My mom and I had been planning a vacation for months. We had been talking about Alaska, and Canada, and Seattle, and so many other places but never really executed a plan until summer started. My brother and his girlfriend actually go to Disneyland every winter and my mom and I hadn’t gone in probably 10 years, so we decided “why not Disneyland?” and quickly made up a plan and then booked everything and suddenly, we were going on vacation 🙂
Neither of us had really gone anywhere for years, so this was long time due for both of us.
We ended up purchasing SoCal City Passes on Disneyland’s website, which gave us a 3-Day Park Hopper Pass at Disneyland and California Adventure, as well as 1 day passes to Universal Studios and Sea World. Since Southern California is a easy (7 hour long) drive from where we were, we drove down and Grouponed some hotel rooms and voila! Our week in SoCal was born.
We left August 11th, at around 7 am and just straight drove down the 5 towards LA. That first day was mostly all driving, but we did arrive early enough to go visit Disneyland in the evening.
So we hit LA at around 2? Stopped for gas, and some snacks, and then got stuck in LA traffic for about an hour. We arrived at our hotel at around 3:30 – it was the Holiday Inn Anaheim, like a 15 min walk from the park itself. It was actually really a nice, simple hotel, and the staff were super friendly 🙂
At around 4:30, we decided to go to California Adventure for the evening, and just a little bit of Disneyland as well.
Right off the bat, the staff at Disney and just the general ambiance was amazingggg. Super clean, very friendly and it was just nice to think “we’re on vacation!”
First thing we did was California Soarin’, just because it was really close to the entrance and the line was SUPER short. We did go on that the last time we were at Disney and it was fun to sort of remember what the ride shows and all that stuff. It was relaxing, quite honestly, and was sort of the best way to start Disney since it put us in a good mood lol.
We then just explored the park – we were going to do the Grizzly raft ride, but the ride broke down so we explored other things. We saw Minnie Mouse, from a distance. Between every ride there’s always some sort of store so there’s no empty space, which didn’t occur to me as not normal until later when we went to Universal and Sea World. Like… how there’s no pigeons and everything is super clean at Disney? Yeah, I didn’t even think about how that’s not the norm for all theme parks. While we were walking we actually walked right into the middle of the Pixar parade they have at California Adventure, and it was just so cheerful and happy and again, cute and relaxing.
We walked over to Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, which also had a super short line, and we got on the ride and sort of said “we’re on vacation!” again. It was a cute ride.
Outside of Ariel you immediately see the Pier section of the park, with the big ferris wheel, and roller coaster, and a few other rides. We actually did almost every ride in the park, which was fun since my mom wasn’t crazy about rides before? She was always a good sport, but it was definitely more before a “i’ll go with my kids” and this time she totally volunteered to do everything.
So we did the loop, we did Goofy’s Flight School, the rocket ship ride, we walked through the sort of carnival section of the park and got to the roller coaster, California Screamin’. We mutually decided to NOT go on the ferris wheel, because we both hate those, and then walked through the Paradise Pier.
From there we then walked past Cars Land, just to scope it out, we decided to go to that the next day, and then went to Hollywood Tower of Terror. That ended up being my favorite ride in California Adventure. The 45/50 min wait was totally worth it. We got out of there at like 8pm, explored some more and we walked over to Disneyland to go find food since Ariel’s Grotto was closed. We also made the mental note that 8pm is sort of the timing for when the line to World of Color starts.
On the Disney side we ate in New Orleans Square and we were on that side late enough to eat and watch the fireworks.
It was a super productive first day, and it definitely helped us scope out how much we could actually do in a day.
I hope you guys all like, or at least somewhat like, this recap of my vacation – it’s probably not all that interest for everybody, but at least… pretty pictures? lol it’s mostly a good exercise for me to document events and such. Enjoy the pictures 😀