Disneyland & Universal Studios, Here We Come!

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2010-02-1220

It’s the President’s Day long weekend so we’ve packed our bags and have headed for L.A. for the next few days. Here are a few things we’re doing to make this trip pretty light on the wallet: one thing we’ve discovered traveling as a family unit — the cheapest way to vacation is by renting a house. There are 5 of us on this trip and we’re paying $300 a night for a 5 bedroom in West Hollywood. Not bad! It’s easy enough to find vacation rentals off the Internet, and so far, all our experiences doing things this way have been pretty positive.

We also decided to take our family van for a short-ish 6 hour commute, which trades airline tickets (for 5) and a rental for a few tanks of gas.

And finally, we also got some affordable passes into our favorite amusement parks in Southern California (Disneyland and Universal Studios), which we got in advance, care of a good friend who’s also a blogging colleague and a native of L.A. — who else but Cap from Stop Buying Crap who’s always willing to lend a hand. The guy knows how to get discounts!

Disneyland vacation

Our outlay should be much cheaper than what most tourists shell out because of the extra planning we’ve done. Now all we have to do is have fun! 🙂 So I need to keep this a bit short as we scramble to head out to dinner in a new town. Incidentally, the last quick jaunt we had was when we visited the Russian River. Hmmm…. maybe we should try to be more ambitious about our vacations in the future.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Money Reasons February 13, 2010 at 9:07 am

Wow, you are 5 steps ahead of me.

Just this morning, I was reading about http://www.wellheeledblog.com ‘s Disney World vacation, and I was thinking how awesome it would be if we could get a party of bloggers to go to Disney (World not Land, though both are good) at the same time. And then to hookup for perhaps half a day during the trip. Looks like you beat me to it though 🙂

Have fun! In a few years, I’m looking forward to going back! 🙂

Rob Bennett February 13, 2010 at 9:13 am

I’m very much looking forward to going to Disney World with my boys. The last time I was there was with my father and mother.



Bucksome February 13, 2010 at 11:40 am

You picked a good weekend to come down to Socal; beautiful weather (and no rain).

Renting a house on vacation is a good way to go. You can save by eating in and everyone gets more room and privacy.

cyd wright February 13, 2010 at 11:45 am

the best way to do a theme park is to take someone in a wheelchair or electric scooter. That way, the whole party can enter thru the handicapped entrance on each of the rides/ exhibit halls. The handicapped lines are usually way shorter. using this method, you will be able cover at least 3X the territory everyone else does 🙂 We did that when my grandma was 85 yrs old. We just put her in a wheelchair and off we went. By the time we got to Back to the Future, the crowds were just a mere memory. We hopped the gates since we were the only ones there besides the workers 🙂

fischer February 13, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Bring me home some LA sunshine!

Eric February 13, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Omg SVB! I was JUST as Disneyland and California Adventures a couple of weekends ago. I spent 13 HOURS in one day running around both parks (I managed to snag a parkhopper pass for $40) 🙂

Who says only kids can enjoy these places? I actually had a pretty good time myself. The weather was great, the lines were short, and I went on every major attraction at both parks. And of course I loved watching the fireworks at the end!

As I’m typing this, I hope you and your family are having a blast. I know I did!

Silicon Valley Blogger February 13, 2010 at 11:26 pm

@Eric — your comments are so timely! 🙂 Yes we had such a great time!
The weather was awesome today. I’ve been to these parks at least a dozen times in my life but I can’t remember it being any better than this right now! So it’s winter, but it’s still warm enough not to have to wear a sweater (everyone’s in shorts and t-shirts), it’s incredibly pleasant, and the maximum wait for any ride was something like 15 minutes. Visiting these parks in the off season is a superb idea! We packed a lot of rides and fun in 7 hours.

The downside? Little kid not wanting to “go to a foreign bathroom” and has insisted on keeping it in over the last couple of days. Parents — any tricks up your sleeve when kids won’t listen to their bodies (or to reason)? It’s going to have to be prune juice and Maalox tomorrow if this keeps up! ;P

Onwards we go… tomorrow, we try to hang out with friends. Monday, we hit yet another park. Hopefully I get to sneak in a post in here sometime; if not, you know why!

basicmoneytips February 14, 2010 at 5:03 am

My wife and son are going to the one in Florida in early April. We are busy looking for good deals on places to stay on the internet.

You can find good deals if you hunt around. Sounds like you found a good one.

Have fun!

Kosmo @ The Casual Observer February 14, 2010 at 7:12 am

“We also decided to take our family van for a short-ish 6 hour commute, which trades airline tickets (for 5) and a rental for a few tanks of gas.”

You’d considering flying this short of a distance? In addition to the cost, it’s not as if you’d save a ton of time by the time you get to the airport early at the destination, grab luggage upon arrival, etc.

When I interviewed for my current job, they flew me in. Alas, I later realized that it would have been a 5 hour drive. It took almost as long to fly, considering that I had a 45 minute drive to the airport and had two segments on the flight.

Rob February 14, 2010 at 6:45 pm

I have been to Disney World and Disney Land, and I have to say I prefer the East Coast version. But all in all either or both are great experiences especially for kids. I still fondly remember the excitement of my children as the trip got closer. And then the pure awe and amazement once we were there. Enjoy yourself and treasure the memories.

Michael @ Edinburgh Rental Car February 15, 2010 at 3:13 am

Hope you had a good time.

I’ve been to Universal and Disney a few time but that has been over in Florida.

I’m looking to go back some time soon even though I’m maybe getting a little bit too old for it all now.

20smoney February 15, 2010 at 6:36 am

I live near Disney World and will never spend money to goto Disney, but I guess that’s due to where I live. 🙂

Have fun!

Goran Web Design February 15, 2010 at 7:39 am

The trip to Disneyland must surely be on most everybody’s bucket list! Living on the other side of the world doesn’t make this an easy goal to achieve, but one day is one day! I’d really like to go!

Silicon Valley Blogger February 15, 2010 at 9:12 am

Heh, I didn’t think that “fun rides” included a head on collision, which we got into last night! We brought our family van, which we were driving home with (to our home rental) last night; a wayward taxi veered out of control on a main street and slammed right into our hood, pushing it backwards into another car. Nobody hurt but the poor van.

Exciting eh? The question of the day — will the at fault guy cover us for plane tickets too? We may have to leave our van here (in LA), use a rental for a while to get around then someone has to fetch the van later on when it gets fixed. We may have to push on to SF without it! Somehow, I have a sinking feeling our frugal trip won’t be so frugal anymore, unless a crazy driver’s insurance can deal with the aftermath of his recklessness. But yes, thank goodness we’re all fine!

Did I say I should have more interesting vacations planned? Hmmm… the homebodies we are may have to rethink that now. 😉

Credit Girl February 15, 2010 at 10:34 am

Sounds like a good time! All that planning is definitely worth it when you see how much money you can save! Nowadays, it’s all about the pre-planning. Do you mind sharing what site you use or how you found the house that you’re staying at? Hotels can be just as costly now if not more.

fischer February 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Bummer! Thank God no one got hurt. I pray you have a safe and pleasant trip back home. Take care!

Austin February 16, 2010 at 5:27 pm

After my walk to school today in a foot of snow I find myself longing for California weather. My lady and I are considering moving to SoCal in about a year and a half. Any experience w/ the San Diego area?

Austin @ Foreigner’s Finances

Elite March 1, 2010 at 11:05 am

Been to Euro Disney in Paris

Claire Sanchez June 14, 2010 at 8:17 am

Ohhh! I love Disneyland it’s a place for fairy tales. I’ve been to Hong Kong Disneyland! It’s an unforgettable experience. I’m looking forward to going back there. Thanks for the post!!

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