Last year we tried going to California but ended up going to Florida instead. This year we were finally able to make our way to Disneyland. We have never been to California together and have always wanted to make a little getaway there. So when Jaron had spring break around my birthday, the stars aligned.
We left Friday afternoon and arrived around 1 in the morning (2am Utah time). We were so tired, I became delirious. You know when you’re so tired you cry and laugh about everything? I was at that point. So you can imagine my surprise when we woke up the next morning at 6:30. We were sure we had slept until 10 at least.
The Beach & Downtown Disney
We spent the first day at Newport Beach and Balboa Island. Upon our arrival at the pier, I noticed something strange. I had been there before… as I looked around, I realized this is where I went on my choir tour in high school. AND this was the place I vowed to never eat a hot dog ever again. It was so crazy to realize I was in this exact same spot again. I remembered the bench I sat on while I ate that disgusting hot dog and fries meal.
We walked up and down the pier and then ventured out to the beach where we walked out on the pier over the ocean. As Jaron and I leaned over to look at the water below, I turned to him to tell him to be careful with my camera that was strapped around his neck. In doing so, I knocked the cap to my lens off and into the ocean. I stood there in shock as it hit the water and began to float. We spent the next half hour watching it move closer to the shore and further away and then closer again. I gave up hope and walked down the rest of the pier.
On our way back, we decided to check on it again and saw that it got much closer to the shore. Upon seeing this, Jaron ran down to the beach to ask someone to get it for us in the water. It was a crazy experience but eventually the lens cap made it close enough where someone could grab it. This was the most successful outcome we could have imagined. We are still cracking up about the whole thing.
On our way back from the beach we stopped at the swap meet. This was like a fair with a bunch of vendors selling all sorts of cool stuff. We ended up getting new sunglasses.
Our second to last stop of the night was Downtown Disney. We walked around all the shops and ate dinner at a pizza place. While we were eating we had someone offer to take a picture of us and give us a free copy. We allowed him to take the picture and thought nothing of it. As he walked away, we started to panic thinking it was a scam. We thought of all the ways it could be a scam and then prayed it wasn’t. Lucky for us, he came back with a print out and gave it to us for free like he said. He also offered some other prints with frames and we saw that that is how they get their money. We politely told him no and had no problems.
One of the cool shops at Downtown Disney was like Build-A-Bear but for RC cars. Jaron was in heaven. We weren’t able to do one, but it was so cool to see that you can customize each part and build your own car.
After Downtown Disney we stopped at In-n-Out for shakes. We weren’t quite ready for dinner but really wanted to get a treat. BIG mistake. Of course by the time we get and eat our shakes, we realize how badly we need dinner. So we go back through the line and get burgers. However, we learned that the optimal number of times to go to In-n-Out on vacation is two.
The Getty Villa
The second day we drove up to The Getty Villa along Pacific Highway One. Traffic was pretty bad but we got to drive on some pretty cool roads. We took the curvy route on Sunset Boulevard and saw amazing houses. The Getty Villa is a museum built like an ancient roman home, complete with gardens. It is full of Greek and Roman antiquities. We loved walking around and pretending we were in Rome.
On our way back to my aunt’s house, we decided to drive through Beverly Hills and see Greystone Park and mansion. This was by far the coolest thing we have done so far.
This huge mansion was built in the 1920’s and is the biggest mansion in Beverly Hills, but no one lives there now. It has been the backdrop for several movies and tv shows, including Gilmore Girls. It is the place where Rory goes to Chilton, her private school. I was pretty much freaking out the whole time we were there.
The next day we went to California Adventure. This was our first time being there so we got lost a few times. The first thing we did when we got there was ride Soarin’. This was super fun because it used to be Soarin’ over California and now it’s over the world. There is footage from places like Fiji, Egypt, Paris, and even Utah. After exploring for a while, our next stop was Toy Story Mania. We absolutely love this ride. I’m not sure why it is so much fun, but it is.
We grabbed lunch at a Mexican place and then went to Cars Land.
Cars Land definitely measured up to our excitement. We had so much fun. It is literally the movie created in real life.
You walk down the street and see all the shops they have: Luigi’s tires, the hippie juice place, Ramone’s, Flo’s, and the Cozy Cone.
We could not believe how perfect it was. It’s the most true replica Disney has made.
We were able to ride the Radiator Springs Racers. I was super nervous about it and almost had a nervous breakdown as we got on it. I do NOT like roller coasters. At all. There are few “big” rides that I actually go on. I fought back tears and told myself it wasn’t a big deal. As the ride started going, I realized it was just like Test Track from EPCOT. It had the same cars and the same design. The only difference is the outside track has more drops and you are racing another car.
I was fighting tears as I got off, just because it was a lot for me to handle. But I definitely think I will ride it again. We were hoping to, now that I know I can handle it, but it closed later that day.
Some of the other highlights of the park are the Monster’s Inc ride, the Golden Zephyr, and bug’s land. We also enjoyed the food. We ate way too much, but were really good at sharing everything we bought. Most meals there can be split between two people.
And then finally, we went to Disneyland! Honestly we had a little bit of a hard time getting excited as we were walking in. We are so used to going to Disney World, and this just felt different. (I know #spoiledmuch) But one of the reasons I love going to Florida is because my family has gone so many times and so we have the best memories there. It wasn’t like being in Florida so we didn’t have those memories to jumpstart our excitement.
We decided to get fast passes for Indiana Jones first thing. Walking up to the ride, my nerves started to kick in. But I knew I had some time before we could ride it so I pushed them aside. Jaron really, really wanted to conquer this ride. When he was little, he went on it and cried because he was so scared. He has regretted it ever since.
We got the passes and looked around for more rides to go on while we waited. We were hoping to get my courage up by starting small and working towards it. We went to fantasyland and rode a few rides until it was time. When we got back to Indiana Jones, I was on the verge of a total meltdown. I didn’t feel good but I wanted more than anything to not disappoint my husband. But I was too nervous. I became increasingly sick to my stomach as we went through the line. Jaron said he just wanted me to wait in line with him, but then I could walk to the exit. I tried really hard to want to ride, but I just couldn’t. We approached the ride and found a spot I could wait for him to get off. A few minutes later he came back with a smile on his face. He conquered the ride, and tried not to look too happy about it. He finally said “this is the best made ride Disney has ever done.” The detail, the story, the technology. He loved it all. He also admitted it was a relief for me to not be on the ride with him because he would’ve been worrying about me instead of enjoying it (which was one of my fears I expressed before he got on.) On our way out, we decided to get another fast pass and give me a chance to do it later.
We went to lunch in New Orleans square and got beef stew in a sourdough bread bowl. It was delicious! Sourdough is one of my favorite things. After lunch we hit Haunted Mansion and a few more rides. Soon it was time to go back to Indiana Jones. This time I didn’t give myself an out. I knew I could do this. I knew I’ve done it before when I came in high school, and I even liked it. I knew I could procrastinate the paralyzing anxiety I had and just push through for Jaron. He had already ridden it and knew where the scary parts were. And, he said it wasn’t as bad as the cars ride we rode the day before. This helped me know I could do it. We walked again through the line and the sickness in my stomach came back. I did all I could to push it away. I decided I was going to grin and bear it. And that’s exactly what I did. I kept a smile on my face the whole ride, even when I was terrified. I held on tight, and kept whispering to Jaron “Is this where it drops? Is this the big one? Does it get worse than this?” I made it. And it wasn’t too bad. Naturally, I was shaking when I got off. A little uneasy and unsure of how to feel. But it was better than the cars ride experience. It was kind of fun. So on the way out, we grabbed yet another fast pass. Because I always enjoy rides more the second time.
We went through more of the park and rode rides that I have never seen before. One of my new favorite rides was the Storybook Land Canoe. You ride a boat to the land of stories. They have miniature versions of all the castles and villages in the Disney classics. The cast member on the boat tells you the stories as if you are traveling through and witnessing events that actually happened. It was so cool.
We finished up through fantasyland with It’s a Small World and the Alice in Wonderland ride. Jaron was a good sport and rode the teacups with me even though they make him super sick.
We ran around the rest of the night, trying to hit everything we could. Since we kept going back to Indiana Jones, we went through the park all out of order. The second time I rode it, I enjoyed it more.
We made it to the Finding Nemo submarine when it was dark outside, making it even scarier to ride. But we really enjoyed it. I had to try really hard not to have a panic attack being in such a small space in the dark with so many people. But I survived and I’d probably ride it again.
We rode Autopia and Jaron let me drive, like he always does. We pretended we had just met and I was British. So I talked in an accent the whole ride and we had a total blast. By the end of the day we could hardly stand on our feet. They were so sore from two days of Disney running. But we stuck it out until the very end. Instead of watching the parade, we went on Star Tours and our new favorite, the Astro Orbiter. It’s not as high or scary as the one in Disney World, but it was still really fun. We were the last ones on the ride because the park had already closed by the time we got on.
The Final Day
On our last day, we decided to sleep in because we were truly exhausted. We first went to Beverly Hills and drove to Rodeo Drive. We found valet parking (feeling like royalty) and went to explore. We were too intimidated to go in very many stores, but had a blast walking up and down the street. We worked up enough guts to take a few pictures without feeling too dumb. Jaron was in heaven with the car scene. He saw cars that he had never seen in real life before.
After lunch we drove to Griffith Park. This was something I wanted to do back when we were planning the trip. Griffith Observatory was featured in La La Land and I was just dying to see it.
The road to get there was very long and very windy through the mountains. We climbed higher and higher until we reached the top and could see the whole city below. It was pretty magical.
There were hundreds of people there, it was totally packed. We walked through the observatory while we waited for the sun to set. There were so many cool things, Jaron was in heaven.
We ventured outside as the sun went down and the view was just spectacular. We took as many pictures as we could with all the people around us. We finally saw the Hollywood sign in person, something neither of us had seen before. We walked around on the roof and just watched the sun go down. It was magical and perfect in every way.
On our way back for the night, we decided to drive through “Hollywood.” I really wanted to see the stars on the ground and all the famous theaters. We found the street and drove down what seemed like a mini Times Square. It was exactly how I had imagined and I loved seeing it in person. We would’ve liked to walk up and down the street, but it was late and we were tired. Plus, it didn’t look super safe at night.
Overall, it was an amazing trip. We were able to do everything on our list and had a blast doing it. I hope it’s the first of many. Something tells me it will be. 😉