Disneyland FAM: A Unique Look at a Classic Theme Park
Written by: Sara on July 28, 2022
I’m a married, 37-year-old female without kids. My bestie is a 39-year-old female with a teenage daughter. We’re both self-proclaimed nerds, foodies, and Disney junkies. I have sensory issues that make traveling alone slightly difficult. So when I was invited to visit Disneyland for the first time, I couldn’t think of anyone better to join me. In fact, she was just as excited as I was to take part in this adventure.
Disneyland is Welcoming for Everyone
We stayed at the Grand Californian. This beautiful lodge-style resort beckons back to a time when California was a new frontier. The check-in experience was personalized to make you feel instantly at ease. If you have little ones, there’s a tv area with furniture that is their size, so they can watch cartoons while waiting to be checked in.
I mentioned my sensory issues to the cast members checking us in and they let us know what to look for on rides and also where quiet areas are located throughout the parks. The best thing about staying at the Grand Californian is that it is connected to California Adventure Park and only a short walk to the entrance to both parks.
Something that I found very wonderful for those who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. When my friend and I go out, we tend to be mistaken for a lesbian couple. I’m bi, my friend is poly, but we’re both in heterosexual marriages. We didn’t receive any odd looks or off-putting vibes from anyone at the resort or any of the parks. I absolutely loved the fact that it was just something normal and not treated as an oddity like we tend to receive.
Kids or No Kids
It doesn’t matter if you have little ones with you, Disneyland is for the kid inside each of us. Some of my favorite toys growing up were based on Disneyland–a train set of the park, Pixar Pal-A-Round, the merry go round, and the castle. I never thought my emotional reaction would be so strong when seeing these iconic attractions in person.
The guests’ age ranges were from preschool to teens hanging out with friends, adults, and even grandparents with the little ones. There were more than enough things to do that were just adult-focused and provided equivalent fun for youngsters too.
Tenaya Stone Spa at the Grand Californian delivers world-class services that are open to the public. For those that want to wind down, or just want to relax weary feet from days walking through parks, this is a must-stop visit. The beautiful interior is a magical experience of the senses that is based on Native American principles. The Step in Time foot massage is highly recommended and the mani-pedis use all organic and vegan products. The infused water is fantastic, but if you like hot tea, get it. (Winnie the Pooh fans will thank me later!) For those with mobility concerns, there is a wheelchair accessible changing/shower area inside the spa too.
Whether you are a picky eater or more adventurous, there’s plenty to experience on the plate and in the cup! Yes, there’s the famous Dole Whip…but The Pym Test Kitchen (food) and Pym Tasting Lab (bar) in the California Adventure Park inside the Avengers Campus offer very large and very small tasty options to try out! If you want to embrace your inner kid, the Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes has an assortment of “crazy shakes” that will keep you sugared-up. But the main thing you HAVE to try when going to Disneyland are the churros!
Geeking Out at Disneyland
I loved Marvel before it was cool and I love Star Wars. I grew up with comic books since my father owned a comic book shop. Being able to experience the Avengers Campus and Galaxy’s Edge as an adult was simply amazing! The park’s design alone was something straight from the comics/movies. Being able to see characters up close brought just as much magic as meeting Mickey Mouse.
For the gamers out there, make sure you download the play apps. There’s trivia, partner gaming, and even games specific to Galaxy’s Edge that you can play on and off rides while you wait. Just like in the video games, you can look for and scan codes. My friend who is BIG into gaming really enjoyed this added feature.
The Genie App with the Genie PLUS option is a lifesaver for those who have the fear of missing out. Lighting Lane helps cut down the wait time, especially on the rides that are popular, allowing you to experience more. The Tips Board allows you to preload what you want to experience. Then you will receive messages on best times to dine and ride, maximizing your experience.
2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the Electrical Parade in Disneyland. The parade has been on hiatus for several years, but this year is the time to go to experience the same fun and magic that you may remember growing up, with the addition of new floats. Elliot, from Pete’s Dragon is the symbol of the anniversary merchandise that is only available this year.
Insider tip: Check out the area close to It’s a Small World to see a light show projection from Encanto.
In the California Adventure Park, experience World of Color. This unique water show features scenes and songs from beloved Disney classics. The explosion of color takes place on the waters around Pixar Pier, with the Mickey Ferris Wheel counting down with a light show of its own. Be warned, if you are close to the magic, you will get wet.
No Disneyland trip would be complete without seeing the fireworks display at the end of the night. I love being on rides during fireworks, but if you want a fantastic view, try Sleeping Beauty’s Castle or in front of It’s a Small World. You can also check the Disneyland app for the best viewing locations based on the show that is going on during your visit.
Whether you go with your family, or go with your favorite group of friends, Disneyland really does have something for everyone. View more photographs from our trip on KHM Travel Group’s Flickr.
Learn how you can help others enjoy a magical experience at Disneyland. KHM Travel Group provides the resources and support you need to get started. Call us at 888.611.1220 or request more information on the form to the right.