OK. I wasn't able to actually be an 8-year-old kid, but I sure acted like one. I screamed my head off during all the "mountain" rides: Space, Thunder, Splash. I talked to all the creatures in Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, Snow White, and Peter Pan. I twirled those Teacups at nausea-inducing speed and sang along with the birds and flowers in The Enchanted Tiki Room. In short, I channeled my inner 8-year-old. And it was incredibly therapeutic.
I got to go to "The Happiest Place on Earth" twice during my recent visit to Anaheim: once with Lil Sis and Bro-in-Law - full day fun - and once on a Twilight Pass with a friend from work once all our work-duties were done. I thoroughly enjoyed both visits.
After years of frequenting DisneyWorld in Florida, I finally got to return to the original park that my family ventured to in 1959. Yes, my Golden Anniversary. No matter how many times I was told that DisneyWorld is massively larger than Disneyland, I just couldn't believe it in my 8-year-old-memory head. Once I went back to the original, I can attest that, yes, it is teeny-tiny compared to DisneyWorld.
My recap? Here 'tis:
- Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty castle is almost laughably small. I had forgotten that it looks so different from DisneyWorld's Cinderella castle. All I can say is, when Sleeping Beauty wakes up and sees how gigantic Cindy's castle is, she is going to be right pissed!
- The great thing about little Disneyland is that it's very doable in just a few hours. Things aren't as spread out as the Florida park. It's cozier.
- Disneyland has a few rides that DisneyWorld doesn't, mostly rides I remember from my visit in 1959: Alice in Wonderland, Storybook Land, Pinocchio. Evidently, DW doesn't have a Mr. Toad's Wild Ride anymore (What's up with that? It used to have one.). Of course, DW has rides that Disneyland doesn't have, so I guess it's a wash. But even the same rides are different in the two parks.
- You get to go to Hell and back in Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. There's something satisfying in that. (To DisneyWorld: Put that ride back!)
- Disneyland has New Orleans Square (with Pirates of Caribbean, Haunted Mansion). DisneyWorld has Liberty Square (with Hall of Presidents, Haunted Mansion - Pirates is in Adventureland, I think, at DW). Nice restaurants in New Orleans Square, by the way.
- The Astro Orbiter that brother David loved "shifting gears" in during our 1959 visit has been revamped to look more Jules Verne than the NASA-type rocket orbiter of 50 years ago. So, in a way, the Orbiter looks more 19th-century than Jetson-like. Interesting.
- Loved the Buzz Lightyear ride, shooting my ray gun and racking up points. Woo-hoo!
- No Carousel of Progress. :-( Guess we've just progressed too much (though I think it's still at DisneyWorld).
- Matterhorn - great as it was when brand new in 1959, though I did remind Lil Sis that the thing was 50 years old as we ascended the first hill. Probably not good timing.
- The new E-ticket rides in 1959 were The Matterhorn, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Submarines, and the Monorail (probably not really an E-ticket) - all still going strong. Alas, the 20,000 Leagues theme has been changed to Nemo - very disappointing. Go back to 20,000 Leagues, Disneyland!
- Worst ride? Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom. A lawsuit (or 50) waiting to happen. I love thrill rides, but this was just jarring and jolting. It hurt! Yuck.
- Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse has been changed to Tarzan's Treehouse. I'm a little sad, but I can live with it.