California Loving | Family Vacation

At the beginning of the month, we made our way out west to the happiest place on Earth and it’s about time I updated you on our family vacation! Buckle up, buttercup! We’re going to Cali!

Playing at Disney Land, California

The Trip West

To start, our vacation was originally supposed to be in Florida, but thanks to a hurricane, we had to cancel everything we had previously booked and attempt to salvage the whole trip.

Our Airbnb didn’t want to refund, our flights could only be changed….and miraculously Disney World gave back all the money we had spent.

Long story short, Airbnb came through, the flights were changed to Vegas, and Disney Land was our destination. GUYS. I had to replan an entire vacation in 10 hours that I had already planned down to the minute over 3 months. It was SO stressful, but we did it! We drove down to Anaheim from Vegas and had the best time!

Beach Day

The first day we were there happened to be Labor Day, and instead of going to Disneyland on what we thought would be one of the busiest days of the year, we decided to have a beach day.

Laguna Beach, California

Per our Airbnb host’s suggestion, we drove down to Laguna Beach to check out the tide pools and play in the sand.This was a first for both me and the kids! I mean, I’ve seen the pacific, but only from a rocky beach in Oregon, so does that really even count?

My mom and brother happened to come with us on our trip, and they were real troopers to play as hard as we did. The kids loved having them with us!

Lifestyle beach session at Laguna Beach, California

And what’s a trip to the beach if you don’t bury someone in the sand?

Playing in the sand at Laguna Beach, California

We LOVED the beach! I definitely recommend bringing or finding an umbrella to rent! We didn’t, but we will next time for sure! It’s nice to have a little rest spot from the sun. After hours of playing in the sun and surf (which was VERY cold 🥶), we headed back home to relax and find places close to home base to eat. Unfortunately, we chose and did not like Bubba Gump. Forrest would be disappointed in us.

To Disney Land We Go

Day 2 consisted of THIRTEEN HOURS of Disney. THIRTEEN. I’m honestly shocked we made it that long! We stayed from open until fireworks (which didn’t even happen, but there was a big parade that the kids loved, so I guess it was fine), and we were so exhausted by the time we left. BUT the exhaustion was worth it! Everyone loved Disney Land!

Hot, Sweaty Mess Express 👋

Let me start by saying I bought tickets before we left OK, and by the time we landed in Vegas, Disney Land had inexplicably canceled/refunded our tickets. They didn’t give a reason and while I was annoyed, it wasn’t the end of the world because we bought tickets at the gate. Honestly, that was way easier than all the hoops I had to go through to buy tickets beforehand anyway.

Eating lollipops at Disney Land

The kids loved nearly all the rides we went on, with a few exceptions where tears of fear were shed (😂), and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Madeline happier than when she met Minnie Mouse.

Maddie also crashed shortly after lunch with a Mouseketeer pillow because Disney is hard.

Sleeping at Disney Land

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was SO cool! The ride was just okay, but the detail and characters were amazing! If it hadn’t been like 3,000 degrees outside, we probably would have stayed there a lot longer!

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Josh just loved the little Coke bottles there. Ha!

New Coca-Cola at Disney's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Disney Land, Take Two

Day 3 was spent at California Adventure, but we decided after such a long day at the park the day before, we would only spend about half the day at this park. Wise decision as it turned out. Apparently 3/4 of us can’t handle a swinging gondola Ferris wheel. 🤢

Our first stop was Mickey’s Philharmagic, which the kids loved, then Monster’s INC. (which grandma Cronk loved), and then we stopped at Guardians of the Galaxy. Previously known as the Tower of Terror. I had 0 desire to get on this ride, but Josh dragged me all the way up that tower and made me sit through it. I survived, but barely. Once was enough for me! Taylor went on it twice, shockingly enough!

Cars Land was probably Madeline’s favorite place in the whole park. She loved the Mater ride so much she went on it maybe 4 times in a row. I’ve never seen her smile so big and laugh so much! It was worth being dizzy and motion sick to watch her go again and again!

Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure

The big kids loved the cars racing coaster and went on it several times as well! Such a fun place, but I do not recommend going when it’s really hot outside. The asphalt in Radiator Springs makes it MISERABLY hot!

Oh! And P.S. the churros at the Cozy Cone are everything people say they are. That caramel sauce…Yum!

For two days we had to basically hear “are we there yet” to get to the giant coaster on Pixar Pier. Taylor was SO excited to ride the Incredicoaster since it was a full sized roller coaster, but we got the BIGGEST laugh when we saw our picture afterward. LOL.

Anyway, right after this we went on the Ferris wheel, which was a mistake. We all got sick and couldn’t ride any more rides so we made our way back out of the park to go home for lunch instead. Maddie couldn’t hang on this day either, and I ended up carrying her out of the park so she didn’t fall out of the stroller. Disney isn’t for the faint of heart 😂

One Last Beach Trip

On the last evening of our family vacation, we went down to Huntington Beach to check out the boardwalk and take a few family pictures before sunset (shout out to my mom for snapping them). I can see why people love living so close to the beach! It was wonderful in every way! Hit me up next time you go to the beach and I may just tag along with you 😉

Family photos at Huntington Beach
Feeling the ocean waves at Huntington Beach

If you happen to make your way out to Huntington Beach, for sure stop to eat over at Jim Boy’s tacos! It was way better than we expected and you get to sit right next to the ocean and watch the waves as you eat!

We loved our family vacation to California so much! The kids can’t stop talking about it and ask constantly when we will be going back. Obviously we were big fans of California, even if that wasn’t the place we had originally planned to go. It’s definitely in the books to go back sooner than later!

100% I recommend going to Cali for your next family vacation! I may or may not stow away in your luggage…

Until next time, friends!

-Lauren B.

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