Top Ten Disneyland Moments

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You know you’ve arrived as a parent when you find yourself facing your offspring in a spinning teacup at Disneyland. THAT, my friends, is a milestone. And while the assorted amusement park food vied for first place in the race to return from my gullet, I couldn’t help but feel happiness from every fiber of my being.


Do I really get to have this memory forever and ever? I do! Well, as long as I don’t lose my skittles to dementia, I do.

Disneyland was so fun. We went with my in-laws to celebrate a couple of birthdays and an anniversary. We all knew that the day would be incredible, but nothing prepared me for such sweet moments that came out of the blue at the Happiest Place on Earth.

I know I will want to share a few stories more in depth later on, but for now I’d like to throw out my top-ten unforgettable moments. I gotta do it while it’s still fresh, ya know?

Top Ten Disneyland Moments 

1.) Experiencing and watching others experience total bliss while in Disneyland traffic.

It was the darndest thing, you guys. I first noticed the phenomenon occurring in our own little car.

M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

Unmeditated, that jolly chorus slipped our lips and some crazy buoyancy seemed to tickle us all into dance.

And it wasn’t just us.

Lo and behold– vehicles of all sorts and families of all shapes were positively giddy in traffic.

Wha??? Had I been my usual cynical self I would have questioned the air quality and maybe taken some pictures of these goofy passengers.

Instead, I saw this and yah, kinda got emotional in the parking lot. Oh, and this was probably the only real, thought-out photo I got for the day. Once we got in the park I was a total space cadet for taking pictures. I’m telling you, something in the air…

2.) Watching my kids get over-the-top-excited over the character pictures in the parking lot and ticket booth.

Coco: “Mom!!! Loooooook! Minnie Mouse is on that wall!”

Me: “You have no idea what’s about to happen to you.”

3) Listening to a group of 13-year-old girls swap memories of “when they were little” on the tram ride into the park. My eyes kept jumping from them to Coco and back again.

You’re still little, I said in a quiet voice. Then I hugged my little girl a little closer.

4.) Taking a lovely respite in Downtown Disney. Tortilla Joes has some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten. Being able to eat real, delicious food while at a theme park adds an extra component of bliss to the day.

5.) Visiting the Build-A-Bear workshop and having Chaucer ask if Baby could get more stuffing. Now, this is one of those moments that is a whole story, but for now let me say this: cutest thing ever to watch my son talk to the Build-A-Bear worker. She was a sweetheart and totally hooked us up.

I learned that Baby fits in all the Build-A-Bear clothing and accessories. Oh boy. I have no problem with this, however, as I’m still reeling from our Toy Story.

6.) Letting my kids try cotton candy for the first time. They were disappointed, and I was delighted that it didn’t meet their expectations.


cotton candy sucks

7.) Discovering that Splash Mountain does NOT have seat belts.

Um. Why? What are they thinking? I sat in the very back with Coco and held onto her with every ounce of strength I could muster. I am sorry to say it, but she got off the ride in tears because her “tummy” hurt.

No darling, I believe Mommy just crushed several of your ribs to keep you from joining Brer Rabbit in the Briar Patch.

8.) Watching the parade and seeing Coco’s face when Sleeping Beauty blew her a kiss. I’ve never seen my kid so deliriously happy. I’d pay a whole ticket price just for that.

Ok, maybe half a ticket price. And throw in the TeaCups.

9.) Feeling the love. We all got so many hugs and kisses from the kids.

They were thankful and appreciative of everything. I mean it. I felt so very blessed to have them in such sweet spirits. There wasn’t one meltdown. I repeat:


10. Not getting our group photo until the end of the day. The rest of us were so over it, but my vigilant mother-in-law buckled down and made us obey.

I am so glad she did. Even though we look like a rag-tag crew, we have OUR picture for that sweet day.

Also, we were all under the impression that Chaucer was asleep during this time.

What a little creeper–he wasn’t!

So there you have it. My top ten memories. I’d love to hear about your favorite Disneyland memories! Have you gotten to take your kids yet? What age do you think is best for a kid’s first time?

20 thoughts on “Top Ten Disneyland Moments

  1. Chris Carter

    Hoping to take the kids possibly next year- it’s a big financial dig for us, so waiting for the perfect time they both can remember and appreciate all the rides etc. (Excuse for not having enough money!) SO glad you had such a beautiful memory building time!! It just sounds like “Kid Heaven” and seeing the joy in your kids…best blessing EVER. ????

    1. hillary

      It is so freakin expensive–thats for sure! But, with family living in LA it made it easy to get a full day in and feel like we got our money’s worth. If youre traveling from somewhere else I couldn’t imagine how pricey it could get!

  2. Anita

    Growing up in SoCal makes it easy to have a lot of Disney memories but the top moments were when the twins were 3, my first time there as a mom, like you, it makes the magic seems real to see it through their eyes. But another magical moment is fast forward several mommy trips later….my husband and some friends took me for my birthday sans our combined 9 kids. We were amazed at looking up, we hasn’t done that in so many years. You don’t realize that when you are there as a parent you only see the bottom of Disneyland but when you go as an adult there’s a whole new part of the park when you take the time to look up!

    1. hillary

      Yes–it is special to see it through both lenses! I cannot wait to go back ????

  3. Amanda

    Oh Disneyland is truly magic. I think my parents took me when I was 5 or 6. And then I went again alone with my Dad on a graduation from Primary school trip when I was about 12. I remember that I was convinced that the animals at the Jungle Cruise were real. When I went later, you can imagine my disappointment.

    Other than that, the parades! All the amazing rides! Seeing all the characters in real life, going inside a whale…

    1. hillary

      My kids loved the Jungle Cruise–I know they’ll be sad when they learn they are indeed fake. But its still such a fun ride to go on!

  4. Rhoda Jane

    My husband took me there for our honeymoon. Dream come true. Seriously. What a man. I had mentioned my dream early in our dating relationship and after we were engaged he said he was planning a Disneyland honeymoon. Hopefully when the kids are old enough to appreciate it (aka remember forever :-)) we will be able to go back. But since we are in Michigan, Disney World might be closer.

    1. hillary

      How fun! My brother and sis-in-law went there for their honeymoon too! They stayed at the California Adventure resort hotel. Sounded way fab. I think it is such a romantic place to be!

  5. adrienne

    So fun! I want to my kids Disney ASAP! My youngest is already 8, and it’s almost too late for the magic to still be magic. I love the little bugger that’s still awake int he last picture. He’s no fool! ????

    1. hillary

      I don’t think it’s too late! Especially now that they have California Adventure–there’s even more for the older kids to enjoy.

  6. Natalia

    My kids have yet to go to Disneyland! We’re such bad parents! But we’re taking them to Disneyland Paris this year for their birthdays! YAY!

    1. hillary

      Um, your kids have been all over freakin’ Europe, so you can’t say you’re a bad parent. And Disneyland Paris? UM I wanna go!

  7. Wombat Central

    We finally took our kiddos to Disney World a couple years ago. They were definitely old enough to remember it. I was glad we went while my girly was still thrilled to meet Ariel and my son was tickled to get a hug from Tigger!

    1. hillary

      So cute! Yah, there is definitely a golden age to take them where the “magic” is real!

  8. Mary

    I love Disneyland! I am afraid I will puke uncontrollably on/after the teacups (I can barely look at them) so I haven’t taken my kids on them. But the magic is strong there! One of my very favorite things about Disneyland are all of the smells. Flowers, Heimlich’s ride, Christmas parade, Main street, popcorn, corndogs, etc. So many ways for the magic to fill you!

    1. hillary

      OMG I love the smells, too! I live for that smell in the French Quarter. So many memories come flooding back whenever we walk through that part.

  9. Jeanne

    We’ve never been to Disneyland but took the kids to Disney World when they were 5 & 7 and then again 2 years later. Their first visit was the best! My son cried when it rained the morning of the fist day and exclaimed, “Stupid rain! It ruins everything!” The rain did stop within 15 minutes and we had an amazing time!!

  10. Kim

    How delightful! Isn’t Disney amazing??!! We never went to the park, but we got to go on a Disney cruise when our girls were in 7th and 9th grade. Their service set an incredible standard!! There were about 40 of us, and the crew did a standout job with all of us, all the time. The smiles on the kids faces, and ours, were plastered on for the week, and are still so much fun to look at in the pictures.

    So glad you got to go. Thanks for sharing the joy. You’ve brought a smile to my face just thinking about it!

    1. hillary

      Oooh a Disney cruise sounds incredible! I’ve always wanted to go to one! We had a blast and I cannot wait to go back ????


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