Current mood: jubilant


With my son visiting me for the Holidays and me living in Southern California, or So Cali (so cal’-lee for the ‘hommies’, so cal-lay’ for the uptowners), there is only one place to take someone special. Boxers go there after winning fights, prize winners go there after their game show, even the Lakers go after winning a championship. This is “the Happiest place on Earth.” It is DISNEYLAND, and it is a tribute to human ingenuity, America, and to children everywhere. It is truly amazing to see the genius of Walt Disney in the flesh. For people living outside the state of California, coming to Disneyland (and now the California Adventure) is a once in a lifetime dream to do some summer vacation, if you’re lucky, because it is everything they say it is, and then some. At this time of year there are lights everywhere which only adds to the ‘wonderfulness’. As a first time visitor to the park like my son, here is my review.

After parking in the huge covered parking garage (in case of inclement weather, hah) you walk down to the trams and board them. This reminded me of the trams in the film, ‘Defending Your Life’ with Meryl Streep which took you to the next life level. This time the trams take you to the top level of amusement park fun. Unlike shopping at K-Mart, all the kids you see here are smiling as you exit at Downtown Disney to purchase tickets. The base price currently is $49.95 but we get a 1-day Park Hopper (pass) plus a So Cali resident discount for $62.75 each. With this ticket we can go to both parks in the same day.

Our first stop is SOARIN OVER CALIFORNIA, a ride located in Disney’s California Adventure theme park that gives you ‘red bull wings’ to fly over various scenic California locales. In one scene, when you fly over this vast view of orange groves, you actually can smell the orange blossoms. That’s just a bit of the ‘magic’ of Disney. In the same park we stop next at GRIZLEY RIVER RUN. This is a ride where you will get wet. Our guide Jeff points out the shop selling raingear after we leave the ride dripping and smiling. We have a guide who used to work at DCA because there is so much to do, there is no way to take it all in just in one day. Because of Jeff, we got in the ‘A’ list line and were done with the first two rides before people in line at the first ride were ready to soar. At this theme park we also took in several rides from A BUG’S LAND, explored the DISNEY ANIMATION rooms, and walked THE HOLLYWOOD BACKLOT STAGE.
Having enjoyed the newest Disney park, we strolled over to the one and only, DISNEYLAND. Here we took in the MONORAIL, THE HAUNTED MANSION, TOMORROWLAND, FANTASYLAND, ADVENTURELAND and FRONTIERLAND. THE HAUNTED MANSION was dressed up for Christmas with a telling of Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas. A real crowd pleaser is the PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN ride, the basis for the movie with Oscar nominated Johnny Depp. Although we were disappointed that the ride INDIANA JONES went down for technical reasons before we could experience it, the evening’s final event, a live action show called FANTASMICK and seeing the fireworks show from in front of THE MAGIC CASTLE chased all clouds away. My son, a scrapping 13-year old, was asleep before I got out of the parking garage.

Folks, DISNEYLAND is a vacation spot, unlike any carnival, fair, or exhibition you’ve ever been to. With the shops, the venders, the rides, the restaurants, and even a HOUSE OF BLUES and its own RESORT HOTEL, this place is big, really big, BIG BIG. If there is a HEAVEN, in the SANTA CLAUS section, WALT DISNEY occupies the First Chair.