After Dominic’s first birthday party, I knew that I wasn’t going to do a big party again for his second birthday. I actually told several people right after that party that I was going to take him to Disneyland for his second birthday because it would be simple (haha). Honestly, planning a big birthday party in the middle of Thanksgiving and Christmas is quite a feat! So, let’s just say I’m pretty darn happy I followed through the plan, because it was probably the sweetest thing to see him experience Disneyland with his big, brave spirit and 2-year old eyes.
I’m going to start off by saying that Tristan and I used to come here really often. Our wedding took place in Anaheim, so we got the annual pass to Disneyland and would stop by for a few hours every time we drove out to Anaheim to do wedding stuff. We didn’t renew our annual passes after that because the prices went up dramatically, but since then we’ve only gone less than a handful of times. It was exciting for us to finally come back, and this time bringing our little guy.
We started our day there bright and early to beat the crowds and try to take in whatever we could. We ended up wandering around and just letting Dominic explore for the most part. A good idea if you’re bringing littles is to head to Mickey’s Toontown first to meet Mickey before the line gets too long. We were planning to do this, but when we got to Toontown, it wasn’t even open yet, so we decided to do the next best thing – go on It’s a Small World!
Okay, seriously though, I’m not big of this ride, but it was Dominic’s first ride EVER, and he was amazed! I loved seeing his eyes scan from side-to-side looking at everything that was going on. He even found Dory!
Right afterwards, we headed over to Toontown, and the wait to see Mickey was already at least 30 minutes. We had made brunch plans with family for his birthday, so we weren’t going to make it in time which I was really bummed about (luckily it all worked out at brunch!).
As for Toontown, he didn’t want to leave the cars! He was devastated every time we had to take him away. He didn’t care much for anything else we tried to show him which was funny and sad at the same time. I mean, let’s face it, Disneyland isn’t cheap. It’s convenient for us since it’s so close to home, but I guess we couldn’t help but laugh after realizing he just cared about playing in the cars!
He even has his arm over the door and foot on the pedal which I just died over. You can’t get a toddler to do these things, guys. This is all him!
On the plus side, he wasn’t afraid of any of the characters! He loved Pluto!
Always exploring. He is looking so, so big.
We wandered around until it was time to go to brunch which is 110% worth every penny if you’re celebrating a birthday for a little one. I would highly, highly recommend it!
We chose to have brunch at the Paradise Pier Hotel with our families. A few of the Disney hotels have a restaurant inside where you dine, and the characters come out and spend time with you. It was kind of surreal having characters coming to us vs. us going to them, and that’s pretty much why it’s so worth it. Dominic got to spend a lot of time with all of the characters! Luckily for us too, he wasn’t afraid of any of them which was one thing I was little worried about. He was actually sooo enamored by them. It made my heart swell to see how happy he was!
Mickey got your nose!
He fell in LOVE with Minnie. Another girl was showing Minnie something, and he literally barged in on their conversation to hug Minnie’s leg. He kept coming back for hugs too! My biggest regret is that I didn’t record it all. Look at him looking at her with love though haha. It was adorable!
Mickey waffles are always a win.
They brought out this cute cupcake and sang a birthday song that he was so excited about. He admired it for quite a while before tasting bits and pieces of it (and then trying to put icing on his face. goofy boy).
He was so happy to meet Mickey! On the right, we kept telling him to turn around, but he wouldn’t and just kept playing with his cupcake. Mickey got a little upset.
Our group picture with everyone was actually missing 3 people, but this is our family that made it in 2 photos!
My siblings who have been the best auntie and uncle to little man.
After brunch was done, everyone went home while we headed back into the park! Dominic conquered a few more rides, and his reaction to each was priceless. He is so adorable. I’ll be honest though, we probably won’t take him again until he’s 5 or 6 haha. It was a fun experience since he’s still free, but at over $100 a ticket once he turns 3, I think we can wait a few more years for him to really enjoy the magic of Disney. I miss it being more affordable!
After Astro Orbiters, we took a walk, and Dominic fell asleep in his stroller. It was the ideal time to sneak over to the New Orleans Square for some…
…Mickey-shaped beignets!! Soon-to-come: a post with our favorite Disneyland snacks 🙂
My handsome loves in line for the Mad Tea Party!
We have a video of him on this ride that is just priceless. For the most part, once the ride started, he burrowed into me. I think the spinning sensation was a little bizarre for him which was interesting since he likes to spin all of time. You just never know how they’re going to react! He tried a few times to sit up and spin the wheel, but he’d just go back to burrowing into me. It was darling. He was so brave to try!
Him trying to spin the wheel in the teacup! > He knocked on the Rabbit’s door and shook his head. I guess no one’s home 🙁
I love you so much even though you’re so not amused!
After the teacups, we decided we should let him try Autopia since he was so enamored by cars earlier at Toontown. He watched the cars drive by, and it looked like he found it all fascinating. Once we got in the car, he got excited to grab the wheel; but the second the car started moving, well, the picture says it all. I think he got a little intimidated, because he was happy to grab the wheel again once we stopped!
But he was tall enough to ride! > Cutie pie snacking back at Toontown.
I mainly wanted to go back to Toontown to go through Mickey’s house. I didn’t really care to take photos with Mickey here anymore since we had so much one-on-one time at the restaurant, but I wanted Dominic to at least wander through the house since it’s cute and kid-friendly. Well, he wasn’t having it. He wanted to be outside running around (see what I mean about what I thought he’d like and what he really liked?). We ended up just running around taking some photos, and, yes, sitting back in the cars.
When it was time to go, the park was at 88% capacity which was pretty ridiculous. We were stuck on the way out, but with some fortune, we were right in front of It’s a Small World when all of the lights in the park turned on. It was beautiful! Around this time, the holiday parade also ended, so there was also a major traffic jam trying to get out of the park with people scattering from the parade and people stopping to take photos of all of the lights. If you ever go to the park, I’d say 50% capacity is an ideal situation, and you’ll be able to see this (as well as other really useful info) using the Mousewait app.
We possibly could’ve done a few more things, but we were honestly pooped. With chasing Dominic around, maneuvering through crowds, and just being on our feet 90% of the time, we were ready to call it a day. We left around 6pm, picked up food at Downtown Disney (Earl of Sandwich!), then headed to our hotel to eat, change into our jammies, and relax together. To help you understand how tired we were, we all fell asleep by 9:30pm. That’s saying a LOT for me, because I’m the night owl in the family always going to bed around midnight. Haha. Needless to say, we all slept through the night.
And you know what? Even despite how tired we were, we’re looking forward to when we can go back and let Dominic really enjoy the park. Tristan even said “Why do I feel like it wasn’t enough?” You can never get enough! Disneyland casts their magic spell on you, and there’s no turning back.
Chicken noodle soup after a long day.
On a different note, Dominic got to meet Santa at the hotel we had brunch at. He was so cute. He didn’t cry, but when the photo was about to be taken, he grabbed my arm and said in the most cute, innocent, and scared tone, “Mommy…” You can see it in his face!
Dominic, it’s still early to truly say “Happy Birthday,” but I hope this is something you’ll love to look back on when you’re older. I know your daddy and I definitely will.
Oh, and if you’re wondering why we celebrated early, it’s because the crowds at Disneyland get ridiculous the closer you get to the holidays. A little tip if you plan on coming to see the holiday decor! 🙂