To see Part 1, click here.
The weather was absolutely perfect in California while we were there--if anything, a bit too hot! Anaheim had highs in the low 80's and lows in the mid 50's, and I checked the weather for Orlando and it was cold and/or rainy every day while we were there so we definitely felt like we picked the right parks to visit that week!
Disneyland has Sleeping Beauty's castle, while Disney World has Cinderella's. Aurora's castle is much smaller, but it does have a really cute walk through that tells wanders up and down narrow staircases inside it and tells the story of Sleeping Beauty. It's really simple but has cool visuals, and my kids loved it! I didn't get any photos because it's pretty dark and narrow, but you can see it here.
Last time we went to Disneyland, we rented a City Mini GT Double stroller through City Strollers and fell in love with it. We actually loved it so much that we came back and sold our other double strollers and bought our own. We bought the travel bag for it earlier this year, and even though it's absolutely massive, it's completely protected it in both gate checking it and checking it with our luggage. We went with this stroller because it has a higher height in the seats than a lot of double strollers, so it still fits Miles really well at 5, and hopefully will continue to fit for a few more years. It also reclines to almost flat and has separate sun shades that come down super low, so it's wonderful for the kids to take naps in.
While the kids napped, Brad and I would take turns riding rides the kids are too little for, like the Indiana Jones ride (amazing ride not found at Disney World, but very similar to the Dinosaur ride at Animal Kingdom) and the Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land. I think that may be my new favorite ride, ever. It's so fun and everything around it is just incredible looking. While none of us are really fans of the Cars movies, the land is absolutely beautiful! It looks just like the world created in the film and it's really hard to capture it in photos, but it feels so immersive in person.
We really love that Disneyland still has so many of the original rides from when they opened in 1955. There's so many that are just adorable, especially the Storybook Land Canal Boats. It's a really cute ride in a gondola that winds around miniature houses and places found in Disney movies. Casey, Jr., the train from Dumbo is a separate ride that also goes around Storybook Land, offering a view from above.
One of the most magical moments by far was going to ToonTown when it opened. ToonTown is a land in the park and it opens later and closes earlier than the rest of the lands. When they open the gates, some of the characters come out to greet everyone that is coming in. Goofy came out and Matilda ran up to him. He immediately took Matilda's hand, and walked her through the gates! A few minutes in, though, she saw Minnie and said "I want to hold Minnie's hand!" so she ran over to Minnie and grabbed it! Complete change from the 14 month old that cried when characters talked to her the last time we were at Disneyland!
Minnie took her on a tour of her house and then took her to her backyard and had a tea party! (You can see video of the house tour in the video at the bottom of this post.)
ToonTown has lots of areas for kids to explore and all of the classic characters' houses. There's also a Roger Rabbit ride and a small roller coaster. We tried it out and thankfully it was very short, because neither of the kids really enjoyed it, haha!
Over the past couple of years, Miles has loved learning about Disney history, so he was really excited to meet Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit. Before we even came to the parks, he had a mission of getting his own pair of Oswald ears. We all enjoyed imagining a bizarro-version of Disneyland, if Disney had been able to keep Oswald, everyone might wandering the parks in Oswald ears instead of Mickey ears!
One of the main items on our list that we didn't want to miss was Frozen at the Hyperion Theatre. It's an hour long musical of Frozen, that was just as good as Broadway plays we've seen! It actually opened the day after we left Disneyland when we visited in 2016, so we just missed it! All four of us loved it, and I only wish we could have fit it in our schedule to see it twice! I only took one photo of the stage before it began, but you can actually see a pretty good filming of the entire show on YouTube here. There were some really amazing special effects and tricks, especially when Anna and Kristoff are racing from the wolves in the sleigh! (You can see that part here.)
Matilda went as Doc McStuffins for Halloween this year and was so excited to meet Doc dressed as her! She was also so excited to meet Elsa and Anna from Frozen, and they were so kind, and took so much time talking to her! I feel like the characters that aren't hidden within a large mask really all seem to do that at Disney, which just makes it extra magical!
After we got back, Brad took all of our videos from the trip and edited them together for the kids, and shared it with them on Christmas eve. They loved it and have watched it almost daily since then.