Hi from Los Angeles! It is day four of my LA trip and I’m having the best time. Lots of rest and relaxation, sunshine, and laughter!
On Tuesday, I fulfilled one of my Disney bucket list items by spending the ENTIRE DAY at the parks. Open to close. 7:30am to midnight.
It. Was. MAGICAL!
We kicked the day off by running to the Indiana Jones ride as soon as the park opened to snag a fast pass. Once we accomplished that, we walked onto Pirates (which was BRILLIANT) followed by Haunted Mansion, and then Big Thunder (one of my favorites!!!). Ran back to Indy and WOW, my 23-year-old self was so blown away. That ride is not only one of the best EVER, but also (I heard) one of the most expensive rides in any of the Disney parks. We were lucky enough to have an entire car to ourselves which I don’t think EVER happens! Truly magical.
Following our Indy adventure, and a delicious breakfast at Jolly Holiday Cafe, we raced
across the park to grab a Star Tours fast pass. After that, we did some of the more classic Disneyland rides, including Snow White, Pinocchio, and Mr. Toad. All adorable, and I LOVE the classic Disney feel! Star Tours did not disappoint, AND it was a new mission which I had never before experienced! SO good!!!
At this point, it was just after 11am and we had already experienced EIGHT rides and attractions. Totally nailing it, right? Right.
We decided it was time to cross over to California Adventure. I absolutely fell in LOVE with the Paradise Pier section upon walking around. The energy was infectious and I loved how perfectly it captured those carnival vibes (minus the shady/negative energy you’ll find at local carnivals today). It was pure joy. It was magic. I was LOVING IT!
After sipping on some Starbucks while we toured this park, we decided to head over to experience the Cars ride as single riders. Honestly? This might be in my top five. The animatronics are STUNNING. It literally felt like I was transported into Radiator Springs. I was, and still am, completely blown away by this experience and can NOT recommend it enough!!!
For lunch, we settled on splitting a little bite at Lucky Fortune. Chicken teriyaki rice bowl with veggies and a side of chicken & veggie pot stickers. Yum, yum, and YUM. Normally, I don’t fancy Asian-inspired cuisine when at Disney because burgers and chicken fingers are my second favorite food group just behind cookie dough. However, I decided to be adventurous and step out of my comfort zone and I’m sure glad I did! This light lunch was so tasty and kept me feeling full for a while!
We then walked back towards Paradise Pier where we did the Silly Symphony Swings ride because who DOESN’T want to relive their youth, am I right?! The swings were always one of my favorite rides growing up, so naturally I needed to experience them in Disney! My boyfriend was less than thrilled, but obliged, and we laughed when the ride literally lasted 90 seconds.
Following the lackluster but still enjoyable swings, we walked back towards the front of the park where we ran into none other than Donald Duck himself! My boyfriend was wearing a new Donald shirt and Mr. Duck was THRILLED to see him as a result. We got photo bombed by Goofy which was incredible, and the two pals danced around and had us all laughing. Interactions like that are what we live for at Disney and it was so magical to watch!
At this point, it was about 3:30pm. We had a friend dancing in the Soundsational parade in Magic Kingdom at 4:30, so we decided this would be a good opportunity to walk into the World of Disney store in the Downtown Disney area. It’s one of my favorites, and it certainly didn’t disappoint! Found the two gifts I needed and they are absolutely perfect for the moms-to-be in my life. Shopping for anyone in Disney is fun, but the newborn section can just have all my money because the stuff is just TOO CUTE!
We tried some macarons from Kayla’s Cake (highly recommend) before reentering Magic Kingdom. We found a great spot right on Main Street for the parade– Yet another experience on this day that completely blew me away! The performers were all wonderful, as they usually are in Disney parades, but some of them were truly exceptional. It was joyful to watch and even made me teary-eyed at points. It was also the perfect length for a parade (in my humble opinion), clocking in at under 15 minutes. It didn’t drag, always felt exciting, and had such a great variety of characters! A highlight was definitely in the beginning when there was a DRUMLINE and they absolutely crushed it!!!
We were both a bit hungry at this point, so we decided to make our way back over to California Adventure to see if we could be seated early for our dinner reservation at Storyteller’s Cafe. The cafe is located in the Grand Californian Resort, which is just stunning, and has a very similar vibe as that of Wilderness Lodge in WDW. Luckily for us, they were able to seat us early and we FEASTED. At Storyteller’s, there is a sit-down menu and also a buffet. Being the true foodies that we are, we opted for the buffet and it did NOT disappoint. We tried a little bit of everything: From caprese to cornbread, to baked salmon and the carving station, to the children’s options of chicken tenders and mac n cheese– This buffet was excellent. We opted to avoid dessert to save ourselves for the possibilities of Mickey beignets and Mickey bars.
After dinner, we walked around the Summer of Heroes section of the park before making our way back across to Magic Kingdom in preparation for Fantasmic and fireworks and the last few attractions we were hoping to do.
My boyfriend and I divided and (kind of) conquered. He went to try to get us another Indy fast pass, while I beelined for those beignets. I was successful, he was not. Not a big deal though, as we wound up doing Indy again later on as single riders! (More on that later). We met up just in time to grab a spot to watch Fantasmic in all its glory! Now, I wasn’t a huge fan of it the first time I saw it in WDW. It kind of scared me a bit! This version, I thought, was much better. Without giving anything away for those of you who haven’t yet seen it, it’s more fast-paced and exciting. I didn’t find it as scary, though there were moments that made me jumpy!
Fantasmic started about 5 minutes late, and then the fireworks started on time, giving us virtually zero time to make our way to Main Street. We could’ve stayed where we were, but we agreed that we wanted a view of the castle. Isn’t that one of the best parts about watching the fireworks?! Unfortunately, the show was cancelled just as the Star Wars section ended. We were bummed, but we also understand that they can’t afford to take risks when the winds shift. No big deal!
So, we wandered back over to Indy where we completed our second ride of the day, but this time as single riders (brilliant). So worth it!!! We made our way over to Splash Mountain where we did that as single riders, too. Again– SO worth it. There was a 30+ minute wait, but as single riders we were in and out in under 15 minutes. It was awesome! (And my photo is absolutely hilarious).
To cap off our picture-perfect DisDay, we opted to meet & greet with Mr. Mouse himself just before exiting the park. We love seeing Mickey, especially when he happens to be dressed in his classic outfit! He never disappoints and always leaves us feeling such love and joy for the company who brought us together.
SO, my friends, to recap what I learned during this gloriously exhausting 16 hour day:
- Get to the parks early if you want to snag Fast Passes for the most popular rides.
- Run around like crazy in the morning to get as many rides and attractions done before it gets too hot/the park gets too crowded!
- Schedule one sit-down meal if you can. Your feet will thank you for the break!
- Watch the fireworks first, then head over to Fantasmic– as long as there are two showings that night. It’ll allow you more time between shows to get to the next location and claim a good spot! (We learned from our rookie mistake on this).
Have fun, fellow Disney fans!