Disneyland {2018}

I'm recapping the final part of our Southern California trip.....when we surprised the kids and took them to Disney!
They knew we were going to So Cal for their cousins college graduation & they knew we were taking them to Universal Studios/Harry Potter World, but what they didn't know is that we were going to Disney for 2 days as well.
We drove to So Cal on Friday afternoon, went to Universal/Harry Potter World on Saturday (Read about that HERE)
The college graduation was at 8am on Sunday morning. My niece graduated from Cal State Fullerton, which is 10 minutes from Disney. When we were planning this weekend, we weren't sure if we would need more than 1 day at Universal. I talked to friends who have been & they said one day is plenty. They were correct! We could have driven home Sunday after the graduation, but I thought it would be fun to surprise the kids with  Disney on Sunday & Monday...I mean we were SO close...how could we not go?  A month before the kids and I were on our San Diego Spring Break Road Trip and literally drove by Disney on the way there & way home...I couldn't be this close again and not go :)
We try to go to Disney every 2-3 years. I don't like to go every year because I feel like if you go too much, then it isn't as special (That's just my opinion!)
The last time we went to Disney was October 2015, so the timing was perfect!
My nieces graduation was only an hour  & her graduation brunch was at The Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney (she loves Disney also)

Kevin's birthday was the day we left for So Cal, so at the end of the brunch, I said something along the line of this "What do you say we take Daddy to Disney for his birthday?"
They thought I was joking at first. But then, they figured out I was serious!
We decided to do Disney California Adventure that day & then on Monday do Disneyland.
By the time the brunch was over, it was after 12pm and you can do California Adventure in a shorter time than Disneyland.
I'm a "mean" Mom and told my kids the first ride we had to go on was Guardians of the Galaxy (this used to be Tower of Terror, but they changed it last year)
My kids have never been on this ride, but Kevin and I love it, so we told them they had to try it out.
2 out of 3 kids loved it! Luke thought it was the greatest ride ever!
Pixar Pier is now fully open, but when we were there it was still under construction, so the new Incredi-Coaster & Mikey's Fun Wheel weren't open yet.
But, one of our favorite rides was still open....Toy Story Ride! This ride is so fun.
After Toy Story we headed to Soarin'  for our Fast Passes and then the kids wanted to do the Grizzly Wilderness.

We did the Max Pass, which is $10 extra a ticket and you get to do Fast Passes from the Disney App. Because we didn't get into the park until after 12 noon, a lot of the fast passes were taken already, so we had slim pickings.

Then we headed to Cars Land for more mellow rides....back when I didn't have a bandage on my nose :(
We waited in line for over 1.5 hours for the Radiator Springs ride, but it was worth it, we love that ride.

My Mother in law & Father in Law went with us to Disney...when they heard we were going, they were all about joining us.
 They love Disney also.
Cars Land at night is my favorite...it makes me feel like I am in the movie.
Everything is so pretty all lit up.
We grabbed dinner...we never make reservations at any of the dining experiences because we would rather go on rides than spend time eating :)

We also don't sit and watch the entire parade.
We go on rides & then stop for 15-20 minutes to watch.
We did love the Paint the Night Parade.
My kids are over the princesses, but I still love seeing them in the parade.
Something is always just so magical about the parades :)
 Went on a few more rides & got a glimpse of the fireworks at Disneyland.
We shut the park down and left when it closed at 10pm.
It was a great day at California Adventure.
The next day we woke up early so we could be at Disneyland as soon as the gates opened.
One of my favorite things is when you first enter Disneyland & walk down Main Street. I love soaking it in. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the balloons & the energy of Disney embrace you with a warm welcome & wave of nostalgia. 
FACT: I am obsessed with Disney balloons taking photos of them.  I probably have 50 Disney balloon photos that I have taken over the past few years.
Another FACT: I have NEVER actually bought a Disney balloon because what would we do with it? It would get in the way, wouldn’t fit in the car to bring home. So, I will just keep taking photos of them..balloon photos last longer than the actual balloons.
 We did the Fast Pass Express again today (it's $10 per ticket)
Let me tell you....it was worth it today! We had a great system for the fast passes, I loaded all the tickets onto my phone and then was able to do fast passes every hour or so. I set a timer on my phone so that I could maximize the fast passes.
First up was Space Mountain....one of my favorite rides. Thumbs up from the kids!
Star Wars guys coming out.
 Star Tours...Love this ride also!
Gotta love Mary Poppins and the band.
Mary  Poppins is one of our family's favorite movies.
Then we hit up all the big rides in a row because of the Fast Passes!
Big Thunder Railroad, Matterhorn & Buzz Light Year
Tea Cups!
So much JOY!
Not my favorite ride, but my kids love it.
We hit up Toon Town after....my least favorite thing to do at Disney, but my kids love it :)
Mickey Pretzels...so good!
We pack lunches and bring them into the park and eat while we are in line. 
Again, we don't do the dining experiences because we want to go on as many rides as possible :)
We will buy snacks/treats throughout the day.

The kids rode the Merry Go Round and guess who was on it with them playing some songs?
Mary Poppins Band!
We went on Splash Mountain and the ride got stuck just as we were about to be done, so we had to get off via the emergency exit. That was a first! But, they gave us an EXTRA fast pass because of that!
Gotta love the Speedway!
Pixar Fest was going on, so Main Street had these blue/yellow/red decorations up.
Luke's favorite was the Fire Station :)
Finally took our photo in front of the train station as we were leaving :)
We left Disney at 6pm, drove 6 hours and got home at midnight and then had school & work the next day.
We were so, so, so tired, but the memories we made were worth it!!!
This was probably our best Disney Trip to date....No strollers, no diapers, no napping kids. 
Plus the weather was amazing...It was overcast & cloudy but 70 degrees. Perfect!
 I feel like we are in the sweet spot of parenting. 
Totally loving these years post baby/toddler and before the teen years. 
All our kids love Rollercoasters, so we got to go on all the fun big kid/adult rides...Space Mountain, Big Thunder Railroad, Matterhorn, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Tours, Splash Mountain...all of them.
 Yet, the Disney Magic was still there, they loved waving to the characters & watching the parades. 
We managed a few days in Disney with NO tears or meltdowns.
Moms with babies & toddlers...hang in there....the sweet spot of parenting will be there for you soon!
Can't wait for our next Disney trip in a couple years. Next time I want to go during the holidays to see Disney all decorated for Christmas. We went in October a few years ago and I loved all the pumpkin & Fall decorations.

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  1. I've never been to Disney. Someday, oh someday...
    Love all your pics. I have to agree, the pics of the balloons are awesome.
    I think I'd really like Cars Land.

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