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 😉 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



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.


“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.

Screen shot 2013-10-12 at 3.31.13 PM

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.

Screen shot 2013-10-12 at 3.32.16 PM

Date Nights!


A couple days ago we had a mini date night. I had a meeting with a client after work in danville so Rach drove out a met me there. After my meeting we headed over to The Counter in Walnut Creek. Guys… if you have not been there yet go. TRUST ME.

September_26__2013_at_0810PM 2


I mean look at that burger, sooo good!

We love turning boring adult responsibilities (like meetings) in to fun mini adventures. When it envelopes good food how could you lose, right?

– J

Welcome Back


I have decided to resurrect this blog to challenge myself since I do about this much blogging on my site —> 0.

Here are 3 things that I hope will happen:

  1. Share fun life events
  2. To try and blog more (I actually enjoy it when I actually do it)
  3. Maybe Rachel will get back in on it (she is the better writer and whittier and funnier, and smarter and well the list goes on and on)

While we all love reading about how Rachel Becomes a Kleist , there are fun events attached to some of those stories and you might be able to see them here. Along with tasty looking food and other adventures. I am not going to lie to you. There will be posts about our pup, disneyland and coffee.

I (we) hope you will keep coming back and seeing whats new. Stay classy.


Kleist Kamping 2k12

So the Kleist’s decided to go camping for the first time as a married couple. We did an overnight trip to Del Valle to make sure Rachel could handle it (jk).  It was all in all a good first camping experience together, but we did learn some important things:

  • Rachel would drink OFF if the side effect of that wasn’t death.
  • Ice cold PBR tastes amazing after setting up camp in the heat.
  • Boo the Boston is a great camp dog.
  • Rachel is crazy scared of bees and also bugs of all shapes and sizes.
  • Jason looks awesome in his Walmart camo camping cap.


To put it simply, the Kleist’s kick some major a$$ at camping.

Want to know more about this trip, Rach wrote a post from her POV on her blog.

Meet Boo the Boston

So 21 days after our wedding and just 10 days after we got home from our honeymoon Jason and I decided that we could probably think of no better time than July 1st to get a puppy. So that’s what we did…

Boo (aka Boo Boo Bear Kleist)

I (Rachel) have wanted a puppy forever. Every 2 weeks or so I’d ask Jason why he hadn’t gotten us a puppy yet and he’d say things like, “I live at the Walkers & this is not my house.” or ” You work at Parchments, we don’t have any money.” or “We’re not married so, who’s really going to take care of the dog?” or just simply, “No”. That last one was a popular one, it always hurt my feelings.

So when we moved into our town home I saw this as my opportunity to finally get the puppy I’d always wanted. Then, to my dismay, the landlord said “No pets”. This was hard for me, but the place we’re living is just too perfect to pass up. So, I lowered my head and kicked a little rock across the pavement and whimpered “Fine, I’ll just get a puppy never”. (Like a child)

Then the wedding happened and I kinda forgot about getting a puppy and focused more on all those wedding details and my trip to Disneyworld.

But then we came home. And every time I walked in the door and there wasn’t a puppy there to greet me or to vacuum clean the crumbs off the floor… I became a little more sad about it. So, I gathered up all my courage and e-mailed our landlord to ask if we could get a dog. I realize this is a risky move, he could have been like, “No, you’re dumb”. But, I’m awesome and he said, “Ok, I like you guys, get a dog”. BOOOM.

2 hours later I was on finding my new pooch. J and I fell in love with “Bonnie” so, I called the breeder in Merced and asked him to please hold that gal for us so we could come meet her the next day.

It was truly love at first sight…


She climbed into our laps and we knew it was over. The breeder let us know that she could never be a show dog because of her imperfections (coloring on her face is off, she has a dewclaw, her ears aren’t perked-up all the way up), but all of those things just made us love her more.

So we changed her name to Boo (from Monsters Inc.) and brought her to her new home at Castle Von Kleist. She was a perfect little sleeping baby in the beginning but, now she’s crazy. Seriously, she just takes off running and slams into walls and chairs and people but she obviously has a really high pain tolerance because she does it over and over and over again.

We even tried to make her swim the other day, to tire her out, she did good but then she slept like this for almost 2 hours… (success)

They made me go in water 🙁

Anyways, if you’d like to meet her come on over, she’s a sweetie and we want to make sure she meets lots of people and kids and other dogs. Here’s some more pics… and a video for your viewing pleasure.

Just sleepin’ on some hairy legs


And here is her favorite game of all time… what a weirdo.


Disneyland is still Better

We’re married!

June was probably one of the biggest months of our lives. As a recap we got married:


And then we went on a 10 day honeymoon. Here’s the story:

We woke up the day after the wedding in the same bed and that’s when we knew that being married was pretty cool. At around 1pm we left on a jet plane for Orlando with a quick (really quick) stop in Denver on the way. We touched down on Orlando soil and immediately started sweating – heat and humidity would be our friend for the next 9 days.

Orlando is weird but we eventually made it to the hotel around 2am with a grand feast in hand.

4 cheeseburgers, 20 piece chicken nug, 2 large fries and 2 cokes

McD’s is the ultimate fuel for Disneyworld, which is where we went the next morning.


Disneyworld is huge. There’s like 6 miles of magic, which can be a little overwhelming. Our first stop was the Magic Kingdom. In an attempt to make it more magical (?) they surrounded the Magic Kingdom with water. Your only options to get to the gates are by ferry or monorail.  I opted for the ferry ride which was super hot and sticky and was the wrong choice. Jason opted for the monorail which, in hindsight, would have been the right choice because he is usually right when it comes to things like that.

After 67 minutes (not exaggerating) and a small arm sunburn later, we were in the park. We bought 100+ proof sunscreen and then made our way to Tomorrowland.


After spending several days in the Magic Kingdom we’ve become experts and our expert advice is: Disneyland is probably better than the Magic Kingdom. So you’re welcome, for those of you who were thinking about spending lots of money on plane tickets and Dramamine and rental cars. (Everything is better in California)

Except for Epcot.

Epcot doesn’t exist in California and this is probably the only reason why I’d recommend Disneyworld to anyone (over Disneyland).

the golf ball

Epcot exists for 1 thing, and that 1 thing is food. You get a chance to travel the world’s cuisine without actually traveling the world. Seriously, we ate brats in Germany (and beer), fish & chips in the UK (and cider), curry udon in Japan, lamb and hummus in Morocco, and pastries in France. You could even do that all in one day if you’d like (not recommended).

We broke away from our 7 day excursion in the Happiest Place on Earth to visit Universal Studios (but mostly just Harry Potter Land).


There are a few things about Universal that suck. First of all they don’t let you take bags onto any ride so, after waiting in line forever, and passing several people who work at Universal, we would get to the front of the line for a ride and be turned away because we had a bag. Second, the rides are always broken. Don’t get excited about a ride because you’ll most likely walk all the way over there only to find that it’s broken down. These things are dumb and that’s why Disney will always be better.

However, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter changed my life: I drank butter beer and came almost face to face with Ron Weasley.

omg, butterbeer.

The only other ride worth riding in Universal is Jurassic Park and maybe the Hulk roller coaster.

Jason and I did a lot of theme park things but we also ate dinner at Seasons 52 where we had one of the best low-cal dinners we’ve ever tasted.

Rainbow Trout and other delicious things

We also smoked.

J’s version of Disneyworld

After 9 days of Disney honeymooning we were ready to come back to the Bay where streets are regulated by policemen and it doesn’t rain every afternoon at 4pm.

We give Disneyworld a B+ and Orlando a C-. We give Disneyland an A and California an A+ so, that’s why Disneyland is better.

The Disney experts

and a hidden mickey.


Live Long and Prosper

Nothing says “Live Long and Prosper” like a marriage license.

This morning J and I traveled to the whimsical city of Oakland to visit the Alameda County Clerk-Recorder’s office to obtain our marriage license!

The process was quick and painless and we were out of there in 15 minutes, $96 poorer, but that much closer to becoming the legal Mr. and Mrs. Kleist.

We were trying to decide if we should travel into the city for a quick cup of coffee or just head home for some delicious Peets. We went the Peets route, and it’s suffice to say I’m glad we did.

They are filming Star Trek at the Livermore Lab this week and we just happened to run into Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Scottie (Simon Pegg) while we grabbed our coffee.

Chris Pine far left and Simon Pegg far right

They didn’t want their photo taken because they had just come from a workout, but we got a chance to say hi and shake their hands. I’m not a huge trekkie, but I grew up watching it with my mom on occasion and they’re definitely entertaining flicks. Nothing says a good day like obtaining your marriage license and meeting a couple celebrities in your home town!



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