1-Day Disneyland “Daily Trip Blueprint”


If we had one day in Disneyland and were looking for the perfect way to spend that day, these are the attractions we would do, the restaurants where we’d dine, and the metaphorical roses we would stop to smell. The idea behind this post is to answer the frequently asked question, “what would you do if you only had one day in ____ Disney park?” We are starting with Disneyland for the first post in this series of “Daily Trip Blueprints.” (Or DTB for short. Get it? We thought about calling it the “DTB by DTB.com,” but felt that would cross that line from clever into lame and corny territory…but we probably are so far across that line already that we can no longer even see the line.)

Note that this Daily Trip Blueprint isn’t a touring plan or strategy guide for visiting Disneyland, nor is it a thorough listing of every attraction at Disneyland. For our ride ratings and reviews of each attractions (which will give you a better idea of what to prioritize), read our comprehensive Best Disneyland Attractions & Ride Guide post. If you need comprehensive help for planning every aspect of your visit to Disneyland, from where to purchase discount tickets to transportation from the airport and more, read our Disneyland Resort Trip Planning Guide.

Instead, what we are providing is a rough blueprint of our favorite things to do in an “ideal day” at Disneyland with low to moderate crowds (on busier days, it will be more difficult to accomplish all of this), and when you should do them for the ‘best experience,’ but not necessarily the most efficient experience. In other words, this strives to be subjective rather than objective. If you’re looking to develop a plan of attack for visiting attractions in the most efficient order, you should consult TouringPlans.com for Disneyland, which has years of experience and the statistical expertise in terms of “attraction order.”

If budget is no issue, we recommend staying at Disneyland Hotel (our favorite) or Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel (closer to the parks) for your visit. If you only have 1 day for Disneyland (hopefully you also have a day for Disney California Adventure), your time is fairly limited and you won’t be able to see it all, but at least staying at one of these hotels puts you in a good position to utilize Morning Extra Magic Hours to see more (make sure to consult the official Disneyland Calendar to see when these are offered). Plus, these hotels have great location and are just flat out fun. If these hotels are outside of your budget, our pick is the Anaheim Desert Inn, an off-site hotel that is about a 10 minute walk from the parks.

Once you wake up from wherever it is that you are sleeping, here’s what to do… (more…)

Disney World Hotel Reviews

Thinking about staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel, but not sure which is right for you? In our Disney hotel reviews, we share the strengths and weaknesses of each hotel, give our opinion as to whether they are worth the money, and offer an idea of what type of guests (families, honeymooners, commando tourists, etc.) will like or dislike each hotel.

Each full Walt Disney World hotel review contains photos from the hotels, including room photos and photos of main areas of the hotel, to give you an idea of whether the decor of the rooms and the theme of the hotel will appeal to you. In addition to this, the reviews offer Walt Disney World resort hotel tips, information about amenities, and dining recommendations at the hotels.

We have stayed at every on-site hotel at Walt Disney World, so unlike many hotel review sites that crowdsource or aggregate information from other sources leading to inconsistent ratings or uninformed “opinions”, our reviews are all first-hand accounts of our personal stays at each of the hotels at Walt Disney World. You may totally disagree with our opinions, but at least you’re getting the actual opinions of the same two people who have stayed at each of the hotels.

We are missing full reviews for a couple of Walt Disney World hotels because we either forgot to take room photos of the hotel or last stayed at the hotel before we started taking room photos (hey, how many of you take hotel room photos?!). Additionally, Disney has been aggressively refreshing its hotel rooms in the last year or so, and we haven’t yet had a chance to stay in every new room and update the photos. Our goal is to have this completed by early 2015.

Off-site and third party hotels at Walt Disney World like the Swan & Dolphin, Waldorf Astoria Orlando, Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels, and other similar hotels are next on our list of places to start staying at and reviewing, so check back regularly and stay tuned for those reviews.

Below we have blurbs with quick-hit pros and cons of each Walt Disney World hotel if you just want basic information. If you want to know more about each hotel and see Walt Disney World hotel photos, click the name of the hotel to go to its full review! (more…)

Disney Fitness Tips

Disney Fitness & Weight Loss Tips

Whether your goal is to lose weight or get in shape for your Disney vacation, or prepare yourself to run in the Walt Disney World Marathon, you need a fitness plan. If you’re a bit unsure of where to start with your Disney World fitness plan, fear not, as you aren’t alone. We originally made this plan in preparation for our first runDisney event, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler (click that link for our review of the race and to read how we did!) at Walt Disney World Resort.

It’s hard to believe that it was over two years ago when we first started to get in shape for our first runDisney event! Now we’re back to it as we have sort of fallen out of shape in the last couple of years. We want to get fit for Disney again and have a new idea about which we are really excited (scroll down to the Fitbit Community Motivation section for that) that we think might help both us and you. If you’ve already read this post before, go right to that section, as the rest of this post consisted of our original ideas…

At first, we had no idea how to get fit for running. We both used to be pretty fit, and I’ve gone running for short distances before, so I have a basic idea, but that’s about it. However, with a little research and after talking to some friends who run and re-listening to podcast episodes devoted to the topic of Disney marathons, we think we’ve developed a pretty good plan of attack that will have us first getting in shape, in general, and then start us training for the race. Not a bad plan for us to get in shape, in general, as I really enjoy water parks, and I don’t want to be too embarrassed to head to Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach!

Obviously, there are a myriad of ways to approach fitness, but I’m going to detail ours. I’m not a fitness expert, but the methods described here have worked for me and others (so they’re proven!), so your mileage may vary. I’m not going to weigh this down with countless legal disclaimers, so here’s the important one: don’t be an idiot. If following any of the advice here isn’t reasonable for you for whatever reason (pre-existing health conditions, pregnancy, etc.) don’t follow said advice. We aren’t responsible for your stupid decisions

With that said, let’s get in shape! (more…)

Tips for Buying Discount Disney World Tickets

Money-saving Tips for Buying Discount Walt Disney World Tickets (from authorized sellers!)

Walt Disney World offers a wide array of tickets. These tickets are expensive, but luckily, if you shop right, you can find good discounts on Disney tickets to save money. When it comes to a Disney vacation, the tickets are likely going to be your second-most expensive expenditure after your hotel room and perhaps airfare. For some people, they might actually be the most costly portion of the trip! Disney raises its ticket prices about once or twice per year with the last increase coming in February 2014, so it’s best to buy your tickets as early as possible, before your trip.

Given their cost, and the myriad of different ticket options, it’s important to know as much as you can about the different types of tickets, and what your family will probably need. Purchasing Walt Disney World tickets can be overwhelming, as there are many different choices and add-ons. If you’re willing to do a little homework, all of the options are a good thing, as you can buy exactly what you need and not waste money on unnecessary extras. In this article we sort through the different options and give you recommendations on what types of tickets are best, plus where you can save money on Walt Disney World tickets. (If you’ve come looking for info on discount Disneyland tickets, you’ve come to the wrong place–but we do have an article on that, too.)

If all you’re looking for is the best place to buy cheap, legitimate Walt Disney World tickets from an authorized reseller and don’t need to read this entire article, click here.

Ready to get started? Here are our tips for saving money on 2014 Disney World tickets! (more…)

How To Convince Someone To Visit Disney

Convincing someone who doesn’t like Disney to go to Walt Disney World or Disneyland is no easy task. Many people have negative preconceptions about Disney, had a bad experience at some point, or have some other reason for disliking Disney. I think any Disney fan will tell you that they receive comments on a regular basis along the lines of, “Why do you like that place so much, it’s so [insert pretty much any negative attribute here].”

These negatives run the gamut from expensive to commercialized to fake and more. In fact, if you run a Google search on “hate Disney,” you’ll come across an incredible number of results presenting laundry lists of reasons why Disney theme parks are awful places. Many of these articles are from journalists and academics (the top professions predisposed to disliking Disney based on our highly unscientific research–lesson for Disney fans: never date a journalist or academic), not just online trolls spewing vitriol.

The good news is that if you search “love Disney,” you’ll come across even more articles extolling the virtues of the Disney theme parks. Moreover, these pieces are written by a range of individuals, from students to moms to world travelers to highly intelligent professionals. Despite what naysayers may have you believe, people from all walks of life do like Disney theme parks. They aren’t just places where parents reluctantly take their children as a rite of passage, or places frequented by unrefined adults who are too dense to comprehend that they’re being “duped.”

Point being, regardless of the background of the person you’re trying to convince, it is possible to convince them to go and (more importantly) for them to have a good time. You have to know how to approach the trip and convince them to go in with an open mind. Although this is (fortunately) not a problem Sarah and I have had since we share a passion for Disney, we have encountered many people with what we call “the problem of the reluctant spouse.”

Here are some of our tips for convincing your spouse, or anyone else, to take a Disney vacation. (more…)