(Rachel is taking over the blog this morning to talk about our last full day, which was at the Disneyland Resort)
Day 4 was our big Disney day. Although we had visited the Disneyland Resort (DLR) in September for the Disneyland Half Marathon, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit again while on the West Coast. Especially since the Diamond Celebration (Disneyland’s 60th anniversary) was still going on – not to mention the Christmas decorations would be in full swing.
One thing we did not have to discuss beforehand was buying a park hopper ticket – we of course needed to visit Disney California Adventure (DCA), as Cars Land is a highlight among all of DLR. Speaking of Cars Land, the Christmas decorations were on point – I counted upwards of nine Christmas trees, among other great decor. Radiator Springs Racers (after securing a Fast Pass, duh) also did not disappoint, as per usual. After seeing everything we needed to see at DCA (including Soarin’, Monsters Inc., and California Screamin’, to name a few), we headed to Disneyland.
Something I must point out is that, this being the first official day of the Christmas celebration in the parks, we found some truly wonderful holiday merchandise. One bright spot for me was the unveiling of some new ornaments; namely, tiny versions of the Starbucks You Are Here mugs. I deftly avoided buying even one, as I knew I’d need to collect them all.
Upon arriving at Disneyland, our first stop was Haunted Mansion Holiday. We had narrowly missed this attraction back in September, so I was pumped to see and ride it. The decorations were, as expected, amazing! The Nightmare Before Christmas is not my most favorite movie, to be honest, but seeing it paired with the Haunted Mansion theme was very cool.
We rode some more rides throughout the day, specifically Pirates (totally better at DLR), the Jingle Cruise, and the classics: Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and Pinocchio. Sadly, Space Mountain (also better at DLR) was closed to prepare for Hyperspace Mountain (a new, Star Wars-themed version). We really spent most of the day just enjoying being in the park and taking in the festive feel.
In our penultimate stop of the night, we reached the pinnacle of the trip for me: It’s a Small World Holiday. The modicum of research I did before our trip told me that for the holidays, the outside of the attraction was covered in twinkly lights and the actual ride had some modifications related to various holidays around the world. However, I was not prepared for the actual changes in the ride – it was an entirely new experience. And the outside was, as expected, unbelievable. I was completely jazzed.
Our last (unexpected) stop of the night was the Paint the Night parade. We had seen the parade on our trip two months prior, but it’s truly the best Disney parade I’ve ever seen. It puts the Main Street Electrical Parade to shame, but in the best way possible. I cannot overhype it enough.
I call our pit stop at the parade unexpected, as we were planning to head back over to DCA just before the parade got going. Earlier in the day, I had seen a fellow Disney-goer wearing a button reading, “Race you to the castle.” After deciding I needed said button in my life, we stopped by City Hall on our way out of Disneyland to grab one, only to discover Disney doesn’t give out those particular buttons. Evidently some Instagrammers (?) make the buttons themselves (??) and hand them out to fellow Instagrammers (???). Needless to say, I was bummed, but I acquired a couple of Citizen of Disneyland buttons to heal my pain.
(This particular story is getting long, but) upon showing Allen our awesome new buttons, I found him chatting with a cast member, who said we could watch the impending parade from the steps of City Hall. Now, I am an unashamed believer in Disney magic, and what’s more magical than securing a prime parade-watching spot without having to wait two hours?!
Basically, the day was a perfect ending to a truly magical trip. Till next time, California!