Disneyland Vacation Recap!

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So while riding home from a late breakfast on Friday, we decided on a total whim to go spend the weekend in Disneyland! We had never taken either of the boys, so we were SO excited- but also a little nervous! We had always heard that Disney can either be a truly magical experience, or a nightmare. We were obviously hoping for the magical one, but decided it was worth a shot either way. So we told them boys in the car, headed home to pack up- and hit the road! We didn’t even book a hotel until an hour in to the drive. It was so spur of the moment, and SO amazing! I wanted to share some of the memories, tips, and tricks we learned along the way.

First off- it you are wanting to do it spontaneously- I cannot recommend it enough. Seriously. By us not having anything planned or thought out ahead of time, we had zero expectations. I know myself and whenever I plan a trip, I also end up envisioning it in my head, and if it doesn’t play out that way- I tend to get bummed out. We didn’t really know what to expect, and since neither of us are huge Disney people- we didn’t care what rides we did or didn’t do.

If you are planning out the trip in advance, then you have some freedom to be picky on your Hotel choices. There are about 6 hotels directly outside the park, and then of course the Disney hotels in the parks. They all have their perks- it just depends on what is important to you. We ended up staying at the Anaheim Majestic, because a lot of other hotels were booked or didn’t have the type of room we wanted. For Jeremy and I, it is important to have a separate space for the kids to sleep. So we booked a suite that had a room with a pull out bed and plenty of space for Winstons pack n play, and then through the door was our room. It was SO nice being able to put the kids down at night and then not have to walk around and whisper. Now, if your kids sleep like rocks- then this might not be necessary, but ours don’t- so we make it a priority.

Our hotel had a free shuttle that came to and from the park every 30 minutes all day long, even until 1am! The walk was only 20 minutes as well, so either way it was convenient. We knew our boys would be nightmares without a real nap, so we left the park every afternoon for about 2-3 hours for them to get a solid nap in. This allowed us to head back to the park with happy, rested kids- and we were able to stay late for the Paint the Night parade {doesn’t start till 8:45pm}! Our kids are normally in bed by 7:30 and 8ish, so those 10pm nights were late- but they did amazing with them!! I think we also liked having a little mid day break. I took a nap each time, and Jeremy just relaxed.

To start each day, we had a huge breakfast. We normally eat pretty large breakfasts, and we especially wanted to fill them up before heading in to the land filled with yummy treats everywhere! Our first morning we ate the huge buffet our hotel offered. The second morning we had Panera {right outside the park}, and the final morning we did Mimis Cafe {also right outside the park}.

For us, we truly didn’t have any ‘musts’ for each day. We bought them an autograph book in the first store we could, because we knew they would love that. And then we ran in to our first character. I thought they would both be SO excited, but instead got huge tears and clinging to me from Winston. And Bray wanted to stay far away from hugs. So I held Winston, and we let Bray stay as far away as he wanted, and he warmed up quickly. Haha.

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By the end, Bray was ALL about being with the characters, and Winston kinda stayed hesitant.

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To help with finding out where certain characters were AND to check out wait times for all rides, I cannot recommend downloading the Disneyland app enough. It shows exactly where characters are, and how long the estimated wait times are for each ride.

Food wise- I know there are a few places that serve somewhat healthy options, but just be prepared to eat a whole bunch of junk. The Jolly Holiday was one spot we loved a lot for some decent real meal options. The pizza place in Downtown Disney is pretty good too, with some good salad options. But our fav thing at the park? The churros and the ice cream from the Cozy Cone in Cars Land!

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For rides that you know are super popular, FASTTTTT PASSS it up. Seriously. There is nothing better than breezing through a line that others are waiting over an hour for. If your kids are Cars lovers, go first thing in the morning to California Adventure and get a fast pass for Radiator Springs Racers. Its a great ride and always has a terrible line. I honestly don’t know too much about the ‘scary’ rides of the park, since Bray was either too small- or just didn’t want to do them in general. So I am sure there are a ton others that you would be smart to Fast Pass.

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And those rides that the kids love? Do them a few times. Don’t feel rushed and feel like you HAVE to do everything. Chances are they will love riding that same ride a few times way more than doing three different rides. Tea Cups in Disney and the Towtruck ride in California Adventure were our boys favorites  {other than the racers ride that Bray did} so we did those multiple times.

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Also, take as many photos AND videos as humanly possible. I seriously had my phone out for photos so much it was ridiculous. I wanted to capture every moment, and especially with videos- we can totally relive them over and over! Those screams and laughs are THE BEST.

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Another thing- if you don’t want to spend a fortune on buying toys and other junk, simply stay out of the stores. When we got home, my mom asked to see all the toys we bought. Well that was simple, since it was only one thing- a light saber for Brays bday. We made it clear to him from the beginning that this trip was about the experience and memories, not about buying toys. So since that was pretty clear from the get-go, he honestly didn’t really ask after he got that one toy. And Winston is too young to care:) The trip in itself costs so much, so don’t feel guilty for a single second that you don’t get them every toy they want! {PS- the freaking light saber cost $45–eeek!}

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If your kids can hang late at night, SERIOUSLY stay at least one night for the Paint the Night parade in Disney. It was so magical! We had Jeremy grab a spot about an hour before the parade started, and I took the boys to grab dinner for us all. We brought it back to the spot Jeremy saved, ate, and then shortly after the parade started. Food kept the kids occupied until it was time, and it was SO worth keeping them up late. Fireworks start at 9:30, but by then our kids were pretty pooped, so we just watched them from the shuttle ride back to the hotel:)

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Most importantly, just relax and have fun. Let loose on things you normally are more strict on. We normally don’t let the kids have NEARLY that much junk food, or even let Winston have his paci outside of bed or the car. Those rules were out the window because it kept the trip fun and easy! {although the freak in me hates that Winston has his paci in his mouth in almost all the photos! lol}. And know when your kids need some down time. Whether that be naps, or even just letting them play with something ridiculous if it keeps them happy. Winston was obsessed with these beads, and played happily in them for 30 minutes while I put my feet up and drank some water! Done and done:)

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Unless you want to lug around a nice camera, just use your phone. You are much more likely to snap way more photos and videos with your phone handy. While I might not have incredible quality photos, I have A MILLION, and I care way more about that!

Also, the place is obviously full of a million germs, and too many unhealthy temptations to count. SO, come armed! Haha but seriously. I made sure to pack our normal vitamins, my Thieves hand sanitizer spray, my pre-diluted oils for the kids, and we each drank our daily dose of Ningxia Red. We all managed to stay nice and healthy- and I totally credit it to those things!

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I think thats it friends! Our recap on Disney is done! Please feel free to comment or email me if you have any questions. Like I said, we did this super spontaneously, so I am sure there were things we could have done ‘better’ but we didn’t care because the trip WAS SO FREAKING FUN! Would’t change a thing! And thats saying a lot since this was our first trip away ever without any other family or friends coming along! Cheers to a successful family trip to Disney:)

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