Disneyland really is my happy place. As usual our trip didn’t last long enough and I am already wishing we could plan another. Our last trip in September 2013 was so full of wonder since myself and Ryan hadn’t been in at least 15 years and the kids had never been. Everything seemed new to us especially Downtown Disney and California Adventures since they really were new to us!! This time around was still magical but we also felt more like park veterans . We used some tricks we learned on our last trip but we also learned a few new things. So here is our trip breakdown with some new tips and tricks we learned along the way.
We again decided to stay on property at the Disneyland Hotel even though I swore we wouldn’t do that again. The be so close to the parks, Downtown Disney (DTD), and the early morning entry was just to temping. I still think that for our next trip we may look into pricing out Paradise Pier which is still on property but a little farther away. We saw it though and it’s really not that much further. I also want to check out a few of the off property hotels but I’m not sure I want to give up our early morning entry each day since we found it to be pretty beneficial.
We also bought park hopper tickets this time. Such a good decision! It is well worth the extra money especially since you walk back and forth from park to park.
We arrived on Sunday afternoon and our room was ready. After we got checked in and unpacked we headed to DTD to explore and have a drink before our dinner reservation. We checked out The House of Blues and it was almost $40 for two CANS of beer and two sodas.
|Sitting on the Patio at House of Blues|
We won’t be going there again anytime soon… Ryan's brother Charles met up with us and it started to rain so we went to see if we could get seated early at Tortilla Jo’s.
|Tortilla Jo's on a sunny morning|
They were quite accommodating, probably because it was before the dinner rush. The food was so so but the margarita’s were tasty. I was surprised because we all really enjoyed the Taqueria side on our last trip. I’m not sure that I would do another sit down meal here. An late afternoon snack of margs, chips and salsa, and appetizers on the patio wouldn’t be bad though. After dinner we went shopping at The World of Disney and went and got some yummy handmade treats at Marceline’s Confectionery.
|Chocolate Dipped Pretzel|
TIP: You can make dining reservations through Disney up to 60 days in advance. Try to make your reservations during off peak times (early or late lunch, early dinner) to beat the crowds. Around 6:00 PM that same night there were waits of and hour or more at most of the restaurants in DTD.
We got up and got out the door by 7:30 to find some breakfast. We ate at the Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel. There are not a lot of options but the food was filling and good. The kids and I each got Mickey waffles, bacon, and fruit. Ryan had a breakfast platter of some sort.
We then went and stood in line outside Disney’s California Adventure (DCA) for early morning entry (9:00AM) We stood outside for about 15 minutes before they started letting people in and we headed to the end of the street for rope drop.
Arrive at least a half hour before the park opens
Arrive at least a half hour before the park opens
|DCA Rope Drop|
We headed directly for Radiator Springs Racers which is where everyone goes I think! We waited approximately 20 minutes in line. After that we got in line for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree which ended up being a mistake. We were in that line forever since they only had one of the three sides running at the time. The park officially opened while we were still in line. We were meeting some friends that morning and they were able to hop in line with us right when we go to the front for their first ride of the day.
|B and Justin on Maters Junkyard Jamboree|
Next we lined up and got our FastPasses to Radiator Springs Racers then headed off to see Turtle Talk with Crush. Our Touring Plans app failed us and said that the line for Tower of Terror was only 10 minutes but when we got there it was over an hour. Since we weren’t eligible for another FastPass yet we headed towards Paradise Pier.
TIP: Learn and use the FastPass System! The parks were busier this go round which gave us some new insight into using the FastPass system which we really didn’t need before. Make sure you get a new FastPass as soon as you are eligible. You can send a runner with all the park tickets to get passes for everyone in your group.
We rode The Little Mermaid with a wait of about 10 minutes. Since it was now after 11:00 and we were close to the Corn Dog Castle we decided to grab some lunch and take a quick break. Adia doesn’t like corn dogs but she was able to walk just a ways down and get a cheesburger and fries. She’s crazy. These corn dogs are AMAZING
|My Half Eaten Corn Dog|
At this point our group separated with three people going to get in line to ride the Jumpin’ Jellyfish and the rest of us just wandering around. We agreed to meet up to ride Radiator Springs Racers when our fast pass time came up. My group headed up to Paradise Pier and we played the carnival games with Landon. He won a ton of prizes!
TIP: The fishing game is guaranteed a prize every time. We also hung around and made sure that it was just our group of four to play the racing games so we were guaranteed to win the big prize.
Next we headed towards Pacific Wharf and did the Boudin Bakery tour which was interesting and made me really want some bread. Also go into Ghirardelli to get a free sample of chocolate! Landon and Ryan’s brother Charles both got cones and Ryan and I had a margarita from Rita’s Baja Blenders.
|Large Dumbo Prize and a Margarita|
We sat and enjoyed a break then met with the rest of our group to ride Radiator Springs Racers. When we got there for some reason the FastPass Line was longer than the standby line???? We decided to skip it and just head across the way to Disneyland. See those park hoppers are coming in handy already!
Oh Disneyland! It was perfection as always! There were a TON of characters out and about when we walked in and I wish we had stopped to visit with a few of them but we headed straight towards Tomorrowland. We got FastPasses to Star Tours then got in line for the Finding Nemo Subs. After that we rode Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters.
By that time we were able to head to Star Tours to ride. It was nice to walk by that long line of people because we used our FastPasses! We checked our lines app, by this time I also downloaded the free version of Mousewait, and found that there was a minimum wait for Pirates of the Caribbean.
TIP: I didn’t think it was true but it is, the right line moved faster than the left and I know this because we rode this three times over our three day trip!
Next up was The Haunted Mansion. It was wonderful! The last time we were there it was all done up for Halloween with The Nightmare Before Christmas and it was great to see all the original happy Haunts.
Then we hopped on the Disneyland Railroad and road to Tomorrowland where we hopped on the monorail back to DTD.
We ate dinner at Earl of Sandwich which was delicious. Probably one of our favorite (and cheapest) meals. The kids and I headed to Marceline’s again for some sweet treats then it was back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.
TIP: Sign up for Earl of Sandwich’s email club and get a coupon for a free sandwich. They usually send the coupon out 2-3 days after you have signed up.
I'll be back later with the last two days of our trip!