Thursday, July 28, 2016

More Trip Planning Tips and Hotel Review

Hi Folks!  Sorry I've been a bit MIA. I had planned to document my recent LA trip daily as I normally do, but we were just so darn busy that I didn't have the time or energy to even touch the computer.  Now that I'm back, I thought I'd work on my blog but wanted to do some trip planning tips before I actually go into my trip.

Here's a few things that I recently learned...

Rental Cars:  On my last trip, I used Hotwire to select my rental car company. It worked out really well as I was able to get a really low price on a car.  For this trip, I attempted to do the same, but to get a mini van for 9 days was going to cost us about $800. I thought that was a bit high, but I reserved it anyway just in case I couldn't find anything cheaper.

My friend was planning a trip to LA around the same time as we were going and told me that she was going to rent her car from Downtown Disney instead of the airport.  She told me that its much cheaper to rent from an off site than the airport site.  I decided to check to see if that was true and was pleasantly surprised to see a much lower price.  Of course, I would need to find a ride to the rental car company, but that was something I was willing to deal with.  I asked my family if they could pick us up and drop us off at the rental car company.  If that didn't work out, I was going to take a shuttle.  Since there was only 2 of us flying in, that wouldn't be that an expensive trip.  Luckily, family was able to pick us up, so we were all set.  The cost savings was about $300!  Well worth the change- this was all through the Hotwire site.

Later on, I spoke to the same friend and she told me to check Costco travel.  I forgot Costco had travel benefits, so I checked out their website and plugged in my dates... For the same dates, i was able to get the mini van for $100 less!  So I started at $800 and was able to get the van for less than $400.  Woo Hoo!

Hotel:  After our last trip, I was set on booking the Embassy Suites Anaheim South.  We didn't stay there before, but my friends did and I loved the rooms and the breakfast!  More on the breakfast later.  Every room is a suite, but I must've mis-read the details. I thought it was 2 Bedroom Suites, but it was actually a 2 Room suite.  LOL!  Our room came with 2 double beds and a pull out sofa bed.  Somehow we managed to sleep 7 of us in there for a few nights.

The best thing about the hotel is the breakfast!  Breakfast is free for hotel guests and includes a buffet of all kinds of goodies.  There is a cold cereal and oatmeal station, pastries, bagels, toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast or pancakes, fruit, omelete station, and coffee/drink station.  We really enjoyed our breakfast time and it was so convenient that everyone could eat when they wanted to.  In the afternoons, they had happy hour, where you could get free drinks (alcohol) that included beer, wine, or mixed drinks.  If you wanted food, you could order stuff like pizza, tacos, sliders, etc.  Overall, we were very happy with this part of our stay.  I think if we had to feed everyone breakfast, we probåbly would have spent over $500, so we saved us some money there.

The hotel had a pool too and the girls loved it!  I think cause it was so darn hot, they needed to cool off everyday and made good use of the pool. The hotel had a small fitness room too but it got crowded in the mornings.  They also had washing machines on 3 of the floors (3rd, 6th, and 9th).

I think our only complaint- which wasn't really a complaint, was that the elevators were pretty slow.  There are 4 elevators, but in the morning it gets really full and takes for ever.  Luckily, we were near the elevator and didn't have to walk that far to get there.  I also noticed that the lower floors had a hard time getting on since the elevator would pick them up on the way down, and most times the elevator was already full.  Overall, this was not really an issue for us.

I think we will definitely stay there again in the future!

Finally, just a comment... I hate traveling during the summer.  It is unbearably hot and the lines are crazy!  We really made use of the fast pass system at Disney, and tried to travel before and after rush hour.  This made our trip a little easier to handle.

I'll be back soon with my trip reports!

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