Growing up with a family who doesn’t enjoy rides at theme parks, I never really craved Disneyland. But when an opportunity to visit the so-called “Happiest Place On Earth” popped up a few years ago, I thought why not. And the moment that big bus with Snow White on the side of it pulled up at LAX to whisk us away to Fantasyland, everything changed. It was as though I reverted to a child. Instantly.
I enjoyed a day at the park from 8am to 12am, riding Big Thunder Mountain until close. There was so much I enjoyed about the parks, the attention to detail, the different level of thrill associated with rides, the stores, the restaurants…I barely got to experience it all. And then sure enough, that has lead to pangs. Pangs of wanting to return and experience all the things I didn’t get to last time.
Then earlier in the year when I was working in travel, my friend Jarrod messaged me saying he wanted to get his Disneyside on again as well. As I pieced together a trip, I realised it would be incredibly fun to join him. (Jarrod and I have previously travelled to NYC together) It would also be the perfect opportunity to reunite with my British girlfriend who would be en route to Australia around the same time.
So with a trip booked and the countdown now well underway, I thought I’d list the 10 things I’m most looking forward to on this next trip to Disneyland!
10: Muppet Vision 3D
Despite being a massive Muppets fan (read about the time I went to Sesame Street here), I didn’t get a chance to experience this attraction on my first visit. We were just too pressed for time to hit all the major rides. A combination of movie and animatronic mishaps set in the world of the madcap Muppets. What could be a better combination? Because let’s be honest, a Gonzo themed roller coaster would probably leave too many people injured.
9: Skipper The Mark Twain
In case you weren’t aware, I’m a massive fan of Paddle Steamers, and worked on real, traditional Australian ones many years ago (and went to the 100th Birthday of the PS Melbourne a couple of years ago) but riding the Mark Twain was another thing I didn’t get a chance to do. I’ve also learnt some very lucky people even get to go to the Wheel House and have a go skippering the vessel, with a certificate awarded at the end. As I’m such a big fan, I think this is going to have to happen.
8: Visit The Disney Animation Academy
Every time I talk to my family I tell them how EVERYONE could have a good time at Disneyland, but they think it’s just a theme park with rides. Here is a classic example of something that’s NOT a ride. The Animation Academy houses a number of little hands on attractions, classes where you can learn how to draw famous Disney Characters, an interactive chat session with Crush from Finding Nemo and more! This is something I didn’t even know existed on my first Disneyland adventure. As Jarrod is an animator I get the feeling we’ll be visiting often, or at least spending a decent amount of time there.
7: Watch Fantasmic and the Fireworks
As I was only at Disneyland for a single night the first time around we only picked one evening show to see, the spectacular World Of Colour in California Adventure, where fountains, lasers, lights, fire and film combine for a stunning conclusion to the night. That did mean though that I missed the famous fireworks and the Fantasmic show. Not this time though. With 5 days up our sleeve we’re sure to catch all these shows! I can’t wait to see that Dragon!
6: Visit My Old Friend- California Screamin’
When I arrived at Disneyland the first time there were a few things I didn’t want to do- rides. Yep, I had that family ride-phobia. Especially in regards to roller coasters. And California Screamin’ was all sorts of horror to me. The giant hills, the loops…ugh…I felt sick just standing below it. Progressively though throughout the day I rode more things, and got more accustomed to the idea of taking on the old, wooden-looking, pier coaster with a modern twist.
The first time I pulled that harness down, and sat there as the car span round the corner and prepared for the countdown I was swearing. Why was I doing this? This was a terrible idea.
And then we were off.
And then when we got off, we had to go on it another two times because I was obsessed. My fear of roller coasters was over. I’m looking forward to returning to my old friend this year and going for a few more spins.
5: Experience The Haunted Mansion’s spooky makeover!
The Haunted Mansion is a favourite attraction of so many park guests, and for good reasons. It’s one of the best designed rides in the park, has some amazing stories attached to it, and so much detail. It’s more than just a ghost train. And between Halloween and Christmas it gets a little spookier with the addition of the Nightmare Before Christmas. Now whilst I can’t say I’m a fan of the film, I can’t wait to see what they do with the attraction. I hope we make it out alive!
Just give me Churros and I’ll be happy.
First time in Disneyland I definitely did a lot more of the BIG attractions, and didn’t get to spend a lot of time in Fantasyland at all. I didn’t ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the Mad Hatters Tea Party, Alice In Wonderland, Snow White’s Scary Adventure…none of it! I’ve got a lot to tick off in this area of the park, and I’m looking forward to doing it.
2: Space Mountain
I had such a euphoric experience on Space Mountain. It didn’t feel like a roller coaster in the slightest. It was like I was flying through an endless, magical galaxy, the wind rushing through my hair, the music lulling me into a trance.
Admittedly the photo at the end shows that they might have been pumping drugs into the ride, I’m not sure.
I loved the ride so much that when I was at Disneyland Paris we rushed straight for their version in the Jules Verne styled Tomorrowland. There we found a ride that was slightly different- a shoulder restraint went on, and the next thing I knew we were going upside down and doing corkscrews. WOAH.
Yet still awesome in it’s own way.
1: Cars Land
It’s the most impressive addition to the park, and the largest, most detailed work the Imagineers have done in some time, and last time I was at Disneyland it was in the process of being built. This time I’m looking forward to taking in all this new area of the park has to offer, from rides to food, and of course snapping away with my camera. The designer in me is mad about the work that’s gone into Cars Land, I can’t wait to see it!
So those are the Top 10 things I’m looking forward to doing at Disneyland this time around, amongst many other things! I think it’s going to be an amazing 5 days in the park, and I can’t wait to share them with one of my best friends, and my girlfriend. What an incredible experience it will be.
You can read Jarrod’s Top 10 Things he’s looking forward to doing at Disneyland here, and you can read Hollie’s Top 10 list of things she’s looking forward to doing on her first trip to Disneyland here.