As you might already know, I am a mother of two children Lizzy (17) and Axel (12), a teddy bear named Victoria (14), and a husband who sometimes requires more supervision than the children. (Johna not included…)
Casa De Perales is run in a matriarchal manner (much like Naboo) Not by imposition but rather by choice of the governed. That being said generally, I am responsible for the decision making, planning, budgeting., etc., etc., etc…
Normally our Star Wars trips can be somewhat financially taxing for us because there are 4 of us (traveling/hotels/ food). Thus, our trips require a lot of careful and advance planning. Recently, we had some unexpected expenses that were, in part, the cause for us missing Star Wars Celebration Chicago. Thankfully for us, the next Star Wars Celebration is in Anaheim!!! So, I do not have to plan/spend as much – no airfare and no hotel expenses for us!
I realize while I am very lucky Celebration is in my backyard many of you are coming from out of state, from another country, or maybe even the unknown regions. So, I figure I may be able to share some tips about Anaheim, CA and about Celebration (if this is your first-time attending celebration and/or visiting Anaheim). So, let’s plan ahead!
MONEY SAVING TIPS
We are all different and you know more about what saving money tips work for you but I would like to share some of the tips that work for our family.
- I created a monthly budget and tried really hard stick to it but this didn’t really work. So instead, I gave Sal and myself a weekly CASH allowance to spend during the weekend (movies, restaurants, drinks, lightsabers) Once the money is gone and we agreed not to use our cards.
- I prepared and packed my lunch for work. Generally, eating out for lunch costs about $10.00 per day so I allocated myself $50.00 per week – Instead of buying lunch at work, I go to the grocery store on Sunday and buy food to take lunch and use the rest of the money for saving!
- Target – purchase items through the Target app and send Sal to pick up! – This saved me from wasting time and money on things I don’t need. Which is exactly what happens when you walk into Target for anything!
- Skip Kean Coffee/ Starbucks – I made my own coffee, not as good as Kean Coffee but costs a lot less and is just as effective!
- I recreated a list that I saw on Pinterest that shows that if you save $ – a little every day goes a long way! (save about $500 per month!)
- I used a shadow box with a picture of the Star Wars Celebration logo and a hole on the top. Seeing your goal and your savings really helped us to stay motivated because you can see your progress!
Now that Celebration Anaheim 2020 has been announced the next announcement is when the tickets go on sale. Usually, the announcement goes out three weeks before, so make sure to buy your tickets as soon as you can because they sell out quickly, especially the VIP and the five day passes. Please note that while the VIP passes are very expensive, they have a lot of perks!
Please make sure to buy your tickets directly from the Star Wars Celebration website as you do not want any negative surprises. Now that they are doing panel reservations and exclusive lotteries via e-mail you might not want to trust a third-party seller.
- We try to schedule our flights far in advance so we can get a better discount. However, that is not always been true for every flight. So we got a phone app called Hopper which helped us to find deals and the best times to fly. We also crossed reference with airlines to ensure we get the best price possible.
- Pack some snacks and make sure to eat before you board so you won’t be hungry and forced to eat tasteless expensive airplane food.
- Carry a bottle of water – you can empty the bottle and then fill it up once you pass the security check.
Upon arrival to California
- Use Lyft or a similar car app to move to and from the convention center as the taxi cabs are too expensive and buses can sometimes be difficult to handle if you are not familiar with the bus schedule. Please note that a lot of airports offer free shuttles, it is likely that your hotel may offer free shuttle if you are flying to Orange County Airport (SNA) If you are flying into Los Angeles Airport (LAX) they might not shuttle you all the way to Anaheim, but you never know, they may. Ask your hotel if they offer a shuttle from the airport to your hotel and if the hotel has a shuttle to the convention center.
Booking hotels nearby the Convention Center during Star Wars Celebration can be not only pricey but very difficult. Keep in mind that the convention center is only a couple of blocks away from Disneyland so that makes it a bit harder to find a cheap rate. You might look a bit west of the Disney Resort area into the Knott’s Berry Farm area as it’s only a few miles away but can be a bit cheaper.
Also, consider an Airbnb near the convention center. The price is generally the same as hotel rates but you get so much more space which if properly shared with friends can be much more affordable. When we attended Florida Celebration we rented a home. The home was so big that we share it with our friend (the house was 3 floors – 3 bedrooms, huge kitchen and living room) we ended up paying half of what we would have paid for a 1 hotel room for three times the space!
Again, being a family of 4 humans and 1 teddy bear making sure that everyone has their things packed can be a challenge. That is why we devised a checklist for each costume and a general checklist for the normal stuff. The general list normally includes normal things (passports, toothpaste, cell chargers) the costume list includes a photo of the costume and a list of the parts that go with that costume – the list gets included with the costume itself as it makes it very nice and efficient at the airport (for the inevitable security questions raised) and easy for us to have the kids making sure we have all the pieces to our costumes.
I got some awesome carry-on suitcases from ThinkGeek. we all got a carry-on and even Victoria got a Darth Vader hard shell toiletry bag to carry her costumes.
We also got a big suitcase to put the bigger pieces of our costumes.
A common giveaway at the bigger panels are mini posters so bringing a poster tube is a great idea. Daiso has super cheap ones.
I think most of us can agree that con food is just not the best and is overpriced. The hotel next door to the Convention Center has a food court where you can get better food for a fairly reasonable price! However, I would still recommend that you eat before you go to the convention so you evade the food lines and you get to save some money. There are plenty of restaurants in Anaheim… like a lot!!! All which vary in prices. Make sure you download Yelp so you can use your app and get the best food at the best prices while you are here.
AT THE CONVENTION
- Star Wars Show Stage
- Fan Clubs
- Her Universe
- Celebration Store
This is really where you prioritize what you want to enjoy at Celebration. If you want to be at the big panels be prepared to wait in line even though the lottery system should help the wait be much shorter. Didn’t get into the panel you wanted? Most of the big panels stream at the Star Wars Show stage along with celebrities popping up and T-Shirt cannon shenanigans all day. Don’t feel too crazy about the lines? Try visiting the smaller panels on the fan stages or the podcast stages. Walk the floor and visit the vendors and take photos of all the amazing costumes!
OTHER PLACES YOU SHOULD VISIT IN ANAHEIM
- The Blind Rabbit – OMG THIS IS THE BEST PLACE EVER!!! Keep in mind that there is a two-week reservation wait. So, make your reservations ahead of time!
- The Packing House – This place is pretty cool – has a variety of food in one place!
- Disneyland – Galaxy’s Edge – I hear they have Coca Cola.
- The Void – Check out Secrets of The Empire and go on a mission to Mustafar!
A little bit of planning can go a long way, so make sure to be prepared and live your best Star Wars adventure!