I mentioned before as a preface to my D23 Expo Primer guest post by Carrie Hayward that I was visiting Disneyland for the first time during our journey out west to see the Expo. Not only was it my first time visiting California and the Disneyland Resort, it was my first time flying since 1997! So, I was a bit nervous, but I survived and actually liked it!

Now usually, I am a photo-holic and take pictures of any and everything when I visit a place for the first time. However in this instance, I was so completely overwhelmed by the experience, that I found myself without photos of a lot of what we saw when I returned home. (I still have quite a few, and I’ll be posting them over the next few weeks.)

Nicole and Zanna on Small World
Nicole and I on "it's a small world" Where else but Disney could we get away with those hats?? (photo by Becky Staudt)

That said, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve seen tons of photos of Disneyland, even ride videos, but nothing compares to walking down Main Street, U.S.A. that first time and seeing it all before you in living, breathing color. So while I’m still sharing our memories here with you, my real purpose in writing this post is to implore, even beg any Disney fan that has not yet made the pilgrimage to the “motherland” to do so. If you’re anything like my friends and me, it will change your life.

Now first, a little backstory. I decided to make this journey westward thanks to an amazing friend of mine, Nicole Siscaretti. She is not only a wonderful, caring person, but she’s also going to be a star some day, so you can watch these videos and say later, “ahh, I knew her when…” Nicole was part of our team for the D23 WDW Scavenger Hunt we did a few months back and it was then that I really got to know what a special person she was. After spending the last few months hanging out and “planning” our conquest of Disneyland (I say that in quotes because this was probably the least planned trip either of us had ever taken), she is like a little sister to me. In addition, she loves making fun videos on her iPhone andlooks WAY better on camera than me, so I’m pleased to be able to share a highlight reel of our Disneyland adventures thanks to her.

Before sharing her Disneyland video, I must explain one other thing. Nicole actually embarked on a quest that most people don’t even dream of – visiting all 6 Disney Parks in the US in one day. Nicole had asked me to join her and I was all set to do so before a last minute meeting had to happen at 9 on the morning we left for California. So I got to take the easy way out and only went to the 2 west coast parks. Nicole persevered and accomplished her goal. You can see her Six Parks One Day adventure on YouTube!

And now, without further ado, here are just a handful of our amazing Disneyland memories, shared with local Florida friends, west coast friends and new friends from all over! Disney fans may recognize the famous Scott Otis (@otisney on twitter) and the equally famous Michael Crawford from ProgressCityUSA.com (@ProgressCityUSA on twitter), two great friends from whom we were lucky enough to get amazing Disneyland history and backstory as we toured the lands!

I hope you enjoyed our video and if you’ve never been, do make plans to get to Disneyland some day soon, it is simply incredible!