The Happiest Place on Earth Just Got Happier: Disneyland’s New Attractions
This is the newest slogan Disney is using to promote their flagship theme park in Anaheim, California. So I figured I’d go down there and see what all the talk was about.
My history with Disney starts in Florida, where days as a kid were spent at Disney World – Disneyland’s younger, but much bigger, brother of a theme park. Disney World is one of those staples of childhood that I had the great fortune of growing up with. I remember fondly going to the parks in Orlando twice a year until I was well into my 20s.
At 30 years old I finally got my first chance to see Disneyland, attending the opening of quite a few new things in California Adventure; primary among them, the new Cars Land area, themed after (of course) the Pixar movies. Though Cars Land was the main event, it was not the only event. Disneyland saw quite a few upgrades to their second park, including the new Buena Vista Street, and also recently – their World of Color show at the end of the night.
People had told me that I would be disappointed by the size of Disneyland, when compared to Disney World – but I didn’t personally find that to be the case. My experience in Disneyland renewed my childhood memories of its sister park. Disneyland inhabits less space, sure, but I found it to be charming and convenient. Both sets of parks have their own points in which they shine, and for me there was something wonderful about being able to walk from my hotel to the parks – considering I’ve always lived in places where having a car was a necessity. The weather in Anaheim is wonderful (most especially at night) and Disneyland is open very late, which allows the traveler to enjoy the cool evenings.
Writing of which… at night was the setting for when I first saw Cars Land. Beautiful during the day, it is especially perfect at night. If you’re a big Pixar fan, like me, you’ll remember the scene when McQueen turns on all the neon for Sally, and everyone goes cruising down the street – that is exactly what Cars Land looks like at night.
The overhaul to California Adventure is the largest remodel job to be done in Disney history. Cars Land introduces three brand new rides (Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi’s Flying Tires, and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree) as well as whole host of new character meet and greets, new shops, and of course new foods and drinks to try. The setting is immersive and inviting, and it is full of the perfect sort of touches for which Disney is famous. One of my favorites being that the renowned car designer Chip Foose and his team (featured on the TV show “Overhaulin”) did custom paint jobs and pinstriping in Ramone’s shop – both on the Radiator Springs Racers ride, and in the park itself. Cars Land will satisfy almost any enthusiast, from Disney enthusiasts, to Pixar enthusiasts, ride enthusiasts, and car enthusiasts.
Of course, Cars Land was not the only change to come to California Adventure. Disney also introduced a welcome street to their California Adventure, which serves as a main street for shopping and a place to welcome guests to the park. Buena Vista Street hearkens back to the golden age of movies, with scale replicas of many famous landmarks of LA in the 1920s, including the Carthay Circle Theater, which is where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs first premiered.
ElecTRONica was replaced with the Mad T Party, a Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland inspired night time hot spot with dancing, drinks, and entertainment, and the World of Color show got a fantastic upgrade – I won’t spoil the surprise, but as a hint, pick up a pair of the World of Color Mickey Ears on your way to the show. There are also new inclusions in their signature parades, and some new shows and characters to catch while you’re just wandering around.
No matter if you’ve been a Disney fanatic all your life, or if you’re only now getting around to the idea of visiting Disneyland, you’ll love the changes they’ve made to the parks. Absolutely all of it is worth seeing – or worth seeing again! Just remember to take your time; Disney is in the details, and you want to make sure you have a chance to spot the Hidden Mickeys, and enjoy the shows. And be prepared to fall in love – I’m already planning my next trip back!