Halloween! And what better place to spend it than at the happiest place on earth – Disneyland!
Disneyland was at the top of Thor’s list of things to do while we were in the USA. He’s a big Mickey Mouse fan, so of course we had to go. Personally, I was just curious more than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I love Disney movies, but Blizzcon was still top of my list of things to look forward to. In the end, it was SO much better than I could have ever expected!
If you haven’t been to Disneyland in California before, there are 2 parks – Disneyland Park (which includes all the old favourites like Fantasyland, Tomorrowland etc.) and then there’s California Adventure, which has a lot of the newer stuff in it like Pixar stuff and the Haunted Mansion. In between the two parks is a general admission area which includes Downtown Disney. You don’t need a ticket to visit Downtown Disney, and it includes some really amazing stores – the biggest Disney store ever, the Disney Dress store, and a whole bunch of other places.
When we were sorting out tickets I was a bit confused about how it all worked, not having been there before. But knowing now, there are ticket gates at the entrance to each of the two parks, so the tickets you get need to match the park you are going in to. There are loads of different ticket bundles, from single day passes to one park, to multi-day passes that cover both parks. In the end we got a 3-day pass which would allow us in to one park on each day. Day 1 (Halloween) would be in the Disneyland Park to see all the Halloween stuff, Day 2, California Adventure, then Day 3 back at Disneyland Park for Galaxy’s Edge. This plan worked out really well for us, because we found we didn’t see everything we wanted in Disneyland Park on the first day, so it was good to know we had an extra day there up our sleeves. (We also avoided Galaxy’s Edge like the plague on this day, but more on that later!). What you do for your own trip will depend on what you are wanting to see. But here were our adventures.
Day 1 – Disneyland Park
I don’t think Thor slept much the night before, he was so excited. And I have to admit, I was too!
We had both brought Disney-themed t-shirts for us to wear to the parks so that we would fit in at least a little. I wore my Winnie the Pooh “No Bothers Given” t-shirt, and Thor wore his Tee Turtle Han & Chewie shirt (which doesn’t seem to be available anymore, sorry!) I’d forgotten about my shirt, though, and as we walked through the ticket gates we were greeted by an employee, and then he very seriously whispered to me “ma’am, you have poo on your shirt”. I freaked out, and then looked down and realised… I’m sure the guy must make that joke 50 times a day, but it cracked me up.
We had made a list of things we needed to buy while we were at Disneyland. Things like salt & pepper shakers for Thor’s Mum (as she collects them), birthday gifts for my nephew and my friend’s baby, Christmas decorations (I do a Christmas decoration trade with some family members each year, so every year our tree is full of beautiful memories of family and friends), and of course Mickey ears for both of us. And a whole bunch of other stuff, too! So with that list in mind, we walked through the gates.
Honestly, it was immediately overwhelming. We had no idea where to go, and my neck was hurting from just looking at everything and getting completely and utterly distracted! There were people everywhere, though thankfully not as many as I was expecting. We gathered ourselves and started making some plans. First stop was to have a look in some of the stores to see what was there, and to look for some ears.
The stores were really something else. Who knew there was this much Disney-themed merchandise?! And SO many different ears! Holy moly. A great tip we got from Battle Panda and Hooblie before we went was that not all stores sell all things that are available. And that some items might only be found in one store. Also, because it was Halloween, there were special in-park-only Halloween themed items. Of course we wanted everything!! But decided to just have a look and purchase things at the end of the day so we didn’t have to carry them around all the time, and also to help us stop overbuying (we didn’t succeed very well at this during our entire trip, though!!)
One thing we did get right away, though, was some ears. Thor was initially planning on getting a pair of Chewbacca themed ears, and they weren’t in the first store so he waited. I, though, wanted some sparkly Minnie Mouse ears – I just adored them! I had to stop myself from buying 12 pairs of ears, they were all so great. Eventually in another store we found Thor’s Chewie ears, but they seemed to be for kids and unfortunately didn’t fit. We were really disappointed and headed off to a different store to re-think what he might get. On the way he saw the most spectacular thing – a man was walking by with Fantasia Mickey themed ears! Thor ran up to him asking where he got them, and we were pointed in the direction of the store. The ears were perfect for Thor – completely ridiculous and charming all at once. I think we made an adorably silly pair, indeed! 😀
The only other goals we had planned for the day were to go see Mickey Mouse in his house, and to see the Teacups ride. But before that, we realised we were both pretty hungry as we hadn’t really had breakfast (excitement, nerves, you know!) so we wandered in the general direction of some food. Looking on the map we saw there was a Pizza Planet in Tomorrowland, so we headed there. The pizza slices were huge and delicious!
Side note here: obviously, as you will have noticed from our pictures, Thor and I are on the large side. Because of this, we didn’t expect to be able to go on any of the rides, as we figured we would be too large for them. It’s for this reason that none of our plans included any rides because we just didn’t think we’d get on! But we were mistaken, and there are loads of rides that we were absolutely fine for. It was a wonderful surprise and really made us feel welcome in the park. I think next time we go we might plan for a few more rides 🙂
After some food we went on the monorail to see a bit more of the park to get a better idea of where we’d like to focus our time. We ended up in line with a gentleman who’d had quite a few drinks, but he was pleasant enough. And when the monorail arrived he asked the attendant if we could sit in the very front section (which was closed) and they said yes! So we had a fantastic view as we were hurtled around the park. The man was chatting away, asking us about where we were from and all that. He was delighted to hear we were from Australia, and shared some drinking stories with some Australians he’d met previously. He was quite amusing to say the least, and certainly made for an entertaining ride!
After our monorail ride we headed towards Fantasyland and found the Tea Cups ride! It looked like so much fun. We stood watching for awhile, then figured stuff it, let’s see if we can fit on the ride. We got in line and when we could, asked the attendant if we’d be ok to go on – they said no problems at all! And they were right! It was eventually our turn to find a cup and in no time at all we were spinning spinning spinning. It was glorious!! Thor figured out if we turn the thing in the middle we spin even faster – you can see the very moment he figures this out in the video below – he get a devilish grin on his face haha!! (and also sorry for the small swears in that video!)
We wandered around some more… Thor tried his best to become a King, but alas it was not his time.
We found ourselves on Mark Twain’s riverboat at one stage, which took us on a gentle trip downriver. It was a beautiful day for it! And the boat theme continued shortly after as we found ourselves in front of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Again we figured we’d try our luck, and hopped in line. (I should point out here – it was not a busy day at Disneyland. Lines were relatively short so we weren’t losing much time by trying our luck!) The ride was SO great! We were both far too wrapped up in it all to take any pictures, so you’ll just have to take my word that it was a good time. 🙂
By this point we realised it was close to time for a parade, so we caught a train back Main Street…
On Main Street we set ourselves up on a curb and waited. We made the mistake of being on the sunny side of the street… it was a pretty hot afternoon by that point so we got a bit burned, but it was worth it to be up close to all the characters.
Then it was time to take Thor to see Mickey Mouse. I think he’d kinda been putting it off a bit all day, and I think he was a little nervous, but we had to go! So we made our way to Toon Town to find Mickey’s house. This area of the park was absolutely adorable. It really looked like we were in a cartoon world! Everything was so bright and… well, bendy looking. It was fantastic!
The line to Mickey Mouse started out the front of his house, where we are told Mickey is out back working and would love to see us. The line to see him snakes through his house and through the backyard to his studio out the back. Every room is his house is designed to suit a cartoon mouse! The attention to detail was incredible. Some of the areas would animate, too! The chickens out back clicked away and bobbed their heads, and strangly, so did the carrots in the garden… hmmm.. I got a real kick out of seeing the mopbucket from Fantasia there! As we went through the studio area there were prints from some of the earlier cartoons and “props” hanging from the ceiling. Then right before the room to Mickey was a big theatre with rolling Mickey Mouse cartoons. It was all done so well, and was very effective at keeping kids (who have been in line for 40 minutes by this point!) relatively entertained.
Finally, it was the moment. I don’t know why I was nervous to see some random person wearing a Mickey Mouse costume, but I was. Most of all, though, it was pretty emotional for me seeing how excited Thor was to see Mickey Mouse. I think Mickey Mouse is one of those things that throws us right back to when we were kids, to a time when things were simpler because we didn’t really know what was going on… that innocence that kids have that we all lose as we get older and more cynical, you know? Seeing Mickey brought all that back for both of us, and so it was a pretty emotional time.
Afterwards we got some icecream. Once again we hadn’t learned our lesson about portion sizes and foolishly (?) ordered an ice-cream each. We didn’t finish them, but they looked amazing!!
By this point it was starting to get late, and we needed to head back to our hotel to get ready for the Con Before the Storm party! But not before getting some nighttime Halloween pictures 🙂
All in all, I really enjoyed our first day at Disneyland. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s the happiest place on earth, but I would agree that it is a magical place. SO many people were dressed up, either in fun t-shirts or costumes or onesies. It made the whole place feel so much more fun. And everyone (for the most part!) was just nice, you know? Like we all recognised this is a shared experience and we all just want to have a good time. There were so many times people would offer to take a picture for someone else, and phones/cameras would be handed over without concern for them being taken. It was a really nice feeling. You could ask someone a question and they would be so glad to tell you the answers. I dunno, it was just really nice, you know?
Anyway, that’s it for day ONE at Disneyland – two days to go! But first, BLIZZCON!