Another day of magic in Disneyland!
It started with our breakfast reservations at Plaza Inn in the Disneyland park, a character buffet meal, and while most character meals often have 4-5 characters tops, we saw 8! Advertised as Minnie and friends, they included Winnie the Pooh, Rafiki, Max and the Fairy Godmother, who came to our table as we ate for hugs and photos. From there we dashed across to the Royal Theatre for the first showing of Fantasy Faire. In the show, they tell a classic Disney story – this was Frozen – with two male narrators, and featuring Anna and Elsa, but it was hilariously funny, and most of the humour was for the sake of the adults more than the kids! Afterwards, we crossed into Adventureland to ride Indiana Jones as we’d missed out yesterday, then the plan was to see the first performance of Mickey and the Magical Map. However when we arrived at Fantasyland Theatre, due to technical issues the first show had been cancelled, so we decided to hop across into California Adventure.
I say hop, because you basically can; much like Disneyland Paris, the two parks are on each other’s doorsteps, with maybe 100 metres between the two gates. The biggest change since we were last here in CA was the introduction of Cars Land, so that was definitely first on the agenda, and man did Disneyland get it right! I pretty much could have just stumbled through a screen into Radiator Springs, it was all so on point! The main ride, Radiator Springs Racers had over an hour wait, so for the first time this trip we decided to do single rider, cutting our wait down to maybe only 15 minutes. The ride is a lot like WDW’s Test Track; you travel through Radiator Springs, meeting familiar characters, then line up with another car of guests for a high speed race through the desert to the finish line!
From there, we went to Paradise Pier, which is one of my favourite places in any Disney park. The main rides all had super long wait times or were broken down, so we just walked around for a bit before continuing round the park, getting a little damp on Grizzly River Run and heading down to Hollywood Land for a trip to Monsters Inc. We grabbed ice-cream floats at Clarabelle’s, then went to hang out in the Animation building until the Animation Academy class we wanted: Baymax!
With the sun shining, we headed back to Paradise Pier to find that California Screamin’, the big roller coaster previously broken down, was now open and had a fairly short wait, so that was next, then we headed back to the hotel quickly to drop off our drawings, then we went back into the Disneyland park for Mickey and the Magical Map.
It was everything I’d expected it to be, unbelievable! There was live singing, dancing, Flynn Rider.. Yup, pretty happy. To avoid the long queues, we decided to do single rider on the Matterhorn bobsleds after coming out of the theatre, so we only had to wait about 15 minutes, then we wandered through Tomorrowland for another ride on Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters.
Now today in the park, there have been a bunch of signs informing guests of a filming taking place this evening for a TV feature, and the castle has been closed off to set up a stage with instruments for a concert, including a red piano.. Anyone know where this is going? Cast members weren’t allowed to disclose the name of the star, but a few hints confirmed our suspicions: Elton John was playing tonight! Excited by this news, we found a fairly secluded spot for Paint the Night, which was to be followed with the fireworks before the concert started. As you can imagine, Main Street was packed, and the area in front of the castle had been cordoned off, so we stood in Pixie Hollow, away from the main crowds. Paint the Night was obviously just as magical as the night before, although one of the pixie dancers had a little fall right near us, oops! We couldn’t see the fireworks quite as well, but hey ho.
And then we waited. For over an hour. And then he appeared.
(We were maybe only 100 metres away but this was the best shot I could get!)
Gospel choir and all, he opened with Circle of Life, and the crowd went crazy! He actually performed it twice so that the cameras could get all the right shots, and then another song which we could barely hear over the fireworks, before we decided to make a break for the exit, not because we’re boring but because tomorrow brings a very early morning! And in any case it would seem that was it for Elton too as he quickly disappeared from the stage..
Now how’s that for Disney Magic? Well with our first Star Wars race tomorrow, we’re calling it an early on, so I’ll catch up with you tomorrow!