After almost 5 years without a real vacation we decided it was time to change that. So for our 6 year wedding anniversary we decided that it was time to visit Disneyland.
Nick and I both love Disney and never been out to the parks in Cali so we were psyched that it was going to finally happened. Of course I wasn’t thrilled about the 5 hour flying part — but I am soooo glad that I did it.
We decided to stay on property as our main goal was to just spend every second possible in Disneyland. Compared to the Orlando properties — Disneyland has a limited selection of resorts to stay. We decided to stay at Disney’s Grand California Resort and truly loved everything about it.
The Cast Members in the lobby were amazing and really made us feel at home. As we got there early and our room wasn’t ready we left our bags at the hotel, purchased our 3-day tickets (which later that night we upgraded to 4-day), and went straight to Disneyland.
One awesome perk about checking in early was that once the room was ready they just text you your room number and then send your bags up to the room. Love how that saves time and allows for more park time. :)
So the ongoing joke with friends was that I was going to cry the entire time during this trip. Well, it turns out that this wasn’t a joke.
I did lots of research of things to do, park history, places to eat, must see attractions — but nothing could prepare me for all the emotions that I felt the second we walked on property.
The second we got near the park I had so many emotions running through me. There was something so special to be standing in the park where it all started. It was the place that Walt Disney dreamt about and then made it into a reality. A place where Disney legends were born.
Knowing that Walt Disney and so many of the Disney legends had been there with a vision and then actually created the things I was touching really blew my mind.
Its hard to really explain everything I felt. I am not sure if it even makes sense — but I think that anyone who has some sort of connection and love for Disney would feel what I felt.
Honestly it took us a while to make it through the gates and into Main Street because of my constant urge to cry in the middle of the park and take all the pictures.
(Spoiler Alert: I cried this entire trip.)
And the second I saw that castle with the Partner Statue — the waterworks went into to full gear. The tears were of pure happiness. For some reason I never actually thought we would go to Disneyland due to my fear of flying, but the second I saw that beautiful castle and everything around it I knew that it was all well worth it.
The first day was so magical! We first headed into Tomorrowland then spent the other portion of the day in Fantasyland. Luckily the lines weren’t too crazy as it was a weekday and we got to ride a lot of things we’ve never done.
The Submarine Voyage was definitely and fun experience as that no longer exists in the Orlando parks. Also, the dark rides (these are the indoor rides) were amazing! The craftsmanship and attention to details in all these attractions was perfection.
But nothing was as perfect as “It’s a Small World”. I’ve always loved the Small World ride in Orlando because its one of my few memories from the Disney parks when I was a kid. For some reason that ride stuck with me. It’s something special for me.
So the second we spotted Small World in Disneyland I sort of lost it. The ride in Disneyland is the original version. It was created for the World’s Fair by Walt Disney and his Imagineers. Mary Blair was part of this project and she designed the look and feel for this ride. Knowing that I was so close to a ride designed and touched by these two means the world to me. Of course Nick had to record the entire ride for me while I sat next to him in tears and just saying “this is so beautiful” in-between my sobbing. #noshame
Besides all the crying, we also ate all the delicious things. Before getting there we decided to share all the meals and food items we got so this way we could actually try a little bit of everything we wanted without over doing it. Definitely a solid move and highly suggest it when you visit any of the parks.
I just had 2 reservations made for the entire trip as I didn’t want to schedule a bunch of things as we aren’t huge planners and wanted to just go with it at the parks.
The first day there we did enjoy “Blue Bayou” in New Orleans Square. And just like everyone had mentioned to me — the food was good (not amazing) but the ambiance of the place really makes it all worth it.
Our meal was tasty but it was a bit pricey. But as we shared an appetizer and entree it wasn’t too bad. But I did love how this restaurant (which is indoors) makes you feel like you are eating under the stars in old New Orleans.
Besides Small World and all of Fantasyland, I also really enjoyed The Haunted Mansion. During this time of year (Sept) the attraction is updated with a Nightmare Before Christmas story line and it was so good! Make sure to check it out if you are there during the Halloween season. Worth the wait!
The rest of the night was spent walking, taking photos, eating snacks, enjoying rides, and then watching the new parade and firework show that projects over on Main Street. This was everything.
Nick didn’t cry (perhaps I cried enough for both of us) but he did love it all. We were both in awe at how beautiful the park is. We also loved how you can spot lots old photos from Walt Disney himself — the park is filled with history and they make sure you are aware of that. Its a beautiful thing.
The nighttime firework show also featured some clips of Walt Disney himself and then a full on lantern scene from Tangled (my favorite scene of course) so the waterworks were strong throughout the show.
We then ended each night at Hearthstone Lounge, which was located at our resort. It was an excellent way to relax after all the walking we did every day.
Even though the parks are “small” in comparison to WDW in Florida, it still consists of lots of walking and stand so be sure to wear comfy shoes. I’m glad that I did.
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The next day we got to experience Disney’s California Adventure (DCA), which I will be sharing in the second part of our vacation post as this one already has plenty of photos and got a bit longer than I expect. ;)
(Photos by Meli & Nick)