I’m just gonna prefix today’s post with a little bit of background on me and Disneyland, because I know I’ve been talking a lot more about coming back here than I was about WDW. I was really lucky as a little kid to spend a lot of time at WDW and Disneyland Paris, going basically every year til I was about 5/6, and while I have a pretty good memory, there’s not a whole lot of those trips that I can clearly recall, so my first clear ‘adult’ memories of Disney parks are from Disneyland, which we visited in both 2008 and 2010. Basically, my Disney park love is cemented here, and after over 5 years, it’s pretty amazing to be back.
You know what’s great? Jet lag. We were awake at 6.30am.. After mooching about for a bit, we walked into Downtown Disney and grabbed breakfast at La Brea Bakery. The RunDisney expo didnt start til 10am, and we had to pick up our park tickets from there, but as it was only about 8.30 and we were stuck for things to do, we decided to head over to the Disneyland Hotel anyway, only to discover there was already a huge wait line for the event merchandise! So of course we got in it.. Well all that queueing, plus our actual packet pickup took us all the way to half 11, crazy right?!
Finally it was park time! Coming straight from WDW, it’s pretty strange walking into Disneyland; everything seems a lot smaller, more classic, like you can picture Walt popping out of one of the stores. I affectionately refer to the castle as Little Pink; she’d look so tiny next to any other parks castle, but decked out in the diamond celebration decorations she really is stunning right now.
First up we headed into Tomorrowland, which is where most of the Star Wars stuff is, so it was pretty busy. We grabbed a Fastpass (old school paper kind) for Hyperspace Mountain, and went to check out Super Hero HQ, the Avengers area, and Star Wars Launch Bay, which are just separate floors in the same building, before heading out of Tomorrowland and towards our first ride for the day: It’s a Small World! I love the Californian one because you actually board the boat from outside the ride, which is great in the Anaheim sunshine.
Next up we headed into Toon Town, a land not found in WDW or DLP, but home to classic attractions like Mickey and Minnie’s houses, and lots of kiddy friendly play things, it’s pretty sweet. Onwards, we walked through Fantasyland, including the castle walk through, and cut across into Frontierland to do Pirates of the Caribbean, and into Critter Country for Splash Mountain and the Winnie the Pooh ride, then back to Frontierland for Big Thunder Mountain.
With the queue for Matterhorn bobsleds being kinda crazy, we filled the time before our Fastpass for Hyperspace Mountain by going on the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, a real submarine ride through Australian reefs with familiar characters. As the name suggests, Hyperspace Mountain is Space Mountain reimagined with a Star Wars theme. Now I was a little dubious, but it was AMAZING. Exactly the same track, same ride, just with a space battle taking place around you; tie-fighters blasting, ships exploding, all just totally cool!
Food finally on the brain, we headed back towards Main Street, only to find that the Soundsational Parade was just about to start, so we found a spot and watched that through before continuing on to get food in Frontierland at Stage Door Cafe. Refuelled, next on the agenda was the Indiana Jones ride, but after about 20 minutes of queueing, the dreaded ‘unforeseen circumstances’ announcement went out, so that was a bust. We turned to retail therapy, returning to Main Street USA. A mug, a Vinylmation and a shopping bag later, we were back in Tomorrowland, having a blast with Buzz and exploring the galaxy with Star Tours, before finding a spot for Paint the Night.
I’m not entirely sure I can put Paint the Night and the Disneyland Forever fireworks into words. Disneyland, you have blown me away. Paint the Night was like a combination of Main Street Electrical, Festival of Fantasy, and basically all the best Disney parades mixed together, totally phenomenal, and Disneyland Forever was just as awesome; as well as fireworks and castle projections, there were also projections on the Matterhorn, down Main Street and there was more than just Tinkerbell flying around up there!
It’s been a long, but magical day and now I’m pretty pooped, so goodnight California, look forward to doing it all again tomorrow!