As I mentioned in our Minnesota Family Adventures post, the day after we returned from Minnesota, we headed to Disneyland to wrap up our summer vacation along with thousands of other people on a hot Sunday. Zoe’s first day at school would be the Tuesday following, so talk about squeezing fun in every possible last moment…
We arrived on Sunday morning, parked at our hotel nearby and walked over to begin our adventure. Our friends Mary & Bardo and their cute twin boys were there that day as well, and we joined up with them for some shared fun (and food). But first… If you haven’t been to Disneyland, you may not be familiar with “Downtown Disney”, a pedestrian outdoor “mall” filled with tons of opportunity to spend money on anything Disney (and other things you might “need” on your way in or out of the park).
A Lego store! Outside of which you can find this (cute children not included):
There are also several very nice souvenir type shops, a few surf shops and of course, a Sephora… (really?) Also, there are many restaurant options, all culminating into a courtyard with the entrance to Disneyland on one side and the entrance to Disney California Adventures (DCA) on the other. We were lucky enough to have Park Hopper tickets, which meant (of course) we went to both!
Upon entering the DCA park I snapped this shot of two girls and a fountain (look how fresh and excited they appear!):
Very unlike how the evening ended:
But before we get there, there was a LOT more fun to be had! Zoe’s favorite? The Incredicoaster (Incredibles theme rollercoaster with twists, turns, and a super fast start):
Meanwhile Ella and I walked around the Pixar Fest pier area and found a 3D ride for all ages where you can “shoot” at targets and get points:
We also rode the Ariel’s Grotto ride just over the bridge, which takes you through The Little Mermaid story scene by scene with songs and animated character “shows” at each turn. We all road the Zephyr, Zoe and Dad went on the swings, and the kids played briefly on the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at Grizzly Peak (with rope bridges and other fun play structures). At Disneyland, we saw the castle and rode the “It’s a Small World” ride (also fun for all ages!). As you can tell from below, it was a HOT HOT day:
We decided to head back to the hotel for an afternoon break and on the way found a barbershop quartet (and an ice cream shop):
Following our brief break, we headed back to Disney California Adventures, intent on seeing the Pixar light parade and some fireworks after dark, and achieved both. We ate the Mendocino Terrace Italian restaurant near an onsite winery (Mom’s favorite ride), and checked out the A Bug’s Life section of the park, which is being shut down soon… These rides were for smaller kids, and so we rode a caterpillar and bumper cars:
Yes, that’s me in a PINK Minnie Mouse hat. I have a terrible habit of forgetting 2 things for “sunny day” trips: Sunglasses & Hats. If my husband had a dollar for every trip we’ve gone on where he’s had to detour to find those things for his wife, he’d be rich. He’d be even richer if I didn’t have to buy hats & sunglasses all the time… And for the record, I can probably put my hands on 2 pair of sunglasses and 3 hats. I blame the heat.
Oh, and in case you want to see an exceptional “after hat on a hot day” look, here you go:
Back on Pixar Pier, Zoe + Dad road the Incredicoaster AGAIN and Ella and I found more live music and “games of chance”, where Dad later won a stuffed star for each girl (the one you saw Ella sleeping with above):
Bottom line: We survived. And even though I am NOT A FAN of theme parks, I will have to say Disney really does know how to have something for everyone (remember the wine?!), so can I really complain?
Up Next: Back to School and an 8-year-old!