The Ultimate California Vacation

Disneyland and California Adventure Parks

This is actually a continuing story that began with the journey that started with our “Road Trip To Disneyland” on Route 66 post. I've added a link to that post in case you didn't catch it, you might want to read it first. If you did, then I will pick up where we left Las Vegas to California. We arrived in Anaheim mid-afternoon taking on the traffic that was already gearing up for the 5 o'clock craziness. We were excited that we arrived before it got too bad.We checked into the Howard Johnson right across the street from Disneyland. This being more than just a trip to Disneyland, we felt we should save our money where we could, so we didn't reserve a room at an on-property hotel this time. The Howard Johnson had been newly renovated and it really served our needs just fine. We were within walking distance to the Disneyland front gate. I say walking distance with a smirk because even though we didn't mind the morning stroll after breakfast, by day's end that stroll didn't look so good. So we ended getting bus tickets that were very reasonable and catching a ride back to the hotel every night.

Our first day was spent at Disneyland itself. We are such big Disney nerds, we have certain things we must do as soon as we can. Arriving later in the day, we knew we would have to catch the faves first and finish up on another day. It had been 40 years since I had been to Disneyland and like everything else you do when that happens, it seemed bigger back then. Of course, I'm sure it wasn't but after all the vacations to Disney World, I had to remind myself that Disneyland is basically the Magic Kingdom. The girls didn't notice the difference and even commented on how it felt just like the Magic Kingdom. One thing I did remember and didn't appreciate back them was the fact that it all started here, on these very streets and walkways.

The lamp in the window of Walt Disney's apartment above the fire station.

I kept reminding my family that Walt Disney himself walked these same streets and I did get very excited showing them the window to Walt's private apartment where they keep a lamp burning all the time. The story was that back when Walt was alive, the lamp was only turned on and put in the window to let guests know that Walt was staying there that evening. I was so proud that they seemed to understand the importance of all that to a Disney family as we are.

Did I mention it was July? If I didn't well it was and it was hot and crowded. So that part was just like Florida. We still couldn't wait to get on Dumbo, visit The Haunted Mansion, and of course Pirates of the Caribbean. By the time we did all that, it was time for the night parade and fireworks. We found a great spot and ended the day with one of the reasons we go back over and over again, the magic of the parade and fireworks over the castle. It never fails to give us chills and a that feeling of magic in the air. Now it was time to head back to the hotel and get a good nights sleep.

The next day we were up early, ate breakfast on  our walk to the front gate, and headed to the California Adventure Park.  We had planned our strategy more for this park as there was lots to do in a certain amount of time, so planning was the smart way to go. The first thing we did was find the kiosk to get tickets for the new Frozen On Stage show. They went fast and we did not want to miss it. We were only going to be here one day, so we had to make the most of it. We did get our tickets and it was really worth it. The show was awesome. That was probably the main thing we planned to do at California Adventure. The second thing was visit Cars Land. They don't have Cars Land at Disney World so the girls were really excited about it. We road everything we could and enjoyed walking around and the food at the Flo's was really good. I had the rib platter and I was very impressed. You wouldn't expect ribs at a quick service cafe to be that good, but these were really good.

We spent the rest of the day enjoying the park and just exploring. I finally arrived at my favorite ride, Soarin' and as usual it was great. It was the new one and I have to say I was really anxious to check it out. The old Soarin' was shot domestically, but the new one was around the world! You felt like you could touch the Eiffel Tower with your toes. It definitely lived up to all the hype. After catching a few more rides we headed to the boardwalk area for dinner. After an awesome taco salad we decided to find a good spot to watch the night show. The giant Mickey ferris wheel made a beautiful background. We would have ridden it but we aren't that brave. It's huge and I bet the view up top was incredible. The World of Color show was awesome as you would expect from Disney. That closed out our day at California Adventure park. The next day we stayed only half of the day as it was so hot and crowded, we decided to enjoy the pool and water park back at the hotel. Disneyland was fun and the girls really enjoyed seeing another part of what makes us Disney fans.


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