My friend and I arrived into LAX on Thursday morning and made our way to the Orange County Hyatt near Disneyland. Our first impression of LA (neither of us had been) was not very good. I know you can’t judge a city by the area surrounding the airport, but as the trip went on, the rest of LA basically looked the same. I guess the only reason I would live in LA was if Disney hired me. ?
Anyways, we headed off to Disneyland around 3:30pm to get a jump start on the weekend. I hadn’t been to Disneyland for eight years, so I didn’t really remember much about it. But, I’ve been to Walt Disney World more times than I can count, so by default, I always compare the two. We had purchased the three day park hopper online for the price of a kid’s ticket which saved us a LOT of money. So, we were able to go right to the gate. I was a tad surprised the lines were so long at the gate for 3:30pm on a Thursday, but that’s probably because they only had a couple of gates open. My first impression was the turnstiles at WDW seem to go a lot faster which really surprised me. I never thought having people scan their fingers would be quick. But, at Disneyland, you have to hand your ticket to the cast member, they have to usually flip it over and rotate it and then scan it manually. That seemed to be a little much, but oh well. We were in and I was happier than can be! ?
Disneyland always seems so tiny to me because the scale of all the buildings is so short compared to the Florida version. But, I was very impressed with how clean the park was. We grabbed a quick Mickey pretzel on Main Street and then headed off to Adventureland. We tackled the Enchanted Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise and Indiana Jones with about a maximum of 10 minutes wait for each attraction. I think I actually like the the Tiki Room under new management, but I’m still amazed at how cool this attraction is for being so old. Gotta love original attractions supervised by Walt! The piranha on Jungle Cruise scared the hell out of me, but were wicked cool. I wish they had those in Florida. Indy is always a good ride, but I think our ride vehicle was lacking sound. Either way, it was still great. I loved going over the bridge and having the other vehicle coming right at you. What I didn’t realize was the ride track is identical to Countdown to Extinction. Well, they at least seemed identical to me. The spider effect in here was great. Again, we only waited like 10 minutes for this which surprised me a great deal.
Then it was off to New Orleans Square. This section of Disneyland doesn’t exist in Florida, and it’s very well done. Pirates is amazing. I love how long it is and the multiple drops really add to the experience. We also went into the Disney Gallery and I saw renderings of the attraction which used to be where Star Tours is. That thing looked sweet. I wish I had know what that ride was like. As usual, the Haunted Mansion is kick ass. Although, the cast members aren’t what they used to be. I remember as a kid they used to be all “scary” and official looking when you enter the gallery. “Please drag your souls to the dead center of the room.” They were just ok both times we did this. But, the ride was still kick ass. It actually looks like this version is better maintained than the one in Florida. The singing busts in the graveyard look way better here. I like the loading area way better too.
We headed over to Critter Country next, but nothing was open. Splash was down for rehab, Pooh was closed for some reason, and the canoes were not operating either. I found it a little odd the midway dead ends back there, but oh well. Fantasmic was also closed for rehab which really bummed me out because I wanted to compare it to the Studios version.
Then we were off to Frontierland to ride Big Thunder. It was a great coaster, but I think I like the version in Florida better. This one just seemed slower. It was still fun though. There wasn’t much else here that interested us both since my friend hates shows, so we headed off to Fantasyland.
We only had a little bit of time before the parade at 7:00, so we did Pinocchio’s Daring Journey and Snow White’s Scary Adventures. Typical dark rides here, but I was a little surprised at how quickly they ended. Just when it got to the good parts, the ride was over with a happy ending. What happened to the dénouement?
We decided to get some dinner while waiting for the parade, so we stopped at the Plaza Inn. I was stunned this place had real china and silverware. I can’t remember the last time I was at a theme park that had real cutlery – especially that you could take outside. I was impressed. We got the chicken which I thought was great for theme park food. We watched the parade from the patio which started out a little slow, but picked up near the end. I was a little confused because the parade was at 7:00pm, but it was good.
To top off the night, we hit Rockin’ Space Mountain and Star Tours. I think we only waited 30 minutes for Space Mountain, but we wanted to check out the Rockin’ version to see what it was like. Luckily it changed back to the regular version overnight. It was ok, but I prefer the lights off. Star Tours was Star Tours, nothing too exciting there. I’m just glad there was no wait. ? Tomorrowland seemed a little odd to me. I mean, it was just a bunch of buildings without much detail. The Florida version seems much more lively and exciting. The upstairs plaza at Space Mountain was also very strange. More on that for the next day at Disneyland, though.
Overall, it was a great first day at Disneyland. I had an amazing time.
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