It’s no secret that I’m a Disney fanatic. Right now, as I type this, my youngest is watching Finding Nemo while wearing a Lightning McQueen shirt with a Jessie doll nearby and coloring in a Cars coloring book. We just got back from Disneyland where I attended the Type-A Parent Bootcamp. Amazing as always and we got to check another Disney Resort off our checklist by staying at the Disneyland Hotel. With huge rooms and being right at the end of Downtown Disneyland, it was close to the action (and the newly opened Starbucks!) We had a great trip and it was fun introducing Disneyland to my two older boys who had only ever been to Walt Disney World. With 3 boys with big age gaps (15, 9 and 6), and the youngest with Autism (you can read about our tips for visiting Disneyland with special needs kids here) sometimes it can be hard to please everyone.
At Disneyland there is something for everyone
Sounds cliche, but really, there is! Brady’s (my six year-old) favorite area is Cars Land. Seeing Mater, McQueen, Red, dancing with DJ, riding the Radiator Springs Racers ride half a dozen times, eating at Flo’s V8 Cafe (they have gluten/dairy free bread! Just ask to speak with the chef!), it’s always a blissful time in the corner of California Adventure with the Cars gang!
Now while the entire family voted Cars Land the best of the best, my older boys spent a lot of time in Tomorrowland. Probably more time there than anywhere else in the park. Star Tours is a favorite ride, with surprisingly short wait times and fast passes are often available. Buzz Lightyear Blasters, Astro Orbiter and sneaking off to Autotopia were other favorites. My teenager loves technology so we headed indoors for the Honda Asimo Robot Demo at Disneyland’s Innoventions. Brady didn’t do so well with the waiting but I was surprised how well he did once the show started.
For me (because it’s all about mom right?!), The Wine Country Trattoria was my favorite spot. Wine, amazing food and great specials packaging World of Color tickets and deals on dinner, as well as being a great place to watch the Pixar Parade! My husband surprised me by not spending a ton of time at the ESPN Zone. He was too busy enjoying the time in the parks. I can’t even try to figure out which part was his favorite as he seemed to enjoy it all, but if I had to guess, it was the party hosted by Disneyland Parks at the end of the Type-A Bootcamp. There were meat skewers so good, we had to take a picture of the amazing cast member who served them! So after all that, here are 7 reasons you should book a trip to Disneyland (if you haven’t already!).
1. The Rides
Duh! 😉 The BEST rides. Disneyland offers some that Walt Disney World doesn’t have and some that are different. There is no Cars Land at WDW, no Paradise Pier, Pirates of the Caribbean has a way bigger drop at DL than WDW and even Space Mountain is different with side by side seats vs. three in a row. The site ThemeParkInsider.com has great comparisons of DL vs WDW rides and many more.
2. The Food
With Brady’s allergies and food sensitivities, theme parks can be daunting. Just like at Walt Disney World, Disneyland has multiple restaurants, quick food service spots and hotel dining to choose from and the cast members are always so great to offer advice, chatting with a chef and special menu items to accommodate Brady’s (and everyone’s) needs. Plus, there are Churros and Dole Whips galore for the rest of the family! 😉
3. The Characters
While waiting for hours on end to get a photo with the Frozen characters isn’t something I’d sign up to do with the kids, there are many other characters in the parks where wait times are MUCH shorter, or you may just happen to get a shoutout from them at the Parade! Brady has a thing for a certain mermaid and during the parade he blew Ariel a kiss and then showed her his new Lightning McQueen Shoes. Instead of just waving back, she blew a kiss back and proclaimed, “Look! You have FEET!” Peter Pan took the time to give Brady’s bunny an eye patch since Brady didn’t want to wear it and Mickey even knelt down to Brady’s level to give a hug and get a better look at his Mickey shirt.
4. The Cast Members
It’s the little things. The cast members wishing people Happy Birthday! or Happy Anniversary! or giving buttons to kids proclaiming they are special for just being themselves, creating such a positive place truly does make a difference. There is no wonder why it’s the Happiest Place on Earth!
5. The Surprises
Have you ever grabbed a quick snack at Disneyland or Walt Disney World and gotten the coveted 20% off coupon on your receipt?! Nod with me if you have! 20% off at many gift shops until 1pm just magically appeared when my husband grabbed some pizza for lunch. I saved it, hugged it, placed it on a pedestal, and then saved all of our souvenir shopping for the last day of our trip and got 20% off the whole lot.
6. The Help
Kids have meltdowns, parents lose credit cards (yup, happened day 1 of our trip!), moms forget to pack socks… The Disneyland Hotel staff was simply amazing. Offering stickers to the meltdown kid, making it easy to have new cards sent to the hotel and offering to change the way things were paid for, even finding me socks! Everyone we encountered was so nice and if they didn’t have the answer, they found someone who did.
7. The Magic
No words necessary… just these photos.