By Nolan Patrick Smith
High Desert Daily
(Southern California) Summer is here, so what are your plans to maximize the fun? Why not take advantage of a classic when it comes to an entertaining vacation, right in the heart of Southern California? Both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure offer something unique for the whole family, with spectacles to behold during the day and night.
Disneyland is often known as the happiest place on Earth, and for good reason. Upon visiting the park on a busy Mother’s Day weekend, it is easy to see why there are so many people smiling, even in the crowds of thousands and the blistering heat. Of course, there are the classic attractions that have been there since day one. Disneyland opened in 1955, and with its grand opening came some of the most memorable attractions that are still open to this day. These rides include the around-the-park Disneyland Railroad, the Jungle Cruise, and the Storybook Land canal boat ride. Each is a staple to the iconic park, and no trip would be complete without them.
I had been on the railroad and the Jungle Cruise in the past, but this was my first experience on the Storybook Land ride, which terrified me as a child due to the large Monstro the Whale opening that the boats go through. What I encountered was a slice of miniature Disney history, with scaled versions of some of Disney’s most memorable lands. These landmarks included Aladdin’s city of Agrabah, Cinderella’s castle, and the homes of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The Jungle Cruise, which boasts animatronic animals seen from around the world, always delights with its one of a kind feel that only Disney can deliver.
In addition to the classics, there are some updated versions of old favorites that are bringing fans in large numbers. One such ride is Star Tours: The Adventure Continues. A revamped version of the old Star Tours ride, this new, updated attraction has various combinations, which makes for over 50 scenarios that are chosen at random. 3-D technology is utilized to transport visitors to some very familiar planets, like the snow planet of Hoth or the towering Death Star, which hovers in space, waiting to strike. This ride had the longest line, but it was well worth it as Star Tours truly takes you into George Lucas’ space odyssey. But Disneyland is only the tip of the iceberg, as a whole other side of fun is right around the corner at Disney’s California Adventure.
This being my first visit to the somewhat new addition to Disney, I was quite satisfied with what California Adventure had to offer. The look and feel of the park is very different from Disneyland, as it has a California boardwalk essence to it all. This summer looks to only get better for Disney’s California Adventure, as it readies the opening of its brand new Cars Land in June. From roller coasters to the Ferris Wheel, the park is a perfect place to visit. After the sun goes down the night comes alive with the World of Color. A spectacular water/light show right in the center of the park, the World of Color goes through various animated films from Disney, with scenes projected onto the night sky. Streams and shapes of water and color sprinted into the air, capturing the attention of all those around. I was completely blown away by this show, as it was unlike anything I had ever witnessed. Of course, on the Disneyland side of the park was an epic fireworks show, with booming fireworks that lit up the sky with bursts of fantastical awe.
It should be no question that this summer is the time to make a visit to Disneyland, and to take in the sights of California Adventure as well. A park hopper ticket, which allows for entrance into both parks, is definitely the best way to go to get the most out of the whole day. For ticket information, please visit Disneyland’s website at http://disneyland.disney.go.com.