WHAT UP INTERNET?!
The leg-en-dary Walt Disney only strolled through one theme park bearing his name, and we decided to tackle this fabled park on our second and final day at Disneyland. Disneyland is an American institution, and considering we only had a limited amount of time to experience all it has to offer, we knew we were going to be in for a long day. We wanted to enter the park right at rope drop, gorge ourselves on all the world-famous Disney cuisine and stay until we witnessed the iconic fireworks show. With the assistance of copious amounts of coffee, we crawled out of bed bright and early and prepared for a day of adventure which spent hours planning in advance (if #ConLife has taught me one thing, it’s always have a game plan-especially when you’re going to one of the most popular theme parks in the world on a holiday weekend)!
Knowing the classic attractions Peter Pan’s Flight and the Matterhorn had been refurbished for Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration, we figured these two rides would be extremely popular so we decided to mark these off our list first (although all things considered, since we’d never been to Disneyland before, exactly what had been refurbished on these rides would be absolutely lost on us, had I not spent an obscene amount of time reading blogs and prepping for this trip!). Once we entered the park we spent a solid fifteen minutes waiting behind a rope held by Cast Members, eagerly waiting to experience every corner of this theme park. Although I was extremely fatigued due to a lack of sleep and pulsing with excitement to finally see the legendary Disneyland, these few minutes were spent chatting with fellow visitors and the friendly Cast Members. This Bro typically prefers to keep to himself when doing, well, anything-but the sense of excitement radiating from the employees and the enthusiasm exhibited by the people besides us (many of whom were frequent Disneyland visitors) made my partner-in-crime and I feel welcome. Plus, we got a pretty sweet view of Tomorrowland as we waited-and I saw a handful of cats scurrying around!
Once we were given the go-ahead by the Cast Members, we raced straight to the Matterhorn, and although we were momentarily lost (I mentioned we’d never been to Disneyland, right? #Excuses #TruthThough) we were on the very first sled of the day. I’d read plenty of mixed reviews of this attraction when I was planning my trip, as I had to scout every ride beforehand since my partner-in-crime doesn’t care for anything too exhilarating. Lo and behold, although neither one of us were scared during the course of the ride we did get tossed around quite a bit! Regardless, the dark portions of the ride and the brief sighting of the Snowman more than made up for the rickety experience, and we were glad to have experienced such an exciting attraction.
Once we regained our sea-legs (or I suppose, snow legs?) after dismounting the Matterhorn, we raced over to experience Peter Pan’s Flight. Considering we were in line for this ten minutes after opening, we ended up sitting in line for a solid 45 minutes-easily the longest wait of any attraction during our entire visit. Still, we had a handful of attractions we wanted to experience knowing full-well we wouldn’t be able to see them all, so we decided to spend our time waiting. Although we weren’t blown away by the ride itself (probably due to the lengthy wait) we were glad to have experienced the attraction, and the vintage vibes from the dark ride provided the authentic feeling we sought from one of the famous Disneyland Original rides!
Perhaps it was due to the early start or maybe the lack of sleep, but both of us were losing a bit of steam by this point. We wanted a ride which we could passively experience, and having read quite a bit about it, I decided It’s a Small World fit the bill-and a full sixty seconds into the ride I realized why my mother said not to see this attraction. Was it bad? Not by any stretch of the world-it was just not for this Bro. The general sentiment regarding this ride seems to be truly divisive, and needless to say we won’t be scoping this guy out on our next trek to the House of Mouse.
By this point I was itching to knock out a few more attractions before needing some sustenance consisting mostly of sugar (the only food group I partake in when on vacation, by the way), so we scoped out Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and the castle walkthrough-both of which had that old-school vibe we craved. However, by this point we were both in need of legit #BroFuel, so we picked up the famous Matterhorn Macaroon and a Dole Whip-although I typically avoid all things dairy, after having my first spoonful of this world-famous soft-serve, I decided I’m going to have to pick up one of these every time I venture to Disneyland.
Once we downed all of these delicious eats it was time for more rides, so we grabbed fast-passes for Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters and strolled through all of the shops and museums of Main Street USA. If there’s one thing Disney knows (besides how to print money) it’s how to wax nostalgia, and the exhibits heralding the 16th President of the United States and the great minds who contributed to Disney over the years were some of the most interesting-and least crowded-things we checked out on our trip. Before we knew it, it was time to return to Buzz for some alien-shooting fun, and although the ride got stuck for about 5 minutes halfway through it didn’t detract from the experience in the slightest-if anything, we just got to shoot more aliens!
Once we finished up on Buzz it was time for a brief nap, so we returned to our hotel to rest and regroup. As soon as we returned to the park we wanted to check off some more Disneyland originals off our list, so we scoped out Autotopia and the Storybook Canal Boats. Needless to say, considering we drive quite a bit during our daily routine we weren’t diehard fans of the Autotopia experience, but we did love the Mickey-shaped ice cream we grabbed afterwards (as I mentioned, I’m all about the eats when on vacation!)
Considering we knocked off pretty much everything off our “must-do” list after this (we knew we wouldn’t be able to do everything Disneyland has to offer in just one day without running ourselves ragged), we grabbed fast passes for the second showing of Fantasmic! And decided to stroll through the park, simply taking in the sights and sound. Disneyland does atmosphere better than any place we’d ever been, and simply relaxing and allowing ourselves to slow down and enjoy the park as a whole was the highlight of the trip.
We camped out for the parade and the barrage of neon, familiar characters and hip “music” was enjoyable and provided for some great laughs-but the real highlight of the evening was the fireworks. During the fireworks I got chills, and felt a wave of emotion wash over me I hadn’t expected in the slightest. Perhaps it was the company I was with, the memories of childhood flooding over me as a medley of Disney songs played or the fact I’d spent such an obscene amount of money over the course of a mere two days, but I was blown away by the fireworks display, and I cannot wait to experience the fireworks at Disneyworld.
My phone died after the fireworks, but after they completed we headed straight to Fantasmic! Having read quite a bit on all things Disneyland resort has to offer prior to this trip, I had fairly high expectations for this show-and it did not disappoint in the slightest. We had a fantastic view (and got wet occasionally) up close and although we were surrounded by a group of teens who felt the need to flex their Disney prowess by reciting the lines of the show they (and others) were watching sporadically throughout the course of it, this could not detract from Fantasmic! I did not expect the music to be as catchy as it was, nor did I expect the production value to be so high-but I see why Fantasmic! has garnered such a sterling reputation. I cannot wait to see it again.
After grabbing another Matterhorn Macaroon on the way out it was time for my partner-in-crime and I to bid adieu to the Disneyland, as we were dead tired and still had to prep both mentally and physically for the behemoth that was #SDCC2015-but this trip converted this Bro into one of the legion of Disney faithful, and I cannot wait until I visit again. Until next time, Bros!