Disneyland Annual Passes 2016: My Opinion


So a small disclaimer to start: I’m the one my friends ask about Disney stuff and after getting asked about the new Annual Passes two times in as many days, I thought it was time to write down my opinion. And it is just that, my opinion and as the saying goes, we all have one. This just happens to be mine. I don’t have any special knowledge around these things. I’m not a travel agent, economist, marketer or cast member. All I am is a Disneyland passholder for over a decade now who has access to the Internet and a calculator 😉

The rise in prices created quite the stir (and that’s an understatement!) in the Disney fan community. The top tier pass went up $270 over the previous year and lower tiers had similar hikes. They did add some new perks, specifically parking and PhotoPass added to the top two passes, but overall, they remain the same. In fact, since it seems you can no longer purchase a ticket at a reduced rate on blockout dates, I’d say they actually got worse. I can definitely see how these changes effect and upset many past, current and future AP holders.

But to get to the real question: if you’re still considering an annual pass, which pass is right for you? I based my thoughts on a some assumptions, those being:

  1. The obvious one: You’ll go frequently enough that you’ll actually consider becoming a Passholder. When running my calculations for break even/savings numbers, I only used the difference in cost between the next lower pass (usually $250-270) and the cost of the perk. So, definitely not extensive. I didn’t want to add more complication to it so I didn’t figure in the cost of just going into the parks.
  2. You’re an adult. I used numbers from the 10+ pass.
  3. You have a bit of flexibility on when you can go. If you only have certain dates you can go, then the decision becomes a lot easier. Which pass can you use on the dates you’ll be there? Buy that one! That decision also requires a comparing of cost of just tickets vs pass and those are totally different set of numbers. 
  4. The percentage discount savings you get on food and in-park purchases are, largely, irrelevant. It adds a ton more complexity and it’s so personal to your own Disney habits. I think it’s a nice little perk but it really only adds up over several visits and more expensive items. If you’re buying a couple or more Dooney & Bourke bags over the year, it starts to add up but if you’re buying yourself a $10 quick service meal, the fifty cents you save between the Deluxe and Signature Plus pass really isn’t going to factor in unless you’re doing it on a fairly regular basis, like weekly or more. 

I think it really depends on how often you want to go but for most people, I’d say Deluxe is best. I think it strikes the right balance between cost and freedom from blockout dates. The SoCal is cheapest but it seems to block out all the weekends and school/national holiday sections. If you work a regular 9-to-5 and don’t want to be taking time off for every trip, SoCal probably just is not going to work for you. The $270 difference between the two could easily be worth it if you don’t have paid time off or if you want to save it up and use it for anything else. Oh, it also requires you to provide proof of your Southern California residency so if you’re not a resident, it’s right out step one.

Bumping up to Signature really depends on how much you care about the parking and PhotoPass perks. I did some of the math and it came out to the following:

  • Parking is, at the writing of this, $18 for an automobile, so you’ll finally start saving over your initial investment on your fourteenth visit if you just use the parking benefit.
  • When you add the PhotoPass in, that break even point comes a lot faster. PhotoPass currently costs $39 a day. You’ll start saving on your seventh visit if you’re just taking advantage of PhotoPass.
  • If you’ll use both, you’ll start saving on the fifth visit.

Personally, I wouldn’t even consider Signature Plus unless you’re a hardcore Disneyland fan. It’s only real benefit is the fact that it has no blockout dates. This perk comes at an additional $200 over the standard Signature so it’s not an insignificant amount. At this point you’re paying over a thousand dollars for a year of Disney time so be realistic about how often you’re really going to be bummed because you’re blocked out on a day you want to go.  

If you’re the Signature Plus level of Disney fan, you may also vacation at Walt Disney World and in that case, you may want to look into the Premier pass. Once you hit your fifth day at World, you’ll start saving money over the cost of Signature Plus plus the WDW Park Hopper with Water Parks and More add on. Premier gives you a no blockout days pass to both parks, including the Water Parks and More at WDW and all the top tier perks at both parks, for $1439 plus tax. One more caveat here though: You must pay for the pass at purchase. No payment plans are available for the Premier pass. Also, based on some reading, it seems like if you already have a pass on the payment plan, you have to pay off the balance in your payment plan and the difference in cost between your pass and the Premier at the time of purchase. My husband and I actually had it for a year due to a sale that was going on for Disney Vacation Club members.

As a side note now that I’ve brought up DVC, I’ll just briefly mention that you might assume that, based on the fact that you’re buying into a Disney timeshare, you’d get discounts on your tickets. This is generally untrue. There is no standing discount on passes to either parks for DVC members. I’ll let you know my personal experience but I definitely wouldn’t base any decision making on it.

We’ve been DVC members since 2014 and we’ve seen two sales. The first was the discount on the Premier passes I mentioned above which ultimately saved us about $400. This happened around the time of our joining in March 2014. The second was a recent one celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Vacation Club that, if I’m remembering correctly, gave you a free day if you purchased tickets for four or more days at Walt Disney World. It also gave you the Water Parks and More add on for free. 

So yeah! Those are my long winded thoughts about Disneyland Annual Passes in 2016. If you’ve read these thousand words, you’re a champ! Have any questions? Feel free to ask them in the comment section below and I’ll do my best to answer it for you. Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

Need vs Nice: A List of Supplies

As I mentioned in my last post (and in my after-post Periscope), the great thing about non-traditional memory keeping is that fewer supplies are required. I started thinking about what the specific lists would look like and it came down to this:


The Basics

– BASIC OFFICE SUPPLIES: A notebook, pen, scissors, something sticky (double sided tape, glue, etc.)

– PHOTOS AND/OR MEMORABILIA: Not a need, but up there on the list of items you’d want to have to take it from journaling to a more rich form of memory keeping. 

And you’re ready! You probably have most, if not all, of the basic office supplies lying around your house. Photos, if desired, can be printed at a local printer or, if you have a modern printer, at home with a few supplies.


The nice list is basically a supermarket sweep of your local craft and office supply stores! However, I wanted to list them in order of difficulty of addition just to give you ideas for starting somewhere and moving up, if you’re so inclined:

EASY: Stickers, washi tape, general ephemera (shapes cut out of various materials used for decorating)

These are pretty straight-forward additions. You can use them in your memory keeping, on gifts or to decorate planners. Low cost, easy and many different ways they can be used makes them a no brainer!  

MODERATE: Stamps, Project Life cards (including printables)

These two require a bit of skill and add-ons. With stamps, unless you’re buying the ones that are already mounted on wood (which take up a lot of extra space), you’ll need an acrylic block. You’ll also need stamp pads. The Project Life or other documenter style cards are easier to buy but depending on how you want to use them will take up a lot of space (in your home and on your pages) and require either sticking them on or using washi tape to make them into a flap. With the printable types, they don’t take up any room other than hard drive space but you’ll need to learn to manipulate your printer settings to get a great print. Not difficult, but an extra layer of learning to do properly.

QUALITY OF LIFE UPGRADES: Adhesives, cutting tools, storage

These things are places where you might have been getting away with the basics but using tools that are created specifically for the purpose you’re using them for means a nicer time. For the cutting tools, I’m speaking mostly of sliding blade or guillotine cutters. They make cutting a straight line a breeze so if you’re bad with scissors like I am, that one purchase will be a big upgrade.

If I had to pick one place where you get the biggest bang for your buck, upgrade-wise, it’s in the area of adhesives. Head over to your local craft store and get yourself some real scrapbooking adhesive. I prefer the tape runner type (I’m firmly a Glue Glider Pro user) and avoid liquids and gels unless the situation really calls for it. Any wet adhesive has the opportunity to warp your paper so I just don’t use it. These are also really cheap. The ones from Michael’s usually run me $9 for three and they always have a coupon or sale running so often much cheaper.

After that, I’d say a good reliable printer is your next nice-to-have. Not only does it allow you to print photos when the mood strikes you, but it also makes it a lot easier for you to take advantage of things like printables (but that’s for another blog post!) From experience, I’d say keep lots of photo paper (4×6 and letter size serve me well) as well as letter-sized white cardstock and printer ink on hand at all times.  


I hope this helps you figure out what you might be missing and where your first upgrade will be. As always, if you have any thoughts or questions, leave them in the comments below. Thanks so much for reading!

Easy Peasy Memory Keeping Options (That Won’t Require a Whole Closet of Supplies!)

With 2016 right around the corner, you may be wanting to get your photos off your phone and your memories onto a page in a more tangible way. Perhaps “start memory keeping” has made it onto your to do or resolutions list. Maybe you’re just trying to dip your toe into memory keeping or maybe you just don’t have the desire, time or space for “real” scrapbooking… there are loads of reasons why you might want to be memory keeping but traditional scrapbooking, even pocket-style, isn’t right for you. But don’t worry! I’m here to share two different types of projects which can scratch the same itch without the same requirements.

Traveler’s Notebooks, Hobonichi or other notebook

If you’re familiar with the planner scene on Instagram, you may have seen a couple of more open-ended options like the Midori Traveler’s Notebook system or Hobonichi. Both of these are really just notebooks. Additionally, there is a Smashbook system being sold (it’s still available at my local Michael’s) and all three of these, and really any notebook large enough for your tastes, work under the same principle. Basically, you take your notebook, any photos and memorabilia you have, gather up any supplies (such as stickers or stamps you have) and just start journaling. Glue in your pictures, add in your memorabilia, stamp it up a bit. Make it yours! I did this recently with a traveler’s notebook for my Disneyland journal: 

(you can see the rest of that entry here)  

It’s really easy and you can get a whole day done in an hour or so. The finished product also stores very nicely. Your options include a binder to keep all your inserts in or putting it into a cover, either just for your memory journals or one you use everyday for planning. When I was in my Midori full time, I really liked keeping these sort of memory journals in my main planner so I could flip to them and enjoy them whenever the feeling was right. 

I used a traveler’s notebook insert for this project because I had one available and I was using the system at the time. You could do this with a Hobonichi, Smashbook or really any notebook you like! Just understand that this way will start to make your notebook bulge from all the extra bits in it so pick your notebook with that in mind.

Memory Planners

This is a rather new entry to the scene but a great option! Heidi Swapp made one that kind of put the idea on the map, but since then several companies have thrown their hats into the ring: Simple Stories, Studio Calico and more. Each balances the memory keeping and planner aspects to different numbers. Heidi’s is at least 50%, if not more, memory keeping where as Studio Calico’s planner with Hello Forever is mostly planner with memory keeping options thanks to it being built with the same ring structure as their Handbooks. Since we’re talking memory keeping here and I’m quite familiar with it, owning one, I’ll discuss Heidi Swapp’s planner.

Included is monthly calendars across two pages and then enough weekly pages to get you through the month. Each day has two boxes, one blank and one lined. Both have plenty of decorating options available to you. There’s lots of room for your creativity to go wild without requiring you to put in a lot of time or effort. Again, you can do as much or little as you, your stash and your wallet allows. If you just want to add some printed photos, business cards or stickers, it’s all up to you! I really suggest heading to Pinterest or Instagram and seeing how others have used their binder. I’ve been really impressed!

(from Heidi’s site)

Also included are a few pocket scrapbooking inserts so if you are interested in trying it out, but not ready to do a full album, it’s a great way to start! For 2016, she’s released a few different sizes and if you have a Michael’s locally, some of them had gift box type sets that will get you all set up for the year.

I hope that this post helps those of you ready to start memory keeping. Honestly, I’ve been a Project Life-r for years but I’m thinking about moving to one of these types for 2016! If you have any other questions, about this or something else, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll get back to you! Have a great day and happy holidays!

Love Live the School Idol Movie: Review and Project Life Page

Last Sunday, my Otome Team friends and I headed to downtown LA to catch a viewing of Love Live the School Idol movie. We’re all big fans of the show and so when we saw tickets were available, we snatched some up! It was in a tiny one screen theater downtown but it was a just-right size for this movie. It was really cute to see all the seiyuu (voice actresses) introduce the movie and there was a quick catch-up before the movie starts. I won’t ruin it for anyone but, while I liked the movie, I wasn’t a big fan. I think I wanted something more out of it. Like I said, I won’t go further into it, but all in all, there were a couple things I wanted to happen that, sadly, didn’t. I’m looking forward to watching it again though. I felt the same way coming out of Pacific Rim and on rewatch, with new perspective on what I could expect, I liked it quite a bit more!  
But you’re not here for a review (or maybe you are!), you’re here for the crafting! I didn’t have much from the actual movie but I did keep the ticket and I’d taken some pictures from around the theater which was decorated a bit. Luckily, my friend Elie had taken a really cute picture of us with our friend Sarah which I snagged from her Facebook feed and printed on my Instax Share.
I knew that the pictures I’d end up using in the landscape 4×6 slots were of the character posters they’d lined up along the wall as you entered. Because this would be pretty colorful, I wanted to keep the rest of my color palette to a minimum. The first cards I chose were the 3x4s which are from the Becky Higgins Happy Edition core kit. After that, I pulled a couple of cards from my stash. Most likely they’re from Studio Calico kits from ancient times but I can’t remember which ones! The stamps are from Best Days, a set by Christine Herrin for Kelly Purkey last year. I like the mix of script and standard fonts. It adds a bit of interest without overloading it or adding a lot of busyness.
After that, I put the pictures in (edited with RadLab which I’m a huge fan of!), leaving them as is. Often times, I add embellishments to my photos to help tie them into the spread but I liked the look of these two as they were.

Aside from the photos (which required a quick trip to Staples for ink) I was able to get this together in about an hour. Super quick and looks great! I’m really pleased with it! I’m hoping to start getting more spreads together and into my album over the next few weeks. See you during the next one!

Filofax Week 47 2014

click to see full size

I’m going to toot my own horn for a minute. This right here made me do this: 

high_five_stephen_colbertI’m sure all of you know the struggle of learning a new skill or technique. A lot of times, you’re going through the motions of doing something, putting hours under your belt, practicing your crafts and making work you’re OK to meh about. And then suddenly, one day, you make something that amazes you. You’re like, “YES. THE MAGICS!” That happened to me last night with this week in my Filofax. After several weeks away from my Saffiano, I made something that made me very proud. Wind up high five to me!

So what changed? It was probably the weeks away and maybe the new printables, but honestly, I looked at the project differently. Rather than looking at it the way I was, with each day sort of as a separate thing, I looked at the pages as a whole and approached it like I would a standard scrapbook page. 


As always, if you have any questions or comments, post them below! I hope you like it as much as I do! 

Unboxasaurus! Freckled Fawn, Blinks of Life, Gossamer Blue and Simon Says Stamp!

Since I’ve been sick and out of crafting commission for the last couple of weeks, I decided a video showing all of the end of October kits arriving was in order! This includes the November Freckled Fawn kit, the two embellishment kits from Blinks of Life, the main and life pages kits from Gossamer Blue as well as an order from Simon Says Stamp and Lawn Fawn.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section here or on the video. Thanks for watching and have a great day!

Project Life 2014: Week Five – My Birthday!

January 26th - February 1st
January 26th – February 1st

Hooray! This week was a lot of fun to document (though not so fun to live through. I got a horrible stomach bug!) since I got to use one of my favorite collections ever, October Afternoon’s Cakewalk. It’s got pretty much all I’m looking for: pastels, vintage and animals. It being party themed is an added bonus. Add a unicorn and it would be pretty much all I used.

This week was very picture light because pretty much as soon as I left my birthday party on Sunday night, I started getting sick with a stomach bug that had been going around my husband’s office. However, I did have the one picture up top from my friend Oliver and a few pictures of family cuddles on the couch.

After that, I pretty much just let the collection stand out. All but some of the buttons and the enamel dots (which are from random Studio Calico kits) are from the collection sets. So, even though there’s a lot of journaling and filler, it flows well. I like it. Also it shows how easy it can be to use a collection that wasn’t specifically tuned for Project Life in your albums. This one predates their Daily Flash stuff (I think!) and the journaling cards included are not standard pocket size. But I was able to add some paper to fill up that slot and it worked out really well!

This was also my first time using the design K protector. I was inspired by a recent sketch on the Studio Calico blog to try a different style of pocket page and it was really fun. I’m not going to be switching away from my beloved design A but it’s always nice to try something new. 

I hope you like it too! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Unbox/Haul Video: Happie Scrappie, Hobonichi, JetPens & Creative Retreat

Woohoo! So today was a big mail day and I decided that, since I often get questions about where I get things, I’d start doing unboxing/haul videos from time to time! Today, I show the most recent A5 pack from Happie Scrappie, the Hobonichi Techo Cousin and some covers, my latest JetPens order (including some pens for lefties!) and this month’s Creative Retreat embellishment kit!

Leave a comment either here or on the video and let me know what you think!

Gluten Free at Disneyland: Carthay Circle


The hubby and I had kept meaning to go to Carthay Circle but things had always been not quite right for a number of reasons. During a recent trip, we FINALLY made a point to go there for my boot’s off celebration dinner!

We started off downstairs. Once you check in, there’s usually a bit of a wait but there are cocktail waiters ready to hand you a beverage. After a glass of the Fairy Tale Cuvee, we were brought up to the gorgeous dining room. The space is surprisingly large and there are smaller dining rooms off the main room. The walls are lined with wine, all with numbered tags on them. The ambiance is very nice, a quiet respite from the madness outside.

[slide id=”carthayaugust”]
[images src=”http://www.finnandroo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/IMG_3432.jpg” title=”Salad” caption=”Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Salad” url=”http://www.finnandroo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/IMG_3432.jpg”]
[images src=”http://www.finnandroo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/IMG_3434.jpg” title=”Dinner” caption=”Summer Garden Risotto” url=”http://www.finnandroo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/IMG_3434.jpg”][/slide]

forgive me for the dark photos. The lighting there is definitely for mood and not photography!

When I asked, I was told that anything could be made gluten-free. Awesome! I like to hear that! Ultimately, I went with the Heirloom Tomato and Avocado salad and the Summer Garden Risotto, both of which required little-to-no changes (salad usually includes croutons.) The salad was amazingly good, so good that I ordered it on my second trip and I’m not usually a salad person! The risotto was good, but not for me. It was quite citrus-y which I know some people love but I’m not among them. However, still a fantastic risotto and something I’d suggest to anyone who did enjoy citrus!

We had wanted to order dessert but we were WAY too full after our dinners to even consider it. In fact, that was the case the second time we went as well! Overall, this is definitely not a cheap option (with drinks, I think it worked out to around $100 per diner) but if you’re looking for a very nice meal inside California Adventure, do consider Carthay… if you can get in!

Project Life Week One 2014

Some folks on IG were talking about catching up on Project Life and so I hopped on board. I’m still very very behind but I am making progress! So, for the next few days, I’m going to post a week at a time to get caught up here on the blog as well.


Let’s start at the start, shall we? I feel like there are three major things that have been helping me with this sprint of PL:

1) I’ve given up on two pages per week. I’m keeping weeks to one page unless it’s a huge deal. If there was a big event that takes up a lot of space, I give it it’s own layout.

2) Sketches! I’d often get overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do where. I’ve kept a printed stack of the sketches from Studio Calico’s Day by Day class near me and I’ll look through them and see what piques my interest. 

3) Minimize possibilities. For this one in particular, I pulled colors from the 2014 card there and then used only random bits from past Calico kits and Chickaniddy Craft’s Twirly Girly. 

Here’s how this one came together: 

Top Left: various bits from past SC kits. Banner is cut from the color block side of Twirly Girly’s Itty Bitty Ballerina with the die from the Lawn Fawn large stitched journaling card
Top Right: Card from the Dear Lizzy Neapolitan mini kit from Project Life, date stamp from Project Life and letters from past SC kit
Middle Left Two: In A Creative Bubble’s Cheers Journaling Cards
Middle Center Right: White Project Life card stamped with Lawn Fawn’s Starry Backdrops using Studio Calico’s Something Blue and Brilliance ink in Galaxy Gold
Middle Right: Banner is cut from the color block side of Twirly Girly’s Itty Bitty Ballerina with the die from the Lawn Fawn Stitched Journaling Card and stamped with one of the stamps from Studio Calico’s Unforgettable stamp set.
Bottom Left: Card from Blush solids collection, label and letters from old SC kit, patterned label from Twirly Girly Paper Posies die cut with Studio Calico’s Label Maker die.
Bottom Right: Card cut from Twirly Girly Paper Posies with Lawn Fawn large stitched journaling card die and topped with a couple of stickers from the Twirly Girly sticker sheet.


If you have any other questions, please ask away in the comments. Thanks for taking a peek and have a great day!