UPDATED: Disneyland Resort: *TRIP REPORT* (Images will be added later)

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NikkiMouse's picture
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UPDATED: Disneyland Resort: *TRIP REPORT* (Images will be added later)

We got back from Disneyland last week and I am ready to go back again! When we were in the planning stages, I grew concerned when people kept saying how small it was compared to WDW, but this turned out to be a positive rather than a negative. My entire family loved--mostly--everything about the parks.

Day 1 (August 13th): We had a fairly early flight out of Newark (7:45am, which compared to our typical 5am flights to MCO seemed late). Got through the airport with no problems and the flight was fairly uneventful. I had a panic attack about 1/2 way through, but managed to calm myself down enough to watch a movie. Landed 20 minutes ahead of schedule and we were in the car by 11am Pacific time. On the way to Anaheim from LAX, we hit zero traffic. which we quickly found out was quite unusual. **Side note: I had not eaten before the flight or on the plane, so I grabbed a small wrap and a cup of strawberries in the airport and it was $18. The overall cost of California is where the mostly comes into our love for the trip.

Hotel information: We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Themepark Entrance and I can't even begin to tell you how pleased we were with our choice. The grounds are beautiful with a view of the Matterhorn and Space Mountain as well as a waterpark area that our family really enjoyed. Also,the rooms! They are huge with 2 queen beds and a bunk bed and 2 showers that made getting ready a breeze.

By the time we got to the hotel, my head was killing me, so we took about a 2 hour nap and all woke up feeling much better, so we showered and headed to the parks. I had read the walk about anywhere from 5-15 minutes. For us, it was definitely about 5 minutes, 7 if we hit the light on Harbor.

On the first day, I was the only one to purchase MaxPass in order to get the pictures. Disneyland was the first park we went to and we stopped to get some pictures done. I was thrilled to see Mickey and Snow White just walking around the entrance and taking pictures. It really seemed so magical to me. We ate at Pizza Planet (again...blown away by the prices! $39.99 for a whole pizza)

Since we did not pull FastPasses that day,we did not go on that many rides. Rode the train--the diorama was so nice--Haunted Mansion, and basically walked around taking it all in. We caught the Pixar Play parade and the headed over to California Adventure. Can we talk about the awesomeness of park hopping at DL?! In the upcoming days, there were a few days when we walked back and forth just to catch a FastPass that was available. We rode a couple smaller rides (Goofy's Sky School, Jumping Jellyfish and some things in Bug's Land and also grabbed some churros and ice cream. We then headed back to the resort around 9pm to watch the fireworks from the pool and then collapsed into bed. Tomorrow we are off to Los Angeles!

Day 2 (Los Angeles, California Adventure and Disneyland)

Today was an early start as we were getting picked up the Anaheim Tour Company at 9am. Luckily, with the time change, this did not feel quite as painful as it normally would have. We grabbed breakfast at Mimi's Cafe which was right in the parking lot of our hotel and was really yummy and reasonably priced. According to my husband, best muffins ever.
The tour company was right on time and it was just the three of us and a lovely couple from Wales who were traveling basically all of California. A little background on this tour: my husband really hates cities"we live 20 minutes from NYC and go once every 5 years maybe"but we were celebrating my daughter's 13th birthday, so we decided to go on a shorter tour to appease everyone. Leaving at 9am, we were right in the thick of Southern California traffic but we figured it was basically part of the experience! By the time, we got into the LA area, it was almost 11am, so we stopped at the Original Farmer's Market for an early lunch. It was wonderful. Produce, food stalls and vendors. My husband felt like going to California without eating fish tacos was a travesty, so that was his pick. My daughter and I were not lunch hungry yet, so we decided on donuts for her and flan for me. After that we stopped at Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills and then off to the Walk of Fame and to see the Hollywood sign, which was basically the only thing my daughter wanted to see anyway. She was beyond thrilled with taking pictures there and it really made her day. As it was a short tour, we started to head back to Anaheim around 2pm.

Naps and showers for everyone when we got back to the room"this would continue to be the trend most days as the afternoons were hot and humid. Once we took care of the relaxation, we headed back to the parks. First on our list that day was California Adventure where we spotted Oswald as soon as we walked in! We made a beeline to snag some pictures with him. BONUS: Oswald made kissing noises at me.

We did have MaxPasses for everyone today and were able to get on some of the bigger rides like the Incredicoaster and Grizzly River Run before stopping at Flo's V8 Cafe for dinner. We decided on this trip to mostly do quick service meals and Flo's was one of the best ones we had. After dinner, we took the long walk over to Disneyland where we had FastPasses for Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear already waiting for us. We were also able to get on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Dumbo, It's A Small World and the monorail that day. If you are heading to Disneyland, do not hesitate to purchase MaxPass; it really allowed us to ride almost every ride in both parks, some of them numerous times.

Day 3 (One day, 2 parks.... not quite as dramatic as the WDW version)
I assume we ate breakfast today, but not exactly sure what or where. I assume it was not very exciting. Both me and my daughter came down with horrible colds today and it was a rough go with the heat but we made it into California Adventure by 9am and ran right to Grizzly River Run. Rode with no FastPass with maybe a 10-minute wait. The free lockers by this ride are a great idea and helped to keep all our stuff dry as we navigated the rapids. After that, we looked around at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, which was a nice reprieve from the heat that was already fairly sweltering at 10am. My daughter and husband had FastPasses for Goofy's Sky School again whole I rode Little Mermaid on my own.
We started to explore Pixar Pier a bit, but there is no, and I mean no shade in that area of the park. Under normal circumstances, I do not do well in the heat mixed with the cold I had left me feeling horrible. I sat on a bench while the family went on Incredicoaster again (Thanks, MaxPass!). Lunch was at Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill where I had a refreshing salad. I was not feeling hot food at this point. The kid did not want Mexican and she settled on a bacon mac n' cheese cone from the Crazy Cone Motel. It looked delicious but it was very filling, so my husband got a 2nd lunch out of the deal.

Next FastPass was Radiator Springs Racers. It was fantastic...I am a huge fan of Test Track, but RSR blew it away. After that, it was time for our afternoon nap/pool/showers to get ready for the night ahead.

Now MaxPass, I was a little hesitant to pay $10 a person in order to acquire non-paper FastPasses, but I can't say enough how worth the extra money it is. First, it comes with PhotoPass, which we took advantage of by basically taking copious pictures whenever we saw a photographer, and, secondly, being able to hoard the passes from the comfort of my hotel room was fabulous. We made our first FastPass for DL as we got off RSR. Then we got to make another one an hour and change later and so on. By the time, we entered the gates of DL, we had 5 FastPasses ready to go: Space Mountain, Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin, Indianan Jones, Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder. In between our FastPasses, we took some time to look around a little more and jump on rides that did not have long waits.

Day 4 (Beach Day and my husband's entire reason for this trip)

We rented a car today from a local place right next to our hotel. Since we only had the car for one day, we tried to cram as much into as we could. First stop was Newport Beach where we ate at Ruby's Diner at the end of the pier. The Pacific Ocean was as beautiful as I thought it would, but it was cold. Now I was prepared"somewhat"for the colder water, but it was even colder than I imagined. We live on the Atlantic and it felt like the ocean does here in April. Swimming did not happen.

From the beach, we walked into town and got on the auto ferry to Balboa Island for $1. Best deal we saw the whole in Cali. We toured the island a bit and tried to figure out if we could afford a 2-million-dollar home and decided no.
At this point, we got back in the car and drove to the Marine Mammal Rescue in Laguna Beach and met some feisty seals and sea lions and then drove over to the beach in Laguna. I have to say I did like Newport more than Laguna overall but Laguna, overall, felt more Californian to me. At this point, we had been driving since the morning and my daughter was really not feeling great, so we decided to head back to Anaheim with a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway first. And then a quick stop for dinner.... wait for it! At In-n-Out burger, which is basically the only reason my husband agreed to yet another Disney trip. I was worried that it would not live up to the hype, but it did. I had regrets later about the animal style fries, but they were yummy at the time.

Stop at CVS for some cold medicine and back to the hotel for some rest before we went to Downtown Disney. The area is much smaller than Disney Springs and there was not a ton to look at it, so we only stayed about an hour or so with a stop at the Disneyland Hotel. I had been disappointed that we it was out of budget for us; however, it was beautiful just to visit and get some pictures and I have added it to the bucket list.

Day 5 (The birthday girl turns 13!)

We got the parks in time for rope drop even after a long night of runny noses and not being able to sleep. I heard horror stories about the lines reaching out to Harbor, but we did not experience that at any time during our trip. We might have waited maybe 10 minutes to pass through bag check and we were in Disneyland by 8:40am for a 9am opening. When they released the bulls, we fought our way to Fantasyland to get on all the rides that do not have FastPasses: Snow White, Pinocchio, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (again). We did skip Peter Pan; it is a favorite of mine, but EVERYONE ran over there and it was a 15-minute wait within minutes and then quickly up to 40 minutes within a little while. We did all the Fantasyland rides and then headed over to our one and only dining reservation, The Carnation Cafe. Food was great (including the famous Oscar potatoes) and the view of Main Street was fabulous. One of the chefs, Chris, came out of the kitchen and spoke to us at length. He has worked in the parks for 39 years and regaled us with stories for his time at DL. He made the day even more special than it already was.

After breakfast, we had FastPasses for Big Thunder and Splash Mountain; however, my stomach was not very happy at this point. I blame the fries from the night before, so I sat out those 2 rides and people watched for a bit. My daughter was thrilled to not only have gotten the red card but also been placed in row 13 of Big Thunder.
We then moved onto Pirates, which only had a 5-minute wait. This was a trend that continued throughout the day and I was surprised by it. Next FastPass was Indy. I also sat out this one. I rode it on Day 3. It was awesome, but super bouncy and my motion sickness did not love it the first time around. While I waited, I managed to ride Jungle Cruise 2x and then a 3rd time when the family came off Indy and saw it was still only a 5-minute wait.

We cut back through Froniterland and spotted the Redd the Pirate and jumped in small line to meet her and take a few pictures. She was a great meet and greet and did a wonderful job engaging the children.
I think we went back to the room to swim at this point- I did not take notes at all.

I know that at night we went to California Adventure. We had used MaxPass on our break to gather some more FastPasses including Guardians of the Galaxy (I took the chicken exit out, but was able to see most of the retheming), Incredicoaster again, Goofy's Sky School, and Grizzly River Run. We ate at Smokejumpers Grill where my husband had a buffalo chicken sandwich that he was really impressed with.

We somehow snagged another FastPass for RSR but it was not until 9:30pm, so we headed back to Pixar Pier since when we tried to go last time, it was so hot. My daughter played the games and won an Eve on the water gun race. Then it was time for our first and only ride on Midway Mania. This was one of the hardest FastPasses to get. Along the way, we rode the swings, the Golden Zephyr and Jumping Jellyfish again.

Paint the Night was on our list of things to do, but I am not one to sit on a curb for 2 hours, so waited until about 10 minutes before the parade started and headed over. We did not have the best view but it was good enough for us. If it is something important to you, I would recommend setting up early to get good viewing. The parade is as impressive as I have been told. The music and the floats had us dancing and it was one of the highlights of our trip.
After the parade, we had time before our next FastPass, so we rode Little Mermaid and then headed over to Cars Land for Radiator Springs Racers. Cars Land is one of the best themed lands Disney has produced in recent years and at night, it is even more incredible. Definitely something that should not be missed.

Day 6 (The Last Day)

We had a 10:30pm flight out of LAX today, so in the morning we hung out of the hotel and grabbed breakfast at Mimi's again. We did not want to rush out because we felt like we would be homeless in the afternoon when it hit 90 degrees so we wanted to relax as much as we could.

We checked out at 11am and headed over to California Adventure. It was warm already, so we stopped at Ghirardelli for some shakes. We got 3 different kinds and all were yummy. After that, we to the Animation Academy where we drew Mike Wazowski. We also popped into the Sorcerer's Workshop while we were there. We also hopped on Mike and Sully to the Rescue and went into the Pixar Shorts Festival to cool down.

We then headed over to Disneyland to say goodbye. It was really crowded, so we were not able to get many FastPasses but did ride Buzz again and one more ride on Big Thunder. I was bummed that I did not get a last ride on Haunted Mansion, but the wait time was 40 minutes and the clock was ticking as I really wanted to have dinner at the Jolly Holliday. I had the gluten free grilled cheese and tomato soup even though it was 85 degrees out. We sat outside and watched the 6pm Pixar Play parade before hitting Main Street for some souvenirs.
Pick up was 8pm at the hotel so we headed back. I will not lie, I did tear up a bit which is something I have never done when leaving Disney World. There is something so special about the original park!

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yay
Yay a Disneyland report, can't wait to hear more!!!!

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JMed wrote:
yay
Yay a Disneyland report, can't wait to hear more!!!!

What she said!!..

And yes about park hopping at DL!!! Total awesomeness. Easy peezy.....

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We have two days in Disneyland and have purchased the MaxPass. When can you start adding them to the Disneyland App? Is there a limit to how many you can get? Sure would appreciate a recent visitors advice!

Thanks in Advance, and great reading your trip report, helps with scheduling a short quick trip.

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Mcheal wrote:
We have two days in Disneyland and have purchased the MaxPass. When can you start adding them to the Disneyland App? Is there a limit to how many you can get? Sure would appreciate a recent visitors advice!

Thanks in Advance, and great reading your trip report, helps with scheduling a short quick trip.

Hi Mcheal!
You can't start adding FastPasses until you scan into the park for the day. Once you do that, you can make selections for either park. It will look similar to what you see when booking FastPasses in WDW through the app but I noticed that most days there was more availability at DL. Once you scan into the ride, you can book another FastPass. If the return time is in less than 30 minutes, you have to wait just 30 minutes to book a new one. Other than that the wait time, is usually 90 minutes, I believe.

For harder to get rides, think Radiator Springs, make it your first selection as soon as you walk in the park. For example, we entered at 9am and did not get a return time until 2:45pm. If we had waited any longer, we probably would not have been able to get it at all.

Most of the time, we had around 3 but there were times when we took a break and kept getting more and went back to the parks with 6 of them. When one of the rides went down we got the multi-experience app which is like winning the lottery. If you have any other questions let me know. I was overwhelmed with the different experience, but once we got there it was a breeze.

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Thank You very much. After Radiator Springs, what would be the next FPs to shoot for? Just my wife and I so we have a lot of flexibility.

Thank You again.

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So glad to hear you loved your hotel! Sounds like an amazing trip despite the heat and sickness! clapping

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Sounds like a greaf trip. I love Disneyland.

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Mcheal wrote:
Thank You very much. After Radiator Springs, what would be the next FPs to shoot for? Just my wife and I so we have a lot of flexibility.

Thank You again.

Incredicoaster or Midway Mania. Everything else seems fairly easy to get!

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Glad you enjoyed your trip! We loved Disneyland when we went last September and have a trip booked to go back in January.

We loved the MAXPASS system - I can't remember what I was booking, but it allowed me to book a ride for DCA when we were actually in the Disneyland park. Loved that everything is walkable too. mickey