Pinch me. Seriously, I can’t believe we did it! It was a blast Disneyland. You kinda have stolen our hearts in the fun category, and I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last time you see us! Let me tell ya, Disney in a nutshell is CRAZY fun…and crazy at the same time! Throw in the three of us with two jam packed days, filled with 20 + rides, and maybe, just maybe one tantrum….I’d say it was pretty perfect.
Saddle up…this is gonna be a long one. I’ll be doing a rundown of each theme park in separate blog posts where I’ll be covering rides, tips, what we did that was Raisin approved, and also height approved! Little Raisin was just half an inch shy to get on the big kid rides. FYI that’s usually 40 inches, with some rides being 48 inches. That said, it didn’t stop us from joining in all the other fun, and really he had no clue that was an issue. Although we were bummed we couldn’t take him on the Racers ride in Radiator Springs.
For starters, we stayed at one of the three Disneyland Resort hotels. With this we were able to utilize the all incredible and wonderful “Magic Hour.” This gets you into the park an hour earlier than everyone else who has bought tickets for the day. Totally worth it, but it does go by quickly. Side note and FYI, because you get in an hour early, does not mean all rides are open at this time. A tip here though, get to the line from Downtown Disney at least half hour before the doors open if you’re a keener. It’s all about line positioning! We could get in from our hotel through an entrance, but you have better movement from the actual park entrance. That said, at Downtown Disney your first line of order is a bag check, then you head into the park entrance. The lines into each park branches out to 10 lines or so which makes the process go by super fast. Everyone is already EXTREMELY excited waiting. Fun part here is you’ll see a ton of little kids dressed up as princesses or their favourite disney character, it’s pretty stinkin’ cute. Right before the doors open to the park, they get a countdown going which pumps everyone up! Talk about your adrenaline rush starting right away – the doors open up and the Magic begins. If you have a 2-3 day pass, they will take your photo as you get your ticket scanned which means you don’t need to get a stamp if you decide to leave the park for whatever reason during the day.
We strolled our way down to Raisins’ prime time area of the entire park. Radiator Springs! Every single detail is thought out. The umbrellas at tables are in the shapes of street cones! A stop to purchase water or a refreshment are set up in shops that look like old school garages. Every Disney attendant in this area is either dressed up like an old school gas attendant, or someone working a pit stop. So unbearably amazing. Of course Mater, Lightning McQueen and Red are all available for photos.
When it comes to Radiator Springs, the hot ticket ride here is Racers. We couldn’t go on it due to a height requirement, but there’s more to enjoy! Aside from seeing Mater and McQueen, the highlight ride for Mason was Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. We went on it about 5 times!
A ride that’s usually open in Radiator Springs but was closed for refurbishment, is Luigi’s Flying Tires. Side note, if you have your heart set on a certain ride (not that this was one of them) check the Disney website under the Attractions section where they clearly state which rides are closed.
From Radiator Springs, we headed over to A Bug’s Land. All rides here are totally made for toddlers. We went on each one, twice! Hello Magic hour. No line ups for more than 5 minutes. Just as a rule of thumb, you need to park your stroller before going onto any ride – you’ll see A LOT of them, so try to add something to yours that makes it stand out in order to find later. If it’s really busy the Disney attendants move them as more accumulate. Ride rundown included: Ladybug Boogie, Fliks’ Flyers, Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, Tuck and Roll’s Drive Em’ Buggies, and an open Puddle Park. The clear winner here was the Ladybug Boogie.
A nice little escape from the sun and walking around is sitting in the bugs life theatre. You feel like you’re underground in the most beautiful and magical ant hill. We happened to watch a nice preview of Cinderella. Confession, kinda want to go see it.
After our Cinderella preview, we headed down to Paradise Pier. Aside from all the fabulous restaurants in this area and games on the boardwalk, we went on 4 height and age appropriate rides here for the Raisin. First up: King Triton’s Castle. It’s your under the sea version of a carousel. We found out how much the Raisin loved carousel rides last year, so we knew this would be a winner.
If you’re into being on a ride for a bit and a pretty spectacular view, definitely go on the Mickey’s Fun Wheel, A.K.A. a ferris wheel. You have your option of baskets that rock vs. those that don’t. We wen’t on the non-rocking version! Mason was jumping around like a little bunny in anticipation for this ride – who knew the ferris wheel would be such a highlight!?
For your toddlers fill of rocket ships, going on the Golden Zephyr is a must. As soon as Raisin set his eyes on the shiny vessels he had to go on it. It flies in the air and spins – a toddlers version of being high on life!
I don’t know about you, but I sorta fell in love with Toy Story 1 through 3. So when I saw Mr.Potato head at the front of this ride, Toy Story Midway Mania, I knew we had to go on it. Criteria met for a fun ride: 3D glasses, interactive game, spinning cars and a ride through Andy’s Room. Raisin, and Chris of course, loved the spring-action shooter. Going through the ride and playing together as a family was a nice touch and the three of us in one seat was top notch. Not sure you can tell how happy I am…hehehe.
A little bonus ride and a highlight for Raisin was going on the Trolley – a simple activity but one that won some serious toddler points. We had the luxury of not waiting in lines too long, or having to use Fast Passes, but that’s probably due to the time of year we went. The longest we waited in line was 2o minutes, and that was for the Toy Story ride. And just to put it in perspective, we went on a few rides any where from 2-5 times! A few rides that were closed this time were: Soarin’ Over California, Grizzly River Run, Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar, and as mentioned before, Luigi’s Flying Tires. I have no idea what these rides are about so no input there. One we totally by passed and not on purpose, was Monsters Inc. I am so choked up that I didn’t even see it! I happened to be watching the Disney channel in our hotel reviewing the rides to go on and saw that we totally walked by it. Bummer, but hey, another reason to visit in a few years.
Aside from all the rides, just cruising around and looking at all the sights and characters is part of the fun too. You may run into a random parade, or a show. It’s not all just hitting up the rides, which not gonna lie, is a huge highlight, but the park offers so much more than just that. We made our own fun in between rides with racing down the boardwalk and counting how many people were wearing mickey ears. The magic is all around you, it’s easy to enjoy and there’s only one thing to remember: HAVE FUN!
P.S. All thoughts above are based on our own family adventure and this is NOT a paid post. It’s this mama passing along our experience to you – hope it helps!