Hi! I’m MickeyTravels Agent Genevieve Buck and I love helping families turn Disney magic into reality. I just got back from a trip to Disneyland in California and I have so much to share! Read on for my highlights from this wonderful trip.
Disneyland: Small but Mighty in Anaheim, CA
Disneyland has a special type of magic because it’s actually the original park. It is the only park Walt Disney himself stepped foot in. In fact, not far from Disneyland is Griffith Park, where he dreamed up the idea of a family-friendly amusement park. As someone who is passionate about all things Disney, it was amazing to be so close to where history was made!
Disneyland is a must visit for any Disney fan. While it’s smaller than Florida’s Disney World, it has its own character and fun. Disneyland opened in 1955 and its second park, California Adventure, opened in 2001. The two parks are within walking distance of each other and host some of my family’s favorite rides!
Where to Stay: Soaking Up the Extra Magic Hours
Picking where to stay is always fun! Disney currently has three on-property resorts, soon to be four. But unlike Walt Disney World there are a lot of good neighbor hotels that are very close to the park entrance. Yet even though these nearby hotels can be wonderful, there are serious benefits to staying at a Disney resort. Every day, one of the two parks opens an hour early just for guests of Disneyland resorts! Especially being from the east coast, we were up bright and early so it was easy to take advantage of these Extra Magic Hours while we were there. Enjoy less crowds at your favorite rides and scope out the park for the rest of the day. If you’re lucky enough to stay at Disney’s Grand Californian, you will also have your own entrance to Disney’s California Adventure Park!
Maximize Your Experience with MaxPass
You can now enhance the magic of Disneyland with the use of the Disneyland App. On the app, unlock the MaxPass and get tons of benefits like FASTPASS for your favorite rides and PhotoPass for unlimited downloads of your favorite park photos. For $10 a day, MaxPass really helped us see and enjoy the parks to their fullest. Check out my rundown on rides at each park to see when I recommend using FASTPASS.
Disney’s California Adventure Park
Since we stayed at the Grand Californian, we enjoyed our own entrance to California Adventure. This private entrance fed us right into Cars Land, an absolutely jaw dropping part of the park. I felt like I had stepped into the movie itself! While we walked down the street, Lighting McQueen drove down the road, pulled into the Cozy Cone (yes they have the Cozy Cone and it
is awesome), and took pictures with fans big and small. We hit up the ride, Radiator Springs Racers, and got an amazing view of all of Cars Land. I recommend FASTPASS for this ride as it’s very popular and very worth it.
Riding Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout! is a must in Hollywood Land. While I don’t want to give away too many details, I will say the special effects are amazing there is a really fun, big drop! This ride is perfect for teens and adults who want a good thrill. It’s also a good one for a FASTPASS as there is always a line.
It was fun to walk into Disneyland and see the big castle. This castle is actually Sleeping Beauty’s and, while it’s a little smaller than Cinderella’s in Florida, it has tons of charm. We got to actually walk through the castle and take a tour of the Sleeping Beauty story. It’s was so neat to see all those stunning details!
Disneyland has some of the same rides as the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, but with their own spin. My family loved spotting the differences in rides like It’s a Small World, Splash Mountain and Space Mountain. It was also fun to ride brand new (to us) rides like Indiana Jones, The Matterhorn Bobsleds or Nemo’s Submarine Journey. I would recommend FASTPASS for all and any of those rides as they are too much fun and everyone knows it!
Overall, I was consistently struck with the magic within all of it. From seeing a young girl react to seeing Nemo from the inside of a submarine to finding treasures with Indy in the Temple of Doom, Disney was at its best here in California.
What would a post on something Disney-related be without mentioning the food? There is a reason Disney is known for its food and Disneyland and California Adventure Park fall right in line.
In Cars Land, we loved the Cozy Cone! It is not a hotel like in the movie, but each cone is a quick service window. They have popcorn, ice cream, or even mac and cheese in cone shapes.
On Main Street in Disneyland, we enjoyed sandwiches and salads at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe. Of course we left with dessert, too but it was so nice to have a fresh and healthy lunch in the warm California sun! To keep the healthy vibe going, there are a myriad of carts around both parks that sell fruit cups and more in perfect snack sizes.
Yet, if vacation food is what you’re after, vacation food is easy to find! From chicken fingers to french fries to the most amazing desserts, these parks have it all. The Matterhorn Macaroon was to die for!
Make Your Disneyland Dream A Reality
Disneyland, California Adventure park and the entire group of Disneyland resorts have a lot to offer. Now through September 3, 2018 is Pixar Fest, where you can celebrate everything Pixar from Toy Story to the new Incredibles film. In June a new Pixar Pier opens and in 2019 Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens!!
With all the exciting things happening and coming soon I would love to chat more and help plan your trip, since a trip to California takes a different Disney approach. Contact me and we can start today!