Happiest Here: Tips for Disneyland First-Timers

Happiest Here: Tips for Disneyland First-Timers

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A pic from our very first trip together back in June 2014!

 

Disneyland—the Happiest Place on Earth—has always held a special place in our hearts.

I grew up going to the California Disney parks, and Disney was a huge part of my childhood—but that’s another story. It wasn’t until Chris and I began dating when I realized the magic that Disney can and does have on adults. Sure, Disneyland was absolutely magical when I was a kid. But when Chris and I started going to Disney together, that magic transformed for me, and I realized just how special the parks truly are.

Chris and I had our first Disney date two months after we started dating, and it has been a part of our relationship ever since. From annual Disneyland getaways to our epic first-ever Walt Disney World trip (to even concocting plans for the international Disney parks?!), we’re undoubtedly addicted to Disney.

So here it is: my blog post with my best advice for your first-ever trip to the Disneyland Resort. The best part about DLR is that there is always something new to see—especially for a first-timer! So grab a cup of coffee and read on as I share my tips for your first visit to Disneyland.

Relax

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If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland, you already know that it is the Happiest Place on Earth. The parks are magically filled with hundreds of beautiful sights, smells, and sensations, and there is no way that you could possibly see everything in only one day.

Relax! That’s how it’s supposed to be. If the magic of Disneyland could be summed up in 12 hours, there’s no way people would visit as often as they do. So enjoy yourself! Don’t rush it. Breathe in the churro-scented air, gaze up at the windows on Main Street, U.S.A., chat with the cast members as you stand in every ride queue, and realize where you are. Grab a “First Visit!” button from City Hall and smile!

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Have a General Idea of What You Want to Do

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Take me back to the Disneyland 60th…

You do not by any means need to plan out your entire day(s). I remember when Chris and I were planning our WDW trip, everyone said that you need an itinerary for every day: fast passes, dining reservations, parade times, and fireworks seating all had to practically be memorized!

Disneyland isn’t like that. With around 70% of attendees being Annual Passholders or locals, there’s no way the parks could require us to have each day planned out every time we visit.

However, it is a good idea to have a general idea of what you want to do. Want to eat at a specific restaurant, like Carnation Cafe on Main Street or Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square? You should make a reservation 2-8 weeks ahead of time, just to be sure. But when it comes to what to ride or watch, just have an idea of which lands you want to conquer and go through your day accordingly. Grab your fast passes for Space Mountain and Indiana Jones when they’re available, utilize the single rider lines if you want to, and know what time the parade will come through.

Having a general plan for your day will help you worry less so you can have way more fun! But don’t forget that this is your time to escape reality, so take advantage of strolling through the park in the evening and people watching on a bench in the afternoon.

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Carnation Cafe breakfast = A M A Z I N G 

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Don’t miss World of Color!

 

Don’t Miss the Hidden Gems

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There are so many hidden gems throughout the Disneyland Resort, and don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for them!

There are hidden Mickeys everywhere, names of notable Disney Imagineers and Legends on the windows on the second story of Main Street buildings, and fun Easter Eggs (references to things in the Disney universe) throughout rides and attractions. So grab a caramel apple, take a seat somewhere, and look and listen. You never know what you’ll see or hear!

Some experiences we love include

  • Watching the neon lights turn on one-by-one in Cars Land while listening to “Life Could Be a Dream.”
  • Sitting on the corner of Main Street and counting how many “family reunion” t-shirt groups we can see
  • Strolling through New Orleans Square and gazing longingly at the entrance to Club 33
  • Buying a caramel apple at the Candy Palace and eating it while watching a nighttime parade
  • Ride Dumbo at night to take in all of the Fantasyland lights from a new perspective
  • Grab a gingerbread cookie and hot cocoa from the Grand Californian during Christmastime

 

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Decide When You Want to Visit

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Are you planning a trip for the middle of summer, or are you visiting during the holiday season? Are you a Halloween or Christmas fan? Do you want to go for Mickey’s birthday or Disneyland’s anniversary? Is Easter or Spring Break your scene?

Take a look at the average weather for Anaheim during the time you’re planning to visit. Chris and I have gone in the middle of summer during Disneyland’s July heat, and we’ve visited in the winter on rainy days. It all depends on what you want to see while you’re there (and when you can fit the trip into your schedule).

For a first-time trip, I suggest getting a two day, one-park-per-day ticket. If you can swing it, go for three days with the park hopper option. But ultimately, do what is in your budget and best for you.

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And that’s it! That is my advice for any Disneyland newbie. And just for fun, here are a few things I always love to eat, ride, and do 🙂

  • Try a Monte Cristo sandwich at least once.
  • Ride Space Mountain at least TWICE. 
  • Be surprised at the boulder every time you ride Indiana Jones (it always gets me!!)
  • Thank and compliment cast members who are simply sweet or go the extra mile.
  • Tell every dressed-up little girl she is a beautiful princess!
  • Meet characters (and show them you’re excited!): bow at the Queen of Hearts, address Dr. Facilier properly, and tell Tinker Bell you know the water fairies where you’re from.
  • Eat a churro every time.

 

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The most magical night, even with the rain.
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EPCOT with my Best Friend 💞

EPCOT with my Best Friend 💞

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Welcome to another WDW blog post! This time, I’m taking you along with us to EPCOT!

EPCOT was absolutely stunning. From the moment we walked into this park, I knew it would be a favorite. Who am I kidding, I knew I would love it even before we got on the plane! EPCOT is a breathtaking park with so much going on: from Future World to the World Showcase, every section of this park is a different vibe. If this day wasn’t incredibly hot and humid, we would have been strolling through at a much slower pace. This is definitely a park I can’t wait to revisit again.

At the time of our visit, the Food and Wine Festival was going on, and you bet Chris and I tried as much food as possible! We vlogged our whole experience (and EVERYTHING we ate) so check it out here.

This day was by far a vlog-more-photograph-less day, meaning most of what we did is documented in our video. But here are some of the photos we took!

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It was so amazing to finally see Spaceship Earth in person! Such a cool ride. 🙂 
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BEST. FOOD. EVER.
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Pork belly and black beans!
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You could get lost in the Morocco pavilion! So cool and immersive. 

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The views in every corner of EPCOT are stunning. 
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My bff and I!
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Visiting the Japan pavilion only made us want to visit Japan even more than we already do!

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Lobster roll. Chris can never resist lobster!
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Seared scallops.
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Loved the Mexico pavilion!
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Gotta go to China soon!!!!
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A selfie in every place. This one’s Germany!

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So hot, so humid, so sweaty, so tired. This Frog Toggs towel was a life-saver!
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Italy! 
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THE. BEST. THING. I. HAVE. EVER. EATEN. The food in the France pavilion was my favorite. This is a croque glace (an ice cream sandwich): mango sorbet with raspberry sauce in between a brioche bun. AMAZING. 

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Our First Time Ever at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World!

Our First Time Ever at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World!

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Hey everyone! It has been too long since we got back from our epic adventure in Walt Disney World. Here is my second post about the trip!

I have included SO many photos of the trip in this post, from our gray stuff at Be Our Guest to our lovely encounter with the princess herself at Cinderella’s Royal Table. We rode every ride we wanted, ate every snack we wanted, and saw every show we wanted on this beautiful (yet SUPER HOT AND HUMID) summer day in Disney World.

Here is a link to our vlog of this day, and below are our photos. I can’t wait to share more! I want to do a reflective post of the whole trip in which Chris and I recap our tips and tricks for WDW first-timers! Let me know what you think 🙂

 

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My amazing bf made me these ears for my 22nd birthday, and I got to wear them on our trip 🙂 
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Cinderella Castle is breathtaking!

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The dishes recommended it 😉
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Kisses everywhere!

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I LOVE JOFFREY’S COFFEE!!

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ABSOLUTELY EPIC FIREWORKS!
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I was completely starstruck when I met Cinderella!

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Prince Charming 🙂 
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Super sweaty smiles

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Perfect ending to a perfect day!
WDW Day 1: Travel Day!

WDW Day 1: Travel Day!

Hey everyone!

Today I’m starting to share some pictures and a video of our first day in Walt Disney World! We had so much fun on this day. Traveling from CA to FL was no joke. It took us 9 hours with a layover, and we were totally exhausted when we arrived, but we were so hyped to be there that none of it mattered.

I only have a few pictures from this day, as well as our first WDW vlog of the trip! Let me know what you think! 🙂

 

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Outside the Magical Express! I loved taking this bus to our resort. We watched info about the Disney World parks and a few short Mickey Mouse cartoons. 🙂 
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I loved our hotel! Shoutout to Paul from Syracuse for snapping this pic of us. Memories of these special moments while checking into the Pop Century will forever be etched into my brain. I can’t believe how nice everyone is! 
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And our dessert from The Boathouse….this wasn’t in the vlog, so I had to share it here. SO. GOOD.

And here is our WDW vlog! I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed this day. 🙂 

Our Walt Disney World Plans

Our Walt Disney World Plans

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Photo by @shelbyrevis

Woohoo! Next month, Chris and I will be in Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL! This will be each of our first times visiting the Florida Disney parks, and we’re so excited to be doing it together!

We have been working with a Disney travel agent who has booked our dining reservations and fast passes for us. So awesome! Some of the things we are most excited for are

  • Eating lunch at Be Our Guest, a restaurant modeled after Beast’s castle
  • Riding Rock n Rollercoaster (okay, this one’s allllll Chris)
  • Walking around the Epcot World Showcase and dreaming about all the countries we want to visit together
  • Taking in Liberty Square (we don’t have it in CA!)
  • Going on a safari!!!!! (I CAN’T WAIT)
  • Watching the Star Wars fireworks

We’re also so happy to be visiting Disney World during the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. We have never attended the festival at California Adventure, so we’re stoked to be going to WDW during this time at Epcot!! Chris already has his heart set on a Le Cellier steak from one of the booths. This event might be one of the things we are most excited for—we got park hopper tickets so that we could take full advantage of it during as many days as possible!

While planning our trip, we watched a TON of Disney vlogs (shout out to Disney For 2 for being the best out there!!), read all the Disney Tourist Blog posts we could find, and poured over every restaurant menu. We wanted to make sure we made the absolute best out of our trip! We’ll be there for one week (Chris thinks it’s plenty of time, while I’m still begging to extend our trip).

This trip is especially magical for us because Disneyland is where Chris and I truly bloomed as a couple. We visited for the first time together during the first few months of our relationship, and ever since we have held Disneyland in a special place in our hearts. it is so wonderful to get to experience WDW as first-timers together, taking every inch of the parks in through fresh eyes. We’re itching to go!!!

I’m already planning my outfits, we got some new comfortable sandals, and Chris keeps asking when our Magic Bands will come in the mail. Are we eager, or what?

Thanks for reading! If you have any tips or tricks for navigating the parks, or if you want to share your favorite Disney World memories, send them our way!

Tea Time & Life Lately

Tea Time & Life Lately

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You can’t tell much from these pictures, but this tea place in San Jose was totally adorable. There were tree stump stools and tables, chalk board menus, and succulents everywhere. Too. cute.

One of our favorite things to do is explore new places to eat. So we decided to get out of the house on Saturday (well actually, I was in a bit of a funky mood and Chris agreed to take me out hehehe) and try a tea place we hadn’t ever heard of: Tea Lyfe.

Settled in Vietnam Town in East San Jose, this place is super cute and definitely a hidden gem, in my opinion. I got the Matcha Sensation, and at 80% sweetness, this was definitely my cup of tea (lol). Chris got the Mango Rose, which wasn’t his taste, unfortunately, but we both think he should stick to what he likes, more often than not. If this wasn’t so out of our way, I’d definitely go back sometime soon (okay it’s really not that far, but I mean who would say no to Share Tea?!).

Life lately has had its ups and downs. I’ve definitely gotten waves of homesickness since moving to the Bay, but keeping myself busy definitely helps a ton. I think just taking time to do new things with Chris helps me recenter myself and feel great. We started volunteering weekly together, and today he went to yoga with me. It made my heart so happy!

I’ve also been looking into grad school more and more lately. I just miss school so much already, and I only graduated two months ago! Learning is just my favorite. I’ve been reading a lot of articles and blog posts lately to feel inspired, and this book I’m reading has also been keeping me from getting into a grub life slump.

That’s all I’ve got for now! Thanks for reading 🙂

Summer in the ‘Lil City

Summer in the ‘Lil City

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My top is from Hollister, my skirt is from Romwe, and my shoes are from Target (I wear them basically every single day hahaha). 

Hey everyone! Long time no blog. It’s been so long since updating this website: I have graduated college, moved to the Bay Area, and begun working in my first full-time job. What the heck?!

I think over the past year I have truly found my style—and I am so excited to finally start updating this blog with more outfit posts! I love dressing in clothes that make me feel confident, and this outfit was perfect for my Saturday summertime lunch with Chris.

We had a day out in Palo Alto at the Stanford Shopping Center, and Chris—being the angel of a boyfriend that he is—snapped a couple photos of my outfit…and told me how to look cute in the pics. 🙂

Life in the Bay is definitely different. It has taken some getting used to! But something I love about it here is that there is always something to do. I have found myself discovering a new place every week, whether it is a little restaurant or a thrift shop. And that keeps life interesting.

I have found that working full-time can be very tiring and monotonous, so going out on the weekend (even if it is just a little outing to lunch in a nearby city, like Chris and I did) helps me to feel good and happy. I love staying home, but I can get very bored on the weekends if I spend all day inside!

That’s all I have for today! Thanks for reading and sticking with me, even after it’s been so long. Let me know your thoughts on what I should post next. You’ll be seeing a WDW update sometime soon.

Fall at Disney’s California Adventure

Fall at Disney’s California Adventure

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Last September, Chris and I visited Disney’s California Adventure for some excitement before beginning our senior year of college.

I know what you’re thinking….this post is long overdue. And I know! But this day was so fun, and I just realized that I should post the photos anyway so document the Disney memories.

As always, we were super excited to be heading to Disney… 🙂

On this September day, we had reservations for character dining at Storytellers in the Grand Californian! I HIGHLY recommend this place! Great food, great service, great character interaction. (We LOVED meeting Kenai from Brother Bear)

 

Next, we headed to Cars Land…my absolute favorite part of DCA!! The theming is amazing, and if you visit you MUST try Red’s Apple Freeze. It is basically frozen apple juice, and it will rock your world.

Also, can we talk about Cars Land at night??! Breathtaking! Neon lights! Life Could Be a Dream! You absolutely cannot miss Cars Land after sunset.

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Chris’s favorite part of DCA by far is Paradise Pier.  The vibes, the sights, the food, the coaster (which I clearly didn’t enjoy….)….he loves everything about it!

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The wharf area of DCA is super cool too! We love the Monterey Bay feel of this place.

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I finally got to see it’s tough to be a bug in a bug’s land. This show was my dad’s pride and joy! So fun and magical to experience it.

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And to close off the night, World of Color. This was our first time seeing this. Chris loved the Wall-E scenes, I cried….it was amazing!

If park hopper tickets weren’t so expensive, we would definitely be coming to DCA way more often. Both parks just have so much to offer, and we were so happy to spend an entire day here and really make sure we saw everything!

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What’s your favorite thing about DCA? Let me know! Maybe I will have to plan another trip soon… 😉

Planning Our Walt Disney World Vacation!

Planning Our Walt Disney World Vacation!

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That’s right! Chris and I are in the middle of planning our graduation celebration trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida!

We are so beyond excited for this vacation! It will be the longest trip we have taken together with just the two of us, and we are so giddy about making dining reservations and planning out our days at each park.

We are working with a travel agent for this trip, and so far that has made planning a lot more convenience. Of course we are doing most of the planning ourselves, but he did help us choose a hotel, hook us up with a Be Our Guest reservation, and advise us on various activities. He will also be booking our FastPasses for us when the time comes, so that takes a load off our shoulders.

Something that I have learned throughout this planning process is that Walt Disney World is intense!! It is practically mandatory to plan a vacation to WDW almost a year in advance, as hotels and restaurants book up very, very quickly. But while it is a bit overwhelming, the fun of it all outweighs any stresses.

We will be visiting to WDW this Fall (side note—we got FREE DINING! separate post to come!), and I will be writing about the whole planning process along the way. And you bet there will be posts about the actual trip once we get there!

If any of my readers have tips and tricks for us, please let me know in the comments!