Disney. For years I've been dreading taking the children and have had a pretty poor attitude about it. We went fairly often as children (we lived within hours of Disney World) and though I remember it being fun, I also remember lots of crowds, lines, heat and humidity. However, I had it in mind that Disneyland's smaller size and fantastic weather would make it bearable. It was so much more than bearable, it was wonderful. Count me as a convert.
We loved our time at Disneyland and California Adventure Park. I was astounded at how well the park is maintained (I mean they steam clean the streets every night!), how hard their "cast members" work to make it a magical experience and how perfect, down to the last detail, the whole park is!
We stayed on the park premises at the Disneyland Hotel and we loved how easy it made everything. At check-in we met Goofy, got a signed picture of the children's favorite characters and were thrilled to have a great view of Downtown Disney from our bedroom window. In fact, one of my cherished memories is of sitting at that window watching fireworks in our pajamas!
Both of the children are thrill ride lovers and they really enjoyed the bigger rides. We didn't spend a whole lot of our time in lines due to everyone's advise to take advantage of the Fast Pass system. We would get a Fast Pass for the bigger rides and do little ones while waiting. I cannot comprehend why more parks don't do something like this because it made our days infinitely more enjoyable. By the end of our time, everyone agreed that California Screamin was their favorite ride from both parks (we rode it 3 or 4 times!).
It was easy to find characters throughout the parks (thanks to your recommendations we did not do a character meal and it was the right call) and Grace was thrilled to find Tigger and Pooh!
It really, truly was a special time spent together. I think we were lucky in that we had perfect weather and the parks weren't crazy crowded while we were there. Also, we didn't kill ourselves trying to fit every single thing in, and I'm sure that there was tons that we could have done but didn't. However, we sure didn't feel like we missed out on anything!