Blue By You and A Small World, After All

A beautiful nighttime view of Disney's California Adventure Park

It’s 10 p.m., and my six year-old son has fallen asleep sideways on his sofa bed in our Disneyland Hotel suite. He’s been up since 4 a.m. Alaska time after a flight from Anchorage to Long Beach courtesy of jetBlue’s summertime service to the 49th state.

AK Fam is exhausted, but in the most delightful sort of way, like a spoonful of sugar Mary Poppins usesto make the medicine go down. It’s been 24 hours of sheer run-amok madness of the kid-friendly kind as we ventured south for the first-ever AKontheGO reporting from California.

jetBlue started it all with party at Gate B9 last night around 11 p.m. with cake and blue flowers and even bluer balloons. We marched aboard the Airbus to much fanfare and the traditional company lineup of crew on the tarmac to see us off, arms madly waving in the shadows of an Alaskan summertime sunset.

A super-comfy flight featuring individual televisions and DirectTV and Sirius Satellite Radio, quality snacks and beverages, cozy blankets and earplugs landed us in Long Beach at 7:10 a.m. Wanting to surprise AK Kid with his upcoming adventure to the Magic Kingdom, we asked the flight crew to help us spring the Big Surprise, and they delivered with flying colors. Captain and crew were waiting as we arrived at the door, and handed AK Kid a note from Donald Duck asking “Won’t you come to Disneyland today?”

Disneyland Hotel maintains its traditional charm and vintage artwork.

Disneyland staff were equally accommodating, with maps and cookies and tips for navigating the Fast Pass option (a no-brainer for anyone visiting Disney) of both theme parks. This place has changed a lot in the 32 years since I visited with my family, and I was anxious to see what had changed since Space Mountain. Um, like, almost everything.

We spent the morning exploring California Adventure, the newer of two theme parks and boasting about rich history and culture of the Golden State. Rugged mountain rides celebrated the Sierras, and kitchy and catchy beach-themed roller coasters and swings reminisced the old Santa Monica pier or Coney Island in New York. It was eye candy for a child who’s amusement park experience lies in attending the Alaska State Fair each year, and AK Kid’s senses overloaded quickly.

A Park Hopper pass provided us the flexibility to come and go as we pleased; with the convenience of staying on a Disney property, we’re able to take some hours of downtime at the pool, walking the beautiful gardens, or simple relaxing on the lanai, sipping a cold soda and soaking in the sights and sounds of this place.

Rose Garden provides post-swimming entertainment for AK Kid.

With both parks closing around 9 p.m. each night in May, we allowed just enough time after dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel to experience my favorite attraction of the day.

Soarin’ Over California lies within the Golden State section of California Adventure. It’s 4.5 minutes of simulated flight from the perspective of a hang glider, helicopter, or perhaps a bird. Scents of redwood trees and orange blossoms are mixed with breathtaking scenery to create an experience that is not to be missed by anyone 40″ tall and over.

Tomorrow is AK Kid’s introduction to Disneyland, where he is anxious to ride the Matterhorn, meet Mickey Mouse, and check out Autopia. I better join him in dreamland, because Belle just told me so in her bed time story on Disney Channel 44. Yep, when a princess says sleep, you better.

Good night, AKontheGO’ers. Thanks for traveling with us!

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