Disneyland Annual Passes – Why Would You Do That?

A lot of people ask us why we have Disneyland Annual Passes.

We live in the Bay Area, so it’s not like we can decide on a whim that we’re going to head to Disneyland for the evening. If we wanted to just go there randomly, no matter what, we’d have a 5.5hr drive ahead of us. I can imagine that the excitement of “spontaneity” would wear off during the drive. We also have a dog, so we’d have to find a dog sitter. Really, at any point for the Kleists, going to Disneyland on the “whim” definitely requires at least like half a day of preparation.

So, why purchase annual passes for Disneyland when you live over 300 miles away?

Well first, the cost. Here’s the deal – Disney just upped their prices again last week. For $150 you can enjoy both Disney parks, for one whole day. ONE day. Want to add days? The price jumps to $217 for 2 days, and so on. Disney ain’t cheap. I’m not going to dip into the conversation about why Disney is so expensive, and why the price increases seem so drastic, and how it’s outrageous (blah blah blah) because at the end of the day, a trip to Disneyland is just going to be expensive no matter what. If that bothers you, I’d kindly suggest traveling elsewhere. The Disney Annual Passport system actually isn’t terrible, and it can still benefit you even if you live 300 miles away. A Premium Annual Passport isn’t cheap ($699 for the year with no blackout dates and free parking), but if you’re planning to take a 3 or 4-day trip to Disney 2 times or more in one year, the savings are actually pretty substantial. That’s actually what prompted Jason and I to look at it in the first place ¬†– we were originally planning to go 3 times in 2013 for various reasons – we thought there had to be a better method than paying $265 x2, three times that year.

Take Jason and I for example. We got our passes in February 2013 and we ended up going 6 times while the passport was active (over one year). Those 6 trips translate into about 18 days total in the park. If we do 18 x $150 that’s $2700. I know what you’re saying, what about the multiple day passes? Okay, let’s look at that. Let’s say I trekked down to Disney 6 times last year, each being a 3-day trip, that still puts me at $1590 in Disney tickets just for myself.

The cool thing about the Annual Passes? They have a monthly payment plan for CA residents with no interest. So, Jason and I pay monthly on two $699 Annual Passes. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still a hefty sum, but we’re loaded so it doesn’t bother us ūüėČ JK! We’re a family on a budget, but we budgeted for Disney. It’s really our only vacation throughout the year. We may do an overnight here and there, but our big trips are always down to Disneyland. So that means we’re actually just prepaying on our vacations each month so the overall financial blow isn’t as bad when we go.

So how much did we save last year? Since we went 6 times, 3-days each (assuming we’d pay $265/person per trip on 3-day tickets) … we ended up saving $1389.¬†

I get it, we’re not your typical Disney goers because we go multiple times in a year. And we’re only a family of two; I can imagine that if we were a family of three or four, we’d probably do things differently. So, annual passes aren’t for everyone when you live 300 miles away. But, for now, having the annual pass is really the only thing that makes sense for us. Now we can go to Disney worry-free and with some great discounts while inside the park (15% off food, 25% off merch, etc.)

All that to say – if you live in the Bay Area and you plan to visit Disney more than 4.66 (price of a 1-day Park Hopper ticket divided by the Premium AP) days in one year, the Annual Pass might be the way to go for you. If you’re only planning to do your one big trip a year, then stick to the regular passes.

Call us crazy Disney people all you want, but we have a method to our madness. Joke’s on you!

the dream

the dream

 

 

Brew Talk: Woodchuck Smoked Apple Cider

No one asked for this, but Jason and I thought we’d start sharing our adventures in food and booze, along with other life stories. I guess this blog will have an eclectic purpose. So here we go.

The Kleists have recently gotten into the wonderful world of beer and bourbon. It’s pretty awesome because we live in a town that appreciates the art and craft¬†of good wine and beer making, and there are a few distilleries popping up here and there so we know bourbon in our area is on the horizon. While we’re not experts on the subject, we’d love to give our incite on beers and bourbon. Rachel likes wine a lot but she does not feel like she stands a chance in the wine world when it comes to talking about tannins and mouth feel and floral notes. Just know that red wine is great, and white wine is cool too if it’s warm outside and there aren’t¬†any Corona Lights around.

Back to brews though. Costco’s really been on their craft brew game¬†recently. Jason and I are pretty loyal to our local breweries, but if they happen to be closed one day or we don’t want to make the trek to fill up our growlers, we’ll often hit up Costco for a brew fix. We’re both very loyal to the IPA, but we’ll venture off the path every once in awhile ESPECIALLY when it’s 100 degrees outside. So, we picked up a couple ciders, one was a pear cider which we’ve yet to try, and the other was this:

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Woodchuck Hard Cider: Smoked Apple

So, let’s have some Brew Talk. First off this cider pours dark. We weren’t expecting that, but maybe should have with the “smoked” in it’s title. It smells like apple at first, but quickly the smokiness makes it’s way up your nostrils and it’s like, “Woah, where’d that come from?” At 6.5% this brew’s¬†alcohol level is actually pretty high for a cider and it definitely packs a punch.

Rachel’s thoughts: The¬†first sip was really pleasant. The apple was¬†prominent and there was¬†that definite sweetness that comes with a cider. However, it wasn’t¬†long before the smokey components made¬†themselves known and, for me, it was all downhill from there. Honestly, it tastes like a mixture of campfire, bacon, and smoke, with a little bit of apple thrown in the mix – which doesn’t sound gross initially, but just imagine all of that in liquid form. Even though I gave it a valiant effort, it didn’t take long for me to know that this beer wasn’t for me. The aftertaste was just smoke and that was too much for my palette to handle (liquid smoke is my nemesis). We didn’t eat anything with this beer, but I can imagine that paired with a burger or something heavy to offset or compliment the smokiness, it may have made this brew a little more drinkable. I endured¬†about half a pint and threw in the towel. I give this cider a 4 out of 10, BUT would possibly give it another go if I were eating a meal that complimented it well.

Jason’s thoughts: Basically this cider is like a BBQ party in your mouth. You get hit at first with a sweet taste, followed by a smooth smokey flavor. I have a feeling that¬†dudes who have a full lush beard and love smoked meats and bacon would enjoy this manly cider. I agree with Rachel above in that it would be good with food. I would pair this with a pulled pork sandwich or a fat BBQed burger. I give this a 7 out of 10. It was good, but I would not always reach for this cider if it was available to me.

So, there you have it. The Woodchuck Smoked Apple Cider is good for dudes, and maybe okay for chicks if the circumstances are right¬†(like most things, amiright?). The average score for this cider is 5.5 out of 10, and since it’s only $3.99 at Costco for 22oz the Kleists say, “Throw some pork into a crockpot, toast up a few pretzel buns, and give this cider a whirl.”

If you happen to try it, or have tried it, let us know your score/thoughts in the comments!

 

The Kleists, Lately

Now’s as good a time as any to start using this thing again right? I just feel like I’m in the perfect blog writing position.

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This is now.

There are some things about married life that you just aren’t told about, pre-married life. Like, for example, married life is really similar to single life. I can imagine that if I were single right now, it would be very likely that I’d be sitting outside in this gorgeous weather with a beer and my laptop. Marriage just means I get to do that with my best friend. #winwin

So, I’d like to update y’all a bit on our lives, since the last time we posted anything was October of last year (we’re super committed to this thing).

First off, Jason and I work together now, like literally, in the same department. For every 7 people that said this was a great idea, there were at least 2 who stated otherwise. We felt the ratios were tipped significantly in one direction, so we just decided to go for it. For the last seven months I’ve been the copywriter and online communications sensei at Cornerstone. It’s a big thing, working together. You take the dynamics from your home life and married life and you bring it to work. And likewise, you take your work stuff (and coworker) home with you. There are a few challenges that come with that, but when you’re as resilient as me and Jason, you just make it work. Truthfully, it’s been amazing. It’s not for everyone, but it works well for us.

Second, we’ve taken up racquetball and it’s pretty serious, you guys. If you even slightly know us, we’ve probably (definitely) bored you with our racquetball stories. But it’s true, nerdy and true. It should be noted that I (Rachel) do not suit up in the full garb, but my husband absolutely, 100% does. What does that entail? Well, that’s goggles, one glove (just for his racquet hand), a brightly colored sweatband, a racquet (obviously) and an official gear bag. So far there have been no major racquetball accidents, but I (Rachel) did almost go blind by hitting the racquetball straight into my own open eyeball.¬†You’re probably saying out loud, “But Rachel, where were your goggles?” And I’m gonna go ahead and just tell you right now that I’ve opted out of the goggles, even after 2-near blindness incidences. I guess you can say I prefer to live on the wild side. If and when we will get our official “Team Racquetballers” sweat wicking shirts is still a mystery to me, but I can only imagine that Jason has already designed and ordered them.

serious racquetballers

Serious Racquetballers

Third, I ran another half marathon. I know I know, what am I doing to myself? Save the knees, Rachel! Livermore had their inaugural half marathon in March¬†and since this is my city, I knew I’d only kick myself if I didn’t run it. So I trained (for real this time), for a little over 4 months and showed that race who was boss. It was really an incredible experience. My first half marathon was amazing, but it was in a town I wasn’t familiar with and I hadn’t ever run 13¬†miles before so I was more focused on the length (and heat) than I was with the whole experience. This time I felt more prepared, and subsequently more proud, because I had the chance to accomplish this in the place I’ve called home for the last 25 years. Plus, it helped that I was able to train ON the actual race route. Anyways, all that to say I finished strong and shaved 11 minutes off my last race time, woohoo!

You know I went straight for pizza and beer immediately after this photo was taken.

You know I went straight for pizza and beer immediately after this photo was taken.

Fourth, Jason and I recently met Guy Fieri. Plz don’t act like, if given the opportunity, you wouldn’t meet him too. Here’s the thing about the “Triple D” host – we think he’s a super goofball. Like, we’ve spent our fair share of time making fun of the guy, but when we happened upon a poster in our local Costco alerting us of his appearance, we simply couldn’t resist. Plus, Guy was there on Jason’s actual birthday, and Costco is less than a mile away from our home, we literally didn’t have a reason not to go. Anyways, we met him, and now we have this photo to memorialize the moment forever. If anything, at least I get to have the memory of Guy Fieri saying “Ah, J rolls with a redhead? I like that” to Jason, and that’s a pretty great memory.

Mr. Flavortown himself

Mr. Flavortown himself

Well, I was going to include a recipe in this post because #yolo, but Jason and I are eating an assortment of Trader Joes frozen appetizers because it’s 8:15pm and no one’s got time to cook these days.

Thanks for tuning in and be sure to ask us about this blog a bunch now so we’ll remember to¬†post on it more often!

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

Fall is upon us and the last few days have been chilly here in the Bay Area. When it’s cold and gloomy outside, grilling isn’t really an option. But you know what is? Soup! How easy is it to throw a few ingredients into a pot and more importantly, how cozy is it to eat that soup next to a fire? All that to say, last night was a pretty perfect night.

I found the original recipe on Pinterest, but we had to adapt it because quite honestly, it sounded pretty boring. The original recipe ends up just being a flavored broth and tortellini, Jason and I knew we needed to add some fresh ingredients for added flavor and texture. We bought everything from Trader Joes.

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 package of Cremini mushrooms (sliced) (really, any mushrooms will do)
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 20oz tomato soup (we used the tomato and roasted pepper soup from TJs)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 package cheese tortellini
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

What to do!

We started by heating 1tsp rosemary infused olive oil in a pan and sautéed the onions, garlic and mushrooms with salt and pepper until they were golden (on high heat for about 6-8min). We transferred those to a big pot and added the tomato soup, half and half, chicken broth, tomatoes and italian seasoning, bringing it to a simmer. Once the soup was simmering we lowered the temp to medium heat and dumped the package of tortellini in the soup, letting it cook until the tortellini was fully cooked (9-12minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste after dishing yourself up a bowl. This recipe will yield enough  for 6-8 people.

We pan fried kielbasa for an appetizer (which would also be a fantastic addition to the soup, we later found out!).

Overall, this was a fantastic cold weather meal. 1377361_10201358900268980_1299638345_n

 

 

Hank the Skeleton

A lot of you have grown to love Hank over the last few weeks. For those of you who don’t know him, let me tell you a story.

Several weeks ago Jason and I came across Hank, a pose-n-stay skeleton Halloween decoration that also happened to have a severed spine. Most people would discard Hank on account that he was supposed to “pose-n-stay” … but we grew fond of his handicap.

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“not Hank”

I only discovered Hank’s handicap after taking him out of his home (box). I carried him upstairs in 2 pieces to show Jason that our decoration was broken and he quickly showed me that maybe having Hank be in two pieces, rather than one, gives him character that other pose-n-stay skeletons don’t have. NOTE: we gave him the name Hank because I usually name things by using the first name that pops into my head.¬†

Due to my busy schedule, I ran downstairs, placing Hank delicately on the floor in an un-severed and natural looking position, and left for the day. A short time later I received an Instagram notification – apparently Hank, laying delicately on the floor, scared Jason.

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This started a war between my loving husband and me. Hank quickly became a household name as he made his way from place to place in our house. Just when I thought I’d put him in the BEST PLACE EVER, Jason would tie him to the garage door and I’d die a little on the inside.

Here’s a few highlights:

After a few weeks we realized we’d run out of places for Hank to hide. So we’ve put him in his final resting place, for now, allowing him to bring joy to all who visit our humble abode.

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