After a loooong flight to Honolulu and then a connecting flight to LA, our first stop was to Anaheim and all things Disney. We got in past midnight on the first day, so everyone had a sleep-in and with the time change and jet lag, we didn't get moving until after noon the next day.
We bought a 4 day Disney pass so visited the “happiest place on earth”, that first afternoon. It is as magical as you imagine it to be. The kids were excited to be there and before long, we were queuing up for rides. We started off with “It's a small world” where we sit in little boats and go around a course, visiting different parts of the world while the song “it's a small world” plays over and over and over… it was a good starting point for me and I figured that I had this ride caper all sorted.
The carousel is my preferred style of ride. Slow, happy with 2 feet firmly planted on the ground..., but somehow I was convinced to go on the Matterhorn roller coaster! Insanity I tell you. Absolute insanity. My son was up front, my daughter was second and I was in the 3rd seat behind them. I don't remember much about the ride other than yelling at them to “hold on” and opening one eye in the daylight sections to ensure they hadn't flown out around a corner and were both still there in their seats.
We stayed until the sun was setting and decided to have dinner at Denny's. My husband had fond memories of this chain of family restaurants when he visited the US with his family (about 20 years ago) and we weren't disappointed. Who doesn't love pancakes for dinner?!?
We visited California Adventure Park the next day. It was also a fun day, but I made sure to steer clear of any crazy rides. I really enjoy “Cars” land. The movie “Cars” was released when my son was young so he grew up loving everything ”Cars” and we’ve probably seen the film about a bazillion times.
Dinner was at a chicken and waffle house. Yes my Aussie friends, chicken and waffles… together! It was my little lady's choice and the waitress was surprised to hear that we’d never eaten chicken and waffles before. Honestly, it's not my favourite combination, but my girl ticked an item off of her US trip bucket list.
We took a day off Disney and went to Target and Walmart stores. These are different to what we have in Australia as not only do they sell clothing, honewares etc, but also groceries and alcohol. I found some red heart yarn at Walmart which just HAD to come home with me. Oh and DMC embroidery floss at 33c - bargain!!!
We spent another couple of days at Disneyland and enjoyed the parade as well as the fireworks over the Disney castle on our last night there.
Disneyland is an expensive place to visit, but worth it for the wonderful family memories which we created. Anaheim is a lovely town. Super clean, everyone is happy, friendly and it feels safe to walk around after dark. Anaheim is well set up for the amount of annual visitors with lots of accommodation options for all budgets and holiday types. Most of the hotels/motels include a buffet continental breakfast in their rates, which is a perfect way to fuel up and start the day. We grabbed some extra apples and bananas to eat during the day, but I did see people helping themselves to bread, peanut butter and jams, to make themselves packed lunches for their day outings.
My suggestion would be to book a hotel which has a guest laundry room. After almost a week at Disneyland, it was great to be able to get some laundry done before heading to our next stop.
Also another way to help the family stay within budget, visit the nearby Target to buy the kids the Disney hats, caps, shirts, drinking cups, souvenirs etc… it's all Disney licensed product, but at a fraction of the price.
Next stop… Las Vegas...