I officially have the travel bug. I thought I would be immune but I was so wrong. And it all began with this trip. My first trip overseas and my first trip to a Disney park.
Now before I get into the trip I will tell you a bit about myself. My name is Ashleigh and I am a Disney addict. I went on this trip to California when I was 22. I live in Australia and had never been overseas before (unless you include the little islands off the coast of North Queensland, Australia but I don’t think those count).
We took this trip in 2015 which happened to be the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland Park. After a 1.5hr flight to our capital city and then a 14hour flight, we touched base in Los Angeles. We were happily surprised by how quickly we went though customs, what with all the horror stories you see on tv. Within 2 minutes of being outside of the airport I saw a bus with a Disneyland ad on the side – oh my gosh!
We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel and it was absolutely beautiful. We hadn’t even gotten into the lobby yet and we heard the Disney music seeping through the doors. The rooms themselves were spacious and comfortable, I would highly recommend staying there. Especially since the hotel was just a 10min walk from Disneyland Park and California Adventure. On the first day in the hotel we ran into Minnie, Goofy and Chip & Dale!
We spent 2 days at Disneyland Park and 1 day at California Adventure which we found was enough time for us to explore the things we really wanted to see in the parks (although I don’t think you would ever be able to see everything in Disneyland Park unless you’re one of the lucky people who lives there and can get an annual pass. So jealous of you people!).
Since we were staying in a Disney Hotel we had the privilege of Extra Magic Hour (EMH). This meant we could get into the park an hour before the park opened to the public. Only part of the park is opened at this time and when we got in we had access to Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.
First thing we did at Disneyland Park was, of course, take a selfie in front of the castle and the Mickey & Walt statue! I also got a picture of the fire station. For those of you who don’t know, Walt used to live in a private apartment above the fire station and when he was there he would leave a lit lantern in the window. Now that he has passed there is always a lantern kept lit in the window. I think it is a beautiful sentiment.
Once we had gotten a few touristy snaps we went on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, which was heaps of fun. As soon as the rest of the park opened we made a beeline for Big Thunder Mountain. We intended to just get a FastPass and wait for the allotted time however the line was so short, not even 5min long, so we decided to line up too, and I am so glad we did! BTM was definitely my favourite ride in the park. I am not an adrenaline junkie and I don’t like rides that speed up too quickly or that have massive, steep drops. BTM still had drops and was still pretty quick but it wasn’t scary for me at all. Since we had the FastPass we went on BTM later in the day too. I think I would go back just to spend a day going on BTM over and over.
I met Princess Tiana, one of my favourite princesses, in Frontierland. She looked absolutely stunning and as I lined up to meet her I actually got a bit nervous!
I also met the Queen afterward and she was so scary! She was walking very quickly and I asked her for a photo and she said “walk in front of me and take a photo, I won’t be stopping for you” – that sass. And in my panic this is the best selfie I got:
We headed for Space Mountain next. I didn’t realise it was a roller coaster in pitch black darkness! I was so scared! I think it would have been great fun if I could see where I was going but the feeling of moving and falling without knowing where you are going terrifies me! I’m glad I did it but I wont be going on again!
We went onto Splash Mountain – also scary! The first part of the ride is a lovely flume ride though a beautifully designed landscape, but then you get the drop at the end which is so much steeper than it looks! I lost my stomach at the top of the ride and never found it again.
We watched the parade and later that night we watched Fantasmic! during which I cried because it was only then that it fully hit me that I was AT Disneyland! Fantasmic! was so magical. The fireworks began a few minutes after the show but I didn’t see them because I was too busy balling my eyes out! But that’s why we have DAY 2!
For the second day at Disneyland Park we did a tour of the inside of the castle (after a few more selfies of course) before heading to Indiana Jones and getting a FastPass. Indiana Jones was also a great ride. It felt exactly like we had jumped into Indy’s Jeep and gone on an adventure.
We later got a FastPass for the Haunted Mansion. I guess ghosts don’t scare me as much as death drops because I loved the Haunted Mansion – although I was slightly paranoid that the floor would drop out from under me and turn into a slide. Everything about the design and architecture at Disneyland Park astounded me, and the Haunted Mansion was the same. The amount of detail that goes into the restaurants, the scenery, the rides, they make you feel like you have stepped into the movie. Even the Disneyland Railroad was stunning. We used the Railroad to get from one point in the park to another and that in itself was an experience.
The Pirates of the Caribbean ride was next and it was so realistic. But I loved the Pirates gift shop the most! I’m quite proud of myself for having so much self control! I could have easily purchased everything in the shop. Well, I could have bought everything in ALL of the Disney stores, if I’m quite honest.
That afternoon we lined up to meet Mickey. For someone so popular, I was surprised the line took us about 20min to get through, if that. Mickey was …magical. I was taller than him! And I am not a tall person so I wasn’t expecting that. I would have hugged him for hours but he’s a busy boy and, you know, that would be weird. I almost cried when I left him! But I was strong and no tears escaped these eyes! I will see you again soon, Mickey!!! (This is probably when the travel bug set in)
Finally we saw the fireworks. Words can’t describe how amazing the show was.
We also spent a day at California Adventure. We stopped and grabbed a copy of the Buena Vista Bugle before making our way to Cars Land. California Adventure had two of my favourite lands in terms of concept design: Cars Land and A Bugs Land. The detail is stunning and there is something new everywhere you look.
We went straight to Radiator Springs Racers and got a FastPass but since the line was so short we lined up for the ride as well. It took us about 5min before we were able to get on. The ride was so much fun!
We then walked through A Bugs Land. None of the rides in A Bugs Land were of interest to us since they mostly catered to small children, however it was still beautiful to walk through and take in the scenery.
After getting a FastPass to meet Anna and Elsa, we headed down to the Paradise Pier and went onto California Screamin’ which turned out to be my favourite ride in California Adventure. The ride started off shooting us at full speed into a terrifyingly steep drop (two of my least favourite things in rides!) but for some reason I absolutely loved it and we ended up going on about three times because of the short lines.
After that we went and met a few characters including Woody and Jesse, Mrs Incredible and Frozone, Anna and Elsa, and one of my favourite characters, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. I went around seeking Oswald and was super excited when I saw him running around in front of his gift shop, Oswalds, at the front of the park. When I got Oswald’s autograph I told him his writing was neat and he was very happy and gave me a kiss on the cheek! Watch out, Mickey, this little guy is in the running for #1!
I also went looking for Sully but the cast members told me he was away working on the scream floor that day. [Insert sad face here.] But we went on the Monsters, Inc. ride which was really cool.
We also went on Soarin’ over California which was amazing.
We went off to see the parade and spent some time shopping in all the gift shops.
When night came we found a good seat to watch World of Color. Once again another stunning show by Disney.
Cars Land looked beautiful at night, too.
This was my first time at a Disney resort and it was, hands down, the best experience. I loved every second. The cast members were wonderful, the food was yummy, the park was beautiful, and as soon as I got home I began planning my next trip.