I have been to Disneyland and Disney World my fair share of times. They are my second home. My mom grew up in California so we went there for a long time until we moved to Georgia and Disney World was a short 10 hour drive away. Then I got an internship at Disney World right after Chris and I got married. The Disney parks hold a special place in my heart and are full of fun memories.
However, this past trip was unlike any I’ve taken, in the very best way. My Aunt Darla and I have been close pretty much my whole life. She’s always treated me like a friend first and a niece never. I even lived with her for a year during my most very awkward of phases. Nonetheless, and despite our cross country distance, we’ve remained close friends. That made this trip to Disneyland incredible!
The occasion, of course, was the Tinkerbell half marathon. But we decided to take advantage of being there and spend a few days in the park. With her military discount we scored 3-day park hopper passes for $150!! At first we were just going to do one day, but a one day ticket is $105+tax. So for $45 extra dollars we could add two more days and a park hopper. It was a no brainer really.
It was about a 9 hour drive from Utah to Anaheim but the drive really wasn’t bad. We left at like 6am and took 2 hour turns so neither of us got too bored with driving.
^^Lunch on the road at Wienerscnitzel
Darla was all too happy to point out that there had been shift in our relationship. Where I was once the cool, young, hip teenager, I was now the mother of toddlers and was not in-the-know on anything cool or hip. She, however, as the mother of 2 teenage girls was. As evidenced by the fact that she had to teach me how to use snapchat. #imsoold
We had a ridiculously fun time. We let ourselves enjoy sitting down for a nice meal (Scroll down for all my favorite places we ate!) instead of feeling stressed to rush and ride everything. We sat and chatted (and were interrupted by Oswald). We moseyed around and rode what we wanted, when we wanted, without having to make a whole gaggle of people happy. We even took a break for like an hour and bought some souvenirs from Sephora in Downtown Disney. That would have never happened if my husband was with us.
My favorite part of the trip was probably Sunday night. We were both so silly slap-happy after having been awake for so many hours. We were hobbling around with sore knees and giggling at everything. It was fun that Darla brought herself down to my immaturity level for a night.
On Monday, we had planned to go to Disneyland in the morning and leave by noon for the 10 hour drive back. Well, we were both so tired that we didn’t even end up getting to the park until noon. And we didn’t really care. There was no one to tell us one way or the other.
We started at Matterhorn which was an annoyingly long line but we both really wanted to ride it. We got up to the part of the queue where it was weaving back and forth. We were close to entrance of the ride but there were still probably 30 people ahead of us. But the guy running the ride saw us, pulled us out of line and let us walk right on. I guess were were looking pretty fly.
We got through most of the ride before it stopped. Shut down. We were sitting there for a while but it was actually really peaceful. We were in the sun, right next to a waterfall. Darla and I were just playing on our phones. By the time they got us off the ride, they gave us a fastpass for the ride of our choosing (except Hyperspace Mountain) for our trouble. #worthit.
We headed over to Star Tours since we hadn’t been on that one yet. The fastpass line was stupid long which got us both annoyed because we had limited time in the park. But when it got to the point to give up our magical fastpass ticket the guy looked at us, and then gave it back. “I didn’t do that,” he said. We must have been lookin’ super fly!
So we walked right onto Indiana Jones. For the third time this trip. Then a quick corndog lunch (yum!) and we rushed right over to California Adventure since we still hadn’t ridden Tower of Terror. But I checked the wait time on my app as we walked in and noticed that California Screamin was a 10 minute wait. So instead, we rode that twice, wrapped it up with The Little Mermaid, grabbed some ice cream from Ghiradelli and headed home.
By this time it was about 5pm. I drove us out of the city and as we were reaching our 2 hour switch point we spotted an outlet mall. Something you should know…Darla and I are both avid shoppers. (I blame her for my addiction). So we spent like 30 min to an hour in Old Navy and then got back on the road.
Darla drove for almost two hours and I took us the rest of the way home so she could sleep. But the only way I could manage that was by chugging two Rockstar energy drinks back to back. By the time we did get home at 5am, I had a hard time falling asleep cause I was still a little buzzed on caffeine.
It was the most amazing weekend. Neither of us wanted to leave but were still excited to see our families. It was so wonderful, we plan to make a habit of this whole Disney running thing. So stay tuned for more Disney runs! I’m thinking the next one will be Feb 2017.
Favorite Places to Eat at Disneyland and California Adventure:
Located in Downtown Disney, the Jazz kitchen offers cajun-creole food. It’s on the pricier side but if you have the money to spend, it’s well worth it. I just wish I had saved more room for dessert because we saw and smelled them making Bananas Foster at the table next to us and it looked mouth wateringly delicious.
Flo’s is in the heart of Radiator Springs at California adventure and is the perfect stop for breakfast after getting your fast pass for Radiator Springs Racers (you have to do that first because they run out). The brioche french toast is incredible and it is a big piece. But if you’re anything like me, you might need something savory in addition to a sweet piece of french toast. If you are there with another person, one of you order the french toast, and the other person order the breakfast platter with eggs, hashbrowns, a biscuit and bacon and then split it! It’s more than enough food for two people.
Cozy Cone Motel
I wish I had been hungrier when we walked through the Cozy Cone Motel but I just wanted a a quick snack and popcorn hit the spot perfectly. I opted for regular butter, but the offer all kinds of flavored popcorn if you’re feeling adventurous. The other cones have sweet and savory snacks and some that could even serve as a meal. You can read more on this post (scroll about halfway down).
Little Red Wagon
When I did research for our last trip to Disneyland I read about these corndogs and wanted one SO BAD. But it just never happened. So for this trip I was determined to get one! This was my first meal after our half marathon and it hit the spot perfectly. These are unlike any corndogs you’ve had. They’re huge and hand dipped and delightful. They are located right at the end of Main Street and corndogs are the only thing they serve (with chips and a drink if you want). But everyone seems to know how amazing these corndogs are and the line is always crazy long. So if you’re looking to save some time and have a place to sit, head on over to the next restaurant, The Stage Door Cafe.
Stage Door Cafe
Located in Frontierland at Disneyland, this cafe serves the very same hand-dipped corndogs you can get at Little Red Wagon, without the long wait and with other food options if you’re dining with people who may not be in the mood for a corndog (is there such a person?!)
River Belle Terrace
Also located in Frontierland with a great view of the Mark Twain Riverboat, River Belle Terrace is a nice sit down restaurant to rest your tired feet for dinner after a long day at the park. Or if you ran a half marathon 20 hours prior. I had the ribs which were finger lickin’ good. The price is worth it for the food. We didn’t make a reservation but we didn’t have to wait long for a table.
Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill
Located at the Pacific Wharf in California Adventure. Yummy yummy Mexican food and the price is right! My aunt and I both got a burrito plate that came with beans and rice and was plenty to fill our bellies. Plus the time of day we were there wasn’t too crowded so we could pleasantly chat under the shade without distraction.
And right down the way from the Mexican Grill is Ghiradelli’s! Head over for a delicious ice cream dessert. I’d highly recommend splitting it with a friend though. Neither of us could finish our Sundays. And every time you enter the store you get a free chocolate. We happened to go in three times and decided not to get ice cream until the 4th time. But we got three free chocolates (say that 10 times fast).