A Day At California Adventure


Just Wow.

Jack and I had a fun-filled day (over 12 hours!) at Disneyland Resort the day after Christmas. I surprised him on Christmas Day with notice of a “Mom and Me” date the day after, and he was beyond excited! We were both looking forward to seeing Disneyland and California Adventure during Christmas since we saw Amy’s post about the park being all decked out for the holidays.


Since attending the Disney Social Media Moms conference last year, Jack has been obsessed with Disney. He talks about Disney World all of the time and retells stories about our time there. It was truly a magical experience. This was my first time at the Disneyland Resort with Jack (can you believe it?!), so I was pretty excited for this day, too!

Jack decided that he wanted to be at the parks from opening until closing – I had no idea how close to that we would actually come! After a 90 minute drive from Grandma and Grandpa’s house, we arrived at Disneyland at 8:20 and stayed until about 9:30 pm. We were both so tired the next day, but it was totally worth it!

We started out the day with California Screamin’ – a huge roller coaster that takes you on a couple of almost vertical drops and even upside down! Thankfully, Jack was *just* tall enough to ride!

California Adventure Park

Photo Dec 26, 9 17 01 AM

Strapped in and ready for the first roller coaster of the day!

We compared Screamin’ to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney World – super fast and twisty! We rode a total of… ready? 9 times! The lines were super short, and using Fastpasses helped, as well!

California Adventure park

After Screamin’ we walked through the new Carsland and headed over to the Tower of Terror – another of our favorite rides!

Carsland was amazing… and busy!

California Adventure

California Adventure

Jack was so excited that this Tower of Terror was a little bit different than the one he rode on for the first time and fell in love with at Disney World last year!

Tower of Terror

After we had a few rides under our belts, we decided to make our way over to Trolley Treats. It was such a hard decision for Jack, but he settled on an amazing holiday caramel apple!

California Adventure

By amazing, I mean huge. And yummy. Really, really, yummy. I was so excited they still had holiday treats!

Trolley treats

We saw Goofy and he was having a hard time deciding, as well.

holiday treats at disneyland

If you’re dying for one of these right now (like I am!), head on over to Babes In Disneyland – Lisa has a video straight from Trolley Treats about how to make these!

In addition to the caramel apple, Jack and I may have eaten our way through the parks…

PicMonkey Collage

It was definitely a day for spoiling him :)

After lunch, Jack wanted to visit Disneyland for a bit. We waited in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad…

Photo Dec 26, 2 40 44 PM

And then rode the Matterhorn, as well!

Photo Dec 26, 4 09 35 PM

Disneyland was crowded the day we went! Jack decided that he wanted to head back to California Adventure after our two rides. We found Duffy the Disney bear (Jack’s favorite!) and Mom left her comfort zone and went on Mickey’s Fun Wheel! 

Photo Dec 26, 12 50 48 PM

Have you been to Redwood Creek Challenge Trail yet? Jack loved it! There were slides, zip lines, rock climbing, and rope bridges! Jack wouldn’t stay still – I couldn’t snap a clear photo of him!

Photo Dec 26, 4 35 56 PM

Jack and I caught the lighting of Carsland (SO fun! Show up right before sunset for the lighting!) and then he decided he was tired and wanted to head back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

Photo Dec 26, 4 55 53 PM

Funny thing is… after it got dark, Jack got more energy and yelled, “Disneyland at NIGHT is SO much more fun!”

We headed back to Screamin’…

Photo Dec 26, 5 47 33 PM

Rode the Golden Zephyr… Photo Dec 26, 5 26 10 PM

And had enough energy to catch almost all of World of Color  – California Adventure’s amazing light and color show. The show plays with the water as a backdrop. We watched with colored ears that glowed right along with the show! Right now, there’s special seating in the Blue section for people who purchase these special ears. While waiting for the show to start, we played trivia games with an amazing Cast Member.

Photo Dec 26, 8 18 09 PM

At about 9:30, Jack decided he was done. His feet were sore. He was tired.

And in the car on the way home, during the 7 minutes before he fell asleep, he proclaimed it was the “best day ever.” I completely agree.

Have you ever spent one on one time with your kids at the Disney parks?

If you’re planning to head there in the next couple of months, Disneyland Resort has a great deal going on right now – You can save $30 on a 3-day park hopper pass

Disneyland generously provided passes for Jack and I to visit the park. All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. I was not asked to post about our experience. 

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16 Responses to A Day At California Adventure (and a little bit of Disneyland, too!)

  1. Andrea Kruse says:

    Very cool! I wish I would get a note like that. If we lived closer I would have already taken mine, but we decided to wait till the baby is school aged for our first trip. :( I didn’t go to Disneyland/California Adventure till I was an adult. …AND had an ah-mazing time! So I can’t wait. We already have our trip fun started.

  2. […] Jack got a Christmas surprise! We went to Disneyland – just him and I! You can read more about that at Disney In The Desert. […]

  3. I just love seeing all my friends visit DL! I can’t wait to take the girls there, when they are a little older.

  4. 2wired2tired says:

    That looks like an amazing trip! I’d love to visit Disneyland sometime. I’ve was there as a kid but it’s changed so much and my kids would enjoy Cars Land so much it would be a great time.

  5. Cori says:

    Love Disneyland and California adventure! We’re in the early stages of planning our next trip so thanks for the info on the discounted park hoppers!

  6. What a fun trip. We plan on taking our boys to Disneyland when we visit my family this summer. I can’t wait! My 5 year old can’t either, he’s been talking about it for a year already!

  7. So glad you had a great time! :)

  8. Cassie says:

    So awesome that you were able to do this with Jack! i would love to take one of my girls for a special trip like this then take the other!

  9. One day, I will get to Disneyland!

  10. Oh how I wish I could do that with my kiddos. Just one day each, just one at a time. So we could take in all the magic and fun TOGETHER! It’s great when we get to do it as a family but I know they would love some one on one time.

    And that is one brave boy you have there. I don’t do roller coasters. lol

  11. I followed along with your adventure and magical time on Instagram. Love the photos and memories that you made. I have not been to Disneyland in a LONG time (pre-DCA building). I can not wait to bring the boys there one day.

  12. Nice! What a fun day! My husband has been trying to convince me to take my 3 year old daughter to WDW alone this year, but I’d feel so badly about leaving the other two home… and I feel like he should be there to share in the special moments. Sigh. Decisions.

  13. […] going to ask you to hop on over to Disney In The Desert to read my post about Jack and I having our date day at California […]

  14. mary-ann smith says:

    Love this great story and pics

  15. […] Jack and I are huge fans of the caramel apples at Trolley Treats in California Adventure – did you know they’re made on-site? They sell chocolates, candy, and even ice cream over on the other side of the store at Clarabelle’s… but we can’t resist the caramel apples. […]

  16. […] going to ask you to hop on over to Disney In The Desert to read my post about Jack and I having our date day at California […]

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