Disneyland, Wow! Where do I begin? Everything about Disney is dreamy and we fell in love with the magic of it all.
We had been planning an all-out trip to Disney for years now and it did not disappoint! I wanted to share all of my favorite photos and ALL.THE.THINGS. we did, saw and ate because truth be told, we had the best time. And I also wanted to document it all for my forever memories, it was by far the best family trip to date.
We knew we wanted to visit Disneyland in February because LOVE is in the air at the park and this AZ girl loves cold weather! The weather was chilly and the crowds were smaller, both wins in my book!
We decided on 3-day park-hopper tickets because we knew we wouldn’t make it back to Disney any time soon. We wanted to see and do it all, at a nice (no pressure) pace. We also wanted the flexibility to move between the two parks each day. We loved different aspects of each park so it was so great being able to wander both at different times during the day.
We also invested daily in the MaxPass through the Disney App – talk about helpful. We could watch the wait times all day from our phones and pick the rides in advance before walking over to look at the lines. Also, grabbing a FastPass was life changing, we bypassed all the long lines – it was incredible. My hubby and I also utilized ‘rider switch’ and bypassed the long lines and just switched each other at the ride entrance without waiting all over agin. It kept the day moving and allowed each of us to enjoy every ride! No one was left out.
Here is a little recap of our daily adventures at Disney!
THURSDAY, DAY 1: DISNEY! We spent the first day in Disney soaking up all of it’s glory – and boy did we! We spent 9am-8pm in the park, and thanks to our double stroller our girls could take breaks as needed, so we never had to leave the fun! We did it all! Rides, shows, yummy treats; we really felt like we accomplished a lot and loved every second of it!
FRIDAY, Day 2: CHARACTER BREAKFAST – CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE & MORE FUN AT DISNEYLAND
This was the day that we surprised the girls with their favorite princess dresses. They woke up to their dresses hanging and waiting for them, it was priceless and turned out to be such a fun addition to the day. They twirled around all day and acted like real princesses! My 3 year old is an Elsa-loving girly and she was so excited to be wearing her Elsa princess dress to the Frozen Show! Dressing up made it more real and brought the princess magic to life!
We started the morning off with our Disney buddies at Goofy’s Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel. If you haven’t done a character meal I totally recommend one, at least once! They feed you Mickey-themed-everything and watching the girls shriek with excitement as characters greeted them at our table was so much fun! They are extremely well done and a special memory to add to your trip!
After our breakfast we walked over to California Adventure to explore the park. It definitely has a different feel than Disneyland, but unique and special in its own way. I loved the woodsy feel of Bear Country and Cars Land is just like the movies… Walking through Radiator Springs is so REAL! We also found the shows in California Adventure to be top-notch! There is so much talent in Disney and well worth the watch.
A fun twist to our trip was meeting up with some good family friends who were also visiting Disney. After exploring for two days on our own, it was fun joining them for dinner in Downtown Disney and heading back over to Disneyland to do and see more together. The best of both worlds. Another full day of fun!
SATURDAY, DAY 3: PARK HOP’N AT IT’S FINEST
Our last and final day in the park was filled with all of our favorites between the two parks. We utilized our MaxPass and visited all of our must-do-again rides and go-to spots at each park. Day 3 was probably my favorite because it was the best of the best! We had beautiful chilly weather and by day 3 we felt so much gratitude for our 3 days with the girls in such a joyful place. We also got to meet up with our friends for half the day and share in eating more Mickey goodies, laugh a lot and of course raise our arms up on rides together… The little things! Day 3 was us wrapping up our amazing trip with a big red bow!
OUR FAVORITE PARK SNACKS:
Churros, Churros and Churros… Okay and the amazing Churro Funnel Cake at Hungry Bear (highly recommend!) / Chocolate Dipped Mickey Rice Krispie Treats / Corn Dogs / Mickey Pretzel / Cotton Candy / Mickey Cookies / Mickey Ice Cream Bar / Starbucks
Everything tastes better shaped like Mickey!
OUR FAVORITE RIDES:
Soarin’ Around The World (Loved by all four of us!) / CARS ride – Radiator Springs Racers (So good!) / Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (We went on this ride so many times I lost count, it was highly favored by all!) / Matterhorn Bobsleds / Dumbo Flying Elephants / Star Tours / Space Mountain / Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters / Indiana Jones / Jungle Cruise / Winnie The Pooh / The Little Mermaid / Goofy’s Sky School … Just to name a few! Haha
OUR FAVORITE SHOWS:
Mickey’s Soundsational Parade / Frozen / Disney Junior Dance Party / Tomorrowland DJ / Mickey’s Mix Magic / Red CarTrolley News Boys …I wish we could have seen them all!
HOTEL – Location, location, location.
This was probably the best decision we made for our trip. We stayed at the fabulous Courtyard Marriott Theme Park Entrance hotel and we were welcomed with class, comfort and close proximity to Disney. We walked less than 5 minutes to be inside Disney property with easy access to Downtown Disney, Disneyland and California Adventure. The room slept 6 with the bonus of built-in bunk beds, which literally made the girl’s trip. Our patio view was of Disneyland so we were able to watch the fireworks from our room – too cool! The hotel also features a water park that offers splashing water features with plenty of kiddie activities and 2 big water slides! It was too cool, and the pool was heated so we were able to enjoy it even in chilly February! We got to enjoy the jacuzzi at night and splashed around in the water park on our days off from Disney!
WHERE WE WENT IN DOWNTOWN DISNEY:
Dinner at Tortilla Jo’s / Benigets at Jazz Kitchen / Dinner at Napolini Pizzeria / Ice Cream at Salt & Straw / Starbucks – Of course! Definitely find time to wonder around Downtown Disney!
TIPS & TRICKS TO MAKE YOUR DISNEYLAND TRIP PURE MAGIC:
Invest in the MaxPass – It provides you with FastPass access to the front of the busiest lines which is totally worth it! But, you can also order food to bypass lines, check show times and track wait times on all the park rides and it collects all of your photos taken in the park! So many beneficial features – just download the Disney App!
Bring a stroller! Helpful for nap time on the go and also a great place to store extra clothes, snacks and your warm clothes in cooler months. There is stroller parking everywhere and it is a lifesaver if visiting with kiddos!
When you walk into Disneyland immediately visit Town Hall to pick up your 1st Visit button to wear around! Disney cast members will make you feel extra special throughout your time.
Pack plenty of water bottles, your kiddo’s favorite snacks and lunch… and then indulge in all of the Disney goodies! Everywhere you look there is a delicious Mickey-shaped snack calling your name, and they are all yummy, so I packed my lunch which in return made me feel better about grabbing a Disney yum anytime I saw one.
Take each day at your own pace, it isn’t a race and there is so much to see… So take the time to enjoy it and just do YOU!
Ask any of the balloon sellers if you can hold their collection of balloons for a photo. They will say YES!
Schedule in the shows and parades – they are SO worth it. My girls are still talking about them and I think they were some of my favorite moments in the parks. The Frozen show is Broadway worthy and Mickey’s Soundsational parade is spectacular!
Fireworks! If you are going to be in the park for a couple of days, stay late for the fireworks show at least one of the nights – it is so worth it.
Disney at night is a completely different experience. Go on some rides at night, it is almost better. Disney just does it right!
Amazon is your friend. I pre-purchased character autograph books, Mickey ears, and princess dresses so that we were ready for the fun before we got there. We never had to wait in lines or pay inflated prices for theses fun items.
Dress in Disney gear at least one of the days. Disney is one place where you can act and dress like a kid and feel good doing it – so embrace it and have fun! Also, wear a fanny pack, so helpful and easy to wear in the park! (“I’m bringing FANNY back – Yeah!!”) – JT shoutout!
So there you have it, to say it was a fun trip is an understatement! Our 6 year old daughter surprised us with a no-fear mindset and mastered every thrilling ride she could find, yes, even Guardians Of The Galaxy and the IncrediCoaster! While our 3 year old daughter was the epitome of Disney magic, floating and fluttering around the park with a permanent smile on her face and extreme excitement for everything she saw! Ahhh – the best!
Our drive home was so joyful as we reminisced on all the fun we had over the last few days. We came – we saw – we conquered the most magical place on earth with our girls and we have nothing but wonderful things to say. It was a trip for the memory books and the special times shared with our girls was truly priceless!
I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse. -Walt Disney
PIN ME FOR FUTURE DISNEY PLANNING!