The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge: Day 8

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day 8: Your favorite hotel or resort.

I’m not a hotel snob. I’m far from it. I need a clean room and a bed to be happy – mind you, the more comfortable the bed, the happier I am. The most important thing for me is location and cost. Due to that criteria, I’ve stayed at many of the hotels up and down Harbor – just a few  more before I’ve tried them all! The point being, I don’t need a Disney-owned property to make me happy when on vacation. In fact, I’ve only stayed at the Paradise Pier Hotel and couldn’t even judge the others. That’s fine by me, though. I doubt either of them would take away from my favorite place to stay when visiting The Land.

The Candy Cane Inn

To me, there’s nothing that says Disney to me more than a stay at The Candy Cane Inn. I’ve stayed there since I was very young. The place looked much different than it does now, but it still had candy canes at the front desk! While not on Disney property, its close proximity (on Harbor Blvd) makes for a pleasant walk. And while the Cane offers a shuttle, for me, the walk has always been a part of the experience; perhaps that’s one reason I hold it in high respects. Walking down Harbor, taking in the smell of Anaheim air (you know, that, muggy, misty, early morning smell you get while walking near Disneyland? It’s very distinctive…), watching my little girl run and race to each star on the Anaheim Walk of Fame, just to end on Walt’s star… it’s definitely a part of the routine I love when staying there.

Of course, if it wasn’t a good hotel with courteous staff, it would all be for naught. The rooms are small and quaint, but comfortable. The staff is friendly: Edd, the hotel’s resident ambassador is there to great guests every morning as they eat their continental breakfasts (which, I may add, is one of the best continental breakfasts around), chatting up the children about Tinker Bell, showing off his collection on his lanyard. It’s a very homey, independently owned hotel, and very much worth the stay if you can afford it.

Not to mention, free candy canes!

Now it’s your turn? Do you have a favorite place to stay when you visit a Disney park? Can’t wait to hear your answers!

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge: Day 7

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day 7: Your favorite parade, show or attraction that is no longer in the park.

Oh, Tomorrowland. How you torture me so. Your empty Peoplemover track is a reminder of Yesterland – so much gone from a different time, removed for the sake of progress, yet leaving us reminders of former glory. I miss the “iconic” look of Tomorrowland: The Rocket Jets spinning high in the air, the brightly colored Peoplemover Vehichles passing through, guests lining up to be shrunk by something or someone other than Rick Moranis, Skyway Buckets overhead…

 

Anyone else hoping that one day the holes in the Matterhorn are just magically “unplugged” and it was all some horrible dream?

 

Yes, the Skyway takes the cake as the ride I miss most and want back. What a grand way to travel! I remember going on this ride with my sister when I was younger – the first ride we ever took without parental supervision – and just marveling at the sights below. Of course, at a younger age, the height I remember looking down from was greatly exaggerated, I’m sure, but at that point, I felt on top of the world. In high school, I saw the Main Street Electrical Parade from the best point of view ever: A Skyway bucket. I remember how I thought to myself, “I’m going to have to remember this one. Others need to see this view!” Alas, ’twas not to be. The Skyway closed in 1994. The tunnels in the Matterhorn were sealed up, and the Fantasyland station was left standing as a reminder that makes me nostalgic to  this day.

I’ve included another video for viewing in today’s entry; this one taken by Kevin Yee on the Skyway’s final day of operation. The quality isn’t the greatest, but with the accompanying music, it definitely captures the feel of what it was like to ride it; especially when passing through the Matterhorn to the Tomorrowland side, looking out on a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.

 

 

Walt said Disneyland would never be complete as long as there was imagination left in the world. But in my imagination, if this ride is ever able to make a comeback, it may feel just a touch more complete.

Well, that’s it for today’s selection for the challenge! What is your favorite ride from a bygone time? I’m sure there are a plethora of answers out there, and I can’t wait to hear!

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge: Day 6

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day 6: Your Favorite Parade

I’ll be honest. I’ve never been a huge fan of parades. Sure, they’re fun and have great music a lot of the time; they’re also a great way to see characters you may not be able to meet elsewhere in the park. However, to me, waiting for and watching parades are taking up valuable time that can be spent elsewhere – like a less congested Fantasyland or Tomorrowland. There are rides to ride, people!

That being said, I do have a fondness for some parades. Of course, I’m a fan of the Main Street Electrical Parade (later to be titled Disney’s Electrical Parade, but let’s face it – Main Street, USA is its rightful home and always will be!), with its sparkling lights and electro-synthemagnetic musical sounds – it’s a classic, and a pretty one at that! I still remember being able to watch parts of it from overhead on the Skyway, but that’s a post for a different day. The latest offering, Soundsational is pretty fun, too. It embraces the idea of a parade over show stops, with great music and fun interactions. One of my daughter’s favorite activities is riding on my shoulders after the parade is over and following the last float down Main Street. What daddy couldn’t appreciate that?

There is, however, one parade, that seems to catch my attention more than others: A Christmas Fantasy Parade.

And the soldiers actually play their trumpets!

I think perhaps it’s just because I am an absolute nut when it comes to Christmas. The entire season is magical for me – throw in Disneyland and I’m just plain enchanted. The parade itself, with the oft repeating music, marching soldiers, dancing snowmen, ice skating Mickey and Minnie, Santa and so much more, is a spectacle to behold. Add in the factor that this is an annual occurrence; it gives me time to miss it and discover it new the following year! Now that I’m a parent, it’s even more fun to enjoy with my little girl; to keep our eyes out for whoever may be coming up next to spread the Christmas cheer!

“Have a Tiggery Christmas and a Poohriffic New Year!”

I will admit, there is one part of the parade I’m okay with missing: the reindeer. Yes, they’re cute and entertaining, but when you’ve seen this after working at the Disney Store for countless Christmases, you tend to be a little concerned:

*SHUDDER* I guess there’s one part of Christmas and Disney that just doesn’t do it for me.

Alright, dear readers, now it’s your turn. Do you have a favorite parade? If so, feel free to share below!

*Quick note – I’ll be taking tomorrow, July 4th off from the Disneyland Challenge, but be sure to check in for a few Independence Day themed video links!

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge – Day 5

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day 5: Your Favorite Snack

Oh, Disneyland. What a dream you are for foodies. Almost anywhere in the park, you can follow your nose to something. From the lovely scents pouring out of the Candy Palace on Main Street, to the buttery aroma of fresh popped popcorn, followed by the cinnamon & sugar mixture that is a churro, there are no shortage of quick bites and snack foods in Disneyland. The Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor is a favorite, with the specialty sundaes that our family of three often shares. No trip is complete without a souvenir bucket of popcorn for the ride home. At some point, you can be guaranteed we’ll be stopping at a cart for a Mickey shaped ice cream bar or frozen banana. The bigger question as far as snacks are concerned is:

What snack don’t I like at Disneyland???

Nope. Can’t think of one. So we’ll just go with my favorite of them all:

 

Pineapple Goodness!

Whether you choose to have it as a float (with pineapple juce), or just by itself, Dole Whip – that heavenly frozen concoction sold at the stand that has longer lines than many rides – just cannot be beat. The tangy/sweet flavor of a mix of pineapple and soft serve has served as a delicious cool down on many a warm day for many people. I realize it’s not popular for everyone, and to those people, I want to say one thing:

Thank you for making the line a few people shorter.

Dole whips have taken on almost a cult following, with people looking for copycat recipes and locations away from the parks that serve it. I have yet to find a location where I live, and have not tried to make my own, but I pay tribute in a different way:

 

Now I take Dole Whip with me (in spirit) wherever I go, thanks to the awesome designs of Richard Terpstra!

Yes, it’s the only time I’ve paid homage to food with a t-shirt, but being a DisNerd, it only seems natural…. and I haven’t saved up to buy the churro t-shirt yet.

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge: Day 4

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!.

Day 4: Your Favorite Character to Meet (Non-Face)

Well, I can tell you for sure, dear readers, that my answer will not be Chip & Dale. Somewhere, perhaps lost in the same wormhole as many of my socks, is a picture of me as a two year old, screaming my head off as Chip pushes me in a stroller. Darn pesky chipmunks… antagonistic little rodents. Perhaps that’s why I choose instead, their number one target.

 

“Who gets stuck with all of that luck? No one but Donald Duck!”

 

Maybe I feel sorry for Donald, what with his being the foil to his often bratty nephews and aforementioned chipmunks. Maybe it’s his well intentioned motives but ill executed actions that I can sympathize with. Perhaps it’s the fact that he’s a walking contradiction – he never wears pants unless he’s swimming, at which point he loses the shirt…

Maybe it’s a mix of all of the above; for whatever reason, Donald Duck has always held a place in my heart. As rarely as I see him at the park, whenever I do, pictures are a must!

One last little story from my family’s last trip to Disneyland, we visited Donald and his beloved Daisy in Frontierland; Goofy was standing next to them in the meet and greet area. My little girl was talking to Donald and Daisy and turned to Goofy, looked at him and said, “Goofy, you’re distracting us. You need to not be in this picture.” Daisy couldn’t control her laughter, but Donald was happy, applauding and giving the thumbs up sign. She later told Goofy she wanted to make sure he got his own special time, but still…. she did Donald proud that day. And Daddy couldn’t help but be a little proud – score one for the duck!

 

Quack Quack, Y’all!

 

Now it’s your turn, readers! Who is your favorite non-face character to meet in the park? Don’t worry, face characters will be a question later on!

Quick note: I will continue with Day 5 of the challenge on Monday. We’ll see you after the weekend!

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge: Day 3

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day 3: Your Favorite Land.

I love Disneyland as a whole. There are details in every land that appeal to me. From the Jungles of Adventureland to the Rivers of America that encompass Frontierland, Critter Country and New Orleans Square; from  the whimsy of Fantasyland to the thrills of Tomorrowland, there’s just so much to take in and appreciate. However, this time around, there’s one that stands out more than any other for me.

That land is Main Street, USA.

 

Am I the only one who can’t help but be inexplicably drawn to the Emporium? It sends out a subliminal message – “You need to buy….You NEED to buy…”

 

Upon entering under the tunnel from the entrance gate, there’s nothing  more welcoming to me then the strains of “Fortuosity” as old-time vehicles and horse trolleys make there way up and down a piece of turn-of-the-century Americana. To me, nothing says “home” more than Main Street. It’s one of those places that, if I had endless time, I could sit for hours, people watch, and take it all in.

How many of us can’t go to Disneyland without saying “hi” to Walt when his light is on in the apartment above the fire station? Or take a picture of the view toward the castle? Stop for Ice Cream in the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor or a Raspberry (or other flavor) Coke at Coke Corner? Grab a morning coffee from the Market House? Make a mental wish list of collectables and art in the Disneyana shop?

And is there any spot more beautiful at Christmas time?

 

Even more amazing at night!

 

It’s a great spot for watching parades during the day and fireworks at night. It’s a place where you can visit a president, watch a silent movie, or take a ride up the street and back again (my daughter could ride those vehicle for hours on end!). My wife and I, on rare occurrences of nights out in the park, will often find a bench near the train station, smell the popcorn popping, watch the people pass by and listen to the music and train announcements seemingly flow together. Even as I type about it, I’m feeling a peace… wishing I was there now.

It’s definitely Disney, but it’s so much more. It’s small town America the way we WISH it could be. If not for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at the end, as well as entrances to other lands, it tends to represent just that. Just for giggles a couple years back, I attempted to take the castle out of the background of an old picture of Main Street, just to see how much it would look like Main Street of Anywhere, USA:

 

Yep, works for me!

 

As I walk past Walt’s apartment when I leave past the park, I always say thank you. While I’m thankful for the park and all he did, I’m truly grateful that he started it with such a wonderful feeling as Main Street, USA.

So now it’s your turn, dear readers: Surely you have a favorite land as well! Please feel free to share your comments below, and tell your friends! I truly do love hearing all you have to say!

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge: Day 2

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day 2: Your Favorite Show.

Once again, I have to say: ONLY ONE?

Oh, so many choices I could go with just based on emotional impact and beauty alone. “Believe: There’s Magic In the Stars” was the firework show that was playing the year my wife and I were married – we watched it every night we were there, because it was just that good. Even now, hearing the soundtrack evokes some great misty-eyed memories. “Remember – Dreams Come True” – the firework show created for Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary – is just beyond phenomenal, bringing back memories of rides from today and yesterday. “Aladdin” over at Disney California Adventure is a great Broadway style musical that never gets old, with a genie that mixes things up on a regular basis. “Believe… In Holiday Magic” – the Holiday firework offering – holds a near and dear spot to my heart. It was my daughter’s first firework show; the sight of her watching in wonder, then in awe once more as the “snow” began to fall is permanently engrained in my mind as a wonderful memory I’ll never forget.

Of course, those are just a few of so many great shows, but if I had to choose just one…

 

“IMAGINATION!!!!!”

 

I remember when Fantasmic first opened – my junior year of high school. Traveling in by bus, seeing the signs along the freeway, I had no idea what exactly Fantasmic was… but my interest was definitely piqued. However, once at Disneyland, seeing crowds staking out their spaces on blankets as early as noon, the impatient teenager in me took over. I would rather ride rides than watch “some show,” and chose not to watch. Now I’m not saying I would have waited THAT long to see it, but I wish I could go back and kick the teenage me in the pants for not waiting. All I heard about on the bus on the way back home was how amazing it was.

My first real exposure to Fantasmic was not the show at all, but the music. A friend of mine had the CD, and being over at his house I experienced the awesome orchestrations long before the show. However, that was enough. I had the show memorized before I had ever seen any of it.

My first experience of seeing the show in person came about five years later, on my next trip to Disneyland. To say I was in awe would be correct. The theatrics, the pyrotechnics, the water screens, special effects, music, story…everything flowed perfectly.

And it still does. Good still triumphs over Evil, and imagination reigns supreme. As it should be in the world of Disney!

I’ve included a multi-shot edit video from my friend Matt. Although nothing beats seeing it live, the essence is still there. For those of you who don’t live near enough to see it often, or have perhaps never seen it -enjoy!

 

 

So now, I ask – what’s your favorite theme park show? Make sure and leave your answers below. I love reading others’ input!

Make sure to come back tomorrow for Day 3 of the challenge and tell your friends!