June 14, 2007

Thursday Thirteen (#11) : Disneyland!

Since today is the last day of school, I thought I'd share 13 of my favorite Disneyland memories. Most of these would be from when I was 9 or 11 and went there with my mom, but some are from my adult days.
  1. The Disneyland Railroad
    As a kid, it's always fun to ride any train, particularly a steam train that has neat exhibits along the way like the dinosaurs which is, I think, between Tomorrowland and the main entrance. As a parent, it's a very nice way to cool down and sit for a while, as long as the train is not jam-packed.
  2. Main Street Cinema
    What can I say? I love Steamboat Willie and the other early cartoons in this small, six-screen rotunda. So much more innovative than what you see in today's formula cartoons. They were just fun and crazy, and you could almost feel Walt having fun experimenting with the new technology.
  3. Autopia!
    Still the coolest amusement park ride ever. Where else can a six-year-old drive a race car? Yeah, it's on a track and the speed is regulated, but so what? It was cool before Chevron took it over and before the movie Cars came out, and it's still cool now.
  4. Country Bear Jamboree
    I think I wore out two phonograph needles listening to this soundtrack. I can't remember any of the songs or words now, but I bet when I was 11 I could have sung the entire album, beginning to end.
  5. Jungle Cruise
    Thirty years ago, the animatronics were state of the art. Three years ago, I still enjoyed this ride and pointing out the crocodiles and everything to my six-year-old. They enjoyed it, too, and the line is never that long because people would rather be on the newer rides, I guess.
  6. Haunted Mansion
    I loved loved loved this when I was a kid. Do not take a tired six-year-old into this attraction, though. All poor little Sam wanted was to sit down and maybe have some ice cream or something, but we had our fastpass (whatever it's called) and went in anyway. Three minutes later, I was carrying him out the side exit in terrified tears (him, not me). Still a great ride, though. I loved the ghost sitting between my mom and me when I was nine. I'll never forget that.
  7. Pirates of the Caribbean
    The best time for this ride is when they're having the pirate battle on the water just outside. Everyone watches that, and the line for PotC is almost nonexistent. Unfortunately, that's late and poor little Sam was so tired he slept through the entire ride... twice. It was fun before the movie, and it's still fun.
  8. People watching and photographs
    My first trip there, my mom had bought me my very own Kodak pocket instamatic (remember the 110 film cartridges? do they even make them any more?). Of course, the photos I took were of her, my stepbrother, and my stepfather, and of Disney characters and all that. But today I'm more into people-watching. And no, it's not just scoping out the pretty women when my wife's not looking. Disneyland attracts people from all over the world, and I love to watch them interact with their children, watch how they deal with the lines and the shops and the other people. But I'll never forget that cool, little camera I carried everywhere as a kid.
  9. The parking lot tram
    Before California Adventures, that area and the shopping area outside the main gates of Disneyland were parking. I still remember driving into the lot and seeing Disneyland--particularly the peak of the Matterhorn and the main entrance gates--and the anticipation that only a 9-year-old can feel. Then, as if it couldn't get any better, there was a ride even before you got into the park! The parking lot tram snaked around the lot and carried us to the gates. How cool is that? Today, we take that kind of thing for granted, but back then it was wicked cool to me.
  10. Submarine Voyage
    I'm still not sure why I liked this ride except that it was under water and right next to the monorail station. This made it easy to get to first thing after arriving from the Disneyland Hotel. It was kind of cheesy, as I recall, but what 9-year-old boy doesn't like the idea of riding in a submarine? Especially when I'd watched all those WWII movies on Channel 36's "The Four O'Clock Movie" over the years?
  11. The Matterhorn
    Still a classic, with that roaring yeti and the splash coming through the tunnels. My first roller coaster that was built into a fake mountain. I still think it's much better than Space Mountain, which opened several years after my first visit, and which underwhelmed me after all the hype about how awesome it was going to be.
  12. Adventure Through Inner Space
    This ride I loved for its Vincent Price feel--you were shrinking down to subatomic size, looking at water molecules and even the nucleus of an oxygen atom, I think. The narrator gave the ride a tension that really never existed, but I thought it was a cool ride anyway. Cool to do once, boring to do twice in the same trip.
  13. Eating and shopping
    As an adult, I like to spend ten minutes in one of the stores browsing and not buying anything. The prices are outrageous on everything from breath mints to quality souvenirs. But as a kid, there was little better than having lunch in one of the restaurants or running through the shops full of the neatest stuff imaginable from the funnest day in history.
I can't wait to take the kids back to Disneyland this fall. We've got a week booked some time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so hopefully the crowds will be limited. (Yes, this bad parent is removing his children from school for the week. So sue me.)

One thing I would stay away from is the show in the California Adventure "bug's life" area. It was not much fun, and it terrified both my kids with spitting water at them, noises way too loud, and other things. Not a one of us enjoyed it, and we wished we'd spent our time doing something else. I did like the Mission Tortilla Factory tour. Short and yummy.

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Lori said...

I love Disneyland:)

Mitchypoo said...

I love Disneyland too! But dang, it's expensive now to get in, I don't know how a family can do it. Happy TT!


Unknown said...

I'd love to be in a position to take my family there. I guess we'll have to settle for Marineland in Southern Ontario.
Thanks for sharing :)


Deanna said...

You're the family with the swimming pool and trips to Disney?! Can I be one of your kids' friends? Or be adopted? :p

Erin the Innocent said...

I want to go back to Disneyland now! (or maybe go to Disney World for the first time? *g*)

Lily said...

A week between Christmas & New Years is perfect! I love going then.