Hi Friends! My family recently got back from a trip to California so I thought I would do a recap. I am going to sprinkle in tips about traveling with a toddler in case you are in the same boat.
Early Saturday morning we flew out. Don was awesome and lounged around and watched movies on my phone. I used the tips from this post for a mellow plane ride. One of the best things I did for this trip was subscribe to YouTube Red. This isn’t a commercial- just an honest mom, lol! So Don loves to watch garbage truck videos and YouTube Red lets you save videos and watch them offline (and watch them without commercials). So that means when it’s been a long day and naps may have been missed, he could watch a video in the car or in line or in a restaurant and save us all from a meltdown. This isn’t something we normally do, but it was awesome for vacation! We got a trial 30 day subscription- so try that if you are traveling with little ones!
We picked up our rental car and went straight to the Rose Bowl for a college football game. My husband is a big University of Utah fan so we planned our trip around their game against UCLA. Don had never sat through a football game, so I was a little nervous about it. He was great though! He watched videos, watched the game, colored, played with ice on the floor, ate snacks, and was pretty much awesome. Fewf- I was worried about having in a confined space for 4 hours.
That night we stayed in a Pasadena hotel that my husband booked. He had forgot to request a crib and when we arrived late that night, they said they didn’t have any. I was upset because Don and I both sleep terribly when he is in bed with us. I had purposefully only booked suites so he could have his own room, so I wasn’t happy that Don would have to sleep in our room, plus I was concerned about safety (I have a friend who’s daughter broke her collarbone from falling out of a hotel bed recently). So I called the front room guy again to see if he had a crib or pack and play. When he said no, I asked him to call his manager. He was a younger guy and I guess he had never seen a pack and play, but his manager told him where one was and he brought it up to our room. Hooray! So be smarter than us and request one when you book the hotel.
On Sunday we started out at a local farmer’s market. We got a bunch of local fruit that was so nice to have for our trip. Then we had a beach day! The weather was beautiful while we were in California and Don LOVED the beach!!! We had a blast playing in the water and sand! The last time Don was at a beach he was 11 months old and wasn’t as mobile, so it was a treat to go now that he’s older. Another reason we were in California at that time was to see my sister. She and her family live in Ohio and we were thrilled to meet-up at the Grove that night! Don hasn’t spent much time with these cousins and so it was so fun to see them interact!
On Monday we headed to the Long Beach Port. Don loved seeing the trucks coming and going. We walked along the water and then rented a bike (one of those 4-seaters so Don could be seatbelted in). He, unfortunately wasn’t much of a fan. We had lunch with my sister and celebrated her birthday. That night we checked into our Anaheim hotel the Annabella Hotel. Guys this hotel is amazing- it’s right across the street from Disneyland (you can see the Screamin’ California rollercoaster from the hotel!). We got the kid’s suite which had a master bedroom and two small rooms for kids. Don got the car’s themed room and loved it!
Tuesday was our Disneyland day! We got there right when the park opened. One thing I did to prep was create a sheet that lists every ride with no height restriction (aka every ride Don could go on) in each park. I then marked which ones had Fast Pass access so we could take advantage of those. That morning I crossed off all closed rides. We then had a cheat sheet of the rides to head to. It was super convenient! Is you are headed to Disneyland, I made this into a printable so you can use it too! Just fill out your information below:
When we got in the park we headed straight back to Fantasyland. We decided to take it slow and started on the carousel. Don loved it!!!! Watching his face as he found out that the horse goes up and down was super adorable!!! We rode lots of rides in Fantasyland and then headed over to have some lunch. We loved having the Disneyland app downloaded on my phone. It was super convenient for seeing menus for meals, finding restrooms, and figuring out when Don could meet Donald Duck. Before our trip I asked for Disneyland tips and everyone said to make time for naps. My husband wasn’t into that idea (I’m shaking my head writing this) and so we kept going. On Pirates of the Caribbean he was clearly pretty much done. He covered his ears and fell asleep on the ride. I had really wanted to rent a stroller, but again my husband wasn’t into it so we went without one. Most of the time it was awesome to not have to find it after each ride, but I had to carry that 35 lbs baby for awhile and I got super tired! My husband tried carrying him, but he woke up. So by 5pm, Don was exhausted. We rode Autotopia and then headed to the hotel. Needless to say, Don had an epic meltdown and screamed nonstop on the walk back. It was not pretty! So be smarter than us and make time for a nap!
Wednesday we slept in and then headed back up to Pasadena. The highlight of our day was going to the children’s museum! It was such a nice one- there were tons of outdoor activities including playing in the mud, a huge water table, and an area for wading. Don loves water so it was such a treat! We will definitely take the time to go to more children’s museums while traveling!
Thursday was our final day in California. We started with a little pool time. Our main activity was visiting the Getty museum. They had a free stroller to borrow and it was so nice! By this time in the trip I was a little tired from carrying our little guy everywhere. We really should have brought a stroller, but it worked out. The museum was beautiful and such a treat to see. There was a small room that was child friendly with a coloring activity, so that was nice. We flew home that afternoon. Don slept and again was so good on the plane.