It’s been a few weeks since we returned home from our trip, but nevertheless, the magic of a family vacation definitely serves as a “happiness anchor” and lives on in our hearts (and in a blog post!) 🙂 You see, Aaron had a work convention… in Anaheim… at the Disneyland Hotel… where he would be staying at the Disneyland Hotel. How could we have possibly not tagged along!? 😆 Sure, he was there for work, where he would still be putting in an 8 hour workday (meaning I’d have the girls to myself all day while at a busy amusement park resort) but that does not stop us from taking our little ladies to the Happiest Place on Earth! Thankfully, a few of our friends even planned to come around the same time as us, so a few of the daytimes I had the girls, I had some friends totally willing to lend a helping hand.
This was our first time staying at the Disneyland Hotel. In the past, we have stayed at the Courtyard Marriott, the Grand Californian, and the Hilton. I have heard so many things about how great the Disneyland Hotel is since it’s big remodel that I was excited to see for myself.
Here are some things I loved about the hotel:
1.) The Grounds: absolutely gorgeous! It reminded me of a Hawaiian resort with the lush vegetation, fun restaurants, well-stocked shops, and the fantastic pool area. Other than where we honeymooned in Maui, this was the best pool area I’ve seen (for both kids and adults.)
2.) The retro vibe. Go ahead and laugh, but there’s just a feeling about it, even with a renovation and not technically being *the* original site of Disneyland Hotel (Wikipedia if you want,) but it has a classic feeling to it, which has some nostalgia that I love.
3.) The musical firework headboard. Pretty, entertaining, and a great nightlight; my girls definitely wished they could have one of those in their bedroom.
4.) Princess bedtime stories. On the television, there are dedicated stations for hotel guests, including a channel that has loops of live-action Disney princesses telling their story in a calm voice, perfect for bedtime. I’d let the girls watch one before naptime and bedtime, and when we got home, they asked if we had any at home they could see, ha!
All in all, we loved staying here, but was it our absolute favorite? Well… I’d have to say that for a family of five, the room definitely felt small, and it seemed just as much as a walk as it normally is when we stay at the Courtyard (which is a bit interesting considering you’re staying at an actual Disneyland Hotel.) I’ve joked with Aaron that if the Grand Californian, Courtyard, and Disneyland hotels all had a baby, with the grounds looking like the Disneyland Hotel, but having the spacious and brand-new rooms of the Courtyard, with the proximity of the Grand…it would be perfection. 🙂
Back to the rest of the trip…
Something alarmingly different about being in public with three little girls, ages 3 and under (think me, wearing Reese, and pushing a double stroller,) was that on just a normal day, I get a lot of, “Whoa, your hands are full!” or “Oh, your poor husband is so outnumbered!” But at Disneyland? “Oh my goodness, you’re supermom!” (I’m absolutely not!) or “Look at those darling girls, you are so blessed!” Reason enough why I love Disneyland. It is SO family friendly, kid friendly, accommodating, and supportive of families big and small.
Our friends would meet in our lobby in the morning, we’d all walk together, get fastpasses, and start making the most of our day. I’d take the girls back for naps around 1, so essentially we’d be back in our room by 1:30, and they’d be asleep by 2. Aaron would get back around 4, and we’d all walk together to spend the rest of our day at the park until it closed. We ate at many of our favorite spots (Blue Bayou, Lucky Fortune Cookery, Jolly Holiday Cafe,) and got to go on so many rides with Hadley. I will be honest in saying this was the absolute busiest I’ve ever seen the park—which says a lot, considering I went frequently as a child, and we have been 5 times since 2015. It was spring break, and the crowds were pretty terrible. There were a few points where we just gave up, and sat down to look at the scenery versus combat the hordes of people to get places. Crowds or not, we still made the best of it because it’s still a beautiful place with delicious food! 🙂
Sadie got to go on her first roller coaster, where during the time to wait I got to talk to a cast member. I asked her about which places in the park she liked working the most, the least favorites, and the perks of being an employee. We ended up talking for about 45 minutes (as Hadley then went on the ride with Aaron,) and by the end, she said I kept her such nice company that she scanned our tickets to where we wouldn’t have to wait in any lines for the rest of the day (meaning, we could arrive at the exit of any ride and be escorted in!) It was amazing, and such a positive thing to happen when the crowds were a bit discouraging. The irony? Our girls were so pooped, we only got to use it a few times…but that’s just life with little kids…you roll with it. 🙂
We got to take the girls on two rides they’ve never been on: Peter Pan’s Flight, and the Dumbo ride. The girls were so excited to finally get to fly with Dumbo, and that ended up being our last ride. When we put the girls in their strollers, they fell asleep pretty quickly, to where Aaron and I watched the fireworks by the Rivers of America, sat in Adventureland and watched crowds go by, then ended our evening sharing some hot chocolate and Matterhorn macaroons at the Jolly Holiday (while the Electrical Parade went by.)
The next morning, we got to meet with my Southern California family at the pool area of the hotel, where my nephew and the girls got to play on the kiddie slides and shallow beach pool. We ended our time getting sandwiches and letting the kids run around on the hotel grounds outside, which was such a sweet way to conclude our trip.
A few of my favorite “little parts” of the trip:
-When Cinderella randomly came up to the girls right as we arrived into the park. It all happened so fast, but I was able to get on video when she hugged Sadie and said goodbye to a smitten Hadley
-Sharing many pretzels (both the Mickey shaped AND cream cheese ones) with the girls…and Aaron, ha!
-When Sadie fell asleep on Aaron. We’ve always marveled at the kids who fall asleep on their parents in public, and joked that it would never happen to us…until Sadie proved us wrong. It was during a super-long wait for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, so the cuteness of her cuddly nap made up for the line.
-How the girls would light up whenever they’d see a little duck family, which makes you realize how amazing a life a Disneyland duck must have.
-Reese completely going with the flow (I probably wore her in my Lillebaby 99% of the time, as her big sisters used the stroller,) and at the end of the night when I transplanted her from the carrier onto the bed, Sadie snuggled up and fell asleep right next to her. <3
-I cannot leave out the magic of an iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato (my faaaavorite drink) in an adorable Disnyland Starbucks cup 🙂
All in all, we had a great time, and came home with some sweet memories to look back on. In true fashion of our family, we already cannot wait to go on another little adventure together! Traveling with little ones is absolutely worth it with all the fun memories that get to be made together! 🙂
Thanks for reading (& until next time)