In my travel day post I hinted that my original plan, of spending the first day of my trip at Knotts Berry Farm, was looking to have a last minute change. After a lot of thinking it over I decided I just couldn’t wait any longer, I WAS GOING TO DISNEYLAND! I decided that the longer hours (the park was open 8am til midnight) would help to make the weekend crowds not as much of an issue.
I had been up since 4am because of jet lag so thought I’d be as well heading over to the parks early. After a literally two minute walk from my hotel I headed into the resort through the Harbor Boulevard entrance. You have no idea how happy and emotional I was to finally be walking under this sign
It was only about 7.15am at this point so there was no wait to security. I’ve seen loads of pictures and videos but I was still stunned at how close together Disneyland and California Adventure are – park hopping won’t be an issue that’s for sure! At about 7.45am the fab 5 except goofy, so the fab 4 I guess, came to the gates and along with the family of the day opemed the park. I took a quick picture of the train station and then headed onto town square. The first sounds I heard wasn’t the train nor the main street music loop, no it was the sound of jackhammers working on the main street track refurbishment. For some people that may have been bothersome, but I was so excited to be there I just tuned it out.
One of the things I love about visiting different Disney parks is comparing the similarities and differences in their Main Streets. They all feel different yet familiar. First impressions of this main street were simply awe and wonder. I loved how it felt more quaint, how the cinema was still there, how it still had a joke shop. I was in love right away. After a leisurely wander (one of many on this trip I’m sure!) I ended up behind the rope in front of the partners statue.
First impressions of the castle? Admittedly it lacks the scale of Cinderella castle and doesn’t quite the beauty of Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland Paris, but there’s just something special about it. Knowing it’s the original and that Walt himself was involved in its creation means so much. It fits in with the more quaint feeling of the rest of Disneyland’s main street and hub and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I planned on not rushing at rope drop and instead just wander, but I ended up kind of getting caught up in the Peter Pan rush into Fantasyland. Not being too fussed about doing Pan now, I’ll save that for my Magic Morning later in the week, I ventured further onto Fantasyland and came across a ride I’d never been on before
Mr Toad’s Wild Ride! I never managed to ride this in Orlando before it made way for Winnie the Pooh so I was super excited to finally get on it. This. Ride. Is. Mental. I’ll admit I don’t know much about the stories it is based on. All I know is it had a crazy storyline culminating in you seemingly going to hell. One things for sure, no way this ride would get greenfly in this form nowadays. I really enjoyed it though. It’s always fantastic to ride a new classic attraction and it definitely won’t be my only time on it this trip.
With Mr Toad done I headed further onto Fantasyland. In the shadow of the matterhorn I spotted another new dark ride – Alice in Wonderland. This is another of those rides I’d never seen a POV of and was super excited to experience. A few things struck me about this one. Firstly the length. This seemed like noticeably longer than most of the other dark rides. Secondly the sheer quality of everything. The animatronics, while obviously slightly dated in places, were all in perfect condition and the colours of them were just amazing. This ride is a classic example of how to fuse new and old, with the older animatronics being supplemented by newer projection techniques. I absolutely loved it and it’s definitely up there as one of my very favourite fantasyland dark rides.
This is already getting pretty long so I’ll rap up this part here even though I’m only at about 8.20am! Part 2 will pick up as I yo ho my may towards New Orleans Square!