This May I got to tick off one of the biggest things on my bucket list: visiting Disneyland California. As with any Disney holiday, it was intense and we packed a lot in. We were battling almost thirty degree heat and a large amount of crowds, but of course we still managed to fit in tonnes of magic!
I could spend all day talking about my experience of the parks, but instead I’ll just share my highlights:
1) The Hotel
We used David’s DVC Rentals to rent Disney Vacation Club points at the Grand Californian Hotel. Our group consisted of six people and we stayed in a two bedroom villa, which was absolutely huge! The hotel was so beautiful and very similar to Walt Disney World’s Wilderness Lodge Hotel or Disneyland Paris’s Sequoia Lodge. The pool area was beautiful and we spent a few hours over the course of our stay relaxing on the loungers with a delicious cocktail or two. The gift shop and quick service restaurant in this hotel were both great, but without a doubt the highlight of this hotel was the private entrance into the Disney California Adventure Park! Within minutes of leaving our room we were in the heart of the park without queue in sight. We felt like Disney VIPs!
Cocktails by the pool
2) Café Orleans:
Walt’s Espresso Machine
As much as I love Walt Disney World, there’s something so special about knowing that Walt actually visited this park, and made it his home. You can really feel this in Café Orleans and I was so excited to be able to see the espresso machine that Walt had bought for his wife Lillian. It’s not used anymore but can still be admired in the restaurant.
The food at Café Orleans was incredible. I started with a cup of gumbo that tasted like it was straight out of the Princess and the Frog! It was absolutely delicious and I could have easily eaten another bowl for my main course, too!
My sister and I shared the monte cristo which – for those not in the know – is a deep fried ham, turkey and cheese sandwich which is then deep fried, sprinkled with icing sugar and served with jam. Good old Disney. To be honest, the sandwich was as weird as I thought it would be, but I’m glad I tried it!
The Monte Cristo
The star of the show at this meal was definitely the pommes frites, an enormous mound of garlic fries, served with the most delicious remoulade which was basically a mustard and thousand island dip; It was so good that we asked for extras!
Café Orleans is by no means a cheap meal, but the food and atmosphere make for an authentic Disneyland experience and I would definitely recommend a visit.
The Pommes Frites
3) Cars Land
Welcome to Cars Land!
My family love Cars, especially Mater, Luigi and Guido! We were so excited to see Cars Land, the immersive land which is said to have brought DCA back from the brink. We re-watched the film before our trip to remind ourselves of the charming features Radiator Springs has to offer, and I couldn’t believe just how accurate the land was. It really felt like you’d just pulled over off Route 66 and landed in Radiator Springs.
I’m the proud owner of a little Fiat 500, so seeing Luigi’s tyre store was so cute and I had to snap a picture! Flo’s V8 Cafe was also incredible and actually served food! Although instead of quarts of gasoline, this quick service restaurant offered homely meals such as chicken, sandwiches and ribs – much better!
Luigi’s Casa Della Tyres
Flo’s V8 Cafe
The smaller rides, such as Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters were super fun and cute, but without a doubt, Radiator Springs Racers is the best attraction I have ever been on. Nothing else compares – not even in Disney World! It is so immersive and really follows the plot of the film. Your carriage is actually a car and you travel through Radiator Springs, tipping over tractors and driving away before Frank catches you! You then get ready for your big race, either getting new tyres from Luigi or a paint job from Ramone. You enter the track, the rocky landscape which Lightning and Sally take a drive through, and race another car next to you! The queue for this ride gets very long very quickly, so make you sure you utilise the fast pass system for this one!
Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
Radiator Springs Racers
4) World of Color:
Where do I begin with World of Color? We had heard amazing things about this night time spectacular and decided to increase our chances of a great view by booking one of the World of Color dining packages. We chose to eat at Ariel’s Grotto and the food was amazing! I had the coconut and ginger soup, the beef tri-tip with mashed potatoes and asparagus, and the trio of desserts. The service and theming was great too, and we ended up in an amazing section to view the show from – a great decision all round!
Coconut and Ginger Soup
World of Color was unlike any show I’ve ever seen. It is similar to Fantasmic, in that it utilises water projections and features many famous Disney movies. But I can honestly say that this show is far better than Fantasmic. As soon as I heard the first few notes of the piano from Up, the tears just fell! I don’t want to give too much away, but this cannot be missed if you’re planning a visit to Disneyland!
World of Color Dining Package Fastpass
Those were my highlights from our incredible trip. Fun fact, I share a birthday with this incredible park, and a big birthday of mine lines up with a big anniversary for the park, too – so I know this won’t be my last visit!
Have you ever visited Disneyland California? If so, what were your highlights? I’d love to know in the comments below!