The Happiest Place on Earth

Last Friday, I woke up way behind schedule, which was rather unfortunate, considering I had a plane to catch.

I ran around my apartment like a crazy person. I didn’t eat breakfast. I didn’t get Starbucks. I missed my first BART train to the airport. I get to the airport and realize I’ve forgotten deodorant, toothpaste, a plastic bag to put my make-up in to go through security and to mail my rent check.

Yeah. The day started off greeeeeaaaat.

Luckily, another train came quickly. I made it through security lickity split, without having to go through the backscatter. I met my traveling companion, Cindy, at the gate without any problems and we had plenty of time to get a bagel and latte, so I didn’t die of hunger on the 1.25 hour flight….

….to the John Wayne Airport in Orange County!

I had no idea he even had an airport!

I know that’s a lot of enthusiasm, considering how much I generally hate Southern California. I don’t mean any offense to you guys down south….I’m just a bay area kind of girl. Everything down there is so spread out. I hate driving. I don’t like the weather. It’s just not my thing. As a matter of fact, I have only been there twice in the last 13 years.  Truth.

All that being said, there are two things that will bring me down south.

1) Concerts.


Last weekend, I hit up both. And it was sweet.

The concert was on Saturday, so we decided to head to the “Happiest Place on Earth” right after we found me a post office so I could mail my rent check away.

While we had discussed potentially going to California Adventure (the other Disney park, which neither of us had ever been to) and Disneyland, we realized we were only going to have time for one park. When faced with that kind of decision, especially at Christmas, there is no choice.

It had to be Disneyland.

What? Disneyland? Hooray!

While I did visit Tokyo Disneyland in 2008, this was my first time at the original in Anaheim since 1998. I was excited to see what had changed in the last twelve years. I would find some things had, in fact, changed. Some things, however, were the same as always.

Sounds good to me!

When we first entered, we were confronted immediately by the Christmas parade. We had a hard time watching much of it, as most people were already lined up in the parade sections of Main Street, and the Disney employees were keeping the walkways clear. We did manage to get a couple glimpses of what was going on, however.

Santa! Santa! I want a pony!

(Or a DSLR camera!)

One problem with the reindeer for me was the fact that I had just watched the “Holiday Hell” episode of  the History Channel’s “Life After People” the night before the trip on Netflix. They explained that the domesticated reindeer would join their cousins, the caribou (apparently, they’re the same species) after people. This would work out fine for a while, but since the reindeer and caribou calve about a month apart, the reindeer would wind up falling behind, thus making them easy prey.

That’s right. Dancer and Prancer are going to be eaten by wolves. Merry Christmas.

ANYWAY….on to something more cheerful….

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, where no one is ever eaten by wolves!

(Disney should hire me for their marketing department…)

Cindy and I did the most we could during our time at the park. Since we only had a half day, we couldn’t fit in everything. We started with Pirates of the Caribbean, which was fun, as when I was here last the movies hadn’t been thought of yet. It’s neat to see how they threw Johnny Depp as “Jack Sparrow” into the already existent ride. Sure, I had already went on a Depp-ed out version of the ride in Tokyo, but nothing is ever official until you do it at the original park.

I’m a purist.

We got a Fast Pass for Space Mountain and then rode a few other things. One of these, being the Haunted Mansion. The Haunted Mansion has always been my favorite ride in the park, and I usually go on it several times a visit (complete nerd, party of one…). I had never been to Disney at Christmas time, however, so I hadn’t been prepared for this:

What is that, you ask? It’s the Haunted Mansion…except during the Christmas months, they apparently turn it into a “Nightmare Before Christmas” ride. Now don’t get me wrong…I really like the movie….and the ride wasn’t all that bad. It was quite impressive the way they completely transformed the attraction. Thing is….it’s sort of my favorite ride….and I just wanted it to be the way it always is. Kind of disappointing.

I did like this scary Santa though.

Eventually we grew hungry for some lunch so we headed over to the “Pizza Port” and picked something up. Cindy and I both had salads, split some breadsticks and Cindy also had some water.

I sort of didn’t have water….I had…

Yeah. Way to eat healthy while on the road, Alexa. Good job. Oh well. It was delicious. The health fest continued when 5 hours later we returned for Pasta (Cindy) and a slice of pizza (me). Cindy once again rehydrated with a nice bottle of water.

I had a juice box.


I’ve regressed into an elementary school kid!

During the second half of our Disney day, we rode Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, Space Mountain, Madhatter’s Tea Party (Teacups), The Matterhorn, went to the Tiki Room (pineapple soft serve!!! so good!!!), watched Captain Eo (I hadn’t seen it in YEARS! Yay 1986 technology!!) and then finally we had to do what every Disney traveler never wants to do, but always HAS to do, because, well, it’s just necessary.

That’s right. We went on “It’s A Small World”

The ride we all love to hate.

The outside was pretty “blinged” out for Christmas time. Look how crazy all of those lights are! Cindy informed me that the ride had undergone a major renovation a couple of years ago. I didn’t exactly get to see the new stuff though, as it was made over for Christmas. This actually made the ride significantly more tolerable. Why? Because they don’t sing the song all of the way through! There are also verses of “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls” thrown in there. Kind of neat and definitely better than the normal ride.

Come night time Cindy and I were pretty exhausted….and freezing. Seriously. 50 degrees in Southern California? What? We hadn’t brought the right clothes with us. After the evening fireworks spectacular (which was awesome!) and some quick shopping on Main Street, we headed back to the parking lot trams. I’d like to come again, when I have more time to explore both parks, but for now, this was good enough.

Have you ever been to a Disney theme park? Are you a fan, or do you think I’m a lunatic? It’s okay. You can be honest.

4 thoughts on “The Happiest Place on Earth

  1. I went through the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted House at Tokyo Disney about five years ago or so. It’s alright, but I don’t think it’s worth all the extra hype, attention and long lines it attracts..

    In retrospect I am slightly sad we skipped Hong Kong Disney over the weekend, but I hear it’s dirtier and not as good as the original or Tokyo locations. And I’m not as big on Disneyland as you are anyway, so oh well. ^_~

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