As we walked into the park I saw this quote and thought there really is just something about going to Disneyland that is so special and exciting, you really do feel like you put away any life stresses at that moment and just take in all the sites and fun around you….. it had been 7 years since we were at the park so it made it even more special!
Our day started early! 5am early. Us parents woke up first and then we got the girls up about 5:30. We planned on making breakfast sandwiches before heading out to save on at least one meal for the day! The girls eat and finish getting ready, we have them pack extra warm clothes, a sweater, and pajamas for the trip home. They both take a blanket and their head phones to listen to their music and sleep on the way out. We got out the door about 6:30am and arrived at Disneyland a little before 8. It wasn’t crowded yet woohoo! Parking went smoothly and we grabbed the tram ride to the park! We read it is best to buy tickets online or before hand but since we had gift cards it was a little more difficult so we opted to buy them at the park. The lines for tickets weren’t long at all but the wait was! It probably set us back almost 30 minutes and that was with only 3 small families ahead of us. So take the tip and buy before if you can!
We went with the one day park hopper and also went ahead and bought the Disney maxpass that allows you to save fastpasses for the rides right from your phone for all your ticket holders and you get the photos that the park takes downloaded right to you. You do have to download their app but it is really convenient and easy to use. As a family we only waited in 2 lines for family photos but they turned out good and it was 2 more than what we would have taken with all 4 of us in the picture! We also got a couple from the ride photos too, and the fast passes came in handy, for the busier rides we were able to just walk on up and waited no more than a couple minutes to get on, it beat the heck out of the 45 minutes everyone else had to wait.
Even with our little set back getting tickets we were able to get into Disneyland and tackled a whole bunch of rides before it got busy, we were so surprised and seriously relieved we got to ride as many rides as we did in the amount of time we were there. All together between Disneyland and California Adventure we rode 14 rides! With multiple times on California adventures new Incredicoaster. 10 of the rides were at Disneyland and the other 4 at California Adventure. We had done about 8 rides between 8:30am and 11:30am with a pit stop for the dole whip stand before heading over to California Adventure to get some lunch.
As we got over to California adventure and made it to the pier area for lunch our youngest started to be feel tired, the sun was out by now and she can be sensitive to the heat, so we got her to drink a good amount of water, she ate her lunch and took a little rest, since we did get up so early and already walked about 10,000 steps we figured she was exhausted. As for lunch our oldest and my husband got a clam chowder soup in a bread bowl as well as a Waldorf salad also served in a bread bowl both being super yummy! Also side not if some don’t know California Adventure does serve beer and offers other drinks like margaritas and sangria, they also had a restaurant were you can wine taste, so fancy 😎. For my youngest she had a kids taco meal from the Mexican style restaurant and I had grilled fish tacos, both came with rice and beans and tasted great! We also thought the price was pretty reasonable and didn’t have to hassle with leaving the park. This was the first time we’ve made as many food stops during a trip, but we wanted to pack light and not carry a bunch of food in with us and try stuff we never gotten too before😊. Our youngest trooped through the rest of the afternoon, but didn’t have that excited I’m at Disneyland momentum she had when we first got there. I was bummed I wanted her to enjoy it more, she was the birthday girl we were celebrating after all! So we took it a little more easy the rest of the day. She did get a birthday pin and lots of people wished her happy birthday, she got a little shy but smiled every time.
Both girls traded a few pins, I was proud of them for asking and exchanging. Katie was pretty sure she lost one along the way somewhere but a really nice couple had given her one of theirs without trading so she left with the same amount she came in with which made her very happy. I was also pleasantly surprised with the amount of healthier snack items throughout the parks. At one point I got a nice big green apple and my oldest opted for the sliced apples with caramel dipping sauce, but they also had hummus and pretzels, guacamole and chips dip, bananas, whole pickles, fruit cups and a few other options that were easily accessible at many places. We were also able to meet up with some friends that happen to be going in the evening for a bit and the kids got to go on the incredicoaster together. Katie opted out of the roller coaster on this trip a little too scary for her, but Chloe and I thought it was great, Chris thought it was alright not the smoothest but still good.
We had some dinner at Flo’s Cafe in California adventure, we checked out the food earlier and knew we would be eating more so in California Adventure then the Disneyland Park, there was just more options. I was still pretty full from lunch so I had some veggies and a couple fries, girls had cheeseburgers and the husband had a Cobb salad. I also tried their Sangria since I can’t have any of the yummy beers due to be gluten free 😒, but the sangria was good, this one looks like a glass of red wine on ice, still it was pretty good but not something I would look forward to having to have again. Maybe California Adventure can look into carrying some gluten free beers or ciders, that would be cool!
Before leaving we stopped for some dessert. The girls got mint and chip ice cream and we caught a little part of a parade. We tried to leave before it was over to avoid the crowds of people leaving but that didn’t work out so well and leaving was crazy, so many people! I really enjoyed how most of the day it wasn’t so packed but the parks started really fill up about 4 in the afternoon and waits were long for a lot of the rides. We were thankful we did most rides before that. We never waited in line for any ride more than 5 minutes our whole day, I couldn’t have asked for anything better for our day except other than for our birthday girl to have felt better.
Both kids fell asleep all the way home, we didn’t make it to the park closing we were all tired and left just about 9:15pm or so. Still made for a long but fun day!
Overall and I may not be accurate on all the ride names but for Disneyland we did The Rocket Ride, Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters, Star Tours with a fastpass but at the time it was almost not even needed, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Indian Jones with Fastpass, all of those were before 12 o’clock! And before the park became more crowded. We came back later in the afternoon to take the Railroad around the park and see if there was anything else we wanted to try and do. As it was a special event day and Disneyland closed at 7pm for us the ride times for anything were just too long so the last one we rode but could of done without was Mr. Toad’s wild ride.
For California Adventure we rode the new Incredicoaster quite a few times with fastpass each time Little mermaid (we basically walked right in for this one), Radiator Springs Races with fastpass, and then Soarin with a fastpass. 14 rides total and used the fastpass about 8 times, and got some good pictures too, the 10 dollar extra per ticket really was worth it for us on this one day trip we had, I would get it again!
The next morning our kiddo still wasn’t up to par so we made it in for an urgent care trip(we still had more birthday fun planned for her) and needed to see what was going on and sure enough(insert mom guilt here) she tested positive for strep throat, no wonder why she was so much more tired at Disney and major birthday fun weekend bummer! She had it at the beginning of the month and had been doing good but the doctor said that most likely it never fully left her system. So another round we go with it and hopefully we can make it go away for good this time! She’s already doing much better and I wish we could go back and experience it all again! Throughout our day we contemplated turning our tickets into passes for maybe just us girls, but by the end of the day I had my fill for a while and just couldn’t see us getting great use out of them for the cost. Especially with it getting so crowded, the cost of parking is only included with the very top of the line pass which in no way is feasible…so until next time, whenever that will be! We did make some great memories and we had a very good time with our girls. I really think us going in with the low expectations and thinking we will only be able to ride a few rides during the day made for an even better experience then we could of thought.
**Real life stuff here with fun things planned and life throwing whatever in our way, it never fails! Thankfully Katie wasn’t miserable and worse in that we had to leave, she did enjoy the day it started off really good, and Indiana Jones was her favorite ride! I do feel terrible for trekking her around a park with those germs and never would have purposefully brought her if we had known. She spent the rest of the weekend resting, enjoying her stuffed animal Stitch souvenir and building legos at home.**