SanDiegoVille Goes to Disneyland!!!

Look at that excitement!!!

May 16, 2013

"To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world." ~Walter E. Disney, July 17, 1955

It was approximately 6:40pm on a Friday.  Despite being closed since mid-April, as though by kismet Space Mountain magically reopened precisely as we walked passed its entrance.  Although most lines for the good rides were more than a 40 minute wait, our impeccable timing allowed us to breeze through a short queue for one of Disneyland's most renowned attractions.  Our excited energies kicked in during the final stretch of the line, awakening the child within each of us. We requested front row seating to enhance the thrill of this classic, indoor coaster, and it didn't fail to impress - like a mental orgasm of epic proportions.  The SanDiegoVille Disneyland adventure was going just as planned.

Living in San Diego has innumerable perks besides our beautiful beaches, amazing food and world class beer scene, our diverse neighborhoods and lively downtown.  Our great city has readily accessible the snowy mountains, arid deserts, Mexico, L.A. and, as we recently explored, the 'happiest place on earth': Disneyland!  Just ninety miles north of San Diego is the second most visited theme park in the world and SanDiegoVille was invited to experience a bit of the magic.    

Our view from the Crowne Plaza's pool
We arrived the day prior so that we could "carve first tracks" at one of America's oldest and most beloved theme parks.  We stayed about a mile from the resort at Crowne Plaza Anaheim, a lovely and reasonable accommodation with convenient and complimentary shuttles to Disney throughout the day.  We spent that Thursday 'working remotely' from the beautiful poolside cabanas and enjoyed a fantastic Thai lunch at nearby Thai Nakorn.  Temperatures reached highs of 94 degrees with forecasts calling for more heat to follow.  Not the best planning on our part to schedule the Disneyland trip on one of the hottest days of the year, but c'est la vie.

We awoke on "Disneyday" (as was coined weeks prior in eager anticipation) raring and ready to go although 'first tracks' had long passed us by. As forecasted, it was already hot as hell with highs of nearly 100 degrees expected.  With our park hopper passes in hand ($125/pp), we chose to explore Disney California Adventures (DCA) first.  Lines for the more popular rides began to build early.  Our cherry popper was Soarin' Over California, an exciting simulation over a gigantic IMAX screen showing some of the beautiful sites of California, including our very own San Diego skyline.  Disney should update this ride to high def (and clean the screen), but it was entertaining nonetheless.  Soaring made us thirsty.

Karl Strauss Brewing has a beer truck at DCA Pacific Wharf, and boy was that a site for sore (hot!) eyes.  We made sure to visit as soon as it was an appropriate drinking time (noon).  Next stop was for a famous corn dog.  Although people online rave about Disney's corn dogs, they fail to mention that the stand in DCA not only sells regular corn dogs, but corn dogs with hot links inside!  I didn't see any other stand in the park selling the spicy sausage-centered delicacies.  Holy sh*t was it good...beyond expectation - even for the queen hot-dog-hater herself.  All fueled-up and ready to ride!  

Tower of Terror was a favorite at MGM Studios in Orlando during visits growing up, so we were excited to hop into that foreboding elevator.  We were able to score some Fast Passes so we commenced exploration for an hour or so until our time was called. And just as the elevator doors opened, high above the clouds to reveal Disneyland's expansive beauty, we dropped, our stomachs flew and we screamed.  We bounced around, navigated our way through some theme lands, and managed to ride Pirates of the Caribbean (wherein we were stuck for a good fifteen minutes), Splash Mountain (what's with all the mushrooms???), Haunted Mansion and Indiana Jones Adventure.

Heavy heat combined with crowded lines made for a frustrating day, but thankfully shuttles between Crowne Plaza and Disneyland ran every half hour, so we got a hand stamp and headed back to our calm and cool sanctuary for an afternoon dip in the pool and some burritos from a friendly spot named Sabroso, all prior to our evening return to the parks.

Disappointingly, we were unable to ride crowd favorites like the Matterhorn, Thunder Mountain, Jungle Cruise, California Screamin' or Radiator Racers due to either excessive lines (we're talking 200 minutes for Radiator Racers!) or closures, but we drowned those sorrows in another round of Tower 10 IPAs and began planning our strategy for the nighttime shows.  We were torn between which to make our priority, the fireworks in Disneyland or World of Color, the water-light show in DCA.  We opted for both.  We soared through the air on a space shuttle ride just as the fireworks exploded over the castle, then sprinted across to DCA to be enchanted by World of Color, a "spectacular weaving of water, color, fire and light into a kaleidoscope of fantasy and imagination" and suddenly the heat, the lines, the closures and crowds were all behind us, and the magic before us.  We stood, enthralled by the display of Disney characters coming to life on a shimmering veil of mist as more than 1,000 jets of water (and fire blasts( formed fanciful shapes in time to the music.  Honestly, we would have paid the admission prices for this show alone, and I suggest that you make sure this is running if you're visiting the park.  It's incredible and unlike anything we've ever seen.

Having ventured to Disney World in all of its glory throughout our east coast childhoods, we have fond memories of the scary rides, the alluring aroma of massive turkey legs, the majesty of the expansive Sleeping Beauty Castle, and the all around 'magic' that transports one to Disney's elaborate theme lands, and this trip brought us back to those moments.  Thank you Disney, for the fond memories, the joy, and inspiration!