Golden Disney-versary

We just spent three days in Disneyland in Anaheim. The first day of our visit happened to be on the opening day of Disneyland’s many-month-long celebration of its golden anniversary. The day prior, May 4th, the amusement park was closed to the general public in preparation for the 5th — in reality, that was when the celebrities got their turn at checking out the upgrades.

Photo © Richard D. LeCour

As expected, the lines to get into Disneyland were horrific even at 8:00 in the morning when we arrived. They extended all the way from the gates to the gates at the far end of the open space into the small California Adventure park.

Most of the Fantasyland rides had something painted gold in honor of the 50th anniversary. The Dumbo ride had one of the flying Dumbos that are actually ridden in decked in gold, while the Peter Pan ride had a flying boat parked outside near the line entrance on which children could climb and have their pictures taken. Likewise, a whirling teacup and one of the merry-go-round horses were painted gold. Even one of the Autopia cars was specially painted. I didn’t notice any differences on the Matterhorn or Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Cinderella’s castle was, of course, bedecked in golden accents, unveiled early that first morning.

The biggest disappointment of our trip was that Cinderella’s castle was off-limits the entire time, thanks primarily to news shows and media events surrounding the gala celebration. Was it fair that the Regis and Kelly show was allowed to set up almost 24 hours in advance of their live show, depriving the thousands of visitors access to the symbol of Disneyland? Not at all.

The four-year-new Disney’s California Adventure themepark, while showing off a few creative inspirations, was little more than Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk meets Frontier Village which is dating MGM Studios — with the Tower of Terror thrown in. Speaking of which, the Orlando-based MGM Studios version of the Tower of Terror was much better.

Even after three days of crowds, lines, and sprinkling rain.. even after failed access to the castle, expensive food, and the whiny attitudes of children young and old… even after all that, I’m ready to go back. I miss it already!

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