For my son Augustine’s birthday, we spent a day at Disneyland, which was crowded but nevertheless a treat.
Our 2023 Disneyland Visit
We spent the night before at the Hyatt Regency Orange County down the street to avoid morning stress and arrived at the park at 9:00 am, just as it opened to non-hotel guests (those who purchase certain packages or are guests at a Disneyland on-site hotel can gain access to the park earlier in the day).
I knew Splash Mountain was closed for renovation (that’s a whole different issue that I will not opine on now) but was disappointed to see that Space Mountain was closed too, which is one of my favorite rides. It’s A Small World was also closed (in preparation for the holidays).
We started on Thunder Mountain then went to Indiana Jones Adventure, where the ride broke while we were in line…we decided to wait and thankfully it only took about 20 minutes to get it going again.
No trip to Disneyland would be complete without Pirates of the Caribbean.
It’s nice to see the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse returning, which I remember from when I was a kid.
We did the Astro Orbitor and tried to get a family picture on it (failed), but both my kids love that ride.
I took Augustine on Star Tours, which he had never been on, and fooled him into thinking we were actually getting on a flight (I did the same thing when I took him on Space Mountain a couple of years ago). The whole airport/aircraft setup is great and he quite enjoyed the ride. It has also changed since I was last on it (many years ago…).
My daughter Claire Marie was not tall enough to go on Star Tours so she and Heidi did the Autopia.
We did something different and took a break in the afternoon at the Grand Californian Hotel, a hotel I now want to review on a future trip here. We just sat in the lobby and relaxed for what turned into two hours. There’s a nice patio as well.
I got some coffee for Heidi and me and got the kids ice cream cones at Salt & Straw in Downtown Disney. They sat contentedly in these cute little rocking chairs watching Disney cartoons and slurping on their treat.
We did not stay late because the park really got crowded after 4:00 pm and by 6:00 pm it was quite full…I think many people took the afternoon off and then came back ahead of the fireworks and the late opening (midnight).
My favorite part of the day was trying out the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Mickey’s Toontown. We had to wait nearly an hour to get on, but it was quite well-done and enjoyable.
Because of the crowds, we decided to depart before dinner and skipped Star Wars, Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln (another personal favorite), and the Jungle Cruise.
Our last ride of the day was the classic King Arthur Carrousel and it was actually the first time either of my kids had ever been on a carousel.
We used a locker during the day to avoid lugging bags around and it worked out well…this is highly recommended versus carrying everything.
Disneyland has always been a place I have loved visiting and it is now a joy to see my kids enjoy it too. We’ll return again next year, but I do think one day per year is enough.
I’m thankful that we could visit, but I could never trade a day here for a vacation…if it came to that tradeoff, I would never set foot here again. Considering tickets are $134 for adults and $127 kids (on a Tier 2 day, and those prices rise to $174-184 on a Tier 5 day), you really do have to run that calculation…