Los Angeles 2012: Blog #2 – Disneyland!
I was lucky enough to be able to spend two days at the Disneyland Resort: One day at Disneyland and one day at Disney’s California Adventure. They were both wonderful parks and I enjoyed many aspects of both of them.
The original Disney theme park. When I was 11, I went to Disney World in Florida, so many of the rides were familiar to me. With that in mind, I tried to prioritize the rides that were unique to Disneyland, and I was able to get on most of the rides that were new to me! I was able to get on all of the rides that I really wanted to go on. The two new rides that I was most excited to experience? The Matterhorn Bobsleds and Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye.
I went on the Matterhorn Bobsleds first, and after I finished the ride, my car was taken off the main track. I was worried something was wrong with it at first, but it turns out the cast members simply wanted to offer us an extra ride! Everyone in the car enthusiastically took them up on their offer and I got to ride a second time.
Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye can be summed up in one word: neat. I loved it! Riders get into an all terrain vehicle, and are taken through a “temple” that features several rooms, including a bug room, snake temple (of course – it’s Indiana Jones, after all!) and…the rolling boulder. Throughout the ride, the vehicle jerks and drops suddenly. It was so much fun – and the queue area is awesome too.
Just one piece of the amazing queue area for Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye.
The highlight of Disneyland was Pirates of the Caribbean for me. Funnily enough, when I was 11, I loathed Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney World! I’m a bit of an adrenalin junkie at theme parks, and I’ve always loved the more intense rides. This was especially true when I was young (I’ve settled down and, while I still love intense rides, I also love the gentler, more story-oriented rides). I was under the impression that Pirates of the Caribbean would be a thrill ride, much in the vein of Splash Mountain. It wasn’t, and I found it dull!
Then, Pirates of the Caribbean was released into theatres, and I fell in love with the film (and Johnny Depp). I longed to experience the ride I loathed again, and notice all of the ride references in the film. I was even more excited to go on again once the changes were made to incorporate Captain Jack Sparrow into the ride.
So…I was pretty excited to go on it at Disneyland. And…I loved it! I caught many of the things the film makes reference too, and I loved the way they incorporated Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) into the ride. The girls in front of us were even more excited than I was – they were talking about how they’d been waiting for years to ride Pirates of the Caribbean, and were obviously Depp fans like myself. Riding Pirates of the Caribbean was probably the highlight of my two days at Disneyland Resort. It was just a wonderful experience – and now I need to watch all four films again!
Disney’s California Adventure
I was lucky enough to visit California Adventure just after its $1.1 billion upgrade took place that included more Disney character immersion, Disney themed rides, and Cars Land. From what I’ve read on Wikipedia, the upgrades are a serious positive, because the park felt more like a Disney theme park than it would have before these upgrades were put in motion. There were many attractions based on Pixar films, which filled me with joy, as I’m a huge fan of Pixar. I loved exploring the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail – a playground where children can earn their Scout badges by completing challenges based on the characters in Up. I didn’t participate in any of the challenges, but it was fun to walk through the playground (although I did discover that I’m not as steady on a rope bridge as I was in my youth!).
The highlight of the park was easily Cars Land. I wasn’t even a fan of Cars or its sequel, but I loved the character of the area, and it was a gorgeous reproduction of Radiation Springs. I’d highly recommend Flo’s V8 Café if you’re looking for a meal or dessert in Cars Land. I ordered their chocolate mud pie and it was absolutely amazing. All of their pies are baked in-house! I was able to ride Radiator Springs Racers without much of a wait because I rode as a single rider (otherwise it was a 2 hour wait).
The amazing Cars Land.
I actually rode all of the rides that day as a single rider, as I visited California Adventure on my own. Because of this, I never waited longer than 40 minutes! The single rider program is a great program – but, admittedly it is implemented far better in California Adventure than Disneyland. I think that is because California Adventure is a newer park, so it has more space for signage, alternate entrances, etc. At Disneyland I waited 90 minutes in line for Splash Mountain only to see the Single Rider line just as I was getting to the front of the line. But, to be fair, by the time I visited California Adventure, I also knew enough to ask about the program at every ride entrance.
I was also quite fond of Hollywood Land, which is based around 1930s Hollywood. It was a beautiful area to explore, and I was even brave enough to go on the Tower of Terror (mostly because there was no wait to go on it!). I went on the ride in Disney World when I was 11, but drop rides terrify me in a way no roller coaster ever can so I often avoid them. It was fun, but it sure scared me!
While Disneyland was ultimately more memorable, aided by its classic rides and tone, visiting both parks was a wonderful experience. If you make the trip, make the time to see both parks!