I think that by now, many of you know my love for all things Disney. I learned English from watching Disney movies! I also grew up going to Disneyland every year with my family. Even now as an adult, whenever there is a new Disney movie premiering, or if I go into the Disney Store, I go back to my 5 year old self, prance and sing as if I were a character myself.
So when the short notice opportunity to go to Disneyland with Joey came up, I took that chance and didn't turn back! We immediately started shopping for our Disney bound outfits and Mickey ears on Etsy (Joey was Starlord at Disneyland and Sulley at California Adventure. I was Pocahontas at Disneyland and Mike Wazowski at California Adventure), and I spent hours planning an itinerary.
Considering we were only going to the parks for 2 days, to do all that we wanted to do, we really needed to stay organized, on track, and on the go!
We woke up at 6 am on a warm Saturday morning to get ready and have a yummy breakfast at Mimi's Cafe, one of our favorite places.
After going over the day's plan, eating our eggs benedict and potatoes, we headed out to the park, which is located directly across the street from Mimi's.
There was a crowd, as expected, but nothing crazy like there is during the other Summer months or the Holidays. As soon as you pass the entrance booth, it's all magical! The beautiful floral Mickey Mouse face and Disneyland Railroad make the perfect backdrop and is a must photo opp, whether it's your first time going to the parks, or your 400th.
Main Street USA is so beautiful. When we went, although still August, the street was Fall ready with foliage, orange, and yellow ribbons, and even signs that said Halloween Time!
The best part of Main Street is the perfect view of Sleeping Beauty's Castle! (I definitely recommend getting your pictures in front of the castle early in the day because crowds hardly ever die down later in the day, and the sun is at an awkward angle that is not always ideal for photos.)
Tomorrowland was almost completely empty when we got there, which was a plus for us! Our first ride was Star Tours (we rode this one about 4 times during our trip! It was our favorite!) Star Tours is a total must along with the other Tomorrowland rides like Hyperspace Mountain, Buzz's Astro Blasters, and Autopia. What is unique about Star Tours is that there is a number of different versions of the ride that you may experience. Each time we went on, we journeyed through a different story, and so it was thrilling and exciting not knowing what to expect!
After a few hours in Tomorrowland, we moved on to Fantasyland to check out the Mad Tea Party, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White's Scary Adventures, Pinocchio's Daring Adventure, It's a Small World, and the Matterhorn Bobsleds.
My favorite here had to be the Matterhorn Bobsleds. Ever since they revamped the Yeti, it's become a more thrilling ride that makes me genuinely scream in fear when he pops out unexpectedly. One objection I do have is that the ride can be a bit rough. The sharp twists, turns, and drops can even be painful for those who may not know when to expect the turbulence. Maybe they should add a new track like they did for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad?
On one side of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, you can find the Snow White Grotto and Wishing Well. This was and still is my favorite part of the park. It's so sweet and romantic (I already told Joey that this is where I would like him to propose, please & thank you!) and makes you feel like you're a part of the movie when you sing into the well. This spot is also a key place to check when you're on the look out for characters. Around here is where we met Mary Poppins, Bert, Merida, Tinker Bell, and the Evil Queen.
And OMG the Evil Queen was EPIC! She was passing by us pretty quickly. When I spotted her I couldn't help but squeal, "Oh my God she's fabulous!" To which she responded, "Of course I am!" At the same time, I was taking pictures of her with my phone, which has a Sleeping Beauty phone case. The Queen saw this and with her back to me, she turned around and said, "Next time put me on your phone case and not that Briar Rose!" And she was gone! It was awesome!
On the opposite side of the castle you'll find the Royal Theater where many of the princesses are throughout the day, available for photos and autographs. Although we had to wait in the scorching hot sun, we were super stoked to have met Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder, Snow White, Cinderella, and Ariel.
Another fun character we met by chance was Princess Tiana! She can be found on the Mark Twain Riverboat. Super fitting considering she is from New Orleans. (Joey had the biggest crush on her!)
The Mark Twain Riverboat is located near Frontierland. So after we disembarked, we made our way to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Big Thunder, which just celebrated it's 40th birthday, is a Disneyland staple that pretty much the entire family can enjoy! I remember going on this ride on a loop with my dad! It was our absolute favorite! (A great time to ride Big Thunder, and other rides located around the River of the Americas where the Riverboat is would be during the Fantasmic show. Most people are sitting and watching and not going on rides as much).
We wandered around Frontierland, through Adventureland (don't forget to grab a Dole Whip here!), and back around to New Orleans Square. At New Orleans Square, we made our way onto Pirates of the Caribbean (the Haunted Mansion is also here, but it was closed due to the renovation before Halloween). This ride has changed quite a bit since I was a kid, but definitely for the better. The addition of the Jack Sparrow animatronics a few years ago was the perfect tribute to the films, without completely taking away the integrity of the ride itself. (Pirates, as well as Small World are great rides to go on when it's too hot outside and you need a 5 minute+ break from to cool off).
At this point, according to our itineraries, we should have eaten tons of different snacks on our bucket list. But it was way too hot for food (FYI, we saved tons avoiding having to buy water. Instead, go to any of the restaurants, ask for a cup of ice and fill it up at the water stations also located at almost all of the sit down restaurants. Trust me. You'll have more money for churros later). Instead, we headed over to the most anticipated part of the day, Galaxy's Edge!
Galaxy's Edge is INCREDIBLE! Now, I'm not a huge Star Wars fan, in fact, I really only like the newest ones from the past 5 years. But this land is so believable and so well laid out that I forgot I was at Disneyland!
As soon as we walked into Galaxy's Edge, we were met by Kylo Ren and his Stormtroopers. So cool! Throughout the land, you'll hear X-Wings flying over head, see cast members playing village people, and you may even spot characters like Chewbacca and Rey strolling through! (BTW, I filmed the entire time we walked in to Galaxy's Edge because Joey was an emotional wreck. It was so sweet! There's a snippet of it in my Day Trip video on Instagram as well).
The treats here were interesting. We had to try the blue and green milk. I personally liked the green milk better, but Joey preferred the blue. And no, they are not really milk flavored. More like a strained smoothie type thing. We also grabbed some of Kat Saka's Kettle, which almost tasted like fruity pebbles.
All-in-all, even if you've never even seen a Star Wars movie, I'd recommend paying Galaxy's Edge a visit.
After we left the galaxy far far away, we headed back towards Frontierland to watch Fantasmic. I hadn't watched the show since I was a kid because I'm usually taking advantage of the shorter ride wait times, but this time, I wanted to see it with Joey since he couldn't remember it at all either.
It was spectacular (I honestly think I like this show more than World of Color at California Adventure)! I know Joey's favorite part was the surprise appearance of the Black Pearl with Jack Sparrow aboard it. I think my favorite part was the Riverboat at the end where there are tons of Disney characters dancing and waving to the crowd!
By this time, it was past 10 pm. We were exhausted and a bit hungry. We grabbed a Fried Chicken Sandwich and fries to share from the Galactic Grill in Tomorrowland. Once we had something in our bellies (we rode Star Tours again), and then headed towards Main Street to exit. As we were leaving the park, the Main Street Electric Parade was underway! It was so cute! And it was definitely nostalgic because I remembered watching this parade with my sister, cousins, and parents, being carefree, and just happy to be at Disneyland.
And that's what I love most about Disneyland. It's the invaluable memories I will carry with me forever that were made at these parks. When I have kids, I can't wait to bring them (once they can walk because I am not going to carry a screaming child in 104 degree weather), and see their faces and imaginations light up as they experience what so many of us have: Disney magic!
What did you think of this post? Have you been to Disneyland? What's your favorite ride and time of year to go to the parks?
Thank you for reading!
-The B of V