Up until September I had never been to Disneyland. It’s a special place that I’ve always wanted to see and experience but never had the opportunity to until this year. I know what you’re thinking, aren’t you in your thirties? Isn’t there somewhere else you’d rather go? Truthfully? No. Ever since my first Disney movie… Since the first time I saw a commercial with happy, bouncy children, laughing and skipping around Disneyland… What a magical looking place! Mickey & Uncle Walt just suck you in. They make you want to go there. They got me. So this year was finally my time to jump around and dance about with all of the characters around me. Can you say excited?
We had been in LA for a few days when the time finally arrived for us to go to Disneyland. My cousin Doug works there and got us in for free. Which, by the way, I cannot thank you enough for that. We had an amazing time! It was so generous of you! The entrance fee is $120.00 per person, all of the rides are free. There are huge lines for every ride, some taking up to two hours before you get in. Yikes! Singularly the best thing about having Doug with us was his ability to get us into the rides without waiting in lines. He has a magical presence there and it was hard not to think of him as the unofficial mayor of Disneyland. Everywhere we went, people were stopping him and saying hello. One cast member (as all employees are referred to) even said she loved him over her microphone.
Now, normally on any typical day at Disneyland, you can only get to about three or four rides in roughly eight hours at the park. For us, with Doug to aide in the fun, we managed to get on thirteen rides. It must have been the “Canada Magic” as Doug called it. We checked out the Star Tours ride, you get into a large booth and the whole thing moves, shaking you all over the place. The ride is 3D and I completely understood why Doug skipped the ride. I think Devon actually became really motion sick on the FIRST ride of the day. The way it dips, dives & zig zags about, it’s enough to make anyone sick to their stomach. Next up is probably the best ride at the park, Space Mountain. Whoever came up with having a roller coaster in the dark was a total genius. Fast, fun & unpredictable. Pure adrenaline. All the big rides take a picture of you & you never know when it’s going to happen. This makes for very funny photos. We went over to the Buzz Lightyear ride where you sit in a car with a gun & shoot at the evil Zurg. It’s a pretty fun ride and makes for some healthy competition. For the record Doug and I creamed Devon and Stephen. After that we went on the It’s A Small World ride. I’m not one to complain but if there’s one ride you should avoid… it’s this one. A twenty minute ride on a boat where they play the song over & over in every language possible. This one makes you want to drown yourself in the foot of water below you, as I believe Stephen and Devon tried at least twice.
We took the Pirates of the Caribbean ride next. It’s pretty impressive to know that a movie franchise was made around a Disneyland ride. It’s a decent ride too. They’ve integrated bits from the movie into the ride. Jack Sparrow is everywhere. There are three very convincing wax figurines throughout the ride. It’s by this time that I realize that I’m enjoying myself immensely.
Next up was Splash Mountain which had a line around the whole ride. Doug talked to another cast member & ended up procuring us two special passes which had us skipping the line. This one little boy shot us the deadliest look. Another one shouted “Hey, they’re skipping the line!” at us. Devon waved a pass at his face which didn’t help much. There are several spots in the ride where water splashes up into the boat. Doug told us when we were to hold up our feet. After that Devon kept asking Doug what was going to happen on every single ride. Doug said nothing. Since it was my first time there, I was put into the front row of every ride. We held our feet up as we dipped down and Splash!, we were doused. But that wasn’t the biggest one. We zip around the ride and climb up & up… as we hit the top, I look down and realized that we were going to be splashing down hard. We went flying down the side of the mountain and Sploosh! what a huge landing. We hit the bottom and the nose of the boat went under the water. Devon & I were soaked. Devon screamed “My iPhone” and held it victoriously, not a drop of water on it even though her shorts were soaked. The whole left side of me & all of Devon’s shorts… soaked. When the ride came to a stop, it was quite obvious that we all had been splashed pretty hard. It took us s bit to dry off but the sunny California weather helped.
We got our hands stamped then walked the short distance to Disney California Adventure. Yes, that’s right. We got into two parks for free. As much as I loved Disneyland, I think I enjoyed DCA even more. When you walk into the park, you are literally walking into Hollywood, in 1923. There is a bronze statue of Walt Disney looking exactly the same way he did when he first arrived in Hollywood. He designed this park to look just as it had when he got there. There is something magical about walking into a theme park that looks like the hey day of old time Hollywood. There is even a replica of the Carthay Circle Theatre, where Snow White debuted in 1937. Walking down Buena Vista avenue, we enter a building that has Tim Burton models all around. After checking out the very cool models, we make our way toward Cars Land. When you walk up to it, it looks like you’ve walked right into the movie. In fact, it reminds me of Utah. We walked over to the Tower of Terror. Aptly named, you walk into the ride and you enter a room. There they show you a sequence from the Twilight Zone. And a creepy bellhop leads you into a large room that looks like a boiler room. Once there, you wait to enter an elevator. The creepy bellhop returns and lines you up to get into the elevator. You take your seat, clasp your seatbelt and the bellhop asks if this is your first time. Then he says, “I feel sorry for you” as the door closes. Then the lights go out and the elevator rises. Then it rises some more then suddenly drops. Then it goes all the way to the top. The doors open and you see the whole park. The view is stunning and then the elevator drops again. The elevator randomly rises and drops and all the while Doug, Stephen & I are laughing & cheering. Devon is beside me screaming her head off like a little girl. I’ve never heard her so scared before in my life. I’m so amused by her terror that I enjoy the ride that much more. After we leave the ride we walked around Cars Land for a bit.
Once we checked out the attractions in Radiator Springs, we avoided a parade, cut through A Bug’s Life & made our way to the California Screamin’ roller coaster. Talk about your smooth ride. It does a full loop. Devon even asked for her “mommy”. She’s a riot in amusement parks.
We stopped along the boardwalk and played some games. I ended up winning a stuffed Dumbo doll at the water gun game. I gave the Dumbo to Devon… then she spiked it and did a touchdown dance. Everybody laughed, including the guy to operated the game.
We went on the Mater ride which is kind of similar to the tea cups, but is doesn’t turn fully around. Watching Doug & Stephen fly around and crash into each other was hilarious. Once that was done there was just one ride left, the Cars ride. Since Doug doesn’t work at DCA, he has no pull here so we actually had to wait in line… for 65 minutes. I don’t think any of us had realized just how hard it is to stand in line for over and hour. It was in this line up that Devon saw the cutest, most well behaved girl and at the end of the night Devon gave her the GIANT Dumbo doll I had won her. Such a sweet act of kindness. The line felt like it took forever. It’s a good thing that the ride was worth the wait. You sit down in a hot rod and zip around a set that looks like Utah, then you line up with another car and race around to the finish line. A pretty fun ride and not a bad way to spend your day.
In all, we spent ten hours at the park and made it on about thirteen rides. I haven’t enjoyed myself that much in a long time. I hope you’re lucky enough to make it to Disneyland some time and I hope you’re lucky enough to make it on more than five rides.
It truly is the happiest place on earth.