Living on the West Coast now means we miss our east coast access to Walt Disney World yet would be closer to Disneyland! K enjoyed her first jaunt to Walt Disney World just a month or so ago and I shared our experience HERE. After the holidays passed, we planned to meet up with some friends in Anaheim and give her time with her favorite mouse as soon as we could!
For the trip, I was able to test drive the 2018 Toyota Highlander! What better way to test a snazzy new vehicle than with the hubby and baby in tow along with all of our 5000 essentials we’d need for the 4 hour jaunt to Cali?
K was the perfect angel in the car. She slept half of the trip and then kept herself busy with her Mickey and Minnie dolls before we finally arrived in Anaheim – without any stops on the trip out! Miracles DO happen in the happiest place on earth [or on the way.]
We immediately remembered why we loved visiting Disneyland so much and wondered why it’d been so long since we last came; everything is in such close proximity! We were able to nest in the hotel before walking the short .80 miles or so to the front gate of Disneyland. That first night, we had dinner together in Downtown Disney at one of our favorite restaurants: Tortilla Jo’s. Tableside guacamole, margaritas, and a balloon artist were the perfect way to kick off our mini trip!
The next morning, we met up with our friends to hangout in Disney’s California Adventure for the first half of the day. Keep in mind, we had to budget time to do ONE park a day when we went to Florida due to cost and distance with tram shuttles. Here, we didn’t have travel time in the way of all of the fun!
Our girls were best suited for the Disney Junior areas as well as A Bug’s Life with their little size. Even still, K was able to ride on at least 4 rides before the park officially opened after the Magic Hour (the extra hour the park is open to certain staff and hotel guests.)
The daddy’s wanted to join in on some of the ride fun, so they hopped right on to the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride (previously known as the Tower of Terror) with a standby line of only 10 minutes. That wait time is UNHEARD of in Walt Disney World with the huge influx of peeps who have fast- passes and/or want to ride all of the rides in that [much larger] park.
Meanwhile, the girls were able to run amuck and play without me nervously worrying about K wandering off into a large crowd. It could have been the time of year we went (late January) or the fact that Disneyland isn’t as crazy as Walt Disney World; whatever it was, I was taking it and running with it!
Once the daddy’s dizzily wandered off of their ride, we were happy to also find the Baby Care Center (1 of 2) located within the park. When it was time for a diaper change and snack, this was the perfect place to take a quick break with lots of space. It’s a nice gap in the day to let the littles de-poop and refuel for the rest of their ride craziness!
As the time-management Gods would have it, we managed to squeeze in the Disney Junior Dance Party show before venturing off to lunch! This was K’s first experience seeing Mickey and Minnie up close and personal. Her gigantic smile and sweet dance moves were a big enough sign to me she loved everything about this first dance party experience.
Since our hotel was so close, we were able to bid our buds ‘see you later’ after we all had lunch and were ready for nap time. (They’re locals and wanted to beat the crazy LA traffic.) With a short walk to our room, we knocked out a couple of hours of recharge napping before venturing back out to tackle Disneyland itself!
Here’s a little backstory from our WDW experience: We NEVER saw Mickey nor got a chance to take that “Baby’s First Trip to Disney and hugged Mickey” picture. I was okay with it, after a few tears and bad words. I didn’t think about the fact that we could only do 3 fast-passes at a time at WDW and by that time the baby was over it and ready for a nap. With a standby line of 120 minutes, Mickey had to wait.
Our wait ended up being worth it the moment we walked into Disneyland. As soon as we walked into the park and looked to our right, there they were. BOTH Minnie and Mickey – ready and waiting for K to pounce them!
We fit in a total of probably 7-8 rides and hefty photo opps into a ONE DAY trip to Disneyland. K is too small to think about annual passes right now, but they are possible in the future if we decide to take her more often!
We slept like rocks that evening, after walking almost 20,000 steps and having too many Mickey Rice Krispie treats – K knew I wasn’t really eating HIM. We hopped into the Highlander right before 9am and trekked back to our desert home feeling like we’d had an amazing quickie getaway!
Our vehicle for the weekend was perfect for what we needed! Very similar to our own vehicle, there was plenty of room for all of our weekend bags and for K to giggle her cares away in her carseat in the back.
We stopped more on our way home because K wanted some wiggle time and we didn’t want to push it since it wasn’t her usual nap time. So, we made sure to check out the Alien jerky stop, the temperature gauge in Baker, and make a pit stop for lunch before finally getting back home. The gas mileage in this puppy was on-point too! Being a hybrid model, we didn’t even have to stop for gas until we got close to the Nevada state line.
Mama and Daddy had a fun weekend while we got to see K smile bigger than we’ve ever seen. We got to ride in style and sing all of the Disney songs. (Gary may have had to pry me from our whip for the week to remind me what I couldn’t keep it, but I had to try!)
This trip = thee best 4th roadtrip K could have been on with us!
What are you favorite first things to do with baby/kiddo when visiting Disneyland?
What do you look for in a roadtrip vehicle?