Disney, Disneyland, Disneyland Trip Reports

Disneyland February 2018 Trip – 100 Random Thoughts

Hi everyone!

Before I get into the post I wanted to put a little note in here that I’m going to attempt to stick to an actual schedule for the blog.  I’ve decided that posts will go up on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm GMT.  I’m sure I’ll spam Twitter with links but be sure to check back at these times and days for regular content!

The rest of my trip report is coming!  I had so many ideas for posts after my trip that its fallen down the list a bit but I haven’t forgotten about it.  Before I post up the detailed report though I thought I’d try something a bit different. So here goes nothing!

100 random thoughts about my trip to Disneyland:

  1. Like all the castle parks, Disneyland feels different but warmly familiar
  2. Hearing a jackhammer on town square isn’t probably the best first impression of the park
  3. The construction walls on Main Street made it feel even narrower than it was.
  4. I love how quaint Main Street feels though.  It feels more like a town and less “built for capacity” than the newer parks are.
  5. They still have the magic shop too!  Not just the facade!  And the cinema!
  6. Great Moments With Mr Lincoln is an awesome show.  The animatronic is jaw dropping and its a nice piece of history.  You must spend some time at the exhibit outside of the show too.  So much Walt Disney and Disneyland history!
  7. Yes the castle is smaller than the others, but there’s something special knowing it’s “Walt’s castle” and it fits the more quaint feel of the park perfectly.
  8. The entrance to Tomorrowland is weird.  Little bit of Discoveryland-lite themeing with Orbitron at the front (from the ill fated makeover of the past) and traditional Tomorrowland behind it.
  9. It makes me sad that there’s a people mover track there but no people moving happening.  Curse you Rocket Rods!
  10. Space Mountain here is AWESOME.  You can definitely tell it underwent a huge multi year refurbishment.  The Walt Disney World version really needs this too.
  11. I was SO happy to finally get a chance to ride the subs.  Missed them at WDW before they were removed.  The nemo ride is cute too, but I’d liked to have experienced 20,000 leagues.
  12. Autopia at Disneyland is so much longer than at the other parks I’ve visited!  It also has nowhere near the queue length, probably because they have 4 lanes loading rather than 2?
  13. Ok so the Matterhorn.  Firstly, don’t ride this if you have a bad back.  Second, the track really needs replacing.  Thirdly, I don’t care about any of that.  I love it and I still rode it about 10 times.
  14. On the subject of the Matterhorn, the Matterhorn Macaroon they sell at Jolly Holiday Bakery is properly lovely.  Would recommend.
  15. I love the facade of Its a Small World.  The ride inside is so long too!  And the incorporation of Disney characters didn’t detract from the rest of the ride at all for me.  Did I mention how long this ride is?
  16. Toontown is such a cute area, I really miss it being in Walt Disney World.
  17. Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is everything I hoped it would be.  So happy this film is represented well in one of the parks.
  18. Fantasyland is properly claustrophobic.
  19. The Alice dark ride is fantastic.  Again, it’s such a long ride.  I love the mash up of newer effects and the classic dark ride scenes.  And the outdoor section!
  20. Mr Toad’s Wild Ride is messed up.  I didn’t go on this ride at Disney World, which is probably for the best because I’m pretty sure the ending would have scarred me.
  21. The Peter Pan line never seems to move.  It looked like the slowest loading of the slow loaders (I never made it on – spoiler alert).
  22. I didn’t bother riding Snow White or Pinocchio.  I gathered they’re the same as in Paris and would rather ride the unique stuff again.
  23. The Storybook Canal is so cool.  I hadn’t seen any videos of it so was so shocked there’s an actual narrator on board.  Boarding and unboarding can be a bit precarious though!
  24. Sad that Dumbo was being refurbed my whole trip – but to be honest if I had to pick one ride to be down while I was there it would be near the top of the list.
  25. I love the walkway from Fantasyland to Frontierland.  Its a nice quiet area of the park – until Galaxy’s Edge that is.
  26. Big Thunder Mountain feels so different here compared to the others.  I’d put it in the middle, below Paris but WAY above Walt Disney World
  27. I also love the little miniature town that you pass on the way back into the BTM station.
  28. The Rivers of America is definitely one of my favourite areas of the park.  It’s beautiful.
  29. Speaking of ROA, Fantasmic here is just superb.  I love the version at WDW but there’s something about the setting here that the stadium can’t beat.
  30. Oh and the Dragon!
  31. And the pirate scene – absolutely amazing and jaw dropping!
  32. New Orleans Square may be my favourite area in any park.  Its so immersive, detailed, intimate.  Feels like an actual town.
  33. You need to try the Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans
  34. And several mint juleps.  They may be the most refreshing drink ever invented.
  35. I’ll go on and on about Pirates in my trip report, but basically its the best version I’ve been on by miles.
  36. The shops in New Orleans Square are so cute.  I definitely recommend spending a bit of time wandering around this area.
  37. I’m so sad that Splash Mountain was closed.  I will be on that ride a million times next time I’m stateside.
  38. I adore the outside of Haunted Mansion.  It also makes me appreciate how different the exteriors of all the mansions are around the world.
  39. As much as I love Phantom Manor, I think I prefer the actual ride of Haunted Mansion.  Can’t beat that narration.
  40. You absolutely must take a train ride around the park.  Its not just a means of transportation, its an attraction in itself and is steeped in so much history.
  41. The treehouse placement feels so weird when you’re used to Disneyland Paris.  Its just kind of built on top of everything else.
  42. Indiana Jones Adventure is now in my top 5 rides anywhere in the world (can you guess the others?)
  43. Jungle Cruise is always such a fun time
  44. On a curve ball, not having to shoehorn fastpass plus into every attraction means the standby lines are so much more bearable at Disneyland than in Disney World.
  45. The Tiki Room is pretty much the same as Florida, but I don’t know it just feels a bit more special here.
  46. You can’t go to Disney and not get a dole whip
  47. Or a churro
  48. Or a Mickey ice cream bar/ice cream sandwich
  49. The Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour was one of the best things I’ve ever done.  100% worth the money.
  50. A separate point is needed for Walt’s apartment.  I felt so emotional, and I’m not an emotional person.  For a Disney fan, this is one of the coolest things you can ever do.
  51. (California Adventure stuff now)  I love how Buena Vista Street feels kind of Main Street-y but also feels unique.
  52. Meeting Oswald was such a cool moment.  He was a lot more mischievous than I expected!
  53. The Red Tram, as well as the tram show, are both fantastic.  Highly recommended that you do both.
  54. Although people really need to watch where they’re going on Buena Vista Street.  I think the tram nearly killed about 8 people and I was only on it for about 5 minutes.
  55. Mickey’s old Hollywood outfit may be the only outfit that I prefer over Donald’s equivalent.  The Duck has been foiled!
  56. Hollywoodland really does feel like it was cooked up by the brains behind Walt Disney Studios.  Mish mash of meh
  57. The amount of Marvel characters you can meet is awesome though
  58. My favourite meets were definitely Thor/Loki and Black Panther.  All were hilarious and felt really unique.
  59. Frozen:  Live at the Hyperion is near Broadway calibre.  The effects and performances were all outstanding.
  60. Still sad I didn’t get to see Aladdin.  Ah well I’ll just keep watching it on Youtube.
  61. The Guardians tower if super ugly
  62. But man oh man the ride is so much fun!  And that Rocket animatronic is incredible.
  63. Bugs Land is very meh.  Has its cute moments but for me its their Toy Story Playland and you can tell it was rushed together.
  64. Its Tough to Be a Bug is still brilliant though and the Hopper animatronic continues to be super impressive.
  65. I then walked into Cars Land
  66. Omg
  67. What
  68. This is insane
  69. The whole land is so immersive and well done.  I don’t even care about the films and I don’t think you even need to have seen them to have your breath taken away by the area.
  70. Flos V8 Cafe serves some fantastic breakfasts
  71. You also need to come here at night
  72. Radiator Springs Racers also entered my top 5 rides.  Its near perfect.  The dark ride section in particular is simply stunning.
  73. The Little Mermaid ride is the same as Florida – cute C/D ticket dark ride.
  74. Pixar Pier still seems so misguided and I don’t think I’ll ever change my mind on that.
  75. The “off the shelf” attractions still open on Paradise Pier (or Park I think its now called?) held little interest.  Golden Zephyr was cool but I can ride that at Blackpool.
  76. World of Colour is an incredible show.  If we get something like this in Walt Disney Studios after the massive expansion I’ll be very happy.
  77. California Food and Wine Festival was very much a miniature version of Epcot’s many festivals.
  78. The Jalapeno Mac and Cheese was awesome though, would recommend.
  79. I much prefer the exterior area of Soarin to Epcot’s version.  Ride is the same though, still don’t like the weird fisheye effect you can get at the sides.
  80. I wish it was warmer so I could have faced riding Grizzly River Run.  Its a really cool area.
  81. (Hotels and Downtown Disney) If you’re a Disney parks fan, and can spring the cost, the Disneyland Hotel is the ultimate place to stay.
  82. Everything from the rooms to the lobby to the details inside each tower.  Its basically made for Disney parks fans.
  83. The rooms are massive too, and I wish I could have taken that headboard home!
  84. And the cushions.  And all the pictures on the wall.
  85. Trader Sams serves some really nice but very very expensive drinks.  Especially if you want the souvenir mug!
  86. Don’t stay there just for proximity to the parks though.  My offsite hotel was closer to the gates.
  87. Extra Magic Hours are a very nice perk though – at California Adventure its exclusive to hotel guests which makes for some very short lines early on.
  88. I had a quick look around the other hotels too.  Was not impressed with Paradise Pier at all just from having a wander around.
  89. Grand Californian on the other hand was stunning.  It had that Wilderness Lodge/ Animal Kingdom Lodge feel (I know they’re by the same designer).
  90. When I go back on a non-solo trip, I’ll definitely be eating at Napa Rose.  It looks so good.
  91. Downtown Disney is pretty small.  Its more similar in size to Disney Village at Paris than Disney Springs at Walt Disney World.
  92. It doesn’t have much of a theme either.  Not somewhere I’d want to spend time at much unlike Disney Springs (but a lot like Disney Village in that respect).
  93. It did have some cool shops though.  I loved the store that sold home products, wish I could have bought more than I did!
  94. The beignets at Ralph Brennan’s are life changing.
  95. And if you want a quick bite to eat, the food at Tortilla Joe’s was really nice and fresh.  Its pretty much Chipotle.
  96. I wish I had time to do the Star Wars VR experience!
  97. IF they do actually build that new hotel where they say they will, Downtown Disney is going to look like a completely different place in a few years.
  98. I do think it could do with a few more quick service places though.
  99. La Brea Bakery is a lovely place to pick up breakfast.  Muffins are delish!
  100. I want to go back, now.

Well if you made it this far, congratulations!  My full trip report will likely continue next week.  On Thursday I think it’ll be another dining review.

Thanks for reading!

 

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