Saturday, March 14, 2015

To Stay or Not To Stay (Outside the Berm)...

by Joyce Kessel

Some say yes, while others say no way! It’s a matter of personal preference, but in my opinion, everyone needs to experience the magic of staying “on-property”, at least once. 

When Walt designed Disneyland, he wanted everyone to leave all their cares at the gate and enjoy family fun time.  He did everything he could to make the outside world invisible. He and the imagineers achieved this by adding the Disneyland berm.  

You may be asking, what is the Disneyland 'berm'.  Well, It’s the structures, tunnels, Main Street train platform, and the tall trees that give us the illusion that we are transported into the Happiest Place on Earth - miles away from the 'real world'. The physical things that keep the outside world from invading.

That being said, there are three hotels on Disneyland Resort property that are not technically inside the berm, but still give us the illusion that they ARE inside the most magical place on earth.  Currently, there are three resort hotels: the original Disneyland Hotel; the fun, beach-themed  Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel; and the elegant Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. Each of these hotels are unique in both price and atmosphere.  

Staying “inside the berm” is an experience that comes with many perks. Here are my top five:

  • Exclusive entrance (located at Grand Californian Hotel) into Disney California Adventure for hotel guests. No need to search for a parking spot. 
  • Magic Morning Monorail Entry
  • Watch the Fireworks from your room
  • Character Rise and Shine calls
  • Cast Member interaction day and night

One of the disadvantages to staying inside the berm is cost, so we have to ask what is more important: being immersed in the 'Disney Magic' 24/7, or staying outside the berm in one of the Good Neighbor Hotel recommended by Disney, and spending more money inside the park.  

All Good Neighbor Hotels are within close proximity to Disneyland (most within walking distance) and there is sure to be one to fit any budget.  When staying off property, select one that is preferably within walking distance to the resort. If you are not familiar with the area, ask friends and family for their recommendation, check with your trusted travel expert or peer reviewed sites such as trip advisor, or listen to your favorite Disneyland podcast - Tales From The Mouse House!   If walking is not an option, Anaheim Resort Transportation (ART) is an affordable option and convenient mode of transportation. 

If you'd like to book your Disneyland Resort Vacation, why not visit someone WE trust? Visit our good friend and fellow Disney Lover Randy Crane from Mouse Ear Vacations at: Randy WILL get you THE best deal available! Trust him. We do!

So, To Stay Inside or Outside the Berm? We have stayed inside and outside the berm many times. My preference will always be inside. But, if staying outside the berm was the only option for our budget, I would not hesitate to experience the Disneyland Resort without the perks of the Disneyland Resort Hotels. I would not choose this option during the “off-peak” season when the Parks close early because when the hours are shorter, you obviously do not spend the majority of the time inside the Parks. 

So, what are your thoughts? Inside or Outside the Berm? Do you have a favorite hotel?  I would love to hear your thoughts. Send your thoughts to us at!

Friday, March 6, 2015

My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders

by Joyce Kessel

Back in the 1980's, my nephew was addicted to everything My Little Pony, so when we were asked to review “My Little Pony-Friendship Is Magic: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders”,  I was flooded with thoughts of these special moments we shared.  

Available now on DVD. The newest My Little Pony DVD takes viewers on journey through Equestria where they can witness an important coming of age moment for a young Pony. After all, Ponies acquire their CUTIE MARK, but only after they discover something unique about themselves that sets them apart from others.  During this crusade,  the three main characters: Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom meet, become instant friends and set out on a journey to not only find themselves but their mark. 

There are 5 episodes on the DVD: The Cutie Mark Chronicles, the Cutie Pox, Flight to the Finish, Pinkie Pride, and Twilight Time.  Each colorful story ties into the previous one and make viewers want to keep watching so learn more about the ponies’ adventures.   There are many lessons learned throughout these adventures

The DVD is geared toward younger children but the bonus features are really cool and I loved the downloadable coloring sheets and sing-along.  

The running time is 110 minutes and is suitable for all children.  This affordable DVD can be purchased for around $10.00 at Walmart and Amazon.  

My Rating: 8 out of 10 ponies.