In December 2010, I was a few weeks pregnant with Pumpkin, laying on the couch watching TV and bawling over a Disneyland commercial. I decided right then and there we would be going to Disneyland three years from then – when Pumpkin would be about 2.5 years old, and the park would be decorated for Christmas. Life, of course, had other plans. As luck would have it, Peanut was born that December, and our Disneyland plans were put on hold for a bit. And the timing turned out to be perfect.
Our Disneyland trip was our Christmas present to the girls. Christmas morning was actually a major disappointment to me, because I had been so looking forward to this moment for years. When the girls found out we were going, there was no excitement or enthusiasm. What?! It was awful. But the more we talked about it, the more excited they became, and once we got to the park, everything was perfect. Peanut, who turned 3 the day we went, was so excited about the characters. She loved seeing them in person, but even just seeing Mickey’s photo everywhere was a delight. Pumpkin, 5, was really into the rides. They both had so much fun!
I grew up going to Disneyland almost annually, but I hadn’t been in about 12 years, so we asked some friends for tips, and everything worked out great. We arrived pretty close to opening, and Mr. G took the girls to visit some characters on Main Street while I got myself some coffee (priorities).
Our next stop was the Haunted Mansion, where we picked up Fast Passes, then hopped in the line for Pirates of the Caribbean – only a 5 minute wait! From there, we were able to redeem our Haunted Mansion Fast Passes, and continued on to find the line for Splash Mountain was just 5 minutes. Mr. G went on Splash Mountain with Pumpkin while I took Peanut on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. We got in line to see Pooh and friends, and while we were waiting, Mr. G and I traded places so I could take a turn on Splash Mountain with Pumpkin. I couldn’t believe how quickly we got through so many rides, especially the day after Christmas! Next, we made our way to the Mad Tea Party.
After lunch, the park was much busier. The wait for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters was over an hour, so while I waited in line, Mr. G picked up fast passes for Star Tours, and walked around with the girls. They loved the interactivity of Buzz Lightyear’s ride! We later hit up the King Arthur Carousel en route to It’s a Small World. As we waited in line at dusk, the exterior of It’s a Small World – covered in holiday lights – lit up. It was nothing short of magical (I’m fairly certain there was an audible gasp), and we loved all the holiday displays along the ride as well.
After dinner, Peanut promptly passed out in the stroller, while Mr. G and Pumpkin went on more rides, including using that Star Tours fast pass. They finished just in time to watch the fireworks on our way out of the park.
We packed our lunch in a small cooler, and stored it in a locker when we got inside the park. The locker also came in handy as the girls picked up souvenirs so we didn’t have to carry them or risk leaving them in the stroller while we went on rides. We also packed a ton of snacks. (Mr. G and I each carried a backpack throughout the day – one with all of the snacks, and the other with diaper supplies and emergency changes of clothes.)
Between meals, Mr. G and I decided to try the highly recommended corn dogs on Main Street for an afternoon snack. They were great! For a sweet treat, we visited the Jolly Holiday Bakery on Main Street. The girls had Mickey Mouse cake pops, I had a peanut butter square, and Mr. G had caramel popcorn. We didn’t plan it this way, but from our seats on the patio we were able to watch the afternoon parade while enjoying our treats!
For dinner, we dined at Cafe Orleans. We made reservations while riding rides in New Orleans Square earlier in the day, so there was no wait. I enjoyed the Monte Cristo, while Mr. G tried the savory crepes. Our server surprised the girls with Mickey Mouse beignets for being on good behavior during dinner, and they were delighted! (Yes, we ate a LOT that day – but the cool temps and all the walking seemed to balance it out somewhat!)
All in all, we had a really amazing day. There is plenty we didn’t have time to see (or eat), but I don’t think we could have asked for a better experience for our first visit as a family. I can’t wait to go back!