How The Larson Fam does Disneyland!

Well Hello! Been a hot min sorry!! Chaos of recovering from surgery, holidays, Cooper’s birthday and Kyler’s basketball season kicking off have had me a bit distracted! I hope you all had a wonderful time over the holiday season, I think I was in my own bed only half the month of December…. It was a busy and fun month!!

But lets talk all things Disney!! My husband and I are all for creating memories over gifts for Christmas for our boys. We used to go to Disneyland about every other year, I have family in Southern California so we love to get to visit them as well!

A few things about this trip before I start

  • We normally don’t book this last min… well try not to!
  • Our kids are all boys and 14, 12 and 10
    This isn’t their first time at Disney

We booked for December, if you haven’t been to Disneyland when its decorated for Christmas you need to put this on your list! Disneyland is magical as it is, so adding the magic of Christmas makes it so amazing!

We are a family of 5, so have outgrown the typical standard hotel room. We always find a hotel that is

  • Within walking distance to Disney
  • Has a full free breakfast- saves sooo much money
  • A good pool 🙂

We ended up booking this hotel Marriott Residence Inn at Anaheim Resort/Convention Center and were so impressed! We did have a rental car for two days and parking is pricey if you plan on having a car ($27.60/day). The Full breakfast was perfect for all of us- mickey waffles for the kids, fruit, cereal, eggs, healthy options, GOOD coffee (perfect to take to go for walk to Disney!), protein too! Look at this set up

The thing I loved about the pool was the big hot tub! I don’t know about you but normally I’m grossed out by being skin to skin with random people in a dirty hot tub… this one was huge AND clean!! Win win! Plus check out these couches and fire pits too! We could chill in the hot tub while the kids played in the pool or splash area

For flights to Disney we always fly into John Wayne Airport (SNA). I think this is the easiest airport in Southern California. We always use Delta for flights because we earn miles on our Amex cards, if you haven’t looked into this you totally should! Earning miles for work trips adds up for free flights for family trips!

The best way we have found to get tickets is from Get Away Today. Depending on the deal they are offering you can bundle your hotel with them too. This is the only way we have bought our tickets for all the years we have been taking the kids. This trip we choose the 3 day park hopper ticket, basically you can go back and forth between Disneyland and California adventure as much as you want for those 3 days. We love this option because sometimes you get into the park and lines are long or rides are down at one but not the other. We do try to not hop back and forth more then once or twice a day just to save time. I love Disneyland because you don’t have to drive somewhere else to get to the other park, Disney world is way different in that aspect. If you are making a whole entire Southern California vacation I’d suggest getting the CityPass, there are lots of options tp combine destinations into one cost right here We didn’t purchase MaxPass simply because lines weren’t super long, going during the week helps! I did order these super cute Mickey and Minnie hats for photos one day so I got MaxPass that day, you get all the downloads from professional pics at Disney with this! Plus you can add it through the app day of too! If you do end up going to LegoLand, be sure to stay at their hotel… its amazing!! And Carlsbad is a really neat beach town too LegoLand Hotel

Since this wasn’t our first time going we din’t do a character breakfast, if you are going for the first time I highly suggest booking one of these in advance. Lots of fun for kids to see the characters and get autographs. We have done Disneys PCH Grill, Goofeys Kitchen and Plaza Inn options- remember we only have boys, lots of others girly options too! Book them for early so you don’t interfere with time at the park Book Character Dining. You can also book World of Color on that link. We did it one year but after a full day of rides our kids were exhausted and didn’t enjoy it since it is later at night.

Parades!! You HAVE to watch the parade. It’s amazing and one of my favorite things to do! If you are going for multiple days here is a tip. Watch the parade one day (usually at 3pm and 6pm), then while the parade is going the rides aren’t as busy…. go get in line for the favorite ride then!

Downtown Disney was a bit of a disappointment to us this year. Don’t get me wrong, its still amazing, just not what we remembered. In the past Downton Disney was a great place for kids to get souvenirs, families to get a meal and live entertainment. Last time we were there they had a Build a Bear, Place to make custom cars, Ice skating, ESPN zone, shopping and restaurants. This year all those places have been replaced with a vibe towards the young adults going to Disney for nightlife. Totally ok, just not what we remembered. We didn’t spend much time there, but looks like there are lots more restaurants now. For the first time ever, I know crazy right, we left Disney for dinner one night. We always had been troopers, there by 8am and last one didn’t leave til midnight. But we are old, haha! We went across the street and there are lots of restaurants to choose from. Perfect if you need a “real meal” with a waitress and all! And saves $ too!!

I hope these tips are helpful if you are planning on taking a family vacation to Disneyland in the near future, feel free to email me if you have questions! Here are a few fun photos from our December trip. Xoxo Lisa