Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Happiest Place on Earth: Part 2

As I'm sure everyone knows, Disney bought Pixar a number of years ago. A few years later, they bought Marvel Comics. They own The Muppets. They own ABC. They own ESPN. I could go on, but, really, why bother? They own a lot of stuff. I sort of think, maybe, Disney plans to own the world. Just a couple of weeks ago, I would have said that was a bad thing; however, I'm not so sure now. I mean, if they were to do with the world what they've done with Disneyland, I think it might actually be a better place.

Of course, no one would ever have any money, because, my gosh, are they good at selling things!

But everyone would be happy, so, maybe, the lack of money wouldn't matter?

So... the trip:

The trip down to Disneyland was an even longer drive than the trip up to Trinity Lake, which is kind of weird. Well, at least, it's weird to me. Going up to Trinity Lake is like going to a completely foreign place in a lot of ways, so it feels like it should be farther away. We had all kinds of plans to be at Disneyland by early afternoon, but a late start and bad traffic around L.A. defeated us, so we got a much later start at the park than we had meant to. I learned a lot, though, about planning for the next trip if we ever go back.

I had nothing to do with the planning for this trip. As I said, I was sort of just instructed that I was going and didn't really have any say in the matter. But, then, you don't really argue, I suppose, when someone offers to take you to Disneyland. You don't turn down free, right?

To start things off, we stayed at Disney's Grand Californian hotel. That place was amazing. I wish I had pictures for you, but there was just no view of it from the outside that I could get that would have captured the hotel. However, I have some shots from our balcony into the park, because, yes, the Grand opens directly into California Adventure.

And this was in the hotel:
I really wanted to eat there or, at least, get coffee there, but we never did. We were pretty much at one park or the other for all of our meals. But, wow, I really wanted to go there! It was probably better, though, that we didn't; that place was expensive! Next time, though, coffee for sure!

Our first destination for Thursday night after we arrived was Tomorrowland and Star Tours! Just to say it, Star Tours is awesome! Even the line is awesome. There's all kinds of stuff to keep you entertained while you stand in line, which is true of a lot of the lines, but Star Tours most of all. We had fastpasses, though, so, mostly, we skipped right through the line, which was rather a disappointment. My younger son and I wanted to go back at some point and wait in the regular line so that we got watch the video presentation and listen to the droids banter, but we never got to. Unfortunately, I have no pictures from Star Tours, because we didn't get to stand still long enough for me take any (and, by the time we went back to ride it again, my camera had decided not to be compliant with the whole picture taking process).

By the time we got back to the hotel that first night, I was sold on Disneyland. Here are a few more pictures:
Sleeping Beauty's castle.
In Tomorrowland.
The parades were awesome!
They had floats!
This whole thing with the parades is significant, because my wife kept mentioning to me prior to the trip the fact that they had parades, but, you know, I thought she just meant marching bands and stuff. The kind of stuff they had at Six Flags (the real Six Flags) when I was younger. At some point, she mentioned something about the floats being lit up at night, and I had to do a double take. So, yeah, they have these huge parades through Disneyland with floats and everything, and  they are amazing! I wish I had more and better pictures of them.

Yes, I got swallowed by Monstro.

One other thing we did our first night was to go on the "It's a Small World" ride. No one could believe I wanted to do that. I can understand why they couldn't believe it, because, really, no one else wanted to do it, but, as I've said, everyone else had been before. However, Small World is just SO Disney, and I can't imagine having not done it. I'd have gone on it again, too! There's just so much to see in there; you can't do it all at once. Here are a few pictures:

And that was most of the first evening. Small World, Star Tours, a parade, the Star Trader (the Star Wars store), and lots and lots of looking at stuff. So much stuff!

Stay tuned for part 3... whenever that happens to happen.


  1. Thirty-five years later, and I still can't get that song out of my head!
    Been a long time since I went to Disneyland. (Seen Disney World recently.) Be interesting to see how much it's changed.

  2. I've never been to Disneyland, or Disney World, or any of those places, and now that I'm older, I'm not sure if I want to. Perhaps when I one day have kids that'll change my mind.

    Also, as long as Disney doesn't buy the rights to my book, I'll be happy. Fun fact: a major editor once told me that she thought my book, Demetri and the Banana Flavored Rocketship, should be a Disney story. You can laugh at that thought after you read it. (It's almost done and ready to send your way)

  3. I think one's enjoyment of Disneyland, just like one's enjoyment of nearly anything, depends mostly on the company. When I visited Disneyland in my early 20s with no kids and a partner who wasn't having much fun (you know, cynical recent college grads in the recession of the early 90s), the experience was flat, soulless, and un-fun. When I visited Disneyland a couple weeks ago with Andrew and our kids, it was a BLAST! Andrew was a total kid and so much fun to observe as he took in the park and bounced from one "wow!" to another. I highly recommend him as a Disney companion. Our kids were pretty fun, too.

    Sarah aka Andrew's wife

  4. Now I'm humming that song, too!

    I'm with you: You HAVE to go on "It's A Small World," even if it is old fashioned. (I noticed they had Nemo & Buzz and Woody in there, so they've updated it.)

    I was at Disney World in Florida when I was 12, and still remember a lot of the rides. Things have changed a lot since then, I understand, but it's neat to see how similar the experiences you had now are to what I had then.

    Also: great pics!

  5. I had no idea there was water in California. I'm stunned. I thought everything got dried up and was blowing in the wind.

  6. I've been to Disneyland and Disney World, and it's a lot of fun but probably the most exhausting vacation you can do. :) Epcot is my favorite, though.

  7. Alex: I loved that song when I was a kid, so it brought back good memories.

    ABftS: You should definitely take your kids there when they're old enough to do that. I think it's a thing all kids should get to do at least once (around the age of 10).

    Sarah: What are you trying to do, get them to all want to come to Disneyland with us, too?

    Briane: It was great going through Small World and pointing all the the things in it. Like accordions!

    Michael: Well, you know, we ship it in direct from the North Pole.

    L.G.: Oh, yeah, man, it was exhausting. More on that later, though.

  8. I would like to visit Disney someday. It always looks so commercialized. I am just needing a quiet vacation this year so it def wouldn't be this year. Great pics of the place btw!

  9. Sounds awesome! I loved the parades.

    I'd be afraid to go on the Small World ride. I recently read a story where the guy was stuck on the Small World ride for 3 hours as a child. The story stuck with me, because it was a really great memoir and pretty funny, and I wish I could remember where I read it.

  10. G_G: Well, it is commercialized, but, then, so is the world. I didn't feel it was any worse in there than out here. However, it's not anywhere you want to go for quiet.

    Callie: Oh, you have to go on Small World. You haven't been to Disney if you haven't been on Small World.

  11. I'm very jealous. I went to Disney World when I was ten and adored it, of course. I even kept a journal and included the lyrics of the song that was playing in Tomorrowland (at the time~ I'm sure they updated it). I'd love to go back someday. *sigh* Maybe when my younger kids (I've got one on the way) are over ten. By that time, we can probably meet up with the step-grandkids. Seriously. I could easily be a grandma in the next 6-8 years. My life is so bizarre in some ways...

  12. I had an uncle who worked for Disneyland (some manner of buyer...?), so we used to get to go free when I was a kid. Of course, we didn't live in CA, so that put a damper on things, haha! We did get out there to visit a couple times, though, and it was great fun! We have taken the kids to Disney in FL and I rather hated it, but my hubby and kids loved it. I really want to take them to Disneyland in CA, but not until they are both big enough to go on ALL the rides. Hubby prefers FL, but I feel he's a traitor, though not really, b/c he's never lived in CA (where I was born). I love the Indiana Jones ride. Other than that, I'm purely old-scool: Pirates and Haunted Mansion. :)

  13. I definitely admit that just about everything Disney does is very slick and downright amazing. When my young family went to Disney World in January of 1983 we stayed in the campground and slept in our van to save money. I swear the experience was nicer than some pretty decent hotels I've stayed in and it wasn't even like camping. It was crazy, but a very well coordinated experience in every way.

    Yeah, I'll vote Mickey Mouse for president in the next election.

    Wrote By Rote

  14. Jess: I think around 10 is the perfect age for kids to go. That's old enough for them to really remember it when they get older.

    Shannon: Pirates and the Haunted Mansion were both awesome! My daughter started bugging me to get us an annual pass for next year, but she doesn't get about the having to drive down and back up and that, without a place to stay, it's just not something you can take off and do.

    Lee: They had this dance number with Mickey Mouse out on the street from one of the street cars... yeah, I'd vote for him. I'm not sure who should be vice, though. I mean, Donald would be trying to get us to nuke everyone, and Goofy... well... I don't think there's anything to be said for Goofy.

  15. Sounds like you guys had a great time. I've never been to Disneyland, only to -world in Florida. However, I can attest to the awesomeness of the parades, especially the ones at night. The fireworks shows alone send chills up and down my spine.

    By the by, I had to laugh about you wanting to get a cup of coffee at the cafe. I am the exact same way--always curious of how different places make their coffee and which ones are the best. ;)

  16. Most of the posts I read about Disneyland/world seem to say something along those lines: It's commercialized but awesome. I've never been myself, though yeah, now I want to.

    Great pictures!

  17. Alyssia: Well, that cafe in particular had more to do with the name of it than anything else. However, I do like to try different places. Unfortunately, Or fortunately, depending upon how you look at it, I haven't found a place to beat our local coffee shop.

    Eagle: Well, after going, I'd say you should go!