2016 Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend – Save The Date

Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend 2016 Registration and race day details

Mark your calendars, registration for Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend is opening soon!

Race Registration: April 12, 2016 at Noon ET SHARP 

Race Weekend: November 10-13, 2016

Tips:

  1.  Mark your calendar with a reminder 10 minutes before registration opens.
  2. Races sell out FAST!  Sign up immediately when registration opens.
  3. Don’t try to sign up multiple people.  If you are signing up more than 1 person, make sure each person registers right away when registration opens.  The system will NOT allow you to sign up more than 1 person at a time and the races sell out FAST!
  4. The 10K and the Kids Races sell out the fastest.
  5. Book your stay at Suite Escapes and we will give you $10 off per night if you are signed up for one of the races!

Check out our photos from last year’s 5K, it was a BLAST!

SUITE NEW YEAR DEALS: JANUARY 2016 ONLY $160 a Night

For the past 6 weeks, we’ve been unable to take new reservations through early February.  We are thrilled that as of today, we are able to continue with new reservations in January.  We are so excited to continue hosting many wonderful families from around the country and world who are traveling to the Happiest Place on Earth!  Please contact us through our website (www.suiteescapes.com) or email us directly (stay@suiteescapes.com) to inquire on our available dates.

Suite Escapes 1
Jan 25 – Feb 1

Suite Escapes 2
Jan 6-12
Jan 24 – Feb 2

Suite Escapes 3
Jan 2-8
Jan 24-31
Feb 4-7

Suite Escapes 4
Jan 17-21
Jan 24 – Feb 

Suite Escapes 5
Jan 6-15

Suite Escapes 6
Jan 13-16
Jan 27 – Feb 3

Suite Escapes 7
Jan 24 – Feb 6

Suite Escapes 8
Jan 7-15

Suite Escapes 9
Jan 17-23
Jan 27 – Feb 4

Suite Escapes 10
Jan 1-10
Jan 18-22
Jan 25 – Feb 3

 Cannot be combined with other offers.  Cleaning fee, deposit, taxes, and 3 night minimum stay still apply.

 

Cars Land Disneyland Christmas Decorations

The Christmas decorations in Cars Land are the BEST!  So many lights, so many Christmas trees, so much festivity and fun.  It’s no surprise that many of the clever decorations are made of automative parts.  My favorite is the route 66 Christmas tree.  If you don’t have the pleasure to see it in person, let these pictures be your substitute this Christmas!

 

“Holiday Time at Disneyland” Tour

Have you ever noticed the groups of people being led through Disneyland by a cast member dawning a plaid shirt or skirt? Have you wondered who they are and what they are doing?  I’ve been a regular Disneyland goer since I was a child, and I only learned a few months ago that these cast members dressed in plaid are leading one of the many Disneyland tours that are offered.

Andy and I recently took part in the “Holiday Time at Disneyland” Tour, offered mid-November through early January, and to say we LOVED it is an understatement.

My Honest Thoughts Before and After the Tour:

Before the tour, I was very intrigued and excited, and was sure I would enjoy it, but I had (falsely) predetermined that the tour made much more sense for an annual pass holder, and was something I would never do a second time.  Since the tour is an extra cost beyond the ticket price, I imagined it would not be worth it for someone with a day ticket.

I was WRONG!  In a leisure 3 hour window, a tour goer gets direct access on 3 rides (all of which normally have long waits), the best front row comfortable seats for “A Christmas Fantasy Parade” with NO waiting, in addition to the most incredible insight and stories into the history of Christmas at Disneyland.  All of which wouldn’t be possible to accomplish in a 3 hour window on your own.  To top it off, ALL of the characters in the parade pay EXTRA SPECIAL attention to all of the tour guests, and even more so to a child on tour.  I also appreciated the special access to our tour guide who answered lots of other Disneyland related questions we had for her too.  From start to finish, the experience was FABULOUS!  It was the perfect way to start the Christmas season, and I will definitely do it again.

Whether it is someone’s 1st or 500th trip to Disneyland, the Holiday Time Tour is worth it! I would especially recommend it to someone coming for a short visit since you get to accomplish so much in such a short time.  The perfect parade seats alone make the tour worth it!

“Holiday Time at Disneyland” Tour Includes the Following:

A Special Treat at Candy Palace

Marshmallow dipped in caramel, chocolate, and rolled in crushed candy cane, one of the BEST treats I’ve EVER eaten!

A Personalized Button, Collectible Pin, Hot Cocoa, and Gingerbread Cookie

Reserved Seating at “A Christmas Fantasy Parade”

3 Rides with Direct Access to the Front of the Line- Jingle Cruise, Haunted Mansion Holiday, “it’s a small world” Holiday

Insight and History of Seasonal Traditions at Disneyland by a Fabulous Tour Guide

Story Behind the Wheelchair:

The night before our scheduled tour, at 34 weeks pregnant, I sprained my ankle chasing after my very fast two-year-old boy.  After I sprained my ankle and right before I was about to catch him, he stopped, turned around, and with a giant smile on his face yelled out “peek a boo!”  Gotta love toddlers!  The tour tickets are NOT refundable and I was unable to walk on my foot.  Needless to say, I was thrilled my two-year-old would NOT be joining us the next day.  I borrowed a wheelchair from a friend and my sweet husband pushed me around Disneyland for the tour, what a guy!  The entire tour was VERY wheelchair friendly and the cast members were very helpful.  Best of all, as I sat in my wheelchair during the parade, I got even MORE attention and love from all of the parade characters!

Children:

I have 2 children, a well-behaved 4-1/2 year old girl and a typical 2-year old boy; I did not bring either of them with me.  It was very enjoyable to experience the tour without them!  Although you can take children of any age, I believe the tour is more appropriate and enjoyable for children 5 and older, and I will likely take my daughter next year when she is 5-1/2.  I imagine the front row seating, hot cocoa and cookie at the parade, with a lot of interaction and attention from the parade characters, would be a magical experience for a child 5 or older!  It would also be appropriate to bring along an infant or baby.  Bottom line, the tour is expensive and I would not have enjoyed it as much if I had my children along.

More Tour Information:

  • The “Holiday Time at Disneyland” Tour runs each year from mid-November through early January
  • Cost: $85 (Annual pass holders receive a 20% discount)
  • Tickets sell out fast
  • Call in advance, up to 4 weeks, to make a reservation (714-781-8687)
  • Tickets are NON-REFUNDABLE and may NOT be exchanged for a different date
  • Children under 3 are free
  • Click here for more information and for the phone number to make a reservation

Hand-Crafted Disneyland Candy Cane Dates 2015

For over 50 years, hand-crafted candy canes have been made in the kitchen of the Candy Palace for Christmas and they are a favorite tradition exclusive to Disneyland and California Adventure.  On select dates, 3 workers roll, pull and shape the candy in a room heated to 105-110 degrees until each one is perfected.  If the temperature is too low, the candy will crack, if it is too high, it won’t crystalize.  The entire process takes around 2 hours to produce one batch of 40-45 candy canes.  Witnessing the magic in the making of this lost art through the candy store windows, is a treat in itself!

2015 Disneyland and DCA Candy Cane Dates:

Candy Palace
Nov 27
Dec 1, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 18, 24

Trolley Treats
Nov 28, 30
Dec 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 25

Scoring one of these hand-crafted treasures, is no small feat!

  1. Line up at the front entrance early, at least 30 minutes before the park opens
  2. Magic Morning Days – A huge bonus if you are eligible to enter early but don’t bother trying if you aren’t
  3. Head straight to Candy Palace or Trolley Treats when the gates open and get in line for wristband distribution
  4. Wristbands are limited and are typically distributed at park opening
  5. Each guest is permitted 2 wristbands until supplies last.  Wristband entitles bearer to purchase one candy cane
  6. Return to designated location in designated time frame to pick up candy canes
  7. Candy canes cost around $14 each

My Candy Cane Story:

By a small Christmas miracle, I got to take two of these beauties home with me yesterday.

I arrived 40 minutes before the park opened, 36 weeks pregnant with two kids in tow, for a chance to line up for a wristband to purchase a candy cane.  Today however, was a magic morning, which I was not privy to enter early, and ALL of the wristbands were gone by the time I got to the Candy Palace.  I was devastated.  I am embarrassed to admit it, but I actually cried as I walked away from the Candy Palace defeated.  So silly, I know, but it took A LOT of effort to get there, and I really wanted one.  Later, I found out that one of the employees at the Candy Palace had one more wristband and spent 15 minutes trying to find me on Main Street; which he probably didn’t since I sat down to cry!!!  Pregnancy hormones!

At 2:27 pm, I randomly walked into the Candy Palace to ask if there was a stand-by line for anyone who didn’t claim there candy cane.  Officially, there is not.  BUT…at 2:30 they did let people line up to buy any unclaimed candy canes.  It was honestly pure luck I showed up when I did, and that a handful were unclaimed.  These candy canes now hold significantly more meaning to me, and are a symbol of hope and faith this Christmas season.  The story may seem silly, but I was reminded that things in life always work out in the end.  Maybe not according to my plan, but one way or another, it will work out how it’s meant to be.

 

Lily’s Disneyland Surprise!

Four years ago, Andy and I saw “Lily’s Disneyland Surprise” as it was circulating through Facebook.  We were so blown away with how sweet and grateful little Lily was with all of her gifts, especially her reaction when she was surprised with a trip to Disneyland!  It is no wonder why Lily’s video has over 17 million views on Youtube, it is precious!

Unknown to us, this sweet girl Lily, and her equally adorable sister Chloe, stayed with us last year at Suite Escapes 6.  I only put it together after reading their very nice message in our guest book after they left.  Well, we are thrilled, because Lily and Chloe, along with their family, are back to stay again in our newly finished Suite Escapes 10!  We are so excited to host them again!

Check out Lily’s Disneyland Surprise here.  If you haven’t seen it, it will make your heart smile!

Hello Star Wars Launch Bay & Goodbye Disneyland Railroad

With great excitement and anticipation, November 16th, 2015 marks the date of Tomorrow Land coming back to life with the initial Star Wars themed attractions preceding the opening of Star Wars Land in the next 3-5 years.  But with any expansion of something new and exciting, comes the end to something old and treasured.  The river around Tom’s Sawyer Island will be re-configured in preparation for Star Wars Land, and many favorite attractions are closing in January 2016, including the Disneyland Railroad. NOW is the time to get your last fill before many of these attractions close for good.  Luckily, we still have a few openings at Suite Escapes in December and early January if you want to get in a last minute trip.  Here are the updates for both Disneyland and California Adventure.

New Tomorrow Land Attractions Opening November 16th, 2015:

  • Tomorrow Land Expo (formerly Innoventions center) housing the Star Wars Launch Bay on the bottom level and Marvel Headquarters on the top level
  • Hyper Space Mountain:  New and improved with Star Wars theme
  • Tomorrow Land Theater: With new Star Wars themed show
  • Enhanced Jedi Training Academy (after November 19th, 2015)

Closing January 11th, 2016:

  • Disneyland Railroad (at least 18 months)
  • Fantasmic (at least 18 months – possibly for good)
  • Big Thunder Ranch (indefinitely)
  • Disneyland Railroad (at least 18 months)
  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island (at least 18 months)
  • Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes (at least 18 months)
  • Mark Twain Riverboat (at least 18 months)
  • Sailing Ship Columbia (at least 18 months)
  • Jungle Cruise (at least 6 months)

Changes at California Adventure in 2016:

  • Soarin’ Around the World will replace Soarin’ Over California
  • Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular will close – January 10th 2016
  • All new “Frozen” inspired stage musical will take the place of Aladdin in the Hyperion Theater- Summer 2016
  • Rumor has it that the old Muppets sing-along will come back to replace For the First Time in Forever – A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, once the new “Frozen” inspired stage musical debuts next summers
  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, the new Cars Land attraction to replace Luigi’s Flying Tires – listed to open early 2016

 

 

 

Getting the Most Out of Disneyland While Pregnant

Coming to the Happiest Place on Earth while pregnant?  After spending lots of time walking the parks through three pregnancies, here are my best tips for getting the most out of your Disneyland vacation!

1. Water, Water!

“You gotta drink WAY more water than you think.” Take Doc McStuffin’s advice and STAY hydrated.  Bottled water in Disneyland is expensive, and if you drink as much as I do, it will cost you a small fortune. Plan ahead and bring lots of large water bottles with you. Consider freezing a bottle or two the night before for cold water to last you through the day.  And if you stay at Suite Escapes, there is a full kitchen with a freezer!  Be sure to take note on all the restrooms in the park too, you will need them!

2. Happy Feet = Happy Mom

Wearing good shoes is the key to a great day.  But I also want my shoes to be somewhat fashionable…sigh. Not to mention that if it’s hot out, the LAST thing I want to wear when I’m pregnant is a pair of socks and shoes that will heat me up even more.  I typically wear a really good sandal with a supportive sole on a warm or hot day, and a pair of comfortable flats or tennis shoes on a colder day. Whether you wear your best tennis shoes or a comfortable alternative, bring a comfortable pair of flip flops or sandals along too, it will be a relief to switch shoes part way through the day and let your feet cool off a bit.  Whatever you choose to wear, always bring a back up, just in case!

3. Stay Cool

With all of the asphalt and crowds of people in one location, it always feels at least 10 degrees warmer than the weather forecast, and pregnancy can make it feel even worse. Dress in layers and take advantage of all the indoor attractions for a break to cool off.  If you have a baby’s diaper to change, use the air-conditioned Baby Center.

My favorite spots to cool off: (Disneyland) Tiki Room with a Dole Whip, Pirates of the Carribean, Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters, Haunted Mansion, “it’s a small world”, The Golden Saloon – for an ice cream or corn dog and a Western Comedy, and the Tomorrow Land Expo (formerly Innoventions Center), reopening on November 16, 2015 featuring Star Wars Launch Bay and Marvels Headquarters; (DCA) The Little Mermaid, Monster’s, Inc., Soarin’ Over California (using a Fast Pass), Turtle Talk with Crush

4.  Dress for Comfort

Staying comfortable will make all the difference in getting the most out of your day.  Avoid fabrics that don’t breathe or tight clothing that may begin to rub or cause discomfort around your waist after a few hours.  Unless it is a cold day, I find that a casual dress or a skirt is most comfortable for a long day in the park.  Just remember to bring along a sweater for cooler evening weather.

5. Shows and Character Greetings

When you can’t enjoy your favorite rides, it’s a great opportunity to take advantage of all the shows, character greetings, parades and fireworks! Since many of the shows are indoors with air conditioning, it’s a win win! It’s also a great time to let someone else entertain your kids while you relax for hours (literally) and save that “perfect” bench for Paint the Night!

Some of my favorites are: (Disneyland) Mickey’s Magical Map, The Fairytales at Fantasy Faire, Paint the Night, and Disneyland Forever Fireworks; (DCA) Disney’s Aladdin (closing for good January 2016), For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, Disney Junior – Live on Stage!, and World of Color

6. Master the Fast Pass AND the Rider Switch Pass

Cut down on wait times with a Fast Pass and use the Rider Switch Pass when someone has to stay back with younger kids who can’t ride. Best of all, you can take advantage of BOTH at the same time! Be sure to pick up a rider switch pass even when you use a Fast Pass.

7. Sweet Dreams

Be sure to have comfortable accommodations with a great bed to crash in after a LONG day of walking. Suite Escapes is fully stocked with all of the essentials for your vacation including the BEST mattresses, Simmons Beautysleep, that you will sink into and sleep like a baby!

8. Be Safe

Take caution on rides and follow the Disneyland guidelines on which to avoid. Even if some of the rides on the list to avoid seem safe enough, a sudden Emergency stop could put you and the baby at risk.  Also, if you’re feeling unwell or are too uncomfortable to walk anymore, you can always rent a wheelchair for around $12.

Disneyland recommends avoiding the following attractions when pregnant: (Disneyland) Indiana Jones Adventure, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, Gadget’s Go Coaster, Autopia; (DCA) Grizzly River Run, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, California Screamin’, Goofy’s Sky School, Radiator Springs Racers (tear), Tuck and Roll’s Drive Em’ Buggies

9. Make Reservations

Avoid crowds and long lines and take advantage of making advanced reservations online at one of the many restaurants. You can also get reserved seating at World of Color and Fantasmic with special dining options!

My favorite restaurants to make a reservation: (Disneyland) Carnation Cafe, Cafe Orleans, Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue (closing for good in January 2016), Blue Bayou; (DCA) Ariel’s Grotto (breakfast or lunch), World of Color Dining Package

10.  Relax and Take A LOT of Pictures

With everything that Disneyland and California Adventure have to offer, it takes days to do and see it all.  Although its not impossible, pregnancy is probably not the best time to try to do and see everything in both parks.  Plan and know ahead of time that you aren’t going to see it all and to make a point to FULLY enjoy all of the shows, attractions and food that you do end up experiencing.  If you miss something, add it to your list for your next visit.  My BEST advice is to take and BE IN LOTS of pictures!  Looking back, I don’t have any pictures of me at Disneyland in my first or second pregnancy, and I really wish I did.  Even if you don’t feel your very best, you will want those pictures in the future!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Farewell to Big Thunder Ranch

Big Thunder Ranch is one of my favorite spots in Disneyland and sadly it is closing it’s doors for good on January 11th, 2016. A trip to Disneyland isn’t complete without the entertainment, crafts, character greetings and parades, and dancing to the music in the Jamboree (already closed), and of course, a visit to the petting zoo.  Big Thunder Ranch is always fully decorated for every season and some of my favorite Disneyland memories with my young children have been made there.  I will forever picture my 3-year old daughter walking hand in hand with Minnie Mouse in one of the little parades around the Jamboree last Easter, and my almost 2-year old son sweetly petting all the animals in the petting zoo.  It is the one spot in the park that is calming, never overcrowded, and where I feel it is safe to let my young children roam free.

To say I am bummed it is closing, is a definite understatement.

But with every ending, comes a new beginning; Big Thunder Ranch will be the home base of the future Star Wars Land, most likely to open in the next 3-5 years.  Although, Disneyland will never be the same, there is also great excitement in the anticipation of something BIG and GRAND!

Big Thunder Ranch is always fully decked out for every holiday, and is the perfect place to take a family photo (especially at Christmas).  The Jamboree (already closed) was always filled with crafts and coloring for the kids, stage performances from concerts to magicians, and lots and lots of fun character greetings and character parades to the beat of music.  The petting zoo will remain open until the Ranch closes it’s doors on January 11th, 2016.

Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue is one of the best restaurants in Disneyland, with the all you can eat family style feast, and the perfect low key and relaxing atmosphere.

Not only is the food delicious, but it is also the easiest restaurant in the park to take my young kids. With a set lunch menu of chicken, ribs, cornbread, coleslaw and baked beans, the food comes out quickly and is served family style for immediate satisfaction! And the stage show always keeps the kids entertained too.

Be sure to book your last meal before the restaurant closes on January 11th, 2016.  Reservations are filling up fast!

Some last glimpses of the beautiful fall decorations and the western themed dining, seating, and costumes!

 

Suite Selfie = Sweet Moolah!

To Enter:

  1. Take a unique and creative selfie anywhere on your Southern California Vacation

  2. Post your selfie on Instagram, hashtag #SuiteSelfieContest, and tag @SuiteEscapes

  3. We’ll choose a SuiteSelfieContest winner every TWO weeks (twice monthly) and send the lucky person a $50 Visa gift card

Contest Rules:

  • Contest starts November 1st and will continue monthly until stated otherwise 

  • Contest is not limited to guests of Suite Escapes, ANYONE can enter

  • No limit to the number of entries per person

The best entries may also be featured on our social media, so get out there and let the creativity begin!