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Tips for Taking Your Tiny Baby or Toddler to Disneyland

Tips for Taking Your Tiny Baby or Toddler to Disneyland

The most common question/request we get is asking for tips for taking tiny babies or toddlers to Disneyland. Hamm’s first trip to Disneyland was in October 2017 when he was a little less than 2 months old. Although he will never remember it, we took […]

A Dad’s Review of the Smart Beat Monitor

A Dad’s Review of the Smart Beat Monitor

Note: This blog post is sponsored by Smart Beat. I received a free Smart Beat monitor in exchange for my honest review.  As a technology and computer nerd, I am always excited to see the latest trends in technology. It has been especially exciting to […]

Easy and Healthy Snacks to Pack for Disneyland

Easy and Healthy Snacks to Pack for Disneyland

This blog post is sponsored by Cuties!

I will be honest Disneyland has some of the most delicious snacks. They have churros, ice cream, pretzels, turkey legs, corn dogs, popcorn and so much more. However, the fact that most of these Disneyland snacks start at around $5.00 and just go up from there, eating these snacks all day can add up very quickly.

The good news is Disneyland Resort allows you to bring in outside food and drinks. So I highly recommend you bring a few of your own snacks to keep your stomach and wallet full, while still being able to enjoy a couple of the fun Disneyland Resort treats. If you would like to learn some ways to budget for a Disneyland trip check out this post I wrote about planning a trip to Disneyland.

So what snacks should you pack for Disneyland?

I have divided the snacks for Disneyland into those requiring no prep, no prep with a cooler and snacks that require a little big of prep time.

Disneyland snacks with no prep and no cooler needed

  • Cuties Oranges – Just grab, peel and enjoy. The best part is they are healthy for you.
  • Bananas – Another easy fruit to peel and enjoy.
  • Goldfish crackers – They even make Disney designs if you want to go all in on the Disney spirit.
  • Applesauce Pouches – These are a lot easier to eat for younger children than a whole apple. We always get the unsweetened kind so that there is less sugar.
  • Fruit Snacks – There are so many varieties to choose from so just find the kind your family likes best. Also, this is another snack that often has Disney designs.
  • Pretzels – Not as good as the yummy soft Disneyland pretzels but still a great salty snack.

Disneyland snacks with no prep but a cooler is required

  • Carrots/Celery – Perfect snacking veggies for the park. Pro Tip- If you love peanut butter like me you can buy little snack size peanut butter cups to dip your veggies in.
  • Grapes – An excellent fruit that when chilled tastes amazing on a hot day at the park.
  • Go-Gurt Portable Yogurts – Pretty high in sugar so definitely limit but great for a needed jolt of energy.
  • String Cheese – Excellent way to get some calcium into your day.

Disneyland snacks with a little prep required

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly/Honey Sandwiches – Classic lunchbox essential and they taste extra delicious at Disneyland.
  • Apples slices or other cut fruit – Some of the other fruits require more prep but cold fruit tastes so good during those warm summer days.

As you can see there are so many easy and delicious snacks you can pack for your day at Disneyland Resort. Packing a few of these snacks everyday will help you save some money that you can then use to buy more of the yummy treats Disneyland has to offer. Do you have a favorite snack to pack for Disneyland? Let me know in the comments below.

A special thanks to Cuties for sponsoring this blog post. Make sure to follow them on Instagram for more fun snack ideas.

Five Reasons Why I Loved Disneynature’s Penguins

Five Reasons Why I Loved Disneynature’s Penguins

Disneynature’s Penguins opens in theaters on April 17th (Earth Day) 2019. I had the opportunity of attending an early screening of this movie and I absolutely loved it. Disneynature’s Penguins is a true life story that follows an Adélie Penguin named Steve through his journey […]

Live Action Kim Possible Review

Live Action Kim Possible Review

Disney Channel’s Kim Possible is now available on DVD and Digital. Kim Possible is just your basic average girl but she was here to save the world in the animated series that ran on the Disney Channel from 2002 – 2007. Now after more than […]

A Dad’s Review of Disney’s Live Action Dumbo

A Dad’s Review of Disney’s Live Action Dumbo

“You’ve seen a horse fly. You’ve seen a dragonfly. You’ve even seen a housefly. But you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen an elephant fly!” —Baritone Bates, “Dumbo” Everyone will have their chance to see an elephant fly as Dumbo soars into theaters on March 29, 2019. I had the opportunity to attend a private press screening last night and have written my spoiler free thoughts on the movie below.

Did Dumbo soar up to my expectations?

I absolutely loved the movie and was very entertained for the entire 112 minute duration of the movie. One major thing to note about this movie is that it is not a traditional Disney movie remake where it follows the plot of the classic movie. Instead, this new Dumbo movie is more of an adaptation of the Disney classic we all love. The new story adds to the mystery and entertainment as you don’t know what is going to happen.

I thought the casting of the characters was absolutely perfect. I really enjoyed the humor of Danny Devito’s character. One small role I really enjoyed was Alan Arkin’s part as Remington because he offered the perfect comic relief.  Overall it is a great movie and I highly recommend that you see it.

CLOWNING AROUND — In Tim Burton’s all-new, live-action reimagining of “Dumbo,” circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) calls on former circus star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. Holt ultimately takes his task very seriously—even donning a clown suit to help the flying elephant as he emerges as a star. Daughter Milly (Nico Parker) just might be Dumbo’s biggest fan. “Dumbo” flies into theaters on March 29, 2019. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2018 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Will I cry?

I know most of you are expecting to cry uncontrollably like you did when you watched the classic Dumbo movie. I like to think that I am a pretty emotional person, especially for a guy, but I am actually kind of disappointed to say that I didn’t cry. Usually by the end of most Disney movies I have had some eye watering moments. These tears and feelings of emotion was the only thing I feel Dumbo was lacking. It might just be me but I don’t think this version of Dumbo is as sad as the classic.

MOTHER AND SON – In Disney’s live-action reimagining of “Dumbo,” a circus owner purchases an expectant mother elephant in hopes that her adorable offspring will bring in the crowds. Directed by Tim Burton, “Dumbo” opens in U.S. theaters on March 29, 2019. © 2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Should I take my kids?

I think the PG rating is spot on for this movie as the language is very mild and there is nothing that I wouldn’t want my kids seeing. As far as violence goes there is one implied death but there is nothing graphic in terms of violence throughout the movie. My only concern with taking small children would be fear as there are some scenes that could be frightening. If your child has a fear of animals I would definitely not recommend this movie as there are a lot of animals and several portrayed in a way to cause “terror”. There is a lot of fire and suspense so those are a couple other things to take into consideration.

I took my 19 month old toddler with me and with the help of popcorn and a drink he was able to sit through the entire movie. He was actually pretty interested in the movie during several parts especially when there was music and he started to dance.

TRUE LOVE — When former circus star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) is charged with taking care of a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus, he’s surprised by just how quickly his children (Finley Hobbins and Nico Parker) fall for the peculiar pachyderm. Directed by Tim Burton and produced by Katterli Frauenfelder, Derek Frey, Ehren Kruger and Justin Springer, Disney’s all-new, live-action reimagining of “Dumbo” flies into theaters on March 29, 2019. © 2018 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

I hope you get a chance to see this great movie and I can’t wait to hear what you think. For more information and details about the movie you can follow along here.

Q & A with Toy Story Dad and Family

Q & A with Toy Story Dad and Family

I just wanted to write a little post so you could get to know us a better. Below are the questions we are most frequently asked. Where did you and Rachel meet? -To make a long story short we met each other in high school […]

DIY No Sew Peter Pan Costume

DIY No Sew Peter Pan Costume

If you are looking for an easy costume idea, then this Peter Pan costume is exactly what you need. The best part about this costume is that no sewing is required. All you need for this costume is faith, trust and a little Pixie Dust […]

Planning Your Disneyland Vacation

Planning Your Disneyland Vacation

We are Annual Passholders to Disneyland from Utah. Because of this we are often asked how we plan our trips. The secret really is in the planning ahead. There is nothing better than an impulse trip to Disneyland, but in reality these trips do take a bit of planning ahead. These tips will help you get the most magic out of your trip, be less stressed, and just enjoy the moment.

Start planning at least 2-3 months before your trip

Between Disneyland and the Anaheim Convention Center across the street, hotels in the Anaheim area can often sell out up to 2-3 months in advance. Not only can you secure a hotel at a better price when booking early,  you will often find the same is true when booking a flight. If you plan to visit Disneyland around a holiday or the summer I would recommend you start planning even sooner.

Avoid Summer Months, Weekends and Holidays if Possible

“Why would I pay hundreds of dollars to stand in line in the hot sun for hours?” This is what I always hear from people who haven’t caught the disney bug. Yes, Disneyland crowds have grown dramatically over the last 10 years and it is pretty much always crowded but we have found certain times that are less crowded throughout the year. Because kids are out of school, Disneyland is obviously more crowded on weekends, holidays and during the summer months. If possible, try to plan most of your Disneyland days for weekdays during the “off season.”  Our favorite less busy times to go are in January/February and September and November. Hotels and airfare tend to be cheaper during this time as well.

Set a Budget

Now that you have the dates picked, it is important to set a budget for your trip. When budgeting make sure you include all of the following: Transportation (flight & rental car/shuttle or driving), hotel, Disneyland tickets, food/treats in the park, souvenirs, and Max Pass (more on this below). Be realistic and generous with your budget for food, treats and souvenirs because you know you are going to want those newly released ears and to eat that churro.

One way that we like to save money is by bringing most of our own food into the park. We usually eat one meal in the park that Rach and I split and then snack on whatever we brought the rest of the day. Obviously we splurge on treats because Disney treats are life!

Flying Tips

Depending on where you live, flying might be the best option. I mean I know the last thing I want to do is spend my vacation days driving. Here are a couple tips we use when it comes to flying:

1) Use Google Flights– Like I mentioned before, planning ahead of time will get you the best deal. Google Flights will allow you to choose your dates and then see prices of flights around that time. Sometimes we have saved hundreds of dollars by simply flying on a Tuesday instead of a Wednesday or moving our trip one week sooner or later. That’s another reason why planning ahead of time is so crucial.

2) Get a Credit Card with miles– No, I am not encouraging you to go into debt to pay for your Disneyland trip. I believe you should only use a credit card when you have the money in your account and can pay it off right after or at least by the end of the month. With that being said we use the American Express Delta Gold SkyMiles card for a couple reasons other than just collecting miles for free flights. The first is that everyone in your flight party (up to 7 people) get a free checked bag. This is a savings of  $50 per person round trip. The second big perk for us is free Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance which is a huge comfort and budget saver as rental car insurance is legally required in California.

Bonus Tip: LAX is not the only airport near Disneyland. So when you are looking at flights don’t forget to check prices at LGB and other surrounding airports. Most of the time LAX has the best options but on multiple occasions LGB was cheaper.

Driving Tips

Although flying is much faster, driving is usually more affordable especially with a large family. Many of my favorite childhood memories are when we all piled in our big white van for a road trip.

“Road Trip Presents” is one of my favorite traditions that came from Rachel’s family. All  you have to do is find a few cheap gifts or goodies. Some great ideas are card games, coloring books, treats, or basically anything that can hold your children’s attention for more than a few minutes. We usually hit up the a dollar store and grab 1 present per person for every 2-3 hours of the drive. Before your road trip make sure to wrap all of the present as the unwrapping adds a fun surprise factor. Then simply hand out the presents every few hours or as needed to help break up the drive.

Also don’t forget the road trip snacks, water, and great music. We usually listen to the Disney songs to get in the Disney spirit on the way.

Bundle Tickets and Hotel

Before we became Annual Passholders to Disneyland we would always bundle our Disneyland Tickets and hotel together through Get Away Today. Get Away Today gives amazing discounts when you bundle tickets and hotel together. They also often have special rates with certain hotels that allow you to get FREE breakfast or FREE parking. Keep an eye out for great deals throughout the year that will allow you to save hundreds of dollars. Use code TOYSTORYDAD for an additional $10 off.

Choose A Nearby Hotel

Yes, you can save a few dollars by staying further away from the park but trust me when I say, staying close is definitely worth it. If you stay far away you have to deal with parking($$$) or shuttles($$$) which also can get backed up during busy seasons. If you are within one mile of the park you can easily walk to Disneyland in about 15 minutes.

One hotel we love to stay at is the Howard Johnson Anaheim.  It’s right across the street and is less than an 8 minute walk to the park. They even offer my followers a 15% discount using code LNLR and Annual Passholders get a 20% discount using code LNAP. If you want more info about this hotel you can check out this blog post I wrote about it.

Create A Disneyland Game Plan

If you go to Disneyland without a plan you can easily end up “Paying hundreds of dollars to stand in lines under the sun.” Having a game plan helps you get a ton done. Here are a couple tips when planning time at the park:

1.) Buy a 3-Day Park Hopper– For those that have never been to Disneyland, I always recommend getting a 3-Day Park Hopper. That allows you the ability to hop back and forth between Disneyland and California Adventure. We spend the first 2 days getting everything done that we want to do. On the third day we go back and do our favorites again. 3 days in a row at Disneyland can be exhausting so if your schedule allows it, I recommend planning a beach day or pool day at the hotel between your park days. Another great perk of a 3 or more day park hopper is Magic Morning which allows you to get into Disneyland park an hour before it opens. Note: This is only available on certain days and only certain parts of the park are open but it is still a great perk. Be sure to check which days have magic morning during your visit.

2.) Get MAX PASS!!!– Remember when I told you to budget for Max Pass? Well, I hope you did because it is awesome. Max Pass is $10 per person per day and it is totally worth it, especially if you are trying to get a lot done in a short amount of time. Max Pass allows you to select fast passes right from your phone on the Disneyland app which saves so much time and allows you to get the big ticket rides done. Photo downloads from rides and photographers are also included when you purchase Max Pass. You can download these photos from the Disneyland app right to your phone. Bonus Tip: When selecting fast passes look at the times to see which fast passes are close to “selling out”. The later the return time is, the sooner fast passes won’t be available for that attraction. Usually, Radiator Springs Racers is the first attraction to “sell out.”

3.) Pick your must do’s– Make sure everyone in the family gets a chance to do what they want. Depending on the ages certain rides will be more enticing than others so just make sure to work that into your plan. If you are traveling with a small child be sure to check out my blog post for tips on making the most of your trip with your little one.

4.) Have Fun– As much as you plan, you will inevitably have to wait in some sort of line. However, just make the most of it and enjoy the time you have with family and friends. Tell jokes, play games, smile, and laugh. You are at Disneyland to create memories, so do it!

I know that planning a trip to Disneyland can be stressful so hopefully these tips helped. If you have any other questions or concerns don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Instagram or leave a comment here and I will be happy to help with what I can.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Disney Movies You Won’t Want to Miss in 2019

Disney Movies You Won’t Want to Miss in 2019

As a die hard Disney fan I was so happy with all of the amazing movies Disney Studios blessed our lives with in 2018. Incredibles 2 was the perfect sequel and helped me realize just how much my little boy Beckham is exactly like Jack […]