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Saturday, February 24, 2007

DISNEY'S CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE!

Today's Disneyland is not the one Rob and I visited back in 1971. It's bigger; it's grander; it is celebrating A Year of a Million Dreams. So for Rob and me, in southern California for a visit, Disneyland is a must see. If this isn't our father's (or our) Disneyland, it's time we get back in the loop. Today's Disneyland is not a single theme park but two parks, Disneyland and California Adventure, so Rob and I opt for multi-day Park Hopper Passes, and we're eager to go to the place where Dreams Come True.

On the chance that we will not get through both parks on our three-day pass, we immediately head to California Adventure, a theme park with California at heart. Once inside we're ready for Soaring Over California, a ride that takes us up into the clouds and over Southern California, its cities, farmlands, and ocean where we skim the heads of fast riding surfers, and we glide over orange groves where the air is filled with delightful fruit fragrance. It's a great ride and a wonderful start to the day.

BTW, it is Feb. and California winter. It is a weekday. No lines!! No kidding! We do not even use Disney's Fast Pass! If you're from anywhere where winter is cold and snowy, describe a southern California winter as late spring. When we left New York, it felt, with wind chill factor, -11ยบ, so this is balmy to us; Rob and I wear shorts!

We are not deterred by the weather and head straight toward Grizzly River Run, a white-water raft ride. My gentleman husband decides to move over one seat so each of us has more room. No good deed goes unpunished, and Rob gets thoroughly doused when his seat seems to end up directly under a waterfall, in the path of a big splash after a white-water drop, and once more in the path of a spouting geyser. I emerge from the ride virtually dry; Rob wrings out his sweatshirt. We have a great time.

I'm not a roller coaster person, but I apprehensively suggest we might zip around the famous Drive on Mulholland Madness. It is totally reminiscent of Palisades Park's Wild Mouse. (Hello, Freddie Cannon) Does anyone remember that one? I feel like the car is going off the edge--which is also the way one can feel on Mulholland Drive. While I scream my head off, Rob keeps hushing me, reminding me loudly that there are children nearby. I confess that while not a baby roller coaster, it's not one that should have elicited my blood-curdling yells!

One more ride frightens me. I think the Sun Wheel is a normal ferris wheel. NOT! Disney doesn't do things the ordinary way, and the car starts rocking, swinging me high and low--madly in my estimation. "Why aren't there seat belts in this thing?" I scream as my fingers grip the openings in the cage to prevent me from tumbling on my head (I think). When I am finally back on terra firma, I admit I had a great view of the park. It takes longer for the blood to return to my fingers.

After more rides, we see two incredible 3-D shows. I don't know which show I like best, It's Tough to Be a Bug where we get buzzed and sprayed by water and, because it’s so real, I reach out my hand to touch the untouchable. We like this show more than Muppet Vision 3D even though it was great to see some old friends like Kermit and Miss Piggy, and the effects are spectacular! There are even some Muppets sitting in a theater box. I love those 3-D shows.

In Hollywood at the Hyperion Theater is a 45 minute live show--Disney's Aladdin-A Musical Spectacular. Wonderful! We see, no kidding, about half the full length Disney show Aladdin with the music, puppets, and special effects. It is glorious. Sold me on the Disney Broadway style, and I want to see The Lion King when we get home.

All the while there is music in the air, characters walking around, and wonderful, creative locales. For instance, look at the mountain in the Grizzly Peak Recreation Area and you see it resembles a grizzly's head! It's a place where imagination runs wild, and what's better than that! California Adventure Park is divided into thematic areas: Golden State, Paradise Pier, A Bug's Land, Hollywood Pictures Backlot and Sunshine Plaza. Places to shop, places to eat, and lots of different shows and rides surround us in each area. Rob and I do skip those rides and shows that are too “baby,” but there's plenty for us, and it takes more than six hours to see and do everything we want to do. That's with no lines. We walked, according to our pedometers, about 7.5 miles, so be prepared. Just remember, this is a happy place to be!
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