A Kensington Mum trip to California (Disneyland Resort – Anaheim, Universal Studios – Los Angeles, SeaWorld – San Diego)

Today’s contributing article is by Kensington Mum Mimi, who in December last year, had the opportunity to take our two daughters Pips (11yo) and Lia (7yo) to the Disneyland Resorts in Anaheim, Universal Studios in Los Angeles and SeaWorld in San Diego. She shares with us her family travel review, where they went, where they stayed and what they saw and everything else in between. We hope you enjoy it.


This was our second visit to the marvellous Disney attraction parks (Disneyland Resort & Disney Adventure Park). The resort was the first one opened in America by Mr Walt Disney in 1955.
Our first trip there was in December 2013 and at the time the girls were much younger (7yo and 3yo) but thankfully we still managed to do many of the attractions. I mention this because height and age are taken into accounts for some of them. Their favourite ones were Dumbo the Flying Elephant (an aerial carousel, good for little ones and adults, doesn’t go too high in the air, which is perfect for me!), the Disneyland Railroad (locomotive), Autopia (where Pips got her drivers licence for the second time) and It’s A Small World (magical and I must admit my favourite of all!).

King Arthur Carrousel
Dumbo the Flying elephant
Autopia for kids and adults
With any big and busy touristy place it is best to purchase the tickets online and, where possible, well in advance to get the best deals. Visiting at the beginning of December when the Christmas holidays haven’t yet started does make a huge difference from what we
saw. The queues at the entrances for both parks weren’t that bad at all so it goes without saying that we were very happy and relieved. The only wait, which lasted less than 5 minutes, was the bag search. However, it was a different story when we were leaving 7 days later. We drove by and saw a very long queue of cars at the drop off alone, I
don’t want to imagine what it was like at the gates further up!
Disneyland Resort’s welcoming plaque
As we enter, we are greeted by a lovely message on a plaque that says: “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy”. The fantasy begins right away with the place looking more like the cutest little town instead of an amusement park. We can see the Town Hall not far from the train station, Sleeping Beauty’s castle
of course, a monorail train, the Disneyland Hotel, big galleries, restaurants and so on… Strolling though those beautiful streets, one can easily spot and wave at Snow White, Donald Duck (my favourite with his funny walk), Goofy, Daisy, The Mad Hatter with Alice, and many more. Visitors are more than welcome to shake their hands, have their pictures taken with them but note that some of them may have a queue (line as it’s said in America) of kids waiting to share the magic. We cannot stop our heads from turning from right to left left to right as we walk down the streets towards Downton Disney or any other parts of the resort. It is simply beautifully mesmerising and enchanting.
Snacks such as corn dogs, pop corns, fresh fruits, ice cream and candy floss are sold all around and at any time of the day. It is easy to get lost but be reassured that staff members are like the snacks and the signs meaning everywhere. We tend to get lost due to the overwhelming amount of things to see or do, but they are always nearby easy to spot and more than happy to help.

It’s a Small World is perfect to do during the day or at night however, the view of the bright shiny lights in the evening makes it more spectacular! The queue there may get busier at that moment but trust me it will be worth the small wait. Disneyland Railroad can be caught at various stations across the park for a relaxing, fun and entertaining ride and I would suggest riding during the day. You’ll have the chance to see some iconic figures of
the history of the USA, the dinosaurs when you enter the tunnels (can be a tiny bit scary for little ones or maybe not) the river, attractions from above etc… Finding Nemo Submarine is worth doing too, but not if one is claustrophobic. I had to do it because Pips insisted the first time but this time around I said “hmm, no darling”. The Mad Tea Party would be good on an empty stomach and if one is not scared of feelings slightly dizzy so definitely not after a meal!

Teacups attraction

Disneyland has quite a range of restaurants serving fast-food (burgers/hotdogs, normal chips & sweet potato fries, pizzas, pastas, corn dogs, salad, tacos etc…). Do not expect anything fancy and or very tasty. This was maybe the only hiccup for me the mama. The food was I’m afraid awful. The girls were let’s say ok with hotdogs and fries but even then, never finished their plates.

The Parade with Winnie The Pooh

Not to miss the most attracting of all, the parade at the end of the day with all the characters we know and love but definitely the magnificent fireworks every night at 9pm!! It is worth the every single thing! That’s where we all fall in love again with the magic of Disney, the stories we read or watch on the screen from generation to generation. Make sure to find a perfect spot by Cinderella’s castle, at least one or two hours before for the fireworks, and a good one by the road to snap beautiful pictures of your heroes during the parade.

Kensington Mum and kid at Disneyland


Well here I was more excited than the girls when we arrived until we noticed and had our pictures taken with SpongeBob Squarepants! The girls weren’t fussed about this day out because nothing rang cartoon, animation characters to them at all. I didn’t do my research on it either and assumed it could only be, about movies and movie sets. So seeing our little friend from Bikini Bottom was a great surprise and a boost to keep on walking and exploring the place in the Californian heat (the sun was very high in the sky that day). We had a chance to see a set up for a very short live movie, with actors fighting and
shooting on what seemed to be a sea.

Movie time at Universal studios

Lia remembered Jurassic Park and wanted to go there so off we went. It is quite a walk from the main entrance but by going there I saw that they had a bus tour (good for an all in one and when one doesn’t feel like walking much also to see the actual movie sets). Pips wasn’t so keen and I later discovered why… The smooth short ride on the boat with some dinosaurs hidden in the bushes was fun even when they sprayed water at us. What I didn’t realise was, when the lady who checked that we were good to go said there was a drop at the end and it wasn’t scary she clearly was not telling the truth. We almost wet ourselves and I felt very very sorry for my kids, for myself. It was terrifying! I promised the girls we
would never do it again but hey, it seemed some people were at their second or third time so can definitely be fun for some… At least we tried.

Going to the Jurassic area, we had to walk through Springfield, hometown of the famous Simpsons family. We ate at Moe’s where the girls had hotdogs with chips and I only nibbled on their chips.


We then went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme which is quite spectacular with the scary huge buildings, the lovely snow covered houses, the shops and not to forget the participants dressed for the theme. I was more impressed by this setting than anything
else. It made me want to know more about Harry Potter.


San Diego is a good one hour and half to 2 hours from Anaheim, depending on traffic. The drive is however nice and very scenic so can be done easily. Once in that part of California, one should take the time to visit SeaWorld and spend some time with the amusing dolphins and killer whales, it is worth it. Again, being in early December it wasn’t pack at all. We managed to watch a fabulous live dolphins show (make sure to arrive on time and not sit in the “wet zones” for risk of being soaked by the dolphins which is quite funny for some and not for others!!). Once on site, we bought tickets to have a private tour with the Killer Whales where we fed them ice, they absolutely love the treat, and the few tricks they
could perform. We also got to see, feed and touch a dolphin (tickets bought on the day online) and ask all the questions we wanted about dolphins, how they got where they are now, if they were happy, why some had marks on their bodies etc…

Beautiful Killer Whale

The staff doing the tours are extremely nice and will answers any questions you may have. We were running out of time and they had to get ready for a public show but at no point did we feel like they were rushing us to go or wanting us to stop asking questions or take
pictures. We were very content and grateful for their professionalism
and knowledge.

SeaWorld was simply amazing! What a treat for the kids and parents!

The only downside, and very important part of this trip to three marvellous places, was the food. The food was awful so please, as much as you can, make sandwiches or packed lunches at your hotel or rented accommodation.

See you soon Cali…


Thank you mummy Mimi for this lovely travel article Get in touch with us if you would like to contribute with your own.