When work took Dave to Anaheim I instantly knew there would be a day spent at Disneyland.  We love all things Disney and try to find a way to make it to one park (typically at Disney World) at least once a year. 

We've been to MAGIC KINGDOM multiple times.
We checked out EPCOT last year for the first time as adults. 
We visited (and loved) ANIMAL KINGDOM this spring.  

Needless to say, we were excited to check out Disneyland.  It was a first time experience for Dave.  I had been when I was younger, but wasn't really old enough to make true comparisons between the parks.

Here's all of the details from our day at Disneyland... To give you a breakdown, the park was open from 9 AM to midnight and there were NO magic hours.  We did NOT stay on property and purchased park hopper tickets to experience both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure.

First, tickets!  We lucked out while planning this trip to California that we have some of the sweetest friends who live in the Los Angeles area.  They have a close friend who works for Disney so we were able to purchase our tickets directly though him which meant that we had a PDF print out of them. 

When we checked in at the park, they scanned the tickets and traded us for actual tickets to use throughout the day (more on that later).  Along with helping out with our tickets, he also sent us all of his suggestions for and tips for both parks which was extremely appreciated!

As I share all about our day at Disneyland I could give you all the specifics on differences between Disney World, but since there are SO many I will probably dedicate an entire space here for them so please check back!  They are both so wonderful, but so very different... you'll want to check it out!  #promise

Before you get to where you can purchase or scan already purchased tickets to enter the park, you must go through security and have bags checked.  Note: if you really don't need to carry anything around all day (Who are you people AND how is that even possible?), you can bypass the long security line and go straight to the entrance of the park with your ticket.  There's a reason this line is short.

Once we were through security and had our tickets scanned and switched, we were good to go and off to enjoy a day of magic!  Let me say from the beginning, we approached this day at Disney different than we typically do.  We did not have everything planned out.  Yeah, you read that right.

We did not wake up super early to get to the park.  We did not have a single fastpass in advance (this is one of the differences) and we told ourselves AND each other that we were simply going to enjoy Disneyland and take things a little slower than our typical Disney pace.  Not that we don't always enjoy Disney, but we weren't going to worry ourselves over making the most of every single second of magic if ya' feel me.

This pushed us out of our comfort zones a little a lot.  We always have a plan, especially at Disney.  I know Magic Kingdom like the back of my hand.  We set alarms to wake us up to secure fastpasses months out from our visit... we are oddly pretty comfortable with Magic Kingdom and we like it that way.

We wasted no time purchasing a MaxPass for each of us to link with our tickets.  MaxPasses can be purchased for $10 per person/per day.  Since there were just two of us and we were only going to the parks for one day, it was well worth the price tag.  Here's the thing, even if you're investing in a full family, blown out Disneyland vacation... it is STILL probably worth the investment because it really helps you be able to maximize and make the most of your time!  After all, nothing about Disney is "cheap".

If you don't purchase the MaxPass, you can still get fastpasses throughout the day.  However, you have to physically go to the rides and insert your hard copy ticket into the machines to print out actual fastpasses instead of securing them on the app and doing everything electronically.  This is totally do-able, just not the easiest or most time efficient since you have to go to the ride twice - once for the pass and once to ride.

MaxPasses work though an app and allow you to reserve fast passes throughout the day.  If you have park hopper tickets (like we did!), you can even reserve them for the other park.  It made things SUPER easy and really eliminated time waiting in line.  You can also link up restaurant reservations and photo pass with the Maxpass.  If you're debating if it's worth it or not, let us assure you that it is.  Buy the MaxPass!

First up, Pirates of the Caribbean!

Then Splash Mountain...

... and then The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

Next up, Haunted Mansion...  

... and then Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Next, we stopped for a churro to share.  There are churro carts all over the park.  If you're wondering, they taste like magic and have the perfect amount of sugar to give you a little mid-morning boost!

Next we checked out Tarzan's Treehouse...

... while we waited on our fastpass return time for Indiana Jones Adventure.

Dave has officially declared this as his favorite ride at Disneyland!

We had an wifi issue (not associated with Disney) when trying to purchase and link our MaxPasses so we went by Indiana Jones on the way to our first ride (Pirates of the Caribbean) and actually used our hard copy tickets to secure fastpasses.  The earlier you get fast passes for things, the more you are able to get throughout the day.  Thankfully, we were able to fix the problem quickly and the fastpasses ended up being linked once we were successfully using the Disneyland app which we used the remainder of the day.

We walked by Jungle Cruise several times throughout the day and based on wait times and available fastpasses we never actually rode it (shushhhhh!).  Therefore, this will not be a ride that we are honestly able to compare for you.  Sorry, Jared (my little brother)... I know Jungle Cruise is your favorite!

At this point, we were getting pretty hungry so we headed towards Tomorrowland to grab lunch at Galactic Grill with plenty of time to allow our tummies to settle before a few more fastpass selections.

Dave got a burger and I had a chicken sandwich.  Both were great and just what we needed for some extra energy.  Having lunch at the Grill in Tomorrowland is a one of those Disney Traditions we stick to.

Next up, we rode Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.  Enjoy these photos because...

... if you claustrophobic (in the SLIGHTEST sense) this ride is NOT for you.  We were excited because it is one of the rides that is not at Disney World, but quickly decided we would never be riding it again.  #sorryfuturelittles

After that, we headed to Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.

Ah, we love Buzz.  

I won the first time around (which never happens) so I had to document it... low scores all around!

This guy LOVES Tomorrowland.  It has so many rides he enjoys!

Like Space Mountain, which got to my motion sickness a little more than it does at Magic Kingdom.

Up next, we ventured over to Fantasyland and jumped in line for Alice in Wonderland...

... before heading to our fastpass for the Matterhorn Bobsleds.

After this we were ready to venture over to Disney's California Adventure for the afternoon and evening which you can read all about HERE.  Before leaving though, we stopped for a few more photos.

We did return to Disneyland after our last fastpass at California Adventure which is timed perfectly to soak in the firework show, Together Forever - A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular.  No matter how many times you've been to Disney, the firework show is always so special and magical and truly never gets old.  The only sad part about the firework show is that it means your day at Disney is coming to an end.

Although, we make the most of our nights at Disney after the fireworks and fit in every ride we can until close.  We used a fastpass for just about everything during this time which really allowed us to maximize these last few hours at the park.  As soon as we scanned one pass, we were getting another.

Thanks to the MaxPass, we were able to ride:
Indiana Jones Adventure (again!)
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (again!)
It's a Small World... we had to!
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (again!)

We even had a fastpass to ride Haunted Mansion again, but passed on it to wrap up our day at Star Tours.  With a decent wait for this ride all day, we used the last 45 minutes of the park being open to check this one off the list.  Dave really enjoyed it, but I ended my day feeling pretty lousily thanks to motion sickness.

Since we based our day almost entirely on fastpasses, we were kind of all over the park.  That being said, Disneyland is extremely easy to get around and navigate.  And again... MaxPass is well worth the investment at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure.  It allowed us to make the most of our day!  

I didn't want to go into much detail about how Disneyland compares to Magic Kingdom at Disney World, because I plan to do an entire post with our thoughts.  We had so much fun together comparing the two!  However, if you have specific questions about Disneyland please send them our way.

We had the best time (yes, even without a plan) at Disneyland and were so thankful to have the opportunity to be in Anaheim together and check a few more Disney items off our list.
Always pick up a map when you enter the park (even if you are familiar with the layout).  This allows you to be able to check on the times for fireworks and shows to ensure that you don't miss out on anything!

Get the MaxPass when you visit Disneyland.  This will help you maximize and make the absolute most out of your day at the park.  The expense is well worth the return on investment.  Just get it!

Arrive at the gate with plenty of time to get through security first.  This was the biggest hold up of our morning before entering the park.  The earlier you are, the less of a crowd you should encounter.

Get Park Hopper tickets!  When it comes to Disneyland, you'll be sad you didn't get a Park Hopper pass.  It was so easy going to and from parks.  Plus, with the MaxPass you can reserve fastpasses at both parks.

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