If you have visited my little blog before, you may have read that my husband and I got married in July and two days later embarked on our honeymoon adventure to the West Coast of the United States.
Neither of us had visited the West Coast before, but a few of our friends had and they have always commented that we would fall in love with Lala Land, so I was quite excited about going.
I must admit that I had a lot of preconceptions about sunny Los Angeles including that everyone would be stunning at all times and I would resemble a garden worm. Thankfully the reality was that everybody was pretty much the same as people are anywhere. All different shapes and sizes, perfectly imperfect and wonderful as they are. Although I was fortunate enough to clap eyes on an absolutely stunning life guard whilst strolling along Long Beach. Remembering that I am a newlywed, I managed to refrain from throwing myself into the sea, arms flailing and looking like I was in trouble. Instead, I stuck with my wonderful new husband and drew the conclusion that a paradigm of a hunky life guard does exist and can be found flexing his tanned muscles in Long Beach.
My other preconceptions were that it would be beautifully sunny and warm (which it was) and littered with palm trees (there’s quite a few about), so I definitely wasn’t disappointed.
The first stop during our stay in Los Angeles was a couple of days at the most magical place on Earth – Disneyland.
Over in California, Disneyland is celebrating being open for sixty years. Sixty whole years of having Disney becoming a reality. What a time to be alive!
They have two parks – just like in Disneyland Paris. One is of course the iconic Disneyland and the other is the California Adventure park. We were slightly concerned when we were greeted with this sign upon arrival to the Disneyland vicinity:
Although the signs were a bit freaky, they certainly didn’t stop us from risking death and happily we skipped into Disneyland. We later discovered that these signs are quite common in California and apparently it’s due to lead being present in the area.
Our first stop was the California Adventure Park. I was pretty psyched to see the iconic Mickey Mouse wheel and this park closed earlier than Disneyland, so we decided to explore it first.
It certainly didn’t disappoint and we loved all of the different rides that they have. Phil really enjoyed the California Screaming coaster. I wasn’t brave enough for that one, so readily shoved him down the single riders queue and watched him whizz around the track, doing a loop the loop.
The lovely folk at Disney had asked us if we were celebrating and when we told them that we were on honeymoon, they presented us with badges. Which we proudly wore both days we were at Disney!
My favourite thing about the Disneyland Adventure Park is their Cars ride. The queues were over two hours long all day, so we almost didn’t bother. We waited until just before closing time (10pm) and jumped in the queue as it was a bit quieter. I’m so glad that we did because we only waited about twenty minutes and it was awesome!
It combines the magical Disney aspect of animation with a fast paced thrilling race. It’s just brilliant! I adore this photograph so much because I feel like it really sums up our Disney experience – fast paced and full of fun.
We also enjoyed watching the water show in this park. It was a really moving tribute to Walt and was called ‘World of Colour’ or something like that! It was full of beautiful projections of Walt’s life and achievements. What a remarkable gentleman.
The main Disneyland park was pretty rad too, although I found their castle very disappointing. Maybe I’ve become a Disney snob, but in Florida and Paris both castles are spectacular and really iconic. In California its… Well it’s more like a house. A reasonably sized house. Certainly not a castle fit for Disney. I think they need to rectify that. Even the bobsled mountain is bigger than the castle and that’s certainly not what I would refer to as a Disney landmark.
On our second day at Disneyland, we mostly explored the main park as we pretty much covered the Adventure park the day before. There is so much to do and look at that you could probably spend a week there and not get bored. I do feel like we saw everything though. We went on every ride except for Space Mountain. There are quite a few rides that are different to Paris and that was really refreshing. The rides that are the same are actually all slightly different too which was cool. I also enjoyed the fact that everything was in English because in Paris I either have to concentrate hard or not bother listening to the information!
We really enjoyed the shows in the main park. They put on the most tremendous firework display that was absolutely remarkable and full of magic. We loved it. You haven’t seen a firework display until you’ve seen a Disney one!
Disney parades are reknowned for being truly amazing with even the grumpiest of souls being warmed by a wave from Micky on his majestic float. Well they have a parade that is the Mother of all parades going on at night. An amazing array of colour and design with all of your favourite characters and songs. Honestly it’s pretty special!
1. Go to the rides with the shortest queues first
2. Work out which parades and shows you want to see and what you are happy to miss
3. Stay late. And when I say late I mean closing time late. All of the rides have shorter queue times in the evening
4. It’s often quieter when a major parade is on
5. Be prepared to be a single rider if you don’t want to wait long
6. Go on the water rides early in the day so that you have time to dry off
7. Make good use of the Fast Pass system, even for shows!
8. Get the park that closes earliest out of the way first
9. Be prepared to be on your feet all day and pretty much ache all over by the end of it!
10. Have fun! Enjoy it, release your inner child!!!
So there you have it – a tiny snippet of our time at Disney California. We had so much fun and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.