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Old 12-04-2012, 03:07 PM   #16
starry_solo
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Consider bringing some groceries?
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:11 PM   #17
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Love all the tips!! Were going for our first trip ever for Christmas and I wasn't able to save as much spending money as I wanted to so were on a bit of a budget too. Were leaving in 17 days and I have got my grocery list started with a lot of the things I have seen on here I had also read somewhere before about getting "disney" stuff before you go so I went to the dollar store and got disney water bottles and to the dollar tree and got a whole bunch of glow sticks and all the stuff for their stockings to take with us!!....Im sooooo excited to go!!
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:44 PM   #18
Joluru
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Thanks for the "first trip" and "birthday" buttons! It's the first trip for my kids, and first trip for me and DH since we were kids (think, 25 years or so!!) Plus, it will be DD's first birthday.

I'll check out the photopass.

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Love all the tips!! Were going for our first trip ever for Christmas and I wasn't able to save as much spending money as I wanted to so were on a bit of a budget too. Were leaving in 17 days and I have got my grocery list started with a lot of the things I have seen on here I had also read somewhere before about getting "disney" stuff before you go so I went to the dollar store and got disney water bottles and to the dollar tree and got a whole bunch of glow sticks and all the stuff for their stockings to take with us!!....Im sooooo excited to go!!

I hit up the dollar store today for some glow sticks and found some glow wands. They're going to love it!
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:11 PM   #19
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We had a long stay from Oct 30-Nov 13 with myself, DH, and three kids ages 2-7. I definitely agree with all the PPs who said eat BIG at the hotel's breakfast (I let the kids have that third bowl of cereal, if they wanted it, instead of trying to force them to eat the eggs, oatmeal, and ham I would eat at the Residence Inn), bring snacks (we brought juice boxes, granola bars, water bottles, goldfish crackers, and trail mix) and maybe try a combination of leaving the park for dinner or splurging now and again for a meal in the park. We ate at Mimi's once (a GREAT deal) and El Pollo Loco a ways away on Harbor two times (yum). At the Residence Inn we enjoyed the "social hour" about four times and twice at Paradise Pier's concierge lounge (we splurged for four nights at PPH at the end of the trip).
In the park, the best deals (bang for your buck, IMO) were the soup bowls at Pacific Wharf, the giant corn dogs (we had the ones at Paradise Pier), and #1 deal were the $7 edible cones in Cars Land filled with chili con carne or chicken verde, both delicious. Filling, lots of protein, single-digit price. We also liked the Cozy Cones $4 popcorn flavors, although the sweet & spicy was too spicy for the kids. One tub was shared by the five of us.
I now want to try Zankou!
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:46 AM   #20
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We did 8 days in May, and we avoid buying a lot of food in the parks.

We always utilize El Pollo loco a lot during our DLR trips. For fast food, it's pretty healthy. Not to mention fresh and very yummy. We don't pack any of it into the parks...we just get it and take it back to the hotel for a late dinner (parks will be closing early in Feb, so this might work for you).

On a couple of nights, we picked up pizzas from Little Caesar's ($5 each, and I don't know if we were just starving or WHAT, but that cheap pizza actually tasted pretty good, lol).

We have to eat gluten-free as much as possible, so while I used to pack sandwiches into the parks, I don't anymore (but it worked great for us for several years). For our last trip I packed: ziploc baggies for each person in our group with honey sunflower seeds, dried apples, yogurt raisins, and banana chips. I also packed in whole fresh apples, yogurt cups, and oranges. The snack bag + yogurt + fresh fruit served as a meal. It was totally enough food to hold us over until dinner.

We generally eat one meal in the parks per day. And I definitely agree with a PP...it totally made more sense to have our two youngest kids share an adult meal, as opposed to buying two kids meals. Cheaper, plus it's more food (my youngest kids were 7 and 11, so they needed a decent amount of food to share).

I also sometimes bring microwave popcorn and pop it in the room and pack it into the parks.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:03 AM   #21
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I also sometimes bring microwave popcorn and pop it in the room and pack it into the parks.
I have done this as well. We buy a popcorn bucket and reuse it with popcorn popped in the hotel microwave. The buckets also make a nice souviner, that we reuse for our popcorn at home when we watch movies. They wash well in the dishwasher.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:02 PM   #22
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We take alot of foster kids on our trips and always on a tight budget! I tell them how much they have to spend and we usually take pictures of them with things they might want. On the last day they decide what thing/things they want. Funny after we take a picture they are happy clams :D
Have a great time!
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:23 PM   #23
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We take alot of foster kids on our trips and always on a tight budget! I tell them how much they have to spend and we usually take pictures of them with things they might want. On the last day they decide what thing/things they want. Funny after we take a picture they are happy clams :D
Have a great time!
At home, we routinely write down things the kids want when we're out and about. Somehow, just writing it down acknowledges the want enough that the whinies go away.

Very sweet of you to take foster kids to Disneyland! Probably a first for many of them!
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:25 PM   #24
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We take alot of foster kids on our trips and always on a tight budget! I tell them how much they have to spend and we usually take pictures of them with things they might want. On the last day they decide what thing/things they want. Funny after we take a picture they are happy clams :D
Have a great time!
The pictures are a great idea I will def be doing that!!!
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:52 PM   #25
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A super fun FREE activity with souvenier can be found in California Adventure at the Animation Academy. Now, your 1 year old may not have much fun, but everyone else should be able to enjoy it.

In the AA an artist will take you step-by-step through drawing a character on big paper with the DCA logo on top that you can take home at the end. They do a "show" about every 30 minutes and when you are in you in you are seated which is nice because you get to get off your feet for a bit.

If you plan to go to DL again or make a trip to WDW you can do it again and have a fun souvenier to compare from previous visits. I bet the kids would get a kick out seeing how their drawing has progressed over time.

I like it because even though I am not an "artist" I can still draw something pretty close to real thing.... plus it is FREE! My DF and I have skipped it visit after visit and after finally going on a whim can't stop! We've drawn Tigger, Minnie, Oswald, Goofy, etc. It is really a great time!
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:19 PM   #26
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The pictures are a great idea I will def be doing that!!!
Great ideas! My kids always wanted the silly hats, and occasionally we would buy them to only end up at the bottom of a toy box. What I do now is have them try it on, and we take a picture rather than buying it. They get the picture of them in a silly hat to show their friends.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:51 PM   #27
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You can definitely split most meals by 2, sometimes even 1 adult and the 2 older kids, i.e. Rancho del Zocalo has large portions plus you can add a side such as tortilla chips to stretch it a little more. The two kids can definitely split the 3 piece chicken meal at Plaza Inn, you can ask to add on a side or extra biscuit. We also bring in baggies so we all can split snacks such as candies, popcorn, cotton candy. You can split a churro between 2 also.

We microwave meals in our hotel quite often. You'd be surprised what all you can cook in there. There are websites devoted to hotel microwave cooking, lol. Here's some of the ideas I've found:

We like to pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, a bag of veg steamers, microwave rice, and a bag of rolls.

BBQ pork sandwiches. Tub of Lloyd's bbq pork, deli coleslaw, hamburger buns.
Chili Dogs. 1 can of Hormel chili, hot dogs, hot dog buns.
Nachos. Bag of tortilla chips, bag of shredded cheese, can of olives, can of beans, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions. Jar of salsa and guacamole.

Eggoritos. Tortillas, eggs, microwave bacon, sour cream.

Burritos. Tortillas, burrito stuffers, shredded lettuce, cilantro, chopped tomato, shredded cheese, jar of salsa, black beans.
Egg mcmuffins. English muffins. Microwave eggs, cheese slices, round sausage patties.

Tuna noodle casserole. Fettucini Alfredo Lipton pouch, milk, canned tuna, Durkee onions.
Beef strips in gravy. Package precooked beef strips chopped, can beef consomme, can cream of mush soup, jar mushrooms, chopped onions, pour over Bob Evans precooked mashed potatoes.

Chicken rice casserole. Precooked rice, canned or rotisserie chicken, cream of mush soup, can mixed vegetables, Durkee onions.

Baked potatoes. Frozen broccoli steamers, cheese topping, bacon bits.
Costco has those huge $10 pizzas.
Some hotels have outside eating areas, and with bbq's, so you all can sit together at a table and not have to worry about messing up the room.

Nearby grocery stores:
www.ralphs.com
www.vons.com
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:42 AM   #28
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Bring your own drinks. I swear the first time we went more money was spent on drinks than anything else. Besides that we have learned that sometimes it is actually cheaper just to sit down and have a meal versus snacking in DL because snacks are so expensive and meals are big enough to share. When we drive down I bring groceries like snack mix, drinks, baked cookies, beef jerky so we avoid all the little things when we stop for gas.

I forgot to add, letting the kids be in charge of their own souvenir money was very helpful. There was no "I wants" and since they knew that was their budget in the parks they were very thoughtful with their choices.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:37 AM   #29
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Great tips!

The drawing as a souvenir sounds right up my alley!

I like the idea of bringing baggies to share park snacks. We're used to sharing when we go out, and often get one large ice cream and 4 spoons rather than 4 individual ice creams, so the kids won't find it strange to share.

I love the hotel room meal ideas. You mentioned websites about this. Could you share some links? We're driving, so I can easily grocery shop and bring kitchen basics to make it easier.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:56 AM   #30
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One more thing about the bread bowls and other items at Paradise Pier/Boudin Bakery. You can ask them to put the bread on the side and have them slice it so you can eat it separately. Good if you want to bring deli meats too (you'll have the bread already sliced) and there is mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, etc. all available in that area. That way, you don't waste the bread bowls and it doesn't get soggy.
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