Disney + Travel Tips || Part One - Flights

You guys! I'm so excited to share some of my travel tips with you all. We don't travel internationally... yet! But we do love our family getaways to Disneyland and Hawaii. Over the next couple posts I'm going to share all my tips for Disney travel with kids & how we make it work budget-wise! I'll get into Hawaii a little later! This post is in no way sponsored by any company! I may be using affiliate links to my favorite travel friendly products though :)

So to start, I want to talk about flights. Josh and I live in Utah (about a 10 hour drive to California). We've driven to California two times when we were first married and one time with our boys. After we drove with the boys this past time, we will never be doing that again! It was so long and we even stopped over night half way. The kids just didn't do well. Finley especially. He's our little needy child and long car rides are not his jam. It ended up making him constipated while in California and his sleep schedule was sort of thrown off the whole trip.

We fly whenever possible. The reason why we chose to drive this last time was because we didn't have enough points to fly (we used most of them for Hawaii in December) and the remaining points we decided to save to use later on this year. Anyway. Flying is a must for us so we use our Visa Southwest card. We've had this card for a few years now and LOVE it! It does have an annual fee ($99) but for us it's worth it! In the past 4 years we have only had to pay for 1 flight (for Copeland because we didn't have enough points) but only 1 flight that was around $100 round trip! Copeland has flown I think about 6-7 times round trip in the past 4 1/2 years. That means we've gotten nearly 18 flights for FREE! We usually take at least one trip where we have to fly per year, sometimes two if we can budget enough throughout the year.

Alright so let me break down why I LOVE our Visa Southwest card.

  • No paying for luggage. Yep! You get two free bags per person. That's a total of 8 bags for our family! For Free!!
  • Put big purchases on the card. We put all our big purchases on our card. When we were building our house, every trip to home depot, our garage door, electrical, etc., were all put on the card! We use it when we have any big bill. We also use this for our groceries every month and get about 600-700 points alone just for that! You can also put your utilities, car payment, etc on it and get points all month long! We need to start doing this because we would be getting over 1,000 points every month! 
  • You get 40,000 points when you spend X amount in the first 3 months for opening. This is what made us sign up for the card! When we first got our card we were poor college students with a new baby and a mortgage who desperately wanted a vacation. We signed up, used some of our points and have never looked back! 
  • 1 point per $1 spent. Pretty self explanatory.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions. This is great because you can travel whenever you want! We always find amazing prices from Salt Lake to California and we only use the Wanna Get Away pricing because it is the cheapest. Sometimes we can find roundtrip flights for around $100 but most of the time they're about $150 or typically somewhere around the 4,000 points mark. 
  • No change fees. You're points get put right back into your account if you need to change or cancel a flight. We sometimes will book a flight with our points and change it if there is a price drop! It's awesome! Or we will book flights when prices are amazing and then see if we can plan a vacation around those flights (ie., find a cheap hotel, car, etc). 
  • Family boarding. I believe most flights do family boarding. But for those of you who don't fly southwest, it's first come first serve seating. So the earlier you check in (24 hours in advance) the more priority you get when it comes to boarding or you can pay extra per ticket and get early bird check in, however, if you have kids you get family boarding. We almost never check in super early and when we get to the gate we get to pick our seats right after business class. So we always get to sit together. 
Okay and this has nothing to do with our card but take advantage of flying with kids under two years of age! They are free if you have them sit on your lap. We took as many vacations as possible when Copeland and Finn were both under two because of this! 

How to find cheap flights. I'm just always checking flights. Always as in once or twice a month-ish. I like to see what flights are doing price wise and sometimes Southwest will have their sales so I just like to check every now and then to see if they're at a decent price. 

You can also use Hopper. I've heard great things about this app but it does not include Southwest flights because Southwest doesn't share data with automated algorithms who chart flight prices. And honestly they don't need too. Southwest flights are usually the cheapest I've found. I really just love Southwest! And Delta, those are my two favorite but Delta is typically way way more in price! Just to compare, I checked flights for September (4 months out!). Same time of day, Southwest $156 RT with free luggage, Delta $180 RT + $25 for first bag each way ($50 total) = $230 RT. Total savings of $74 using Southwest.

And for the record, I've never had a bad experience with Southwest. The staff has always been incredible and friendly! The flight attendants have always been so helpful with the boys, we just love them! Again, not sponsored by Southwest or Visa.

If you guys want to sign up for this card I'd love if you guys would use my referral code/link! Again this is not sponsored by Chase or Southwest, but they have a great refer a friend program that even YOU can take advantage of once you get your own card and refer your friends! You can sign up using my referral code by clicking HERE!

To learn more about the refer a friend program, CLICK HERE!

The Happiest Birthday on Earth!

We celebrated Finn turning 2 a few weeks ago and it was so much fun!! By now a lot of you know we are a bit Disney obsessed. I've been wanting to throw some kind of Disney birthday party since Copeland was a baby but I just never really knew how I could pull it off. After all, most things Disney related for birthdays are more aimed towards the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme. Lots of black, red and yellow and that wasn't what I wanted. I wanted Disneyland, not just Mickey Mouse. The feeling you get when you're walking down Main Street, USA. The fun music, the yummy spells from the ice creamery, and the magic that is Disneyland.

Music makes or breaks a party in my opinion so the playlist is what really gave me inspiration to the whole party! I've included a link to my Disneyland playlist that we used throughout the party. It's composed of Disneyland rides and the Esplanade and it's truly magical! There's even the music to Soarin' on there. One of our favorite rides! And of course the teacups because that ride music is just SO Disneyland. 

When I think about Disneyland I think of the Little Red Wagon corn dogs, snacking on popcorn while walking from ride to ride, and of course the yummy mickey shaped treats from the Candy Palace. So that was all my inspo for the menu. Hand dipped honey corn dogs, Mickey Mouse chocolate dipped rice krispies and bags of popcorn. And you can't leave out the magical Disneyland Mickey Mouse balloons! We sent each of the guests home with their very own Mickey balloon with a yummy Disneyland chocolate coin and rock candy. 

I decided to use clear cups with themed paper straws for guests to sip out of. I think it totally added to the Disney magic! 

For the games we had a Guess How Many where guests would guess how many suckers or gummy bears were in the jars and the winner got to take home their candy winnings! 

The second game was based off of Disneyland's Hidden Mickey book. Have you ever gotten it? There are hidden Mickeys all over the parks that you have to find. For this game I made a little print out for each guest and they had to cross off each color mickey as they found it. Can you spot some of the hidden mickeys in the pictures below?! I'll add a print out for the Hidden Mickey Game below! Just click on the photo and save and print it out! I just used colored scrapbook paper to cut out the hidden mickeys :) 

Everything is linked below each photo but I will add a master linked list at the end of this post. 

Invitations Made by Myself. I am currently taking limited orders so please e-mail me at AMAMAINLOVE@YAHOO.COM subject line INVITATIONS
Candy Palace Holder DIY and Hand Painted by Myself - Mickey Mouse Cookie Cutter 
Tissue Garland - Mickey Balloon - Clear Balloons  (You'll want to go to somepne experienced with blowing up balloons inside of balloons. The lady I went to popped two of mine and I was only left with this one blue one.)
Favors: Mickey Balloon, White Balloon Stick ( I buy lots of stuff from Ali, but allow at least 3 weeks for delivery) - Rock Candy, local party store - Disneyland Chocolate Coin, Disney parks - Cellophane Bag, WalMart
Popcorn Bags - Corn Dog Holders - Mickey Pretzel and Churro Magnet Disney Parks (but found on eBay) - Napkins 
2 Candle - Mickey Train Topper Disney Parks

Disney Parks Playlist - Copy & Paste 

Invitations: Made by Myself. I am currently taking limited orders so please e-mail me at AMAMAINLOVE@YAHOO.COM subject line INVITATIONS

Candy Palace Holder: DIY and Hand Painted by Myself

Mickey Mouse Cookie Cutter for rice krispie treats. I dipped mine in melting chocolate and sprinkled white jimmy sprinkles on them.

Clear Balloons  You'll want to go to somepne experienced with blowing up balloons inside of balloons. The lady I went to popped two of mine and I was only left with this one blue one.

Favors: Mickey Balloon

White Balloon Sticks I buy lots of stuff from Ali, esepcially party supplies, but allow at least 3 weeks for delivery

Rock Candy from a local party store

Disneyland Chocolate Coin  Disney parks

Cellophane Bag  Wal-Mart

Popcorn Bags - Movie theater popcorn was purchased at the grocery store (HUGE bags for $5!)

Mickey Pretzel and Churro Magnet Disney Parks but possibly can be found on eBay

Mickey Train Topper Disney Parks However you can find some of the cutest little Disney toys on eBay

Hidden Mickey Game Printout. 
Click on image, save image and print!