I love Disneyland, I just love Disney period! Disneyland has a special place in my heart! The first time I went there it was with my Mom. I remember riding the Matterhorn with her, Peter Pan, Space Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, she rode all the rides that I wanted to ride. She had taken my sister and brothers in the ‘60s, but this was a special trip just for us. I was the baby of the family, the youngest and very special to my Mommy! That’s not to say that she loved me more, but I was hers, there was no battles about that, I was her baby girl. Last week Donovan and I got to take our kids to Disneyland for the first time. Well, honestly the boys had been but they were 1 and 2 so that didn’t really count, plus it was with my ex so the memories aren’t the greatest. Next to that first trip with my Mom, this was the best trip ever!
We left on Monday, the 11th, don’t worry the kids were on fall break, not ditching school! We arrived at our hotel around 3:30 or 4:00. The times aren’t really important after all, the point is we got there! After unloading the truck we rested for a little bit, then headed to Downtown Disney for dinner and to look around. DD wasn’t there the last time I was, so this was a new experience for me, it did not disappoint. We ate at the Jazz Kitchen Express, awesome! Then we visited some of the stores; World of Disney, the Lego store, and the pin shop. We looked at many others and just had a wonderful time! At World of Disney we all tried on hats, Donovan, Bryan, and Alli each ended up with their hats. We headed back to the hotel for some rest, we knew it was going to be an early and long day Tuesday.
Tuesday, we were there shortly after opening! I must have been walking 10 feet off the ground and beaming as we walked through the gate. Then, we saw Donald Duck! First picture op and we jumped on it! Donovan does a phenomenal job doesn’t he?
Next was the picture in front of the flowers shaped like Mickey.
As we walked through the tunnel into the park I was literally shaking with excitement! It truly is magical, as I walked under that sign it was like being transported!
We saw tons of characters on Main Street; Mickey in his Halloween costume, Alice and the Mad Hatter , and Minnie. It was so awesome to see the kids having such a great time and being excited to see the characters!
There is a hat shop right on Main Street where you can make custom Mickey ear hats! Daniel and I made ours there. As you can see, mine are absolutely perfect, what could possibly be better than pink and sparkly?
Down Main Street at “the hub” is the Partners Statue, it is of Walt and Mickey. I love the way Walt is pointing, I think toward what his vision of Disneyland will become, and Mickey is looking up at him like a child looking at his Dad.
We rode some rides, visited some shops, where one cast member had something to show us…
I had Donovan take a picture of the Club 33 sign, maybe someday I will get to visit there (if you know anyone with a membership who would like to sponsor me for a visit just let me know!)
Donovan took more pictures, in fact, you rarely saw him without his camera in his hand!
We went over to California Adventure after lunch, it was a parking lot the last time I visited so this was new for me as well.
Honestly after that first morning, I cannot remember the order or days we did things. I was having such a great time that I didn’t really care what we did. I know that the first night we ate at Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill in California Adventure, the second night we ate at the Golden Horseshoe in Disneyland, and our last night in the park we ate at the Hungry Bear (which is where we saw a Disneyland cat (if you don’t know about them ask me). Other than that specific dates and times don’t matter, what does is what a fabulous and magical time we were having!
We rode Space Mountain and the Matterhorn (Donovan couldn’t ride those because of his heart), Autopia, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan’s Flight, It’s a Small World, the Jungle Cruise, Soarin’ Over California (I cried through the whole ride, I do NOT like heights or the feeling of being up high), the Mad Tea Party, the Disneyland Railroad and the Storybook Land Canal Boats. Donovan and the kids rode Mickey’s Fun Wheel in a swinging car and Tarzan’s Treehouse (again with the whole heights thing). The kids rode California Screamin’, Indiana Jones Adventure, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Grizzly River Run, the Golden Zephyr, and the Silly Symphony Swings. We saw Aladdin the Musical Spectacular, Captain EO, the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk Through, and the Celebrate a Street Party Parade! The only things we didn’t get to do that we wanted to was ride Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (the kids), the Mark Twain, and go over to the Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. We visited Toon Town where we saw Mickey’s house and Minnie’s house!
I was so excited, we got to ride the Lilly Belle! If you don’t know what she is here’s a brief overview. When Walt first build the Disneyland Railroad the cars were enclosed and sat facing one another. When they added the Grand Canyon some of the passengers couldn’t see it well, they were facing the opposite direction and had to turn around to see out the windows. They changed the cars to the ones they have now, both facing the same direction. The old cars were put out of commission. Eventually they decided to make one of the cars into a “Presidential Car”. They pulled one of them, #106 I believe, out of storage and restored her, she became something that only VIP’s could ride. After several years of service she was again refurbished, but they kept having problems. The car was made of all wood, and was suffering from dry rot. A full restoration was undertaken and she was again unveiled in 2005, just in time for the 50th anniversary of Disneyland. At this point she was made available to the public, but only if she is running that day and you ask for a ride. I did, and we did! It was beautiful! She is decorated in the same Victorian style as Walt’s apartment over the Main Street Fire House. The name, “Lilly Belle,” is in honor of Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian Disney. The conductor we got was full of information and history of the car and the Railroad and I was in Heaven! Donovan got some pictures…
The other special thing that happened was riding the Storybook Land Canal Boats. I had never ridden this ride, it always looked boring to me. That was before talking to Megan. We found our seats for the Celebrate parade it was in one of the handicap sections. Donovan needed to sit and the curbside seats were taken. He had gotten a Guest Assistance Pass at the beginning of our trip, in case standing in line got to be too much, they have special places in the lines where you can sit instead of stand (it is not a pass to the front of the line). Because of his health issues we were able to sit in the handicap area. Megan was the cast member attending the area we were seated in. She was full of information and we had a great conversation while waiting for the parade to start. It came up that I had never ridden that ride, I did not know that it was one of Walt’s favorite rides, although I did know that it was one of the original rides. She told us that if we waited for her after the parade she would help us get on it quickly. She did! After the parade we met her at the exit. She had another cast member escort us through the exit and right onto the boat. I was walking on air! It made it so magical and special, I will always remember her and the way she treated us!
The Aladdin show was spectacular and funny! It was so neat to see Captain EO and hear the kids say they liked it (even though it was cheesy and from the ‘80s)! The Celebrate parade was awesome! Alli got to participate, doing the twist in the street with the performers and going back in for the Conga!
Our trip was amazingly wonderful! I could not have asked for a more wonderful experience for our family! I was sad to leave, we all were, but we have such wonderful memories. The best part about leaving though is that the kids want to go back soon! Whether we’ll get to or not remains to be seen, but we all hope it will work out that way!
Here are a few more pics…
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