This month we took our little family of six to Disneyland.
How did I forget the magic of Disneyland?
People talk about the Disney magic all of the time. And you nod and remember your childhood and the smell and sounds of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Sure, it was magical. But it is also really hot. And expensive. And you think of those long lines! And you'll probably get sick from riding the teacups.
So you think to yourself, "We will just go to the beach instead."
Well, friends. I have changed my tune. I am whistling "It's a Small World After All" on repeat. And learned a few things.
You may know these things already, but here is what we learned with two days at Disneyland and California Adventure:
- Eat granola bars or something light, but filling, before you go into the park. The first few hours are the best for rides, so no time to stop and eat.
- Go early. If you stay in one of the Disneyland hotels, you can get in an HOUR earlier. It's tempting to sleep in when you have a Disney hotel, but DON'T. Get in the park early, trust me.
- Utilize the fast pass. It took us about four hours to really figure out how to use it, but once we did, we were all about the fast pass. (some great articles about it are HERE, HERE, and HERE)
- Keep a water bottle or two in your backpack and keep refilling that sucker at the water fountains. Don't buy new ones. Stay hydrated.
- Don't put your seven-year-old son in the front seat of Splash Mountain at the beginning of your first day. They will get soaked. And they will be mad. Not worth it. We went three (or four) times on Splash Mountain and determined that the fourth and fifth seats are the driest. You're welcome. And also, go on Splash Mountain first thing in the morning and after 9 pm. It is still as fun as you remember.
- If you get dizzy easily (ahem, hand raised), don't go on the spinning teacups to have a fun memory with your family. Don't do it. You WILL get dizzy. And you will remain dizzy for the next few hours, which makes all of the fun eating less fun. Just take pictures of your family enjoying the teacups.
- Only buy a churro if it is made fresh right there when you are waiting. I hate to be a killjoy, but otherwise you will be disappointed.
- Do eat the Mickey Raspberry Macarons at the Jolly Holiday. I went back for another.
- Also, the food at California Adventure is fantastic. The Groot bread (get it early, it sells out fast), the Spider-Man spider bite donut (like a cronut with frosting!), the Obviously Nachos at Knowhere Eats in Hollywood Land were all fantastic. I'm still regretting not trying a macaroni and cheese cone, a corn dog, the clam chowder in sourdough bowl, the Clarabelle's ice cream bars... I guess I need to go back on a Moms Eat Through Disneyland Trip. Wouldn't that be AMAZING?
- The Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! was hilarious. I laughed so hard the entire ride. Like, laughed so hard that eventually no noise was even coming out of my mouth. It had me feeling elated for an hour after. Apparently people have one of three reactions: laughter, crying, or no noise at all. Nothing in between.
- I get now why people wait in lines to meet the characters. They are a gas! Totally generous with their time and attention. The kids LOVED meeting Black Widow—she was rad.
- Another plus about staying at a Disneyland hotel is the hot afternoon break. We were able to stay at the Grand Californian and it was HEAVENLY. They recently renovated their rooms and are finishing renovations on the main areas. We were all mesmerized with the details and beauty. You've been up since 6:30 am, so get back to your rooms about 3 pm. Take a nap. Take a shower (the showers are dreamy). Go swimming in their heavenly pool with slides, ice cold water stations to catch up and drink so you don't get dehydrated, and there are artists drawing Disney characters in water on the pool decking! The details, I tell you! Then you grab a little dinner at the hotel, or go back in the park, all rested, and then ROUND TWO of rides begins. We stayed in the parks until midnight both nights because we could and because the rides were so less crowded. We often got right on to most rides after 10:30. This is why you needed the nap earlier.
- Sunblock. Sunglasses. Hat. You do wait in lines and sometimes there isn't shade, so you'll be glad for that extra protection and the water bottle in your backpack. Oh, and lip balm.
During the afternoon of day 2, my 11 year-old son grabbed my hand and said, "I don't want to go home." I leaned down and said, "Me neither, kid." It was seriously magic.
What are your best tips and tricks for Disneyland? Do you go often or ever with your family?
[Note: this post is sponsored by Disneyland, but all experiences, thoughts, opinions, and views are 100% my own]