Disneyland and California Adventure – A Day to Remember

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“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” - Walt Disney

Walt may no longer be with us, but with the newest 5 year expansion of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, it’s clear that his imagination, inspiration and life long passion continue to be honored today. I recently took my very FIRST steps into Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks and it’s a moment that won’t soon be forgotten.

Stepping into Disneyland is a magical experience but stepping into Disney California Adventure is like stepping back in time. The roaring 1920′s are back in all their glory. One of the first sites you see are the Red Car News Boys featuring an extremely special guest: Mickey Mouse! While the show is no doubt a ball of fun, if you listen to the words carefully you learn so much about Walt’s journey to California and the beginning of his legacy.

As the trolley rolled away we were left with a view of the reproduction of Carthay Circle Theater. Here I learned that the original Cathay Circle Theatre plays a huge role in the life and success of Walt Disney; it was the location where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, his first feature-length film, premiered in 1937!

Can you imagine if the likes of Walt Disney never left his foot print on society? If we had grown up without the Magic of Disney and the wonder of it’s parks? I honestly can’t. It’s an American icon and as simple as it is, that statement says so much. Just as that thought began to roll around in my head I was startled out of my reverie by the sound of a sax and a woman belting out notes in the way I only pretend to do in the shower.

Rolling up in a 1920′s automobile the Five & Dime crew jumped onto the streets and had my head bobbing, foot tapping and camera flashing.  As I listened to the lyrics I found myself learning new things about the life of Walt and the History of Disney.

“I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.” – Walt Disney

Making our way through “town” and across parks I started to see change. Old met new.  We had transitioned from the historical richness and culture of Buena Vista St to an excitement of another kind – thrills! I don’t know about you but I am an ADRENALINE JUNKIE! I love amusement park rides and Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are in no short supply.

Throughout the day I able to experience rides to appease even the biggest adrenaline junkie but 2 stand out in my mind. The first is Indiana Jones: Temple of the Forbidden Eye. 

I fell in love with this ride because it starts setting the stage long before I got on. I felt like I really was walking into the temple of doom, complete with a ball of lead sitting in my stomach. The ride itself was superb. It had twist, turns, drops, darkness, creepy crawlies, animation and more. I was on sensory overload and I’ll admit a few screams burst through my lips no matter how many times I said “I will not scream, I will not scream, I…AHHHHH!”

Six rides, 1 collectors cup fountain Coke, multiple crossings between the parks and thousands of steps later I ended my day at Cars Land inside Disney California Adventure.

As I passed by Flo’s, the Cozy Cone, Ramones and Sarges Surplus Hut I couldn’t help but feel like I was walking onto the set of Cars.

The pathway through Radiator Springs leads to the ultimate adventure – Radiator Springs Racers, my FAVORITE ride. It starts out feeling like a quiet sunday stroll thru Ornament Valley. Then things pick up  towards Radiator Springs where we met up with Doc Hudson, Ramone, Mater and a few other surprise guest.

Before leaving Radiator Springs we make a pit stop to get ready for the big race – the car will either stop at Luigi’s Casa Della Tires or Ramone’s House of Body Art.  We stopped at Ramone’s for a custom paint job before it was time to meet up with the competition and then we were off!

We zipped over hills, around high-banked turns, and zoomed past the spectacular rock formation of Cadillac Ranch to the finish line – where we were victorious!  It was an exhilarating way to end our time at the parks.

“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” – Walt Disney

If you are ever planning a trip to California and Disney Parks I recommend a few things. Get the Park Hopper and Fast Pass is a blessing. If you can, hire a tour guide, our group loved Nathaniel(Nate). With a tour guide you walk away with a wealth of knowledge about Walt Disney and the amazing attention to detail that went into each and every brush stroke, brick and building.

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are so much more than amusement parks. They are the legacy of Walt Disney, the inspiration of many, and the accumulation of decades of hard work. It’s a symbol of all things made of wonder and magic.

Thank you to Disney for covering my expenses for this press trip. No additional compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.

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