Everybody loves Disney. With most of our visitors here in Wildwood also making the journey to Orlando, including myself many times over the past several years, I also find it just as exciting to visit Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim.
I was lucky enough to spend 4 days at the 2 parks and one full evening in the parking garage walking 5 levels seeking out a blue Ford Focus rental car. Always write down where you park, especially if it is in one the largest parking structures in the United States.
Disneyland , still impressive after 55 years, also has some exclusive attractions unto itself, such as the Blue Bayou Restaurant, overlooking the interior of a much larger Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. The timeless Matterhorn, the first steel coaster ever built, and the newer Indiana Jones Ride still command very long lines. Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain are still thrilling coasters even in today’s modern age.
Disneyland still does all the ‘detailed’ things that make a theme park so special. Immensely busy year round, you can still find many Christmas decorations throughout the park in January. It’s a Small World, refitted with tens of thousands of holiday lights, even has a new musical soundtrack inside. I hope you love ‘Jingle Bells’ in different languages, as you will hear it for at least 12 minutes.
In California, when you want to “park hop,” you simply walk across the plaza to the neighboring California Adventure Park. The most popular section is the Paradise Pier area, a throwback to the many west coast amusement areas that have dotted the Pacific Coast shoreline. California Screamin’ is the major coaster here and arguably the best roller coaster in the Disney Empire. Comprised of a steel structure and painted to look like seaside wood, California Screamin’ is fast, smooth, and full of fun.
Adjacent to California Screamin’ guests will find Toy Story Mania and Mickey’s Fun Wheel, complete with swinging cars just like the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island (not for the faint of heart). The newer ‘classics’ folks can find throughout the park include the orginal “Soarin,” “World of Color,” ‘“It’s a Bug’s Life,” and my favorite “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror”.
Guests returning to this park in the next year will find two new “E” ticket rides- “Voyage of the Little Mermaid” and “Radiator Springs Racers.”
All this excitement leads to a tiring day and having several friends who are full time Disney Managers, including Mark T., a 44 year veteran who is always happy to give some cool behind the scenes guided tours. 20,000 employees need to have parking, wardrobe, break areas, and cafeterias all somewhere on property. The ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ is also a crowded place on Earth, or in Anaheim.