Clint and I have always said that we aren’t “Disney people” but in late January I decided we needed to get out of KC for a quick getaway. I wanted to take the kids somewhere fun, but also wanted to stay away from anywhere that may put us at risk for Zika… so naturally I started looking to California/Arizona. At first Clint wasn’t sold on Disneyland but the more I looked into it the more convenient it appeared! We could go for 3 nights/4 days, no need to rent a car, and the weather looked gorgeous but even if it wasn’t in the 70-80s we’d still be able to have lots of fun (I was worried about booking a beach vacation and having 60s the whole time). There was a pool for swimming and obviously the two parks to spend time in. So after a lot of talking and researching I booked the trip and it worked out that we’d be headed to Cali on Augusts 4th birthday!
We took the first flight out of KC which put us in California by 10:30 local time. We got round trip passes for the Disneyland resort shuttle which was extremely convenient. Since we booked the trip so last minute we didn’t have a ton of choices on hotels but ended up being very pleased. We booked the Paradise Pier Hotel and had a room with “concierge service” which basically was just a room with drinks/snacks all day and a decent continental breakfast in the morning. This worked out great for us because it gave us a easy place to sit and have breakfast and to grab snacks throughout the day when we were at our hotel. Our room wasn’t ready right away so we went to the concierge room and thats where they told us they had upgraded us to a 2 bedroom suite!! I had only booked a 1 bedroom to save money but the 2 bedrooms was SO SO nice for our family of 5!
We spent some time that first day checking out the hotel, swimming in the pool (although it was a bit chilly!), and spent lots of time on the water slide which was a huge hit with the kids. On the first night, August’s birthday, I booked dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen which was recommended when we booked the trip. It was a good way to see a lot of characters, but honestly our kids aren’t that into characters and the food was just ok… in the end I’m glad we did it just to get in the Disney spirit but I’m not sure we’d do that if we ever went back (more on that later 😉 ). **Side note: Emmett was with us in Disney but would not go near any characters so he isn’t in many photos!
Our first full day was spent in Disneyland and holy cow it was BUSY! I thought when we booked the trip that we were going to have relatively slow days because we would be doing the parks on Thursday/Friday before Spring breaks but I couldn’t have been more wrong. We were overwhelmed from the second we walked into the park and probably did it all completely wrong- I just couldn’t believe how quickly the lines became ridiculously long. We hit several of the main rides- Tea cups, Small world, meeting Mickey at his house, Buzz Lightyear, Big Thunder mountain (a fave!),etc. I packed a ton of snacks into lunch boxes which saved us lots of money in the park. We did splurge and bought 3 Dole Whips to share and they were definitely worth the money- YUMM! At about 3PM after 6 hours in the park Clint ran to Splash Mountain to grab fast passes and we hopped in line to meet some princesses, and even though Shae had a major meltdown in line she loved meeting the princesses. The fast passes were for 7:30PM so we decided to take a break from the park and come back later. After a pretty terrible dinner at a Mexican Restaurant in Downtown Disney we headed back into the park to ride a few more rides, and caught just a glimpse of the Electrical Parade from the Astro Orbiters ride. I just couldn’t believe how early people lined up on Main Street for the parade and my kids were definitely not patient enough to do that just for a parade. Clint, Shae and August did Splash Mountain and we basically ran home after that because we just couldn’t handle any more crowds!
The next day we were feeling pretty defeated because of the crazy crowds at Disneyland but at California Adventure we had a much better experience! We did the magic hour here too (if you stay at a Disney resort you get in an hour early), and it was actually beneficial this day- we didn’t think that extra hour did us much good at Disneyland. We were much smarter about our time and fast passes and were able to ride a lot more rides in a shorter time at California Adventure (we went the opposite way of the crowds- away from Radiator Springs and just got a fast pass for that ride). Around 2PM the kids said they’d rather go to the pool then spend any more time in the park so we headed back to the hotel and Clint and E took a nap while I took the big kids to the pool which was crazy crowded (it had been pretty empty two days before when we had gone). After swimming and showering we headed back to California Adventure because Mickey’s Fun wheel (Ferris wheel) had opened back up- we could see the Wheel from our room but we thought it would be closed our entire trip so the kids were excited to ride it! Clint and I both rode California Screamin’ which I loved (I seriously still love roller coasters!), and we had a crazy expensive dinner of corndogs in the park! We rode the Little Mermaid ride and grabbed cotton candy for the walk home (E hated it of course…). One random thing- finding alcohol was not easy!! We thought there would be beer at all of the concessions but was definitely much harder to find than that! Clint found a restaurant that would sell us beer in solo cups so luckily we could have a couple beers in the park- a necessity for us 😉
Our last day was a bit of a waste. We had to check out by 11 so we did breakfast and packed up and then left our bags at the bell hop and basically walked around for a few hours… by this point we were kind of just ready to get home so looking back I may have booked an earlier flight out but it all worked out fine. My favorite thing about those few hours was sipping Starbucks with Clint while the kids played forever with the legos outside the Lego store. Oh and the sandwiches at Earl of Sandwich were delicious! Probably my favorite thing I ate the whole trip.
So all in all the trip was wonderful! We made so many memories with the kids and thats what its all about. We also decided that we likely won’t return to Disney any time soon. I would like to take the kids to Disney World in a few (5) years possibly but I’m not sure I’ll be able to convince Clint so I may have to recruit family members for that trip 😉 .