I managed to keep the fact that we were going to Disneyland a secret from Pearl right up until we were on our way from LAX to Anaheim.  She was half-asleep in the car when our lovely friend asked which of the hotels “near Disneyland” we were staying in.  She sat bolt upright, her eyes like saucers, and looked enquiringly at me, holding her breath.

“Yes,” I admitted, “we are going to Disneyland.”

She didn’t seem too unhappy at the thought…

We arrived at our hotel just as the fireworks started.  The concierge directed Pearl to a good vantage point to watch while I dealt with the formalities.  And then we crashed into bed, having flown 14 hours that day as well as a 90-minute train ride and lots of time in airports and security, immigration and customs lines.

I didn’t expect to enjoy Disneyland much.  I expected long lines, cheesy insincere smiles, and tiresome crowds.  But I knew that Pearl would love it.

I had a great time!

We spent most of our time in FantasyLand and ToonTown, but explored the rest of the park as well over our two days there.  We met lots of characters, some because we stood in long lines to do so, and some just wandering around.  The lines were tolerable (except for one that turned out to be quite a bit longer than the sign at the beginning had promised).  The smiles were sincere, or at least incredibly realistic.  The staff, sorry – “cast members”, were unfailingly polite and charming and really seemed to enjoy their jobs.

Pearl meets Rapunzel

Pearl is exactly the right age to enjoy and remember Disneyland, and she was walking on air to meet her favourite princesses.  She found the Sleeping Beauty castle walk-through to be surprisingly scary (as did other children we encountered hurrying for the exit!), but loved the carousel and It’s A Small World.

It's A Small World - New Zealand!

On the second morning, I had booked us in for Breakfast with Minnie in the Park.  That was a very worth-while exercise.  We got into the park before everyone else, and went straight to the restaurant.  As we arrived at our table, we were greeted by Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and Eeyore, and while we enjoyed our buffet breakfast other characters came and visited us and spent time at our table.  They signed Pearl’s autograph book, posed for photos, gave hugs, and occasionally got up and danced.

Pearl, Fairy Godmother, Chip, and Eeyore's ear

My favourite memory of this part of the trip is the way Pearl clutched my arm at the exit of It’s A Small World, and – eyes shining brightly – exclaimed, “That was AWESOME!”

Fireworks behind Sleeping Beauty's Castle

Disclosure:  Our visit to Disneyland, and Breakfast with Minnie, as indeed our whole trip, were at our own expense.  I was not asked to review our visit or write this post, and Disney is unaware I have done so (at least until they read it here!).  I have neither sought nor been offered compensation in any form for this post.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

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4 Responses to “Disneyland”

  1. L Says:

    So glad to hear you had a good time! 🙂 And glad you got back home before any ash-cloud involvement. (Don’t know if that’s a worry or not – hope not.)

    Welcome home! -L

    • Kate @ upsidebackwards Says:

      Oh yes – if we’d been a day later getting back we might have been stuck in Auckland for a while! Good timing on our part…

      • L Says:

        Auckland doesn’t seem like the worst place in the world to be stuck! However. I would not want to wait a second to be home, after all you two did!!

        Very glad to hear you liked Disney. I haven’t been there in ages! Soon enough, I think… Did you go to California Adventure? I haven’t been in that park at all, and it sounds to me like you haven’t, either…

        Did you have any problems with the fact that the younger two didn’t get to join you on this trip? Or are they too young for that to be an issue?

      • Kate @ upsidebackwards Says:

        We didn’t go to California Adventure – we found plenty to do at Disneyland for the two days we had (and we had to leave early on the second day, in any case). The young ones haven’t given us any grief about not going to Disneyland, I expect that I’ll hear about it as they get older though (“Pearl got to go when *she* was 8, when are you taking me?”). We are reaping the consequences of parental travels now though – Babess wants me and only me for everything and is very snuggly, while Fainjin is pushing every boundary. They’ll settle down, but meanwhile it’s a bit tiring!

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