Next month, my entire family of five is going to visit Disneyland for a few days before a nearby conference. My husband and two sons have been to Disney World several times, but never to Disneyland. I’m giddy with excitement!
Why am I so excited when I was just at Disneyland last year? Well, one thing that remains constant about Disney parks is that there is always something new and different from our last visit.
This will be the first time my husband and boys will get to experience California Adventure. This park is unlike any other Disney park!
Last year when I visited, Cars Land blew me away. Disney Imagineers did a fabulous job with the Radiator Springs Racers ride. I felt like I was in the movie!
Different Versions of the Same Rides
If you’ve been to both Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom park in Florida, you’ve probably noticed that the same rides are different in each park. Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion….they all look different and have different ride features.
Of course, “it’s a small world” is probably the biggest difference! I only wish we were visiting during its holiday transformation.
“New” Rides, Plus My Very Favorite Ride
Disneyland has rides not available at Disney World that I’m excited for my family to try. There’s the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Matterhorn, Casey Jr. Circus Train, Storybook Land Canal Boats and Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, to name a few. Since Mickey’s Toontown hasn’t been at Disney World in several years, my boys will enjoy exploring this whimsical place.
However, my absolute favorite ride from any Disney park is the Indiana Jones Adventure ride. I couldn’t ride it during my visit last year because my daughter wasn’t tall enough. I’m not sure if she will be tall enough this year, but at least I can do the rider switch pass with my husband this time. I hope the ride is still as good as I remember. It’s been 15 years since I’ve been on this ride!
Blue Bayou Restaurant
I’ve been to Disneyland over 50 times (I used to work for Disney and lived an hour away), but I’ve never had lunch or dinner in the Blue Bayou restaurant. The restaurant is inside the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride!
Every time I’ve gone on the ride, I’ve thought to myself that I should make a reservation at Blue Bayou. This will be our chance! (Readers, has anyone dined here?)
Summer of Heroes with Marvel Characters
From May 27 through September 10, 2017, California Adventure is having a Summer of Heroes. The new Guardians of the Galaxy ride is opening in place of the old Tower of Terror.
There will also be other activities and meet and greets with Marvel characters, including Spider Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Groot! My kids would love to participate in the Avengers Training Initiative, which sounds like a Marvel version of the Jedi Training Academy.
Since Disney does not have the rights to Marvel characters east of the Mississippi due to a previous contract between Marvel and Universal, we can’t see these characters at Disney World. My boys will be thrilled to get their Marvel fix at California Adventure!
Ok, I’m a nerdy travel geek on this one. But I admit, I’m excited to stay in a new hotel!
We are using points to stay at Hyatt House at Anaheim Resort/Convention Center. The hotel just opened last year, and I’ve never stayed in the Hyatt House brand before.
The room is large enough to fit my family of five and comes with free breakfast. We will be close enough to just walk to the parks, so we won’t have to deal with shuttle buses. Woohoo!
Of course, I’m excited that we are using points to make this trip happen. We hadn’t planned on going to this conference in California due to expenses from our Alaska cruise. But, using points for flights and hotels made this extra summer trip possible.
I had some leftover Southwest Rapid Rewards points from my Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa which we used for flights. I transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards from my Chase Sapphire Preferred card to Hyatt to book the hotel. We used my husband’s travel credit from his Chase Sapphire Reserve to book a night at Great Wolf Lodge Garden Grove.
This trip isn’t free, for sure. We still have to buy park tickets and food. But, there’s no way we would be making this trip without the use of miles and points from credit card sign-ups.
Are you tempted to visit Disneyland Resort this summer? What do you think about the addition of Marvel characters to the parks in California?
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Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.