Disneyland was... you guessed it --- magical. It was the first time any of us had been there and it didn't disappoint. I went to Disney World when I was in 8th grade. That's back when I was homeschooled you guys! That trip was so memorable. I actually made a scrapbook for it, which speaking of that, I should totally find that to share with you guys. I can only imagine how tightly my hair was pulled back into a ponytail.
I remember that trip to Disney World pretty well, but what I remember the most was that it was a really special trip for our family. One that we still talk about memories from to this day. So I was excited to go to Disneyland in California with our little family for that exact reason - to make memories. And whether those memories were of us going on rides, or Sunny having her first cookie, or whatever it was, just spending time together is what I was really looking forward to. I tried really hard not to have expectations of what those memories would be because amusement parks are often long days with kids, and strollers, and treats, and so much going on. So letting go of any "it's gotta be this way!" or "we better get THAT photo" made our time so much more enjoyable.
There are two parks at Disneyland and we spent our first day at Disneyland Park. This was the original park built back in 1955, whereas California Adventure Park was built in the 1990's. Disneyland Park has the teacups rid, Small World, the Dumbo ride, and loads of other attractions than you can see in our Disneyland recap video. It was a really fun day and we were fortunate to have T.J.'s Mom, his sister, Sam (and her family), and our friend Matt, along with us too! Sam’s family has season passes so they knew all the good spots and rides that were just right for our kids. Like, we never would have tried this amazing southern fried chicken restaurant had they not been with us and recommended it. The highlight of day one for me was probably giving Sunny her first cookie ever and taking her on her first ride.
On day two we went to California Adventure Park -- which has all of the Pixar attractions and the giant Mickey Ferris wheel. This side of the park didn't feel as "little kid" oriented, but that was okay because we loved walking around Cars Land and all of the little worlds from our favorite movies in real life. Seeing all of the incredible detail Disney puts into everything they do in so inspiring!
June and I shared a Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwich and went on the Monsters Inc ride together. Oh! And she and I stood in line to meet Elsa, which was very exciting. June loved her sparkly "ice" dress.
We took a bunch of photos in front of the Ferris wheel as a family and this very nice girl took some of them for us with my camera, which was so kind! June was quite tired at this point in the day and totally had a moment where she just laid down on the gross bubble gum covered sidewalk because she "couldn't even" anymore.
We bought our Disney passes through the hotel we stayed at and got a great deal. We stayed at the HoJo Anaheim Hotel which was right down the street from the entrance to the parks. It was super easy to walk back and forth from the parks to the hotel. In fact all three days I headed back from the park earlier than everyone else so I could put Sunny down for bed. I loved staying so close to the parks and would highly recommend doing that if you ever go.
Because the price was so good for three days instead of just two, we tacked on the third day and went back to Disneyland for day three. We rode some of the rides we'd missed on the first day, ate more churros and enjoyed our time in the warm weather.
Our room at the hotel was the perfect companion to our magical day at Disneyland. With bunk beds, a super nice shower, a huge comfy bed for T.J. and I, and even a water park attached to the hotel, it's no wonder we stayed an extra few days after our park days were done.
If you're looking to take a trip to Disneyland Parks with your family anytime soon here's what we'd recommend --- stay nearby (like at HoJo), only do one park a day, definitely try all the delicious food they have (like DoleWhip!) and make memories with your family without any expectations.
This post was sponsored in part by the Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel & Water Playground. As always, all opinions are our own. :)