There is much to do at the Disneyland Resort during the "Summer Nightastic" summer season. I hardly went to the parks last summer because I was busy with summer school, but this summer, I managed to squeeze some time in. I originally wanted to check out the brand new World of Color at California Adventure. I was hoping this report was going to be my review on World of Color and Silly Symphony Swings, but we ended up not doing those attractions. This is not to say that our trip was a total flop, we had some unexpected surprises.
We decided to go on Sunday, July 11, 2010 on a whim. Our last visit was in May, and as annual pass holders, we were long overdue. One of our buddies at CtrlAltKill mentioned that we have to ride the monorail in the cockpit. We boarded the monorail at Downtown Disney, but alas, the cockpit was already filled to its five person capacity. We went into the park just as about the first Celebrate parade was showing. Since Jared and I are a party of two, we were typically let ahead in line for most of the attractions we went on.
It's been a while since we have been on the teacups. Out of spontaneity, we decided to hit the Alice in Wonderland dark ride after. The park was full of families that day. I don't think I've ever been surrounded by so many grade school kids!
Another suggestion by our friend was to take the Lilly Belle caboose while taking the Disneyland Railroad. Unfortunately, the train that had the Lilly Belle was filled to capacity already. Jared and I just enjoyed a frozen lemonade together while waiting for the train. I liked going this time of year to Disneyland because the frozen lemonade is so delicious and this is the only time when you can get a frozen lemonade. They only cost $3.75 and can feed two people!
While aboard the Disneyland Railroad, we were able to see the Rivers of America finally filled with water. Our last time to the park was back in early May. We also had another random delight while on the train. Apparantly, the train makes a complete stop at Main Street during the Flag Retreat. The cast members stop for the national anthem. I have seen the Flag Retreat before, but never from this perspective.
While the train was at a complete stop, I took a few pics of the opening gates of both parks.
We made our round trip back to New Orleans Square station. Jared wanted to do Splash Mountain. The line did not look like it was long from what we saw on the train. However, by the time we got to Splash Mountain, the ride broke down. Instead, we just went around New Orleans Square's various attractions.
As we mentioned before, it was nice to finally see the Rivers of America already up and running after having a dry spell for the past couple of months.
We decided to go to California Adventure. Jared and I have always wanted to see the Aladdin musical together. On our way out Main Street (where we ran into another Celebrate parade...Jared thinks the parade is stalking us), I found this window display commemorating Disneyland's 55th Birthday.
We exited to the main plaza connecting both parks. California Adventure was looking "colorful." Banners having the World of Color promotionals and the California sign were decorated to theme.
By the time we got to Sunshine Plaza, the party was getting started. I was unaware of the Glow Fest. I really had no idea of what it was supposed to be or why the Hollywood section of the park was themed that way. We just went with it.
The last time both of us saw the Aladdin musical was years ago. Jared saw it when it first opened and I saw it on my first New Year's Eve trip to the parks. What was nice about the queue is that they were playing music from classic Broadway shows like West Side Story and South Pacific. In an age of Avenue Q and jukebox musicals, it is really nice to hear these timeless classics.
Watching the Aladdin musical was just awesome. It was exactly how I remembered it and I keep forgetting why I don't stop by as often as I do. I'm a huge fan of Broadway shows, and I would reccomend this show to any fan of the stage. The show does not dumb it down, but if you enjoyed the stage adaptations of Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins, you will enjoy this one. With the price of park admission, you are getting a Broadway calibre show. I can understand why several of my friends have seen this show 100+ times.
The only dissapointment I had was the fact that I remembered the carpet actually flying into the audience. What happened to that?
There was music of Glow Fest happening in Sunshine Plaza. They had the same Bollywood style belly dancers.
Jared and I were getting hungry. We never had a nice sit down dinner at California Adventure. While California Adventure had a few outdoor restaurants in Pacific Wharf. I have always heard good things about Ariel's Grotto, but as we learned, you would need to have reservations for that place. We eventually settled down for Wine Country Trattoria.
We had to wait about 15-20 minutes before our table was ready. Luckily, Blue Sky Cellar was right next door. While waiting for our party to be called, we went to see what was planned for Califoria Adventure's future.
As someone who grew up with the Disney Rennaisance, I'm really excited about the new Little Mermaid dark ride. I just hope they don't take reservations. I can tell by the sketches and concept work that this will be a very popular attraction come summer 2011.
Finally, a retooling of Muholland Madness! I like the ride as is, but it's good to know that the Imagineers want to keep classic Disney within the parks. California Adventure is often criticized for being "Pixar Land," but it is nice to see classics I grew up with (remember Good Morning Mickey?) are going to be immortalized in the form of a thrill ride.
Unfortunately, the wait for food took longer than we had anticipated it to be. Therefore, we missed out on World of Color. However, the two of us had a delicious Italian meal outside on one of the best days of summer; not too hot, not too cold. We were able to hear that was going on with World of Color. While we were on the Disneyland Railroad, we had heard that Star Tours' closing date would be on July 27th. Unaware of our plans from now until then, we deicded to head back to the main park to check out Star Tours one last time.
However, before returning the main park, Glow Fest was in full swing. Though many park attendees were watching World of Color, we decided to stop by the Hollywood Pictures backlot to check out what was going on. The area was reminiscent of Videoapolis of the 80s (now the Fantasyland Theater) and New Year's Eve. It felt like a G-rated version of the Electric Daisy Carnival; lots of glowsticks, lots of dancing, and lots of music to get you pumped. They also served speciality drinks that glowed too!
While we were in the area, we decided to check out the Tower of Terror. Yes, we decided to check out this ride though we already finished dinner. The nice part about it was that there hardly was a wait at all! The other nice thing about going on Tower of Terror this late at night was seeing the fireworks from right across!
After dropping several stories down, we went back to the main park to check out Star Tours. As Star Wars fans, we decided it would be best to pay our dues to one of the last Star Wars landmarks to be true to the original trilogy.I remember when Star Tours had issues trying to decide who was their sponsor; from Energizer to M&M's...
I decided to take video at the nearly empty queue. Who knows how they are planning to remake the queue for the new Star Tours.
And Jared, the bigger Star Wars nerd (and future Star Wars EU novelist) of the two of us, shared his final thoughts on Star Tours.
Overall, we had a great time at the Disneyland Resort. We took the monorail back to Downtown Disney. To our surprise, we were able to ride in the cockpit. It was a very pleasant experience. We really got to see the journey in a whole new light. Plus, it feels much faster when you are riding up front.
Though we are unaware of what our Disneyland plans are between now and Star Tours' closing date, we will certainly miss the original. We hope that Rex makes a return as our favorite newbie pilot. Though we did not get to see World of Color as we originally planned, being a part of the Glow Fest was the next best thing. I even nicknamed it the "Poor Man's World of Color." We really hope to explore more park secrets and insider tips for our next time at the park.
Next time? Hopefully, we'll have our review on World of Color.
Final Attraction Count List
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