 

In planning our latest trip, we decided that in the spirit of treating ourselves, we should finally try out the Mandara Spa at the Grand Californian Hotel. 

I’ll start out by saying that I had never in my life gotten a massage, and Kelsey had only had bad experiences with them, so we went into it with low expectations but open minds.

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The Mandara Spa has an extensive list of services, ranging from massages to facials to mani pedis and waxing. Not wanting to get too wild on our first experience at the spa, we went with the standard Mandara Customized Massage for 50 minutes, which comes with a scalp massage (which we both skipped) and a wax paraffin treatment to hydrate the feet. When we got into our rooms we were informed that the spa was out of the wax paraffin, so we received a foot scrub instead (which honestly was amazing so we weren’t that disappointed).

The spa offers customers the use of their sauna and steam room prior to their services, so obviously we showed up early to get our money's worth. The locker room is small - only two shower stalls, about 12 lockers, and you could probably fit maybe 4 people in the sauna or steam room before it started feeling really crowded.

However, in our hour before our massage, we only ran into about three people in the locker room and sauna and steam room, so we didn't experience any crowd trouble.

My massage room was small but cozy, and I wasn’t that concerned about the size of the room anyway, seeing as I was about to have my eyes closed for the entire hour. It was a great massage for me (again, as it was my first one, I have nothing to compare it to), and my masseuse spent a lot of time working out knots I wasn’t aware of, but nothing was too painful. She was very professional, funny, and I felt extremely comfortable the entire time.

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We came out of the massage total converts. I thought I would never be a massage person, and I walked out of the spa ready to plan our next trip.

For maximum effectiveness, we recommend booking a massage on your third or fourth day in Disneyland (if you’re taking a long trip) like we did, giving your body plenty of time to get super achey and tired before going into the spa. 

And, okay, this is probably a weird point to add, but don't forget to try the complimentary iced tea. We made the mistake of waiting until we were ready to leave to finally try some and then had to stand there and guzzle a few glasses because dang it that tea is GOOD, and we are all about getting our money's worth, even if we have to look like total weirdos doing it. 

Also, pro tip: don’t forget to ask about an AP discount if you’re a passholder! We got 10% off the massage price, and the discount varies depending on whether it’s a weekday or weekend.

New Disneyland Ticket Prices

Basics, BeginnersKat

So if you’ve been reading about Disneyland lately, you’ve probably heard that ticket prices changed this weekend. This isn’t a huge surprise, as Disneyland changes it’s prices pretty much every year, but here’s the breakdown of the new costs for a ticket in 2018:

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1-DAY 1-PARK TICKETS

Ticket prices vary based on the day of the week and time of year (Value tickets are cheapest because they’re usually for middle-of-the-week days, during low-attendance times. Peak tickets are usually for weekends).

VALUE

2017 2018
$97 $97 No change!

REGULAR

2017 2018
$110 $117 $7 Increase

PEAK

2017 2018
$124 $135 $11 Increase

1-DAY PARKHOPPER TICKETS

VALUE

2017 2018
$157 $147 $10 Decrease

REGULAR

2017 2018
$165 $167 $2 Increase

PEAK

2017 2018
$174 $185 $11 Increase

The two+ day ticket prices have also changed - basically around the same amount as the 1-day tickets. As always, the more days on your ticket, the better a deal it is. 

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ANNUAL PASSES

All APs have gotten a bit pricier, and the discount for renewing your Annual Pass before it expires has been removed, which is a bummer (and usually saved you about $10-$60), but that means you can feel free to let your pass expire and buy it the next time you visit the park without worrying that you aren’t getting a good discount! Also, the monthly payment plans are still available for California residents.

Select Annual Pass

2017 2018
$339 $369 $30 Increase

SoCal Annual Pass

2017 2018
$469 $549 $80 Increase

Deluxe Annual Pass

2017 2018
$619 $729 $110 Increase

Signature Annual Pass

2017 2018
$849 $999 $150 Increase

Signature Plus Annual Pass

2017 2018
$1049 $1149 $100 Increase

Disney said that they are probably going to be reworking the Annual Pass program later this year (which will likely include modified blockout day schedules for each Annual Pass) in preparation for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening in 2019.

Obviously, we're huge fans of the Annual Pass and we're definitely going to renew. If you're on the fence about getting an Annual Pass, especially given the price hike, we've elaborated on the differences between the many choices, and the perks of a pass to make the decision easier!

 

 

The Perks of an Annual Pass

Basics, Beginners, TipsKelseyComment

If you haven’t figured it out by now, we think Disneyland is glorious. When you’re in Disneyland you’re IN Disneyland. You can’t do anything else. You can’t be anywhere else. It’s magic. And we like to go as much as possible, so thank goodness for the all holy Annual Passport.

There are a few different levels of passes, which dictate the kind of perks you get. There’s Deluxe, Signature, and Signature Plus.

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Deluxe has the most blackout days, a smaller discount, and it doesn’t include parking.

Signature and Signature Plus have closer perks. They both get the same discount on merch and food, and both include parking. However there are two weeks in December that are blocked for Signature passholders, and Signature Plus has Maxpass included.

If you’ve been on the fence about getting an AP (just do it), allow me to persuade you with some of my favorite perks of having an AP.

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Access to the Parks, duh, (without the guilt).

Let’s be real, Disneyland can be expensive. Park tickets are pricey, and for that money, you want the most bang for your buck. Which probably includes killing yourself to stay from open to close, even if you’re in desperate need of a break.

Having an AP frees up that guilt space.

All three of us do the monthly plan, which costs less than a cell phone bill. And honestly it’s the best $60 I spend a month. We live about 7 hours away, but a tank of gas and a last minute hotel room is the only thing between us and a magical time.

We can go down, spend a day, hop in a for a few hours the next day and come back home. We can also take hefty breaks during the middle of the day, or head out early and not feel like we’re wasting our time or money.

And since we go down about once a month, we get some serious mileage out of our passes.

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Discounts

I can’t imagine going to Disneyland without our AP discounts. You save 15% on food, and 20% on merch. And believe me, it adds up fast. And it’s not just in the parks. Most of Downtown Disney gives an AP discount.

On top of food and merch, there are special deals on hotel rooms, tours, even the spa at the Grand Californian gives an AP discount.

Parking

Parking at Disneyland for standard vehicles is $20 a day, RVs are more. We save at least (AT LEAST) $300 a year on parking with our AP. You guys it’s GOLD.

Special Events

There are actually lots of extra AP opportunities in the parks, from special meet and greets, to activity areas with free buttons and drinks. You also get email updates about new things coming to the parks, and new AP opportunities regularly.

So how do we make it worth it?

Like I mentioned before, the price tag is a lot less shocking if you do monthly installments. Plus, since we’re all equally devoted to the magic, it helps we’re all on board with monthly mini-trips with a few bigger trips thrown in sporadically. My recommendation? Ditch your current friends and get a group that’s as devoted as you are.

 

Fellow AP holders, did I miss any perks?

Behind the California of California Adventure

LandsStephenComment

Disneyland opened originally in 1955 to a staggering crowd of arounf 50,000 guests. Years later after much success and growth, executives decided the Disneyland Resort needed to expand. In 1995, the idea of a Disney park devoted to the themes surrounding California was proposed. In 2001 Disney's California Adventure opened to little more than a fizzle. In 2007 a major overhaul was announced and by 2012, Disney California Adventure, as we know it today, was complete.

Enough with the history, let me share with you my favorite parts of this expansive park.

Aerial's Undersea Adventure

Most of DCA was designed after specific, yet sometimes vague, parts of California. San Francisco is one of those special areas. If you try to ignore the hot dog carts and Little Mermaid signage, you'll see the Painted Ladies and Palace of Fine Arts. The attention to detail and architectural accuracy is incredible, yet it is done in such a way that if you didn’t know it was San Francisco landmark, you would pass right by. 

Boudin Bakery

Speaking of the San Francisco Bay Area, Pacific Pier is styled to look like Monterey Bay while including truly San Francisco favorites. I’ve been told Boudin in California Adventure is the only place in Southern California to actually get real sourdough bread. Maybe that’s partly because Boudin and American sourdough bread originated in San Francisco in 1849. 

Paradise Pier

Paradise Pier with its midway games and iconic rollercoaster pay homage to victorian boardwalks along the California coast, but mostly to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and the Santa Monica Pier. If you look beyond Jumpin’ Jellyfish, there’s even a small stretch of beach. 

Carthay Circle Theatre

Carthay Circle Theatre is a very similar replica to the real life theatre in of the same name in Hollywood, built here because of the importance to Disney as the premiere location of Snow White in 1937 and installation of Fantasound for Fantasia’s release in 1940. This building elegantly contains a downstairs lounge and fancy upstairs dining room. The detail inside and out are a feat to behold down to the smallest details of light fixtures and drink selections. As you ascend the staircase, there are photographs of Walt with stars like Shirley Temple and the accompaniment of a piano player. 

 

The Wine Country, originally sponsored by Robert Mondavi, with real to life vineyards and a wine tasting bar in honor of Napa, California. 

The Grand Californian Hotel is a masterpiece unto itself, “inspired by the famed Arts and Crafts movement in California.”  

HollywoodLand

As California Adventure evolves and Disney tries to make it equally profitable and desirable as Disneyland, it is slowly losing its feel of California. In 2018, Pixar Pier is becoming the new overlay for Paradise Pier and almost nothing Hollywood-y is left in the backlot.