My husband and I skipped our December Disneyland trip so that I could quit my full time job. Every month that went by, we wanted to go to Disney more and more. We normally go out with a 3 day pass and stay at the Disneyland Hotel. Character dining, the Blue Bayou, all of it. But that was definitely not in the cards being newly self employed. So, I started to do some research to see how cheaply we could go to Disneyland. Old school style, like when we were in our 20s and still living with our parents.
We decided to do a weekday open to close in May. We would drive in the day before, wake up to hit the parks when they open, and drive home the next day. Josh and I were pretty excited because we had not been to Disneyland in the warmer months in for-ev-er. Which meant, we could jump on the water rides and see Haunted Mansion in original form.
I had been counting down the days from the day I bought our tickets. We dropped the dogs off at the grandma’s houses, loaded up the car, and hit the road. Once we got to our hotel, we decided to walk Downtown Disney and grab dinner there. So, we still got the Disney experience our first day! We made sure to stop in our favorite store, the Wonderground Gallery. There is so many art pieces from this place on our walls. I usually have to stop myself from buying all the things because I don’t have anywhere to put it! We went back to the hotel to rest up for the day.
Oh Disneyland! I am great at walking through a crowd, and I learned it all at Disney. If we are ever in a crowded place and want to get through, I say “Disney mode!”, grab the hand of whomever I am with, and off we go. So, it is no surprise to me that when we were walking to the front gate, we heard someone say “They look like they know where they are going. Let’s follow them!”. 😂 Knowing we only had a day to squeeze in everything, we started with our favs. Indiana Jones and Haunted Mansion (Pirates was closed). Then we decided to go on our first water ride, Splash Mountain.
Remember how we were so excited to go to Disney when it was warm? So we could ride the water rides? Well, California had other plans. It was 68 and cloudy. Like, “Is it going to rain?”, cloudy. No matter. We wanted the water rides and that is what we were going to get. I threw on my rain jacket (Josh decided to pass on his) and got in line. Wouldn’t you know, we got sat in the very front of the log! Josh lost his hat on the big drop and we were completely soaked. Well, my top half was dry thanks to my rain jacket!
We went to the Carnation Cafe for lunch. Side note: I love eating at the sit down restaurants at Disney, because they are so accommodating to food allergies. They double check everything, are amazing at substitutions, and will even bring the chef out to talk to you if you want! Such a freaking dream. I got the vegan burger with fruit on the side and was in heaven. Josh sat next to the heater to dry off, so we was happy. Then it was off to California Adventure.
We were on a mission: Toy Story Mania, Grizzly River Run, and the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride. We hit Guardians of the Galaxy first, because the line was insane. As we were waiting in line, I realized I had to pee. But by the time I realized how bad it was, we were already in the building… We got all the way up to the elevators and all I could think about was peeing my pants on the first drop. (Seriously, it was that bad.) I talk to the cast member and they were nice enough to give me a fast pass and show us the way out. Whew, that would have been bad. We ran to the nearest bathroom, and jumped in line again. While I am so sad to see Tower of Terror go, I must admit the new ride was super fun!
Then it was time for another water ride. Grizzly River Run. Rain jackets on, we were ready. Or so we thought. We were completely drenched from the waist down when we got off the ride! Seriously, we had just dried off! We were hesitant to go to Toy Story Mania, because it said the wait was well over an hour. We decided to chance it, and thankfully they were way off. It was only about a 30 minute wait. Whoop! I got smoked by Josh, but that’s ok. I will relive that one time I beat him over and over in my head. Then it was back to Disney to end the night.
Disneyland Part 2
It was pretty crowded in the evening, but that’s ok. I had one thing on my mind: Vegan Gumbo. This is always a must for me when we go to Disney. So, we ran to New Orleans square, watched some people try to find the entrance to Club 33, and grabbed our Gumbo. Then we hit a few more rides before getting ready for the fireworks.
We would only be there one night, so we wanted to make sure we got a good spot! So, we got to main street pretty early and grabbed some coffees and candy apples, and found a great spot to watch the fireworks. The fireworks are always so magical at Disneyland. I cried. (They had a section from Up. How could I keep it together?!) Then, as most of the guests started to leave, we ran towards the rides.
We hit as many rides as we could until the park closed at midnight. Watching the app for short line times and running all over the park to catch them all! We kept holding out for Matterhorn. The times kept jumping between 60 minutes and 2 hours. at 11:45, we decided to give it one last shot. It was less than 10 minutes to get on the ride! The best way to end the night.
We passed out when we got back to the hotel. Slept in. Got bagels for breakfast. And then made the journey home to our pups, full of Disney magic.