For the first time in over 10 years, my family and I finally got to go on a vacation that was more than a long weekend. It was long overdue and we were so excited! We decided to head to California. It was the first time any of us had been there (we live on the east coast of the US). Our adventures included Disneyland, Universal Studios, the San Diego Zoo, Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach.
Today I wanted to focus on Disneyland, which, in short, was amazing. I’ve divided everything up by quick points for an easy read :
- Overall both parks (Disneyland and Disney California Adventure) captured the magic and the atmosphere of Disney extremely well.
- Downtown Disney is a nice touch for added shopping and dining and doesn’t require park admission.
- As a reference for any parents out there, my daughter had just turned 5 and had the time of her life.
- Fast Pass is an absolute must! It drastically reduces wait times.
- Fireworks every night!
- Great merchandise (more on that later).
- The rides were amazing! We really enjoyed every one!
- The Star Wars attractions were a lot of fun, including cool stuff to look at and pictures with characters for no extra charge! (The app worked well for retrieving your pics from around the parks, by the way.
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout was just awesome. It’s the only ride we got on twice. The fact that we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into made it even more surprising and fun.
- For the most part the parks seemed wide and not too cramped.
- Very family friendly but fun for adults, too!
- More than enough stuff to do.
- Lots of beloved series and characters were well represented, including Pixar, especially since we went during Pixar Fest.
- The music and soundtracks played around the parks added a lot to the atmosphere.
- The Frozen live show was also surprisingly good.
- Though expensive, Breakfast with Goofy was a wonderful experience with real good food and characters present who visit you at your table.
- We went for 2 days (one for each park) but felt like at least one more day would have made it easier to see everything. (There were just a couple things we missed.)
There were just a few negatives to add, which honestly did little to dampen the overall experience:
- It was VERY expensive. Be prepared to spend a lot of money. This includes restaurants and merchandise.
- While the merchandise was really nice, it would have been great to see a wider variation of movies/series. I found nothing from Disney XD favorites like Phineas and Ferb and Gravity Falls. Although I was pleasantly surprised to see stuff from Darkwing Duck, Chip & Dale’s Recue Rangers and Duck Tales (both the original and new series)!
- This was likely because we went on a holiday week, but the crowds started to become tiresome and grew worse as the day and evening went on. Next time we’ll make an effort to go on a slower week.
- The Disneyland App helped a lot but could be improved in some areas.
- Surprisingly, there were very few characters around the park. If it weren’t for Breakfast with Goofy we would have missed a few of the popular ones, and we didn’t see any princesses.
- Lastly, the signage left a lot to be desired. I know they probably wanted to keep with the themes, but it made navigation difficult at times.
In conclusion, while there were a few minor imperfectons, Disneyland was a dream vacation come true and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I do think that our next visit will be easier because we’ll know what to expect and will be able to get around easier, but this first visit left my family and I with great memories that will last forever. (And some cool pins pictured below. Yay for finding something Maximus related!)