Travel > Disneyland and LEGOLAND

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In the summer of 2014, we spent a week in California at Disneyland and LEGOLAND. We had gone to Disney World two years earlier with Holly's parents and wanted to try out Disneyland this time. I had been interested in LEGOLAND after seeing the advertisement for it before the Lego movie. The first four days were at Disney alternating between Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. We then drove down to LEGOLAND for a couple days. It took us a while to sift through the 2500 pictures we took. You know it's a good trip when you take that many pictures.

click picture to view the album from day 1

We began our first day in Disneyland. After the complimentary breakfast at our hotel, we crossed the street and entered the park. The basic layout is very similar to Magic Kingdom at Disney World. It instantly felt familiar as we walked down Main Street to the castle and Fantasyland. Many of the same areas/lands exist with many of the same or similar rides. Drew and Jamie were the first to get on a ride (King Aurthur Carousel) as Faith, Holly, and her parents were exploring the castle. Of course, we needed to go on Dumbo the Flying Elephant, it's a small world, the teacups. Etc. Some of the new things we got to try were Casey Jr. Circus Train and the Storybook Land Canal Boats. There was also a show at the Fantasyland Theatre. While Magic Kingdom recently opened the new area, Disneyland had Toon Town. This included a roller coaster both of the kids could enjoy, Chip 'n Dale's treehouse, the houses of Mickey and Minnie, Donald's boat, and Goofy's Playhouse. We also went on Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin ride. After a quick break for ice cream treats, we headed over to Tomorrow Land. The finding nemo ride is being renovated so we headed to Autopia so the kids could drive a car and then into Inovations to meet Thor and for Drew to do Ironman training. The other attractions we visited were Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and the Astro Orbitor. We got setup early for good seats for the parade which included the Frozen characters, several Mickey and Friends music floats, and Lion King (among others). After supper, we enjoyed the fireworks show over the castle and Fantasmic. The Fantasmic show is a bit different than the one at Disney World. It was nearly as long, but it did include a huge pirate ship with Peter Pan and Captain Hook. Drew fell asleep while we were waiting for the show to start and woke up just as the ship was leaving.

click picture to view the album from day 2

Disney's California Adventure was on the agenda for day 2. We read online to get fast passes for the Cars ride (Radiator Springs Racers) when you enter the park so we headed straight there. After securing those, we went into Cars Land. It is really amazing and made us feel like we were in the movie. There are a few rides (Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, Luigi's Flying Tires, and Radiator Springs Racers) there with the rest of the building being shops or food venders. We then made our way around to Paradise Pier. John and Jamie rode the California Scream'n rollercoaster while the kids went on King Triton's Carousel. We also did the Midway Mania ride and the giant Ferris wheel (Mickey's Fun Wheel). Next up was the swings ride, the jump'n jellyfish, and Goofy's Flight School (one of Faith's favorite rides). The little mermaid ride was also in this area which was a nice air conditioned break. We also enjoyed Soarin over California. When then needed to head back to Cars Land for our fast pass rides. The ride was really cool. It started off with you going through Radiator Springs and getting ready for the race. Then you pull up to the starting line and race the other car. It goes pretty fast and keeps the cars going back and forth for the lead. It's a photo finish every time. We got to see Mickey and his friends, Do McStuffins, Sofia the first, and Jack and the Neverland pirates at Disney Junior – Live on stage in Hollywood land. The show was followed by the main parade they have. It featured lots of Disney Characters from Monsters University, Toy Story, Bug's Life, and Cars. After the parade, we got in line for Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. The genie was hilarious and it was a really excellent show. In the evening is the World of Lights show on the water in front of the giant Ferris wheel. Faith and I kept riding the Goofy's Flight School ride since there wasn't a line right up until the beginning of the light show.

click picture to view the album from day 3

Back to Disneyland for day 3. This is the part of the trip where sleep deprivation starts to catch up with you. You basically try to get to the parks as early as possible and then stay until the end to maximize your time there. It becomes difficult to get up early each day and we ended up sleeping in a couple mornings later than we had planned too. Oh well we are on vacation, right? The first thing we did in the park was ride the fire truck. The driver said it was the one that Walt like to drive around before the park opened in the morning. We tried hitting the areas we missed out the first day at the beginning of the day so we headed over to the pirates of the Caribbean ride. We were able to ride it twice in a row with almost no wait. We then took a raft ride over to the pirate island and explored. A ride on the pirate ship used in Fantasmic was next. We explored the inside of the boat and found the captain's quarters, a kitchen, and a bunch of weapons. Drew and Faith both got to ring the bell on board. After the ride, Jamie headed for past passes for Splash Mountain while the rest of us went on the Haunted Mansion. We then went back to Toon Town to meet Minnie Mouse. The inside of her house is really cool and the kids enjoyed playing in there while we waited. Back to Fantasyland to hit some rides that we missed the first day. This included Mr Toad's Wild Ride, Peter Pan's Flight, and Pinocchio's Daring Journey. This was followed by another ride on Casey Jr. Circus Train and then the parade (same as the previous time). For supper, we ate at Little Red Wagon Corn Dogs. We decided to go to the early Fantasmic show so that Drew wouldn't miss the pirate ship again. It was the same show as before, but still really great. It was a bit crazy afterwards with everyone heading over to the castle to see the fireworks. We were a lot farther away this time, but still enjoyed the show.

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click picture to view the album from day 4

Our last day at Disney was spent at Disney's California Adventure. Again, the first thing we did was secure our fast passes for the Radiator Springs Racers ride. We then went through the Bug's Life area which we only briefly visited the first day we were here. Up first was the It's Tough to be a Bug! 4d experience. Then we got to meet Flick and ride Heimlich's Chew Chew Train, Francis' Ladybug boogie and Flik's Flyers. Drew found a huge leaf and decided to use it as part of his hat. We then circled around to Hollywood Land and went on the Monsters Inc ride: Mike & Sully to the Rescue! Right next door was Muppet Vision 3D so we enjoyed that next. Jamie and Jan took Drew into the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail while the rest of us went on the Grizzly River Run, which is a large river rapids tube ride. The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is a bunch of activities for kids. There is a huge climbing area with slide, a wall climbing area, and zip lines. Next we grabbed our seats for the parade. After that, it was time for our fast passes so we headed over to Cars Land. Grandma decided to watch this time. We decided to stop for ice cream treats at Ghirardelli which ended up turning into our supper since no one was hungry after that. We took a stroll through Paradise Pier and took another ride on Mickey's Fun Wheel and Toy Story Midtown Mania. Faith and Jamie headed over to Goofy's Flight School as the sun was going down and the rest of us grabbed seats for the World of Color light show. We ended up watching it from the back side since there was much better seating there. It was an interesting and enjoyable perspective.

click picture to view the album from day 5

After breakfast on the 5th day of our trip, we checked out of the hotel and drove south to LEGOLAND. After an enjoyable drive that included taking the wrong exit and Faith getting sick in the van, we arrived at the LEGOLAND hotel. The main lobby had a Lego castle/pirate ship with blocks all over the place for building things. The kids played while I checked in and then we were off to the park while we waited for our room to be ready. We started off at the aquarium where we saw all different kinds of fish including sharks and stingrays. We then had lunch and started hitting the rides in the park. We started off with the AQUAZONE wave racers and then the BIONICLE blaster (which Drew was too short to ride). Jamie and Faith tried the roller coaster out while Drew played in the nerf ball area near the Pharaoh's Revenge. It was not very crowded and the lines for everything were fairly short. Next up was the little airplane ride, the Dune Raiders, and the Beatle Bounce (which Drew loved). I got the call that our room was ready around 3pm, but we decided to stay at the park and go on more rides. The Dragon rollercoaster was next followed by rides for the kids on Royal Joust. It was a really cute ride. They rode Lego horses around a track. The ride moved them up and down a bit while moving like a horse trotting. Faith was brave enough to try the Knight's Tournament with Jamie. It is a ride where you are harnessed in on a long arm that turns you all around and upside down. Drew went into Hideaways (a climbing/slide area) while we were waiting for them. When then took an 'Enchanted Walk' and ended up in Miniland. Checkout the pictures of this area. It was really impressive, especially Las Vegas and New York. We exited Miniland right next to the Coast Cruise so we went on that next. Our last big ride for the night was Coastersaurus. We ended up in the front row and got to ride it twice in a row. Next up was one of the kids favorite things: Driving School. They had a Junior area for Drew's age and a bigger area for Faith's age. They were basically small go karts and the kids were supposed to obey the traffic signs and lights. At the end they were given a paper license. After a quick stop at Sky Patrol, it was time to search for dinner. They were offering free kids meals after 6pm so we took advantage of that. We ate at the Knight's Table BBQ. After dinner, we hit Splash Battle, Captain Cranky's Challenge, Treasure Falls, and Skipper School. When the parked closed at 8pm, we headed to the Lego store just inside the main gate and spent some money. We then picked up our keys and headed to the elevator, which was very cool. It had a disco ball and played music when it was in motion. The kids (and adults) loved it. It never got old and we even had some mini dance parties with people we didn't even know. Our room was pirate themed with a locked chest that the kids had to crack the code to open. The kids room had bunch beds, there was a king size bed, and then a sleeper sofa. It was very well done (see the pictures in the album). To crack the safe code, there were certain areas around the hotel they needed to go for each number of the code. For example, they needed to count the number of Lego picture frames across form the elevator on the first floor. Once they had the complete code, they open the safe and found some Legos to take home with them.

click picture to view the album from day 6

It's now the last full day of our trip. We decide to hit up the waterpark first thing since we hadn't been there yet. Since we were staying in the hotel, we got to enter the park an hour early. We went on the Safari Trek, Fairly Tale Brook, and back through the Lego movie experience with no lines. We also did the Fun Town Police and Fire Academy just before entering the water park. That ride was boys versus girls where you had to pump up and down in the vehicle to drive it to the fire. Once there, you needed to spray water at the fire until it is out and then jump back in your vehicle and be the first to the finish line. Boys won! The waterpark had a few different areas. We started off in DUPLO Splash Safari which include zoo animals that were shooting water and a small slide. Next up was the Build-A-Raft River. You basically floated along and grabbed big foam blocks out of the water to add to your innertube. Splash Out was the next area. It had a water shooter platform (Joker Soaker), side by side tube slide (Twin Chasers - Faith won the race), and a large 6 person tube slide. Next, we headed over to Crooler's Twist. These were smaller slides for kids with water shooters too. The Lion Temple Wave Pool was nice, but the waves didn't seem very big and they didn't allow innertubes in the pool. The last thing we did at the waterpark was Pirate Reef. This is a large log ride (4 or 5 rows of people). This was the one ride that actually had a decent wait. After the ride you cross the area where the log drops and can get splashed by the next riders or use the water shooters to get them wet. Around lunch time, we headed back to the hotel to dry off and get changed. We spent the afternoon hitting some of our favorite rides (driving school for the kids) and checking out DUPLO Playtown. This area feature a bunch of really cute buildings (barn, police station, hospital, etc.) that the kids played in. After a few more rides, it was time for dinner. John and Jamie ate at the same BBQ place as the previous night.

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We were able to sleep in the day we flew back home. After breakfast and playing with the Legos in the lobby for a while, we packed into the van to head north. On the way to the airport we stopped at the beach for a while to watch the waves crashing into the shore. An Amtrak train came by the beach while we were there. Travel home was pretty smooth except for a small delay in Denver and the 2 hour drive home that ended around 3am.