Last month we surprised the girls with a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth: DISNEYLAND! It was actually my parents’ idea, as we were visiting them in Palm Springs for my birthday and they thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take a road trip, seeing as we were already so close (about 2.5 hours driving). I was a little hesitant because Madeleine (just recently turned 2 years) still takes a pretty solid afternoon nap every day and I knew we would have to push her through the day and skip her beloved (and much needed) naps for 2 days in a row. We decided to just take the leap and I am SO glad we did!
We spent our first day at Disney California Adventure Park because there is a whole section designated to “Frozen Fun”, and we all know how exciting anything Frozen is to preschoolers these days
As it turns out, Disney California Adventure Park was actually really great, especially for younger children. We had a really fun day wandering around the park that I actually didn’t know existed until we started looking into this trip a little more. When you get to the main Disneyland grounds, you can either go left into the original Disneyland park itself or, to your right, there is Disney California Adventure Park. You can even get what’s called a Park Hopper pass (an additional $40) to be able to go back and forth between the two parks. That’s what I would suggest if you’re working with limited time. Otherwise, what we did was go to one park one day and another the second day and that worked fine for us as well!
If you don’t bring your own stroller, I highly recommend renting one when you pay for your passes at the front gates. The cost is $15 per day and he pickup/dropoff is so super easy. They strollers are very clean and in great condition. We were able to push around our little Madeleine who was a trooper and missed naps both days but was still such a good little nugget. The nice thing is that at the end of the day, when you are about the leave the grounds, you empty your stroller of your personal belongings and just park it anywhere within the gates and it gets collected for you by staff at the end of the evening.
While there was so much to do for the kids, we adults also got to ride some of the ‘big kid’ rides and I was reminded of how much I love rollercoasters and feeling ‘safely’ afraid Here’s Brian and I on California Screamin’. I may not appear to be screaming all that much in this photo, but I’m pretty sure I screamed very loud the entire ride. So much fun!
A highlight for the girls was Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, where we rode in clam shells and enjoyed the re-creation of The Little Mermaid.
Of course, the biggest highlight of the trip was getting to meet THE Anna and Elsa in their castle.
We stayed one night at the Hilton Embassy Suites which worked perfectly for us. We had adjoining rooms with my parents, so it felt like one big living space and we were about 10 minutes from Disneyland. We got up the next morning, enjoyed our complimentary breakfast and headed back to enjoy all that Disneyland had to offer. Seeing as the nightly fireworks display at Disneyland ins’t until about 10pm, we were excited to find out our hotel room had a perfect view of the show! This is what we got to watch while the girls slept soundly!
We (especially my dad, who took this on as his mission to figure out and carry out) strongly recommend using the FASTPASS service at both Disney Parks!
SOME of the most desired attractions at both parks have a kiosk at the entry. My dad made his way around the park first thing in the morning to get FASTPASS tickets for the rides and attractions we didn’t want to miss out on. You simply enter your groups park admission tickets into the kiosk and you receive your tickets back as well as passes for the chosen attraction for a specific range in time (ie. 1:00pm-1:40pm). You can then go and see other attractions or have a meal and when you return during your allotted time you breeze through the line. The FASTPASS tickets are available on a first come, first-served basis and are FREE! Here is a list of rides and attractions that offer the FASTPASS service. It is SO worth it. We were skipping lines with hundreds of people. We decided there is really no other way to do a lineup at Disney than with a FASTPASS!
I don’t have any pictures, because I had my phone away to enjoy the moment, but It’s a Small World is a perfect ride for all ages and will forever be my favourite stop at Disneyland. I remember it from when I was really young and it was so special to take the slow boat ride with my own children!
We got to see and do A LOT in the 2 days we were there. We knew we wouldn’t make it to every ride and attraction, but we took our time and really soaked in the experience! With a 4 year old and 2 year old, we weren’t focussed as much on packing everything in as we were on enjoying the wonder of the experience through Portia and Madeleine. It was truly magic and I cannot wait to get back there again sometime soon!