Cali 4: Disneyland {Disappointing} Morning

While I got ready for our big Disneyland day, Zach went down and got us PANERA for breakfast. I mean how amazing is it to have a hotel where Panera is right next door? Great way to start the day for sure!

Tickets ready to go!

Being within WALKING distance to the gates of the parks was AWESOME. I’m so used to Disney World and having everything so spread out that I couldn’t get over the fact that we were walking and that it took us less than 15 min to get there. While it was awesome, it is a different experience than Disney World. When you drive through those Disney World gates you know you are about to be surrounded by all things Disney. At Disneyland it just didn’t have that same vibe because you walked past several fast food chains, passed a major intersection, and witnessed tons of people begging for money on your way in. 

We lucked out and got to visit during the 60th “diamond” celebration at Disneyland! 

Another really different thing about Land vs World is how it’s set up. There is a large courtyard type area with Disneyland on one side and Disney California Adventure on the other. You go through one bag check to either park. Both of the resort properties are also within that same area as is Downtown Disney. Everything is SO close! 

Right away the crowd at Disneyland was much different than Disney World. A lot less international travelers. A lot more same sex couples. A lot more healthier lifestyle people (we saw WAY less obese adults and children at Disneyland). There also seemed to be a lot more people who were obvious locals. I’ve heard that a lot about Disneyland…that there are a TON of annual pass holders who live nearby and visit often. I REALLY liked the style of all the moms I saw. Lots of cute Disney themed stuff and I think I’d make some fast friends if we lived there πŸ˜‰ 

We were there nice and early but they do not have an opening show. The front of the park was very similar to Magic Kingdom! They allowed us in the gates before the park opened but had everything roped off and kept us limited to Main Street until the official park opening time. I liked that set up and wish Magic Kingdom was similar as it was nice to take our time strolling down Main Street rather than the typical rope drop rush we’re used to!

(I was pretty pumped about our themed shirts…these are from Arthadon Apparel on Etsy!)

I get a super giddy feeling when I go to bed the night prior to a day at Disney, when I wake up the morning of a Disney day, and when I first walk through the Disney gates. There isn’t much else better than that excitement! As we walked through the gates Goofy met us and quickly grabbed hands with a lucky little boy and marched with him across the way to his spot for the morning! SO fun!!! I love special character moments and I know that little boy made such a special memory!!!

Hello teeeeeeny tinnnnnny castle! πŸ˜‰

People often think that Disney World was before Disneyland. I think because it’s the more popular place to visit now? But Disneyland was actually the first, and only, theme park designed and built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. It was super special to get to see the candle lit in his apartment!

People all gathered near the castle to wait for the ropes to drop to the individual lands!

I’m very used to the fast pass system in place with Disney World. Disneyland is truly like stepping back in time. Not only is it the original park but it also has many of the rides from my childhood that are no longer at Disney World. And it has the old school paper fast pass system! I used Touring Plans (my FAVORITE Disney planning site!) to decide what order to ride each ride that day. We only had one day at each park so we wanted to make sure we made the best use of our time. We read over each ride and experience description together to decide what we wanted to do and what things we didn’t mind skipping. 

When the park opened Zach raced in to ride Space Mountain and I took my time meeting up with him. I wanted to make sure to notice as many details about the park as possible. It was important to me to get in all the rides we could, but also to soak in the experience of just being there and walking where Walt himself walked!

This is where things started to get rough for us. Yes, I know the park just opened. When in an unfamiliar place that resembles a place you are so familiar with it can be tricky! We know Magic Kingdom by heart but Disneyland was an entirely different layout. Zach got in the wrong line and didn’t realize it. He had been in line for Star Tours rather than Space Mountain and was told it didn’t open until later so he thought Space Mountain didn’t open until later. It threw us off from our plans and we were a bit frazzled and just hoped on the first ride we saw which was Buzz Lightyear. 

Similar ride, but much different experience! We are guessing that the Magic Kingdom version was made first as this version seemed to be better. The guns aren’t attached (and they light up!) and it was harder than the game at home. We loved it!

Zach gets the high score pretty often at Magic Kingdom, but not here!

With the park officially opened we were able to get closer to the castle and get some pics together from a photo pass person!

How awesome is it to be at a theme park in mid-April in JEANS and SWEATERS?!?! The weather there is simply AMAZING. I never broke a sweat!!!

Had to get a Donald pic for my Britt!

Aurora’s Castle!

We wanted to get back on track for our original itinerary plans so we headed into Fantasyland. 

We didn’t ride the carousel but I loved seeing the differences!

back of the castle!

I kinda wanted to ride the boats to get to see the experience but we didn’t end up having time and it had a long wait (and it’s just a little kid experience) BUT I LOVED seeing the big whale especially since I’d seen the photo the night prior of Walt in front of it!

The Matterhorn is a BIG deal at Disneyland and was a “must do” so Zach hoped on that while I waited for him. They had a lot of single rider lines which was very advantageous for us! It’s one of the longer wait lines at the park but Zach cruised on through and loved it! He said he really wished Kye was with him πŸ™‚

We hoped in line for Alice in Wonderland and this is where our disappointment really grew. I’m not saying it took away from being at Disneyland (hello a rough day at Disney is better than a good day most other places!) but it was just disappointing. Prior to visiting the park I had checked all the estimated crowd levels and everything I read said it predicted it to be a 2. Now it’s based on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the most crowded. We usually aim to visit Magic Kingdom on a 4 or less. It’s hard to even find days under a 4 at this point (better economy means more people visiting the park means more crowds!). When we saw it was a 2 we were pumped. A 2 at Magic Kingdom means practically walking on to every ride with VERY minimal wait times. We were shocked in line at Alice how LONG the wait was. 

It was also frustrating how behind they are in their technology. They don’t have wifi and service was awful so we couldn’t check posted wait times and when we could, they were SO OFF. Even the wait times posted on the rides (for the rides that had them available) were WAY off from reality. We realized later (after chatting it up with some locals) that their crowd levels are just off from World. The park is SO MUCH smaller that it can’t handle the crowds that Disney World can handle. So even though it may be a lower crowd level, it felt SO MUCH MORE CROWDED. The crowds didn’t have as many places to go! 

We waited in line for Alice for about 25 min. Not bad at all, but just not very quick either when my predictions had planned for a 10 min wait. We were fine with it and didn’t mind the people watching but then we were among the next group to load the ride when they told us the ride broke down and we had to exit. Whhhhhat. To wait and not even get to ride is SO disappointing. I was really surprised they didn’t offer any sort of amends or anything for it. The group who boarded before us had a SCREAMING crying child so that was entertaining to watch (the epic Disney meltdown was starting early that day!). 

We left Alice and headed for It’s A Small World. At this point it was almost 11:00. Like we had been in the park for almost two hours and I’d only gotten on ONE ride and Zach had only been on two! Typically at Disney World the first couple hours of park opening are where it’s AT. We jump on stuff SO FAST and it was super discouraging to be so far into our morning already and have accomplished so little. 

It’s A Small World was SO cool b/c it was SO different from Disney World. Everything was outside, including the line. We found that to be true of many of the lines. The weather is so pretty there for majority of the year that it makes sense that they’d have outdoor waiting areas. We didn’t mind it at all and I preferred the California It’s A Small World experience over the Magic Kingdom one. We could appreciate a lot more of the details with it being outdoors! We, of course, talked to a lady in line and enjoyed her for a few minutes then she drove us a little nuts and we wished the line would hurry up πŸ˜‰ 

More proof of the existence of unicorns πŸ˜‰

We both really loved It’s A Small World because they included characters from Disney movies throughout the ride in the countries they were from! I mean DUH why don’t they update the MK version to include those too??? It made the ride SO fun to try to find familiar characters and it made it more educational to know where the famous Disney movies took place! I really wished the kids could see it and we took tons of pics for them (even more than I’m including here!)

The gift shop was BEAUTIFUL!

I was SO PUMPED for Toontown!!! I remember it well from Disney World and miss it! I heard they are actually doing away with it at Disneyland as well which is so sad. It’s done SO WELL and was such a flashback to childhood!

Goofy’s House!

A little piece of foreshadowing…take a look at the posted wait time for Mickey’s House behind the fountain…

Donald’s Boat House Playground

This was actually my second visit to Disneyland. When I was a kid my dad and I took a trip to California for a week. We visited Disneyland and I have a picture of me meeting Mickey. I was excited to see his house (as it’s been SO LONG since I got to see it!) and hoping to recreate that photo of meeting him! 

The details inside Mickey’s house were SO awesome. As a kid you just don’t appreciate all the details (and I’m sure many adults could care less as well but I was all about it!). 

The thing I forgot about Mickey’s house though? It’s HUGE. I knew his house was just a long line to get to meet him, but I didn’t realize how long. The posted wait time outside? 10 minutes. We waited 45 minutes and still weren’t even in the same room as Mickey. It just felt like it was one thing after the next and it was SO frustrating. We ended up leaving the line after waiting that long without even getting to meet Mickey πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™ I’m still glad we got to see his house but if we’d realized the line was that long we would have gotten out of the line much sooner for sure!

Still got a pic in his car πŸ™‚

And we didn’t attempt to enter Minnie’s house! 

We had Fastpasses for Roger Rabbit. I don’t remember this ride at all but the movie used to give me straight up nightmares as a kid. It’s zero percent a kid friendly movie, right?!?! I didn’t even know it was a Disney movie?!?! I can still see that scene where the construction vehicle runs over one of the characters and his eye bulge out. YIKES. We got out of line for Mickey and headed over to redeem our fast passes prior to our lunch reservation. Y’all. Freak out moment and the first tears of the day (not last). I had put the fast passes in my back pocket and they had fallen out in the line for Mickey. 

My goal with Disney is always for ZACH to have FUN. I LOVE Disney. I’d be content just walking around looking at things. I don’t care if lines are long. If it’s hot or crowded. I just love it. But not everyone is that way and I know certain things that Zach does not like at Disney and always work super hard to avoid those things happening. The long line for Alice and then not getting to ride? The long line for Mickey? The lost fast passes? I knew Zach wasn’t having a very magical morning and it crushed me. 

Lucky for me I had taken a picture of the fast passes and the cast member saw tears in my eyes and let the photo work to get us on the ride. Not only do I not like the Who Framed Roger Rabbit movie…but I can’t tell you a single thing about the ride at all. At that point I was too frazzled and upset and Zach and I weren’t too pleased with each other for me to even notice what was going on around me. 

We had lunch reservations at 11:50 at Blue Bayou. When we found out we were going to Disneyland I asked around for “must see/do” things and this was considered a “must eat” restaurant. Zach and I weren’t too happy when we got up to the restaurant and that negative energy just totally came out when I realized I had the wrong reservation time. Our reservations were for 12:50 not 11:50. I instantly started crying in the way where you just can’t control the tears from coming. I had been SO EXCITED for our special day together at Disneyland and it was just nothing at all what I had hoped for or had been looking forward to experiencing. We had rushed all the way over there for lunch to be an hour early. In all my frantic trip planning I had just written down the wrong time. Simple mistake but added to my earlier simple mistake and to our unfortunate luck (and Zach’s simple mistake of being in the wrong line too) it was just a downright disappointing morning. 

The cast member who handled seating was SO NICE. I mean I doubt she sees too many grown adults in tears haha. She told me not to worry and that they would get us a table no problem. I excused myself to the bathroom and got my tears out and refreshed myself. Zach sent me a SUPER sweet text while I was in there just saying that we needed a reset and that he wasn’t upset with me (a lot of times I put too much pressure on myself and expect him to be upset with me when he isn’t) and that we were going to have an awesome day. I found him at our table and we had a GREAT talk about how we just both had to adjust our expectations. Clearly we weren’t going to be able to do everything we wanted to do in that one day. Clearly it was WAY WAY more crowded than we had expected. We just had to adjust things and roll with it and enjoy it for what it was! 

I was SO thankful that he was willing to let everything go (I know that isn’t easy for him, I’m usually the quicker one to say “let’s forget about this”) and it was the perfect setting for a fresh start! It was AWESOME. The restaurant is actually part of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It’s very dark and set in New Orleans. The food was PHENOMENAL and the atmosphere was even better!

We could see the people ride through on Pirates!

It was so dark that the menus lit up to be able to read them!


We both ordered the Monti Carlo as it’s the “must have” dish and we should have shared it b/c it was HUGE. SO delicious!

I know this is kinda a bummer post. I still get a sick feeling when I think about it which is why I wanted to split up our Disneyland day and do all the icky parts in one post. In hindsight I’m SO THANKFUL we got to that reservation an hour early because it let the disappointing part of the day end quicker so we could enjoy the rest of our day together! I promise a more typical, Emily Disney loving post is coming! πŸ™‚ 

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