Name: Disneyland Park
Web Site: www.disneyland.com
Phone Number: (714) 781 - 4565
Location: Anaheim, California
Take the I-5 and exit Disneyland Dr from the north OR Disney Way or Harbor Blvd from the south.
Ticket Prices (single day):
* Indicates "Can't Miss" Attraction
Disneyland is geared toward people of all ages. It is a fantastic place for a family to spend a wonderful day together, and thrill seekers will even like the nice collection of thrill rides at the park. The atmosphere seems to sparkle with magic, and there are attractions and show for children, teens, adults, and elderly folk.
Excluding cash for tickets,
each person in the party should bring approximately $30 to $40 for food,
a game or two at the Frontierland Shootin' Exposition, and souvenirs.
This is "where the magic began." In 1955, Walt Disney realized his dream of creating a theme park (not an amusement park) that was clean, friendly, and magical. At Disneyland, guests were taken from their ordinary everyday lives and transported into magical worlds where cowboys roamed the streets, where cartoons came alive, where the jungle was up close and personal, and where the future was here today. In the beginning, there were a few problems, but over the years, Disneyland has grown to be the "Happiest Place on Earth." And with reason. Here, a sense of magic and dreams hangs in the air. It is as if guests entering the park were sprinkled with a bit of pixie dust as they gazed upon the floral picture of Mickey Mouse set against the backdrop of the Disneyland Railroad. Here, guests forget about their worries to spend a wondrous, magnificent day at the place "where dreams come true." This is Disneyland.
Upon entering the park, be sure to pick up a beautifully drawn souvenir map. Walk under one of the twin tunnels underneath the railroad and enter beautiful, picturesque Main Street. This is the Main Street that never was. A romantic, idealistic place with quaint, little shops styled to hearken back to a different era. Here, horse-drawn trolleys still roam the streets, and the fire trucks are decorated in that classic, Norman Rockwell style. There is a city hall, an opera house, a fire station, a penny arcade, and many other different shops. Critics may say it is just a facade, but guests are swept into their own imagination. For them, this might as well be real, and thus, it is.
Walking up Main Street, guests who glance ahead can see Disneyland's first and main "weenie." Walt Disney described weenies as a tall, monumental structures that grabbed the guest's attention and gave him or her a sense of direction and orientation. They also attracted the guest, inviting him to come closer and thus, enter the land. At Disneyland, it is the Sleeping Beauty Castle that stands. The symbol of the Disney company, this is actually the shortest of all the Disney park castles, however, a creative architectural technique known as "forced perspective" makes it actually appear taller. This is because the higher the castle stretches, the smaller the bricks used for that part of the castle is. The same trick is used in Main Street, where the first story of all the stores is at life size, but the second story is 9/10th actual size. The third story is 5/8th actual size, and so on.
At the end of Main Street, the path forms a central Hub, from which other paths branch out into the various themed areas. This was an innovative, new idea when Walt first unveiled it. Guests could always return to the Hub and orient themselves, then head off to another land, Walt used to brag. Of course, in the early days, guests had to return to the Hub to get to another land because the actual themed areas weren't interconnected. This was a minor annoyance until it was fixed.
At the center of the hub is a statue of Walt holding hands with Mickey. It was placed there on Mickey's 75th "birthday" to honor the mouse that started it all and his creator, who started the park. To the right stands Tomorrowland, in all its futuristic yet comforting glory. Tomorrowland has gone through many makeovers over the years. It used to be very white and lifeless, but now, it is painted in Earthly red and green hues that mix futuristic design with the pleasant, welcoming feeling of home. The main attraction here is Space Mountain, an indoor roller coaster that seems to go much faster than it actually runs due to the lack of light, the theming, and the placement of the support structure. Arguably the best ride in the park, Space Mountain tosses in the bonus of having a kicking soundtrack to heighten and expand the experience to a whole new sense. The difference can definitely be felt if one rides a train that has music and then a train without music (or vice versa).
Space Mountain is one of many popular Disneyland attractions that utilizes a brilliant system called FastPass. Here is how it works. Say a guest comes to an attraction that he or she wants to ride but finds that the way is much too long for liking. The solution is to use obtain a FastPass by putting his Disneyland park ticket into one of the machines set up near the entrance of the attraction. The FastPass ticket he receives will enable him a one-hour window of time, during which he can return to that attraction, show the cast member (that's Disney-speak for "employee") his FastPass, and go through a much shorter line that usually results in minimal waiting period. In the meantime, between the time that the guest takes his FastPass and the time that he actually uses it, he can wait in and ride another attraction, or maybe more! The benefit of this is that it lets guests ride two or more attractions in the time that it would ordinarily take for him to ride only one! Intelligent use of FastPass can drastically improve a great day and make it a perfect day. Best of all, unlike other parks that use a similar system, FastPass at Disneyland (and all the other Disney parks) is absolutely free, as long as guests have their park entrance ticket.
If guests arrive at Disneyland first thing in the morning and hurry over to Space Mountain, they will probably have no need for a FastPass, since they will be among the first to ride this roller coaster. Later in the day, however, the line can be an hour long or more. However, Space Mountain is not the only attraction at Tomorrowland. Besides Innoventions, a nice showcase of the latest technology, there is Star Tours, one of the first motion simulators. This attraction puts passengers in large pods that can shake, swerve, and dip. The storyline involves the passengers going on a tour to the forest moon of Endor. Of course, there has to be some excitement, so naturally, riders will exit hyperspace to find themselves in the middle of the final space battle shown in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, where the Rebel Alliance destroys the Second Death Star, and with it, the Emperor. Somehow, the riders make it back home in one piece.
Afterwards, guests can choose to ride again or head on over to the Autopia for a fun, relaxing drive through a wonderfully landscaped course. More thrill-oriented visitors should flock to the Matterhorn Bobsleds, Disneyland's first coaster ever and officially the first steel roller coaster ever built. The line for this attraction can build up fast, but it is usually quick-moving, so that even on busy days, the wait is rarely over an hour. Furthermore, there are twin, mirrored tracks running through the mountain, so ride capacity is twice as high. The Matterhorn Bobsleds takes riders through a trek in the Swiss Alps (the ride itself is housed in a 1/10th replica of the real Matterhorn Mountain in Switzerland; Disneyland is the only Disney park to actually have a Matterhorn). Three close encounters with the infamous abominable snowman provide an extra thrill, and the ride itself is pretty speedy, though a bit rough due to its age.
From the Matterhorn, guests should return to the hub and enter Adventureland in order to check the wait time for the Indiana Jones Adventure. By now, most likely, this attraction will have a rather long wait, perhaps between one and two hours. If guests choose not to ride it now, they should be sure to obtain a FastPass so that they can return later. In the meantime, assuming they skip Indiana Jones, they ought to try the Jungle Cruise (which has a traditionally short wait).
Notorious for being the most sarcastic, pun-filled attraction at Disneyland, the Jungle Cruise takes riders down the tropical rivers of the world, from the jungles of Africa to those of South America. All the while the Jungle Cruise skipper of that boat will be cracking corny jokes, making bad puns, and generally acting in a goofy, ridiculous manner. A favorite joke goes, "Oh look, there's my friend Trader Sam." (He's a head shrinker.) "Business hasn't been that great lately, so he's got a special going on right now. Two of his heads for one of yours..." And while the jokes may become old for repeat visitors, they almost inevitably come up with new ones every couple of years.
If it is not time yet for guests to be able to use their Indiana Jones FastPass, they can head over to another boat attraction with a traditionally short wait (though exceptions do occur). Located in neighboring New Orleans Square, Pirates of the Caribbean is an approximately 15 to 20 minute long boat ride that takes riders down two very short drops and through underground caverns filled with treasure, an ongoing battle between a pirate ship and a fort, and a pillaged village, where the buccaneers sing their trademark "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life's for me!"
Upon exiting this attraction, the one hour window of time available for guests to use their FastPass on Indiana Jones should be open. Thus, guests should eagerly venture back to Adventureland and speed through the line for the Indiana Jones Adventure. This wild, special effects-intensive dark ride is one of those that is not suitable for expectant mothers, people with back or neck problems, or guests with heart problems, of course, but most people should find the experience quite thrilling and exciting. Each car holds sixteen people (4 by 4 seating) and takes them for a buckling trip past the deadly eyes of Mala and through the Temple of Doom. Loud explosions, fiery skeletons, a giant serpent, and "dart-spitting" warriors are only a part of what riders can expect, and the finale will rock their world!
If guests are hungry, Adventureland does offer some food that would not typically be found at a theme park. The Bengal Barbeque features kabobs of beef, chicken or vegetables, as well as several tropical fruit-topped dishes and hot coffee drinks. The skewered kabobs can either be drenched in a bold, spicy sauce of a sweet, slightly fruity one, and each kabob comes with a sprig of green onion.
Back in New Orleans Square, hungry guests might try the French Market Restaurant, which serves some delicious Southern-themed dishes such as jambalaya, fried chicken, chicken tenders, and stew. There are also some decadent (though probably overpriced) deserts and mint julep to drunk (regular juices, sodas, and water are also available, of course). Richer guests can enter the Blue Bayou Restaurant (reservations recommended) and try its famous Monte Cristo sandwich. The eating area, a "moonlight plantation," can be seen from Pirates of the Caribbean as guests leave the station. That enticing aroma they smell as they gently drift across the water comes from the Blue Bayou Restaurant, which features salads, seafood, chicken, and beef, but be prepared to pay premium prices for the delicious (and it is very delicious) food.
New Orleans Square is also home to another popular attraction, the Haunted Mansion, but before stopping to wait in line, guests might consider heading a bit up the path to fetch a FastPass for Splash Mountain, a very well themed log flume ride that usually features a very long wait (especially on hot days). Back at the Haunted Mansion, guests waiting in line ought to take a moment to look at some of the witty tombstones and read their inscriptions. Among the deceased is "I. M. Mortal," just to name one. There's also a "pet cemetery."
Upon entering the house, guests will be led to a "haunted elevator" with walls that are "actually stretching" as the elevator goes down. Disturbingly, the phantom host informs, this chamber has "no windows, and no doors," presenting a ghostly challenge: "to find a way out!" Of course, there's always the specter's way. What follows is a lot of screaming as the lights go out and something morbid appears above...
Exiting the elevator, guests stroll through a nice hall featuring several morphing paintings and two busts whose eyes seem to follow their every move. How eerie... Finally, guests will board a moving car capable of fitting up to three people. The dark trip takes riders through the ghostly halls of the house, into various haunted rooms, and by a large dining room, where the spirits have come out to dine. Afterwards, the car "exits" the house and through the haunted (and very large) back yard, where "grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize." Finally, guests should "beware of hitch hiking ghosts," because they may see an eerie specter appear in their own car! All in all, it is a very fun ride that is a lot less scary than people may think.
As was previously mentioned, if it is a hot day, the line for Disneyland's only real water ride, Splash Mountain, located in Critter Country, will be long. Wait times as high as three hours are not unheard of here, though single riders will probably incur a much shorter wait. FastPass holders will breathe a sigh of relief as they breeze past the other park guests and toward the station. The logs have been redesigned to hold five passengers instead of seven. Once on the ride, guests journey through the worlds of Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox. There are a few drops in the ride, most famously the big one from the top of the mountain down through the mist. After a turnaround, the logs head underground, where a rousing crowd of various animals sings "Zip-A-Doo-Da."
From Critter Country, guests will have to journey back around the Rivers of America to reach their next destination, Frontierland, home of the Wild West. Those with some time on their hands can board the Mark Twain Riverboat or the Sailing Ship Columbia, both of which sail around the Rivers of America. Guests can also take a raft to Tom Sawyer Island, located in the middle of the Rivers, or row around the waters in the Davy Crockett Canoes. Thrill seekers, however, will most definitely want to ride the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Despite its high thrills, the lines for this attraction are usually quick--almost always less than an hour, and sometimes, less than half. This runaway mine train attraction features three (loud) lift hills and plenty of thrills. As the gruff old minder who gives the safety spiel proclaims, "This here's the wildest ride in the wilderness!" The train departs from one of the dual stations and enters a dark, abandoned mine shaft. Climbing up the first lift hill inside the cavern, the clickety-clack of the chain can echo very loudly. What follows is a cartful of twists, turns, drops, and valleys. It may not be the most intense roller coaster in the world, but the experience certainly is among the best. The combination of great Disney theming and a twisted, out-of-control route make for a truly great ride.
After this thrilling attraction, guests may want to tour Fantasyland, an area devoted especially to children. There's the classic King Arthur's Carrousel and the beloved Dumbo the Flying Elephant, a twirling flat ride that allows riders to ascend or descend in their own flying pachyderm as they fly around. Fantasyland is also home to four dark rides that children will enjoy: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Snow White's Scary Adventures, Pinocchio's Daring Journey, and Peter Pan's Flight. Fans of miniature towns should try the Storybook Land Canal Books, which takes guests through Monstro the Whale and into Storybook Land, where all of Disney's famous animated movie characters live in their own miniature abodes. The Casey Jr. Circus Train also goes near this area, and guests can ride as Casey struggles to make it over the mountain, ala the Little Engine that Could.
Also found in this themed area is the famed "it's a small world" attraction, a gentle indoor boat ride that takes guests through various rooms filled with puppets from various nationalities, all singing that famous melody, "It's a small world after all." Rounding out the attraction is the Mad Tea Party, which is guaranteed to dizzy riders, since they sit in spinning tea cups that spin on small turntables that spin on a large turn table.
Finally, there is Mickey's Toon Town. Located north of Fantasyland, this place is home to Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and their friends. The architecture is totally wacky--full of bulges and curves and radiant with bright, splashy colors. Thrill seekers can ride Gadget's Go Coaster, a small, steel kiddie coaster that is actually the fastest attraction in the park (believe it or not). Children can visit the various houses of famous Disney cartoon characters, such as Chip and Dale, Donald Duck, and Mickey Mouse himself. They may even have a chance to meet the Disney celebrities! Also, for those who did not think the Mad Tea Party was not enough, there is Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin, an indoors ride that spins guests through the wacky adventures of Roger Rabbit.
Guests at Disneyland will most likely stay the whole day. At night, though, Disneyland transforms into an illuminated, glowing spectacle. It is during the nighttime that the magic really takes hold. The warmth and beauty of the expert lighting are absolutely amazing, and of course, two of Disneyland's best shows take place at night.
The first is Believe! There's Magic in the Stars, a fireworks show perfectly choreographed to music. Set behind a foredrop of the Sleeping Beauty Castle, the pyros go on for ten minutes, all to the tune of some of the most famous Disney scores.
The other show is the incredible Fantasmic!, a twenty-five minute sensation of sound, waterworks, fireworks, lasers, and live action. Set in the Rivers of America, Fantasmic! typically runs twice a night, at 9:00 and 10:30. Guests have been known to stake out good seats as early as 6:00, and some even before that time! But a normal wait is well worth the show, which stars Mickey Mouse and his incredible imagination. However, evil and darkness can invade his imagination too, and he'll have to summon up his power to defeat the villains that threaten his dreams. If there are two shows, it is highly suggested that visitors wait until the second show. Most of the time, people line up well in advance to see the first show. Parents with younger children, especially, watch the first show so that they can leave earlier to let their kids rest. By the time the second show rolls around, many of the park guests have left the park.
If, by the end of the night, the park has not closed and guests still have a yearning to ride more attractions, they can revisit the rides they missed, or take another trip on their favorite attractions of the day. A fitting conclusion might be a trip around the park aboard the Disneyland Railroad, which has stations at the front of the park in Main Street, at New Orleans Square, Mickey's Toon Town, and Tomorrowland. When guests leave the park after a wonderful, magical day, they will almost definitely have had one of the best times of their lives. Disneyland truly is the happiest place on Earth.