Our Daughters Reaction To Surprise Disneyland Trip + Top 10 Pics
We didn't tell our daughters we were going to Disneyland the day after school got out. We secretly packed their bags, made up an excuse to go visit Grandma & Grandpa and then another excuse for why Grandpa was driving us somewhere.......then when we got to the airport, we FINALLY told them where we were going.....and the reaction, as you'd guess, was priceless.
I have to say, I haven't been a huge Disney fan my whole life........wasn't a Disney hater.....just indifferent.....wasn't on my radar, didn't care.
This trip completely changed all of that.
I'm just going to say......I get it. I've bought in. I get the mystique, the magic, the happiest place on Earth bit. However, I do have a very tangible, real world explanation for why it all works.......customer service. Every aspect of the Disney brand offers customer service unlike anything else I've ever experienced.
SO, here's our Disneyland experience in 10 pics.......
It felt magical from the second we pulled into Disneyland Resorts......and the Disneyland Hotel was perfect for us.
The magic continued the second we entered the park, within 15 minutes, they were in Mickey's arms and they couldn't have been happier.
I mean, we had to take the quintessential Disneyland pic on our first visit, right?
Yes, the trip was for the girls......100%......okay, well, not 100%.....we had a reservation at Star Wars Galaxy's Edge......so it was a little bit about Daddy too. Haha. Although, I think the kids enjoyed some of it.
My super quick review.......
WOW. Absolutely, fully, immersive. The attention to detail is a marvel. I was blown away. ONLY critique......felt a bit small and we were out before our 4 hours. NOW, if I had been solo or it was just me and my wife, I/we probably would've stayed the full 4 hours.
The only thing I wanted in this trip that was FOR ME......was a pic with Chewbacca......
Awwwww.......we ran into Peter Pan......and wow. This is one of those times that Disney really comes alive.......Peter wanted to play hide-n-seek with the kids that gathered......(most characters just stand you approach for a signature and photo and exchange of fun). Well, the 2 year old wasn't so good at hiding......instead of being done and out of the game immediately, Evan got to go with Peter for find the other kids. It was so priceless and adorable.
If Elsie could've gone to Disneyland, met Princess Jasmine and left, she would've been satisfied. This was a MASSIVE moment for her. I think we both got choked up at her excitement. Note the Jasmine style Disney ears.
Oh and that's not all the Jasmine in these pics......just wait.
It's like I said, there was more Jasmine to come......check out the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover.......
It's Elsie side by side with "Princess Elsie Jasmine".
Pretty sure she floated around the rest of the day.
We learned very quickly, the "Disney letdown" is very real.
I didn't get a pic of video of this, but after we left for the last time on day 2.....we all stopped and I asked Elsie to stop and look back at the entrance gates and the clock and etc and just try to take a mental picture.
She started to cry. Mommy and I got down on her level and it just sort of hit us as well, we both got choked up. We had a big full family hug. And it was right then and there I knew we'd be back, and we're planning on making this an annual trip.
Thankfully, the day after we got to go visit some friends at Hollywood Records, which is owned by Disney. This meant a trip to THE Disney Studios and the Disney lot. All of it was overwhelming, the history and etc, but there were 2 pics that stood out to me.
This is the first.......this is us in Walt Disney's office. Meticulously recreated with all of his personal effects. It was remarkable to get a glimpse at how he worked and really where it all started. Apparently it's a pretty rare tour to get to take, so we are quite grateful.
Speaking of where it all started....perhaps you knew this, or perhaps you're like me and you didn't know.....
Snow White.....saved Disney. Without the success of that movie, we probably don't have Disney today, at least not the empire that it is.
SO, it's fitting that the cornerstone building of Disney Studios is symbolically held up by the 7 Dwarfs.
Not meant as a slight on Santa Monica or our Mother Ocean, but everything after Disney, truly just felt like we were killing time. We could've come home on Friday after the Disney Studios visit.
That said, we had a relaxing weekend and got to show the girls the ocean for the first time.
All in all, it couldn't have been a better vacation. We really enjoyed each others company and Disneyland lived up to every high expectation that has been set over the years. Can't wait to do it again.