Our Day at Disneyland!!!

As many of you might know, this previous weekend I got to travel to LA to visit my boyfriend, Joe, attend the Marine Corps Ball with him, and as if that wasn’t enough fun already, WE WENT TO DISNEYLAND!!! Both of us had been to Disney World before but never Disneyland, so this was a first. We woke up early, got on a shuttle at 7:15 and headed to the park. I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning as we had been looking forward to this day for months. As soon as we walked into the park we saw a little store with sooooo many different kinds of Mickey and Minnie ears and I couldn’t help but want a pair. I went with the classic sparkly ones and didn't take them off the entire day. Dreams. Come. True.

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Couple in Disneyland.jpg

Main Street was decorated with incredible Christmas decorations and the biggest tree I’ve ever seen!!! We got in line to take pictures in front of the Christmas tree and the photographer was cracking us up posing us in different ways and telling us to “cuddle up and hug one another”. Joe and I decided ahead of time to get the MaxPass which allows you to download all the images taken at the park and reserve FastPasses ahead of time on your phone. I cannot even express how worth it this was!!! Since it was just us at the park it was hard to get pictures together other than selfies without asking strangers, whereas the Disney photographers were more than happy to take allllll the pictures and get alllll the angles. Also, we only ever waited in line for 30 minutes at the most by reserving the Fast Passes on our phones ahead of time. This was so convenient and made our day so much more efficient, allowing us to fit more in to a short amount of time! Plus, the MaxPass is only $10 a person. A win-win.

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After we took pictures in front of the Christmas tree we headed to grab some Starbucks coffee and breakfast. As we were leaving we spotted Goofy walking around about to stop in a spot to allow people to take pictures with him. My sweet grandma, Nonnie, got us these Disneyland tickets as an early Christmas present and Goofy is her favorite character ever. As soon as we saw him we knew we had to get a picture! We followed him to his spot and were one of the first people in line. It worked out so perfectly as the line quickly formed behind us to be quite long.

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After pictures with Goofy, we kept walking down Main Street to take pictures in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. I had heard lots of people say that it was much smaller than the castle in Disney World but wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. It really is tiny here! Still incredibly cute and decorated so beautifully for Christmas, but definitely much smaller than Cinderella’s castle. In regards to taking pictures in front of it, I totally recommend getting all of the pictures you want out of the way ahead of time because it’s not as crowded when the park first opens and then you don’t have to worry about it the rest of the day. Once again, the photographer posed us so many different ways and had us smiling and laughing the whole time.

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After we got pictures out of the way, we headed to Tomorrowland and the first ride we rode was Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters!!! It was so fun and I shockingly scored more points than Joe. After that we headed to Space Mountain and since it was still towards the beginning of the day, the line was only fifteen minutes long! We got so lucky with this timing considering throughout the day it ended up being longer than an hour at some points when we would check the app (pro tip: download the Disneyland app to check wait times while you’re at other parts of the park! This was SO convenient for us). The other rides in Tomorrowland we rode were the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and Autopia by Honda which were both super fun, but Space Mountain will forever be my favorite.

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As we headed into Fantasyland, we decided to ride the Matterhorn Bobsleds. This ride has one part where it splashes through water a little bit but everyone coming off the ride was perfectly dry. While we were in line Joe started joking about how he hoped we got soaked on the ride. Nonetheless…

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After walking around a little bit to dry off, we headed over to It’s a Small World with our Fast Passes. I love this ride because it’s such a classic and it was even cuter that they had it decorated for Christmas!!! The Fast Passes cut our wait time from 45 minutes to 10 minutes and were absolutely worth it.

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After It’s a Small World we rode my most favorite ride ever, Dumbo!!! Joe was such a champ riding all the little kid rides with me but he’d be lying if he said he didn’t have fun doing it. I don’t think I stopped smiling and laughing the entire time we were on this ride.

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Dumbo Disneyland.jpg

When I was younger the Teacups were never my favorite because I hated how dizzy I would feel afterwards, but Joe had us spinning SO fast and I was just laughing so hard the entire time. This definitely ended up being one of my favorite rides of the day.

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Once again, Joe was such a trooper even riding the carousel with all the little kids and I. I truly think we were the only people over the age of twelve on the ride but hey, when in Disneyland right?

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After riding most of the rides in Fantasyland, we headed to Frontierland and I was literally too excited to go over to Tom Sawyer Island that Bob Goff references in his book Love Does. Had I never read this book, it definitely would have been something we would have skipped over, but this ended up being one of our favorite things we did that day. It’s like a little escape from the craziness of Disney right in the middle of the park, and there are so many fun little things to explore and do on the island. We had so much fun climbing through the different caves, finding the treehouse, and just sitting, talking, and taking it all in. This was such a sweet, peaceful part of our day and one of the best things we took the time to do.

Some of my favorite things that Bob Goff writes about Tom Sawyer Island in the first chapter of his book Love Does:

I do all of my best thinking on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland. There’s a picnic table at the end of a little pier right across from the pirate ship. I suppose most people think this place is just a prop because there are a couple of wooden kegs marked “gunpowder” and some pirate paraphernalia hung over the railings. But it’s not just a prop to me; it’s my office. All of the times I’ve gone, I’ve never seen anyone sitting at my table on my pier or any real pirates on the pirate ship. I guess that makes them my table, my pier, and my pirate ship. Lawyers just decide stuff like that. While I’m willing to share my table and my pirate ship, truth be known, I only want to share it with people who can dream. We all want to have a place where we can dream and escape anything that wraps steel bands around our imagination and creativity. Tom Sawyer Island is a place where I conspire with people, where immense capers have been launched, and where whimsy runs wild. The return address for many of the stories you’ll find in this book is, in fact, that pier on Tom Sawyer Island.”

Here’s a strange truth I’ve noticed. Almost everyone knows about Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland, but most people don’t go. Maybe it’s because it’s surrounded by water and you have to take a raft to get there. But it’s really not that tough to do. Lots of people want to go. Some people even plan to go. But most forget or just don’t get around to it. It’s one of those, “we’ll do that next trip” kinds of places for a lot of people. Tom Sawyer Island is like most people’s lives, I think; they never get around to crossing over to it. Living a life fully engaged and full of whimsy and the kind of things that love does is something most people plan to do, but along the way they just kind of forget. Their dreams become one of those “we’ll go there next time” deferrals.”

There are no admission requirements at Tom Sawyer Island. It doesn’t matter how tall or short you are, old or young, religious or not. There are no lines on Tom Sawyer Island; it can be what you whatever you want it to be. You can do countless things there. Most of them involve running and jumping and using your creativity and imagination. It’s a place where you can go and just do stuff. In that way, it’s a place that mirrors life well- at least the opportunity to do much with our lives”

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After exploring Tom Sawyer Island I looked down at my phone to find a Venmo notification from my sweet momma for Joe and I to get Mickey ice cream bars! We found a little spot to sit, people-watched, and ate some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. As some might say, everything tastes better Mickey shaped and that definitely held true with this ice cream. Disney has some of the cutest snacks but these take the cake as my favorite. I have always loved dilly bars from DQ but these were SO much yummier.

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As we started walking down Main Street to go and buy sweatshirts as it was getting colder, we spotted one of the workers walking around with all these balloons and I just had to ask to get a picture! If you ask them, they’ll let you hold all the balloons for a picture while they keep hold of them farther away. I felt like such a little kid but truly could not wipe the smile off my face. It doesn’t get better than this.

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After we snagged sweatshirts and some goodies to bring to family and friends back home, we had time for one more ride before grabbing coffee and a spot to watch the fireworks. We rode the Astro Orbitor, similar to the Dumbo ride, right as the sun was setting and it was so beautiful seeing the park from that view. After this we wandered over to It’s a Small World to see the Christmas lights and it was absolutely beautiful! Disney truly does such an amazing job with all of their Christmas decorations. The entire day we couldn't stop commenting about all the attention to detail they have for every single little aspect of the park. It really is incredible and something I never noticed or appreciated as a kid.

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After seeing It’s a Small World, we headed to get starbucks coffee to warm up before the fireworks show and sat down to save our spot. People in Disneyland get seats for things EARLY, so if you’re wanting a good spot for the parade or firework show, being about an hour ahead of time will ensure you get one. If that doesn’t matter as much to you, keep riding the rides and then get there a little later. You might not have as great of a view, but you’ll definitely be able to squeeze more into your day. We waited for about 45 minutes but it was totally worth it because the fireworks over the castle were singlehandedly the best fireworks I’ve ever seen!!! Disney never does anything halfway and this show was no exception. It was magical to say the least.

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We seriously had the best day ever and I am so thankful we got to experience this together. While the distance we do for a majority of the time isn’t fun, memories that we get to make like this remind us over and over again why it’s more than worth it. I couldn't have asked for a better day with my favorite person. I made a video of our trip and linked it below, check it out for more of the fun!!!