Our Disneyland trip was the 3rd of 4 stops on our West Coast adventure. We are 2 Ad and 2 teen girls from the UK and had arrived in San Francisco the previous week. We stopped off in LA for a day then Ubered down to Anaheim arriving at about noon. We were in WDW five years ago and in Disney Paris about 9 years ago. I’d spent a long time planning this trip and had touring plans prepared for each day. These mostly went out the window but the pre-planning had educated me to able to change plans on the fly. We had the first part day (supposed to be our extra easy day) then 3 full days with Genie + and hoppers. Unlike most Disney visitors, food is not a major priority to us as we have a very picky teen so breakfast was mostly pastries on the way, lunch was generally our main meal outside of the parks during our breaks and then we just snacked as we felt like it.
We arrived earlier than planned thanks to overcast weather in LA meaning our pool morning couldn’t happen. Our hotel (Fairfield Inn) could check us into one of our 2 rooms early so we could dump our bags. We had booked 2 rooms both with a full king and a sofa bed. Our girls are 14 and 16 so we evaluated the safety situation (fully manned desk, cell phones and internal room phones) and decided that although we were 2 rooms apart, that we felt safe enough to allow the girls to have their own room so we had a room just for the adults. We had a quick change and lunch in McDonalds which was in our carpark! Fully fed, we headed to the parks and were inside Disneyland by 1pm about 2 hours ahead of schedule.
We did the obligatory first PhotoPass photo then headed into the park proper. As expected, it was quite busy so we started off with my plan of just smelling the roses. In our previous Disney visits, we were so focused on rides that we never did the slower things. We started off with a whole park trip on the railroad followed by a trip on the Columbia which we thoroughly enjoyed and got us orientated within the park. We even spotted Tiana on the Mark Twain during our boat ride. During these rides, I noticed that whilst the park felt busy, that the wait times weren’t too bad and immediate Genies were available. I can’t remember exactly what order we did things in but from our photos I know we did IASW, Mr Toad, Autopia and a few other before the Magic Happens parade. We found an amazing almost front row spot at the Churros stand near Sleeping Beauty Castle just as the parade turned from Main Street towards the Matterhorn. We only had to wait about 15 minutes and we thoroughly enjoyed this parade and it was one of the highlights of our trip. We had pre-planned that our first night would be in Galaxy’s Edge as we’d missed it’s opening by a few months in Florida so we were really excited by this. We spent some time just absorbing it all then did MF on Genie and RotR on ILL. We enjoyed some Ronto Roasters and a Meiloorun Juice between us before heading out of the park at about 9:30. Considering that this was only our “add on” day we were really pleased with what we achieved and were really excited for the next few days. We were back into our hotel in no time (really loved the location of this hotel, it was the most ‘relaxed’ of out 4 hotels this trip but one of our favourites.)
If it helps this is our full itinerary for our two weeks. We flew Heathrow to San Francisco on Saturday 5th. There is no need for car here as the public transport is fab and cheap. We then flew late afternoon on Thursday 9th to LAX. Got an Uber to our hotel which was not far off the cost of a nights parking at our hotel!!! Only spent one full day in LA and we did a little Uber tour of the Walk of Fame, Farmers Market and Griffith Observatory. Got an Uber down to Anaheim which took about an hour. Spent 4 days there then caught the Pacific Surfliner for 5 recovery days in San Diego. What we paid for Ubers we saved on hire cost, gas and parking ( which is ouch in California). My husband drives for work in the States a lot but basically wanted a proper break without the stress of highways, traffic and looking for parking. Oh and avoiding your car windows getting smashed in San Francisco. This sadly happened in front of our eyes at the Palace of Fine Arts. There were only a few things where we thought it would be good to have a car but nothing major.
I’ll finish my trip report but little spoiler coming: I think this is my favourite park so far!
When we started planning this trip, I wrote that we would be late arrivals as I wouldn’t be able to get the teens up. To be fair to them, they did well and whilst we didn’t make rope drop, we were inside Disneyland Park at 8:30 having grabbed some pastries from Panera on the way. The plan today was to hit Fantasyland first, a break out of the park for lunch and pool time and then start using Genie to stack for the evening.
We spotted Pluto and Captain Hook as we headed to Fantasyland. We are a family of introverts and find character meets a bit embarrassing but I just loved spotting the characters around the park, love that about here. I’ve lost track of exactly what we did and when (really wish the Disney app could provide you with a list of what you did when!) but know that the Tea Cups was our first ride, much to the horror of our teens. At 9 am, I noticed that MMRR had come online and was showing a 10 minute wait so we hiked over to ToonTown. I’d budgeted to pay for ILL for this but was very happy to save $60 if possible. I wished my kids were little again when I saw this land. So very cute. We did MMRR, Roger Rabbit and even squeezed onto Gocoaster before heading back to Fantasyland to finish off the rides there. Once done, it was getting to noon, getting very hot and very busy. We jumped on a raft and went to explore Tom Sawyer’s Island for a while before leaving the part at 1.15 for a big feed and lots of cold colas in Dennys.
We headed back to the hotel for some R&R and l investigated the laundry facilities ( card operated washers and driers on each floor, cost about $15 to freshen all out laundry from the previous week).
We headed back over to the parks at about 5:30 and spent until just before 9pm playing with Genie. We got everything we wanted then repeated some in standby as it quietened down. I’d decided to leave the Fireworks until our last night so we headed up to Galaxy’s Edge again to watch the fireworks over Batuu then quick-marched up to Rise for another go as it was less than 30 minutes in standby. It was even better second time round. SRMF was only 10 minutes when we came out so we had another go at crashing the Falcon ( we all proved to be terrible pilots).
We had intended to leave at this point but the park was really quiet so we grabbed a ride on Indiana and a few goes on Thunder Mountain and a few others. We finally left the park at 11pm to try grab some sleep before our early start for DCA in the morning. We’d had a really successful day and managed to do practically every open ride in the part at least once and others several times. The only one that eluded us was Peter Pan. I’m a completer finisher so it killed me not to do this one but I couldn’t convince the rest of the team to wait the ever constant 30 minutes for it.
Another early, for us, start with another Panera quick breakfast on the move. I loved that this was also in our carpark. Today was going to be DCA today with a break again for food/pool and back to DCA for WOC this evening.
Like the previous day, we were inside the park for about 8:30 and we headed down to Pixar Pier. Practically everything was a walk on so Ariel was first up, followed by the swings and jellyfish. Zephyr was down so we filled that in later in the day. Got shook around Goofy ( I do now love this ride but for other reasons which I’ll explain later) I made the teens go on Inside Out - they hate this movie with a passion so I do love to tease them about it then we split in half for swinging vs. non- swinging on the Big Wheel. Gutted that TSMM was shut during out visit, we headed to Incredicoaster. Still a walk on and we loved it so much that we went right back on. It was only just gone 10 am and we’d completed everything open (bar Zephyr) In Pixar Pier and Paradise Gardens so headed round to Avenger Campus.
I’m not a massive Avenger fan but this was a brilliant place. The atmosphere was so fab and we caught a fair few shows by accident with we enjoyed. The Spiderman stunt took my breath away. We did Webslingers (I think with Genie plus) and GofG ( Jackson 5) in stand by as the line wasn’t long. At some point during the day, I got in a muddle with Genie plus and dropped our Genie GotG somehow but saved it with knowing when the daily drop was and snagged a new one for near immediate return, phew! The pressure of the being the sole Genie controller was immense in those few minutes. We got Jackson 5 again, never mind, we like that song.
Off to Cars Land for Mater and Luigi (long line for such a short ride). It was getting hot and busy again as it was around noon so we decided to leave RSR for later, hoping to not have to pay for ILL. Monsters Inc and Philharmagic were next.
We did Soarin to get out of the sun for a bit but our problem ride this day was Grizzly. It had been down most of the morning and when it came back up the line was an hour and I couldn’t get a Genie till much later. We knew if we were going to do it that it had to be now as it was hot enough dry us off before eating. So we waited. I think it was our one and only long wait of the trip but it was fun and 2 out of the 4 of us got soaked and the other 2 were bone dry! Lunch time as we were tired and hungry so we tried Tony Roma’s today followed by pool and jacuzzi time.
We headed back to DCA for 6ish. Our plan was to buy ILL for RSR, do short wait rides and then we had a spot in the Blue Zone for WOC thanks to the virtual queue. This is when I fell in love with the Goofy Ride. It had gone offline and as I’d ridden everything else with a Genie but not Goofy that morning, I could still book it. Twice it converted to MEPs. Now our problem was we had 2 MEPs but the park was shutting at 10, so change of plan. We decided to buy ILL for RSR as the line was longer than we wanted to wait in. We enjoyed it but didn’t love it and felt a little miffed at having spent £56 on it. No one wanted to repeat it so we rode Incredicoaster, swings and jellyfish again then headed to our WOC spot with some snacks. Now, I deliberately hadn’t read or looked up too much about this show as I wanted it to be a complete surprise so when I heard them say people at the front may get wet, I thought they meant front, front. We went to the back of front, just before the rope path that they make, and we got thoroughly damp. Luckily it was a warm enough evening as with our MEPs, we had a new date over in Disneyland park.
Arriving into this park as the fireworks crowd was leaving was tricky but we made it. Snow White had been down the previous morning so we used one of our MEPs on this, once we’d worked out where to go. Then suddenly the park was so quiet and we struggled to use our other one as they’d closed most of the LL and everything was walkons. Two goes on the wildest train in the West and we were leaving the park at 11:30.
I told the family that they could sleep in the morning as we weren’t going to the parks till 11am and they were very grateful, lightweights !!!