The magnificence of Disneyland is that the magic is really in the visitor. I AM Peter Pan and never grow up. I use my imagination and enjoy every ride and am there as each story unfolds. I step into the tale and enjoy it again and again. Disneyland is absolute delight!
That's exactly the way Rob and I approach Disneyland, and we have a glorious time! We spend two days until 4:30 PM (other commitments beckon) and one evening in Disneyland. We ride every ride we want to try--19 in all (and one twice)--see every show we want to see, watch the Parade of Dreams once at night and once during the day, average 7.5 miles walking a day, and are very tired at night. Our days are magic. February is winter in southern California, and while we see folks in ski jackets, we wear shorts in the 60º+ temperatures. NO LINES!!! Once we wait 40 minutes (for Indiana Jones Adventure); once we use Disney Fast Pass (to go on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters a second time). The rest of the time we just scoot through in under 15 minutes.
This is not the Disneyland Rob and I visited in 1971! Tomorrowland is proof of that. Remember the Carousal of Progress from the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows? They're still singing "It's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow," but instead of the carousal revolving allowing us to view the future, we step into the future as the two story exhibit allows us to experience the future playing games on x-boxes, sending email Disneyland postcards, getting health information, dancing to the music, allowing the computers to age us as we would appear returning to our school reunions, exploring the globe and space, and seeing many of the wonderful technological toys Rob and I love to explore.
Tomorrowland also hosts my new favorite ride, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. This is an interactive ride where we get our instructions from Buzz Lightyear himself, and we use the blasters in our ships to shoot targets, racking up points to see what level space pilot we are. Since Rob absolutely slaughters me on our first go round, we have to do it again. I am even worse on the second try. We use Disney Fast Pass for this ride. Slide a ticket through a machine and there’s a "return time" when we do not have to get on line again. Super! I am a dismal failure as a space pilot.
Another great ride is Space Tours. Our navigator is R2D2, and he is up to his old hijinks. Yes, we are in for a bumpy ride through space and through some of the familiar settings of Star Wars. Kinda cool.
My favorite land, of course, is Fantasyland. It is the happiest of places, and some of the rides are exactly as they've always been. Peter Pan's Flight is delightful as we fly above London, three stars to the right and straight on till morning. These are the characters I've known for so long and for whom my affection never diminishes. It's wonderful to see Gepetto's face when Pinocchio turns into a boy, and watching the seven dwarfs march off to work just brings smiles.
Back at the World's Fair in '64 I first rode It's a Small World and heard that song. It's bigger and better now, but it remains vividly colorful, gloriously hopeful, and visually delightful. At night the outside of the building sparkles and glows; the joy inside cannot be contained. A little boy in the seat ahead of us can’t stop pointing at the marvels he sees, and we enjoy his enjoyment along with our own.
A whole new land for us is Mickey's Toontown, and as Roger Rabbit fans, this is a rip! Every structure is pulled from the movie with morphed and twisted walls and floors. The really terrific ride is Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin. Even maneuvering through the waiting line is fun (actually no line but we have to follow the path anyway) because it serpentines through the Dip factory, and it is lined with amusing warnings and signs, barrels of Dip, and all kinds of things to keep people on a long line amused. The ride is absolutely loony (or is that a Warner Bros. word?)! Rob and I laugh the entire way. Great. And we get to see Mickey's actual house. How's that for hospitality?
Over in Frontierland, I chicken out at the last minute, but Rob rides the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I'm just not the roller coaster sort. I am very happy, though, in Critter Country where I enjoy riding in a honey bee hive to experience The Many Adventures of (my friend) Winnie the Pooh. I've always loved Pooh, and who is right outside when we exit the ride? Yes, Pooh himself, and he let me take his photo.
Two great rides in New Orleans Square keep us enjoying our day. Haunted Mansion is an old Disney standby, and it remains wonderful fun with its flying ghosts, holograms, and other moments of mystery. We love it. Pirates of the Caribbean is bigger and better than ever! Cannonballs are lobbed at us; pirates sing and chase their wenches, and we just sit back and enjoy the ride. Periodically we see a familiar looking pirate, Jack Sparrow, or is that Johnny Depp in disguise?
Over in Adventureland, we look into the eye of the idol and set off on a rollicking, turbulent Indiana Jones Adventure. That is a great ride, and the last one we do at the park. What a glorious finale!
Well, not quite the end. There is nothing like the Parade of Dreams. Remember, Disneyland is the place where dreams come true. I defy anyone to frown during this marvelous, colorful, musical spectacle where all the characters, all the floats, all the dancers bring Disneyland alive. No matter who your favorite character is, no matter what your favorite tale is, no matter which Disney cartoon movie you prefer, it is in the parade, close up, bigger than life and more fun than anything because imaginations go unchecked. This is marvelous by day, but it is beyond great at night when everything and everyone is highlighted by lighting. It is a magical parade in a magical place.
If you're planning on going to Disneyland and California Adventure, please see this month's travel tips for some helpful hints.