Balderramas in California 2024: Day 2 – Disneyland!

The day is finally here: Disneyland! After reading books, watching YouTube videos, and researching tips, we set up a game plan to open the park at “rope drop” to get the shortest line to the most popular rides. We’d head home around lunchtime to eat at the hotel and rest, then have an earlier dinner and return to the park until close.

The girls had no trouble waking up early this morning, and we quickly ate a breakfast of bagels, cream cheese, fruit, and cereal before heading to the park. Our hotel was a 20-minute walk; we made it about 15 minutes before they opened.

Before we go further, I must confess that I’m not a big fan of roller coasters and crazy rides. However, my girls were anxious to try everything out, so this week, I set aside those fears and put my love for my daughters in its place. I didn’t mind the rides after all, and I always marvel at how parenting can cause us to set aside our fears for our kids.

We made a mad dash to Space Mountain and managed to get through the line in about 20 minutes. I wasn’t too worried about Clara on the ride, but I was curious about what Mariana would think. After the ride, she said she wasn’t sure whether she was laughing or crying, but ultimately, she loved it and said it was her favorite ride (albeit after one ride).

Our next ride was Autopia, the little cars. Mariana brushed up against the 54″ height limit, barely clearing the ability to drive on her own. While she was excited to get her driver’s license, in hindsight, driving alone was a mistake. She didn’t realize how hard it would be to press the pedal and steer simultaneously, and her car ride was just 5 minutes of pure frustration while I was trying to talk her through it without rear-ending her. It remained her least-favorite ride of the day.

Our next ride was Jungle Cruise, which the girls found very entertaining. We then stopped and enjoyed a Strawberry Croissant and Macaroon from the Jolly Holiday Bakery. At this point, the lines started getting long at most places, and we started chasing the shortest line. This brought us to the Storybook Land Canal boat ride. I showed the girls a photo we took in 2017 and asked them to re-enact it, but they weren’t very cooperative.

We didn’t get our boat fix on Storybook Land, so we headed to Pirates of the Caribbean. Mariana was apprehensive about the ride and didn’t like the first drops. However, when they got off, they both exclaimed that it was their new favorite ride. They loved all of the animatronics and were looking for Jack Sparrow.

We then had an appointment at Droid Depot for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The design is astonishingly detailed.

In the Droid Depot, you can build your own Star Wars Droid. I discussed this with the girls over the last week and gave them both the option to do it. The experience lived up to the hype, and the girls had a blast building them. They come with a remote control that moves their head, makes noise, and then rolls them around.

We returned to the hotel for lunch and a rest. We then had an early dinner at Ballast Point in Downtown Disney and returned to the park for the night. Our first ride was Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which had a cool queue/line area that entertained us for the 30-minute wait.

I then convinced the girls to go on It’s A Small World, and they loved trying to identify the different countries and princesses.

After tracking the wait times, we saw that Star Wars Rise of the Resistance, arguably the most popular ride in Disneyland, had just reopened after breaking down. We hustled back to Galaxy’s Edge and got on the ride within 30 minutes. The girls loved the ride’s realism and the story’s experience.

We stayed in Galaxy’s Edge and did Smuggler’s Run. The girls loved being able to pilot the ship. The ride broke down while they were on it, spurning many “you crashed the ship” jokes.

The night was starting to wind down, but the girls wanted to ride Pirates of the Caribbean one last time before we left. We arrived at the hotel around 10:30 p.m. Overall, we had a great first day and were excited to return on Thursday. Next stop, Disney California Adventure!

Here are some more photos of our awesome day!