Disneyland 2013 – Day 2

We are really lucky that several years ago, we received a code in the mail for a huge discount at the Grand Californian despite us having never stayed there before. James and I stayed at many cheap hotels nearby but now that we had kids, it was nice to find someplace quiet and extremely close. Proximity is a huge thing when I have napping kids, too. I love to get them into bed before they nap – something hard to do leaving Disneyland as any parent knows! Staying here gives us an early entrance to the park along with tons of perks like finding a fast place to grab food. Mickey waffles are a great hit with toddlers, and we hit up White Water Snacks in the hotel because there’s never a line and it’s a great quiet place to relax before we hit the park.

Also, the kids don’t really know about taking dining or pictures with characters and Alice isn’t into the whole princess thing (yet!) so it’s nice that we can walk around and enjoy rides together. I know that can change the next time we go, so I’m thankful for the amount we were able to go on.

We hit up Fantasy Land first since there are so many original rides here with horrible lines once the park actually opens. Of course the first ride I drag the kids on is Snow White’s Scary Adventure. Alice was a little clingy after that, but loved the carousel and Patrick of course was begging to go on the teacups.

And Alice would not go on Dumbo because her beloved horsies were in close proximity, so Patrick and I got to fly high up in the air

We hit up lots more rounds of fun nearby, and then went on Pirates a ton and the Disneyland Railroad cause the kids love trains.

Lunch was our usual spot – the Blue Bayou. I’ve been coming here since I was a little girl, and I love how quiet and relaxed a meal can be while inside Disneyland. It’s incredible to sit and enjoy the quiet bayou noises and recharge. They’ve upped their menu this year, which is always a plus in my book.

And brought out a special dessert for James. His birthday is the day after Christmas which makes it hard to celebrate because not many places are open and if they are, they’re packed. We always do a birthday “day” here for him.

I was thrilled that after lunch, I was able to talk Patrick on going on Splash Mountain with me. He is my cautious guy and while he did not cry on the ride, he said it wasn’t his favorite after the big drop. Fair enough, and I was so proud that he went on with me. He is 40” tall, and that’s the minimum height.

After that, we hit our hotel for a nice nap and then back to play! We had never been on the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh before, and the kids asked to go on that one again and again and again. It was perfect because it had no line, nothing scary to freak Alice out, and didn’t get old for James and I. And, there was a great little place to grab some sweet treats. I get a caramel apple every time I go, and it’s always different. This year it was a hunny pot complete with bee. Hee hee!!

Lots more rides and then dinner at Rancho del Zocalo for my fave – fish tacos! It’s another relaxing place that I never feel rushed and can catch my second wind for rides at night! It was great to end on this one since it was Patrick’s first ride as a baby

And then time for some beautiful lights

and fireworks!

We always grab some popcorn before they start and enjoy the magic together.

One reason I love going to the park during December is how beautifully decorated everything is.

The planner in me wants to know when they start decorating, where they store everything, how it’s kept for next year, what they do to improve decorations, etc. My brain never shuts up about this stuff – but I kinda love that I don’t have to do it. :)

I know there are a thousand more things we could have done: rides, character pictures, parades, etc, but it is just so nice to have kids at this age who want to relax and go on rides. It makes for a great day together.