An entertainment spectacle beyond my wildest imagination, it really was a dream come true to visit the happiest place on earth. Few places are given the build up and hype of Disneyland, and I’ve heard about its reputation all my life. Every time I’d play a game of ‘I’ve never…’ I always used ‘I’ve never been to Disneyland’ and people would gape at me. No more! For the first time, on a beautiful September day, I walked through the gates of California Adventure Park and the train station of Disneyland to an experience unparalleled and one I will never forget for the rest of my days.
Our providers were kind enough to give the two of us park hopper tickets, which allowed full access to both Disneyland and nearby California Adventure Park. We made the most of both parks, managing to visit fifteen rides in total. Guardians of the Galaxy, The Little Mermaid, Grizzly River, Mickey’s Fun Wheel, California Screamin’, Indiana Jones Adventure, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, It’s A Small World, Radiator Springs Racers, Big Thunder Mountain, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Star Wars tours, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, Soarin’, and Wonderful World of Color. Acquiring a park hopper ticket is the way to go, or at least separate each park into its own day to visit. There are so many rides to see, visuals to take in, and atmosphere to absorb that it’s not doing your trek to Anaheim justice if you only see one or the other.
California Adventure gets plenty of kid friendly rides like the Little Mermaid, Cars Land and Mickey’s fun wheel, but there are some great rides that interest adults too like the Guardians of the Galaxy (a major highlight!), California Screamin Roller Coaster, Soarin’, and the water themed Grizzly River. Soarin’ combined large, IMAX style screens with motion controlled airplane seats to make you feel like an actual bird roaming the world’s most beautiful sights. Radiator Springs Racers gave a great sense of speeding through America’s Heartland on the highway with the high speed of the ride and the well done recreation of the rock formations from the film. Guardians of the Galaxy had a great anticipation built from its fantastic presentation while waiting in line, including a full interior set that looked like it was made for the movie, an introductory video featuring the Guardians, and a fully animatronic raccoon! Plus, the ride was pretty great, too.
Disneyland itself was clearly designed first and meant to be self contained, as it has well organized areas with themes and an actual functioning railroad operating around the circumference of the park. Each area does its job in transporting you to the land of choice wherever you are. The Adventureland section transports you to tropical jungles of the Indiana Jones films, New Orleans Square takes you there with the cajun architecture of the streets and the Pirates of the Caribbean gets you in the right mindset. Frontierland takes you to the American old west with its Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Tomorrowland is filled with outer space themed rides like Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, and Star Wars tours. We wanted to see some of the most famous rides they had to offer, but unfortunately Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Haunted Mansion were down. Having those rides functioning would go a long way to giving a great full experience to any newcomer to the park, as those are the ones I was aware of being well regarded and most anticipating riding.
Still, the rides we managed to get on were every bit and fun and enjoyable as I could have hoped. The Matterhorn Bobsleds had great speed along with funny set decorations like a mechanical abominable snowman, Star Tours combined a great animatronic C3P0 with virtual reality video and a jerking car to give the illusion of flying through outer space, Pirates of the Caribbean had great old Disneyland charm with its classic old animatronic pirates and new ones of Captain Jack Sparrow to reflect the films, Indiana Jones had fantastic presentation and a great story with pacing, thrills and suspense of the actual films. If there were any real shortcomings of the experience, the lines in some places were long and the rides felt a little short by comparison! Still, an absolute blast and an unforgettable experience was had by both of us, and I wouldn’t hesitate going back for another go, especially if Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain are up and running again!