Wanderlust {Disneyland}

Many years ago, Honey and I mentioned to a very little John that when he turned ten he could pick a place to go celebrate.  We were first time parents of a four year old.  “Newbs” as that kid would say now.  It seemed realistic at the time, and honestly, we knew he’d never remember that conversation.  Besides, age ten was like eons away.  Practically a lifetime.  So, that’s exactly why I’m in utter disbelief that my four year old is now ten.  Ten.  A ten-ager.  Double digits.  Two full hands worth of fingers.  And he’s got a mind like a steel trap (he obvs gets that from Sister.)  The boy has wished upon a star to travel across the country and visit Disneyland and so we’ll be jet-setting across the country in a few short months!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   We will spend the first half of our week in LA (I’ve already got your amazing tips and tricks for that leg) and then the rest of the week at Disneyland.

I know Disney World like the back of my hand, but when it comes to Disneyland I really am a “newb”.  I’ve only even been to California once, and that was on a 24-hour work trip to LA.  Of course I have started reading blogs and boards and facebook pages, but y’all have provided extremely knowledgeable on so many topics of the years that I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask for your input.  Keep in mind that this is likely a once in a lifetime trip for all of us.  We want to do it all and do it right.

We originally had a room at the Disneyland Hotel but I found out last week that the pool is under construction and Goofy’s Kitchen will possibly be closed. SO… I moved us to the Grand Californian. We have 3-4 days in the parks.  I keep hearing that it can be done in 1 day but I don’t have to tell y’all how Disney crazy we are.  Besides, Honey needs his down time.

  • Any places we must-eat?
  • Any tips and tricks on navigating the parks?
  • Any must see shows/events?
  • Any shows, souvenirs, food, etc. we must see/try/do as part of the 60th Diamond Anniversary?
  • Any tips on how to manage the time change from Georgia to California?
  • How would you design your days – ie. what would you do each day?

So, if you will, post your thoughts in the comments.  I’ll compile them later for everyone to use and I will definitely report back as we firm up our plans!!!


As an independent consultant with Glass Slipper Concierge, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, I offer concierge travel planning for Walt Disney World® Resort, Disney Cruise LineDisneyland® Resort, Adventures by Disney®, Aulani and other delightful destinations.
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31 thoughts on “Wanderlust {Disneyland}

  1. What a magical trip this will be! I have no advice, but can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

    And if you think 10 got here in a hurry… I am staring 13 in the face (less than 2 weeks). Doesn’t it go by so fast?! xo

  2. It has been a long time..but take the train thru the park first for a good idea of what is where. I loved the treehouse.

  3. We had a few year stint where we were going to DW very frequently and we got to know the in’s and outs pretty well. When a family event took us to LA, we jumped on the chance to add a little Disneyland magic to the agenda. We did two nights three days. We found it to be like a little condensed Magic Kingdom, with everything contained in a very small area (some different additions are obviously there like the Dinosaur stuff). It was so navigable and easy–as such that very little planning was needed. The one exception to this was that the Cars was fairly new at the time and we had to line up at the gate the minute extra magic hours opened –people literally were running in. We stayed at the California Grand, which is very much like the Wilderness Lodge. Two great places to eat come to mind. We thought that Ariel’s Grotto was fantastic–it is character dinning but truly quality food– unparalleled to our experiences at Disney World restaurants (where we have had some good ones–this one was just a stand out). This is going to sound weird, but the other thing we ate that stood out was a corndog. Now I am not normally a corndog kind of girl. When my kids were little I made the MorningStar meatless ones a few times, but it had been decades since a fried corn-covered nitrate-filled meat product crossed my lips. My curiosity was peeked when I saw a massive line wrapping down Mainstreet for this corndog wagon. There may have also been a minor celebrity in the line, but mostly I just wanted to know what was so good in that wagon. So I hopped in line and waited a long, long time. DH and DDs were sitting waiting for the parade so the wait was no big deal. Oh My! I am so glad I did it and I regret that I didn’t get two.

  4. We only spent a few days there, because you can do both parks in two days. Especially you guys! Disneyland is child’s play compared to DW.

    Where are you staying? The lodge is the nicest.

    You must eat at Napa Rose. Probably one of the best restaurants in all of Disney franchises. We did the Seven Sparkling sins, had salads, I insisted on the mushroom soup that was to die for then gorged on desserts. The kids had steak and chicken and were very happy. I would have booked a table for dinner now looking back. It’s a really nice restaurant and my kids love that. If you would rather keep it casual dinner in the lounge is fine too. Bubba stretched out on one of the loveseats and fell asleep after a really long day.

    For you I think you have to be ready that you are not necessarily in the Disney happy zone at DL as you are in DW. I was mostly shocked at how rude families could be to one another that are native to California. I saw people fight over seats at restaurants. It was mind blowing.

    We loved having the rides to compare. Big Thunder is the same…..but Pirates of Caribbean is a tad bit different. It’s really fun to see where it all started You will love that.
    Sit on the actual bench of Walt Disney. I think I had sent you that LA article on what has closed for the new Star Wars Land. So that means the train which was actually awesome.
    Google the do the opposite at Indiana Jones.
    My cheat….ugh I hate even saying this. But, fast passes work so differently. Many times the machine would jam or you wouldn’t get enough passes. If you go to the person working the ride near the kiosk they usually would write on the ticket of one ticket “for 4” yet I would still have two or three other tickets that printed. So a couple of times we got to do a ride 2x in a row b/c we had so many tickets. THey are more forgiving there.

    Do not get in line behind people entering the park with printed tickets. If you can help it. Look for people with paper tickets. It slowed us down being behind paper ticket people. It was frustrating. And definitely take advantage of going into the park early if you are staying at one of their hotels. It’s so peaceful that early on.

    Obviously print out the map on line early to where to find every single 60th anniversary penny machine. We did that and it was so fun. They had some really cute ones.

    You guys are such pros that you are going to figure it all out fast.

  5. Honestly, whoever told you the parks could be done in one day was totally correct. 3-4 days will be plenty. We have been to Disney World several times and have loved every single visit. We were at Disneyland four months ago and didn’t like it as much. For us it just didn’t have the same magic. Don’t get me wrong it was fun but it didn’t quite feel the same.

  6. The trip from Georgia to California will impact you – jet lag can be a real drag. My tip would be to arrive in the afternoon and make some plans for dinner the first evening that will keep you out and about until your regular bedtime in CA (which will feel late to you) and eat dinner and go to bed on California time from the first night. If your littles wake up early, try and stretch the day out again and resist napping or going to bed early the first full day. It might sound harsh – but you’ll be better off flipping over to CA time as soon as possible.

    Even if museums are not your favorite – the Getty is really spectacular. Wonderful art, amazing views and architecture, and manageable in a few hours. It’s really a place like nowhere else – just a thought!

  7. I live in Anaheim and if you plan on leaving the resort area there are a few places you should NOT venture into! I’ll be happy to share if you’ll be needing that kind of info. Disneyland is much smaller than Disney World AND inside a city, but the same magic is there! Downtown Disney is a fun place to explore and the Grand Californian is in the middle of it all. There is a very cool Lego store and Tortilla Jo’s is a really good Mexican restaurant that makes (at your table fresh) great guacamole. Have a wonderful time on your trip!

  8. I don’t have any tips, but have you seen the google search image for today =) ?? We visited Disneyland when I was about John’s age. You are going to love it! So very excited for you!!

  9. I can honestly say I know nothing of Disney, but if you want Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive advice, I am your man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hermes. Gucci. Tom Ford. Oh my!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Disneyland is my “home” resort, but I also was a cast member at WDW, so I love when people get to visit the other parks for the first time!

    Honestly, for your kids, I think the restaurant with the biggest allure will be Blue Bayou. Especially if they ride Pirates of the Caribbean first and see the restaurant from the ride. It is so awesome to be part of the “ride” experience from both perspectives, and get the Monte Cristo! Delicious, but huge so I recommend sharing because it is rich and you’ll still feel stuffed (get a side salad or something too). Wait for a seat by the water, it’s a really unique experience that you don’t get anything similar to at WDW. If you can’t get it there, you can always order the Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans around the corner.

    Jet lag will be to your advantage! The parks in CA get much more crowded in the evenings as locals will come after work and school. If you are ready first thing (and with those extra magic hours) you will be far ahead of the game. If you can knock out most the rides you want before then, you can stake out good seats for shows. Fantasyland attractions without fast passes are excellent for those early mornings before the parks are filled, and that always feels the most crowded later on due to how many rides are crammed in the little area with tons of strollers. (Storybook land is my fave!) I also love riding the Matterhorn during the firework show because lines are shorter and there is something very magical about seeing bursts of color as you whip in and out of the mountain!

    World of Color has fast passes, but it doesn’t count against a fast pass for an actual attraction so be sure to get those. The character situation is very different than WDW, many of them just wander around without a real line or attendant, so don’t be afraid to ask for a pic or autograph, but also they may not be able to stop depending on when you catch them.

    Can’t wait to hear how you like it!

  11. You’ll find that you go back and forth between the two parks throughout the day so you can catch each parade and the shows. Just like DW you’ll need to time those things. Hopper tickets are a must. Don’t miss the parades or the Alladin show. If you want to truly enjoy everything and ride your favorites more than once, 2-3 days is perfect. We always stay that long and feel like we get it all in. Your hotel is really nice, enjoy the early entry and the short walk in to Califonrnia California Adventure. Get in line for the Cars fast passes first thing. The line is crazy long, but moves fast once it starts. There is a little breakfast place near the line. One of us stood in line while the others grabbed breakfast and brought it over. When we were there last, every time we tried to use our fast passes for the Cars ride it was shut down due to maintenance, so we tried closer to closing. To our surprise it was not only working, but we got to ride it 3 times in a row! It was a real treat. My boys love the Lego store and making their own remote control cars at the RideMakerZ in downtown Disney. I hope your able to time your trip when it’s not crowded. Always more enjoyable! Have fun!

    1. Well, we just returned from another Disney vacation and the Alladin show is now a Frozen show. If it’s the same caliber as Alladin was, it should not be missed! Have fun!

  12. We went to DL this summer and had one day. We were on a beach vacation, but managed to sneak in one day for DL. We got there when the park opened and went straight to get our FP for Cars. That worked well. We literally got to walk onto some of the other rides in that park. I would head there early one day and you will be amazed at how much you can get done in 2 hours. For whatever reason when we were there the line for Indiana Jones was so long. We used the app. to tell us wait times and it was pretty accurate.
    The only tip I can think of to tell you is make sure you have a hat on your head. The park is a lot smaller and a lot of the lines don’t have entertaining line cheques like DW. You are standing in the “street” snaking in and out of ropes. We were REALLY hot waiting in line. That is the one thing I would suggest. Hats and something to keep you entertained while waiting. The lines are not as entertaining as many of the DW lines.

  13. Don’t forget to do reserved seating with a picnic dinner at the World of Color Show (at California Adventure). The highlight of our entire trip there!

  14. I also highly recommend Casey at DLR Prep School, she is a wealth of information!! Unfortunately, a lot of attractions closed in the last couple days for awhile (some up to over a year) due to the construction related to Star Wars land. You must check out Space Mountain (which is now Hyperspace Mountain- not sure for how long), Matterhorn, Pooh Corner, Blue Bayou, the list goes on and on. Casey will have all the details for you!

  15. I was just there in October (with two besties, for 5 glorious days of sunshine and magic!) and I highly recommend the World of Color Dining package at Wine Country Trattoria in DCA. You’ll get passes for a really great viewing section for the WOC show (we found our way to the front row and didn’t get wet – well okay, maybe some mist), so no need to get a fast pass. We timed our reservation so we’d be eating during the Pixar Parade. We asked for a table outdoors near the parade route, and it was so fun to watch the parade from our table – no lining up for seats on the cement curb! I had the salmon and it was delicious.
    For Cars, we got fastpasses once during the day, and once for the evening (beautiful at night!). The rest of the time, we went in the single rider line and walked on.
    I can’t remember if Fanstasmic! is running while the Star Wars stuff is going on, but if it is, get the Dining Plan at the Blue Bayou and you’ll get not only a delicious dinner, but a seat cushion to sit on (and keep) during the show. Otherwise you are sitting on pavement, which is not too comfy. The food was great.
    The Carnation Cafe on Main Street has very good breakfasts and we never go t o DL without having their Loaded Baked Potato Soup at lunch or dinner.
    Redd Rockets Pizza Port (Tomorrowland) is a good choice for cafeteria dining. Inexpensive, very decent food, and large portions for sharing.
    I love the Grand Californian, and my favorite room to stay in is one with a Downtown Disney view, just across from the Naples Ristorante. There is piped in music and also live street musicians parked right below your room. I love sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine, people watching and enjoying the entertainment (although with little ones, you might prefer a park view room).
    I agree with what someone else said about getting in the parks early. Way fewer people. Utilize that early entry!
    Oh, don’t forget to look up at the light in the window above the fire house on main street – that was Walt’s actual apartment back in the day.
    Okay, I’ll stop now. But I will just say my WDW friends who have come to DL/DCA have not had ANY complaints. Most have loved the idea that everything is so walk-able, that you can go back and forth from park to park, or go take a nap or go for a swim at the hotel if you want a break from the parks. I hope you have a blast!
    P.S. I have been to DL dozens of times and have never had a Fast Pass machine malfunction. The other poster must have been there on a bad day!

  16. We LOVE Disneyland for our family. We go every year, but went tonED last summer for the first time, an it is very different, but I can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed. I think 3-4 days is perfect. You can “do” the parks in fewer, but we love hopping parks and repeating our favorites! Don’t miss the early magic hours, we were able to ride cars twice without the massive waits. You will find the system of fast pass and entry is far behind what you have in WDW. You must have your park ticket for all people to get fastpasses. Our kids our younger so we used to go back and break in the afternoons since the crowds get much busier then. One major difference we found is at DL, there is no welcome show like at Magic Kingdom. You can enter early and make it all the way through main street. The shops are usually open. We go early and poke around and then watch the rope drop at the end of main street at opening, a major difference in my opinion. We loved Goofys kitchen, but if they are closed we like Minnies in park character dining. Reservations are much less stressful at DL. We made ours before we went last time, but 2/4 got sick so we went, they marks us as arrived so we didn’t have to pay the cancel fee, and then we’re able to book for a few days later, no problem, there were tons of openings! I recommend a breakfast prior to park opening if possible. We are at 730am, and it was amazing. Veey few people (especially compared to the Sunday lunch we had originally planned). The characters spent a ton of time with us, and we made it to the parks just after rope drop! For me, the biggest difference is the size and not having to be as planned out. We always go to DL with what we want to of that day, but nothing compared to the timing of reservations and fast passes at WDW. We love the photo pass at DL and CA. It seems like they have changed it recently, but when we were there last for the pre-paid photo pass plus we got all ride photos (no videos here yet), a massive photo package with our character meal, and over 200 photos around the park. Well worth it, for us, but like I said, it looks like it might might have changed since last year. CA has a lot more characters roaming around, which I love compared to DW! Have an amazing time!

  17. This trip sounds amazing! You’re going to have the best time. As long time reader, (and DL annual pass holder) I’m excited to feel like I have something to contribute finally!!
    For places to eat I’d highly recommend Blue Bayou, make sure you ask for a waterside table front and center and wait for it. Or take the first lunch resv for lunch show up about 15 early and ask for it then (your pretty much guaranteed to have the best table!). Also cafe Orleans (get the pommes frites!) is not to be missed. Although it’s more of an adult upscale atmosphere Carthay Circle is another not to be missed, we enjoy doing the WOC lunch dining package here and get great seats for the show without any waiting.
    Since your staying at GCH…if you wanted a very lovely date night with hubby check littles into the kids club (Pinocchio’s Workshop) at the hotel and have dinner at Napa Rose (also in GCH). We send our DS every trip and he loves it as much as we love our date night :)

    As for navigating the parks, have a good plan for grabbing fastpasses! Make sure you always have 2 at all times and you’ll be able to ride all the favorites. Use the EMH you get for staying at GCH and head straight to Radiator Springs Racers in CA. There will be a crowd doing the same but stay on the right side in this crowd (they bring in ropes and funnel everyone to the right side) and your wait to ride it will be next to nothing! Then head for toy story mania after. In DL don’t miss the new Star Wars “hyperspace mountain” and your little will love the newly designed Jedi training (sign them up first thing at the Star Wars launch bay near entrance to autotopia).

    The must see shows/events are WOC in California Adventure. Since it’s a once in a lifetime trip I’d definitely do the dining package at Carthay Circle. Paint the night parade in Disneyland and the forever fireworks. Make sure you get a curb side seat on Main Street (about the middle of it) to see these, they are jus two fearful and bring a tear to my eye every time! To pass time get the little glow with the how ears and made with magic paint brushes that can change to color of people’s ears (my DS finds this super entertaining)There’s also a dinning package at blue bayou for this they just started a few days ago but it’s standing room only so not sure if you’ll actually get the best view and you will do a lot of waiting to check in for the parade (people still line up super early!)

    What I would do the day you arrive, depending on what time that is, take a nap then head out to downtown Disney to go shopping and have dinner at either Ralph brenans Jazz kitchen or rainforest cafe. Enjoy a character breakfast the next morning at the hotel, storytellers cafe, and head to the parks! The GCH is SO close to the parks it’s easy to come back for an afternoon swim/nap and head back out for some more rides and the night time shows. So disappointed your going to miss F! at the rivers of America. It’s just the best atmosphere!! Anyways, sorry for the long winded comment, seriously love Disneyland and could keep going forever! Let me know if you have any questions, as a mom with a boy whose done all there is to do there multiple times I’m sure I can help you with anything! :)

  18. I am so excited to see your re-cap! We are Disney World people too, but made our first trip to the Land in May. There are a couple of general things to note that you have probably already read in your research. It is definitely going to seem small compared to Disney World. Because of that fact we did not get the feeling that we were in another place outside of the real world like we do in Florida. That being said, you can walk literally everywhere on Disney property in California so quickly and easily and that was pretty nice. That is part of the reason Disneyland/California Adventure can be done in less time, you spend zero time traveling between parks and hotels and other attractions. For that reason, I do recommend the park hopper tickets here, although I do not always recommend them in Disney World. Park hopping is so much easier in CA and you will probably want to do it, especially if you are staying on property.

    We did not enjoy the food in Disneyland. We LOVED the food in California Adventure. In Disneyland we were underwhelmed by Jolly Holiday, Carnation Café, and Pizza Port. It seemed generic and while none of it was gross, I would not go out of my way to eat at any of those places. In California Adventure we were head over heels for lobster nachos at Cove Bar, Mexican food at Cocina Cucamonga, Chinese at Lucky Fortune Cookery, and breakfast at Pacific Wharf Café. We also enjoyed Tortilla Joe’s in Downtown Disney.

    We found the parks to be pretty easy to navigate. We did ride the monorail once and did not love it. It felt dated and the views were nothing special. You totally don’t need to use it to get around unless you are really into the ride itself.

    World of Color is awesome, but don’t stand right up front. If you do you will get wet and you will have a hard time seeing the projections. You are better off along a railing (so no one can stand in front of you) but on a middle level tier.

    I was really worried about the time change but it turned out to not be a big deal at all. The only thing we really did to adjust was that we starting eating meals on California time the day we left, while were still in Maryland. It felt weird for the first meal but it really was helpful and I do recommend it.

    As much of a planner as I am, you don’t need to plan your days here the way you do in Disney World. You should figure out which ride you want to get to first in the morning and of course plan what times you want to see shows and eat table service meals, but otherwise you can have a much looser itinerary.

    It is also worth noting that this is a different crowd of guests than in Florida. Most guests here are locals and many have annual passes. That means the park is way more crowded on the weekend than during the week. It is also more crowded after 3:00ish than in the morning. Arrive early and don’t be surprised by the dinner hour crowds. We noticed that there were less families and more teenagers in the CA parks.

    The Indiana Jones ride is fantastic and we found the Disneyland version of Space Mountain to be much better. Characters here are much easier to interact with (read: no lines) and autographs didn’t seem to be a thing. Pin trading also did not seem to be a thing. Have fun and I can’t wait to hear about it!

  19. I got most of my tips from you even with you not having been there! But, I will say that we spent a full 3 days in the parks & that was with not much downtime. I’m sure it can be done in less, but we wanted to ride every single thing! We did a day at Disneyland and then most of a day at California Adventure. On the last day we took our time trying to ride or see anything we’d missed the days before. We split up and hopped from park to park, etc. It is extremely easy to do that as the park entrances are right across from each other – just one “bag check” for both. Definitely get pics with the characters in their 60th attire. Daisy was the toughest to get in my opinion. We loved the classic Disneyland rides like Matterhorn, etc. Also, the rides that are at both like space mountain, small world, etc…those are very different at Disneyland. My son loved Carsland. It is so neat like you are on the movie set, even though it’s a cartoon. So realistic! Have sooo much FUN!!!

  20. I am so excited for you guys!
    We have done the DL trip twice with our three kids and stayed at Grand Califorian both times (LOVED).
    I recommend using the special entrance to California Adventure Park for Grand Californian guests AT park opening time. We were enjoying the big rides (Toy Story Mania, etc) a full 15 minutes before guests entering the park started trickling back there.
    There is also a restaurant in the Pirates of the Carribean ride (the boats float past) and it was delicious! My kids also said the Indiana Jones is better at DL than at DW, so be sure and check that out.
    The castle is much smaller, but the history there tugs on my heartstrings.
    Have a great trip!

  21. Hi Amanda! This will be such a fun, memorable trip. Having grown up in CA, Disneyland was a staple vacation for us. I haven’t been for the 60th celebration, but I have a couple favorites. The Grand Californian is a great choice. Be sure to take an afternoon/evening to walk around Downtown Disney – there are many themed restaurants and great shops. My favorite show is the World of Color at California Adventure. A fast pass for this is a MUST, in my opinion, because the viewing area is flat, so if you’re in the back it’s difficult to see. Definitely also fast pass the Radiator Springs Cars ride. I also like the Boardwalk area in California Adventure, and it seems like your kids would enjoy playing some games in that area.

    As far as Disneyland goes, you’ll find many of the same rides as the World. I would say a must-do is a reservation at the Blue Bayou. This will be an unforgettable meal for the whole family. There are many unique details in and around the shops on Main Street, including Walt’s original apartment. You can also see a replica of his office above the Pirates ride entrance. There’s a gumbo spot in New Orleans Square that is awesome. The Matterhorn is another must! Those are just some thoughts off the top of my head – have the most magical trip!

  22. Unfortunately, I feel like whatever Disney experience we grow up with is the “real” Disney. . .for those of us who are life-long devotees. I’m a Disneyland girl. We went to DL twice every year of my childhood (until I went to college!), and my husband and I have continued the tradition with once-a-year trips with our girls (it’s gotten a lot more expensive!). So to be completely honest, I have to say, I’ve never had any desire to go to WDW. I’ve been to Disneyland dozens of times, but the only thing that comes to mind when I think of WDW is “it’s not the real thing.” I don’t say that to be offensive, just noting the phenomenon, which I’ve heard from other people too. So my biggest advice to you, since you’re more open-minded than I and actually want to visit another Disney ;) is to intentionally keep that open mind when you’re there. Compared to WDW, DL *will* look small and old (or old-fashioned, depending on your point of view). That’s because it is! It’s old and small, charming and quaint, the original. I’ve never had a desire to go to WDW because it seems like this enormous Disney machine, huge and overwhelming, with all the heart and soul taken out of it. I’m certain that sounds offensive, I’m sorry! But you do need to be prepared for that difference. . .it really is just a little old place. But it’s the original, and you can feel it. You can feel that it was made purely out of passion. . .yes it makes bucket loads of money. . .but i honestly dont think that was the biggest motivation when it was designed and built. Try to remember that when you’re there, to enjoy the originality and quaintness, and realize that it was built in simpler times for smaller crowds. Those crowded streets are no joke, but it’s worth it! ;)

    By the way, like everyone else has said, you definitely made the right choice of hotel! Talk about old, the Disneyland Hotel is for sure, and while that’s charming in the park, it’s not so charming in a hotel. The Grand Californian is gorgeous! One thing I disagree on that others have said though is Downtown Disney. It’s fine for what it is: a place to find additional restaurants . . .but that’s about it. In my opinion it’s not really a place to spend time other than going to eat; it’s not a destination to plan for and take time away from being in the park.

    Last advice: if your boys are into Star Wars, definitely check the schedule for the Jedi Training show in Tomorrowland! Or maybe they have that at WDW and you’ve already done it? If not, look it up and look up tips on getting your kiddos chosen to participate. It’s so fun!

    Can’t wait to hear how a true-blue WDW girl feels about DL!

  23. I recently found your blog and love it! We went to DL for the first time this past July. I have a 9 yo and a 3 yo. Weather was great and it was not that crowded (per my WDW experience). We stayed at the GC hotel, which was great. I have been to WDW several times and we loved DL! Yes, it is smaller but it is so easy to get around! I loved being able to walk right into the park from the hotel. Such a time saver! I think DL is especially great for younger kiddos. We loved it so much we are going back this Feb for my daughter’s 4th birthday. I don’t feel like we missed out on anything when comparing to WDW. Obviously, WDW has more parks but for a short weekend trip (from Texas) DL is perfect. Downtown Disney at DL is basically an outdoor shopping mall w/ restaurants. It is cute to walk around after you have done everything else you want to do at the parks. We are doing the character dining again at ariel’s grotto (for lunch). I thought the food was pretty good and of course we loved the princesses. (My 9 yo son maybe not so much ha ha!). IMO, the food at disney parks can sometimes be pretty good, but never amazing so I don’t worry about it too much. It is fun to try some of the character treats and of course we always get dole whip. California Adventure is really cute and Cars Land is amazing!!!! I loved riding some new-to-me rides at DL that are not at WDW! Some rides/areas may be closed while they create the Star Wars area. We had an amazing time and I was not dissapointed in anything compared to WDW. They are different but in a good way. I think you will love it!

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