I don’t even remember my first trip to Walt Disney World. I might have been three or four at the time. But apparently the magic of it all captured me right away.
I spent my 16th birthday at Disneyland Paris. You could find a framed Disney Princess poster in my bedroom in college. I had my first job at Epcot (through the WDW College Program) when I was 19, and went back for an Advanced Internship at Hollywood Studios after graduation. When that ended, I stayed on with the company in both Orlando and New York City.
Even now, several years after all that, I find myself sneaking off to Florida to get my Disney fix at least once a year. Can you believe that until last month I had never made the pilgrimage to the OG park – Disneyland in Anaheim, California?!
When we decided on California for our annual Ladies’ Weekend, we knew right away that Disneyland would be one of our stops. And, since we only had one day, we jammed A LOT in there – I’m talking rope drop to nighttime show.
After parking in their garage and taking the tram to the gates, we decided to start with whichever park seemed the least crowded. So, we ventured into Disney California Adventure Park.
We wandered into Cars Land, and I was immediately blown away. I’m a Disney girl through and through, but I haven’t felt this level of immersion since my first visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. Everything from the signage to every memorable landmark transported us right to the middle of Radiator Springs.
After some prime photo ops, we circled back for a light breakfast (Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe (AKA Starbucks) and Schmoozies!) before hitting our first attraction of the day: Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
I’ll admit to being skeptical. While I love the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has always been one of my favorite attractions. But my goodness, this was such a fun ride! It has the same free falls as Tower, but it’s much more lighthearted and the classic rock soundtrack keep the party going.
Some more wandering found us in a bug’s land for a spin on Flik’s Flyers and then over in Grizzly Peak for a what-were-we-thinking-with-another-water-ride ride around Grizzly River Run.
We decided to head back to Hollywood Land for another go on Guardians, but were pleasantly surprised by two other fun stops: a Heroic Encounter with a very convincing Captain America (swoon!) AND an Awesome Dance Off featuring none other than Star Lord, Gamora, and Groot.
The party wrapped up just in time to squeeze in that second ride on Guardians before our FASTPASS was (finally) good for Radiator Springs Racers. Once again, Cars Land for the win.
This attraction is an amazing mix of the story part of Splash Mountain, the animatronics of Frozen Ever After, and the thrill of Test Track. Once we experienced it, I was no longer surprised that it took half the day to get on it.
By this point in the day, we were getting hangry and decided it was time to head across the way to Disneyland Park. Wouldn’t you know it? We happened upon one last photo op – this one with a fierce member of the Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s all-female special forces.
Can you believe that was all before lunch?! Stay tuned for details on the rest of our day…