I don’t read a lot of fantasy but I know they often involve magical kingdoms and princesses. I was in the most famous of all magical kingdoms last week. Yup, this girl got to go to Disneyland. The original one in Anaheim, California. The happiest place on earth. (And I’ll have you know that the earthquake off the coast in northern California AND the one in LA on Monday happened after I left the state. So there.)
I’ve been to Disneyland before. I was five. I am now… considerably older than five but it was still amazing. This time around, I actually enjoyed Main Street USA. Quite unrelatedly, it has a disproportionate amount of candy shops. I’m just saying. Another interesting tidbit is that the designers used something called “forced perspective” when they built it. The main floor is 7/8th scale, so you really don’t notice the height difference from a regular building. The second floor is 5/8th scale, and the third floor is 1/2 scale. Pretty cool, huh.
Disneyland is broken into four main areas. Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, and Tomorrowland. That’s in addition to New Orleans Square, Main Street USA and Toon Town. The funniest thing is Tomorrowland, which I believe was originally set in the distant future of 1985 when the park originally opened. Now Tomorrowland is the home of the Star Wars ride. Which I went on. Beside that was the Jedi Academy, which was adorable but ageist since they only let little kids go through Jedi training. Us big kids only get to watch from the sidelines. Across from the Star Wars attractions is the Buzz Lightyear ride, where I performed abysmally in defending Earth against evil aliens.
Disney, of course, was the dream of Walt Disney. He invented Mortimer Mouse, the precursor to Mickey Mouse. I’ve heard that the latest movie about him – “Saving Mr. Banks” was both really good – the story of Walt – and really bad – the portrayal of PL Travers, who created Mary Poppins – but I still want to see it. For one thing, it has Tom Hanks AND Emma Thompson, both of whom cannot put out a bad movie. But mostly I want to see it because “Mary Poppins” is my most favourite of all the Disney movies. It has the most sing-along-able songs and a chimney sweep and dancing penguins. Name another movie that offers all that – I dare you.
There have been some changes since the last time I was there. The Country Bear Jamboree is gone. Toon Town is there now. Captain Nemo’s Submarine Ride has turned into the Finding Nemo ride (no relation.) (Well, I assume there’s no relation. Do you think that the Pixar people named a clownfish on an adventure after the greatest underwater adventurer ever? I guess it’s possible but I never considered it before. Food for though, people.) I boycotted Tarzan’s Treehouse because it used to be the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse and Tarzan evicted them. Nice one, Tarzan.
I did hit some of the classics – Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean (now with added Johnny Depp). It’s a Small World was closed, which probably saved me months of earworms. And, as always, the characters were out and about and available for pictures.
I’ll say this. Disney knows how to do it. That place runs like a Swiss clock. Even the lines go quickly because ones you are in the building, the sets around the lines are part of the entertainment. I’m glad I got to go but next time I’m taking at least two days so I can do it all – twice.