Saturday, September 16, 2006

Day Five-Disneyland

At last, the Disneyland blog!

I’ve wanted to walk through those gates since I was very small. Getting to the West Coast was not to happen, and we’ve been quite happy to visit WDW on a fairly regular basis. As much as we love Da World, we still wanted to walk in the park Walt walked in.

Friday was a perfectly sunny day, and we made our way down to the hotel shuttle for the four block ride. When we got through the bag check and the gates, there was a band playing in front of the train station. Walking through the tunnel, it was familiar-but different. I love the fact that DL is chockablock with mature trees, so even in the heat of summer, this park has ample shade.

We hopped aboard the train and found the most hyper conductor you could ever find. Kat was her name, and boy, she was more jazzed than Stitch. It was mildly humorous to watch this person who makes me seem like I’m on tranquilizers. The train ride was different, we really traveled back in time.

Once we’d done the circuit of the park, we headed down Main Street and noticed what was the same and what wasn’t. If you wanted a hot dog and went down to the left, you were in luck. It wasn’t nearly as good as a Casey’s dog, though. If you went to the end of the block and to the right, no ice cream would you find. It’s halfway up the block on the right.

We walked around the hub and outside what we would expect to be Crystal Palace (but it’s not), we found Mary Poppins. Ed takes my picture with her and wow, her accent is perfect. We continue around the hub, hoping to have a picture taken in front of the castle. Success on that front. Then further around, passing the Matterhorn (who put that mountain next to the castle?) and into Tomorrowland.

Tomorrowland is a hit-we got the boys onto Star Tours and they loved it. For some reason, older son has freaked every time we’ve tried at MGM and younger son wasn’t thrilled with it, either. Makes no sense, considering how much they adore all the Star Wars movies. I don’t think we’ll have any problems in the future-they’re still talking about it!

Thanks to the magic of the Guest Assistance Card, we head onto Space Mountain next and experience a new way to get onto the ride. We loaded into the vehicle to the side, then it was moved onto the track. The ride was recently rehabbed, so I’m not sure what it was like before. There are speakers in the seats, playing fast music, wind is blowing at you and it is so dark that you can’t see the track AT ALL. The boys LOVED it, and I’m happy that younger son’s first time on the ride was at this park.

It’s interesting to see the melding of attractions that are in 4 parks in Florida into two parks in California. DL no longer has a Carousel of Progress, but the space is used to house Innoventions. I’m glad we went in, but this could be a huge time sucker when we only have one day in the park. We did find stitch and talked to him-similar to what you can do with Crush’s Turtle Talk. Hmmm, I still haven’t looked at the picture Stitch took of us.

Lunch was enjoyed in the shadow of the Matterhorn. Unfortunately, we did not conquer the Matterhorn-it’s being rehabbed. One thing I did notice is that there is far more open air dining and attractions here. Is is true about that Southern California sunshine?

We went onto It’s a Small World and find they still invade your brain long after you’ve said ‘Au Revoir’ ‘Auf Wedersein’ ‘Adios’ and ‘Adieu’. Neat loading area and I loved the cast members costumes.

Mickey’s Toontown has a ride I’d been looking forward to, Roger Rabbit. Now that we’ve experienced it, think Mr Toad meets the Teacups. It was okay, but not one I’d rush back to ride. The kids enjoyed the diversions that Toontown holds.

Into Fantasyland, where the landscaping probably is very similar to the park in Europe where Walt got his inspiration for Disneyland. It’s very park like and though the rides are on top of one another, it doesn’t feel that way, due to creative queueing and landscaping. It was nice to ride the teacups in the sunshine, experience a different Peter Pan and once again enjoy Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

We venture over to Frontierland and pass by what looks to be a campground, alas, nothing is going on. Big Thunder Mountain is in front of us, and we ride. The theming in better, IMO, and the ride better overall. Once off the ride, we find that the majority of the attractions in this section of the park are closed for rehab.

Pirates of the Carribean. For years, I’d heard this one was better, scarier, and Walt’s favorite ride in the park (not sure about that one). After riding it, I do agree that this one is the better one. The bayou area was great (think of the beginning if “El Rio Del Tiempo” if you’ve never been) and the ride itself was similar in spots, but longer. The addition of Jack was well done. I’m looking forward to seeing it at WDW when we get back there someday.

The treehouse is now occupied by Tarzan-and we had to drag the boys out! We head over to Splash Mountain-which now the younger son LOVES. He’s not a fan of drops and we’d only had him on the WDW once. Back over towards the rest of Frontierland and Adventureland. The Gallery was excellent, with the bonus of a Cast Member giving us a ‘tour’ and explaining what each room in the gallery originally was intended for. Can I have that apartment?

Next, Indy. Indy gets a show in Florida and a ride in California. I think this is the longest queue in any Disney park, lol. Again, the movie buffs love it. Then, we wait for the REAL Tiki room. It’s so much better when Iago and Zazu don’t blather on about what they’re going to do with the show!

Hunger strikes again and Ed gets an empanada and we get those hot dogs I mentioned. It’s almost time for fireworks, and we end up in the middle of main street to watch. They are similar to Wishes, which I love.

After shopping for a bit, we head out to the shuttle. I didn’t want to leave and wish we’d bought the three day passes-but we’ll be back.

We left with something to remind us daily of this day-mickey knobs for the kitchen cabinets. I’d tried to purchase them at WDW, but Ed suggested waiting until we knew how many we needed. By the time we did, they’d been discontinued at WDW. Now, I look at the mickey heads and remember this day. J

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