So, here we were – on our own venturing into the parks. It wasn’t too late now- before 9:30am and the parks shouldn’t be packed at this hour. Mike went back to our rooms to get the luggage settled with Bell Services and I took the kids into California Adventure Park. The girls wanted a spin on California Screamin’ and at this hour, the wait was minimal.
The girls went in one direction (at this point they knew the way) and Mikey and I in another. We rode The Little Mermaid- Ariel’s Undersea Adventure (identical the the one in Walt Disney World except without the interactive standby line) and then headed over to Goofy’s Sky School nearby…
Goofy’s Sky School was adorable, but I am not sure I would ride it again- a bit tight and a lot of jerky movements for my liking.
By now, Mikey and I walked over to the girls and then they all took a spin on the Silly Symphony Swings- which they loved.
From here we decided to head over to Disneyland Park, through the main gates- which is something we hadn’t done before! The ease of going in and out of The Grand Californian really spoiled us- but we had never done this before, which was odd. The park was still pretty empty and serene too as we made our way down… and we bumped into the Green Army Men again!
We needed to make a pit stop at the Oswald store just by the gates. Mikey wanted Oswald ears (just like Lo and Michael had the day before), and the girls wanted Diamond Celebrations ears as well- Katie chose a diamond bow (that Michael had actually cleverly used as a bow tie the night before during our dinner) and Jacqueline went for a blinged out set of Mickey Ears.
As we passed though the gates, we were pixie dusted by another guest leaving the park!
How cool is that- a Fast Pass! Then just as we were walking into Main Street USA we bumped into Cruella DeVille- someone in the 15 years we have been taking our family on Disney Destination vacations, we have never met!
Not to be Fast Pass greedy, but we then decided to walk over to Hyperspace Mountain for yet another Fast Pass…
I have always absolutely loved this ride, dating back to when I first rode it with my parents in 1989 in Walt Disney World. I videotaped one of our many spins on that trip through Small World- but I have refrained this time, wanting to enjoy these moments with my kids- spotting some of the Disney characters sprinkled in.
Once outside we made our way to Fantasyland- our goal today was to try to ride as many classic, family friendly rides we could and then end the day with Big Thunder and Hyperspace Mountain before our dinner reservations at 6pm in Downtown Disney.
On our way we bumped into some festive musicians…
After lunch we headed over to the Strorybook Land Canals (truth be told, we tried The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and Alice in Wonderland but their wait times were well over 30 minutes, which we decided was far too long to wait for anything), which was a first for all 5 of us. It was cute- very picturesque, taking us through the lands of some Disney classics both old and new:
After our cruise, we met up with Tricia and her family and headed to Mr Toad’s Wild Ride.
From there we headed over to Big Thunder Mountain (no need to use our Fast Pass), then over to the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean all before using our Hyperspace Mountain Fast Passes (I sat this round out as we only had 4 passes) and saying goodbye to to Tricia’s family as they were heading to dinner and then LAX to head back home. After Hyperspace Mountain we walked through Fantasyland again to ride Pinocchio’s Daring Journey.
We finally used our Big Thunder Fast Pass and then strolled over to The Enchanted Tiki Room…
By the end of the show it was time to head to Naples for dinner inside Downtown Disney- trying to take in all of the details from Disneyland as we left.
We decided on Naples because it is the sister restaurant of Via Napoli in Epcot- which we loved in April. We were expecting great food and great service- and we were not disappointed!
Not only was dinner delicious- but it was quick. Our reservations were at 6pm and we were out before 7, and we had appetizers, pizza, and dessert!
We gave the kids the option of either wandering and shopping in Downtown Disney or head back to the parks (we weren’t leaving until 9pm)- they chose to head back to California Adventure! Jammin on the Backlot (dance party, very similar to the MadT Party that I saw during my first trip) was in full swing by now!
Before our boys were done, they girls had met me by the ride’s exit and we could walk up Route 66 under the lights all together- which was so cool. We even ran into DJ’s Dance N’ Drive!
Then it was back to our resort, let bell services we were there, and our car was waiting to take us to LAX. One interesting note- the Diamond Celebration decorations were already removed from the lobby of the Grand Californian when we returned. The event ends on September 5th (today) – 17 days away. But Disneyland is forever changing and evolving- just like our trip…