This post may contain affiliate links.
It’s totally taken me forever to get this post rolling. Life has just been well, busy. BUT I am finally making it happen and really excited to finally share a little video recap of our trip and all the cute pictures. Well, not all because that would be like 40 pages of pictures, but some of my favorites. I figure this post is easiest to break down by place to really give all my recommendations and favorite parts. I also put a little comparison of Disneyland and Disney World under the Orange County one because it was requested a lot! So let’s do this thing.
VIDEO OF OUR TRIP:
ST. GEORGE, UTAH
We Stayed at The Inn at Entrada on both the way there and back and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s tucked back in the red rocks in St. George and it seriously was beautiful. They’re like little condos, so you have a living area, kitchen and bedroom/bathroom and they have different size “condos” to choose from obviously to fit your needs. I was telling Marcus that I want to go back and bring like extended family for a fun little trip and stay there a few nights! I can’t recommend them enough – beautiful pool, spa (got myself a facial), golf course and food.
Obvi the hotel, but St. George is gorgeous and we weren’t there super long so we didn’t get to explore as much as I had wished – BUT we loved Waffle Luv, the Crepery, exploring the Red Rocks and seeing the St. George LDS Temple. I totally recommend exploring the red rocks and walking the temple grounds. I loved both of those things so much and it was fun to do as a family.
Tips & Tricks:
Stay at least two days! I wish we would have been there longer! So I’m already planning a trip back! I also feel like St. George would be a good vacation during the fall/winter because it’s warm there!
ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
Howard Johnson Anaheim – seriously the best, kid friendly, affordable hotel. I can’t recommend it enough. We could literally see the Disneyland fireworks outside of our balcony every night. It’s like a 7 minute walk to Disneyland and there’s SO much for kids and families to do. It was perfect and we will for sure be back there!
Fun fact about Orange County, that’s actually where I grew up for the first 15 years of my life, so I very much know a lot of the things about it! I love it, probably wouldn’t want to live there again, but it’s such a fun place to visit. If I had to give you my very top priorities when visiting it would be, obviously Disneyland/California Adventure, but also the beach – Newport, Corona Del Mar or Huntington is great, we did Huntington beach this trip because I wanted Ruby’s on the pier (another good recommendation). However I quickly regretted that decision because it was the Surf Open and I didn’t realize so it was chaos – BUT RUBY’S WAS INCREDIBLE PER USUAL. Also Corona Del Mar has little Tad Pools that are so fun to play in so that’s another totally great option! Anyways, more recommendations – The Discovery Center is also incredible, In-N-Out is a must to eat, so is O’s American Kitchen, Bagel Me, Golden Spoon and Archie’s Ice Cream. Also If you’re there during the summer and the OC Fair is going on – DO THAT.
Anyways, there’s seriously a ton of things to do in Orange County – but those are probably my top things because let’s be real if you’re doing Disneyland/California Adventure those will be top priority and take up a huge chunk of your time.
Disneyland Vs. Disney World:
Honestly, I loved both of them. If you haven’t been to either, I would start with Disneyland/California Adventure. Disney World is A LOT and really overwhelming. Also, if you didn’t already know the Disney World Parks are PRETTY far away from each other, so you have to ride a bus to each park, Disneyland is literally a walk across, they’re right across from each other. So keep that in mind when planning. If you’re doing a Disneyland/CA trip, you can do both parks easily in 1-2 days, obviously more if you want but in my honest opinion 2 days would be the max for me, one park each day. We did both in one day this time and it was actually perfect for us. Disney World, plan on being there 4-5 days and spending all of those days at the park. Again, honest opinion when we went there I didn’t even feel like I saw everything and we did 1 park per day. I wish we had, had more time there. Like I said, it’s A LOT to take in and do in a short amount of time. HOWEVER I did love it so it was fun, just a lot and hot – don’t go in June. 😉
Disneyland is super fun to go to during October with all the holiday stuff going on for Halloween, same with Christmas, but it’s a lot more crowded then. It’s typically it’s quietest during October because kids go back to school. Disney World, I don’t know a ton about the perfect time to travel there, but I will tell you not to go in June. That’s when we went last year and it was so hot and so humid.
So round up – if you haven’t done either before, I would start with Disneyland. Andddd sorry, don’t hate me, but if I had to choose my top pick for which park to go to, it would for sure be Disneyland/California Adventure!
Disneyland/California Adventure Tips:
- Go to California Adventure first thing in the morning – it’s a lot quieter and the line is (well at least it was for us) half the size.
- If you have a little girl 3 years or older, do the Bippity Boppity Boutique – that’s where Blake got the whole “princess” experience! It was so fun and she was in heaven. Also, pay for the castle package, it’s pricey and I think it was $199, but it was worth it because you get pictures and they get a front pass to meet some of the princesses.
- Mickey Beignets are life – get some and eat them all. They’re in the Port Orleans part of Disneyland. Also Dole Whip – Marcus had 8, no joke.
- Pay for the MaxPass – then you can do things right from your phone, totally worth it!
- Hit the characters first, we went and saw all the characters that Blake wanted to see right away, which was perfect because we got our pictures on, she got to meet them and have them sign her book and then we were able to focus on rides for the rest of the time
- Buy your tickets online – don’t wait in line there the day of to buy tickets, then again to go into the park. Just get them ahead of time so you’re doing one line.
- As far as staying on property – eh, for Disneyland I don’t think you need to, The Howard Johnson Anaheim was a 7 minute walk and perfect! Disney World is another story – stay on property there.
- Use the Rider Switch if you’re going with you and your kid(s). Then both you and your spouse, partner, baby Daddy, whoever, can ride the bigger ones! 🙂
- Shop at the end of the day! We let Blake pick one toy to take home and couple treats, we grabbed them all before the parade started in the evening and it was a lot less chaotic.
- Get a spot for the parade early – like an hour and a half early and don’t sit right in front of the castle, that big center circle in front of the castle is great or anywhere on Main Street is a perfect view!
Tips & Tricks:
My main tips and tricks for Orange County would be to just do your research on events happening, etc. For example – the surf open, otherwise you’ll get stuck with a million people and then it turns to chaos!
DEL MAR, CALIFORNIA
L’auberge del mar – seriously probably one of the most gorgeous hotels I’ve ever been to. It’s literally across from the beach, it’s beautiful, overlooks the ocean and Del Mar is just a really fun town! The hotel itself was perfect, the pool was gorgeous, they even had sand toys and things to take to the beach for Blake. It has a very “cottagy” vibe and I love every second of it. Not to mention, again it was just BEAUTIFUL.
Del Mar Beach – I mean is there really anything else to do? 😉 Kidding, we actually walked around downtown Del Mar and it was a lot of fun, I even bought a cute new little purse at one of the shops because welp, Mama just isn’t using a diaper bag much these days! My baby is growing up, WAH. Anyways, we had Del Mar Pizza which was DELICIOUS and then breakfast at the hotel, L’auberge. I would say this is the place to wind down and just enjoy time together and quiet time. We did the beach for about half the day, swam at the gorgeous pool at the hotel and ordered poolside food and then watched the sunset over the ocean which I can’t recommend doing enough. That sunset made the entire trip!
Tips & Tricks:
Best tip for Del Mar, is to seriously just chill and take things slow. It’s the perfect little beach down to just enjoy family time and take a break from stress.
Inn at Entrada c/o Inn at Entrada
Howard Johnson Anaheim c/o Howard Johnson Anaheim