I’ve returned from California in one piece, although as you’ll see if you make it to the end of this post, it was touch and go there for a while. And now that Disneyland is officially 60 years and seven days old, I figured there would be no better way to celebrate than to recap what I was doing for 17 hours seven days ago. My girlfriend (who had never been to Disneyland) and I stayed at the cheapest hotel we could find near the Parks (which I won’t even mention because I don’t recommend it unless you’re desperate). The night before we hit the Park we hit the bars: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and The Heartstone Lounge make for a great Disneyland Bar Crawl if you’re in the mood.
The morning of July 17th I woke my girlfriend up at 6:30 AM, and we were in the park by 7 AM. Officially, the park didn’t open until 8, but we were greated with souviner copies of The Orange County Register, and official “I Was There” buttons. We were expecting to have to wait in long lines, but the early entry was a god send because we managed to ride both The Matterhorn and Indiana Jones with little to no wait.
After we got in the two rides that are Disneyland specific (the only to-do items we had set for ourselves), we parked on Main Street USA for the official 10 AM ‘special presentation’. Unclear exactly what that meant, we sat from 8:30-10 (and dispersed one-by-one to shop/stop for coffee/go to the bathroom). At 10 AM the ceremony started, and featured the President of Disney Parks introducing Ashley Brown (the first Marry Poppins on Broadway) and Richard Sherman. Needless to say, my inner Disney nerd flipped at that point, and as Richard said a personal thank you to Walt Disney and began playing Feed The Birds, I cried and cried and cried some more. To get over that emotional toll, we then headed to Tomorrowland for free Diamond cupcakes. They were delicious, and although they said supplies were limited, I saw Cast Members handing them out at both parks through out the day.
After already accomplishing most of our Disneyland To Do List, we headed to California Adventure for the afternoon. Stops here included lunch at The Boudin Bakery, drinks at The Cove Bar (my new favorite spot in DCA), a quick pop back over to Disneyland for more Indiana Jones fast passes, and a ton of rides/activities: Soarin’, Radiator Springs Racers, Grizzly River Rapids, the Beasts Library, the Pixar Play Parade and the Mad T Party.
Full of California Adventure, we sprinted back to Disneyland for our 8:45 PM Indiana Jones fast passes. We entered the line at 8:43, and afterwards headed straight to dinner at The Blue Bayou. I’ve dined at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride once before (in 2009), but this time was just as good (if not better). If you go, and are a fan of fish, I highly recommend the salmon – although my girlfriends gumbo was also a great choice.
After dinner we were 15 hours into our 17 hour day, and my body was feeling the strain. We’d already missed the fireworks and trying to decide between watching the late show of Fantasmic or riding some rides caused a little bit of inner turmoil. Eventually though, we ended up walking around Disneyland and finding a spot for the midnight showing of Paint The Night. I would be lying if I said I didn’t use this downtime to take a quick nap, but I was ready and raring to go by the time it was time for Paint The Night.
I know that I’ve been very obvious about the fact that The Main Street Electrical Parade is my favorite parade of all time, but I will say this: if that Parade goes by the way side for Paint The Night, I will not be upset about it. The songs were catchy, the floats were gorgeous, and the interactivity between the show and the glow with the show ears/cups/paint brushes was stellar. While I’m still bummed I missed the fire works, I would recommend skipping them and seeing the parade – if the option ever presents itself to you.
Merch wise I purchased some 60th anniversary exclusives: I picked up a t-shirt and draw string bag with the specific anniversary date Thursday night at World of Disney, and the cast member checking me out told me that it must have appeared in the store in the last hour, since she hadn’t seen it on the floor at the start of her shift. In the park I also picked up the 60th anniversary exclusive ears (adding them along with my 50th anniversary ears to my ever growing collection), I also got some diamond shaped magnets featuring Minnie, Mickey, the castle and Cathary Circle.
PS: Here’s a bonus disney themed picture from my LA trip:
If you missed my live tweets from the day, you can catch them here. But in the meantime – did anyone else make it to #Disneyland60? How was your day compared to mine?