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A day at the “Happiest Place on Earth”
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
WHERE & WHY:
Since Disneyland is one of Orange County’s biggest and oldest attractions, it seemed to be the best place to use my Macktive Scholarship.
I wanted to take my granddaughter, Avianna, to Disneyland for her 7th birthday. She had never been there and always asked to go.
Her older brothers have passes and are always talking about going. It was so nice to see the smile on Avianna’s face when we got to the Main entrance and saw the train station with Mickey’s big face.
The day started out pouring rain as we headed out at 8:00 am being optimistic that it would not rain all day. We had packed backpacks with extra clothes, ponchos, small umbrellas and of course snacks.
I purchased our tickets from a neighbor, who works at Disneyland. I got 4 Park Hopper tickets for $320. What a good deal. One other great deal is the FastPass, which is a’ pass you can get by inserting park admission into a Fastpass machine by the rides, that gives you a reservation time to return to be able to skip the long lines. There is also a MaxPass, which is a digital pass on the Disney app (which cost $15) and you can get unlimited ride passes. We were very lucky to have the MaxPass, it saved so much time so we were able to enjoy more rides in both parks instead of waiting in long lines. There were certain rides where you cannot use the pass and spend a good amount of time waiting for the ride. It was a time used to enjoy being with the family remembering what Disneyland was like years ago.
I have not been to Disneyland since about 1988, and I have never been to California Adventure. I was shocked how much it has changed. The first thing I noticed when we got there, were the parking garages that were not there last time I was there. I was told they are going to build five more structures. I was surprised when I saw how big California Adventure was. There was a huge roller coaster that everyone went on except Avianna and me. I would have liked going on but didn’t happen. There is also Guardians of the Galaxy that is 40’ tall and it’s a long, fast way down; lots of fun if you like that kind of excitement.
After a while, the rain stopped and the clouds started to clear. We did stop and eat some pizza and shared drinks, glad we had our snacks after paying $50 for our slices of pizza. We then walked around and just enjoyed all the sights and people watching. People were having fun even though it was a very wet day. Many people came prepared and were enjoying the smaller crowds. I could not imagine being there on a really crowded day but no matter the weather, Disneyland just has that magical feel.
On Main Street there are many new shops I had never seen before.
Avianna wanted to go to the hat shop and get a special pair of Minnie Ears. What a selection they have, every color and fabric you can think of. Pin collecting is really big with the regulars at the park and Avi has started her collection. Her brothers and sister all bought her pins for her birthday.
The employees made Avianna feel special. She was given a Disneyland pin that said “it my Birthday” and every time someone saw it they said “Happy Birthday” to her; just adding a little more magic to her day.
We had a birthday dinner at the Carnation Café on Main Street, which is one of the original restaurants at the park. When we planned our birthday adventure we were able to get reservations for dinner there. They have a good selection of meals to make everyone happy, not easy dealing with ten of us. The chef came out after we ate and sat and talked with Avianna, that made her feel very happy.
By the time dinner was over we went outside, it was dark and everything was lite up. Definitely felt like a beautiful winter wonderland and then the rain started up again and it teamed! Everywhere you looked there were beautiful lights. Every ride was lite up, every tree and there was an enormous Christmas Tree in the middle of Main Street.
We did a lot of walking, shopping, and went on a few more rides. Finally we were all ready to go home. 10:00pm we got on the train and went back to the main gate and back to our car.
If I was to talk to someone going to Disneyland I would suggest for them to invest into a MaxPass first on the Disney app, nothing like getting through the crowds quickly. Then go on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It is a 6 minute ride that has many of the elements of other rides in the park (up and down, spins, darkness, loud music, surprises and lots of excitement). If you have children who have never been there, it will give them and yourself and idea of what to expect on many rides. The favorite ride for all of us was the “Soarin’ Around the World” ride. The seating is multilevel, suspended hang glider set up in the middle of an 80 foot dome screen that is a video of some of the world most beautiful and amazing sights. The experience is enhanced by different scents and wind as you soar. There is cold air over the polar bears in the artic, the smell of grass over Africa, smell of roses over the Taj Mahal. I could go on but I think you all should experience this yourself.
All in all, it was a great, happy day. It was fun to be with the whole family. Disneyland is a great place to share with family and to make a little girl feel like a princess for a day.