Moms' Disney Retreat
As parents we often find ourselves saying - “next year I'm going to do it differently” or “next year I'm making some time for myself” - I always wanted to do a Moms’ Retreat before the Holiday Rush and this year we made it happen. All too often I fall back into those same routines but this year because it felt like a re-birth of the Holiday season, we decided we're going to take some time to reset before the family is consumed with the Holidays. A group of moms and I decided Disneyland was our place to find some holiday cheer and take some time for ourselves!
Where We Stayed
I am very much aware of my budget - it’s just something I can’t ignore, staying onsite at Disneyland is an amazing experience but it is the holidays and with that treat comes a hefty price tag. Instead, we started looking at some great options around the park within walking distance for our Moms' Disney Retreat. Ultimately, we decided to stay at Hotel Lulu Anaheim, an adorable boutique hotel by Best Western.
Hotel Lulu is located just a 7-minute walk from the Disneyland Gates and the value will be most appealing to others looking to stay near Disney and the Garden walk. Hotel Lulu Anaheim opened during a very interesting time in the travel industry - smack in the middle of travel restrictions - this property may be under a lot of travelers' radar but I’m telling you it is definitely a place you want to stay!
The property has received some needed TLC since it’s former owner and is now a very cute Disney meets California inspired atmosphere. The rooms are comfortable - we all slept like rocks! The rooms on the Disneyland side offered a view of the nightly fireworks. I think this is a great feature for parents with little ones who can’t make the wait in the cold - here you are cozy, in your jammies, and sipping something warm in your room!
The poolside bar and restaurant were a great addition to the property. The food was delicious and the staff working the bar was so polite and helpful. The heated pool is adorable and is sure to be a hit with the kids. This is a great place to stop in and grab a bite at the end of the day or a wonderful place to take a midday break from the parks. In addition to the onsite restaurant there is LuLu’s Cafe - this offers quick grab items and delicious coffee! I had the Oat Milk Mocha this first morning we stayed and it was just the right thing to start off the day! Plan ahead for the stop so you have time to look through the snacks and still get out the door on time.
Overall, we had such a great time at the Hotel Lulu Anaheim and it is definitely a great home base for any family or friends' trip to Anaheim! The staff really made the property shine and we appreciated Hotel Lulu Anaheim for hosting our Moms' Disney Retreat.
What We Did
It had been nearly two years since I had been to Disneyland and a lot has changed. We had the main goal of seeing the two new rides that we had not experienced together.
Day one we headed to the Disneyland Park to go directly to the Stars Wars Galaxy’s Edge. The staff helped us find the proper place to stand and we were able to get into the Rise of the Resistance line - the wait was nearly one hour but I tell you it was so worth it! The immersive experience and actual ride are just beyond what else is available at other parks. Following this we explored the rest of Galaxy’s Edge and proceeded to go from short line to short line picking up snacks and drinks along the way. As I mentioned in my Instagram Post - we are fairly certain we saw Johnny Depp dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow - if not it was the best impersonator ever! It was the weekend of the celebrity packed Candle Light Show so we are convinced it was him! After a trip to Trader Sam’s, we ended the night in Fantasyland taking advantage of the short lines - it was one of the first times I had ever shut down Disney - we used every minute! Check out my reel on our Day One Moms' Disney Retreat!
Day two our plans were to eat our way through California Adventure and ride Web Slinger! We waited about an hour for web slinger but it was so fun! The interactive spider fighting game was fun and invigorating. After taking in a few rides, we proceeded to go back to the plan to eat and drink everything we could find! We had such a great time just bouncing from place to place. We had amazing interactions with cast members and such a fabulous time at the Lamp Light Lounge. We ended the night with a second ride on Web Slinger and a churro on the way back to our hotel. Watch my reel on Day 2 for all things DCA!
Day three was a very casual day at Disneyland. Our goal was to hit the final rides we missed on Friday and visit Oga’s Cantina. This had to be one of the luckiest timed days - we landed at the right spot for everything. To end the day, we shopped through Downtown Disney - accomplished a little holiday shopping and made sure we ate a salad before we returned home to our kids.
What We Ate
I know I already mentioned a few places but I feel the food at the Disneyland Resort always requires its own highlight! In Disneyland we were able to find all the Holiday Must-Have items! We started out with the classic Mickey Gingerbread which is soft and delicious. It makes for fun pictures and delicious snacking on the go. We also had the yummy holiday churro; our choice was the holiday cookie flavor with the hot chocolate ganache (complete with the mini marshmallows). Another honorable mention was at Oga’s Cantina, we really enjoyed the seasonal sip offering for Life Day. The cheese board was also delicious, it had great cheese options, some of the best hummus any of us have had and the most delicious honey! It was so good we had to ask the kitchen for specific details!
At California Adventure there was a huge holiday offering at the Disney Festival of Holidays event. The highlight of the tastings came from the drink cart, it was a bourbon cranberry cocktail that sold out before the end of the day so be sure to head there early if you want a chance to try it. We also dined at the Lamplight Lounge for brunch - there I had my go-to drink, the Cinnamon toast crunch cocktail. At Lamplight we also had the seasonal donut! A chocolate peppermint donut served with an amazing ganache.
In downtown we also had the chance to try a few treats. Our favorite spot was Trader Sam’s - the enchanted tiki bar is beyond words and something you have to see to appreciate fully! The room is filled with memorabilia and inside jokes. The drinks are delicious and so much fun! Drinks can be served in collectible tiki mugs that can be brought home. We also had the chance to dine out at our favorite downtown Disney spot Naples Ristorante e Bar, we needed to end our trip with a little salad and a light family style buffet of our own design. My favorite item was the caprese salad - their tomatoes are always delicious and they just hit the spot! To see all the favorite dishes and drinks on our Moms' Disney Retreat checkout my food reel!
Speaking for myself I feel like this retreat could not have come at a better time. I have been feeling the holiday burnout earlier and earlier each year. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the month of December to accomplish everything we want to achieve before Christmas. This retreat helped reset my mind and give me some perspective on how everything we do for the holidays is supposed to be enjoyable and fun! Sometimes checking items off of the list becomes automatic and we forget to enjoy the activities.
I hope I get the opportunity to do this again next year and I highly encourage other parents to take time before the holiday rush to reset and enjoy a little time for themselves. I know it will be hard and not the most natural but it will be worth it - even if it’s just a few hours trying to treat yourself to something you love - a holiday retreat can do so much good!
Disclosure: We were hosted by Hotel Lulu Anaheim, Best Western Premier Collection during our visit but all opinions and statements are our own and based on first hand experiences.