Word on the street is that Disneyland “isn’t worth the money right now”, because so many attractions are down to begin construction on the highly anticipated Star Wars Land. I couldn’t disagree more! There’s still so much to do and see. In fact, we used it as an opportunity to check out some attractions, shows and interactions we might have otherwise skipped if we were going to rush off to the next ride. Disneyland is doing a great job of compensating for the downtimes of the Disneyland Resort Train and the Rivers of America boats. We took a tour of the Mark Twain Riverboard which was essentially deserted and included special interactions with lesser seen characters like Dr. Falicier and Louis the Alligator from The Princess and the Frog. Additionally, you can talk to the conductors of the Disneyland Railroad Train and get a little training on how to be a “hilarious” Jungle Cruise skipper from actual skippers while Jungle Cruise is down to repair its docking area. What I love most about these rides are the tradition and rich history they hold since they were some of the originals from when the park opened and some of Walt’s personal favorites.
Another area we have never checked out but enjoyed was the Mickey and the Magical Map show. The story was cute. It was fun seeing Mickey in his Sorcerer’s Apprentice costume as well as lesser seen characters like Pocahontas, Mulan and Flynn Rider who are involved with the show. We also hit some of the special photo opportunities available in celebration of the 60th Anniversary going on through September 5th. The Fab Five plus a few others are meeting on Main Street dressed to the nines in their special Diamond Celebration outfits. We also completed the Eggstravaganza egg hunts in all three areas: Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and the Downtown Disney District. We were all pleasantly surprised by how much fun a simple egg hunt becomes when you’re hunting oversized character-themed eggs at the Happiest Place on Earth. And the experience is totally affordable at just $6.95 a map which you get to keep at the conclusion of the hunt as well as a special prize once you’re finished.
We spent a lot of time in Tomorrowland as we’re huge Star Wars geeks and the Season of the Force did not disappoint. Previously, I didn’t have much interest in Jedi Training Academy but we headed to sign ups as soon as the park opened and signed up for an afternoon timeslot, knowing the ride lines would be longest mid-day. I’m so glad we signed up because my oldest had an absolute blast and felt like a total Jedi Rockstar after taking on the dark side villains. She celebrated her awesome experience by spending her souvenir money at the Build-Your-Own-Lightsaber station at Star Traders. Star Tours’ update with scenes from Episode VIII are fantastic and has one of the best line queues. Hyper Space Mountain is a MUST DO for fans of the franchise but wait lines escalate quickly, so do it first thing in the morning or grab a FastPass. The character interactions in the Star Wars Launch Bay are so much fun too. Chewie is definitely BFF material just like in the movies & Kylo Ren is totally creepy, always trying to convince everyone to commit to the New Order. There also many movie props and photo opportunities through out the Launch Bay itself like
the Mos Eisley Cantina bar.
Even if you are not a Star Wars buff, Season of the Force leaves open a great opportunity to hit the attractions in Adventureland, New Orleans Square and Critter Country early in the morning with 5 minute waits or less because so many other guests are flocking to Fantasyland or Tomorrowland. But if you want to ride popular attractions like Peter Pan, the updated Alice in Wonderland or Matterhorn – make sure to knock those out early in the day too as they typically have longer wait times of 40+ minutes by mid-day and do NOT have FastPass options currently though I hear they are coming soon. Get to Main Street early for the Paint the Night parade too – or splurge on one of the dining packages available at Blue Bayou or Aladdin’s Oasis for premium viewing. Blue Bayou’s is pricier but an amazing experience to eat inside the Pirates ride and unbelievable for parade viewing. It also puts you right on Main Street for the viewing of Disneyland Forever fireworks which is a totally immersive experience as blow up seaweed tops the buildings, shadows of dancing chimney sweeps surround you and Elsa even makes it snow! The Aladdin’s Oasis viewing area is near Small World which is alright for the parade but has a killer view of the fireworks behind Sleeping Beauty Castle though you miss all the other elements projecting on the Main Street buildings.
And don’t forget about California Adventure! When ride lines were too long to bear, we popped into Turtle Talk with Crush which again was another pleasant surprise as was the Animation building in general. It’s darker. It’s cooler. It’s a great place to just sit for a while. We spent a good chunk of time around CarsLand though. You just can’t walk through Radiator Springs without feeling like you’re in the movie. Disney really covered every detail in this expansion and Radiator Springs Racers? It’s TOTALLY worth the upward of 45-60 minute average wait times (and that’s on a weekday in the off-season!). We fastpassed the ride twice but stood in the 45 minute queue line once for the experience. We played rock, paper, scissor and our own version of Simon using the colored upcycled bottles (red, blue… red, blue, green…) tapping on them with our hands. The new and improved ride at Luigi’s Casa de la Tires was doing testing and looks like a lot more fun than the original version they had there, Luigi’s Flying Tires. It’s now Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roasters. It opened March 7th after we had already retuned home but can’t wait to ride it upon our return. California Adventure is great for thrill rides, Pixar characters (Make sure to catch the Play Parade! It’s a lot of fun with catchy music) and appreciating the culture and beauty of the great state of California.
We hope you enjoyed our experience of Disneyland in Spring and can’t wait to share the details of our next trip!