VBRO'ing in California

Because I was travelling with another family (Mom & Dad, 6 yr old & 1.5 yr old), we opted to stay in a VBRO (Vacation Rental By Owner).  We had outweighed the pros vs cons:

Hotel - Pro

  • Possibly closer to Disneyland
  • Onsite amenities (restaurant, gift shop, etc)

Hotel - Con

  • Lack of availability
  • Costly
  • Lack of space/privacy for two families
  • Dining out cost increase

VBRO - Pro

  • Functions as a house
  • Full kitchen
  • 3 bedrooms + 1.5 bath
  • Dishwasher & W/D
  • Ability to get groceries and cook

Some hotel cost considerations: (Based on 3 adults and 3 children)

  1. Disneyland Hotel - $5419 inc Tax (2 rooms, no suite)
  2. Howard Johnson -  $1996USD inc Tax  (2 rooms, no suite)
  3. VBRO -  $1502 inc Tax (Full house)

I picked an expensive hotel first as I was curious to see just how much the rooms were per night.  Originally the price was $500+ but they were on 'sale' for $332/night.  I'm sure they are gorgeous rooms but really all you are getting is a bed and a bathroom for that price + the luxury of not walking far to Disneyland.  I don't think it's worth the extra cost, personally.

So it seemed a no brainer that we go with the VBRO.  We also opted for the insurance just in case and a fee was included in that for registration.

So once we arrived, we saw a huge complex of townhouses that was built in the mid 70's but our suite had been fully renovated last year.   Nice hardwood floors, comfy couch and a big screen tv.  Free wifi and fully stocked kitchen including tupperware!  The upstairs had tons of cupboards in the bathroom and lots of towels and huge closets with dressers.  The master has a weird 'hallway' which was good to house the playpen.  There are two decks, one empty (would be perfect for a hot tub!) and the other has a very nice patio set with small bbq.  Ultimately there are 3 bedrooms but the ad says it sleeps 11.  Master = 2, 2nd bedroom = 2, kid room (3 (has a bunk with a trundle) and a queen sofa bed with a chaise which would 'sleep' a child (don't think an adult would be comfy).  I'd say 9 adults comfortably if they shared beds :)

The things we appreciated most were the dishwasher and washer dryer but the owners have included all the amenities right down to a double stroller in the closet.

Extremely convenient!


About a week prior to our departure, I did some Internet research to find out the closest grocery store that had free delivery.  It happened to be Von's (subsidiary of Safeway).  Now this was an awesome idea (I take full credit).  All I did was log on: http://shop.safeway.com/ecom/home and create a free account.  I created a grocery list of food for Mason & I for a week (with a few dining out experiences considered).

  • 1 litre of milk
  • 18 litres of purified water (I can't stand tap water so this was a necessity)
  • Cheese sticks
  • Apple sauce
  • Snacks (twinkies, ice cream bars, chocolate bars)
  • Spaghetti sauce & pasta
  • Veggies (Carrots, broccoli, cucumber, asparagus & cauliflower)
  • Fruit (Strawberries, apples)
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • Cheese slices (grilled cheese)
  • Loaf of bread
  • Drinks for mommy (Vitamin water)
  • Prepackaged salad kits x 2
  • Can of soup
  • Portioned almonds
  • Fishy crackers
  • Waffles
  • Butter
  • Yogurt
  • Quiona (it's cheaper here)
  • Apple sauce
  • Kraft Dinner instant
  • Microwavable noodle dish

So now we are on day 4 and have today and two more 'full' days left in Anaheim.  In hindsight, I would have modified the order:

One 9 litre of water would have been enough (or I'm just not consuming enough).  Would have skipped the grilled cheese.  The waffles were great (I forgot the syrup so our friends had to get it on their trip to the grocery store (which was about a $15.00 cab ride return). The quick meals for Mommy were also great for lunch or dinner.

Here is an important note!  When creating an account in America and it asks for your Zip Code, do the following!!

Take the digits OUT of your Postal code and add two zero's.  

Example - V2C 3L3 = 23300.  This worked on the website and sure enough my order was delivered just after 8.  I didn't know if I was to tip the driver? He didn't seem to expect it and I treated it as if it was Fedex dropping off a package.  I took all the groceries in myself.  

In reviewing their order sheet, it was just a print out of an actual receipt so it was very hard to decipher what I had bought.  I saved a copy of the original order from online so I was able to cross reference which was good cause they forgot one item.  I'm still waiting for a response from their customer service for a credit.  And two items that I requested were not available.

This was a PAINLESS process and so convenient.  Delivery was free (there are tons of online coupons for  free delivery + freebies (I got an extra case of bottled water complimentary!)  Just ensure you order your groceries in advance!  And go through a mental list of what you normally buy at home.  I forgot to get honey (which Mason has on toast every.single.day) but I didn't want to buy an entire container of honey just for a week (even though he'd probably consume it!)  There was already ketchup in our fridge, so glad we skipped that.  My friends also bought mayo (which I don't eat) and salad dressing (my mini salad kits came with dressing).  So all in all, we have a lot of veggies to eat up in the next few days!)

The weather was warm during the week but the sky wasn't exactly screaming blue and sunny.  This was probably a blessing in disguise with Mason and I both having fair skin.  Today was a 'rest' day as we have been to the park every single day.  I wanted some R&R and a chance to read my book and laze by the pool!

Here is Mason by the kiddie pool:

The pool is gated and locked 24/7, a FOB is required to enter and leave.  There are open showers and bathrooms onsite as well as a games room but I didn't peak in so I'm not sure what's in there.  There are 3 pools (Adult, main & kids) and a hot tub.  Now I guess because we aren't summer, the pools are not heated.  They are at ice cube temperature which was a bit disappointing since it's so warm out.  The hot tub on the other hand is actually hot, like relaxing Mommy bath tub temperature, almost too hot for the kiddies but they were okay.  

After a few hours and no one joining us at all, we moved along to the kids playground (also gated and locked).  The first thing I noticed was the ground cover which was black bits..of recycled tire.  It was very spongy. I've heard of this idea probably over 15 years ago, wonder why it never took off in Canada? Maybe the tire is too hard when it's cold? Again we were the only ones here but the thing I like about this FOB land of fun is that the gate is LOCKED.  No one (aka Mason) can get out and no creepy guys can get in.  I applaud this secure area.

If you are interested in renting a VBRO in Disneyland, here is the link and feel free to leave a comment if you want more information! This suite is listed on the VBRO site and is distinguishable from the pictures.  Tell them I sent you!

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