Disneyland! Is it on your bucket list? It’s certainly on ours!
And the people behind the happy mouse ears are eager to spread the Disney love.
The ‘Imagineering’ people at Disney Inc. have ensured that you can experience the Disney magic in many different ways and locations.
Disneyland in California and Disneyworld in Florida are a given, but did you know that you can also experience all things Disney in Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo?
But wait - there’s more! You can sail the high seas with Mickey Mouse on the Disney Cruise line, and there’s also the Disney Vacation Club – themed timeshare accommodation in different locations around the world.
Pick a Disney location, organise overseas travel insurance and away you go!
We thought we’d check out the original Disney. So we sent not one, but two (very willing) big kid volunteers to road test Disneyland California for you!
Firstly though, a bit of history: Disneyland was opened in 1955 and is the only Disney Park where Walt Disney personally designed, and oversaw the construction.
So compared to the other Disney Parks, it’s more intimate due to its size and also because it was ‘custom made’ by Walt - from the quality and detail of the lighting, to the landscaping and even the bins.
And now back to our lucky volunteers. Unsurprisingly, they returned smiling and happy, and here’s what they found:
1) From Minnie’s House, California Screamin’, Mad Tea Party and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, to the Indiana Jones and Star Wars Adventures to the Main St Cinema - there’s a lot of things to do and see in Disneyland. It’s great fun – even if you’re not a kid!
2) It’s a good place to enjoy the good old American food – from the hot dogs to the corn dogs (pluto pups to us) in the Little Red Wagon to the roasted turkey legs and enormous slurpees.
Be warned though, it’s a theme park, so the food isn’t cheap and they don’t permit you to take your own food (unless you have special dietary requirements).
3) The park is well maintained and clean.
4) The ‘cast members’ (as the staff are called) are unfailingly friendly and helpful.
5) Naturally lots of other people want to experience the Disney magic, so be prepared to wait in line for the rides…
6) Further to the above point, the Imagineers do feel your pain, and do offer a few ways to reduce your queueing time for selected attractions by:
- Offering a ‘FastPass’: which allows you to book a time on a ride, enjoy other parts of the park, come back at your booked time and jump on
- Having a ‘Single Rider’ line: if you’re the only person in the group who wants to go on the ride. It’s a shorter line because they slot you in where they can.
- Offering the ‘Rider Swap’ option: for when a child doesn’t want to do the ride or doesn’t meet the height requirements and the other child wants to ride, and can. You don’t need to wait outside with the non-rider until the other adult comes back from the ride to swap with you, so you can then queue and ride. You just wait in the special ‘Rider swap’ queue.
And the bonus is that these options are all offered for FREE!
7) If you’re looking for adrenaline fueled rides and attractions, this isn’t the place for you. The park is more suited to families and young kids.
8) From December 17 2015, Disneyland increased their security measures - there'll be more security guards and dogs, you'll need to walk through metal detectors to get in, you won't be able to bring toy guns, and visitors over the age of 14 will not be able to wear costumes into the park.
And did you know…
1) If you ask very nicely, they may let you drive the Mark Twain Steamboat (which actually runs on tracks).
2) Some people love Disneyland so much that they ask for their ashes to be scattered throughout the Haunted Mansion ride…
3) There are ‘Smellitzers’ located throughout the park – it’s a scent generator (thought up by Walt Disney himself) that ensures you’re smelling desert dust, horse manure and sarsaparilla while you’re in the Western themed area, and the air is dusty and smells of disturbed topsoil from the fake graveyard outside the Haunted House.
There are also vents that suck up smells from the rides, so if someone has vomited on a ride – you won’t smell it!
4) Alcohol is banned throughout the park…unless you know where to go (Club 33 at 33 Royal St) and if you go on the 10 year waiting list to become a member of Club 33 and go through an extensive background check and if you pass, pay the $25k joining fee plus the $10k annual fee...
Also, Australia is closer to Disneyland than Disneyworld, and if you ever tire of Mickey Mouse, you can also check out Hollywood and maybe bump into a couple of actors and singers.
So that’s our lowdown on Disneyland.
But before you book that flight to Los Angeles, just a word on the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride - the ‘It’s a small world (after all)’ song is played non-stop and you may find it very hard to get the song out of your head afterwards.
You’ve been warned!