I thought 20 months would be too young for him to really enjoy Disneyland. Boy, was I wrong! Turns out, you’re never too young for the Happiest Place on Earth (especially when you get in for free!). This kid was fully enamored with all things Disney and still, two months later, asks about Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Pluto Mouse (apparently they all have the same last name), Goofy is his “buddy,” and he still asks about riding the bus to see Donald Duck again. Who knew the shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel would be a highlight of the trip?
I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to do many of the rides but there was more than enough to keep him entertained. Pretty much everything in A Bug’s Land at California Adventures is toddler-friendly with no height requirements and there were a couple of Cars Land rides he could do, too. In Disneyland, he was tall enough for most of the Fantasyland rides, too, but he was not a fan of the indoor/dark rides. It’s A Small World was the only one that didn’t freak him out, so we stuck to the outdoor/open air rides instead. One tip for Disney with a toddler: bring family with you if you can! My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were there with us and it was nice to be able to still do the more grown-up rides with the husband while H napped or did other rides with Nonnie and Auntie. Also, buy a balloon. I don’t care that it was $10 for a Mickey balloon; that thing kept him entertained in between rides and made it easy to find each other again when we separated for the big-kid rides.
On a personal note, I was really conflicted when it came time to decide which camera/cameras to pack. I wanted to take film but I didn’t want to be concerned with missing “the shot.” So should I take digital, too? And if I’m only taking film, which film stocks do I take? And how many rolls? I decided on one film body, one lens, and two rolls of film so I could fully enjoy the trip without being distracted by my technology. I had my iPhone, of course, for some in-the-moment digitals but mostly stuck with film. And you know what? I actually regret that decision. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled with how the film photos turned out. But I wish I’d had my digital camera with me solely because I feel like I let the “one and done” nature of a film shot hold me back from shooting as much as I really wanted. Lesson learned for next time!
So, without further ado, here is our Disney trip on film. Enjoy!
When your auntie is a musician, you get a personal concert while waiting to board. *Film note – If you’re wondering why the two frames look so different in tone and color, it’s because the first shot is underexposed and the second is properly exposed. I’d never shot this particular film stock before so I was curious to see what it would look like underexposed. The difference is not by accident. 🙂
First day, we started at California Adventures. We went in during Magic Hour, which is an awesome perk of staying at the Disney Resort. You can get into the park an hour before it opens to the public! Most of the crowd went straight to Cars Land but we headed over to A Bug’s Land since we knew H would be able to ride pretty much everything in that area. Some of the rides we went on two or three times because there were literally no lines! We also “met” Goofy at least 5 times within the first 24 hours of arriving on Disney property. H now calls Goofy his “buddy” and asks me to “talk Goofy” with his Goofy doll at least once a day. I’ve managed to come up with a pretty good impression after so much practice!
You have no idea how many compliments the Husband got on that Yoda/Mickey hat! He bought it when we were at Disneyland about six years ago and, at the time, they were everywhere. This time around, we didn’t see a single Yoda/Mickey hat at any of the stores, which seemed strange since Star Wars is an even bigger attraction now than it was six years ago. We joked that it has become a collector’s item now!
The happiest/most crowded place on earth! We were there in the middle of the week, in February, and not during a time that there were any school holidays. And it was STILL that crowded.
Have you visited Disneyland with a toddler or small kid in tow? We’re thinking of going back in January or February, when he’ll be able to do a few more of the rides. Any tips or suggestions for the next time around?
All images shot on 35mm film (Fuji 400h and Kodak Gold 400)