I’m so excited to share our Disneyland recap with all of you today! I hinted to Justin that I wanted to go on a family trip to Disneyland for my 40th birthday and was shocked to find out (on Christmas Day!) that he decided to reach out and had planned the most EPIC trip to Disneyland for us!! I was SO excited to go and experience this magical place with our little family!
To be honest, I really didn’t have a hankering to go to Disneyland UNTIL we had kids but what I didn’t know then is just how much I would LOVE it. Honestly, I had the most incredible time (I could cry just thinking about it as I type this blog!) and it’s true when they say Disneyland is the most magical place ON EARTH. Disneyland Resort in California has 100+ Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel attractions spread across TWO incredible Theme Parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park!
I was AMAZED at how polite everyone is from the guests to each and every single Cast Member. Everyone was so nice and respectful and always going above and beyond. Even though there are a ton of people in one area, everyone is so patient and excited!
It wasn’t just the people in Disneyland that blew me away … it was also the DETAILS. The details are mind-blowing. They are everywhere … every single little detail has been thought of and executed. For example, when we were standing in line for one of our favourite rides (more on this later!), Peter Pan’s Flight, I was looking around, soaking everything in and I happened to look up at Snow White’s Scary Adventure Ride and noticed this window … as I was watched the curtain of the window opened and there was The Evil Witch opening up and closing the curtains!!
Since I noticed that little detail I made sure I was off my phone and that the entire family was present in the moment! We were chatting with other people in line and we were ALWAYS on the lookout for more fun details as we waited in line for the rides! I honestly think they add these little extra details for this reason! I’m a creative kid at heart so I was BOUNCING off the walls! I kept saying to all of the cast members “I hope people notice and appreciate all of these little details!” … LOL! I was just a wee bit excited!
No matter where we went the details did not go unnoticed … there are so many different areas and themes throughout the park and it will BLOW YOUR MIND when you enter them … they literally thought of EVERYTHING. From the bathrooms to the food courts, everything is on theme! I felt like I was transported to a completely different world that was free of worry and anxiety, I was so enthralled and excited about everything around me that only positive thoughts and memories filled my brain!
Needless to say, Disneyland Resort EXCEEDED my expectations (so much so that I CRIED when we met Minnie Mouse! LOL!). I would LOVE to go back again when both kids are old enough to remember ALL of the pure magic and also so that they are both tall enough to try out even more rides! If anyone out there is planning a trip to Disneyland, I thought it would be fun to share our tips with you along with a list of our favourite rides!
Our Favourite Tips
1. Book your hotel on the property
I would definitely suggest staying in one of the three Disneyland Resort hotels (Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disneyland Hotel & Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel) as you are basically a 5-minute walk from the theme park this way and you can pop back to the hotel if need be to lay the kiddo’s down for a nap! To be honest, though, we napped the kids in the stroller when we were walking around! We made sure to bring our Bugaboo with the skateboard and seat attachment so we could swap them out if one of the kids was tired! However, one day we did bring them back to the hotel and they napped for about 2.5-3 hours!
Also, Disneyland Resort is located in Anaheim (not Los Angeles) and is approximately 45 minutes from LAX Airport so it’s an easy trek right from the airport directly to your hotel there and back!
2. Download the Disneyland App
I recommend downloading the Disneyland App and learning as MUCH as you can prior to your first day! The app allows you to do so much such as check wait times, locate your favourite characters, and even pre-order food!! We didn’t sit down and eat much with the kids because as soon as we stopped to sit down they were both taking off in different directions so instead, I ordered our meals ahead of time through the app and they would be ready for us once we got there!
While we tried to eat mainly plant-based when we were there we found that since we were eating on the go 99.9% of the time, we ate quite a few churros and turkey dogs! I also made sure to bring our Munchie Mugs for the kids and I filled them up with snacks every day so we were constantly snacking on the go! If you are looking for the best places to get vegan food in Disneyland, make sure to check out the Happiest Vegan on Earth’s blog post that lists her faves, here!
Food Tip: Try the Ronto Wrap from Ronto Roasters at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge because not only is it vegan but it is also MIND-BLOWING DELICIOUS!!!
Also, if you have the app, I suggest to take advantage of the Disney FASTPASS service and spend less time waiting in line for popular attractions and entertainment. Plus, the new MaxPass is a digital tool that allows you to book FASTPASS on your smartphone. They are a bit of an investment so make sure to get them early to get the best bang for your buck!
3. Plan the night before
There is so much to see and do in Disneyland that you’ll want to plan your days the night before. In addition to all of the rides, there are also fireworks shows, parades, Broadway-style musicals (you can catch Frozen-live at the Hyperion!), Character Meet & Greets, Mickey-shaped foods, and SO MUCH MORE! You can access all of the park hours, entertainment schedules and more via the app!
4. Look out for all of the details
As I mentioned above, I would try to stay off your phone as MUCH as possible while you’re there because there are SOOOOOO many little details surrounding you! Keep your eyes peeled and stay in the moment as much as you can!
5. Eat the churros!
I don’t think I need to say much more than this. Their churros are amazing … I’m pretty sure we ate them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner one day … LOL!
6. Get to the park early and start exploring from the back of the park to the front
This is one of my favourite Disneyland hacks! Try to get to the park as early as possible and start making your way through the park from BACK TO FRONT! So many people start at the front and work their way back but if you do it backwards the lines tend to less busy and once you’ve made your way through – you are at the front of the park!
7. Bring your own water bottles and stay hydrated
We brought our own water bottles with us so we could stay hydrated throughout the day (considering how much walking you do in a day!!) and it also helps with the waste component as well!
8. Wear comfy shoes
Speaking of walking … I would HIGHLY suggest packing a few pairs of comfy shoes! I brought three different pairs of comfy sneakers and I wore a different pair each day so my feet didn’t get too sore! In one day we walked around 20k steps! It helps burn off those churros! LOL!
While we couldn’t go one some of the rides because of Leo’s height (he’s just short of 38 inches and there are some rides that have a 40-inch height restriction!) we still found there were endless rides for both Leo and Annie to go on! So, no need to worry if your kiddos aren’t 40 inches tall, you can still find plenty of great rides for everyone!
One other thing for the parents to note, you can’t bring your stroller in the lineups so I would recommend bringing a small bag or a fanny pack to carry your valuables with you! We parked our stroller in the stroller parking area (there are LOTS of them!) and we were never worried about anything going missing, we left our stroller and a few items there for sometimes over an hour and I never felt worried about it!
Speaking of strollers, the only thing I wish I would have brought with us was our Bugaboo double stroller! We had heard that double strollers weren’t allowed in Disneyland but it turns out they just have a max-width when it comes to double strollers so we totally could have brought ours! Had we brought our double stroller both kids could have napped at the same time and we could have stayed out later and gone for dinner but since we didn’t have this we had to go back early to give them a break.
If you have kids 5 and under I would recommend finding a double stroller that fits within the width requirements as the park doesn’t really close until midnight and there is so much fun to be had! Justin and I argued that this would have changed everything and I have to admit, I was right and he was wrong! LOL!!!
Peter Pan’s Flight
Hands down our favourite ride!
Luigi’s Rollickin Roadsters
Leo was over the moon!
Radiator Springs Racers
I would suggest booking this ride first thing in the morning because it’s so popular! Even if you book it in the morning you might not get on the ride until the evening!
We wanted to go on this ride as a family but found out that Leo was just an inch too short so Justin went on it alone and when he got off he was RAVING about it and told me I had to try it! I went on it later that evening and it was MIND BLOWING!! Soooo good!
It’s A Small World
A staple Disneyland ride!
Mad Tea Party
Aka the Teacup ride which we went on about 5 times!
Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
Brought back so many memories!
Guardians of the Galaxy
I went on this alone and it was AMAZING! This is a ride for taller kids or adults! Also, make sure to book this one first thing in the morning!
For taller kids or adults only! I went on this by myself, I was SCREAM LAUGHING the entire time! It was so exhilarating and so scary fun!
Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue
This was when we realized Annie is “Boo” … LOL!
Indiana Jones Adventure
For taller kids or adults only!
The Jungle Cruise
The kids loved seeing all of the animals along this fun cruise!
There you have it! I hope you found this blog helpful and that you’re now feeling inspired to take your little family for a magical experience!! If you have been to Disneyland before, PLEASE share your favourite tips, tricks, and rides, in the comments section below!