Disneyland 2020 Trip Report: Day One

Posted by Carly Morgan on

An old school Disney trip report! I feel like I'm time-traveling a million years back. Does anyone even care about these anymore? Whatever, I'm showing you all my photos and telling you every churro-filled detail. 

Getting to California

We flew into Anaheim early on Sunday but we didn't go to the parks that day so I'm not going to recap much there. I will say that we used The Parking Spot for the first time, which is a service I blogged about in late 2018. It's an airport parking service that isn't officially connected to the airport but one of my friends used it and loved it so we tried it out. Seriously, SO EASY and it cost less than half of what airport parking cost so you might want to look into it if there's one near your airport. I set a reservation before we went and paid in full so when we actually got there all we had to do was park the car and the shuttle came up right behind our car while we were getting our stuff out and took us straight to the airport.

When we got back into town a week later, I checked in with the app and the shuttle was waiting for us when we came out of the baggage claim and took us straight to our car again. There was also bottled water in a cooler waiting for us at the automated checkout. Little tip: you have to keep the card the first shuttle driver gives you because that has your parking space written on it and it's the only way the second shuttle driver can find your car. By some miracle, I knew where it was but I definitely wasn't trying to keep an eye on that card while we were on vacation. 

Day One in the Parks

On our first day with park tickets, we didn't open the parks because we were switching hotel rooms. Through some randomness, we booked our hotels before we booked the flights and flying in a day earlier saved a ton of money so we all stayed in a different hotel room that first night. I didn't think there was any sense in rushing around trying to break our necks getting into the new rooms and rushing to the parks when we had 5-day park hoppers so we took our time and got settled in our new room and then walked over to where my parents had settled at The Grand Californian. I'd never stayed there before or been in the rooms but it wasn't a surprise that everything is super nice over there. And I freakin' love that Disney hotel lobby smell that they have in the premium hotels. Buy me that air freshener.

We entered the parks through the GC private entrance, which meant that Disney's California Adventure is Felix's first official Disney park. That was a little disappointing because the other kids went to Disneyland first but (1) literally nobody would remember that detail if I hadn't just blogged it and (2) the private entrance is much more mellow security/entrance introduction and I'm never sure how my kids are going to handle new situations. We walked through DCA and over to Disneyland where we immediately saw Goofy and started getting our photos and autographs.

While all of that was happening, I was trying to figure out the Disneyland app and the MaxPass thing that we had purchased for our tickets. If you aren't familiar, the MaxPass is the Fastpass-type system that works through the app and I had read mixed reviews about whether or not it was worth it because it's an extra $15 per ticket per day. So, for our group of 7, it was more than $500 extra dollars...not a small thing. However, we did get it because we didn't want to fiddle around with buying it later on the spot using the park Wi-Fi. 

Was the MaxPass worth the extra $525 for the week?

I'm going to say yes, but it's not an emphatic yes. It's more of a yeeeesss?

The benefit of the MaxPass is that it's super easy to use. I was able to figure out how to get everyone in our party a MaxPass for It's a Small World as soon as I entered the park and we had just enough time to say hi to Goofy and head back there before it was time to walk onto the ride. It also lets you select group members so you can pick who has a MaxPass for what and when and we used it for most of the MaxPass eligible rides at least once. Without MaxPass, I'm not sure we would have done things like Indiana Jones or Radiator Springs just because it would have been a pain to walk all the way back for the paper Fastpasses and then coordinate our schedules around that. 


We did not use most of what the MaxPass is for. We never rode Space Mountain, the Matterhorn, Big Thunder Mountain, Goofy's Sky School, and a few other attractions that are on there. We also didn't do World of Color or Fantasmic, even though I used MaxPass to get us reservations, just because it didn't fit into our schedule. Plus, for Felix, he wasn't even eligible to go on most of the MaxPass rides. So, yes, he did use MaxPass for It's a Small World but the Standby wait was something like 15 minutes so it's not like that was a game-changer. 

I did like being able to get all the PhotoPass photos, though, and we used that option later that evening when the sky was all pretty pink and someone was taking photos out front in Disneyland. We don't ever stop for PhotoPass photos unless we have a coupon or it's covered somehow so I know if we'd been paying for individual photos, we wouldn't have stopped. I don't always think PhotoPass photos are the greatest pictures but it was nice to have the option. 

Also, re: Felix and his inability to ride - they really don't check the names on the Fastpass to who is walking in. I'm not saying we took advantage of this but if we got a Fastpass for 7 people for something and then the time rolled around and only 3 of those people wanted to ride the thing while the other 4 people were eating snacks and shopping, those 3 people could pretty much hit the Fastpass line twice to use up all the MaxPasses. Or the 6 eligible people could ride using rider switch and get the extra two Fastpasses while also having the leftover MaxPass from the baby to spend, giving you space for four riders when it's time for the 2nd rider switch group. Theoretically. Does that make sense?

More of our day in the parks...

Anyway, we found things for Felix to ride. He loved Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and Kyle loved Luigi's Rollickin' Roasters so we spent a lot of time in Cars Land.

We actually ended the day over in Disney's California Adventure taking advantage of some of the temporary food options for the Lunar New Year. Unfortunately, we found out that all of the food options on the Boardwalk were not Eva safe so she wasn't able to eat dinner or even get a snack, but she was a trooper about it like she always is. I don't think she was tempted by Calvin's grey Black Sesame Mochi Donut. 

Side note - the allergy dining at Disneyland was hit or miss this time but I'll probably do a whole mom-focused post over on ye old mom blog if you're looking for that. I don't want to get into all of it here. 

Next up: Day 2 at Disneyland and our first try at the new Star Wars Galaxy's Edge attractions. 

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