When was the last time you hit up a theme park? I'm a fully-grown adult (okay, I'm 5'2") and I jumped at the opportunity to relive my childhood when Disneyland asked me to come to Anaheim, California. The group I was traveling with was made up of besties and couples and ended up feeling like summer camp meets a graduation field trip. Thinking of visiting soon? Here are a few tips to help you along the way...
The Disneyland Hotel - If you can afford one splurge on a trip to Disneyland, I would definitely recommend staying at the Disneyland Hotel. The location cannot be beat. We ended up leaving our car parked all weekend and walked to Disneyland or took the monorail, which dropped us off smack dab in the middle of Tomorrowland. If you have small children, it's great to go back and grab a nap or swim before returning for fireworks at night. The pools and waterslides will also have them giddy. I was happy just lying by the pool and taking a dip to cool off.
The Room - Our room had hidden Mickey's everywhere - including the tile, carpet and bedding. It featured a king-size bed, desk area, TV and small closet. We didn't spend too much time in our room, so it was the perfect size. A few notable features included the headboard (above) which lit up and played music, the TV channel which had bedtime stories, Disney cartoons and music which synced up to the fireworks.
Breakfast with Chip & Dale - Character Breakfasts are available at all the Disney hotels. It's great because the characters come to YOU and they make sure everybody gets a picture. Our breakfast with Chip & Dale was at Storytellers Cafe inside Disney's Grand Californinan Hotel with a nice breakfast buffet spread with made-to-order omelets. Don't forget to order the Mickey waffles!
The BEST Rides? After meeting with a group of Toronto's top lifestyle bloggers and media (above), our Disneyland trip was off to a roaring start! If it's your FIRST time visiting the park and you're going with your significant other or friends, you're going to want to hit all the thrill rides. My top suggestions:
1) Indiana Jones Adventure - This is by far the BEST ride at Disneyland for the over 12 set. You're transported into the Indiana Jones world via a rugged safari jeep that takes you on a thrilling adventure inside the Temple of Doom.
2) The Matterhorn Bobsleds - Old school Disneyland at its finest. This steel apline rollercoaster opened in 1959 where you roar through the Matterhorn mountain on a bobsled. It's full of twists and turns that had everyone screaming.
3) Space Mountain - A rollercoaster in the dark!
4) Splash Mountain - A classic water log ride with a few fun drops...yes you WILL get wet.
5) The Haunted Mansion - So this one isn't crazy scary, but just very creative. You ride a 'Doom Buggy' through a haunted house with lots of special effects and ghosts. It's very cute.
The Churros ($3.50) at Disneyland are a must-taste! If you've never had a churro, think of it as a long 'Spanish donut' that is fried and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. I'm not sure what sort of magical things they put into the churros at Disneyland, but I HAVE to get one every time I am at a Disney theme park. They are SO good.
I have had a long love affair with the Dole Whip Float at the Aloha Isle Tikki Juice Bar in Adventureland. I have only ever found this dessert at Disneyland and in Hawaii at the Dole Plantation. The pairing of sweet pineapple soft-serve floating over tart pineapple juice is one-of-a-kind. Just look for the long line-up of people craving this refreshing treat.
Posing with a pair on Minnie Mouse ears!
Make sure you save some time at the end of the night to wander through all the gift shops for souvenirs. The stores are open for one additional hour after the park closes.
The Classic Rides - If you're a Disney purist and hope to get on all the classic rides, make sure you hit up the Teacups, Flying Dumbo, Peter Pan, The Carousel, Pirates of the Carribbean and It's a Small World. It's all very nostalgic and part of the Disneyland experience.
The best place to catch the nightly fireworks at Disneyland is on Main Street, USA. Just make sure you show up early to grab a spot - like all these people did!
The Fireworks! - Please make sure you do not leave Disneyland before catching the fireworks. Just when you think you've seen it all, Disneyland goes all out and puts on the BEST fireworks display I have ever seen and all synced to classic Disney songs. The entire display lasts about 14 minutes and had me ooohhhh'ing and ahhhh'ing during every minute.
Thanks again to our friends at Disneyland for a magical trip! Stay tuned to the blog next week for a wrap-up of my visit to Disney's California Adventure Theme Park.