Trip Start May 06, 2010
Trip End Dec 17, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Anticipating queues I got up bright and early to go to Disneyland.  I think I got up earlier than I did to go to work!!

I arrived at 7.45 am and not a queue in sight.  I bought a 2 day pass seeing as it was quite a big place and that it would probably take that long to see everything, factoring in how long you have to queue to get on rides.  A few minutes and far too much money later on my piece of plastic I entered Disneyland!!

I did feel excited I have to say.  The first thing you see is a garden with a Mickey Mouse flower bed welcoming you.  You enter on Main Street.  It really does look like a normal little town.  Main St has several shops and buildings along it and it leads onto the different parts of the park.  There was quite a queue on Main Street and I realised that as I had arrived so early they hadn't actually opened yet so I had to stand in the crowd for five minutes or so waiting for the gates to open.  A voice came over the loud speaker welcoming everyone to Disneyland, the gates were opened and we were all wished a "magical day".

I didn't really know where I was going but I knew I had to get to a ride before queues started building and the first ride I came to was Matterhorn Bobsled.  This ride has the honour of being the first roller coaster ride I have ever been on!  The ride looks like a big mountain funnily enough and the roller coaster winds it's way through and up it before coming crashing back down.  It was good fun, nothing too scary or too fast.  Probably a good first experience.  I have always had a fear that I would throw up on a roller coaster as I get motion sickness quite easily, thankfully it appears I'm all good.

I wandered along after this ride and saw Sleeping Beauty's Castle which really is beautiful.  It looks very enchanting just as it's supposed to.  I walked past it and ended up in Frontier Land.  Time for my second roller coaster ride- Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road!  This area of the park also had a lake which has two big boats on it, Mark Twain riverboat and sailing ship Colombia which is a massive replica ship and stunning to look at.  They didn't appear to be going anywhere though so as the rest of this area was just restaurants and shops I continued onto another zone.

I next entered New Orleans Square where they have Pirates of the Carribean and the Haunted Mansion.  I did both.  I was a little disappointed by Pirates but I shouldn't have been.  I think I wanted every ride to be a twisting turning roller coaster high adrenaline experience.  Pirates is not.  It is a very gentle ride on a little boat that takes you through many pirate scenes.  It is very well done, the amount of work that goes into the scenery is phenominal and really is quite something to see.   They had loads of moving figures, both people and animals, cannons and guns blasting and Captain Jack Sparrow was to be seen many times along the way hiding from other pirates and military personnel.  Kids would have loved it!

The Haunted Mansion was another slow ride based on taking in the special effects.  At first you are in a hallway with apparently no way out.  There are lots of pictures hanging around the room and they suddenly all start appearing to stretch to 3 or even 4 times their original size.  Then a door opens and you enter a vessel to take you around the haunted house.  They had some brilliant special effects, ghosts and apparitions appearing all over the place.  Mists passed across grave stones and at one point you are forced to look into a mirror where on the reflection, you see yourself and a ghost hanging in mid air infront of you!!  Brilliantly done!

I then went to Adventure Land where I did my first fast pass except I wasn't very good at it!  It was for the Indiana Jones ride. The queues were starting to build up and there was a large amount of people waiting to get on the ride.  I thought I'd be clever and jump it by using a fast pass so I got it validated at the machine and went to the fast pass queue.  I then realised that the tickets aren't valid straight away.  They give you times to return between and at those times you can join the fast pass queue and get to the ride a lot quicker than joining the standby queue.  My fast pass ticket for Indy wasn't valid for another 40 minutes and the standby time was only 20!    Oh well, you live and learn!  I did the Jungle Cruise whilst I was waiting.  This is a boat trip around tropical rainforests and you see elephants, crocodiles, giraffes and monkeys etc along the way.  It was for kids really but it was well done.  There was a little girl sat beside me who must have only been about 3 years old. She was just amazed at everything, open mouthed, the whole time.  Watching her little face was the best bit of the ride, she was sooo cute!

I got to do the Indiana Jones ride and it was a very similar experience to the Pirates ride.  Very slow paced although there was one quite sudden drop which was cool.

I then went into the Enchanted Tiki room.  It's not for adults!  It is full of animated parrots who sing songs telling a story about something or other!  Birds appear from all over the room suspended in the air and there are totem poles which have characters on them where the eyes and mouths move.  You are encouraged to do a sing along at the end, our groups was very muted with only 1 or 2 mums joining in!  On the way out I heard a middle aged man say to his wife, "Never make me sit through that again!".  Another live and learn experience!!!

I wandered around a bit more and found myself in Critter Country and at a ride called Splash Mountain.  I could hear the screams before I saw it.  The roller coaster was going around at a fair rate and there was one really big drop which went through a lot of water, I was definately going on that one!!  I joined the queue and probably waited 20-30 minutes for my turn to come.  In actual fact the ride is very slow except in a couple of places.  It takes you inside the mountain where Brer Rabbit lives and there are many scenes of Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox trying to out do each other.  One has poor Brer Fox with his tail caught in a crocodiles jaw while Brer Rabbit dangles just out of his reach!!  I used to read Brer Rabbit when I was very young, it was one of my favourite books, so it was nice to have some good memories brought back.  The ride goes up this very steep hill, very slowly and you just know that the drop at the other end is going to be huge.  You are suspended for a few seconds at the edge and then you descend straight down at a very high speed and right at the end you go through loads of water and get totally soaked!!  I was sitting right at the front so I got the worst of it.  It's so hot outside though, you dry in minutes so it really doesn't matter and it added to the fun big time!

I had another long wander around just to absorb the atmosphere.  It's really busy, buzzing with people yet it is so chilled out.  Everyone is happy because they're in Disneyland!!  There is no pushing and shoving or snapping or sniping.  Everyone looks cheerful and everyone is very friendly, chattting away in queues and passing the time of day on benches along the park.  There are just some cries from tired children, who probably haven't slept for days because they were so excited!!

I then exited to go and get some lunch which I figured would be cheaper out of the park boundaries.  I went to Denny's and I'm not sure if it was much cheaper but at least you get free drink refills and it was so hot I needed them!

On my return to the park I went into the second theme park- Adventureland.

The first thing you see is a massive wheel with a huge Mickey Mouse face on it.  It has cars all along it and some of them were swinging back and forth.

My attention was then immediately taken by a number of very high pitched screams.  There was a huge roller coaster aptly named California Screaming!  This was the real deal, it was thundering along at a really fast pace, twisting and turning and it took you round a loop so you were upside down.  At the start it counts down from 5- 0 before you jet off at a rate of knots up a massive incline before descending the other side, even faster.  My only focus then was finding the queue for that ride.  I did and half an hour later I had the best ride ever!!  It was so fast and being upside down albeit briefly was the weirdest feeling.  It was absolutely brilliant, I loved every second of it.  After it was over, I noted a few other rides to try out and made a note to do them the next day.

I then saw a Toy Story thing going on.  Men were all dressed in green and their whole bodies were all painted green so they looked like the soldiers from Toy Story.  They had a few kids lined up in front of them being recruited to become an honourary toy.  It was fun to watch, the guys were quite witty, saying jokes that the kids didn't get but the parents found highly amusing.  The kids had to march and then freeze like a toy, holding the pose of scary animals and many other things.  Then they had to learn team work by collecting stuffed toys from a basket and throwing them into another one.  If all of them went in then they got to the next stage.  The last stage was taking the toy oath and then they were fully fledged honourary toys!  Again, just watching the kids really enjoying themselves was just so much fun.  It really was a brilliant event for them, they were taking it all so seriously bless them!

I then found Soaring over California.  This ride is like a plane.  You sit in a seat in a long row and then get lifted into the air.  You are facing a green screen which displays famous images of California but the way they do it you feel as if you're flying.  There is a breeze blowing into your face and they zoom you towards tops of mountains and over peoples heads.  At one point a golf ball appears to be flying towards you and you react to everything, lifting your feet up and ducking!!

I then went back to the original park and discovered Tomorrowland, a zone I hadn't yet visited.  This had a ride called Space Mountain so I joined the queue for that.  It was 45 minutes long but the fast pass return time was 4 hours later so there wasn't much choice but to wait!  About 10 minutes into queuing they said they had stopped the ride temporarily and another 20 minutes was being added to the wait time.  A lot of people left the queue which was good and 15 minutes later it was up and running again and 10 minutes after that I was on board.  This ride was brilliant.  You are in total darkness so you can't see where the ride is going at all and you just get thrown around corners and up and down slopes at a really fast pace.  It was really exhilirating- on a par with California Screaming!!

I then saw Captain EO, a 3D film featuring Michael Jackson which was made in 1986 and a popular draw at Disney.  I have never seen a 3D film before so it was cool to see the special effects.  Things appeared to be just floating in front of your nose.  I have made a mental note to see a modern 3D film asap as with todays special effects it must be amazing.  The film was about Michael Jackson, commanding a space vessel delivering a present to an evil queen in a different planet.  He was accompanied by various animal co pilots who kept mucking things up and he had to save the day by dancing- what else?!!  It was typical Michael Jackson, a moonwalk or two and some brilliant dance moves.  My nephew, who is a huge MJ fan and does hip hop dance lessons would have loved it!!  I was a bit distracted though as I just couldn't help feeling sad.  In this film, he was a very nice looking young man, who was black and with no facial defigurations at all. At that time the world was his oyster.   To think what he then did to himself with all that surgery etc and to have died so young quite needlessly is really very sad. 

I had a wander around this part of the park.  There were a few shows going on from the Disney staff, singing and dancing High School Musical songs- a big hit with the kids! I noticed a finding Nemo submarine ride but the queue was enormous so I left it for the next day.

I went back to Main Street and had a wander through the shops.  My feet had actually both swollen up quite badly as I had trainers on and it was boiling hot, over 40 degrees and I was walking loads.  I bought a pair of crocs to see if that would help cool my feet down- another mastercard expense!  It did do the trick though, my poor ankles recovered a bit.

I then noticed that people were starting to sit all along the pavement obviously waiting for something to start so although I didn't know what it was for I found a space and joined them.  It was actually quite uncomfortable as the paving stones were boiling hot so my rear end was getting burnt!!  The Disney College band played along the street, the theme music from the Incredibles and then some classic Motown tunes.

Some coloured lights went on about 20 minutes later and then the Disney Parade started.  First of all there was a volunteer cavalcade and then the real parade began.  There were loads of dancers in sparkly coloured costumes and floats with all the Disney characters on them waving at everyone. 

Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy were first in line, followed by Pooh and Tigger and other characters.  Ladies in stilts were walking and dancing up the street to very upbeat music all about celebration.  It lasted about 30 minutes and it was really good.  I took a video of it so I can remember it and obviously some photos which are below!

I then took another wander through the main park.  I had intended to stay for the fireworks show but then realised that they didn't start until 10.30 and by the time I got back to the hostel it would be very late and pitch black and it really wasn't a road to be walking along alone after dark.  The last part didn't have any street lighting and was a long a track surrounded by trees and bushes.  I got the bus home and got back to the hostel just as it got dark.

The next day I went back a lot later in the morning.  To be honest one day would have been ample time so I regretted buying a 2 day ticket but I certainly wasn't going to waste it.  I really didn't feel like going back again but there must be magic in Disneyland as the moment I heard Disney songs blaring out through the speakers,my mood lifted and I found I was pleased to be back!  I went straight to adventure park and got a fast pass ticket for the California Screamer which was valid after an hour and then I did 2 rides I hadn't done the day before.

The first was the big wheel with Mickey Mouse on it.  You went into little carriages and as the wheel spinned around the carriages rocked back and forth.  I was sharing my compartment with a family with 2 young boys.  One of them loved it and the younger one did at first but then got scared and just kept saying to his mum he wanted to get off!!  These boys had both done the Screamer ride though and they were both fine with that.  Funny how some people's minds work, the screamer was 10X worse than the wheel. 

I then went on the Maliboomer.  This is a ride you sit in and it propels you vertically along its very tall height and then like a bungee you bounce up and down a few times before being taken back down to the ground.  The speed of the rise and the first fall is stomach churning but it is also so exciting that the minute you get off you just want to do it again!!

It was time for my second ride on California Screamer!  Second time around it wasn't quite as exciting but it was still brilliant!

I then had a wander and walked through the "It's a Bug Life" display.  I did a bakery tour which showed you how sour dough bread is made and got my first taste of it- very nice indeed!

I had another go on Soaring over California and when it had finished, found Goofy outside, posing for photos and signing things.  I had to get my picture taken with Goofy and it is now proudly displayed as my profile picture here and on facebook!

I then went back to the original park and went back to Tomorrowland.  I did Space Mountain again which I enjoyed just as much as the first time and then did the Buzz Lightyear Astroblaster ride.  Another ride for kids really.  You sit in a car which had guns on the front of it and you shoot at targets along the ride.  The car keeps a score of how many you hit and at the end you can see how good you are on a chart.  I was middling in case you are wondering?!

I then went on the Finding Nemo submarine ride, not one to go on if you're claustrophobic!  You sit inside a very narrow boat in darkness and then it appears to submerge.  The boat is half under the water but you don't go totally under.  They have "magicked" the port hole windows to make them into a film screen and they play a show based on the fim of Nemo's Dad trying to find him in the ocean.  You get a lot of scenes of underwater life.  It is very well done and lasts quite a long time to so is worth the very long queuing time!

I had one last go on Splash Mountain where I learnt something else far too late in the day.  There is a seperate queue for single riders! Doh!  It cut my queuing time for that ride by more than half, the wait was at 70 minutes and I only waited about 20.  Soaked for a second time, I had one last wander through taking in ToonTown and Fantasy Land and I left the park thoroughly Disneyed out.... but it was magical!!!

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