A Year of Disneyland

November 4, 2015

We purchased our annual passes October of last year. We opted for the premium passes (quite expensive), but since we don't live close to Disneyland and would only be able to go on the weekends, we thought this pass would be the most ideal for us (plus we got free parking). The other benefit of having the premium pass was that we got discounts on food and merchandise. Overall, our year at Disneyland was memorable. There were definitely some ups and downs (mostly due to the hot weather and/or a not so pleasant child), but I think I was ready to say goodbye. Here's a little recap.

Erin was about 14 months at her first visit.  She was walking and exploring so we thought she'd really like Disneyland. She was scared of almost everything. She definitely needed time to adjust. I'm sure it was overstimulating/overwhelming for someone her age (she had plenty of nightmares I'm sure). I could tell she was slowly warming up after a handful of visits. She'd walk around on her own, point to things she recognized, but I think overall she was too young. I blame myself. I was so eager to take her to Disneyland because it's so awesome and happy there (this is how I felt before having kids)! I eventually convinced Ken, but it probably would've been wiser and more appropriate for Erin if she was at least two. Lesson learned. I won't be in any hurry to take Ava to Disneyland. Side note: I'd like to mention that Disneyland isn't quite the same when you go with kids, especially kids under the age of three. You are limited to a handful of rides and you're sort of still working around their nap schedules, so it can get quite tiring.

Favorite Foods at Disneyland (not in any particular order):
1. Churro : Probably the yummiest thing at Disneyland. They're $4.25 now though. Crazy.
2. Mint Julep : We only discovered this towards the end. This drink is surprisingly tasty and refreshing! I definitely recommend.
3. Pizza at Village Haus in Fantasyland : Don't know why I like their pizza, but it's my favorite at Disneyland.
4. Dole Whip at Tiki Juice Bar
5. Monte Cristo Sandwich and Garlic Fries at Cafe Orleans : I wouldn't recommend eating the Monte Cristo on your own. It's heavy so its best to share it. The garlic fries are super yummy.

Favorite Attractions (according to Erin):
1. It's a small world : Probably Erin's favorite ride, because there's really nothing scary about it.
2. Little Mermaid : The only ride she'll want to go on at California Adventure.
3. Dumbo
4. King Arthur's Carousel

Attractions Erin did not like at all:
1. Pinocchio's Daring Journey : A lot of the rides at Fantasyland are scary. This one in particular is very scary. Erin did not enjoy it at all.
2. Finding Nemo : She was pretty terrified of this ride.
3. Winnie the Pooh : She wouldn't look at anything while on this ride.
4. Character Meet and Greets : Of course the life size characters scared her. She refused to smile or take pictures with them alone.
5. World of Color : She forced herself to keep her eyes closed during the whole show and eventually fell asleep. hah.

Some tips:
1. No need to get an annual pass till your child is at least 2 (my opinion).
2. No need to get there right when the park opens. The parking lot is the busiest around opening time, so I suggest getting there a few hours after opening to avoid the traffic.
3. Take lots of snacks. Everything is overpriced and surprisingly not that yummy. I brought a lot of snacks for Erin, especially if we were planning to stay all day. Erin isn't the best eater anyway and sometimes there really weren't a lot of options for her, so bringing snacks for her was important.
4. Go to Disneyland without your kid(s). This was something I didn't get to do. I was pregnant for half of the time and couldn't even go on most of the rides. But I really do recommend parents having a "date night" of some sort and going sans kids.
5. Use the baby care centers. Didn't know these things existed, but there's one in each park. They've got changing tables, small toilets and a nursing room. Really convenient and clean.
6. Force your child to nap. We saw a lot of cranky Erin during our Disneyland trips. A lot of the crankiness was due to being tired. When she was still one and I wasn't pregnant, I'd carry her in the Ergo to have her nap. When she got older, we had her lay in her stroller and would just walk around forcing her to sleep and most of the time she did. Nap time means you can't really do anything, but it's nice just sitting around and people watch or if its timed well, you can enjoy a yummy meal while they sleep.

Would I get a Disney annual pass again? Probably not any time soon. Prices have been steadily rising and it just doesn't seem worth it. Maybe after I've had all my kids and they're at least 5 years of age, I'll consider it. But, till then I think I'd be fine with just spending the money on a day pass or just paying more and going to Disneyworld.

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