Thursday, April 2, 2015

Disneyland Report

Disneyland has often been labeled as the "Happiest place on Earth". I'm sure for every person that believes this, there is someone who believes the exact opposite. After all, what is so great about standing in long lines in the hot sun, paying outrageous prices, and going on artificial, man-made contraptions that spin and shake you for fleeting moments in time? People, in general, believe what they want to believe. This report won't convince you otherwise. I believe that kids will enjoy Disneyland the most, because they aren't footing the bill and if they love Disney movies, the magic of those movies come to life at Disneyland. So yeah, for most kids, Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth. It can be a nightmare for an adult who has outgrown their inner child. Still, there is lots of fun and happiness to be found at Disneyland, with the right attitude of course.

Day one: Disneyland

Disneyland really hasn't changed much over the years. Many of the same rides we went on when we were younger and more naive are still there.

It's a Small World is a classic ride that has been around for ages and never fails to disappoint. It represents all the different cultures and lands in the world and our kids loved it. It was like traveling all around the world. And even though I've been on it many times, each time feels special and new. It was the perfect way to begin our little Disneyland Adventure.

It was going to be a hot day, so we bought a misting fan (for about 20 dollars). The Alice in Wonderland ride was quick and nothing too special (partly because our kids had never even watched the movie). We got our Fast Pass for the Frozen Theatrical Show, then went to ride on the Buzz Light Year ride and to meet Tinkerbell and Fawn the fairies. Meeting Disney characters in person never gets old.

The Frozen Theatrical was very professionally done, and very enjoyable even for crusty anti-Disney personalities. If you enjoy theater, you'd enjoy the Frozen Theatrical Show. It basically tells the Frozen story, but with a comedic twist. The story is narrated by two men, who also happen to do most of the singing. The actresses that portray Elsa and Anna were great - other than their lack of singing. The kids loved it. And it was probably the highlight of their whole Disney Adventure! Too bad their Mom was at a career fair! Their Mom would surely have loved it too.

By now, the kids are hot and tired. And they want to go back to the hotel. But for the price we paid for admission, I wanted them to go on more rides and see much more of Disneyland - especially since it would be our only day at the classic Disneyland Park. The next two days would be spent at California Adventures.
Like a slave driver, I dragged them along on more and more rides (Star Tours, the Finding Nemo Submarine Ride, and the Jungle Cruise Boat Ride, which are some of my favorites). Then we sit on a curb to watch the Disney Parade, which they also really enjoyed! Even though they were exhausted by the end of the day, they enjoyed it all. Mom would never have survived.

Day Two: California Adventures

Disneyland would be tough to beat, but meeting Elsa and Anna would surely help make California Adventures worth the admission price, right? Having a Frozen Fun section at California Adventures was perfect. One of the kids' favorite things to do was to play in the snow! Racing down a snowy slope on a sled was pretty awesome. The kids didn't care too much for the Monsters Inc. ride, but the Little Mermaid ride was perfect for them. The Jumping Jellyfish and the Flying Zephyr were also fun rides for them. We went back to the Indoor Snow park for round 2, before going to meet Elsa and Anna. We also took an Animation Class where we were taught how to draw Piglet from Winnie the Pooh. Ally, being the young, budding artist loved it. And she did pretty awesome for a 7 year old!

Meeting Elsa and Anna was very quaint and personal. It seemed a little artificial and scripted to me, but the kids loved it. In fact, I think Grace was a little star-struck. She didn't know how to act or what to say. Still, they enjoyed themselves.

We also went to see a Frozen Sing-Along show, which the kids really loved. They played clips from the movie with lyrics on a big movie theater screen. But the light and smoke show all around the theater is what really wowed my kids. And the snow falling in the theater was the perfect touch!

The day culminated with another parade, this time with Pixar characters Toy Story, the Incredibles, Monsters Inc., and Bug's Life. We got back to the hotel and went out to a nice sushi dinner with Mom, where the kids got to share everything they saw and did throughout the day.

Day Three: California Adventures with Mom and Dad

We let the kids decide which park to take Mom to, and they unanimously chose California Adventures on the third day because Mom had never been there. I wasn't too impressed with the rides, but there was still a lot we hadn't done the day before.

We went on the Little Mermaid ride again, and toured the fake Redwood Forest, where there was an assortment of things to do for Ally - like rock climbing and zip-lining. Then we went on a white-water rafting ride (with just Ally and I). Ally was nervous and scared of the waterfall drops and she got drenched, but it was still a lot of fun. Then we went to Bug Land, where we went on a bunch of kiddie rides (bumper cars, spinning ladybugs, giant caterpillar trains, and a flying balloon ride.

The highlight of the day though, was the Aladdin Musical Spectacular Theater show. There were no Fast Passes available, so we were told to just arrive 20-25 minutes before the show to get good seats. We ended up sitting in the second row, which was pretty awesome. This show was amazingly good. I've seen a number of theatrical shows, and this was probably one of my all-time favorites. It would sit right up there with Phantom of the Opera, in my humble, limited opinion. The singing, dancing, choreography, and special effects were pretty amazing! I was very impressed. If you ever go to California Adventures, I would highly recommend this show! I would come to California Adventures just for this show, even if I didn't have kids! Great job, Disney!

The final thing we did together was the Animation Class again, except this time we were drawing Tigger - a much harder drawing than Piglet from the day before. Ally had trouble, and was very frustrated. It was clear though, that the instructor was going very fast and the drawing was too advanced. Still, I think Ally did a fantastic job.

3 Days in Disneyland came to an end, but the memories will last a lifetime. Was Disneyland the Happiest Place on Earth? It was the happiest place on earth, at the time, for us. But then again, the happiest place for me is always right beside my family and friends. Isn't happiness just a state of mind cultured with a good attitude and a healthy perspective? Labeling any place the Happiest Place is just a marketing scheme to sell you stuff. Find happiness in your own heart, and the Happiest Place on Earth becomes wherever your feet takes you.