Disneyland! Finally we took Jacquelyn to the Happiest Place on Earth and our visit was nothing short of PURE MAGIC!
I gotta say, I was worried that at 6 years-old, Jax’s first trip might not be as magical as if we had taken her when she was younger. I thought 3 or 4 would be a more ideal age but timing was never right, until recently! As it turns out, 6 years-old was the perfect age for Jax’s first trip to Disneyland. She still believes in magic, she still has such sweet innocence and even better, she will hold on to these memories for her entire life.
And the memories were plenty! To make her first Disney visit even more special we coordinated our trip with our friends so Jax could experience the park with her best friend. It was epic!
We kept our plans a secret for well over a month. Jax only knew we were going to California over her fall break from school. The night before we spilled the beans and she was over the moon with excitement!
Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect and any and all trips to Disneyland will follow suit. Fall is our family’s favorite time of year, and we love all things Halloween, so boy were we in for a treat. The park is decked out in it’s Halloween best — jack-o-lanterns and family-friendly spooks the way only Disney can do it. And the weather was glorious, all sunshine and cool breezes.
Disneyland holds Mickey’s Halloween Party on select nights throughout the month. We went on a Friday and the park closed early for the party. This totally worked in our favor because while still very busy, the park didn’t seem to have the usual crowds you would expect.
We arrived when the park opened to the general public at 8 a.m. and stayed until it closed for the party at 7 p.m. and it worked out great for us! We had park hopper passes with a plan to head to Disney California Adventure Park when Disneyland closed early. We didn’t make it, we were so exhausted from 11 hours doing it up at the Happiest Place on Earth.
We started out the day with the two musts on my list:
1. Dole Whip
2. Pirates of the Caribbean.
And we got those done first! Dole Whip for breakfast guarantees a great day.
A must for anyone visiting Disneyland is the Disney MaxPass. I wouldn’t even consider doing Disneyland again without one. For a nominal fee ($10 per ticket) the MaxPass affords you unlimited downloads of all your photos from character greetings, rides, attractions, etc; you can also make reservations at select restaurants through the park and order food. But even better, the Disney MaxPass helps you plan your visit and maximize your time by allowing you to select FastPass times on your phone!
Don’t do Disney without one.
The app is free and once you have your tickets you simply connect them to your account on the app with an easy scan; then purchase the MaxPass and start planning your day. We began in New Orleans Square and reserved our FastPass for the Haunted Mansion which is redone for Halloween as a Nightmare Before Christmas experience. While we waited to check in for the attraction we visited Pirates of the Caribbean and once we were done there we walked right up for the Haunted Mansion, bypassing the long queue, we were on the ride within 5 minutes! Then we were on to Adventureland to grab the Dole Whip and jump on the Indiana Jones ride (only an 8 minute wait with the FastPass).
And it was like that for the rest of the day; we mapped out which land we would visit next, checked what FastPasses were available, scheduled a time and then headed over. Our longest wait with the FastPass was no more than 10 minutes! The MaxPass allowed us to get the most out of our day, visiting all the rides and attractions without time lost in long lines.
I couldn’t wait to enjoy all the iconic attractions with Jax and my husband — Pirates, the Jungle Cruise, the Haunted Mansion, the Submarine, Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain (also redone for Halloween and surprisingly, Jax’s favorite ride of the day), It’s a Small World and all those incredible little rides in Fantasyland (the Peter Pan ride is my favorite).
We could not have asked for a better Disneyland experience! All the major attractions I remember visiting as a child haven’t changed a bit. It was a walk down memory lane for me only infinitely more magical because I was experiencing it all over agin for the first time as a mother with a child full of wonder.
I wish I could relive countless moments with Jacquelyn during of visit. Her excited squeals, her sweet face full of awe and amazement. Seeing her enjoy it all with her best friend brought exponential joy to my heart.
Our friends are Disneyland aficionados and were amazed at how sparse the crowds were, now don’t get me wrong it was crowded, but less busy than usual; I assume because the park closed early and those with tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party came later. Whatever the case me be, it truly seemed like all the stars aligned allowing us to have an unforgettably magical time for Jax’s first visit.
We can’t wait for Jax’s 2nd trip to Disneyland, and her 3rd and her 10th. The wonder never gets old, the magic is timeless.
Disclaimer: We received two complimentary media passes to Disneyland in exchange for this post. All opinions are entirely my own.