Disneyland and California!!!! Day 1

This year for Thanksgiving, we decided to take a trip and get away.  Surprise!! We switched it up a bit and instead of going to Disney World, we decided to check out the original Disney park and went to Disneyland!!!  We had such a good time.  I definitely have my favorites about both Disney World and Disneyland.  Disney World still has a very special place in my heart and I love going there, but Disneyland is small and more compact.  It makes for a great Disney destination when you are short on time and don’t have 7+ days to spend on vacation.

We left Springfield on Monday evening after the kids were out of school.  We flew out on Allegiant (who for a short time has a direct flight from Springfield to LAX).  It wasn’t the best experience, but we got there safe and sound.

After landing at LAX, we made our way to the rental car and headed out to Anaheim.  Amazingly, Michael and I did not get lost or have to back track on our way there!  It was really easy to get from the airport to Anaheim and then to the Disney Grand Californian Resort hotel where we stayed.  This resort is awesome!  I’m so glad we decided to stay here.  The convenience of the resort to the parks made it worth the extra money we spent.  The Grand Californian has it’s own private entrance into Disney’s California Adventure park.  You enter the park right by Grizzly River Run and not far from Soarin’.  It also has its own entrance into Downtown Disney that is really close to the main, front entrance to both Disneyland and California Adventure parks.  They face each other.

When we arrived at the Grand Californian, the Christmas tree was not there.  There were lifts and other machines in the lobby.  When we woke up on Tuesday morning, Christmas had officially arrived at the Grand Californian with their huge, beautiful tree.


Our first morning, we went straight to California Adventure Park…using the private entrance at The Grand Californian 🙂

We made our way to the front of the park so we could get ready to head to Carsland/Radiator Springs!!  Thanks to our special entrance, we were able to get up towards the front.  We knew we wanted to ride Radiator Springs Racers first, but even by the time we got into the park, the line for fast passes for this ride was forever long…so, we decided to forget about the fast passes and just make our way there and get in the standby line.  The line for fast passes starts at the fast pass machines by It’s Tough to Be a Bug in the Bugs Life land and will quickly wind its way back and around Carthay Circle Restaurant.

The picture below shows all the people that were in line behind us.  I’m pretty sure they were all heading towards Carsland.


We made our way to Carsland and Red the Firetruck was out on the street!


We walked to the back of Carsland, where the entrance for the Radiator Springs Racers ride is located.


While we waited in line for the ride, we took a few pictures.  You really feel like you are in the middle of Radiator Springs!


Love the waterfall that you see while in the car.  This ride was a lot of fun.  A lot like Test Track at Epcot.  It is so fun!!!


After Radiator Springs Racers, we headed to Luigi’s Tires.  These were a lot of fun.  If you are walking away from Racers, this is the first ride you come to.  For this ride, you sit in giant, inflatable tires.  They float around on a ground that is similar to a air hockey table.  You control the direction the tires move by which direction you move your body.  So, your body is the steering wheel.



Flo’s V8 Cafe.  We did eat dinner here later that night.


After we rode the Flying Tires, we headed to Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.  This is also a fun ride!  You sit in the back of the tractors and they spin you around on their track while Mater is singing square dance songs in the background.

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After a quick lunch at the Wharf, we headed to Paradise Pier.  Michael and Zachary headed to California Screamin’ Roller Coaster.  Taylor and I went and rode the new Little Mermaid ride.  Then, we made our way around the pier riding rides while waiting on the boys to finish the coaster. They got fast passes for California Screamin’, so I was able to ride it with Zachary a little later.  Taylor still won’t even entertain the thought of riding those kind of rides.



However, she did want to ride Goofy’s Sky School coaster.  I found it to be more scary than California Screamin’.  It’s a little jerky with a lot of tight turns.  She loved it!


Once we were done riding Goofy’s Sky School and the Zephyr, the Pixar Play Parade was starting up.  So, we stopped for a bit to watch it.




After the parade, we headed towards Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Studios.  We rode the Monsters Inc. ride and had a Mickey ice cream snack.

Then, we decided to go back to Paradise Pier, ride some rides and see it all lit up at night.  Taylor loved the Silly Symphony Swings.





After we walked and rode rides around Paradise Pier, we headed back to Carsland so we could see it at night all lit up. We also decided to stand in line again to ride Radiator Springs Racers.




After eating dinner at Flo’s V8 Cafe, we headed back to the Grand Californian to go to bed.  It was a long, busy, but FUN day!!!