Every kid wants to go to Disneyland, because from the time we were born it is marketed to us as the place of dreams, were dreams come true and as the most fun place on the planet. Even though as a kid I wasn't a huge Disney fan I still wanted to go to Disneyland. After all it's iconic place in world cultural history is unparalleled . But more so for me it was about finally experiencing the rides I have heard so much about, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, the latter which unbelievably spawned a film trilogy. After experiencing the various imitations of its rides on the Gold Coast and at Wonderland, I was finally at the real thing.
Disneyland is in Anaheim, which is right through the city from where I was staying (Winnekta). So setting out at 8:30am we ran smack bang into my first LA traffic jam. 12 lane highways chock-a-block. We didn't get to Anaheim till close to 11am. Thankfully I slept for most of the trip.
We parked in the Timon section of the Lion King carpark and then took a tram thingy to the actual main gate. Yup even the carpark doesn't escape from disneyfication. So first impressions upon entering Disneyland? Not much really, I think the major problem is that every theme park around the world has taken from disneyland and disneyland itself has taken things from other themeparks previously. So it feels like every other theme park I've been too (Well like 3 anyway) except now there are disney characters running around the place and every shop was hawking disney merchandise.
We made our way through to adventure land, I spied Tarzan's treehouse and desperately wanted time to climb up on the rope bridge and generally be a monkey but sadly everyone else wanted to do the Indiana Jones ride. I was sad, an I never ended up getting the time to go back, but oh wells, next time. Now the Indiana Jones ride is something I've been anticipating for years but somehow the TV really made it look better than it is. The entrance and walkway to it is awesome in it's set design but the actual ride was a tad too short I felt but there is a lot of cool stuff in it still. Perhaps my anticipations were a little too high.
Pirates of the Caribbean was really quite boring and a little too long. Again it was one of those diorama rides but unlike Indiana Jones it really had nothing else but dioramas and sets. In the ultimate sign of reflexivity it turns out that the ride is now based on the films, which were themselves based on the original ride. Go figure, success begets success?
My entire shoe got wet on splash mountain when waves of disney water decided to crash on it randomly even before we got to the actual splash part. Then I went and molested Eeyore with Tracey and went on some more rides which were enjoyable but ultimately didn't live up to expectations.
Before we got to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad rollercoaster, I came across the Shootin' Exposition which is like one of those old timezone games where you put a coin in, shot a rifle across a scene with targets and if you're on target, something happens in the scene. This was always my favourite and I shelled out $1.50 for 3 goes. It was awesome and I think I thoroughly scared Megan and Tracey with my shooting skills. Perhaps I'm more American than I thought.
Tracey and I indulged in childhood fantasies at the Mad Hatter's Tea Cups, Megan dutifully sat out due to inability to deal with going around in circles because of motion sickness (such a pussy =p). Anyhoo the best ride of the day will go to Space Mountain, which isn't anymore than a rollercoaster inside a building, but what it lacks it makes up in atmosphere, The space is completely black save for stars and music it almost seems like one is flying in space.
We made our way back for the big parade, which was undoubtedly cheesy but fun. I bought a $4 mickey mouse shaped ice-cream, and because the woman only had one left, Megan, Tracey and I decided to take turns in mangling Mickey's head.
For winter Disneyland closes at 6pm, which was disappointing since we only arrived around 11:30am, however the queues generally weren't too long on average 15min, compared to summer where lines could stretch for hours. However I felt disneyland truly came alive at night when the lights on it's a small world ride came on and the fireworks and fake snow flowed.
Overall, I think although not perfect, Disneyland is very enjoyable however I wish I made it here 10 years earlier, because at this age cynicism has really too strong a hold.