The Dooches at Disneyland
Dreams of Disney!
I don’t know how it happened or when, but I got the idea in my head that we needed to go to The Happiest Place on Earth and we needed to go now. Danny reminded me that he’s almost 60, but I didn’t care. Disneyland, which opened in 1955, has existed all of our lives yet Danny and I had never been there together, which is crazy because it’s like the world’s best date.
Disneyland & California Adventure
We decided to go big and opted for the Park Hopper ticket in order to gain entry to both classic Disneyland as well as California Adventure. When you’re already spending a whopping $185 per ticket, adding an additional $20 for MaxPass privileges was a slippery slope. As per the instructions on the Disneyland website, I downloaded the Disneyland app on my phone and linked it up with our tickets. The app has useful interactive maps of both parks and gives an option of signing up for FastPasses, which assign you a time to wait in a much shorter line when visiting one of the more popular attractions. You can only do one FastPass at a time and often the time granted won’t be for an hour or longer, so it’s not a perfect system, but I applaud Disney’s effort.
Worth the Wait?
We were there waiting as the gates opened at 8am and made a beeline for the Pirates of the Caribbean. At this time of the morning, there was a mere five minute wait, which would swell to well over an hour later in the day. It’s part childhood memories hearing the songs and part newfound excitement seeing how Disney has incorporated Jack Sparrow into the attraction. (Like I said, we hadn’t been here in awhile.) Pirates is located in New Orleans Square, easily my favorite spot overall. The Haunted Mansion is just a few steps away and also had a short wait at this hour. Disney-insider tip: Ask a cast member for a death certificate at the end of the Haunted Mansion, which they hand out at their discretion.
It was at this moment in time when, out of nowhere, the sky filled with clouds and it started to rain. Danny ran into the nearest gift shop (as you can imagine, it wasn’t far) and bought a poncho, hat, gloves, and the works. $100 later, I thought he was ridiculous. It rained for like two seconds and it was nice the entire rest of the day. I wouldn’t have put it past Disney to have completely orchestrated that storm.
It’s a Small World
For the small sacrifice of having the song stuck in your head for the rest of the day, It’s A Small World is always awesome and it’s fun guessing which country each section of the dolls are from. The generous length of time it takes for your boat to snake through to the end makes the kiddie ride totally worth it. Another noteworthy favorite in the old park was the intentionally horrendous deadpan jokes and super fake animals on the Jungle Cruise. I love that this ride sucks and yet it’s still there.
Food & Booze
The famous $11 turkey leg at Edelweiss Snacks next to the Matterhorn was overrated, but the Cheddar Cheese Stick, like a corndog but instead of a dog, cheese, at Corn Dog Castle in California Adventure is like the Holy Grail of fair food. Lack of alcohol at the OG park keeps it a classy joint, but the options at California Adventure are plentiful. I enjoyed a vodka and pomegranate limeade at the Cozy Cone Motel while Danny liked the virgin lavender lemonade with a glow cube served around both parks.
The Cats of Disneyland
There are several secrets to Disneyland, one of which, are the cats. Every night, hundreds of feral cats roam the park catching mice. By day, they retire to cleverly disguised cat homes and have carefully positioned food stations. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a couple of them, like at the feeding spot near the Hungry Bear Restaurant. We had the pleasure of meeting Francisco, who is quite the celebrity online. The cats of Disneyland even have their own Instagram account.
Short Lines at Grizzly River Run
By the time we headed over to California Adventure, we were well into our day and the park was at peak attendance. We had an hour to kill until it was our time for our Soarin’ Around The World FastPass. Grizzly River Run had short lines, so it seemed like a good idea. We were loaded into a raft with six fellow Disneylanders and proceeded to descend down rough rapids. The raft is round and as it spins, you have a one in eight chance of having the rest of your day ruined. I was that guy twice. It turns out Danny, decked out is his Disney rain gear, isn’t as dumb as he looks. Listen, should you decide to enjoy Grizzly River Run and it’s less than 85 degrees out, have this be your final activity of the day.
9 Hours of Fun
Disneyland makes for a long day (be sure to wear comfortable shoes) and after 9 hours fun, we were spent. I kind of expected this adventure to be something we crossed off our proverbial list, but much to my surprise I think we’ll be back soon.
Average Daily Fitbit Steps: 21,122
What is your favorite part of Disneyland?
Please share your comments below.