Thursday, January 25, 2018

Our very first day in Disneyland

While we have been to Disney World three times, we have waffled about going to Disneyland for a while. Truth to tell, it wouldn’t even be on the table if we weren’t currently in Arizona and much closer to Disneyland. And after doodle turned four, we decided that it was time for a quick Disneyland trip. Our plan was to fly out early on Saturday and fly back late on Monday, giving us three days at the parks.

We got up when it was still dark on Saturday. Amusingly enough, we ran into my Uncle Don at the airport. He had been in Tucson for a conference but we hadn’t been able to get together with him. It was a fun start to the trip.

We had an easy flight to Los Angeles. From there, we took the official Disney Coach to the parks. I say official since there are some fly-by-night vans that will offer to do the same. As usual, the doodle hated waiting but was happy as long as he was in a moving vehicle.

We stayed at the Day’s Inn across the street from the two parks. Part of why we chose to stay there was that it was closer than any of the actual Disney hotels. 

Now, I’m not going to go into exhaustive detail about every ride and attraction and quick service we went to but some will get more comments than others.

One term I’m going to use a lot is dark ride, since our son really liked those. Dark rides are when a little car or boat takes you past a series of scenes. They’re mostly inside and often have a lot of animatronics.

Our first ride was Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, which is a dark ride and one that’s no longer at Disney World. So it was one we wanted to see. We also knew that it ended with a car crash and the ride going through Hell. Well, it was the quaintest Hell ever. It was pleasant, quaint ride but I would hope a ride based on The Wind in the Willows would be quaint and pleasant. It was a nice way to get started.

One of our big goals was to go on the California version of It’s a Small World since we’d heard it was better and bigger than the one in Florida. And it was. We managed to ride it only a day or so before it was shut down to remove all the Christmas decorations. It was memorable and impressive.

I also have to note that It’s a Small World is an odd experience. It’s depicting not a realistic version of the world but a toy one. So it has an intentional fake look to it. It’s quite surreal.

After that, we went on the Mad Tea Party and the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, both rides our doodle had enjoyed at Disney World. While there were differences, none of the them were significant.

Our next stop was Toon Town, an entire area unique to California. It’s a mix of tributes to Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the houses of the classic Disney characters. Our son was most interested in Chip and Dale’s treehouse. We also went on the Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin, which is another dark ride with the story being an out-of-control taxi ride through Toon Town.

At that point, we needed lunch. It was getting later and we the adult at least we’re really hungry. We are at the Galactic Grill and I’d say it was a low point in our dining. Not because the food was bad because it was so crowded it felt like being in a cattle car.

The last time we were at Disney World, the Magic Kingdom’s train was down and our son didn’t get to ride it. So we wanted to make sure he got to ride the one in California. We didn’t realize it would include a huge diorama of the Grand Canyon and of dinosaurs. That was a fun surprise.

Doodle has done well enough with other dark rides, we decided that he could handle the Haunted Mansion. And he did. He thought it was lots of fun. We did think that the special effects were better in Florida. 

We had dinner at the Jolly Holiday Bakery, which is the Mary Poppins-themed restaurant. It was a much better experience than lunch and the baked goods were excellent.

After going on It’s a Small World again to see it lit up in the darkness (which was pretty incredible) and another round of Buzz Lightyear, we called it a night and went back to our hotel.

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