Saturday, January 4

Our family do Disneyland California

We set out after our big day in LA, in a car, again with Blacklane from Hollywood to Anaheim.  This took about 1 hour and quite easy to find A to B. The kids however didn't know where we were going - I find surprises have two benefits with kids - the build up and consistent nagging 'are we there yet?', 'When are we doing XYZ?' can often overshadow the event.  Secondly, surprises are just brilliant!

I passed my phone to the driver to give him the heads up:

We arrived and then told the kids as we drove into Disneyland Grand Californian.   They obviously lost their senses and squealed and jumped up and down!  It was worth keeping that secret for six months!  Below is them at the check in desk, they can still hardly believe it!

The lobby of the Grand Californian is very impressive.  It's decorated in 'Arts and Crafts' style with lots of wood and being there in December - they had a massive Christmas tree.  Check in was very easy - but finding our room was quite a trial, there are A LOT of rooms.  We had a family room which had a double bed, a set of bunks, and a trundle.  TV and wifi that wasn't entirely reliable if I'm honest.  The bathroom is very practical for families having a bath with shower overhead.

So whilst the rates are more befitting a five star suite, it's not the case with these rooms, but their trump card is they are walking distance to Disneyland Entrance and has it's own entrance into Disney California Adventure (these two theme parks border each other).  The views are also good over California Adventure.

We got out our map and started to plan our day - we did have a good app - that helped plan where to get fast-passes etc.  We popped on our 'first timer' buttons and started with excitement!

That soon went out the window for Disneyland but was very helpful for California Adventure, I'll explain why..promise!

You know when you get a review from me, it's always going to be honest... and I'm not one to complain about things for commercial or reaction reasons but I have to tell you - I didn't enjoy Disneyland much at all.  I think having done Hong Kong Disneyland that 'magical world of Disney' thing was done and whilst there was some great stuff it didn't meet my expectations.  California Adventure on the other hand completely was fantastic, and I wished we spent two days there instead of one day in each.

The main issues with Disneyland - and perhaps because we came on a bad day was that the majority of the rides were broken down, or broke down whilst we were lining up for it.  In one case on Splash Mountain Hubby and the kids were about to go on the drop (i.e. the exciting bit) when it broke.  The staff had to chain it off and remove them backwards off the drop and get them off the ride.  Overall it felt like a massive waste of time and money.

BUT I will tell you the bits I did like about Disney:

1.  The parade - well worth it, really gets the kids excited, but find a spot at least 30 minutes prior where you can sit down.

2.  Character Appearances - these are plentiful and the queues aren't too bad.

3.  Night-time in Main street with the Christmas Tree was beautiful.

4.  The food wasn't as expensive as you would think - and they do check your bags for food and drink when you go in, so don't bother with that...

5.  These cute mickey ears (admittedly the ear bit is plastic) are only $15 with personalisation.

Good news is, Californian Adventure was worth the plane ride for us and I'll share more of that in another post!

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