Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's a Small Word ride

I turned 60 years old on Christmas Eve, so Tim naturally thought we should celebrate by spending three days at the Disney resort (yay!). We stayed at the appropriately historic Disneyland Hotel. The weather was perfect—in the 70s—and we had a wonderful time.

Sleeping Beauty's castle, dressed-up for the holidays

One of the advantages of staying at the resort is “magic hour,” when hotel guests get to enter the parks at 7AM, an hour before everyone else. On Monday, we rode all the rides in Cars Land—including Radiator Springs Racers, twice!—before the hordes descended. Tuesday morning, we were among the first to ride Star Tours, Astro Blasters, Indiana Jones, and the Haunted Mansion. Another advantage: we got to take a much-needed nap before returning to Disney’s California Adventure (DCA), Monday night, for the holiday version of the “World of Color” water show (beautiful!).

Maleficent horns. Do I look like
Angelina Jolie?

Since we go to the parks so often, we decided to do stuff we don’t normally do when we’re there. For instance, Tim had never been on the 3-D Toy Story Midway Mania ride, so we stood on line for 45 minutes—something we rarely do. Luckily, it was worth the wait and so has now moved to the top of our “must-do” list of DCA rides.

Midway Mania 3-D

We also looked for some of the more “secret” parts of Disneyland that most fans know about. Every year, Disney recognizes its more legendary “cast members” by inducting them into a hall of fame at the Burbank studio. But did you know that the most special Disney employees are also honored by having their own Disneyland windows? The next time you visit the park, be sure to spend a few moments looking at the names on the windows as you run down Main Street to get to your favorite ride. You might be surprised by who you’ll find.

Uncle Walt, himself: 
"Founder & Director Emeritus"

Sherman brothers, songwriters 

Bob Gurr, designer of the Monorail, 
Autopia, etc:
"Leading the Race to the Future - 
Our Vehicles Pass the Test of Time"

Hearing a rumor that it will soon be dismantled, we went in search of the Fantasyland loading dock for the old Skyway ride, closed 20 years ago. Built to resemble a Swiss chalet, we found it hidden deep behind several tall trees to the left of Dumbo and the Casey Jones, Jr., train ride. Sneaking up some roped off stairs, we snapped a couple of photos and fondly remembered the ride my sister and I affectionately called the “barf buckets.” Check out the great YouTube video below to see the fabulous Skyway views of Disneyland in the early 1990s. 

Skyway remnants

The Skyway: one last time

While in Fantasyland, we visited the Snow White ride, site of one of the many fun “Easter eggs” sprinkled throughout the park. Hear the evil queen laugh fiendishly when you touch the golden apple. (Click on the video and turn-up the volume.)

Golden apple "Easter egg"

On my birthday, we took a 3-hour holiday tour of both DCA and Disneyland. Highlights included going to the head-of-the-line for three holiday-themed rides: the Jingle (i.e., Jungle) Cruise, Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion, and, yes, even the dreaded It’s a Small World ride, which was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Plus, we had VIP seats for the holiday parade.

DCA Christmas tree and Carthay Circle

Haunted Mansion

We were so exhausted by the end of the three days we took the Monorail back to our car. 

Our chariot awaits

Happy Birthday, old girl!

1 comment:

Eesh said...

Happy Birthday to you!

Disneyland is one of my favorite places on earth! Well, where else can one of my favorite places be huh? :)

Looks like you both had tons of fun. This is why Peter Pan never grew up! Continue to be that sweet kid at heart.

Eesh | The Other Side of Paradise