Disneyland - A family review

This week we have a review of Disneyland Anaheim from the ‘BrizzyFamily’. BrizzyFamily are a couple in their 30’s with two girls aged 8 and 9 whom also travelled with their brother in law and the grandparents (Gran and Pop). One of the grandparents, Pop was in a mobility scooter. 

Where did you stay in Anaheim?
We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel which was absolutely fantastic and worth the extra money. Lovely rooms and the Character Dining was the best. 

Character dining?
Yes we did and the best was Goofy's kitchen which was located at the Disneyland hotel and was absolutely wonderful and also worth every penny. We also went to Ariel’s Grotto, but would not go back there as the food was not that good. It was however the only one which had great Princess Characters (especially Ariel). [Note: Ariels Grotto closed in 2018 and was replaced with a new Restaurant 'Lamplight Lounge.' This new restaurant does not have Princess meet and greets.  The Disneyland official website recommends going to Fantasy Faire in Disneyland instead to get your Princess fix].

Disney Dining was excellent. The characters came up to the tables and spent private time with our family, with no line up. They also sign autograph books if you have a book which we did that we brought from home. We did get photos done with the characters both on our phones and the professional packs. Food was good in Goofy’s kitchen but we found it still not as good as Australian food. More often than not the food was not good (character dining or not) but we did not do the character dining for the food. Having said that the Surf's up restaurant in one of the Disney hotels and Ariels Grotto Kitchen are really the only ones to stay away from if food is a high priority but we had the time and the girls had their heart set on Arials Grotto Kitchen. They had angel hair pasta with a little butter and they loved the food. The kids were not difficult to please but my partner had really bad Baramundi. 

Goofy's Kitchen Disneyland
Goofy’s Kitchen ©BrizzyFamily

Ariel's Grotto, California Adventure Park
Ariels Grotto Kitchen ©BrizzyFamily

Ariel's Grotto, California Adventure Park
Ariels Grotto Kitchen ©BrizzyFamily

Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, Chip and Dale Breakfast
Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, Chip and Dale Breakfast ©BrizzyFamily

Other places to eat?
Actually the best food for our family was in Disneyland at the roaming carts. They had corn cobs and wonderful turkey legs. We also loved Gaston's Rose Tavern as it had great burgers. There were also really yummy pickles to snack on and of course the Dole Whip. 
The Blue Bayou was outstanding and worth the experience of being in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (We didn't take the kids to this - Gran and Pop looked after our girls whilst we ate an adult meal). My partner had an amazing Bouillabaisse soup and I had a fancy chicken main meal but I think the girls would have loved it and they did have kids meals at the Blue Bayou. 

One of my other favourites was the Mint julep drink in the New Orleans section and the Gambo soup. Yum. I often liked the food that was out in carts as a snack (eg turkey legs). 

What were your favourite rides and why? Did this differ between kids and adults?  
My favourite ride was the Peter Pan ride as I enjoyed it as a child in 1989 and it was just as good as an adult in 2017. My husband loved Pirates of the Caribbean but also loved Peter Pan. Our two girls also ranked the Peter Pan ride as the best but the 10 year old also ranked Cars as her favourite and our 8 year old also loved Alice in Wonderland. Both kids also loved Splash Mountain and both fought over the front seat! I also loved Cars and Ariel and the Frozen show in California Adventure Park.  

Frozen stage show
Frozen stage show ©BrizzyFamily
In Disneyland for us, top of the list were the shows both Micky's magical hat and the Rapunzel play. Both gave everyone’s feet a rest to continue on for a longer day.  Both fireworks were good in Disneyland although we did not have a great view of the main fireworks with Tinkerbell flying across the sky as there were so many people and the trees got in the way. Fantasmic was better, unique and something more Disney but you need to line up early to get a good spot or get a Fast Pass. 

Star Wars Jedi Training
Our youngest child took part in Jedi Training and loved it ©BrizzyFamily

Star Wars Jedi Training
 Jedi Training ©BrizzyFamily
Rides that were scary for the kids? Recommend? Incidents?
We did not go on the ones like Space Mountain which sounded scary and we were actually warned not to take the kids on these rides.

Did you do a Park Hopper ticket? How easy was that?
Yes we got the Park Hopper. However, I think it is more efficient to just spend the day in one park and not swap but as we had such a large group it did make meeting up easier as other members of our extended family could go to both parks. 

The Guest Assistance Card
As Pop had a medical condition, he was able to get a Guest Assistance Card. A lot of the rides you could remain in the scooter, but some rides have alternative entrances to get on the ride. You can get a Disability Access Services card from City Hall (Disneyland) or Chamber of Commerce (California Adventure).

Did you get a FastPass/Maxi Ticket? 
We did not use the FastPass as my Father in Law had the Guest Assistance Card needing extra assistance. There was either an alternative entrance or a timed ticket for entry for my Father in Law and we were able to accompany him on the rides. It felt like we spent less time waiting in lines. This would be great to know with people who have disabilities  as it just would not be possible for a lot of families to attempt to line up with certain conditions. 

How did you find California Adventure Park in comparison to Disneyland?
Both parks amazing but definitely a more adult feel in California Adventure Park as there was alcohol and seemed more rides the little kids could not go on. 

Did your kids like the Enchanted Tiki room? Did you try the Dole Whip?
The whole family absolutely loved the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Dole Whip. Thank you so much for the tips on going to get that. It is a memory forever. 

 How did you cope with Jet lag?
Jet lag was horrible and we did not recover so we did just stay up late in parks which was ok but would have liked to get to the US a couple of days earlier to reset out clocks. We flew from Brisbane to Los Angeles and the kids were asleep when we arrived at the airport at 8am in the morning. We had trouble waking them at the Los Angeles airport.

Any comments on the Halloween experience at Disneyland? Recommend or not to visit this time of year?
There were Pumpkins everywhere and for Australian's that don't really celebrate Halloween to the same level it was interesting but probably not a season we would pick again. The Haunted Mansion was very colourful in 'A nightmare before Christmas theme' but the line-up was very long as it was the first weekend opening. 

Thanks to Brizzyfamily for their review of Disneyland Anaheim.

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Until next week,

Whats new at Peter Alexander- just search 'Nemo, Peter Pan or Bambi'

You can read about other Disney Parks below:


20 Need to know tips for Magic Kingdom (this is really part 1 of this post!!)
How to save money staying at Walt Disney World
Disney's Hollywood Studios - what to see and do before Star Wars Land opens
Why Halloween is the best time of year to visit a Disney Park 
My top 6 theme park rides in Orlando and why
The rides and attractions at EPCOT
EPCOT World Pavilions Part 1
World of Pandora at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Tips and Advice from WDW Castmember Part 1
What’s inside the Disneyland Castles Part 2
How to plan a Disney Wedding 
Planning Tips for Someone without a Car
Interview with an Annual Passholder -WDW

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