Sorry this is a duplicate post as I accidentally put it in the Orange County Forum. **Since I appreciate everyone sharing their tips on here and I love reading trip reports, I thought I would pay back for those interested. My memory is not the greatest so there will e some gaps I think but feel free to ask questions. We left from Christchurch to Auckland (New Zealand) and then a 12 hour flight to LAX. There was myself, my daughter and son-in-law, and my two grandsons age 3 & 5. They have been to the theme parks in the Gold Coast Australia last year in preparation for this trip, to make sure they would be ok on rides. Master 5 threw up a bit just before landing and we assumed it was because it was quite a bumpy flight.
Sept 5. We arrived and caught the Disneyland Resort Express to our accommodation at the Castle Inn and Suites. We had asked for two rooms, the family suite with a separate bedroom for the parents and kids and a standard room for me. Well somehow we ended up with both rooms being family suites so that was a bonus. Nobody said we had been upgraded so I never said anything in case it was a mistake lol. It was a standard motel, not flash but comfortable and clean, all I ask really. The location was about a 10 minute walk to the Disneyland gates, so quite good but as we walked miles and miles each day and my feet gave me grief, I wished for the Carousel Inn which has now been demolished but was just directly across from the gates. Anyway we made our way to the new Pizza Press for dinner and the pizzas were as good as I remember. Then about 8pm we headed to the Disneyland gates to swap our 10 day vouchers for tickets to save time in the morning. Master 5 then promptly threw up on the ground by the ticket booth. Very embarrassing but the staff were excellent and assured us not to worry. He remained a bit off colour for the next couple of days but recovered quickly.
Thursday Sept 6: At last the day I had waited for - taking the boys to Disneyland for the first time. We had been advised to ask at the gate or any of the shops for a "first visit" badge (you have to call it a button apparently or they don't know what you mean) which was kindly given free to the boys and they were thrilled. The park was not open until 10am today. We hurried to Peter Pan first and it was still quite a wait in line but still worth it as it is a nice one to start the boys off on. We also did the Pirates of the Caribbean which they found a little scary the first time but still enjoyed. I can't remember the others that day, we took a break in the early afternoon and went for a late lunch at the ihop across the road. The food was ok, big portions as typical of the US and maybe not to my taste but the kids enjoyed it. Grandma would have liked a wine but it was not licensed :-). We went back to the motel for a sleep for the boys and then back to the park. Sometime today we watched the Pixar Parade which was ok but I like the old traditional Disney and did not know many of the Pixar characters. Crowds were not bad at all today.
Friday Sept 7: Time for Disney California Adventure and the long awaited Radiator springs racers. I had watched this a few times on Youtube and it looked good, but it was SO much better actually being on it. Really outstanding in all respects. I think the boys were a little frightened by the speed on the first ride but were keen to go again and we managed to ride it 3 times today by getting there for rope drop and then getting fast passes. We also watched the Frozen show which was brilliantly done and a great chance to rest our legs in the air conditioning. Every day we took snacks and sandwiches in for the boys which saved us heaps of money and the guys searching bags did not worry about it at all. The security is so much stricter than the last time I was here, be sure to arrive well before opening as there are huge queues for the bag searches and metal detectors. I didn't mind as I would rather we are all safe.
Saturday Sept 8: today we decided to try Soak City at Knotts Berry Farm as the boys love water parks. My daughter had rented a car (against my advice but it went ok) and my SIL tried to book the Soak City tickets online. Somehow things went awry and he never got confirmation that the tickets had gone through. The lovely guy on the window tried to sort it and when he had no luck he gave us free tickets which was superb customer service. Later my SIL realised that the payment had not gone through for the tickets so we effectively got a free day there. The kids had a good time there but I had asked a question on this forum about how Soak City compared to Wet & Wild on the Gold Coast. Well to answer my own question, it was not nearly as good as the Gold Coast, it did not have the variety of slides, and not a lot for the wee ones to do but still a good day out. We think the Health & Safety palaver is getting out of hand here, but it was unbelievable there. The little kids had to line up to climb the steps to the wee slides, with a lifeguard at the bottom and one at the top, and no more than one child going up the steps at a time. Oh well I guess they can be sued in the US. Afterwards we went to the Cheesecake factory in Anaheim for tea, now that was a good meal (and wine for Grandma lol) but once the bill was converted on my credit card it was NZ$285!! Ouch! And we didn't have much, but that's the exchange rate for you.
Sunday 9 Sept: My feet were wanting a bit of a break so I looked after the kids while my daughter and SIL went to do a bit of shopping and went crazy at the Skechers outlet store. I let the kids have a swim in the pool and it was nice to relax a bit. Later in the day we went back to Disneyland and daughter & SIL did Space Mountain (and I'm sure we all did heaps more rides but it is a bit of a blur). The fireworks were only on the weekends so we watched the fireworks which were fabulous as always, and then back to the motel and bed. While I think about it, if you are travelling with small children, I do strongly recommend taking a stroller. It was a godsend for us even the 5 year old would fight to be able to sit in it, there is so much walking.
I will continue later, I better go and get some work done!