Trip Taken: 2010
‘The Happiest Place On Earth’ is about a thirty minute drive from where I have my permanent address in the US. I have been wanting to go back to see how it has changed and have fun with my friends. My friend Josh has an annual pass and had an open invitation for me to go with him at anytime during the year. That invitation was given out almost a year ago and it has taken this long for me to actually act on it.
Getting to know the attractions is pretty easy. Look at the free map, decide where you want to go, and do a circle of the park. It would behoove you to get fast passes for the rides that offer them so you can enjoy other rides in the vicinity. My favorite rides are Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Railroad, and the Jungles Cruise (kind of hit or miss depending on the comic skills of your tour guide).
Food is doubly expensive in Disneyland as Disney food is the only option you have (unless you brought some snacks for yourself). But you have to eat so here are my suggestions for food. Plaza Inn on Main Street is one of the only places in the park with free refills. Carnation Cafe on Main Street has one of the original Disneyland employees, from the park’s opening, working there. He will come around to answer questions and tell stories if you will lend an ear. Other places of note are any of the eateries in New Orleans Square for their interesting takes on creole dishes.
Interesting things to do
Disneyland has put out an interesting book on Hidden Mickeys that are in Disneyland. I saw this book at the gift store on my way out. I thought that it would be a cool little scavenger hunt for bigger groups during the trip. You can buy it at Amazon, Ebay, or wait until you get to the park.
Try to memorize all of the lyrics to the theme of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ ride and the ‘Haunted Mansion’ ride. The latter will be much easier since it is not incoherent like the Pirates’ song. There are actual lyrics to the ‘Yo ho, yo ho. A pirate’s life for me’ gibberish that the animatronics sing. You can always bring the lyrics to the park and sing a long to annoy your fellow passengers.
Take interesting posed pictures with the character actors. My brother did an all gangster pose with each toon and it turned out pretty cool. It’s funny seeing Pooh and Tigger with their arms crossed and chin down like they are staring you down.
Performances and Stage shows
The small performance groups in Disneyland really surprised me. Having never taken in a show when I was younger, it was all the more exciting when I did see one. The Dapper Dans on Main Street, Billy Hill & the Hillbillies at the Golden Horshoe, and the rotating local bands in Tomorrowland were all very entertaining. They interacted with the audience and there wasn’t a dull moment.
Places to rest (take a snooze)
Around late afternoon, I got extremely tired and sleepy. I was trying to think of great places to sit and just take a light nap. The first place that came to mind was the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction. It’s not like history is not interesting, but I have fallen asleep watching the History Channel a few times and the narration has the same sounds. Plus, the seats are comfortable and the attraction lasts around fifteen minutes, perfect for a power nap (The common area in front of the attraction is actually really interesting with original art and miniature models of the park.)
Other places I think would have worked for a nap are Tom Sawyer’s Island and the Disneyland train. Tom Sawyer’s Island doesn’t see very many visitors and it’s great way to lounge in the sun on an almost deserted island. The Disneyland train also is a good place to snooze as few people use the train to get around anymore and you can just keep riding until you wake up.
There are always deals for Southern California residents so try to get your LA area friends to pick up better value tickets for you.