Matt, his wife, their five-year old daughter, and his parents recently flew from the east coast to California. They explored San Diego, Los Angeles, and – of course – Disneyland Resort. Matt shares what they thought of the new Element hotel as well as the interactions that set Disneyland apart from Walt Disney World.
Post trip begins: 22 minutes
Matt and his wife are typically Disney World people but they are taking time to go to Disneyland from Boston to LAX. Matt, his wife, their 5 year old daughter, and Matt’s parents will be traveling together July 15-21.
They are staying at the Element, which was a bit cheaper than staying in the main Disneyland area. They have a suite and free breakfast, which was delicious and varied each day. The resort suite was wonderful with a great setup. Because Matt booked through Disney he was able to get a discounted rate for parking as well.
Matt also booked Genie+ when he purchased his package. This is Matt’s parent’s first trip and his daughter hasn’t been since she was little.
Arrival (July 15)
Matt and his family flew from Boston to LAX and will be staying at the Element. They had a very early flight and landed at 10 a.m.
They rented a minivan and took their time driving along the coast before heading to their resort. Matt and his family stopped at the Wildflower Cafe for lunch and it was delicious.
They drove through some beautiful areas including some earthquake zones and the Venice Lighthouse. Around 4 p.m. they checked into their hotel, Element. It was about a 17 minute walk to Downtown Disney.
They did some shopping around Downtown Disney before getting back to the hotel to unpack and get ready for bed.
San Diego Zoo (July 16)
They went down for breakfast and headed to the grocery store to get some water and food for the week. Then they went to San Diego Zoo.
The zoo is about 80 minutes away and they arrived around 10 a.m. They were so excited to go.
They hadn’t been to the San Diego Zoo before. Their first stop was the koalas and then they just wandered around seeing as many things as they could.
Matt, his wife, and daughter took the sky train to the front of the park while his parents walked. They also did a bus tour of the park. The zoo was so big and Matt said you could easily spend two days there.
They left around 5 p.m. and went to Sardina’s Italian Restaurant for dinner. After dinner they went to La Jolla Beach and watched the sun set over the beach.
They left the beach and drove back to their hotel. They were back around 10 p.m.
Disneyland (July 17)
Today is Disneyland’s actual 60th anniversary and Matt is excited to experience this. They got down to breakfast and then went straight to Haunted Mansion. Matt’s daughter was a little nervous about it and she liked it but didn’t want to do it again.
For lunch they had Jolly Holiday Bakery and everyone loved their sandwiches. They split some desserts and loved those as well. After lunch they got to see the Dapper Dans in front of the fire station.
Immediately after, they were able to take photos with Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto without waiting but a few minutes! At this point, it was about 2:30 p.m. so they started making their way to a porch with some chairs to watch the parade.
They got ice cream and enjoyed the parade. It was a lovely spot to watch the parade and they all really loved it.
Matt got a Genie+ for Indiana Jones Adventure for himself and his parents. His wife took his daughter to ride Dumbo. Unfortunately, as soon as they got to Indiana Jones Adventure, they found out it had just gone down and it didn’t look like it was coming back up.
They met back up with Matt’s wife and daughter for their dinner reservation at Cafe Orleans. They loved the Monte Cristo and bottomless mint julups.
They went to the middle of Main Street for the fireworks. It was the perfect spot to see the projections and the fireworks. They were so excited to see it.
Matt’s parents were ready to go back to the hotel, so they left while Matt, his wife, and daughter watched the projection show on it’s a small world. They were back to their resort shortly after his parents.
California Adventure (July 18)
Matt and his family went to California Adventure and because Soarin’ is a priority, they went there first. While they were in line, the wait time climbed because one of the theatres was closed. So Matt grabbed a lightning lane for 9 a.m.
Their next stop was Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! and they watched as the wait time kept climbing. They decided to get out of line and got a lightning lane for Web Slingers. They all loved this!
After lunch they walked over to the Pier for some shopping. Matt’s parents rested for a bit while he and his wife and daughter rode on Jessie’s Critter Carousel. When they were done riding, they met back up with Matt’s parents.
Matt’s daughter wanted to get her face painted, so they stopped for that next. When she was done with that, they went to the Redwood Creek Challenge trail. Matt’s parents explored for a bit before going off on their own for coffee.
Their next stop was an incredible character interaction with Anna. It was just delightful. They left Anna just in time for their dinner reservation at 4:30 p.m. Carthay Circle.
They were taken right in to the Buena Vista Room and it was just perfect. They got the pork chops and it was a really great dinner.
They went back to Animation Academy to walk around. Matt really loved the Beast’s Library and said the whole area was really cool.
Disneyland (July 19)
While his wife and daughter were in Fantasy Land, Matt and his parents were able to ride Indiana Jones Adventure. They loved this ride and as soon as they got off they were able to meet Indiana Jones!
They met back up together and rode it’s a small world together before waiting just 15 minutes for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Matt was able to get a lightning lane for Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin before stopping to play on the play ground.
They went over to the Royal Theatre to see the Beauty and the Beast show and then stopped for some corn dogs at the Little Red Wagon. They were delicious.
After lunch they got on the train and rode all the way around. On the train, Matt was able to get lightning lanes for Smuggler’s Run. Matt’s wife and parents picked up some beignets and mint juleps before meeting up together for Smuggler’s Run.
After dinner they were back in the park at 6:30 p.m. and were able to walk right to the curb to see the parade. They split up after the parade. Matt and his dad were able to see the construction video in the The Disneyland Story.
At this point, Matt’s parents decided to go find a spot near the flagpole to get ready for fireworks. Matt and his family had hoped to go to Toon Town, but it was closed.
Their next stop was Jolly Holiday Bakery for souvenir mugs. They got those and hopped onto Main Street to watch the fireworks. After the fireworks Matt grabbed a few souvenirs for their family and they went back to their room.
Los Angeles Bus Tour (July 20)
Matt and his family slept in a bit and got down to breakfast around 8 a.m. They got to L.A. around 8:30 a.m.
Matt had booked a hop on hop off bus tour. They got to see Empire Records and the Hollywood sign, which was fun. It was very hot that day and sitting on top of the bus was very hot.
They got off the bus at the L.A. Farmer’s Market. They spent several hours there before getting back on the bus to finish out the tour.
After the tour they went back to Anaheim and went to Georgia’s restaurant in the Packing District. They got their food to go and went back to their room.
Departure (July 21)
Everyone was up early and out of the hotel by about 6:45 a.m. The drive to the airport didn’t take long at all because it was so early in the day. They returned the rental car and were on the airplane by 11 a.m.
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