Saturday, June 2, 2012

Disneyland - May 2012 Trip Report

Ah, there you are...

  If you've been keeping up with me on Twitter and Facebook (as well as the last blog post), you should know that I recently visited Disneyland for my second time. I spent three full days (and two half days) wandering around the resort taking it all in again. Back in November of 2008 when I first visited, it was Haunted Mansion Holiday season, so I didn't get the "original" mansion experience until this trip. Now, I can make a full analysis of the Anaheim version, but we'll save that for the next post. On with the report...

  First off, the whole Disneyland part of the vacation was a complete surprise for me. Originally, the vacation was to be five days in Las Vegas. However, the night we arrived, my Aunt surprised me and my cousin by letting us know over dinner that we wouldn't be spending the entire vacation in Vegas; that on Sunday, we would be flying out to Disneyland. It was one of those moments that made you feel like a kid again (although for me, that wasn't exactly very long ago), the whole surprise of going to a Disney park wasn't exactly something I ever got to experience before. Anyone who has been on Disney's Magical Express knows what kind of moment I'm talking about. You know? The one where the kids open up the pizza box and start screaming with excitement because inside, it says they are going to Disney. Or the one where the kids are woken up early and driven to the airport, then told right before they go in where they are going. That kind of exciting moment was something I never really got to experience back when I first went to Walt Disney World in 2000, since I knew about the trip a good half a year in advance.

  While the reveal was something special, I do partly wish I would have known ahead of time so I would have been fully prepared. Luckily, I had brought my Cameras and an extra memory card on a whim, so I was set to go and do my thing at the parks. I had just come back from a camping trip in Ocean City, Maryland, the day before we left for Vegas, so all of last week and the week prior were quite possibly the best conjoined days of my life. I got to ride my favorite dark ride on Sunday the 20th; Trimper's Haunted House*, and then spent the time through the 24th camping and enjoying the beach with my friends. On the 25th, I flew to Las Vegas for the first time in my life, and on the 25th, I got to see my favorite Musical, The Phantom of the Opera, preformed in the amazing custom built theater at the Venetian. The next day, I got to spend half the day in the Adventuredome at Circus Circus, and then flew to Disneyland later in the afternoon. The very same day, I got to ride Splash Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean all before going to bed in the Disneyland Hotel. To top it all off, we stayed an extra day! Originally, we were only staying till the 30th, but because we were having so much fun, and Disneyland is all the way on the opposite side of the country for us, we decided to stay another day! Talk about an amazing couple of weeks!

 (*SAY WHAT? I'll explain your confusion behind why the Disney Haunted Mansion isn't the owner of that honor in a later post; just know that I wouldn't be writing all this, and managing S&FS like I do if I didn't love the Disney Mansion as much as I do

  I'm going to say this right now; if I had to pick which Disney Park I like best out of the three Magic Kingdoms I've been to, I'd have to say the Original is just a notch above Paris, and Orlando is behind the two only for a number of reasons that could be fixed. Disneyland gets my vote over the other two for a number of reasons:

  1. More Attractions; Even better, they are in a smaller foot-print, which is kinder on my feet.
  2. Upkeep; For the most part, nearly all the Audio Animatronics were functioning properly, and some of them were even up there with Tokyo Disneyland as far as fluent movements. The Pirate Musical Trio in Disneyland look even better than they do in the World of Color ride-through from opening year!
  3. It's the Original; there's something special about a park that can squeeze so many A-class attractions into such a small space, and that set the standard for the rest of them.

In my opinion, Disneyland has the best versions of Splash Mountain and Pirates with Johnny Depp; (take out Johnny Depp, and it will take the crown for best Pirates due to the quality of maintenance it has over DLP; if Paris adds Depp, I guess Disneyland will get the crown too for that matter) the Matterhorn is awesome, and even though it wasn't open this time around, it's still a great asset to the park visually. The Castle at Disneyland might be lackluster and small, but it's colorful at least. (Disneyland Paris gets my vote for best Castle) While Disneyland's Tomorrowland can't hold a fading candle to the Walt Disney World version, it's Fantasyland and New Orleans Square areas sure make up for it. Disneyland Paris is still missing Splash Mountain and the majority of the rides are in a language I don't speak; the up keep isn't the greatest either. Walt Disney World suffers from maintenance neglect, and while they have some top tier versions of many rides, the quality of the up keep really brings them down under the other too; partially because the resort is about twenty years or so younger than Disneyland Paris, and the neglect has been going on a bit longer. They are all great places; don't take this the wrong way; but management seems very dedicated to keeping every robotic character operating smoothly, and every attraction running in tip-top shape in Anaheim, a little more so than in Paris and Orlando.

  Sorry I went into that little off track segment about which park I like best, but perhaps that will let you all know that when my next post turns the tables on Disneyland in favor of the east coast park, It's not a matter of which park I live closer too being the "best" just because of that.

  Overall, the trip only provided a few "firsts" for me in the form of rides, as I had done almost everything the previous trip in 2008. I finally got to experience the Mansion without the nightmare overlay, as previously mentioned. I rode California Scream'n for the first time too, which I have to say, is an amazingly unique stand-in for Rock'n'Roller Coaster. World of Color. What I went into thinking would be a generic, overrated Disneyland Nighttime show with a generic Disney Parade/Show soundtrack turned out to be an amazing. While it still had the generic Disney Parade/Show soundtrack, it was visually amazing. 

(For those of you that don't know what I mean by "Generic Disney Parade/Show Soundtrack", that entails basically everything but the Main Street Electrical Parade, and a few others; all of it is done with a chorus and orchestral arrangement that sounds like the same old thing when your hear a clip of it. Like World of Color, nearly every Fireworks show that's not seasonally based.)

  This whole trip report has turned into a compare and contrast, hasn't it? Oh well. That's partially because I plan on doing several of these compare and contrasts in the coming months. So I guess this leaves us in a good spot to call it a day for now, and wait for the next post. Next time...

...we'll be looking at the Mansion. It's going to be compare & contrast time for Disneyland and Walt Disney World's homes of 999 happy haunts.

I'll see you all a little later...


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