Note: My ex and I are no longer together but I wanted to keep this post up because I love Disneyland and don’t want to delete this trip from my memory. None of the text has been changed.
Some time last year, Shane and I made the decision to save up money so that we could go to Disneyland together, because he had never been and I missed it dearly. After over a year of saving, we had our entire trip booked and all that was left to do was to dream of the days to come!
Wednesday, July 19
The day before, Shane and I had driven up to Kansas City, where we would be flying out of, and stayed with his great uncle and aunt. With only five hours of sleep under our belt, we woke up before 4:00am and headed to the airport. Our flight to Dallas left at 6:00am, and after a short layover, we were on our way to Orange County, California!
Our first adult decision once in the Golden State was to get an Uber to our hotel. Our driver was really friendly and she dropped us off at the address we gave her, only to find out, after she had driven away, that we had given her the wrong address. There are a lot of Best Westerns in Anaheim, and ours happened to be a 25 minute walk from where we were dropped off. Woops.
After a sweaty walk to our correct hotel, we checked in, freshened up, and headed to DISNEYLAND!!! Our hotel was roughly a 15 minute walk from Downtown Disney, which led us directly to the main gates of Disneyland. I used my admission pass from working at the Disney Store and the comps I had gotten to get Shane in, and before we knew it, we were walking down Main Street, hand-in-hand, like we had only dreamed about for so long.
We started off by heading to Tomorrowland- more specifically, Star Wars Launch Bay. We looked at props, had a stare-down with Darth Vader (well, I did at least; Shane couldn’t stop smiling), hugged Chewbacca, and stared in awe at everything around us. Darth insisted we tell him the location of the Rebel Base but we refused; he wasn’t happy. I, on the other hand, was so excited.
Our next stop was Toontown, where we got some ice cream and explored for a little bit! Toontown is so adorable, I love it. There were characters everywhere, and the cartoony atmosphere makes me feel like a kid again. We went into Mickey’s house, where we saw his oversized chairs and washing machine. We even got to meet Mickey himself at the end of it all!
We spent the evening riding rides, meeting characters, eating delicious Disney food, and soaking in the reality that we were at Disneyland!! We utilized Fastpasses for rides like Star Tours and Space Mountain, met Pooh and his other friends from the Hundred Acre Woods, and ate dinner at Pizza Port!
After dinner, we headed back down Main Street and finally got Shane his first visit button! We also bought some pins that remind us of how Shane asked me out over two years ago. We wore them the rest of the day, and the following day. We went inside Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and saw some things that documented the beginning of Walt’s dream to build Disneyland, in comparison to what it is now. Seeing right in front of me all that he accomplished is inspiring.
More pictures, rides, and smiles later, we left Disneyland right before the fireworks so that we could get some sleep before the full day we had ahead of us. We were exhausted but ready for more magic!
Thursday, July 20
Thursday morning, we got up super early in order to make it to our character breakfast reservation! I had booked us at 7:20am for the Minnie and Friends breakfast at Plaza Inn. The park didn’t officially open to the public until 8am, so we got to go inside before the majority of guests! We took some pictures in front of the castle, and the Photopass girl noticed our matching Tangled shirts, so she took some pictures for us in front of Rapunzel’s tower, which is my favorite spot in all of Disneyland! It was so magical.
Then we headed to check in to our breakfast! We saw characters going in and out of the restaurant, and we could smell the Mickey Waffles waiting for us. We met Minnie, who loved our Minnie/Mickey pins and matching shirts, then headed inside!
As soon as we got to our table, we were ambushed. Chip wrapped his arms around Shane’s backpack and wouldn’t let go, no matter how much Max Goof prompted him. He finally let go, but then grabbed my breakfast button off the table and threw it at Max, hitting him in the chest. Max was shocked, and demanded Chip pick up the button, but instead, he just grabbed Shane’s button and threw that at him also. Max made Chip sit in the corner until he apologized. It was the greatest thing ever.
After saying goodbye to Max and Chip, Shane and I loaded up our plates with breakfast. Everything tasted so good, and they even had chocolate milk and hot chocolate! We were greeted by characters throughout the whole meal, and had so much fun talking to them!
After our amazing character meal, Shane had to go down to the front of Main Street to “do something”, so I stayed in the hub and spent some time soaking in the atmosphere. I love Disneyland so much, and just standing in front of the Partners statue, looking down Main Street, and being able to just pivot 180 degrees and see the castle- it was beautiful. I even took some solo Photopass pictures because why not?
Once Shane finally caught up with me, we went back into Fantasy Faire! On my first trip 3 years ago, I took a picture with Rapunzel’s tower, and I wanted to retake it! I’ve grown so much since my last trip, and the tower is so symbolic to me. But that’s a story for a completely different post! One thing is for sure, I’m so glad I left my tower!
Then Shane and I decided to meet the princesses! We waited in line for only about five minutes, then got to meet Cinderella, Snow White, and Ariel! They were all so beautiful and sweet, especially Snow who loved our matching shirts!
After a quick walk through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Shane and I came across a familiar tight-wearing boy! Peter Pan was just wandering around Fantasyland, so we followed him until he came to a stop in front of the Carousel. We talked to him some and took a picture, then fluttered off to go meet Tinker Bell! She was adorable as always, and she even got super excited when I told her I had made my ears. “You must be a tinker like me!”
We walked over to Adventureland and got in line to meet Moana, but Shane was getting anxious about the time, so we left to go take more pictures in front of the castle. While waiting in line, Shane went to go talk to another Photopass Cast Member who was waiting off to the side, and she led us over to Rapunzel’s tower. Shane wouldn’t tell me what was going on, but I was getting suspicious.
We took a couple normal smiling pictures, and then the CM said “Let’s try another pose!” Shane turned to me and said some of the sweetest words I’ve ever heard, referencing the connection I feel to Rapunzel and her tower. He kissed my forehead and before I knew it, he was down on one knee holding a ring! He was crying as he said, “McKenzie, will you marry me?” I said “yes” with a huge smile on my face, and he stood up and hugged me tight as everyone in the Fantasy Faire Courtyard burst into applause.
Everything was a rush of excitement and emotion, and I can’t even remember any details because I was so focused on the fact that I officially get to spend forever with my best friend! Shane had gotten us buttons earlier, and he said we had a surprise waiting at City Hall! Not only that, but Rapunzel and Flynn were just minutes away from coming out to meet people, and Shane and I got to meet them first! The awesome character attendants let us stand close to their entrance and celebrate our engagement with them! They were so excited for us and it was a dream come true.
We swung by City Hall, and we were told that Mickey had gotten us an engagement present! We got two pairs of ears- one that looks like a tux with “I asked” embroidered on the back, and one that looks like a wedding dress embroidered with “I said yes”. It was so magical and special. We sat in the shade and called our parents and siblings to tell them the good news, then headed back to the castle to take pictures in our new ears! The same cast member who had taken special pictures for us in Fantasy Faire that morning before our character breakfast was there, and she was so excited for us! She did a special little photoshoot with us and took us places beyond just in front of the castle. It was so awesome of her to do that for us, and the pictures turned out so great. It meant so much to us.
We spent some time messaging our friends to tell them the good news, then headed back towards Adventureland! We got some dole whips, which were delicious like always, then watched Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room! It was so cute, I was smiling the whole time.
We had gotten Fastpasses for Splash Mountain earlier, so we headed there next! I was so nervous the whole ride leading up to the big drop, I had no idea what to expect. It was fun though, and I’m glad we were able to do one of the rides Shane really wanted to do! We didn’t even get that wet!
We stopped for hot churros on our way through New Orleans Square, and they were just as good as I remembered! It was so warm outside and we had about an hour to spare until the show we were planning on seeing, so we headed back to Tomorrowland to Star Wars Launch Bay! We played some Lego Star Wars games, then hopped in line to meet Boba Fett! I felt very awkward as he questioned us for information about the Rebels XD
The next thing on our schedule was the Tangled show! I saw it last time I was here and I loved it, and of course with our shirts and engagement, we couldn’t miss it! We got there about 20 minutes early and sat outside the theatre waiting to go in. We went ahead and posted the announcement of our engagement on Facebook, then turned off our phones for the show! It was so cute and we both loved it!
Then it was time to force Shane on it’s a small world! The AC was very nice, and I personally love the ride, so waiting in the sun for 15 minutes to get on wasn’t too bad! Shane wasn’t as annoyed as he said he would be, so that’s good too XD We spent the ride searching for hidden Disney characters, which kept the song from being as loud in our heads.
Then we got some pretzels and a spot for the Soundsational Parade! I was singing and dancing along the whole time, I love it! The costumes are so beautiful, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how hot some of them must be.
After wasting time looking in stores, it was time for Shane and I’s celebration dinner! We changed in the Tiki Room bathrooms (pro-tip, they’re smaller but never loud or crowded!), then after almost loosing my phone, we headed down Main Street towards Carnation Cafe. Shane had made a reservation for us to celebrate our engagement, and we got seats outside with a view of Main Street. They had a veggie burger, so I thankfully had something I could eat, but it kind of fell apart on me. Shane got a regular burger and he said it was really good! We also ordered a rootbeer float! It was a yummy meal and a great time spent together. He makes me laugh so much. He’s my fiance now!?!
We wanted to take some pictures in front of the castle all dressed up, so we did that next! Then we rode the Carousel, which made me a little dizzy, and battled Zurg on Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters! If anyone asks, I totally beat Shane. Yup. That’s what happened.
We waited on Main Street to get a good seat for the fireworks, but they were unfortunately canceled because of high winds. They did do a light and projection show for us though, which was still really cool to see! The crowds afterwards were insane, but somehow we made it to Fantasyland to ride some last-minute rides. We only waited about 5 minutes to ride both Snow White’s Scary Adventures and Pinocchio’s Daring Journey!
We had planned to stay the whole night to close the park down, but we were so exhausted that we didn’t think we could make it that long. The Electric Parade was about to start as we headed out, so Shane got some ice cream and we sat down to watch it! Everything was so beautiful, I see why people love it so much!
We were on our way out again when I saw Mickey and Minnie together meeting at the end of Main Street. Shane was about to pass out he was so tired, but he waited in line with me to meet my favorite mice because he is the best ever. Minnie loved my ring and she hinted to Mickey that she would want one like it. They were so sweet and I’m glad we got to end our wonderful day by meeting the two who started it all!
Friday, July 21
Our next morning didn’t start quite as early as the day before, so we actually got some sleep! We left our hotel around 7:25 so we could get to the gate of California Adventure before it opened. However, because of Extra Magic hours, the park was technically already open, just not to the public. They were letting everyone in, but had the different lands blocked off with ropes. However, since we were heading to Paradise Pier first, we were planning on walking through Condor Flats. To our delight, Soaring Around the World wasn’t roped off at all and only had a 10 minute wait! It was so amazing and beautiful and such a good way to start the day!
By the time we got off the ride, it was 8:00 so the rest of the park was open to the world! We went straight to Toy Story Midway Mania on the beautiful Paradise Pier. The sky was so blue and everything was beautiful. The line was just a short wait, so we were on and off the ride pretty quickly! It was so fun, even though I lost very badly. I didn’t even reach 100,000 points, I might need some practice.
We saw that California Screamin’ was distributing Fastpasses that would have let us right on the ride, so we got them and waited only about 2 minutes to get on! It was the first big thrill ride we had done, and Shane really liked it!
Then we almost ran to Hollywood Land so we could get Fastpasses for Mission Breakout. It was only 9:00 and the passes were already up to 3:00, and they had run out by noon. Looks like we snagged them just in time!
Because it’s “Summer of Heros” at DCA, they had Marvel music playing and different hero stuff everywhere! Shane and I decided to take a test to see which hero character trait we had, and therefore, which hero we were most like! I got “defy expectations” like the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Shane got “honor” like Captain America! We took this awesome hero picture together, and Shane made fun of my “hero pose” (in all honesty I have no idea what I’m doing).
Then it was breakfast time! We cruised over to Cars Land and had a wonderful meal at Flo’s V8 Cafe! I got the “classic American breakfast” and Shane ordered the Kachow Burrito. We ate inside a room that looked like Doc Hudson’s doctor office and everything was delicious!
We finished our meal and then took some pictures on the streets of Radiator Springs! We hopped in line to ride Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, then rode Mike and Sully to the Rescue back in Hollywood Land! I love the theming of everything, even the que lines. It makes everything seem more magical and I love it!
One of our longest lines of the day was the line to meet Spiderman, but it was 100% worth it! He gave us high fives and told us that we looked like a “super powerful couple”. I think he was right 😉
To escape the heat, we spent some time in the Animation Academy building! We went into the Sorcerer’s Workshop and the Beast’s library where we got to play around with some cool animation stuff and took quizzes to see which Disney character we’re like! I got Mrs. Incredible and Shane got Peter Pan. I love that whole building, especially the main lobby where they play clips from movies and show some of the original sketches next to the finished project.
We waited inside for a few minutes and then went to Turtle Talk with Crush! It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever experienced. Crush was hilarious, and it’s so cool that we were all able to actually talk to him and have him answer us back. Disney magic is real, folks.
Because Shane loves me, we next headed to the opposite side of the park to catch Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde! We talked to the cutest family while waiting in line, and the parents gave us some good marriage advice. The little girl was dressed like Belle and she was the most precious child ever. Meeting Judy and Nick was so cool, as well! Judy saluted me after seeing my Guardians sticker then pointed to her own police badge. I guess if I ever get into trouble, I have a friend in the ZPD!
Shane and I ate some lunch, then rode a couple rides on Paradise Pier! We tried to catch Oswald, but he didn’t come out at the right time and it was getting so hot that we just gave up. We learned to draw Winnie the Pooh in Animation Academy, then headed towards Mission Breakout for our awesome Guardians of the Galaxy experiences!
Shane and I watched the Awesome Dance Off! staring Gamora and Star Lord himself, where they used the power of dance to get away from their enemies! Then, one of the best things to happen all day, we met Groot!!! We told him that we got engaged and he gave Shane a high-five. After showing him the ring, he gave Shane yet another high-five. It was hilarious. Also, he gives good hugs for a tree. After meeting him, it was time to use our Fastpasses for the Mission Breakout ride. We only had to wait about 3 minutes before we were able to get on, and it was my favorite ride on all of Disney property. It was themed so well and the drops were incredible! We stayed lifted off our seats for 2-3 seconds on a couple drops! It was amazing.
We didn’t really have anything scheduled to do for the next hour or so, so we walked through Bugs Land and rode Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters! We got some delicious popcorn, then it was time to head inside the Hyperion Theater to watch the Frozen show! It was very cheesy and very cute, and I liked it! It was pretty much the movie on stage, but the choreography was good and the actors were really good too! It was also nice to be able to sit down in the AC for a while.
Then Shane and I decided it was time for another frozen treat. We headed over to Ghirardelli and got a delicious brownie/caramel sundae! We devoured it so fast and it was just what we needed!
We rode the Little Mermaid ride, then spent some time playing in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail! They had log tunnels and rope bridges and a bunch of cool things to mess around on! We went at just the right time too, because it was starting to cool down!
Then it was finally time to ride Radiator Springs Racers! It had a 70 minute wait, so Shane and I hopped in the single riders line and were on in about 20 minutes! We even ended up in the same car, so it worked out well! That was Shane’s favorite ride of the whole trip, and by the time we were off, all the lights in Radiator Springs were turned on. It was so beautiful.
We headed to Hollywood Land once again to try to find Gamora, but she wasn’t anywhere that we could see. I briefly mentioned how I wanted to meet Anna and Elsa when I came 3 years ago but never got to, and Shane promptly grabbed my hand and raced me over to Animation Academy so I could accomplish my long-lost dream. The line was 1/4 of the size it had been earlier, so I finally got to meet Anna and Elsa! They were so sweet and Anna was so excited to find out that we had gotten engaged the day before. “You’ve known him longer than a day, right?”
We grabbed some snacks from the Cozy Cone Motel, then slowly walked to Paradise Pier, our feet begging for rest. We had Fastpasses for Toy Story Midway Mania, and we planned to end the day just as we had started it. I was winning the entire game until the final bonus round, and Shane pulled ahead by a couple thousand points and ended up winning. Rude.
We had also snagged Fastpasses for the final showing of World of Color, so after we finished our last ride, we sat down in the line for the show! We got pretty good spots, except for the tall girl who stood on the rail directly in front of me. The show was so beautiful, no camera could capture how amazing it was. The Pirates section had fire and you could feel the heat from it, even with the water flying around everywhere! The music and the lights and effects were incredible. It was such a good end to our trip.
Shane and I had such a magical few days at Disneyland! We made so many wonderful memories I will never forget, even when I’m 96 and struggle to remember where I put my glasses. The rides, food, characters, interactions with cast members, shows, and everything added up to make our trip the best trip ever. I’m immensely thankful God gave us the opportunity and ability to go together, and although I’m sad to have to say goodbye to Disneyland, I’ll be saying hello to Disney World in just a few days for my college program! I can’t wait to see that castle as well with my handsome fiance someday, hopefully soon. Until then, thanks for the magic, Disneyland