Disneyland: The Nerd Recap
I’m collecting here the best and nerdiest moments of our Disneyland trip:
1. The Tower of Terror ended up being one of my favorite rides, even though I only went on it twice. I love the Twilight Zone and horror and this ride comprised both of those elements. Apparently there is a film based on the ride as well, interested in checking it out.
2. California Screamin‘ was THE favorite of the trip. It’s been YEARS since I was on a rollercoaster, and we ended up riding it about six times over the five days we were there, perhaps to make up for lost time? Space Mountain came in at a close second.
3. Star Tours. Even though the ride was closed, they still had a gift shop open stuffed with Star Wars memorabilia – including a photo-setup where we could have our faces transposed on an image of Han Solo and Princess Leia. As well as a Yoda backpack. As soon as we saw the picture booth – we made a beeline for it. We ordered a poster sized version that should arrive in the mail within 4-6 weeks. Dan also picked up R2D2 Mickey Mouse ears and a flashing light saber – they even had a build your own lightsaber feature at the Star Tours store. Awesome!
4. Jedi Training Academy. Even though we didn’t get to watch the show – the kids had an opportunity to interact with the characters and get pictures with them. In my opinion, that’s ten times better than any show.
5. Captain EO was just as fantastic as I remembered, if not shorter. It was such a kick to see the kids get into it, and I had totally forgotten about the theatre features that really help you experience the show – including lights and thumping bass under the seats in time with the music. Totally scored a flashing Michael Jackson glove and sported it during our night adventures!
6. The various shows – including Fantasmic!, World of Color, ElecTRONica and the Aladdin Musical were all extremely well done, if varying in the ability to view them and the level of comfort while doing so. We ended up skipping out on most of the TRON experience for a second viewing of Fantasmic on Sunday night. I was a bit bummed, but since my knees were giving me hell all week, it was fine that we didn’t make it into the End of Line Club. We strolled down the block and listened to some music + got my face painted. Really, that was enough. We also didn’t end up doing the Pirates of the Carribean preview either because it was only on weekend nights, but we did seem them start setting up for the world premiere, and went on the ride twice. So that was pretty cool.
7. Fireworks every night. At least twice we stayed until Midnight on the rides, and while we never watched the show – we did catch a lot of the amazing colorful explosions during our rides. Especially memorable were our trips on Thunder Mountain Railroad – mounting the hill as fireworks explode in the background. It was kind of…magical.
8. Medieval Times was also much better than I remembered. It looks like the building has been upgraded and the acting has improved since the last time I was there (uh, 12 years ago). Again – fun to watch the kids experience the show (my two-year old Niece was in love with the horses) and our group got really into cheering for the Red Knight who ended up winning the night. The food was alright, and it wasn’t as exciting eating with my hands as I remembered. But the show made up for it. Dan loved all the swords and armor – it was great to see him geek out about it.
9. New Orleans flair – this was one of my favorite areas of the park. I loved sitting under the shade of the trees, snacking on Mint Juleps, Beignets, and Gumbo (in a breadbowl) while watching the river boat pass. While New Orleans has its own distinct culture that cannot be easily replicated, after experiencing it first hand, I kinda dig the Disneyland version better.
10. The Hotel Menage was a great choice – it was as close to a resort as you could want. The pool and jacuzzi were much appreciated (after a long day on our feet in the sun), the shuttle service was convenient and the restaurant had a great happy hour with delicious food. I would totally stay there again. ALSO – JetBlue is one of my new favorite airlines and I will try to use only them for all my in-country travel.
Least favorite moments: The rainy morning on Sunday, getting crappy seats for Fantasmic on Saturday night, missing the Pirates of the Caribbean sneak preview, Star Tours being closed, at least twice rides completely breaking down when we were literally the next people in line, my crappy knees hurting, too much sun and too many people.
Overall – glad I took this trip. It was excellent spending quality time with my family in a new setting, there were some great moments of relaxation at our Hotel and Disneyland really is a pretty happy place. It’s extraordinarily safe and comfortable – everyone is there to have fun. The staff seems pleasant and pleased enough with their jobs – I cannot even fathom how many people Disneyland employs, but there were “cast” shuttles running every two minutes, picking people up and dropping them off. Employees to hand you a feather at the Dumbo ride, employees to paint with water on the sidewalks, employees to pick up litter on the sidewalks. It’s a well-oiled machine and a nice place to relax.
Here are some great nerd pictures from our trip!
Gonna spend the weekend working on the Captain America costume, catching up on reading and prepping/planting our vegetable garden. Should have some book reviews, as well as a recap of Game of Thrones next week.