Last month we celebrated Cam’s birthday in Disneyland! We drove south on a Wednesday afternoon and somehow the estimated 6-hour drive took us 9 hours. Which, I guess actually isn’t too much of a surprise considering the multiple pitstops we made, one including a long runaround at a park for Cam to burn some energy…
We stayed at the Clementine Hotel, which was only .7 miles away from the parks, and at least half the price of staying at a Disney hotel. The Clementine was clean and still monetized Mickey, with little splashes of Disney throughout, so it felt good enough to us. We opted to stay in a 2 bedroom suite because my mom, stepdad, and little bro were excitedly joining, too.
After a takeout dinner and some HGTV (mine and Mike’s favorite hotel TV), we all went to sleep dreaming of Disney…
On Thursday, we woke up early to get there for the “rope drop” (or when the park opens, as we learned through watching Disneyland Influencers on youtube). Instead of lining up for the classic picture with Mickey’s face behind us in the grass, we went straight to the RIDES, saying we would come back for the picture later (we didn’t).
Cam hasn’t had much experience with rides, so we were a little apprehensive about how it would go. First up, we went on the Astro Orbiter, and Cam loved circling around in the little rockets. Good sign!
Next, we, unfortunately, misstepped with Astro Blasters (yes, I am googling the names of these rides…) and Pirates of the Caribbean. Both of which were “too dark and scary.” A fair assessment of both of those rides as an almost 3-year-old, in my opinion! Sorry, Cam!
We took a break after Pirates and grabbed lunch at Bengal Barbecue. The best food place in Disney if you’re asking me! We all got skewers with rice, hummus, and veg plates which felt pretty elite for amusement park food.
Jungle Cruise was after, which Cam enjoyed, and veered us back in the “rides are fun” lane. We got pineapple ice cream in the tiki room after and Cam LOVED both the ice cream and the tiki room. All the electronic birds singing and dancing were the biggest hit. We have the cutest video of him just going crazy during the performance. The best!
The highlight of the day came next, though, when Cam was able to DRIVE at Autopia (still googling ride names). Ah, it was so sweet to see Cam excited to “drive dada” while on this ride. His smile was ear-to-ear the whole time.
We adventured to Fantasyland next, intending to ride only Dumbo but being derailed by both boys requesting to “ride the ponies” (merry-go-round) when they saw them. After finally riding both, we were all ready for some pizza; an appetizer for Mike and me before our special date night dinner (foreshadow!). Then we ended the day on a high note, riding the Casey Jr. Circus Train. This was especially exciting for Cam, who is enthralled by all things trains right now. I think I will always remember the feeling of his tiny body snuggled into me on that ride, pointing and delighting at all of the sights.
We walked back to the hotel after to bathe Cam and then left him with my mom so Mike and I could go back to the park! Once back in the action, we used our Genie Pass to check out the new Star Wars ride; Smugglers Run. Overall I was NOT impressed but I’m sure there are plenty of people – who are bigger Disney and Star Wars fans – that disagree…
What I was a fan of that night was DINNER. Since I was little, I’ve always wanted to eat at the Blue Bayou, the restaurant inside the Pirates Ride, and I was finally able to do it. Mike and I ordered glasses of sparkling wine and cheers’d a successful first day in Disney! The ride was actually closed while we waited and I can’t decide if that is disappointing or lucky…
We rounded out the night with some rides that Cam was too small to go on and then walked our tired selves home to catch some rest before Day Two.
On our second day, we went to Califonia Adventure. Quick Pro Tip for potty training parents: you can’t bring the potty training bags for mini toilets into the parks with you. (We had to give up a basically brand-new bag of those expensive little liners. Sob.) Anyways. We knew CA Adventure would be exciting because Cam LOVES the movie Cars and Lighting McQueen.
We kicked off with a triple whamming on the same ride, Luigi’s Rockin’ Roasters. Then it was time to meet Lightening and Mater IRL. Cam still talks about this.
We grabbed tacos and margs for lunch before slowing things down with the Ariel ride a few times (you can’t beat short lines with kids!). Cam had a successful Stroller Nap (as he did the day before in Disney – major wins), and Mike and I were able to tuck ourselves in a quiet corner and enjoy a beer. We tried to do the single rider line for Radiator Springs Racers but the line was barely moving and we knew our window was small with Cam sleeping.
Even though it wasn’t the weekend yet, the park felt way more crowded than the day before. It was also the first weekend of the Food & Wine Festival, which I’m sure didn’t help with crowd control. We ended up leaving earlier than I thought we would but spent most of our day there fully immersed in Carsland, which was exactly right for celebrating Cam’s birthday!
Mike and I were able to go back again for some late-night park action that night, where we went on Radiator Springs Racers and the Incredicoaster, both so fun and thrilling!
Overall we walked close to 70,000 steps split between the 2 days (what!), rode a total of 19 (unique) rides, and took (seemingly) hundreds of pictures. One amazing vacation with our best little dude.
Oh, and we met Iron Man. Mama’s favorite superhero. 😉
Want more? Read about mine and Mike’s first trip to Disneyland here, and our honeymoon is Disneyworld here.