California Vacation – May 2014

Mike had a conference in Anaheim for a week so Charlie and I decided to tag along.  We were staying so close to Disneyland, it seemed almost silly for us not to go. Charlie has become quite the little traveler! Here are a few highlights from our trip:

Crystal Cove National Park (Laguna Beach, CA)

The lady sitting next to us on the plane told us that Crystal Cove was a must see during our trip.  We had a rental car so we were fortunate to be able to make the drive to the coast! Crystal Cove is a national park so there was a $15 parking fee (no fee to enter if you walk in).  There are a few different places to park.  By the parking spots, there are bathrooms, washing stations and picnic areas.  To get to the beach, you walk down a pretty steep paved path.  Once you’ve reached the beach you can walk around and see a lot of tide pools.  I don’t think this is a swimming beach. And I wouldn’t want to swim in that particular spot (lots of seaweed).  We  did put our feet in the ocean but Charlie didn’t really like that.  He did enjoy watching the waves roll in!  After our visit through the park, we drove through Laguna Beach.  I’ve always wanted to see it because yes, I was obsessed with the show on MTV and of course, The Hills!  I had to see where LC is from!  All in all, it was a fun day excursion.


Disneyland (Anaheim, CA)

Our last day in California was spent at Disneyland.  We did our research on Disneyland’s website to see which park would be more fun for Charlie, Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park.  Although both had quite a few attractions that Charlie could go on, Disneyland had more so we chose to go there.  The day we went, the park was open for 24 hours so it also made for some interesting people watching.  I didn’t know you were supposed to dress up as your favorite character!  There were some really great costumes and some really not so great ones…

064Our day started by seeing Minnie Mouse on Main Street.  Her line for photos wasn’t very long so we jumped in right away.  It was only about a 10 minute wait before Charlie got to meet her! We weren’t sure how he’d react to seeing the characters but as soon as it was our turn, he walked right up to her all by himself!  He loved it!

The rides we hit up in the morning were:

  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  • King Arthur Carousel
  • Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups

Park Re-entry

Charlie was ready for his afternoon nap so we left the park and went back to the hotel.  Did you know you can leave the park and re-enter with a single day park ticket?  Make sure that when you leave the park to get your hand stamped.  You will need your original ticket and show your hand stamp to re-enter the park. The exits were marked “Hand Stamp” so look for those when you exit the park.

Afternoon rides were:

  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Stroller Pass

Charlie of course, did not ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  I did some research before the trip and discovered something called a Stroller Pass. This allows parents with small kids to still be able to go on the fun rides!

How Stroller Pass works:

I got in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad while Mike waited with Charlie.  When I got through the line and was about to get on the ride, I asked the employee working the ride for a stroller pass.  He gave me a “Rider Switch” ticket to give to Mike when I got off.  Mike then got to go straight through the “Fast Pass” line and only had to wait about 5 minutes (as opposed to my 50 minute wait).  What’s nice about this is only one parent needs to wait in line and the second parent can then get on the ride with a minimal wait time.  I highly recommend utilizing this feature!

If we could do it over again, Mike and I decided that one of us should have taken Charlie on the smaller rides while the other went on the “big kid” rides and then switch.  We had a lot of fun but both felt like we didn’t get to go on a lot of attractions.

It only took me 30 years to get to California and we had a really nice family vacation.  I hope you you found my Disneyland tips helpful!




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