While I was still pregnant, Tony and I made the decision to take the family on vacation to Scottsdale following Pendry’s arrival. It is always nice to go somewhere sunny and warm with a new baby. It tends to motivate me to get out walking and dive back into a healthier lifestyle, while the weather is still cool at home. We booked our flights, and about a week before we left home, I told Tony I thought we should drive to Disneyland. We had help on our trip, my mom and a nanny, so what better time to venture out on a 6 hour drive from Phoenix to Anaheim with 3 children under 5!
We planned to leave Phoenix on Sunday but delayed a day as grandma and the kids were unwell. We decided we would leave the house by 7 am the following day. When Monday rolled around we ended up leaving at 9:30, no stress, no yelling, it just took longer than planned to get 7 people organized and on the road. The drive was perfect, I kept waiting for the baby to cry, or the kids to complain and it never happened. We stopped in Indio for In and Out burger and gave everyone a chance to stretch their legs. I woke up (yes woke up) the baby to feed him, and he went back to sleep like an angel. We arrived at the hotel around 4 dropped our bags and caught a shuttle to Disneyland! Tony was told when we booked the hotel that the shuttle made the most sense for our family, and is the least expensive and most convenient option to get to the park and back daily. I paid $80 US for the shuttle, and off we went.
The first day at the park was magical, after all that travelling, the kids still held it together. We knocked off a few attractions; The Tiki Hut, The Jungle Cruise, Tea Cups, Autotopia, and Buzz Lightyear Galactica. We also watched the parade, took the train through the park, and watched the fireworks! We left the park on the second to last shuttle and arrived back at the hotel by 11 with 3 sleeping babies. Success!
Our first full day at Disneyland, we grabbed our Starbucks and took off running. We went straight to Toon Town where we found Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy! We got their autographs, checked out their homes & loaded up on Disney gear! After Toon Town we used our Max Pass (you can make reservations for rides so you’re not waiting in line) on It’s a Small World. I’d never been on that ride, but the kids absolutely loved it! Beckett loved seeing all the different parts of the world, and it was nice to sit down for a few minutes. It was critical to check out Fantasyland, where we met Beauty & the Beast and rode a carousel. We waited in line for 45 minutes to do the Dumbo Ride, and the kids said it was worth the wait! We then used our max pass and went on Splash Mountain, I couldn’t believe Beckett was brave enough to do it, but then again I guess he didn’t know any better. Tony & Beckett loved the ride, but came off soaked. Luckily we packed extra clothes for the kids or it would have ended the day.
We decided to head over to California Adventureland and check out everything there. The Max Pass also allowed us to flip between parks throughout the day, without it you have to choose one park at the start of the day and are unable to then flip to the other one. California Adventureland’s rides tend to be more mature, but that’s where the Frozen cast and play is, and all of the Pixar characters including Cars Land. It was warm and the kids were getting a bit tired, so we went to the theatre and watched the Frozen play. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was fantastic, an hour long professional performance. Both the kids were glued to the stage, and the rest of us enjoyed it too! It was a nice break in the day, and afterwards we wanted to do something for Beckett. We walked to Cars Land and used our max passes to get on the Radiator Springs Roller Coaster. Now this, is a must do, the roller coaster was great, and took you all through Radiator Springs with tons of visual stimulation. I ran back to Disneyland and went on the Indiana Jones ride, it was just as fun as I remember. While I was over there, the kids finished their day with the light show. We missed our shuttle so ended up taking an Uber back to the hotel, we paid $10 to Uber.
On our last and final day we decided to go back to Disneyland and do a couple of the kids favourite things over again. Emmeline also wanted to see some more princesses. We went back to Autotopia, the carousel, and Tony & I rode the Matterhorn. We waited in line and saw Belle again, and Emme got an Anna princess dress. We then cruised over to California Adventureland where we saw Buzz, Woody & Mr. Potatohead. At this point the kids felt ready to go home. They were really good, and we found them a quiet place to sit with grandma and have some snacks and a hotdog. Tony, Ashley (our nanny), and I went on one final roller coaster at Pixar Pier. This was the Incredible’s roller coaster, but it is definitely not for small children! I’m not a roller coaster fanatic but if you are, this would be a great ride for you, it takes you upside down, sideways, through water all at high speeds. Tony & I survived it, and I think I can speak for both of us that we were happy when it was over! That was a wrap to our trip, Tony went and grabbed the van from the hotel and we hit the road! The kids now have lots of stories to share with their friends, and hopefully we created some special memories for them!
Tips for Disneyland
- Get the Max Pass
- Take lots of sunscreen
- Always pack a change of clothes for children (it cools off in the evening, layers are best)
- Take a stroller for any child under 5, there is lots of walking (you can rent strollers if you don’t want to pack one, or you can buy an umbrella stroller down there for about $20 US)
- Bring snacks (you can bring food and drinks into the park, we brought lots of snacks every day for the kids)
- The food carts have typically the same food everywhere (hotdogs, turkey legs, pizza) not a huge selection, but there are lots of restaurants. We only went to one restaurant as we wanted to maximize the time we had, but the food became redundant.
- Don’t waste your money on the shuttle! Uber everywhere! #weneeduber
- Take your cell phone, download the app, and use your max pass to skip the line for the most popular rides.
- Watch the parade, if your kids don’t care about autographs or a one-on-one experience. You will see tons of Disney characters in the parade, and enjoy some down time.
- Throw your schedule out the window! If your kids normally go to bed at 7 like mine do, as Elsa would say “Let it Go, Let it Goooooo!” You’re in Disneyland for a really short amount of time, just enjoy yourselves, and pray your children still like to sleep in strollers.
- If you want your children dressed in Disney gear there are lots of places to get it before your trip that will save you money.