Disneyland 2011: Why this trip was our best yet!

What a fantastic trip!

You can read about our trip by clicking the links below:
Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5

For anyone wondering, 4 years old is a great age to take a child to Disneyland!  It's been our best trip yet!

What made it so great?

* Where we stayed  

We stayed inside the park at The Paradise Pier Hotel.  Staying here allowed us early entry (8:00am instead of 9:00am) on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  We were just across the street from California Adventure Park, steps from Downtown Disney, and just a few hundred feet from the Monorail, which dropped us off inside Disneyland, at Tomorrow land.  We were also able to get our same-day FastPasses for the World of Color show just walking next door into The Grand Californian Resort and Spa, rather than having to go all the way into the park to the Grizzly River Run attraction and using the FastPass machines, like everyone else.  We had a Premium View of the California Adventure Park (we were on the 13th floor) and the room was really nice!  We had two Queen beds with excellent mattresses and pillows as well as a two-cushion sofa that folded down to a twin-sized bed.  Emily LOVED that she had her own "big girl bed", as she called it and was asleep within minutes every night of our trip.  I have to admit, I was concerned about sleeping in the same room with her but she was so tired every evening that not even the television kept her awake.

* Driving rather than flying this time

Parking at the hotel is $15/day; however, it allowed us to drive the 1/2 mile to The Shops of Anaheim to eat dinner every night at great restaurants, including The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang's, Johnny Rocket's, Roy's, and The Bubba Gump Shrimp Company to name a few, which saved money (eating inside the park is just absurd on the price scale) and it was much better food.  Having the car also allowed us to avoid all the TSA regulations of the food & beverages we could bring: we brought a two-gallon water pitcher plus our canteens that we filled up every night and put in our fridge to have ready for the park the next day (highly recommend as water is over $2 and restaurants serve tap); we brought fruit and yogurt and granola as well as milk and juice boxes to have an immediate breakfast every morning (which really cut down on the grouchiness of us all!); and we packed tons of snacks for the car ride down (and back!).  Having the car also allowed us to pack whatever we wanted (like my own pillow) and not have to wait in line for the 45 minute shuttle ride from the airport to the hotel that we took a few years ago.  Emily played "I Spy" for nearly an hour, played on her iXL and Leapster for two hours, watched "Beauty & the Beast" and "Snow White" for a total of three hours, and was also happy to have a snack and stare out the window.  Not including the hour and a half it took to eat lunch and take bathroom breaks, the trip only took six hours.  It was a breeze!

* Not having a stroller, diaper bag, nor nap schedules to deal with
A small cross-body bag was all we needed every day because we had so little to carry with us each day in the part on this trip!  A few wipes, sunscreen, camera, phone, money, passes & IDs, chapstick, and our hotel room key plus a canteen of water was all we packed.  No stroller to maneuver nor park for every ride.  No heavy diaper bag full of diapers and changes of clothes and snacks for a toddler that couldn't make it 4-5 hours between meals.  No sense of urgency to cram in as much as possible between nap time and bedtime.  It was really great to be able to just hop on any ride we wanted at any time! 

* Emily is 4 1/2 years old
No tantrums... of any kind, compared to when she was 2 years old.  She completely understands waiting in lines, waiting until it's her turn, and that it's far to walk from ride to ride.  She understands that some rides (only 3!) she wasn't tall enough to ride and that mommy couldn't ride with her on some due to being pregnant.  She never darted off.  She held hands without protest.  She could verbalize her fears over certain rides or just the fact that some rides were boring to her and she was uninterested.  She could also stay up late (meaning past 9pm) to enjoy the shows and the fireworks.  She could (and would!) eat off any menu throughout the day and never needed snacks in between.  She was also much more interested in Disneyland and The California Adventure Park as a whole because she has seen almost every movie both parks are based off of; she was really excited to get on every single ride and was fully engaged in all the shows and parades.  Because she knew the characters she wasn't afraid of them this time in the least so, having them walk up to us in the park and at breakfast was really fun for her.  I also need to mention that at this age, most kids like to feel they are in control and that they are getting to do exactly what they want to do so, David & I allowed her to feel that way by allowing her to choose what we did pretty much every moment of every day.  She wasn't interested in 90% of the Disneyland Park and wanted to ride her favorite rides 2-3 times each and we let her.  Going with the flow made the entire trip so enjoyable!

The only teeny tiny complaint I have about this trip is that Anaheim had a heatwave the very week we were there and it was really hard to be 35 weeks pregnant in 90 degree heat.  Other than that, it was the perfect trip, compared to previous Disneyland trips, and we made wonderful memories as a family!


  1. Sounds like a great trip! I think that must be a great age to start taking kids on trips. Definitely sounds much less stressful than with a 2-year-old!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts