By Judi Hosang with LBAC Travel and Pixie Dust Planners: Contact us today to plan your next trip!
Recently, we had the opportunity to take our entire family to Disneyland in California. We wanted our grandson to have the opportunity to visit Mickey Mouse for the first time and our adult children to experience “where it all began”. We were a party of eight: two grandparents, five adult children and one grandson. This was going to be an adventure!
We chose Disneyland because of its size. It is smaller than Walt Disney World in Orlando, with two theme parks, Disneyland Park and California Adventure Park, located within walking distance of each other, thus no need for transportation between the two. We thought this would be a great choice for our five-year-old grandson, as it would not be so overwhelming.
We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel. As soon as we walked through the door, we became immersed in the spirit of Disneyland past. Staying here allowed us the opportunity to all stay together by booking three-bedroom Family Connecting Suite. This is a great option for a large family traveling together as it can sleep up to 12 adults. The first bedroom had two queen beds and was reached from the main hallway. Through the double doors there were two more bedrooms, one had a king bed and one pullout single sofa and connected to the first bedroom. On the other side was a common area with another pull out couch, ½ bath a small kitchenette, sink refrigerator, and counter space and an additional king bedroom with full bath. The resort had two pools with water slides and a Minnie Mouse hot tub! Being located so close to the parks we were able to take a break in the middle of the day and go back to the hotel and swim or as my grandson said “recharge”. Having a common area also allowed us to just hang out as a family discussing what we did that day. An added benefit was, we were just steps from the Downtown Disney District, allowing us to leave the parks for meals or grab a bite on the way into the parks.
Disneyland Resorts have character dining experiences as well. Goofy’s Kitchen allows an opportunity to have your picture taken with Goofy. While you’re dining Chip, Dale, Goofy, Pluto and even Minnie Mouse will parade around the dining area. We experienced Storytellers Café on two occasions. On the weekend Chip, Dale, Pluto, Mickey and Minnie paraded around the dining area, asking the kids to join the parade. On the weekday when we visited, Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale came around to the tables and allowed you to take photos with them.
Disneyland Park and California Adventure Park have a number of the same attractions you will find in Walt Disney World, however some of them are just a little bit different. We did find that the parks were pretty busy on the weekend, but the crowds tapered off during the week. We also found that the end of May is a very busy time at Disneyland, as a number of schools have graduation trips to Disneyland, thus making the parks crowded.
One tip as far as dining, make dining reservations in advance. If you do not have advance dining reservations it may be difficult to find a table service restaurant. We also found that when making reservations in advance for a large party of eight we were not always able to get reservations together. When checking in we asked for tables together or close by and on most occasions, they combined our reservations, and we were all able to dine together. As far as quick service meals, plan ahead. Make your dining choices when you get to the park in the morning and place your order for the time you want to eat. We found if we did not do this, we sometimes had to wait an hour and a half to be able to pick up quick service meals. Although we did not always stay together, having meals together allowed us to compare notes and share stories of our day.
This was the first time we planned a multigenerational vacation and all I have to say was it was wonderful. We were able to experience our children and grandsons first trip to Disneyland as well as spend quality time with the entire family creating memories that everyone will remember forever. This experience to Disneyland was magical experience we imagined and so much more!