The Disneyland Appreciation Thread

Ah Disneyland, the “happiest place on Earth”. It is truly on of my favorite places to visit and I never tire of it. I have been going for over 30 years, even having memories of being pushed around in a stroller by my parents as a mere tyke. I can’t count the times I have visited since but the number must be around 50. I have read every book about the park that I can get my hands on and visited, I believe, almost all of the websites dedicated to it. I took about an eight-year hiatus from the park, from about 1995 to this year. I didn’t intend to but life moves too fast sometimes. What got me to return were two fascinating books on the park, written by David Koenig, called “Mouse Tales” and “More Mouse Tales”. The books made me so nostalgic for the place that I ended up buying season passes for my companion and myself about two months ago and we go almost every weekend.

Doing a search, I saw that there hasn’t been a thread about Disneyland for a while. I thought I would share some of my thoughts and memories and others could do the same. I would like to limit the discussion specifically to Disneyland in California (and California Adventure, if you must), if you don’t mind. My only experience with the other Disney parks is one trip to Disney World when I was about 10.

I think that Walt Disney was an incredible man and Disneyland is his legacy. He had a vision of a place that families could enjoy together and escape the harsh realities of the real world. In fact, Disneyland was specifically designed so that it is almost impossible to see the outside world while inside the park. It is an escape, one in which you are required to use your imagination and put reality on hold for a day. I think it has stood up reasonably well to the test of time, which can be proven by just watching the faces of children as they experience the park for the first time. The sense of wonder and awe as they see pirates pillaging and plundering, or view exotic animals from a jungle river, or the glee they display as Mickey walks around signing autographs, proves to me that Walt’s spirit is still quite evident in the park.

Not to say that there aren’t negatives. When Michael Eisner took over in 1984, he didn’t exactly follow all of Walt’s wishes, most notably, the idea that Disneyland should be affordable to all. Ticket prices have skyrocketed since 1984. Also, the bottom line became far more important, which meant that far more shops appeared inside Disneyland, newer rides are fewer and farther between, and many have been closed to save money. Also maintenance of the rides appears to be less frequent, causing more ride breakdowns. The worst example of this is the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which only a few weeks ago derailed, killing a person.

Still, you can’t help but be impressed by the place. I have always found the park to be exceptionally clean and the Cast Members (employees) to be quite friendly and helpful at all times. The park is run very efficiently as can be witnessed the moment you step on the parking lot tram, the first “ride” of the day.

While I adore all of the rides, my favorite, as corny as it sounds, is the Jungle Cruise, one of the original attractions. I also love the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. Indiana Jones is also pretty neat, especially considering that it is almost impossible to repeat the same experience on the ride. From what I understand, there are something like 180,000 variations. The attractions I miss most are the Peoplemover, “America the Beautiful”, the Skyway, and the Submarine Voyage. It still saddens me every time I go to see the empty Submarine lagoon.

So fellow dopers, what are your memories of Disneyland? What are your favorite rides? What rides do you miss the most? Also, if you have any questions about Disneyland, I will do my best to answer them. I am by no means an expert, but I do know quite a bit about the place.

I have a question. When are we going? :wink:

I love Disneyland! However, not to hijack, but I for as much as I love Disneyland, I love Disney World so much more. Regardless, they’re both virtually synonymous and create a fantastic fantasy world. I’ve been to Disneyland twice, California Adventures once and Disney World 8 times (for a week each). Walt Disney was a genius.

Well, depending on the interest, I suppose we could consider a Disney-Dopefest. :slight_smile: Without hijacking this thread too much, if anyone else has an interest in this, perhaps you could mention it in your post. I’m thinking February or March would be a good time as the park isn’t too busy then. Plus it gives time for us to work out the logistics.

I don’t go to Disneyland (Anaheim) that often, even though it’s just a half-mile away, because it’s hard to get the time and the money to do so.

But when I do, I make it a rule to always try to catch Indiana Jones and Fantasmic!, with an option for Star Tours.

I want to get more excited about Disneyland, but between the decline in the park and the decline in their animated movies, it’s hard to maintain the enthusiasm.

I was at Disneyland about a year and a half ago. It was okay. In comparison to Disney World, it seemed a lot more juvenile-oriented. I guess that’s because Disney World has Epcot Center, which can appeal to adults as well as kids. But Disneyland has the California Adventure, which I found more enjoyable than Disneyland proper due to its more mature content, like the Robert Mondavi part. I couldn’t believe I was at a wine-tasting exhibit in Disneyland.

Speaking of California Adventure, I must take a moment to make fun of “Golden Dreams”. Have you seen this? It’s a short film in its own theater in the park about the rise of California. It stars Whoopi Goldberg, who should be ashamed of herself, as “Califia, The Spirit of California”. I want to puke just thinking about it.

I liked the Muppets feature, though.

I love Soarin’ Over California at California Adventures. They just began building it at Ecpt too though (awesome!).

Gosh, I haven’t been to Disneyland in years. I go by it every week or so during baseball season (actually go by the main entrance since the way I leave the ballpark is thru that route) and live only 20 minutes away. Down Ball Road and I am there.

My fondest memory of Disneyland was for Grad nite. That was late '70s. I didn’t have a date but rather there were 4 of us girls who went together. I am so glad I didn’t do the date thingy since all of my friends who did didn’t come home with the fun stories we had. We got to the park and immediately went on the river boat ride. There were only a couple of other people on it which as you know this is usually fairly crowded and from that ride we watched the sunset and ran around the boat with a clear path to all of the railings. It set the tone for the evening. I remember laughing thru most of the rides. We even got lai’d at Disneyland (and I have it still as a keepsake from that evening) at the Tiki room where we had dinner and saw a show. Everyone on the bus on the way home asked us where we got the lai and were all jealous cause they had missed the show. We laughingly rated the boys we saw. What a wonderful nite. It was the perfect way to end our “childhood” just like the Disney folks advertise Grad nite (but y’all know it doesn’t usually work that way).

In my previous post, Ecpt=Epcot

I’ve only been to Disneyland once, but have been to Disney World a few more times. I love both, actually. What I found is that I like Disney World better than Disneyland simply because it’s bigger, but I like the Magic Kingdom in CA better than the one in FL.

My favorite Magic Kingdom rides are the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. Amazing how those old, kinda cheesy rides are still more fun than the newer, more technologically advanced ones, huh?

Yes, I expected more from this attraction. I found parts of it interesting, in a historical way, but sorely lacking in any real entertainment value.

I think California Adventure has potential and some fun rides, such as the rapids ride, roller coasters, and Soaring over California. As a whole though, I just don’t think there is enough there. The opening of “The Tower of Terror” will help in May. My understanding is that like Disneyland, they opened it before all of the best rides were built and these will be added slowly. I dont think you could actually spend an entire day there right now though. You can pretty much see everything worth seeing in a few hours. A few things that bug me though…

  1. The fact that they sell alcohol is something that bugs me. I like the fact that Disneyland never did. Well, except at one location, Club 33, which requires a prety hefty membership fee.

  2. Walt absolutely detested carnival games and made sure that Disneyland never gave the impression of being a carnival. I know, this isn’t Disneyland, but it still has his name associated with it.

Now, I thought it would be fun to add something extra to this thread, so each time I post, I will add a little Disneyland tidbit or two. Some of these are probably common knowledge, but maybe they will be of interest.

Fun fact #1: The Matterhorn Bobsled ride is the first steel roller coaster in existence. There are actually two seperate tracks which are quite different. If you ride from the Fantasyland side, you get a much mellower ride, better for small children who may be frightened to try it. The Tommorowland side goes faster, with more curves and drops and is overall, more exciting.

Fun fact #2: Keep an eye out at Disneyland for the population of wild cats that live in the park. They were brought in years ago to help with a rat problem. A good place to spot them is along the route of the Mark Twain Steamship. They can be seen in the bushes if you look close and rarely go into the rest of the park when it is open.

musicguy - Disney World sells alcohol all over (except for Magic Kingdom) and I’ve yet to witness an unruly patron there. I think that the mentality of the average person who visits Disney World is different than those who visit 6 Flags (generally - my opinion).

Also, I understand your point about the carnival games, but they fit within the boardwalk theme of California Adventures.

Visit the Disneyland of the past.

Too bad we’ll never see Captain EO again. I thought that was so cool back then.

My parents used to work at Disneyland once every year (Christmas parade?) so we always got free admission and ride tickets. Eventually my enthusiasm ran down. Then I got to work there (Tomorrowland stage) and see a bunch of the backstage and underground stuff. That’s cool!

Mmmmm. Disneyland. I’m going Sunday. And probably Tuesday or Wednesday, too. I’m working at my brother’s house a mile or so from the park and I have an Annual Passport.

One of my favorite aspects is the park-like atmosphere. I know that sounds redundant but I mean park as in trees and benches and manicured lawns. That and the level of detail and depth in theming. I worked construction for years and am always amazed by the depth and quality of the finish work everywhere.

Plus the trains. Before 911 you could get a cab ride with the cast members up front in the engine. Good times.

I’d be up for a Disney-dopefest anytime. Except Saturdays. I’m blocked out.

OH, MAN!!!

I love Disneyland, and it’s probably been about 3-4 years since I’ve been. I haven’t been to California Adventure yet, so I want to see that, too.

If it turned out that I were to miss a Disney DopeFest, I don’t think I could live with myself.

I saw an interesting question on a disney message board. I thought I would post it here as well for fellow dopers…

If Disneyland were to add another “land” to the park, what should it be based upon?

My answer would be “Retroland”, where you could go and ride the Peoplemover or Submarines or Motor Boats, etc. Maybe you could even take the Skway to get there. I think that there are so many that miss the old rides, they would flock in droves to be able to relive some of those memories.

As far as the dopefest, I think a Sunday would be best (as I am blocked out on Saturdays as well :slight_smile: ) Generally, February is a nice time to visit the park. It is cool and not too crowded. Better to wait until the holiday crowds are over with.

Fun Fact # 3: When Disneyland decided to remove the “House of the Future”, it turned out to be a little more durable than anyone imagined. They unsuccesfully brought in a wrecking ball that bounced right off, every time they hit it. It finally had to be disassembled by using torches.

Fun Fact #4: “It’s a Small World” was actually designed for, and first seen at the New York Worlds Fair. Walt was asked to design an attraction and did so with the stipulation that the ride be moved to Disneyland after the fair.

Where is DLGirl when you need her?
I went to DL last July. It was OK, but way too crowded. On the CA side it was okay though-and they have beer and wine there. I did eat at Club 33, and it was good, but not great.

The best part of the visit for had nothing to do with DL. It was meeting and talking with a wounded Viet Nam vet while waiting in line for Soaring Over CA. We had been in some of the same places during the same time frame and had bit of an emotional moment.

Then Soaring over CA, was personally cool because the aircraft carrier is the one my daughter is assigned to.

Wow, thanks for sharing that story, DaToad. Yeah, July can be a pretty brutal time to go.

Although, as anyone with a pass can attest to, the park is never quite as quiet during the off season as it used to be. They have issued so many Southern California passports that a lot of people use the park as a place to hang out, especially local teens. Friday nights especially get pretty busy.

I’m not familiar with DLGirl but that would be cool if she showed up here. The more fanatics the better. :slight_smile: I know that another poster, Seawitch, has a husband that has been working at the park for quite some time, in security, I believe.