I started out my big Disneyland day with a quick check of the Weather app on my phone- and I immediately urged my husband to bring a sweater with him.
He actually scoffed at me. “Please, it’s not even cold,” he said.
I insisted that it would get cold at night. He begrudgingly grabbed a jacket, and we were finally on our way out.
To be fair, the sun was shining, but it was definitely crisper than what we were used to back in Florida. Since our hotel was close enough to the entrance, we walked to the front of the park and excitedly made our way to the Disneyland bag check. We took the traditional “honeymoon” pictures in front of the Disneyland main entrance, and then entered the turnstiles, setting our sights on Sleeping Beauty’s Castle for the first time.
I instantly thought that it was, well, a LOT smaller than our castle back home. But this was the original. And it was beautiful. You could even do a walk-through of it.
I felt like I had stepped into a wonderland, alternate-reality version of the Magic Kingdom. Everything was topsy-turvy; familiar, yet strange at the same time. Shops were on different sides of the street. Characters were roaming without established meet and greet lines. And I couldn’t see the Contemporary or Polynesian hotels off in the distance.
Before we could get a jump on the attractions (I was still trying to wrap my head around this old-fashioned paper Fast Pass system- was there ever a time where we actually used that?) we made our way to the front of the castle. We took a few awkward romantic shots and poses, which I wish had turned out better, but the husband and I hate getting our photos taken. Shame.
I had brought my fancy DSLR camera with me to the parks that day, but I was still learning how to use it. I remember handing my camera to the PhotoPass Cast Member, and he pushed buttons and took pictures of us on that thing faster than I could even turn the “flash” button on. My husband made fun of me about that for the rest of the trip, teasing me about my lack of photography skills (I still thought I ended up taking some pretty good photos).
Our first stop was to get Fast Passes for Indiana Jones, since I knew from my extensive research that it was a popular attraction out in California. Plus, I heard that it was almost identical to the Dinosaur ride at Animal Kingdom, and Dinosaur is one of my favorite attractions in the whole world. However, we realized that the ride was only a 20-minute wait, and decided to just hop in the queue. It turned out that we went to Disneyland on a pretty slow day, so we didn’t end up needing a single paper Fast Pass after all.
Our goal for the day was to hit all the rides that were new to us (ones that weren’t at Walt Disney World), and rides that had holiday overlays (such as Haunted Mansion and “it’s a small world.”) Since we visited in November, we were at the perfect time to experience these holiday additions.
I LOVED Indiana Jones more than I can explain. I totally get the hype now. That ride is amazing.
We didn’t eat breakfast, because I had gotten us lunch reservations at the Blue Bayou, which is the restaurant that sits at the edge of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I wanted to get a table next to the water and the boats, and so I booked an early reservation right when the restaurant opened at 11 am. Sure, we had just eaten New Orleans-themed food yesterday, but this was the dining experience that I had my heart set on.
By the way, I highly recommend wearing bride ears and/or “Just Married” pins when celebrating in the parks. We got free desserts at a lot of restaurants (bless those lovely Cast Members), a lot of “Congrats!” shout-outs, and the characters roaming the parks even paid us special attention. For example, we ran into Jack Skellington outside of the Haunted Mansion, and he told me, “Well, if it isn’t the ghost bride!” Maybe I was looking extra pale that day, but characters at Disneyland seem a lot more fun, and seem to have a lot more freedom, than at Disney World.
Before lunch, we rode Haunted Mansion Holiday and Pirates of the Caribbean, before checking in for our lunch reservation. I loved both of those attractions, and now I am completely jealous that our Mansion doesn’t do a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay, and that our Pirates isn’t as long or exciting. I was enjoying soaking in all the history of the park, and was happy to finally be experiencing all the things I had read about in my Disney guides and blogs.
I saw the famous “Club 33” sign, and the “Dream Suite,” and died a little inside (these are famous Disney landmarks). After snapping a few pictures, it was time to eat.
We were lucky and snagged a seat near the boats, but it was hard to take pictures in the dimly-lit restaurant. Nevertheless, I loved the atmosphere, and I loved the food. I had the Monte Cristo sandwich, which I had heard people raving about, and I couldn’t finish it. I now understood why everyone said Disneyland food was better than food at Disney World- it really did taste good. I ordered a soda, and once my husband found out that it cost $6 (back home, a soda is around $3), we decided to go easy on the soft drinks for the rest of the trip (we were still on a budget).
Then, we got a complimentary Mickey cake for our honeymoon! It was my favorite part of the meal, but then again, I do have a major sweet tooth.
After lunch, we rode more attractions, and prepared on where to watch the Paint the Night parade (RIP). Would we ride everything we wanted to? Would my husband indeed need his jacket?
Hugs and fishes,