Mr. Selfish and I finished our Disney tour with the first ever Disney park – Disneyland in California. It opened in 1955 and is the only park designed and built under the direction of Walt Disney. It is the second most visited park in the world with 16 million visitors in 2011 (Orlando’s Magic Kingdom has the highest attendance).
I was quite surprised as to how small Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is. It is tiny compared to all of the other Disney castles around the world, but I guess it was the first one. It is nevertheless quite photogenic, just like all of the other castles.
Mr. Selfish had previously visited Disneyland but I had never been. I therefore had a list of rides that I wanted to try that aren’t at the other parks, including the Matterhorn, Mr. Toad’s, and Indiana Jones.
Fantasyland: Mr. Toad’s, Matterhorn, and Small World
Disneyland’s Fantasyland is very similar to the other Fantasylands. They all have a castle and lots of children’s rides. I have been on most of the children’s ride before, but Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is only at Disneyland. We walked by it several times, and the line was always too long. We came back to it when the fireworks were about to start, but they had shut it down. I never got to ride it. Oh well, there is always next time.
On the other hand, I made sure that we rode the Matterhorn, which is only located in Disneyland. The iconic Matterhorn is larger in size than Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, so I was pretty excited to ride it. Amazingly, you can even climb the Matterhorn now.
Unfortunately, the ride did not meet expectations. It was bumpy and not that fun. I am probably unfairly comparing to Everest at Animal Kingdom in Orlando, which is much newer, but that Yeti ride is far superior.
In Fantasyland, we also rode It’s a Small World, which is always hokey and enjoyable. This Small World is similar to the one in Hong Kong in that it has also successfully incorporated actual Disney characters. For example, you can find Lilo and Stitch in Hawaii.
Adventureland: Indiana Jones and Harassing the Jungle Cruise Operator
The line for Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye was quite long so we got fast passes for it. It was completely worth it since it is an awesome ride. It is very similar to the Indy ride at DisneySea, which is themed as Temple of the Crystal Skull. The layout of the rides are the same. The theming is just a little different between the two, and of course, I could understand Indy at Disneyland since he wasn’t speaking Japanese.
I always make Mr. Selfish ride the Jungle Cruise, because I love heckling the operator. Sometimes, they get into it and it’s fun. Other times, only I enjoy it.
Our operator this time around was a good sport, and we had a grand old time going back and forth. This Jungle Cruise is a little different from the other ones I’ve been on since there is no inside area. The entire ride is outdoors. I also noticed that there was a section with piranhas, which I hadn’t seen before. It was still good ol’ family fun though.
New Orleans Square: The Old Favorites
We then went to New Orleans Square to ride Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. Both rides were similar to their counterparts around the world, except that Pirates was a bit longer in the beginning.
Haunted Mansion was fun as usual although we did get caught in the graveyard area for a bit of time. Moreover, the outside area of Haunted Mansion has not been updated like the one in Magic Kingdom has.
Critter Country: Single Rider Line at Splash Mountain
Mr. Selfish and I adore Splash Mountain but the line is usually too long. However, the Splash Mountain at Disneyland has a single rider line. Just like that we reduced our wait time to probably a tenth of the time. Awesome!
This Splash Mountain was a little longer and different than the other ones we’ve ridden. There was one area that had an entirely new song that I hadn’t heard before. Otherwise, it was mostly the same. Mr. Selfish claims that in the Magic Kingdom version, the wolves don’t dance with the birds at the end, but I can’t actually remember.
Tomorrowland: The Right Stuff
By this point in the day, we needed a break for our feet, so we headed to Tomorrowland to watch Captain EO and sit down for a little. We also rode Buzz Lightyear and Star Tours, both of which were quite similar to the other versions we’ve ridden.
The only notable aspect about Tomorrowland was that Disney is starting to utilize the Marvel brand, as evidenced by the Iron Man banners.
Mickey’s Toontown: Too Long of a Wait for Roger Rabbit
Next, we visited Mickey’s Toontown to see if we could ride Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, which we enjoyed very much in Tokyo Disneyland. Unfortunately, the line was too long.
Dinner at Café Orleans
Lastly, we had dinner at Café Orleans, which was surprisingly delicious and well-priced.
We ordered the pommes frites as an appetizer, shared the gumbo and salmon salad as mains, and had the beignets as dessert.
It was all very tasty and plentiful. Luckily, we had some great friends with us to share the beignets.
As per our tradition, Mr. Selfish and I skipped out during the fireworks show. We saw them as we were leaving the parking lot.
Mr. Selfish and I planned an Orlando trip as one of our last stops before our cross-country drive. As you read this post, we may actually be at Epcot drinking around the world one final time.