Sorry about the huge delay in this post – turns out editing Disneyland photos takes way more time than I expected to haha
This is part of a series about our trip to Seattle and Disneyland in April 2016. All the posts about our trip will be listed here! Make sure you read the previous days before this one 🙂
Friday, April 22, 2016
We’re already hitting the halfway point of our trip today, can you believe it? And today was indeed a BIG day! We were headed to Disneyland and we were sooooo excited!!
We were up pretty early to get ready, and in a TRAGIC turn of events, when we left I realized that we forgot my bin of cheese curds in my sister’s fridge ;( ;( ;( so unfortunate. But we had places to be and I didn’t realize it til we were at the airport. Sad day.
It was also a sad day because we said goodbye to my siblings! We’d had such a fun time hanging out with them as our personal tour guides, it was very bittersweet to leave. Seattle is such a beautiful city and I can really see why all 3 of them like it out there so much. We definitely want to go back and visit again!
Continuing on. We made our way to the airport (Sea-Tac is a lovely airport with very friendly TSA people, btw) and waited for our flight. There were a few other families on with us that were clearly also going to Disneyland, it was very cute.
Our flight was very pleasant, and pretty short. Before we knew it we had landed at LAX!
We hopped off the plane (not literally) and headed out to find our transportation to Disneyland. I booked us a transfer through Super Shuttle and it was really easy – there were very clear instructions to follow and we found the pickup area quickly. All we had to do was check in via the app to let them know we arrived and a shuttle was there in just a few minutes to pick us up. I will say that the Super Shuttle employee that checked us in was not very friendly hahaha we joked that it was the LA hospitality in full swing. But our driver was nice enough, and whenever we go back I’ll probably use them again.
The drive to Disneyland took about an hour, but omg it felt like an ETERNITY!!!! Partially because we were just so excited but also because we were driving right through LA traffic at like 5pm. It was tragic. On the way there I also clearly remember Chris saying “I miss Epcot.” As we are literally on the way to Disneyland. What a nerd.
Eventually, we got through the traffic and were greeted by this beautiful sight:
And omg… at that moment, any annoyances at the traffic or how long it was taking or anything else just vanished. We both realized that it was really happening and we were actually going to Disneyland and immediately got SO excited!!!
The driver dropped us off and we were so beyond overwhelmed and excited and just EVERY GOOD EMOTION. Oh yeah, I haven’t mentioned yet where we were staying – the Disneyland Hotel!!!!
We headed into the front desk to get checked in and were literally just bursting with excitement. The girl who checked us in was SO nice and helpful and could tell we were just dying inside. When I said we worked at Walt Disney World she got super excited and started talking to us about what we did here and an upcoming trip that she was planning! I was so excited that I kept saying stupid things like “We’re at a hotel in Disneyland and I work at a hotel in DISNEY WORLD!!! Isn’t that so COOL?!!!” Thankfully she was still super nice to us despite me acting like a fool hahaha.
We also talked to a few other cast members who had been to or even worked at WDW, including one girl who had worked at the Grand Floridian! It was so cool to have this weird shared bond of working at Disney hotels but on opposite coasts, haha. I was so grateful to those girls for being so kind and helpful to us – I literally do the same job as them every day so I KNOW how mundane it can get answering the same questions all day, and how annoying the tourists can be. I really appreciated their patience and they really started our trip off on the right foot 🙂
Anyway, we paid off the rest of our balance and got our room number, and found out we’d be staying in Fantasy Tower!!! We headed up to our room on the 7th floor and were so pleased at what we found:
IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!! ;_; ;_; and that beautiful headboard LIGHTS UP!!!!!!!!! And it plays When You Wish Upon a Star 🙂
I literally could not be more obsessed with that, omg. It was so cute and magical I wanted to cry. I almost did cry.
Everything was so perfect. Even the bathroom was stunning. Look at the Mickey hands holding up the lights!!!!!
Our view was…interesting:
…but not horrible! and honestly, I never see the point in fussing about the view anyway… we were going to spend our entire day in the park, not the hotel room!! Plus, if we stood up next to the window and looked to the right, we could see lots of exciting things – Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, the Matterhorn…!!!!!!
Once we finished freaking out about the room and the fact that this was all real, we decided to explore the hotel a bit more and then get ourselves into a park!
We were completely enamored with the Disneyland Hotel. I’d read up on it before our trip and people compared it to the Contemporary, but (no offense to Contempo) it’s so much nicer imo – it’s retro and cozy while still remaining classy. It somehow made me feel nostalgic also despite never having been there before?? It was the perfect choice for our first visit.
We were absolutely O B S E S S E D with the teacup chairs in the lobby!!!!!!!!
I also thought the Small World themed gift shop was very cute:
And all the 60th stuff around only got us more excited!
We walked around outside too, where Chris took his first sneaky Disneyland pic (the first of many):
We checked out the other two towers, Adventure and Frontier. They were both super cute but I’m glad we stayed in Fantasy B)
and omg the monorail pool!! We didn’t get a chance to go swimming in it this time because it was a bit chilly at night still, and we were spending every minute of our time in the parks. Next time!
Once we’d walked around the hotel we couldn’t wait anymore and walked under the big hat towards Downtown Disney, where we headed over to Disneyland for the very first time!!!!!!!!!!!!
I took a quick choppy panorama of the space between the parks because I seriously COULDN’T BELIEVE how close they were!!!! This was crazy!!!
Chris and I were literally BURSTING with excitement at this point. We were just so happy and couldn’t believe that we were finally here! We headed up to the touchpoints–sorry, TURNSTILES (?!!!??!) and showed our cast IDs and maingates to get our tickets to enter. And LOOK WHO I GOT:
Olaf. I got OLAF. My very first time to Disneyland in my life and I get a dang OLAF TICKET. If you aren’t aware, I don’t like Frozen (understatement of the year) so this was a delicious bit of ironic humor. But my disappointment subsided quickly once I saw this:
We passed through the entryway and we were officially in Disneyland!!!!!!!!!
I seriously like…couldn’t believe it. Idk, you know when you’ve just been dreaming of and wanting to do something for so long, and it’s finally happening and it’s just…surreal? I can’t even explain the feeling. I was so excited.
I shed a few little happy tears as I saw the castle for the first time. People always say it’s nothing compared to ours but I think it’s lovely and cute and quaint and perfect for the park. And it’s pink! ❤
Omg can I just say though…walking into a Disney park that you’ve never been to before is SO WEIRD!!!!! It’s like being in an alternate universe lol… like, we know Magic Kingdom SO WELL and have been there millions of times and here we are in a place that looks kinda like it, and feels kinda like it, but is at the same time so different??? I can’t even describe how weird it was.
We kinda just walked around for a little bit to get our bearings and take everything in. We did the cute little castle walkthrough which I really enjoyed:
And then meandered through Fantasyland and took a few pics there:
And then…omg I’m getting choked up thinking about this again lol. So we were strolling through Fantasyland just having a grand old time taking everything in, and I turned the corner…and there at the end of the walkway was Small World.
I wasn’t expecting it. I just turned and saw that and immediately started crying. It was just so beautiful and something I’ve seen so many pics of and that’s just so quintessentially old school Disney…I don’t know. I just was so overwhelmed with happy emotions and again with the whole “omg we’re actually here” thing that I just stood there looking at it and crying. Chris didn’t realize I had stopped walking and just turned and was like ARE YOU OKAY????? hahahah and I had to explain that I was fine, just emotional lol
So obviously that had to be the first ride that we went on. I was so amazed at how it was an indoor/outdoor ride, something that continued throughout the trip. It was just really cool to me that they had so many queues outdoors because we could never do that in Florida or people would literally die. It was a nice change that I enjoyed.
And so I cried on Disneyland’s It’s a Small World like I have cried so many times on Walt Disney World’s It’s a Small World. I thought having the doll versions of Disney characters in the ride was SO cute, I wish we could get them in WDW!
Needless to say I enjoyed the experience. Unfortunately that was the only time we got to ride it during the trip. I wish we’d gotten to go again, but it was still super fun and a great first ride for our first trip.
After I stopped crying, we realized that we were STARVING!! Luckily for me I had done my research and selected some dining places that I thought we’d wanna try. We headed over to Adventureland to check out Bengal Barbecue.
Okay, this is about to be a negative thing so if you only want to know the good parts about our vacation, scroll down past the photo below lol. While we were in Disneyland we experienced SO MANY amazing things, but one of the things that we really missed about Walt Disney World was honestly the efficiency. A glaring example of this was when we stopped to eat at Bengal Barbecue. The way it worked was a cast member would take our order, then go back and give it to the chef who would assemble the order. The thing that drove us absolutely CRAZY was that there was only ONE cashier taking orders and there was a super long line behind us, and that same cashier went over and waited for every single individual order to be cooked before bringing it out and taking the next guest. It was INSANE!!!! We must have been hangry because this made us so mad seeing it happen lol. It seriously took us like 25 minutes to stand in line and wait to order, then actually order, then wait for the food to be made. I couldn’t believe how inefficient it was, especially compared to how quickly we are used to doing things in Walt Disney World.
But eventually we got our order, and it was amazing and delicious. And that was honestly probably the “worst” thing that happened to us our entire trip so really we can’t complain too much lol
After eating we felt much more energized and ready to explore more. We strolled through the different lands kinda just taking it all in, and seeing all the things that were different from what we were used to. We went through Tomorrowland but didn’t ride anything just yet – we were still just absorbing everything.
Eventually we made it over to New Orleans Square (which we LOVED, btw) and found our way to a very familiar attraction…the Haunted Mansion! I can’t believe I took NO pics of this, but you can imagine it haha go watch a ride through video on youtube or something. Chris and I are HUGE fans of Walt Disney World’s Mansion so we had high hopes for Disneyland’s, and omg we were not disappointed!! It was another one of those feelings like I described earlier walking down Main Street – it was like an alternate reality! It was so weird to be on a ride that is so familiar but not exactly what you remember. Some differences from WDW that we noticed/liked (spoilers if you haven’t been to Disneyland): the hatbox ghost was LIT we loved him, being in an actual elevator in the stretching room was pretty awesome, and I loved the spooky trees in the queue. We really loved the ride and appreciated it for its differences from WDW.
On the way to Mansion, we also saw another familiar ride – Pirates of the Caribbean! I had heard good things about Disneyland’s Pirates, but omg…nobody had warned me that this ride is better than Walt Disney World’s in LITERALLY EVERY WAY. INCLUDING THE QUEUE. Omg..every part about it was amazing!!!! We were blown away by everything. The queue line was so spiffy and cool and how it felt like you were outdoors…but you were inside…and the second drop, and the added scenes, and how it’s just LITERALLY BETTER IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY. I didn’t wanna go to Disneyland and become a person who was all snobby about how everything is better over there, but this is one thing that is DECIDEDLY better in Disneyland. In fact I kinda never wanna ride Walt Disney World’s Pirates again now. Oh well.
Before long it was getting dark, and soon it was time for the nighttime shows. I hadn’t read much about the parade route and I didn’t even know what the path was like, but we hurried and found a spot in Fantasyland for the Paint the Night parade.
Seeing this parade was like….unreal. I remember watching this parade on youtube right after the Diamond Celebration started, and just being really sad and almost crying because I thought I would never be able to see it. So to get to watch it in person was a really special and fun experience. Some tears were shed lol
It’s a really, really beautiful parade. The floats were all honestly amazing, I was blown away seeing it. I didn’t take a ton of photos of it because I was focusing on enjoying it for what it is, and the ones I did get weren’t so hot anyway haha
After the parade, we headed to the central hub area to watch the fireworks. Unfortunately, I did not get ANY fireworks photos because halfway through they were cancelled due to high winds…haha. We did not get to see the fireworks at all during our trip because they were cancelled every night after that, but I wasn’t too upset honestly. I took a lovely pic of the castle from our spot though:
By this time it was getting to be close to park close, and I wanted to get a snack before we headed back to the hotel. I remembered seeing a soup place in New Orleans Square and as we know, I love me a good soup. So we headed back over to get some chowder in a bread bowl! It was as good as it looks:
Once we were sufficiently tired out, we started our long walk back to the hotel. Just kidding, it was like 15 minutes if that. How incredible. On the way back we also stopped in World of Disney and I bought my Diamond Celebration Mickey ears! You’ll see them in some upcoming pics for the next few days.
When we got back to the hotel we took a few more pictures of the area before heading to bed.
We found this AMAZING map in the lobby:
those little spots that look like glares are actually parts of the map that lit up and moved around like little animations! It was so cool. Here’s a blog post more about it, I just thought it was the coolest thing and wish I had gotten more/better pics of it!
By this point we were finally realizing just how tired we were hahah. We had plenty of time for more fun in the morning with our Extra Magic Hour, so it was time to head back up to our beautiful room and hit the sack! We turned on our magical headboard one last time and drifted off to sleep.
And just like that, our first day in Disneyland was finished! It was such a GREAT day honestly, I’m sure you can tell from my pictures and writing that it was different and incredible and overwhelming in the best way. I had such an amazing time and it was only our first day!!! I’m so excited to write about everything else that happened and share all our photos with you 🙂 Hope you enjoyed this post!
xo ❤ Kaela