Thursday, September 18, 2014

Saving For Your Vacation: Disney Visa Rewards vs. Disney Vacation Account



We all know Disney isn't cheap - and for good reason, the quality is top-notch and unlike any other, and I'm happy to pay for that! But, none-the-less, the cost can be a bummer so us Babes in Disneylanders are always looking for ways to save! We thought we could compare Disney's two credit cards, the Disney Rewards Visa and the Disney Premere Visa Card with Disney's [somewhat] recently launched Vacation Account, for your benefit!

Overview -
Vintage MickeyDisney Rewards Visa Card: This free credit card earns you back an unlimited 1% in all card purchases.  Disney Rewards can be redeemed toward most anything Disney, including movie tickets, Disney Store Purchases, and Disneyland (& WDW) purchases without any block out dates! 15.24% APR interest rate.

Disney Premiere Visa Card: This credit card has a $49 annual fee, but earns you back an unlimited 1% in all card purchases and an extra 1% at gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, and all Disney locations.  Disney Rewards can be redeemed for pretty much anything Disney as well as toward airline travel. 15.24% APR interest rate.

Disney Vacation Account: This is essentially a savings account with perks. The Vacation Account helps to estimate your cost to get you started, and then creates the plan to save at your own pace, up to 5 years in advance of your vacation. You can make instant or scheduled automatic contributions using your debit or credit card (or even Disney Gift Card). You have the ability to track your progress, check your balance, and update your savings goals. The money can be fully withdrawn at any time.


Perks -
Disney  Rewards Visa Card: Free character Meet & Greet at a cardholder location. Get 10% off of dining locations at Disneyland. Also get 10% off of select merchandise at Disneyland, the DisneyStore.com and the Disney Store, when $50 minimum is spent, at Disneyland. Get 20% off of tours at Disneyland. Receive special financing on Disney vacation packages. *Also good at WDW.

Disney Premiere Visa Card: Same as the Rewards Visa, but there are 8 Premiere only Disney card designs 
to choose from.

Disney Vacation Account: You are eligible for a $20 Disney Gift Card for every $1000 you spend on qualified vacation purchases with your Disney vacation Account - up to $500 maximum per household. Some additional requirements apply - see Cons below.

Pros -
Disney Rewards Visa Card: It's free (no annual fee), has great perks, cute card designs, and rewards can be used toward any Disney item. Currently, you can earn a $50 Disney Gift Card after your first purchase on this card.

Disney Premiere Visa Card: You get basically double the rewards, plus the ability to use them towards airline travel - and 8 extra cute card designs. Currently, you can earn a $100 Disney Gift Card after your first purchase on this card.

Disney Vacation Account:  It appears to be a simple way to save with no interest charges or other fees.  $20 Gift Cards on $1000 saved. And 24/7 guest service is provided.

Cons -
Disney Rewards Visa Card: Rewards don't add up quite as quickly, and you can't use them toward airline travel. High interest rate.

Disney Premiere Visa Card: Costs a $49 annual fee. High interest rate.

Disney Vacation Account: There is a $500 limit in rewards. Your account must be active for a minimum of 120 days to receive benefits. And gift cards must be requested 4-6 weeks in advance.


Sorcerer Mickey

*My preference for "saving" for a trip to Disneyland is the Disney Premiere Visa Card, which I pay off in full each month - so as not to have to pay interest. Before, I used the Rewards Visa, and would earn enough to cover food and merchandise purchases for our Disneyland trip. But with the new Premiere card, in the last 13 months I have earned over $700 in Rewards - which should cover all of our park tickets for our next trip. Also, I have never used rewards to airfare, but I very much like having that option!*

To get more information on the Disney Rewards Visa or Disney Premiere Visa card, click here. And, to get more information on the Disney Savings Account, click here.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Coffee Mug Love!










We love our Disneyland mugs - the old, the new, the ones we own, and the ones we want to! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

BIG List of Best Baby & Toddler Gear for Disneyland!




Any parent knows that being prepared is the key to a successful day at Disneyland with a baby or toddler, that and a healthy dose of patience! Here I've rounded up some of the most helpful pieces of baby/toddler gear you can take with you into the parks to help make your family's day a success. You can click on the Amazon link to see the option that I have owned/approved, but you are able to find these items many places, and in many different versions and price points.


Baby Gear: 

Many of these items could/would also carry over into the Toddler category.


Stroller locks attached to the front tires
of a stroller allow parents to keep their
stroller safe while still allowing
Cast Members to move the stroller
to stroller parking lots as needed.
Stroller - The right stroller is so important, but there are just SO many options, I'll just leave you with the Babes In Disneyland guide for picking the right stroller

Stroller Hook - This is an inexpensive, but very handy little gadget. It's basically an over-sized carabiner clip. You clip it onto your stroller, or whatever you want, then you can attach anything - it holds a lot - bags, purses, waterbottles. Just don't put too much weight so your stroller tips (I speak from experience)! I'm a fan of The Mommy Hook and coming in under $10, it is a great bargain for something that is so handy!

Stroller Lock - The BUGGYGEAR stroller lock was a product Babes in Disneyland reviewed several years ago, but it's still relevant, and still very helpful for safety when at the Disneyland Resort. Put the cord through two wheels on the stroller to deter anybody trying to walk away with your property (if I am leaving some not-super-valuables in my stroller, sometimes I put the lock cord through those as well). Just don't try to lock the stroller to a permanent fixture, a Cast Member may need to move it. By and large, strollers are safe, but if you plan on leaving your stroller for a long time or have a very expensive stroller, a lock can provide great piece of mind.
Image courtesy of
Amazon
.

Stroller Cup Attachment - Although this is more for mommy and daddy than the kids, having an extra cup holder really comes in handy in Disneyland. When trying to keep hydrated you tend to have lots of extra waterbottles or drink cups you are toting around. Here's what we have to say about saving money on drinks in Disneyland.


ERGObaby Carrier - Even if you are bringing a stroller, sometimes it feels good to your baby to have a change of pace and scenery, the the ERGObaby Carrier is the most comfortable one we've tried so far. Here's our review of the ERGO. We recently asked our readers the most important baby-related item they bring with them to the Disneyland Resort, and the Ergo was number one! Amazon has a huge selection of ERGOBaby carriers, including the popular original version.
I love my ERGOBaby carrier!

Nursing Cover - If you are nursing, and you are someone who likes to have a little more privacy I recommend a great nursing cover, a cheap-o one tends to act... cheap. Make sure it has a stiff neckline to there's a good airflow and you can see your baby, and it is wide enough and slightly weighted so any baby movements or light winds don't move it all around.

Muslin Blankets - A muslin blanket is a thin, light blanket that comes in handy for SO many different things - it's large enough to double as a nursing cover, you can lay it on the ground to hold your parade/fireworks/Fantasmic! spot, but my favorite use is as a stroller cover. I found I could tie two corners to each stroller handle, lay the blanket over the opening of the stroller and it helped my baby/toddler get to sleep easier. It's light so it's very cool and breathable, it doesn't make it dark in the stroller it just blocks out some of the sensory-overload. My favorites are the aden + anais muslin blankets. I swear by them!
Image courtesy of Amazon.

Diaper Case/Clutch - This is, I think, my *favorite* baby/toddler item. Using a smaller case to carry around diapers and wipes is just so much more convenient! This "clutch" is small and light so you can just hang it on your stroller handle (or clip), and it's fast and easy to grab when you have to make a diaper change. It's so much easier than toting a huge diaper bag in with the baby and fishing around for what you need. The case easily fits in a purse, backpack, or under-stroller storage.

Pacifier Clips / Pacifier Case - If you have paci/binky/sucky kids, like mine, you know how all important that pacifier is. You do not want to drop it, or heaven forbid, lose it. You can keep the pacifier clean with a great little case, and when it's time to pop it into a little mouth, keeping it attached with a clip is soooo nice. I don't know how many times that clip saved me in Disneyland, we probably would've been leaving pacifiers all over the place without it. Here are my two favorite products for "pacifier preservation."

I love these straps for fastening pacifiers to babies who love to throw them. It's a game to them, but not moms and dads. Bella Tunno has them in great colors and patterns. Image courtesy of Amazon.



This Pacifier Pod by JJ Cole is great for keeping pacifiers clean and easy to reach, as it hangs from the stroller handle. Image courtesy of Amazon.

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Diaper Backpack - Shoulder bags are not my personal favorite for Disneyland. They make your shoulders tired, and constantly slip off much to one's annoyance, just not ideal in my opinion. So I went with a diaper backpack instead - much more comfortable, leaves your hands free, and when the child grows up it is still useful! My absolute favorite is the Skip Hop Via Backpack.

Sanitizing bags - I was obsessed with these when my kids were babies. Every time I hand-washed a
Image courtesy of Amazon.
bottle or pacifier (ie. didn't put it in the dish washer) I popped it into a sanitizing bag with some water and threw it in the microwave afterward for good measure. I found these saved me at Disneyland - without a dish washer, or kitchen sink to feel like I was getting my small stash of feeding tools clean, I sanitized all of our supplies every night, or you could even utilize the microwaves in the Baby Center

Available in the iBooks store now!

Sunscreen stick - I find that rubbing sunscreen on a kid is less fun for the parent than the kids (and they hate it), and they hate being sprayed even less. But, would you believe, they actually "please mom" me about using the Aveno Baby natural sunscreen stick! Plus it's super small and easy to pack around with you.

Babes in Disneyland Guide - What more do you need, really? ;) Right now it is available for iPad, with the paper version coming out soon. Get it for iPad by clicking here.


Toddler Gear: 
Several of these items could/would also carry over into the Young Child category.
Image courtesy of Amazon.

Snack Cups - Snacks are all-important, and a snack cup comes in really handy for keeping those snacks contained and unspilled! Although there are many types of these, I like the ones pictured here from OXO because they are clear and I can fill several of them before our visit and can easily see which snack I'm grabbing while we are on the go. See some of the healthy snacks we like to bring here.


Bento Box - If you like to bring in your own lunches - a bento box is the way to go for efficient food packing! With little containers inside a larger container to keep food separate but together - it's a dream.
Image courtesy of Amazon.

Thermos - Gotta keep those drinks cold - especially if your little one likes their morning milk! The FUNtainer line of Thermos products comes in a variety of great Disney, Star Wars and Marvel designs.

Hand sanitizer - Disneyland is hands-on, as it should be, but of course that means germs germs germs. I love Cleanwell All-natural hand sanitizer because it's easy to pack around, not messy like the gels can be, and natural and safe for kids.

Sticky place mats - If you want to go the extra mile in germ-protection you can bring sticky disposable place mats to stick at your child's dining spot and keep their hands and spilled food germ free. (We are all big fans of the Neat Solutions Table Toppers at Babes In Disneyland.

Safety Harness - I know they kind of have a bad rap, but sometimes a safety harness is just the thing if you have a kid who just wants to run. It's cute, and with the backpack your child can carry their own snacks, or books, or toys, or potty seat (see below).

Image courtesy of Amazon.
Potty Seat - If you are in the midst of potty training and don't want to throw it all away during a Disneyland trip - but don't want to traumatize your child at those giant toilets (and can't always run to the tiny potties in the Baby Care Center) - bring one of these! They fold up quite small, and do the job (no pun intended)!

OK! I told you it was BIG list! But truthfully, I have owned and used all but one of these items (that would be the potty seat, I stole that idea from my sister in law... but I think I may actually buy this sucker to take with us in a few weeks!). If you have any questions about these products, please leave a comment, OR, if I missed something invaluable - let me know that too!

Monday, September 15, 2014

(Mini) Merchandise Monday: Villains Everywhere!



Brand new for the season are these very cool, or creepy, Villain themed Haunted Mansion style tees and posters!

They come in black for men, and different colors for women, and are only $24.95 at the DisneyStore online - but are also available at Disneyland! 
The artwork comes in two forms - a $60, 50x19 inch poster as well as a $200 Giclee on canvas print of the same size. 

Captain Hook Tee for Men - The Haunted Mansion - Limited AvailabilityCaptain Hook Poster - The Haunted Mansion - Limited Availability
Cruella De Vil Tee for Men - The Haunted Mansion - Limited AvailabilityCruella De Vil Giclée on Canvas - The Haunted Mansion
Queen of Hearts Tee for Men - The Haunted Mansion - Limited AvailabilityQueen of Hearts Poster - The Haunted Mansion
Maleficent Tee for Men - The Haunted Mansion - Limited AvailabilityMaleficent Poster - The Haunted Mansion


Bonus! These Villainous pins are now for sale at Westward Ho Trading Company and 20th Century Music Company in Disneyland!
Photo: The Villains are taking over! Show your #DisneySide with these new limited edition All Tricks, No Treats pins at Westward Ho Trading Co. and 20th Century Music Company today!
Pick them up now, who knows how long they will last!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Disneyland Packing List and Tips - Updated!



Since I'm gearing up to do some traveling in a few weeks - including heading to DISNEYLAND - I thought I'd re-evaluate my last Disneyland Packing List and do a little updating. Not many things have changed, just a few.
I have different lists for different places I go - the Disneyland list has general items as well as specific ones that I want to have in the parks.


To download this Disneyland packing list Click HERE for the PDF or Click HERE for the Word Doc!


Here are a Packing Tips that I do when packing for a trip:

  • Start packing a week early: This gives me plenty of time to see what I need and do the wash.
  • Make a separate packing list for each person, keep it with each person's pile.
  • Pack shoes and toiletries in separate bags/suitcases, if that's an option: I'm always paranoid about shoes getting clothes dirty or smelly, or toiletries exploding on everything.
  • Pack food and snacks in a shoe box that can be thrown away: To keep it from turning into crumbs.
  • Pack electronics cords separately in small plastic baggies, and combine them all into a large baggie: To keep them from getting tangled, organized, and prevent accidental water damage.
  • Make a scanned copy of my ID, credit card, and insurance cards to keep in a separate location: In case something should happen to my wallet. (Word of advice: Don't leave all of your cards on the scanner when you go! Can you say airport nightmare?)
  • The day before I leave, check the weather and re-evaluate: Take out anything unnecessary.
  • Tuck extra plastic baggies, shopping bags, and garbage bags in every crevice of my luggage: They always come in handy whether it's for collecting trash, an emergency puker, containing a diaper explosion, holding dirty clothes, bringing back more stuff than you planned on, keeping accessories dry on Grizzly River Run, or making your own poncho for Splash Mountain.

To download this Disneyland packing list Click HERE for the PDF or Click HERE for the Word Doc

To see what Lisa packs for her day pack in the park, click here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Photos with the Characters on Main Street U.S.A.



Happy (Almost) Wordless Wednesday Babes in Disneyland Blog readers!

We took a very impromptu trip to the Disneyland Resort last weekend, and had a truly magical couple of days.  The highlight of the trip was getting to see the twinkle in my kiddo's eyes as they enjoyed some quality time with Mickey Mouse and several of his pals on a nearly empty Main Street U.S.A.  

Here are a few of my favorite character meet-and-greet photos from the day: 













If you have a favorite character photo you'd like to share and possibly have featured on the Babes in Disneyland Blog  email me directly at kendra@babesindisneylandblog.com.  


Be sure to follow Kendra on Twitter and on Instagram @kendrakuske for more updates and photos.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Merchandise Monday: September 2014



Oh man there's a lot of awesome stuff coming out this (and next) month - this post is only scratching the surface! I'm dying to see it all in person - but how will I choose when I get there?



New Vintage-Style Trays - These ADORABLE vintage style metal trays will be out this fall for Disneyland (and WDW respectively). How cute are they?!



Prince & Princess Tees Preview - Inspired by the "I'll Be Your Mickey/Minnie" T-shirts, these Prince/Princess tees will be out next month!




New CarsLand Neon Merchandise - Found at Ramone's House of Body Art and Radiator Springs Curios in CarsLand at Disney California Adventure Park, check out the many designs of tees, tanks, and sweatshirts!



Halloween Merchandise There are loads of new and limited time Halloween items available everything in the parks - check it out before it's gone!




Featured Treat: Toffee Caramel Apple - This toffee inspired apple has been dipped in smooth caramel, covered in sweet milk chocolate, then in a mixture of crunchy, buttery, toffee pieces as well as roasted almonds and drizzled with milk chocolate. 



Halloween Time Treats - It's one of those magical times of year where you can find all sorts of extra special holiday-themed goodies like the Minnie Witch Apple, Pumpkin Seed Brittle, Pumpkin Fudge, Mummy Mickey cake pops. Limited time only!

Artist Sketch of the Month This month the artist sketch of the month is "Thumper & Miss Bunny - Twitterpated" which is available at Disneyana and Off the Page at the Disneyland Resort.
September Merchandise Events - 

  • Artist in Residence - David Lozeau at WonderGround Gallery in Downtown Disney. Sept. 12-14, 19-21, 26 from 6-10 p.m.
  • Artist Showcase - Serpenthes (Gabriela Ruiz) at WonderGround Gallery in Downtown Disney. Sept. 13, 14, 27, 28 from 2-5 p.m.
  • Artist Showcase - Jerrod Maruyama at WonderGround Gallery in 
    Jerrod Maruyama
    Downtown Disney. Sept. 12, 5-7 p.m.
  • Artist Showcase - Bob Olszewski at Disneyana, Disneyland Park. Sept. 13, 9-11 a.m.
  • Evening Constitutional Product Release at Disneyana, Disneyland Park. Sept. 13.
    Evening Constitutional
  • Artist Showcase - John Coulter, Liana Hee, Noah, & Dave Quiggle at WonderGround Gallery in Downtown Disney. Sept. 13, 11 a.m - 1 p.m.
  • Artist Showcase - Dave Avanzino at Disneyana, Disneyland Park. Sept. 20 & 21, 11 a.m. -7 p.m.
  • Artist Showcase - Maleficent & Other Faires at Off the Page, Disney California Park. Sept. 27, 1-3 p.m.
    Maleficent & Fairies