Saturday, April 4

Doing Disneyland Souvenirs on a Budget & LDS Conference & Easter

In case you haven't heard (I've been a terrible blogger lately but at least I've been a pretty decent mom which is significantly more important), we are planning on going to San Diego the last week of April! We are going right after BYU finals get out. In three weeks we will be basking in the glorious California sun. Not that I'd know if it was glorious or not since the last time I went I was younger than Tenley. But I hear it's pretty fantastic (plus, Dalin served an LDS mission there and loved it. Naturally.) 

But my goodness--could you be a little more expensive, California? Geez... As I have tried planning out this trip (or at least tried to come up with some semblance of a plan), I have been just a little overwhelmed with the cost of everything plus the endless options on things to do there. 

Then, something marvelous happened. 8,000 blog posts and web articles on Disneyland/California vacation tips later, I've decided to relax with the planning and just see how it goes. We'll figure it out while we're there and it'll be great. And if, heaven forbid, we don't make it to Disneyland, we will survive. And fortunately our kids are too young to even comprehend it all (the only plus to this is that they both get in free) so it won't even matter to them. 

That said, I'm really hoping we'll be able to find a good deal when we get there for Disneyland tickets. That (and the hotel costs) are my primary concerns. I am planning on using the HotelTonight app to get us some last-minute deals at nice hotels to save some money in that area, and I'm hoping someone will share a secret to getting the best deal on Disney tickets once we arrive. I'm putting a lot of faith in the hospitality and helpfulness of SoCal residents so let's hope they don't let me down. 

But--assuming things work out and we do end up at Disney, I've learned of some awesome ways to save money while there! Apart from bringing our own snacks and making our own lunches (and taking advantage of any hotel breakfasts), I read in several places that you can (and should) bring your own souvenirs for your children! I thought this was the best idea--especially considering they will have no recollection of this trip. 

So we are going to bring our own little treats for Tenley into the park and the first places I thought of for finding inexpensive Disney stuff were Wal-Mart and the Dollar Store. I started at the Dollar Store, since we have one next to Macey's where I do my grocery shopping and HOLY COW, there was a lot of good stuff. I remembered seeing a few things, but was pleasantly surprised with how many things they had. See for yourself:

And this was just a few of the things they had! They also had a lot of Doc McStuffins (we don't get that show though) and little boy Disney things, too, but since I was looking for Tenley, that's what I focused on. I found a little recyclable bag, a blow up princess baton, Mickey and Minnie figurines (they also had Donald and Goofy and several random Pixar movie characters), a glow wand, bubbles, fun duck tape, princess bubbles, princess and Minnie nightlights, a little fan necklace, and a combination flashlight and pen. 

They also had a princess sticker book, a pom pom pen (reminded me of Tinkerbell's shoes;), a Mickey notepad, princess crayons, a color-your-own puzzle, a giant pen, Mickey stickers, a Minnie eraser, and princess & Minnie journals.

Don't worry, I did not buy all this stuff. I almost got quite a lot of it, but then I thought things through (phew!--right Dalin?;) and only got the things I thought Tenley would appreciate most.

I decided on the Mickey and Minnie figurines, the bubbles (to blow while waiting in line), the blow-up princess baton (for Tenley to wave around), the glow wand (for nighttime in the park), and the Minnie journal for collecting character signatures (and so we can prove to Tenley that we brought her ;). I'm also going to bring some stickers from home and the Minnie and Mickey dolls she got for Christmas (but probably forgot about;).

I also really want to have some cute Disney gear for the whole family to wear, so I'm going to check Wal-Mart for some fun t-shirts and maybe order some mouse ears online. The good thing is, even if we don't end up at Disneyland for some reason, we can always save the shirts for the future and Tenley won't know the difference with the souvenirs if we go to SeaWorld or something instead;)

Now I need to plan out what our fairly nonperishable lunches will be on the two days we hope to go (one park a day) and our snacks for Tenley (I'm thinking things like food pouches, fruit snacks, and some shell-less sunflower seeds which she loves) so we can (ideally) only spend money on dinner and a few desserts/treats while we're there. If you have ideas for lunches or snacks, please tell me! I'm thinking chicken salad sandwiches with some grapes and water bottles one day, and maybe a turkey sandwich (or just some deli meat and cheese) with a water bottle and a healthy side for day two. I'm not picky so it won't be me that needs to be impressed...

I'm so excited for this vacation! It's the first we've taken alone as a family (though, admittedly, my 22-year old brother is meeting us there to help with the kids but pretty much alone), and it is much needed. I am so excited to visit the beach (and touch the Pacific ocean and see if it's really colder than the Atlantic) and see the San Diego temple in person and see much of where Dalin served on his mission for two years! It's going to be the best. Less than 20 days until we go!

In other brief news, I'm so excited for LDS General Conference tomorrow and to hear the words of our living prophet and his counselors! It's so spiritually refreshing and I love how I feel after listening to these inspired men and women. I highly recommend you checking it out tomorrow between 10am and noon (MST) and then again at 2-4pm! LDS or not, the message is for everyone and it's especially appropriate to listen to on Easter!

Speaking of which, I'd almost forgotten about Easter, but thankfully my wonderful mother took care of that for us and sent us a package with some cute treats for my babies. I'm looking forward to seeing Tenley's face light up when she sees her basket (and more importantly, when she realizes there's candy in it since that's probably all she'll care about).

Aren't those monogrammed baskets from Williams and Sonoma just adorable?? I love them so much. Pretty much anything monogrammed with my babies' names I am guaranteed to love (another example--the stirling silver necklace with Tenley's name on it that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas. It's currently my favorite necklace and I wear it all the time! I can't wait to get one for Declan at some point:)

Well, I'd be grateful a hundred times over for any tips you might have for our upcoming trip! Or if you live in SoCal and want to help us get the resident discount to get into Disneyland, that'd be pretty fantastic of you, too;) But really--I'd love you forever.

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