When my husband and I started tossing around the idea of surprising our daughters with their first trip to Disneyland* during our vacation in San Diego I felt unsure and excited at the same time. I knew the holiday crowd was probably going to be a little crazy but I was almost certain that my girls would love the park.
So on our first day in San Diego we made the trek out to Anaheim. We woke up at the butt crack of dawn so that we could get there when the park was just opening. As we approached the Toy Story parking lot I could feel my excitement growing. Our girls were totally stoked just to ride the bus from there to the Esplanade. I don’t think they had any idea just what was in store for them. After going through security and the turnstiles, we made our way to Main Street.
And that’s when it happened.
I became a kid again.
We made a beeline to Dumbo and got on with hardly any wait. Which was really nice since the park had already been open for about an hour for Magic Morning. I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun it was to ride with my 4-year-old. She had a blast making Dumbo go up and down.
We did about a million other things before having lunch at Plaza Inn (FRIED CHICKEN!) including: Meeting Ariel, Aurora, and Cinderella at Royal Hall, riding Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, walking through Pixie Hollow, riding the teacups, going on a carousel, watching Beauty and the Beast at the Royal Theater, taking pictures with Rapunzel, and eating ice cream at Gibson Girl. That’s right. We had ice cream before lunch. Because that’s how we roll at Disneyland.
After lunch we took a little break. We watched a parade, took a ride on the railroad, checked out Iron Man’s suits at Innoventions, and bought some Star Wars souvenirs.
By that time I was totally expecting a melt down from at least one of our girls but it never came. So we left Disneyland and hung out at California Adventure. We rode a couple of spinning rides at A Bug’s Land, watched Aladdin, walked around Cars Land (so pretty lit up at night!), and had dinner at Flo’s V8 cafe.
As we were leaving the park we noticed that the line to take pictures with Mickey was really short so we got in it. I thought our 4-year-old was going to completely freak out (she’s not the biggest fan of costumed characters) but she was genuinely excited to meet him.
I know that a lot of people are just not into Disneyland, and that’s totally cool, but I’ll never get over the magic I feel when I’m there. And being able to share that magic with my daughters, well, that’s just the cherry on top of the sundae.
Photo Credit: Marcus Hoapili & Arbine Villanueva-Hoapili
*Note: This is NOT a sponsored post. We were able to get free park hopper tickets from a friend who is a Disney cast member.