A dream is a wish your heart makes and this is a dream we have been wishing for a long time!

I will admit I was a little nervous to go back knowing it wouldn’t be the “same.” Even up until the night before I was thinking oh gosh, I hope we’re making the right decision to go…but let me tell you…Disneyland did not lose its magic! Our family had a blast and it just felt so good to walk through those Disney gates again! I’m so glad we decided to go and besides missing the parades & shows (neither are happening at the moment), it really did feel like old times being there!

We used to have annual passes before the girls were in school and I would take them all the time! A lot of the times just by myself when Chad was at work! But, I will be the first to say that I am in no way a Disney expert! As in, not even kind of! So, if you’re looking for hidden park tips or secrets, this isn’t the place! When we do Disneyland, we just go with the flow and no set agenda! Especially with how I used to take two toddlers by myself, I would just go where the day would take us! And that’s still how we do Disney now! For us, it is way less stress & more enjoyable but I know a lot of people who plan out everything and wouldn’t have it any other way! Different strokes for different folks!

I will say, this time did require a little bit more planning throughout the day just because you have to pre order your meals & also certain rides you have to book in advance! So let’s get into that!

Booking Tickets

Booking tickets was easy peasy! I heard when they first opened it up people would wait hours on their website. But I booked ours about a month ago and all I did was log onto Disneyland’s website and purchased them. Took all of 5 minutes. Here’s where it might get tricky though: you have to not only purchase your tickets, but also reserve the day(s). It’s a two step process. Before purchasing your tickets you can view the reservation calendar to make sure the dates are open that you want to attend. We were pretty flexible on the dates so I did a quick skim over of the reservation calendar then purchased the tickets. Once you purchase the tickets you can then actually reserve your dates. You can do this either on the Disneyland’s website or Disneyland app. You just log into your Disney account and its pretty simple. We did 2 days with 1 park per day tickets. So, 1 day California Adventure, then 1 day at Disneyland park. We had to move our dates around a bit to get two days next to each other, but it wasn’t too bad to navigate! The website really does walk you through it! You can even reschedule your reservation dates too if something changes! We had to do that a couple times!

***UPDATE: looks like their website has changed the process a bit so you can now purchase the tickets and reserve your dates all in the same transaction!!! Seems like they made it a little easier now!

Where We Stayed

We are only about two hours from Disneyland, so a lot of the times we just same day it. But since we were going two days back-to-back we obviously needed to stay down there! We ended up choosing the Hyatt House at Anaheim Resort/Convention Center. It had great rates (literally the same price to stay there 3 nights as it was for 1 night at the Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel) and literally right across the street! Plus, it was really helpful because it had a little kitchenette with a refrigerator where we kept our food to take into the parks (I’ll get into that next!). We walked to the parks & back each day! It also has a Starbucks underneath it which is perfect for those early mornings! Just a simple, clean hotel that did the trick!

Food Situation

This was one of the most  asked question when I did the questionnaire on my Instagram stories! And we are all on the same page because this was a big concern for me! Especially going with three kids (one of them being a toddler!). I had heard horror stories that dinner times would run out on the app and families would have to wait 6 hours for food, etc. BUT thankfully we did not run into that problem. My main piece of advice for this is GET THE DISNEYLAND APP. You really cannot do Disneyland without it right now. It will be how you order your meals, sign up for the virtual queues for a few rides and once again it’s how you order your meals! Soooo it’s pretty much your lifeline while at Disneyland and you’re going to need the app!

Here’s what we did. I did a Costco order the day before we left and got their deli croissant turkey sandwiches and wraps, Uncrustables sandwiches & Lunchables, plus snacks and waters. You are allowed to bring an ice chest into the parks with your own food & drinks (obviously not alcohol though). We just put the ice chest in the stroller underneath in the storage area! It worked out perfectly! That way, I figured we would only have to worry about churros and dinners once we were in the park! I had also heard there were long lines for water so I made sure we packed lots of water bottles!

It was actually a lot easier to mobile order than I had anticipated. You do have to schedule your pickup time, so when you get into the park in the morning you’ll probably want to schedule your lunch pretty quick, just to make sure you get a lunch pickup time. All the restaurants and eating places are listed in the app along with their menus. It was pretty self explanatory and not difficult. Once you arrive at the pickup spot or restaurant there will be a line to pick up your food, but it goes by pretty quick! The first night we decided to eat at Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney, then the second day I placed our dinner meal order around mid morning and had no problem getting a time slot. We even a placed an ice cream cone order in line on one of the rides and were able to schedule it to be picked up in 30 min after we got off the ride! I did this with ordering beers and pretzels after a ride too! All this to say, don’t let mobile ordering scare you! You just have to plan ahead a bit more!

As far as treats and snacks, there are some walk up places! Which was great! Popcorn and churros were all walk up and even though the lines looked super long due to each person standing 6’ apart, they went pretty quick. So we stopped and got churros, drinks and popcorn a few times each day!

Line Times

If you were just to walk by and look at the lines, you’d probably grab your churro and run the other direction! BUT DON’T!!! They look super long, but go pretty fast! They have reconfigured most of the lines to be mostly outside and also social distanced to where each party is standing 6 feet apart. So yes, it’s going to appear long, but it moves fast. The longest we waited was maybe 40 min to ride Guardians of the Galaxy, Cars and Small World. Other than that, they were anywhere between 10-30 min. Dumbo and Pinocchio we literally just walked right on! I was really surprised at how quick the lines were and how many rides we got to ride because of how great the line times were! Keep in mind, we did go when it was just open to Californians and just at 35% capacity. I’m not sure how it’ll be once it’s open to more of the general public.

Rides

Taking an 8 year old, 6 year old and 2 year old to Disneyland definitely has its challenges when it comes to rides. Obviously Paxton can’t go on the big rides like the girls can, so we did a Rider Switch on those rides. It kind of works like a Fast Pass (which to my knowledge there are no fast passes at this time). A Rider Switch allows adults to take turns waiting in line with younger kids who aren’t able to ride. This service can also be used for people who aren’t able to ride the rides as well. For example, I would wait in line & ride the ride with the girls while Chad would wait outside the ride with Paxton in the stroller. Then when we were done with the ride, Chad would get to go through the exit (Fast Pass lane) and take the girls to ride it with him. There is pretty much no wait for the second time around since they count you as “taking turns” waiting in line. In order to do a Rider Switch, just ask the cast member at the entrance of the ride. They will scan your tickets so that you’ll be all good to go. It’s so helpful that Disneyland does this!

There are a few rides that you need to reserve in order to go on them. Indiana Jones &  Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance are the two rides in Disneyland that you need to sign up for the “virtual queue” in the app. We were able to get a time spot for Indiana Jones, but not the Star Wars ride. I heard that fills up right at 7am when they open it up in the app. As far as California Adventure,  WEB SLINGERS is the only ride that requires you to sign up in the virtual queue as of when we went.

Masks and Guidelines

I’m going to be honest with you, this was something I was a little nervous about. The thought of us and the kids wearing a mask all day for 2 days in a row, in the heat was a little bit daunting. BUT I feel like just being in Disneyland kind of takes your mind off of it.

The biggest concern I had was with Paxton especially since he is two and right on the cutoff requirement. He wore one into the park but once we were in he was able to sit in his stroller without it and we were never told he had to put it on once we were in the park. As for adults and older children, they definitely enforce mask wearing. If they see people pull it down, they will come up and tell them to put it back on.

You also cannot walk around and eat due to the mask wearing. There are designated eating areas lined up around the whole park, whether it be on the benches lining the walkways or restaurant tables that you can sit and take your mask off for a breather. Whenever we felt like we needed a break from the masks, we would sit and have a snack or drink and take a couple of breathers! It’s also a great area to snap a few maskless pics! The girls did great & never complained and honestly, I was expecting it to be way harder than it actually was!

A few changes that I did like were hand sanitizing stands placed at each ride exit and portable hand washing stations with running soap and water placed throughout the park. Disney did a GREAT job at implementing ways & resources to keep everything clean & feeling safe! They also had plexiglass barriers in the ride lines if two lines were next to each other.

Overall Experience

Overall, it was such a fun trip and WORTH IT for sure. We had absolutely missed Disneyland so much, so just to be back was amazing. There’s nothing like that Disneyland feeling you get when you walk in and hear that cheerful music playing and everywhere you look is just pure magic!

As I stated before, we went when it was only opened to people who live in California and at 35% capacity. I have no idea how it’ll look after June 15th when it’s opened to everyone and also have no clue what capacity it will be at that time.

I think I summed up everything from our experience but don’t hesitate to reach out with any other questions you may have!



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