Tuesday 10th September – Another dream come true
At 4am, Chloe, Elin, Emma and I were up and on our way to Orlando airport for our flight to California. After wanting to go my whole life, we were on our way to DISNEYLAND!!!
By the way, I was very impressed with Delta… they have an incredible movie selection and served Delta Biscoff cookies… all the wins.
We got an Uber from the airport to our hotel and our driver had her dog in the car… it was already shaping up to be a GREAT trip! We were staying in one of the Disney hotels (Paradise Pier) and as we got closer, we drove past one of the parks and I had a little cry… I can’t believe I’m actually here! It was a very surreal moment.
We checked in and the lovely Cast Member gave us ‘First Visit’ buttons and a free room upgrade so we had a theme park view; it’s already so magical here! Our room was incredible and we had booked Club Level so we check out the lounge for food and drinks.
Once we had freshened up, we headed into Disneyland Park. As we arrived, there was a show at the front of the park with Mickey and friends and a band, welcoming Guests (yes, I cried again). As we walked down Main Street, it was really strange being somewhere so familiar but different at the same time. The buildings seem a lot shorter than those in the Magic Kingdom back in Florida and the shops are laid out differently but on the outside they look so similar. I actually found Sleeping Beauty’s castle (Disneyland) a bit underwhelming compared to Cinderella’s castle (Walt Disney World) but it was still incredible seeing it in real life! It was repainted a few months ago and it is beautiful.
We wandered around and did some rides; I was so happy to see that they still use the old-school Fastpass tickets! They used to have them in Florida and I remember my Dad rushing from ride to ride sorting us out for the day… I was amazed at how quiet it was and we were getting on most rides straight away. Again, a lot of the rides are so similar to the ones I have grown up with in WDW with but they have little things that make them different (sometimes even better!). They also have a lot of ‘dark’ rides like Snow White’s Scary Adventures; they used to have this exact same ride in WDW but got rid of it so I felt like a child again!
The highlight was definitely the Haunted Mansion. As we came in Hallowe’en season, it had a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay and was called ‘Haunted Mansion Holiday’. We all thought this would just be a couple of small changes to the ride. Nope. I should have known that Disney would have gone all out. The WHOLE ride was different, including the narration, music and pre-show. I just went through the ride with my mouth hanging open, it was incredible!
Later on, while waiting for the carousel, Belle and the Beast casually walk past and get on the carousel themselves! A massive difference between here and WDW is that it is a lot quieter, so characters can just wander around and interact with Guests spontaneously. We saw so many and it was wonderful.
In the evening, we walked over to Disney California Adventure Park (they are literally opposite each other) to watch World of Colour. As we left Disneyland Park, we met Minnie dressed as a witch, then met Hallowe’en Mickey as we came in to the other park. Magical!
World of Colour was great; the way the lights make the fountains glitter is stunning!
We then took the short walk back to our hotel, absolutely exhausted, and found some treats waiting for us. I’m impressed that we lasted the whole day with the time difference though… that’s Disney for you!
Wednesday 11th September – Disney California Adventure
We spent the morning walking around Pixar Pier taking all the photos and doing all the rides. I still can’t believe how quiet it is! The funniest moment was doing the Ferris Wheel; Elin and I chose to go in a swinging gondola which are on their own tracks within the wheel… it felt like we were going to swing right off into the water! Emma chose a stationary one and I think she felt quite smug watching us screaming below her…
I managed to persuade Emma to conquer her fear of upside down rollercoasters and she did the Incredicoaster! We were very proud of her and the ride was actually incredible… pardon the pun.
Elin and I wanted to have lunch at Blue Bayou, which is a restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, so we walked back into Disneyland and left Emma to ride Incredicoaster again and again and again (I think she actually did it 17 times by the end of the trip!). The food was great and it was a really cool atmosphere.
We went back to the other park for more rides and we watched the Frozen show which was absolutely amazing! Literally Broadway standard with the talent and the set design.
Something miraculous happened after that… Emma had inspired me to be brave and conquer my fear… I rode Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! It used to be Tower of Terror but they changed the theming to Marvel, which I think helped me to step foot inside the building in the first place! If you know me, you’ll know I live in fear of that ride. I include the ride photo as evidence, even though it is the most horrendous photo I have ever seen… I came off hyperventilating and shaking like a leaf but I’m so proud of myself! Emma even got me a celebrating button. I’m telling you, it was a big deal.
We watched World of Colour again but we didn’t have a great view, then went back into Disneyland to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade! I remember watching this in Florida when I was little but they stopped it years ago; I was so excited to see it again and the music just made me feel so nostalgic and happy. It’s so good!
Thursday 12th September – Exploring
We spent today going further afield in California. We got an Uber to the Imagineering building in Burbank (this is where they come up with all the designs and ride ideas for the Disney parks). Unfortunately, the shop was closed, which was the reason we wanted to go there (Sorcerer Mickey Imagineering merch?! I am sad but my purse is not). Instead, we got the Cast shuttle bus to the Walt Disney Studios, found the shop there and had a look round. We were only allowed outside and into the Archive room but as a massive Disney nerd, this was very cool.
After this, we went to the Griffith Observatory to see the Hollywood sign. It was so far away but I still thought it was amazing to see it in real life! We looked round the planetarium then got an Uber back to our hotel, ordered food and watched World of Colour from our room.
Friday 13th September – Last full day
I can’t believe it’s already our last full day in California! We spent the morning doing rides we hadn’t yet done in Disney California Adventure and I also met Groot (I felt really awkward as I’ve not actually seen any of the Marvel films but my brothers were certainly jealous).
We went back to Disneyland for lunch as we had booked the Fantasmic! Dining Package. The food was great and I was so so so excited to see the show later tonight. I’ve managed to avoid spoilers so far…
Emma and I watched Mickey and the Magical Map, a show that is only on certain days of the week. I’m so glad we saw it, it was amazing and we got emotional and cried, obviously. We then met up with Elin and walked around Toontown; again, they used to have this in Florida before they changed it so I felt like I was five years old again, exploring Mickey and Minnie’s house and meeting the Mouse himself at the end!
We then met some more characters and did more rides, including Haunted Mansion Holiday for the second time… we haven’t stopped talking about it the whole trip!
The Hallowe’en fireworks were on tonight so we watched those first. Some of it was taken from the Florida version of Hallowishes that ended last year which was nice. The whole of Main Street came alive for the show!
It was then time for Fantasmic! but I was baffled when I realised it was set across the water on Tom Sawyer’s Island. In Florida it has its own amphitheatre off to the side of Hollywood Studios, so I found this very strange. The show was incredible; some parts were better than the Florida version but some were not. I think I will always prefer the WDW version because I have an emotional attachment to it. I loved it though.
Saturday 14th September – Back to Orlando
I was up early and had an unplanned trip back into California Adventure to hunt for the Hallowe’en Spirit Jersey. It had sold out everywhere! I could have got it back in WDW but I preferred the Disneyland version… plus, it’s SPARKLY! I managed to get one then we left at 9:30am for the airport. How lucky are we to be leaving Disneyland to go back to Walt Disney World?! It’s a crazy life…