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Monday, July 27, 2015

Dazzling Disneyland

As mentioned, the impetus for heading to Disneyland during July (the most crowded time of year!) was the dazzling diamond celebration on offer. A new parade, new fireworks show, beautifully decorated park: what Disney lover could resist? Plus, that little bonus of free tickets for the trade-in on the vintage tickets
So special is the Disneyland magic to me that on our first trip to Paris back in 1999, we decided to spend one of our days at Disneyland Paris! Fun to see Micky speaking French, to see Sleeping Beauty's castle fashioned after a French Chateau and to scratch my Disney itch even though I was an ocean away from the Disneyland I grew up with. I was reminded once again how deeply connected Disney is to my childhood when during the parade, I began to cry because I was a bit homesick!

But I digress...We knew that we needed to arrive at 8.00 a.m. to maximize our opportunity to jump on the big rides without big lines so once inside the Magic Kingdom, we headed straight for the Indiana Jones ride.
Walking down Main Street USA, seeing the beautiful Sleeping Beauty Castle all dolled up for the 60th anniversary, walking past the Plaza Inn where I worked just brought back a flood of memories. I was giddy with excitement about being back inside the hallowed walls of one of my favorite places on earth.
The Indiana Jones ride wasn't open yet, so we hopped down the road to a no-line at all entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean, one of Doug's favorites. There were some new things that included 3 glimpses of Jack Sparrow hanging around with this raucous crew! From there it was onto the Haunted House (no wait!) also spiffed up and so creative and then into a no wait line for Splash Mountain, one of my favorites. Doug was in the very front of the log and both of us ended up pretty much soaked from the waist down! That ride had more drops and thrills than I had remembered and the final drop was excellent!
Those first two hours in the park yielded easy access to all of the rides that were of top interest to us including Thunder Mountain Railroad, a new and improved, now 3D Star Tours, The Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (brand new to us...and yes, I scored better than Doug again!) and finally The Indiana Jones ride. Indiana Jones has been Doug's alter ego for years throughout our Wacky Wednesday program at Immanuel. Most years, his character was some version of Indiana and his costume pretty much looked like this year after year! I remember when we visited the Matterhorn in Switzerland for real...it was indeed the bobsleds of Disney that first ignited my interest! 
Unfortunately, I had bore blisters on the balls of both feet at California Adventure so the walking around was a little tough! But I managed to carry on, enjoying the moments of rest we received at various attractions like the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Golden Horseshoe.
The Golden Horseshoe show...Vintage Wacky Wednesday fodder
We took a midday break at the hotel and returned in the later afternoon for the dazzling festivities of the parade, Fantasmic, another incredible show that mixes water fountains, projections on the water and live action with all of the Disney characters appearing, and the Fireworks spectacular that was indeed spectacular. A highlight were the cousins, ages 5 and 6, who sat down with their parents near us for the Fantasmic show...their re-telling of their day at Disney was simply magical. 
The new parade is something else...I heard the music from the original Electric Parade every single night when I worked at the Plaza Inn and it can create a little nuttiness in your mind so it was delightful to see and hear the new parade. Of course, with the advancements in technology, it really is more dazzling than ever. We were next to It's A Small World so we ran over and jumped in a boat to indulge in the monotony of that ride. It was fun to travel through the depictions of various countries, now that we've visited so many of them for real!
The Frozen castle depicted in the parade!
Naturally, we had to stop and take mouse ear photos along the way. Our theory is always try, but never buy! Of course, every Pluto spotting made us think of Tanner. He is such a Pluto!
To end our day, we wandered through Fantasy Land and tried like crazy to get on the newly refurbished Peter Pan ride, another favorite, but that line remained over an hour long! I did make Doug join me on the Storybook Land Canal boats that travels through a world of miniatures and beautiful gardens. We took our last ride on the Casey Jr. Circus Train and then wandered down Main Street and out the gate. Even though my feet were killing me and it was past midnight, it was still hard to leave the magic behind. 
It just seems that no matter what age I am, Disneyland will forever have that special hold on me and I will always jump at the chance to go, no matter when!