The Happiest Place on the West Coast | A Guide to Disneyland

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

During a recent trip to Palm Springs this past January, my family and I took a day trip to Anaheim, California, where we Disneyland!

Y'all, Disney parks are awesome. I love them. I'm slightly biased because I've visited Disneyworld a ton in my childhood and beyond, but there's a certain type of magic that's in the Disney parks that I can't really describe. I've been to other theme parks before, but there's something about Disneyworld that keeps me wanting to come back. That's why I was excited to visit Disneyland for the first time.

In this post, I'm going to give y'all the run-down on the following: where we stayed, what we rode, and what we ate. Also, I want to give you my pros and cons/first impressions of Disneyland itself.

Before we get to the aforementioned run-down, please keep in mind that we only spent one day here. We did not come at park opening, nor did we leave at park close. We also didn't have time for California Adventure (Disneyland's answer to Hollywood Studios with more Pixar-themed attractions, including a Cars ride and an Incredibles-themed coaster called, aptly, the "Incredicoaster"), but I wouldn't mind coming back for it someday.

Anyways, on to the post!

Where We Stayed: The Californian

I'm just going to cut to the chase: this is a miniature Wilderness Lodge.

For those who have never been to Disneyworld before, the Wilderness Lodge is a sprawling resort inspired by Americana/Native American/Pacific Northwestern culture and architecture. The whole hotel is styled like a giant wood lodge. Hence, Wilderness Lodge.

The Californian has the exact same architecture and a lobby that's nearly identical to its Disneyworld sibling. However, that's kind of where the similarities end for me. The restaurants at the Californian, sadly, were not as big of a draw for me as the Wilderness Lodge counterparts. But, overall, I thought the hotel was cute.

Also, the best part was our view. We could look out directly onto California Adventure.

What We Rode

Here were all the attractions that we hit in Disneyland:

It's a Small World - It has an outdoor entrance! But for some reason, they still had their Christmas theme up. The tiny dolls were singing Jingle Bells. On January 20th. It was still cute, but Dad and I were both wondering aloud why this was the case. Keep this in mind if you plan a trip to the park.

Pirates of the Caribbean - This is also different from its Disneyworld counterpart, but in two neat ways: one, it's a little longer, and two, it floats by a cute restaurant called the Blue Bayou! We weren't able to book reservations there because of the demand (I mean, who doesn't want to eat inside the Pirates ride?), but it was still neat to see.

Matterhorn Bobsleds - I'd say this is a solid combination of Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. Of course, Disneyland has both of those rides, too, but I really wanted to try the Matterhorn since it's not in Orlando. It was SO fun.

What We Ate

We didn't dive too deep into the restaurants at Disneyland - and there's a ton of well-known food items here, from Dole Whips (just like Orlando) to bigger places (like the Blue Bayou I mentioned earlier). 

The first thing we had was in Downtown Disney, which is kind of acts central hub of sorts between the parks and the hotels in the Disneyland resort. We had pizza at an Italian restaurant called Naples Ristorante, and it was pretty good.

Then, the only other food I had in Disney proper was a churro. There's a reason why everybody eats churros at Disney parks, and I can't believe my first one was in California. They serve them warm, and they're at least a yard long.

I'd love to go back and try some of their other foods, like the Mickey beignets and the macaroons.

Final Thoughts/Pros & Cons

Overall, I really enjoyed Disneyland. I mean, it would be difficult not to, since I've always been a huge Disney fan. 

Do I wish Disneyland were a little bigger? Oh yeah. Sleeping Beauty Castle is actually pretty small in person, and we pretty much walked the whole park in a matter of a few hours. But Disneyland does have its charms, and what I got to experience, I loved.

But the biggest pro was getting to spend the day in Disneyland with my Dad. Growing up, he adored the parks as much as I did, and it's something we've gotten to share together, so I'm extremely thankful I got to spend that day with him.

That's a wrap on my Disneyland guide! Thanks for reading.

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