A trip to Disneyland is always better with friends.
When Gala and I heard that Kat had never been to Disneyland, we knew it would be the perfect spot to take her for her birthday. So the day after I arrived in LA in April, we set out to give her a tour of the self-proclaimed happiest place on earth (while staying determined to ignore the fact that it was Spring Break).
We awoke early and hit the road but things didn’t go quite as planned (they never do!) As we ambled along the freeway, Gala got sick next to me and boy, was I thankful that there was an empty Starbucks bag nearby. Once we arrived, we realized just how bad the crowds really were. With every line snaking on with at least an hour wait, we ended up having to bypass nearly all the rides.
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Though, there was one ride we made an exception for. The Haunted Mansion is Gala’s favorite and whizzing our way through Disney’s version of a haunted house never gets old.
We made sure to take Kat past the Sleeping Beauty Castle.
We made our own fun as we pushed through the crowds, indulging in every sickly sweet treat we could find, buying matching sets of ears and of course, settling into the masterpiece that is Captain EO (it was the one thing I wouldn’t leave the park without doing!)
As the day wore on, we made a beeline for Tarzan’s Treehouse, racing kids up the stairs. Because nothing is better than climbing to the top and looking out over the park.
I fell in love with the dusty hues and Bavarian theme throughout It’s a Small World.
Only Gala can conjure up a floor-length sequin skirt, crop top and beanie as theme park appropriate attire! A little secret: She was wearing Nikes underneath.
This is my favorite photo of the birthday girl ever.
Having Made U Look along to capture our favorite Disney moments was the cherry on top of our day together. Because they shoot primarily with film on a selection of vintage cameras, the outcome is always unique and surprising.
My favorite part of our day by far was hanging out in Fantasyland.
For some reason, I’d always skipped over this area of the park in the past so this was my first time really taking it all in. Aren’t the animal-shaped shrubs awesome?!
As I look back at the photos, I’m not reminded of the unbearable heat, the massive lines or sickness. I’m instead reminded of the day we got to spend together as a group in one of my favorite places. Lesson learned: things don’t always have to go perfectly to plan in order to have a great time — those unexpected twists and turns sometimes lead to the best bonding and adventures.
I never stay away too long. Because to me, Disneyland will always be that place where it’s okay to let loose for the day and remember what it’s like to be a kid. I’ll take the indulgent food, great company and plenty of unapologetic fun any day.