Travel: Disneyland 60th Anniversary Celebration

Last night, ABC aired ‘The Wonderful World of Disney 60.’ When I was a little, I used to watch ‘The Wonderful World of Disney’ every Sunday night. Between that and all the Disney films I saw as a kid, I was a perfect candidate for a lover of all things Disney. A healthy love, not a love like those in this hilarious Thrillist post.

My first trip to Disneyland was in 1981. It was love at first sight and it has always been my favorite Disney park. Of course, when I had my daughter I knew she would share a love of Disney with me as well, because who doesn’t love Disney? We try to go once a year, and we were very excited to go and celebrate the 60th Anniversary! We planned a trip to coincide with my daughter’s 8th birthday and we pulled out, not all, but most of the stops.

We took the road trip with my sister and my niece and we chose to stay at the Grand Californian. It’s not cheap, but it’s so convenient, especially with kids. We went to the park in the morning, came back to swim and relax and in the afternoon and headed back to the park at dinner-time.  We did a 3-day pass and chose two days at Disneyland and one day at California Adventure.


We got to see Color Wonder, which my daughter loved, and she got a VIP seat thanks to the usher who let the kids in our area sit up front with the real VIP’s. We chose to do the new Paint the Night Electrical Parade at Disneyland instead of Fantasmic. The Paint the Night Parade is absolutely amazing! We loved it and the parade’s theme song, Wreck it Ralph’s, ‘When Can we do This Again,’ couldn’t be more perfect. We still talk about it and can’t wait to go back!


My timid daughter got brave and rode a few rides she had always been hesitant about like Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain. Unfortunately, she’s still not a fan of fireworks, so we didn’t stay for those, but my sister and my niece said they were amazing! Images are projected onto the castle in a special display to celebrate the 60th anniversary.

We celebrated the 60th with new Alex and Ani bracelets {my daughter was sad that she couldn’t get one, so maybe a kids line would be something to consider Alex and Ani? Just a suggestion} The park has a lot of memorabilia and throwbacks to help celebrate the special anniversary. Sleeping Beauty’s castle has had a makeover and in the lobby of the Grand Californian, there was a cake replica of the castle, which was awesome.


The cake took 10 people 140 hours to make. They used 18 pounds of marshmallows, 54 pounds of rice cereal, 30 pounds of white chocolate, 40 pounds of gum paste and 15 pounds of fondant. I don’t believe the cake is there anymore; it was on display through the summer.

We aren’t great planners when it comes to meals, we typically eat wherever we are when we’re hungry. Although, this is problematic, when you have to get in line for the parade 2 hours before hand and moving around is near impossible, so you’re basically stuck where you are. We did do a critter breakfast at the Storytellers Café in Grand Californian for my daughter’s actual birthday. We also like La Brea Bakery right outside the park in Downtown Disney. Village Haus is decent if you’re in Fantasyland. Toon Town didn’t have great options, so I would suggest going there before or after meals. French Market restaurant is good in New Orleans Square, and so is The Hungry Bear in Critter Country {you used to be able to sit on the patio and watch the Mark Twain Riverboat and the Sailing Ship Columbia go by on Rivers of America, but both ships are temporarily closed due to Star Wars Land construction.}

My daughter was very excited to meet Jasmine.  She had an Arabian Nights birthday party last year {see that here} and she got a super cute Jasmine bubble necklace as a gift.  She wore her necklace, and her Jasmine colors and Jasmine was extremely impressed;)

Later that day, we had a knock on the door and Jasmine had sent Ella a birthday present in the form of a Jasmine nightgown.  She also wrote a beautiful card telling Ella how much she enjoyed meeting her.  Ella promptly wrote a thank you back, which we delivered to the concierge, who told Princess Ella she had heard wonderful things about how kind she was, and that Tinker Bell sprinkles all the letters to the princesses with Pixie Dust at night.  They are then delivered by Tinker Bell, so Jasmine would definitely get the note.  My daughter was amazed!


When we returned home, my husband had made Ella a birthday cake.  As part of our throw back to the 1970’s year, we chose Betty Crocker cake decorations and the cake was served in the baking pan.  Ella even got to decorate it all herself.  She was in heaven!


I highly suggest a visit to the park to celebrate the 60th Anniversary! If you would like help planning your trip, contact Kim Rowland {krowland@mickeytravels} at Mickey Travels. It’s free to use her and she knows all the ins and outs of the Mouse House. While it’s hard to get discounts at Disneyland she can help you with a few small freebies, and she really helped us with our Aulani vacation!   Future blog post on that one, coming soon!

Disney is also pledging to donate to Make a Wish in celebration of their Diamond Anniversary. Share photos of your mouse ears with the hashtag #ShareYourEars and they’ll make a $5 donation until they reach $1 million.

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