Monday, February 23, 2015

How to: Do Disneyland in a Day (For Adults)


My boyfriend Joseph and I are certified old people. We spend our weekends cuddling on the couch and binge watching Netflix, only venturing into the world to retrieve food for our cave. Though there's a big part of me that enjoys being lazy like this and indulging in my introversion, there's another (slightly bigger) part of me that wants to go places and do things. I've been nagging Joe a lot lately, telling him that we are an old married couple that needs to spice things up and reignite our spark before it gets too dim. 

Well, ask and ye shall receive! Valentine's weekend came around -  flowers, chocolate and love notes were given. The Xbox I got him for Christmas FINALLY got turned off. A road trip was planned. One-day, two-park Disneyland tickets were purchased. Project reignite spark was fully in motion. 

It's no secret that I love Disney. If you've been following my blog for a while then you'll remember my adventures to Disney World and Disneyland Paris a couple years ago, which you can relive with me by clicking here & here

I feel like most people will probably be thinking, 'why the hell would you want to go to Disneyland to reignite the spark in your relationship?! It's noisy, hot, crowded, expensive, full of children, and trying to cram it all in a day sounds torturous!' 

But listen closely, young grasshopper - Disneyland is a magical, romantic place. If you keep an open mind it allows your inner child to rise from the ashes. Plus, believe it or not, Disneyland has really started to cater itself to adults in recent years. Using my own recent experience, I am here to share my tips & favorite things that allow for a perfect, relaxing, romantic, adult-approved day in Disneyland.




Ready, set? Go! 

Do...

 Splurge on a hotel within walking distance to the park 
The closer you are to the park, the more expensive the accommodations - but trust me when I say it's worth the extra $50/night. You don't have to pay for parking, wait for a shuttle to take you to the park, or waste a big chunk of your day heading back to your hotel if you need to grab something from your suitcase (medicine, sunglasses, a jacket, etc)! Joe and I stayed at the Candy Cane Inn, it's a cute little B&B - I highly recommend! 

 Pack water, protein bars, sunscreen & a portable phone charger

  Get there RIGHT when the park opens, and ride the most popular rides first
If you're anything like me, this is the most painful part of the experience.  But let me tell you, if there's one thing worth waking up early for, it's a theme park with virtually zero lines and nice cool weather. Pick out some of the rides you know you want to go on the night before that are notorious for long lines (Joe and I chose Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad) and have a plan of attack for once you get inside. You might be thinking that riding a super fast ride in the morning sounds nauseating (I know I did) but within 30 seconds on Space Mountain, my adrenaline was pumping, dopamine was flowing, and I was suddenly awake and ready for my day. We arrived exactly when the park opened and ended up being able to leisurely ride all 4 of our chosen rides within an hour, which is insane considering the line JUST for Space Mountain can be 90+ minutes! Also make sure to grab Fast Passes for your favorite rides along the way, they tend to run out by the afternoon. 

 Skip the parades
I know many Disney lovers just gasped with horror, but why sit with a bunch of families watching characters wave & do basic dance routines when you can use that time to take advantage of the shorter lines!? 

 Save some rides for nighttime
The Tower of Terror during Sunset will give you the most incredible view. The Haunted Mansion, The Pirates of the Caribbean, the Tea Cups and Peter Pan's Flight are all more wonderful to experience at night! 




 → Stay for the fireworks 
$41k of fireworks are blown up every night, along with a seriously cool display of lasers and music in front of the castle. If you've already seen the fireworks spectacular before and aren't too keen on standing with the masses in front of the castle, then head over to the Tea Cups! There's no line and the fireworks explode right above your head! It is MAGICAL! 



Don't...

  Feel like you have to cram everything in 
I have a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and generally push myself into painful situations just to make sure I'm not left out on any fun. So if you're like me and want to do both Disneyland AND California Adventure in one day, do NOT try to cram in all the rides. You will fail, miserably, and end up in physical and mental pain. Instead, do a little research and make a list of the things that are most important for you to experience! Anything else you fit in gets to be an unexpected special treat. 

 → Be afraid to have an afternoon retreat to your hotel to refresh 
The park is at its hottest & most crowded in the afternoon, and that's when the lines get to be ridiculous. Plus if you've followed my advice and gotten to the park super early, then you've already been there 6+ hours and deserve to take an hour to take your shoes off, reapply your deodorant and even have a light snooze, especially if you're planning on being there until closing! Sadly Joe and I did not follow this advice, and ended up being complete zombies by the end of the day. 


My Disney Favorites: 

Dining   →  


1. Walking into Carthay Circle in California Adventure is almost like changing worlds completely.  It has a quiet, serene atmosphere and isn't very kid-friendly, making it the perfect place to relax. The layout is an exact replica of The Carthay Circle theatre where Walt Disney premiered Snow White (the first disney film ever!) so it has an upscale, early 20th century Hollywood vibe. Not to mention the bar is well stocked and the food is BOMB! You can't not order the Signature Fried Biscuits - they are life changing! But make sure to reserve a table in advance as it's almost always booked up. 




2. Cafe Orleans is a classic favorite for many avid Disney-goers, and for a good reason. The atmosphere is simple, but the tables are plentiful and the food is seriously good without the ridiculous price. You must, MUST get the beignets. They are fluffy sugary goodness sent from heaven placed next to warm vanilla/raspberry dipping sauces. 

Treats  →  



1. I religiously pick up a Dole Whip Float from the hut next to the Tiki Room in Adventerland on every Disney visit. The juice and the yogurt on their own are nice, but when you combine them together it's an out of body experience. Not to mention it's a perfect way to help beat the Disney heat. 

2. Right in the center of Main Street you'll pass by Gibson Girls Ice Cream Parlor. Though the ice cream itself isn't anything out of the ordinary (they use Dreyer's brand) the house-made waffle cones are what make this a must-stop for anyone with a sweet tooth. I like to grab a cone right before the fireworks - there's something about the fireworks + ice cream combo that make me insanely happy! 

Place to Explore →  



Listen to me carefully. You NEED to go to the Animation Studio in California Adventure. It is by far my favorite place in the park. Granted, I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to animation - I truly love cartoons and seeing the creative process for how they're made both fascinates and inspires me. But I promise you, even if you can't relate you will enjoy yourself! If you're only going to experience one thing in the studio, let it be the Sorcerer's Workshop. You start by creating your own animation in the Magic Mirror Realm, then head into Beast's Library to sit by the fire and take a quiz to find out which Disney character you're most like (I'm Ursula, Joe is Peter Pan. The fat evil sea-witch and the boy who never wanted to grow up....accurate) followed by heading under the sea into Ursula's Grotto where you can see what your voice sounds like on different Disney characters. Seriously cool, and it's never crowded. 

Places to Escape → 

When I can't deal with the heat & the crowds any longer, I head to Main Street to visit the cinema. It plays loads of awesome vintage Disney cartoons, plus it's a cool, dark place to have a seat and enjoy yourself. The Disney Gallery next door is worth a visit as well! It's like a mini Disney-themed art-history museum. 


Shops  → 

Le Bat en Rouge and Pieces of Eight in New Orleans Square always have the coolest stuff that you can't find in any of the other stores around the park. One is Pirates of the Caribbean themed and one is Nightmare Before Christmas themed, but they offer an array of cool, darker-Disney themed goodies. I picked up a HUUUUGE skeleton mug on this trip and have been thoroughly enjoying drinking my tea with it in the mornings. 


Now, tell me you aren't craving a Disney trip after reading all that?! I hope this inspired you all to want to have a romantic weekend indulging in your inner child - without the stress!  


No comments:

Post a Comment