It’s the self-proclaimed (and rightly so) happiest place on earth. The iconic mouse head is everywhere you turn, be it on someone’s head or clothing, cleverly shaped food items or well hidden amongst the park’s incredible archetiture – you literally cannot escape the most well known mouse in history. And why would you want to? I think it’s every single inner child’s dream to go to Disneyland – and for Blake and I, our dreams came true that day.
Having been in a relationship for just a little bit of time now, it’s safe to say gift shopping is quite a difficult task. So last Christmas, we thought why not buy each other our theme park tickets? It was a huge weight lifted off our shoulders as we were on such a savings budget, but also got to reward ourselves with pretty unique gifts and zero shopping stress! However on the day, we remained true backpacker budget style – packing peanut butter sandwiches, apples, pringles and some bananas to sustain us, rather than giving into the absolutely delectable smelling turkey legs or warm sugary churros. I think you realise how hungry you are when every corner you turn is an amazing smelling food vendor or another patron waiting in a ride line, snacking right beside you.
Day one we spent entirely in Disneyland, and completely not to plan. We thought for sure we’d park hop and get to California Adventure, but instead we decided to go on literally almost everything that was open and our favourite rides two or three times. The sun was shining and weather was incredible, yet the park seemed reasonable and the wait times short.
Personal favourites for us were the Matterhorn Bobsled, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad & the notorious Splash Mountain – which ended up a lot steeper and scarier than we initially thought! The decor in the park is just incredible, the detail they have gone into bringing people’s favourite movies from the screen to real life is second to none and it truly is adorable to see the kids dressed as princesses or characters and meeting their ‘real-life’ heroes.
Day two at California Adventure was slightly different an experience, but still an incredible day. Ride lines were considerably longer – but we had done our research and knew that there was one ride that would have an insanely long queue and was a massive fan favourite – Radiator Springs Racers in the newest park addition of Cars Land. With this in mind, we utilised Disney’s FastPass system and booked a ticket for a few hours ahead of time, as the park had only just opened and already had a 1 hour wait time. We also used the FastPass to get access to an exclusive viewing area for the nightly ‘World of Color’ show at Paradise Pier.
Radiator Springs Racers did not disappoint. What starts as a cute storytelling ride, ends in a high speed outdoor drag race and the adrenaline just flows. We had to experience it twice, it was that good – so we hopped into the solo riders line, jumped in the cars with some random families and met each other at the finish line.
The rides definitely pack more punch at California Adventure – more adrenaline inducing and a lot more screaming from this sister park. After a 1hour breakdown period, we lined up for California Screamin’ – the iconic rollercoaster that can be seen in just about every photo of Paradise Pier taken in the park. Blake was initially hesitant, and I dare say even a little nervous but by the end of the ride, he was all smiles and wanting to go again. The standing start and speed at which it takes off is a huge highlight of this coaster – definitely preferred over Disneyland’s Space Mountain, which I swear gives me a headache every time.
We capped off an amazing two days, watching the World of Color show – a 20-30 min light, sound and water show that involves incredibly coloured projections of favourite Disney scenes, amongst constantly moving fountains that could rival those of the Bellagio in Vegas. Although Blake felt the time of the show was a bit long, I honestly wish it would go for longer – in both 2011 and my recent visit, World of Color has been a huge highlight for me and I would recommend lining up early or getting a FastPass viewing access to see this spectacle.
Knackered, freezing cold and hungry, yet absolutely beaming with smiles from ear to ear, we made our way back to our inn (conveniently located directly next to the park) and began to pack our bags to return to LA the following day. We’d ticked off a huge bucket-list item for us and it was incredible to be able to experience it side by side.