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 We originally made this plan in preparation for our first runDisney event, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler (click that link for our review of the race and to read how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…)

Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland

Halloween Time at Disneyland occurs in 2014 from September 12 until October 31, 2014. During HalloweenTime, the hard ticket Mickey’s Halloween Party will be held most Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays in October, and two dates in September. Mickey’s Halloween Party tickets range in price from $56 to $77, depending upon the night and whether you qualify for an Annual Passholder discount. Click here for the full party schedule for 2014. Entertainment during the Halloween Time at Disneyland season is included in the cost of regular theme park admission.

For those considering visiting during Halloween Time at Disneyland, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the standard offerings during the Halloween season in Disneyland are superior to those in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The decorations are better, the entertainment is superior, the seasonal snacks are more plentiful (and most are absolutely delicious), and there are two attractions at Disneyland that receive Halloween overlays (plus extra entertainment in Big Thunder Ranch), versus zero at Walt Disney World. The bad news is that hard ticket Disneyland’s Mickey’s Halloween Party is inferior to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, crowds are not light (still better than summer) during Halloween Time at Disneyland like they are in the fall at Walt Disney World, and there are no other fall offerings justifying a visit to Disneyland Resort specifically during the Halloween season, versus Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, which is also a big draw during the fall at Walt Disney World.

With all of that said, we think Halloween Time at Disneyland is an incredible time to visit Disneyland. In fact, after Christmas at Disneyland, Halloween Time at Disneyland is our absolute favorite time of the year to visit. The only reason Christmas gets the edge is because all of its entertainment is included with the normal cost of admission, and Disney California Adventure gets into the fun during the Christmas season, too. But Christmas is a separate topic for a future post!

For now, let’s get started with HalloweenTime at Disneyland, taking a look at its offerings and sharing some of our tips and reviews for Halloween Time at Disneyland. (more…)

Disneyland Off-Site Hotel Review: Alpine Inn


Alpine Inn is a popular hotel near Disneyland Resort and the Anaheim Convention Center. It’s approximately a 15 minute walk to the Disneyland Esplanade (I’ve seen it advertised as a 10 minute walk–I walk very quickly and there’s no way I could do that walk in 10 minutes) and about a 5 minute walk to the Anaheim Convention Center. Because of its proximity to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and the Anaheim Convention Center, it’s a very popular hotel, especially during events like the D23 Expo. Alpine Inn is a 2 to 3-star motel that offers basic accommodations at near-budget prices, with a fun theme. It’s affordable, safe, and overall a quality pick if o stay when visiting Disneyland Resort on a budget.

As there are a lot of questions about the best off-site hotels at Disneyland Resort, and because we’ve stayed at a good number of these “walking distance to Disneyland hotels,” we thought we’d put together some quick-hit reviews of each hotel along Harbor Boulevard and Katella Avenue in which we’ve stayed. You can read our overall comparison of the benefits of staying off-site versus on-site in our Where to Stay at Disneyland post.

In the Disney fan community, you’ll find that Alpine Inn has a ton of fans. Even TripAdvisor has a ton of absolutely glowing reviews (I rarely trust TripAdvisor because it’s too easy to manipulate). Sarah and I aren’t quite as high on this motel. Sarah, especially, doesn’t think it’s all it’s cracked up to be. I am a little more favorable to it, although I don’t fully get the hype, either. (more…)

Disneyland Discounts Tips & Info

Disneyland currently has vacation package, room-only, and other discounts available for 2014, and a recent question we received asked us to compare the different discounts Disneyland offers. The good news is that it’s much easier to understand the various discounts at Disneyland than it is Walt Disney World’s discounts. The bad news is that this is because there are far fewer types of Disneyland discounts.

The biggest “missing” discount when it comes to Disneyland discounts is the lack of “free dining,” a fall staple at Walt Disney World. This is because Disneyland’s dining plan (if it can even be called that) is mostly an afterthought on Disney’s part, and not something that’s all that integrated into their vacation packages. Disneyland also lacks PIN codes, and some of the other novel discounts that are from time to time found at Walt Disney World. Basically, Disneyland has vacation packages and hotel rooms with percentage off discounts as their main types of discounts, with a few variations on those same types of discounts.

Still, some of the Disneyland discounts that are offered are better than others. Discounts are quite predictable as they typically repeat from year to year, so to get an idea of how the various discounts stack up and when they might be offered, we’ve put together this article rating Disneyland’s discounts.

We’ve put this article together much like our Walt Disney World Discount Comparison post as a way to judge which discounts are best, rather than to offer specific information about current discounts. A myriad of fan sites and blogs (as well as Disneyland.com!) post dates and prices for every discount the moment it’s released. However, very few actually analyze the discounts and offer commentary as to which are worth it. In other words, this post is meant to help those of you who are unfamiliar with Disneyland Resort discounts understand how good the discount you’re considering really is (despite Disney’s best marketing efforts, some discounts are better than others).

In the course of planning numerous Disneyland trips in the last several years, we’ve learned a lot about traveling frugally to Disneyland Resort. Hopefully this Disneyland Resort Discount Guide is a helpful primer for those who don’t visit Disneyland as often, but are looking to save the most money possible when planning your Disneyland Resort vacation! (more…)

The Light Fixtures of the Disney Parks

Lighting is an integral part of the Disney theme park experience. The parks come alive at night as a result of meticulously arranged lighting schemes, and without this attention to detail in terms of lighting, instead of the great kinetic energy and beauty the parks have at night, they would instead feel dark and empty. Most of this is accomplished via hidden show lights–the lights themselves are not noticed by guests, only the illumination is. A good example of this would be Cinderella Castle, where the light fixtures around the Castle provide very little illumination. Rather, the Castle is illuminated by dozens of LED lights located around the perimeter of Cinderella Castle and at the edges of the moat that shine onto the Castle. This type of indirect lighting is used widely in every Disney theme park to provide much more lighting–and more complex lighting–than “on-stage” light fixtures ever could.

As an avid photographer of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the other Disney theme parks, I am probably more cognizant of lighting than the average theme park guest. Lighting and the quality of light are often the difference between a mediocre photo and a great one. In terms of quality of light, the Disney parks are typically the equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel when it comes to photography. The typically excellent lighting schemes makes the Disney parks a photographer’s playground, with a few exceptions. (I’m looking at you, awfully-lit New Fantasyland!)

While out-of-view show lights are incredibly important to the way the parks look at night, just as important are the on-stage light fixtures. These lights do provide some illumination to the parks, but they’re more for thematic enhancement than anything else. After all, light fixtures are prevalent in the real world, and it would be pretty odd to have a perfectly illuminated theme park without any visible light sources.

I primarily post landscape Disney photos online, but these landscapes actually are just a small percentage of the photos I take. Most never see the light of day beyond my computer, as they are geeky, seemingly insignificant things like door handles, supplementary decor flourishes, and light fixtures…the exciting topic of this post! Light fixtures may not be of interest to 99% of theme park fans (if you clicked this post with a sense of great enthusiasm, you clearly are wise and have exceptional taste…or are dork just like me, depending upon one’s perspective) but they are really important to the overall tone, theme, and ambiance of each land in the parks.

I haven’t always been this keen on light fixtures. One of the great things about Disney parks, I think, are that they work on a multitude of levels. What’s also great is that there is a community of incredibly passionate individuals who focus on a range of diverse topics. As we’ve visited the parks more and more, I’ve become interested in the academic and artistic side of the parks, and have read books and blogs to greater understand and appreciate the work of the Imagineers. One such blog post that really blew my mind is this two-part post concerning the Lighting of the Magic Kingdom on Passport 2 Dreams. (I’m fully aware of how much of a geek I sound like by saying that a post on lighting blew my mind…I get points for self-awareness, right?) Until reading that, I had never paid a ton of attention to light fixtures in the parks. Sure, some especially beautiful ones caught my eye, but I never went out of my way to investigate lighting choices.

Now, I actively make a point of looking at all light fixtures I come across in the parks. For this post, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a range of light fixtures from Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland. Consider this “Disney Parks Lighting 101,” as it just scratches the surface, but hopefully gives you a newfound appreciation of the lighting in the parks! (more…)