Disclosure: Mama Smith was provided with an all expenses paid trip to cover this event. All opinions expressed are 100% her own.
When I found out that I was going to be attending the D23 Expo in California this month, I was over the moon excited. Things just could not get better, right? Wrong. Because then I was told I would be going to Disneyland to check out their 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration – TWO nights in a row. We would be heading to Disneyland immediately after spending an entire day at the Expo but I was ready. Was I exhausted when I walked through the gate, you know I was. Did I get a second wind just seeing all the Disney magic in front of me, yup, I sure did.
This was my first time going to Disneyland so I wanted to experience everything. Several of the bloggers I went with were veteran Disneyland goers which was great because a couple of us newbies tagged along with them and found out what were must sees. We only had about 5 hours each night in the park which was clearly not enough to see and do everything, but we got to see a lot. The decorations everywhere were incredible. I loved seeing all the blue banners and diamond sparkles all over the park. Now, I have been to Disney World many times (October will mark my 15th visit!) but to see where it all began was…well…it was breathtaking.
The first thing that we did our first night in the park was grab a dole whip. Now, apparently they have these at Disney World too – I am not sure how I ever missed them. This is a must eat while in the park! Yum! They are kind of like a pineapple frozen yogurt – but they are dairy free. They are available in float form (with fresh pineapple juice) or by themselves. If you ask me, they are worth just about any amount of time you have to wait in line for them. I also grabbed a skewer at Bengal Barbecue and while it was delicious, it was a little smaller than I thought it would be. Just a warning that you might want to grab two or three if you plan for them to be your meal. We were lucky enough to eat at Carthay Circle Restaurant one night for a Cinderella Ambassadors of Kindness dinner (more on that later) and the food was very good. It is a whole experience and you will be there for at least an hour and a half, so plan ahead.
Unfortunately we did not get as many rides in as we would have liked to, but we made them count! Here is my list and my thoughts:
- Indiana Jones Adventure: This is a must do ride! We actually went back and did this again on our second night because it was so much fun. Shelley from SweepTight.com and I were laughing the entire time.
- It’s A Small World: This ride is nice and relaxing. It is a little different from the one at Disney World. There are many Disney characters and princesses that you can spot while going through. This ride is fun (and great for little ones – I know my girls would have loved it) but if you are pressed for time, I would put it in the skip category.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: While this is very similar to the Disney World version, it has always been one of my favorite rides there so I had to check it out at Disneyland. It did not disappoint. One major difference is that there is a restaurant inside the ride! I would love to eat there some day. If you look closely, you just might spot Captain Jack Sparrow!
- Alice in Wonderland: We had no wait for this ride and so we decided to try it out. It was a ton of fun! There are blacklights and brightly colored scenes inside. This ride is unique to Disneyland and I am so excited that I got a chance to do it.
- Radiator Springs Racers: Cars Land itself is incredible. I felt like I stepped in to the movie. A wave of mixed emotions came over me because I know that my daughters would have loved to see it. I suppose that just means I will have to take them out to CA sometime. This ride had been talked up by every single person who had already been on it. We got through the line fairly quickly using the single riders line and boy was it worth the wait and then some! This ride is a ton of fun! I was laughing the entire time! At the end, you pull up next to another car and race them. This is an absolute do not miss if you ask me.
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters: This is another ride that has a very similar counterpart at Disney World. I still think it is totally worth doing at Disneyland if you go. It is fun to shoot Zurg and his companions as you try to beat your friends’ scores.
That was all the rides that we could fit in and I was a little bummed to miss out on some. I wanted to check out California Screamin’ and the Matterhorn because I love roller coasters. I also would have liked to see the Monsters Inc ride. And of course Star Tours because that has always been my favorite at Disney World. Oh well, have to save some for the next trip, right?
One of the most magical things about the Disneyland 60th Anniversary celebration was the shows – the Paint the Night Parade, the fireworks, and the World of Color water show. The Paint the Night Parade was spectacular and I even got a little misty eyed. The music was great and the floats were amazing. I love all of the characters that they incorporated – and it was awesome to see Anna & Elsa up there! I highly suggest finding a spot at least a half hour prior to the parade starting if you are going to watch the first run. If you are going to wait until the later one, you most likely only have to arrive about ten minutes early to find a decent spot. The fireworks followed the parade and they were awesome as well. It was really cool because Tinkerbell was flying around, Nemo was swimming through the ring of fire, and so much more. Disneyland uses projections all around you to make you feel like you are in the show yourself. They really do a great job with it and I highly recommend checking it out. The World of Color water show is over at the California Adventures park and is also a must see – watch images of characters come to life on a veil of mist, while water forms fanciful shapes in time to memorable music!
If you are heading to Disneyland this year, be sure to grab some commemorative Disneyland 60 items. There are ornaments, pins, special ears, and more! There is so much to choose from it really becomes a difficult decision. There are many different shops you can visit. I decided to check out the World of Disney which is actually in the Downtown Disney District because it is open later than the parks. That way I could stay in the parks as late as possible and still get in some shopping time. The World of Disney is huge and has something for everyone!
I marked my first Disneyland trip as a success. I am so excited to say that I got to be a part of the Disneyland 60th Anniversary Celebration – and I cannot wait to take my family back sometime to show them all that Disneyland has to offer – once Star Wars Land is up and running perhaps?