Thursday, 21 June 2012

Disney's Magic Kingdom

Time for the happiest place in the world as headed south to Anaheim home of Walt Disney's old playground.  Our itinerary had us spending 2 days at Disneyland and California Adventure and for simplicity's sake I've done a page on each even though I visited both on both days. So if the sequence is a bit haphazard, that's why.

Efficient staff welcoming us at the park. Before you're allowed in you have to under go a security check, nothing too invasive and if you're feeling pretty audacious you can smuggle any old thing in.

Back in 2006, Banksy visited the park and left a little gift beside the Runaway Mine Train. Sadly this piece had a life shorter than one of Snow White's dwarves.

The main train station at the front of the park. Easily overlooked, if you or your kids like dinosaurs, then you'll only see them on this ride if you take the train from Small World round to the entrance.

Main Street is the same as the other parks offering a nice scenic walk for those who know what legs are for, for those that don't there are a number of different ways of shifting your fat lazy arse up the park. I wonder if these horses ever feel the urge to turn right? Zoolander would be jealous. 

At the top of the main street and also easily overlooked on account of it being so tiny is the Princess's castle. You never see this one in silhouette on their packaging; I think our motel was taller.

First up we did what the horses aren't allowed to do and turned right to head towards the not so futuristic future themed part of the park. That in the background is Space Mountain, first ride of the day!

I did ride this in 2002 but in 2005 it was removed and replaced with a brand new spanking ride. Bonus!
It now features on board audio and a cool spacefield effect inside, no photos as it'd be dark.

The rather excellent soundtrack was written by the guy who did the soundtrack to The Incredibles and it reminded me more of a 70s cop show than a space ride. 

and yes it was also my 1300th coaster. Boo Yah indeed!

The space theming is alright in this park, but easy to do if you plonk rockets all over the place :)

Next ride was the revamped Star Wars simulator ride, which had you escaping from Darth Vader and escaping to one of the planets in the Star Wars galaxy. When we rode it we went to the Wookie planet Kashyyyk. What I didn't realise is that you can get different planets on different rides. 

Like the other parks in the chain there's a Buzz Lightyear shooting game although this one lacked the cool animatronic Buzz in the queue line. He does feature in the ride though. A fun shoot-em-up but I didn't win.

In 2002 the lagoon was just sitting there unused. Now in 2012 they've added a submarine ride with Finding Nemo Pepper's ghost theming. It's a claustrophobic ride and you can't get your mobility scooter into the sub, just so you know!

Autopia is a popular (just look at the congestion) but now dated ride, and there must be some technology that would allow the car driving without the rails preventing you from crashing. Perhaps similar to the taxi in The Fifth Element would be a good idea!

Saying goodbye to the futuristic bit we crossed over to the other side of the park to ride coaster number two. 

Splash Mountain is their flume ride themed around Briar Rabbit and the Song of the South. Having managed to not get wet on this trip this ride was skipped. We did find out later that some of the group got soaked on this, so the right call was definitely made.

The railroad coaster is ish at best and not as good as the one in France. In the park's defence this is the oldest of the Disney parks and does have a historic charm instead of the latest and greatest rides.

Haunted Mansion was a surprise walk-on attraction but on our ride the ghosts kept meddling with the ride and it kept breaking down. I think we stopped 4 times throughout the journey ruining the experience. Also a shame that it didn't have the latest head swapping ghosts that I think Florida has got.

Here's some footage of what has yet to come to Cali. Very clever indeed.

Into the jungle themed bit of the park and as a fan of puns, the Jungle River Cruise is a must do for me. Yes I groaned throughout the ride but at least I didn't fall asleep like I usually do. This ride runs so slow that it's easy to nod off.

Arguably the best ride in the park, Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden eye is a utterly superb jeep themed dark ride that has you bouncing and skidding through a huge temple structure avoiding the traps contained within, including the signature ball rolling sequence. We really abused the fast pass tickets for this ride. Hard to believe this ride is over 15 years old! One odd observation is that we always seemed to get the middle door when approaching the temple, never the left or right. Perhaps that trick had been disabled.

In an attempt to jump the pineapple ice cream queue line we entered the Tiki room waiting area and gave our order to that side of the counter, and whilst there we decided to give the attraction a go. If you like dark rooms full of bad european accents and more animatronics than you can possibly imagine then you'll love this. To me it was just a chance to relax in the shade, just a shame I ate the ice cream too quickly to really enjoy it (it is very good)

Pirates of the Caribbean had been given a Johnny Depp overhaul making it a ride that is themed around a movie that is themed around a ride, which is itself. Hard to photograph due to the constant moving and low light this offers as tough a challenge to stay awake than the Jungle Cruise. 

If you fancy a tea break then the park caters for this, just expect to be given a spin too. This has to be the most colourful tea party in the land.

Towards the back of the park is the little kid area (err, isn't the entire park for little kids?). Small World is the annoying boat ride featuring hundreds of little dolls singing a repetitive song over and over again until it's annoys you more than Joe Pasquale's voice does. 

Mickey's Toontown is a hybrid Disney/Roger Rabbit themed area that looks like it belongs to the latter but is where characters from the former actually live.

It's here where most of the opportunities to have your photos taken with poor saps in hot suits is made.

Just be nice to them and don't annoy them. (a classic youtube clip from a few years ago)

Buried away in the back corner in the back section of the park is Gadget's Go Coaster, a ride that has nothing to do with the bungling police inspector (although there ought to be one). It's a rollerskater coaster with some nice theming and not much else. Due to a counting mishap where the operator assumed two fully grown adults would ride together I chose to skip the ride having queued for it, and left Jeppe to enjoy it on his own; it blew him away! 

Roger Rabbit's Furious Mother F*cking Spin Ride (I think that was it's name) is a quite nice dark ride that has you going through a series of sets where you control the cars rotation by turning the wheel making it as dizzy as you want. A nice touch in the top right to remember the, now removed coaster from Busch Gardens. 

Next elephant on the trip was the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which were getting a revamp. Included were new trains that removed the need to sit on someone's lap, and a bit of a visual overhaul. The work was due to complete 2 weeks after our visit, so like Xcelerator we'd just missed this one; the next elephant. At least the scaffolding was off the mountain, a sign that they were nearly done. I'd done the rides in 2002 so wasn't overly concerned, but as the oldest steel coaster in the world I think some of the group were bummed to have missed it.

With the rides done we decided to sit back and watch one of the park's famous parades. It didn't get off to a good start with this cheap attempt at Snow White.

it then got worse with this. Not only could she not keep on course but she'd forgotten her costume. I think she was supposed to be Cinderella.

I'd heard great things about the floats but these were just guys pulling ice cream and popcorn containers.

Then the parade started in earnest with proper floats and people in costuming dancing. 

Poor Mary Poppins had to negotiate the parade in this strange bicycle that simulated a carousel horse going up and down. Imagine if when she went for the interview she lied when asked if she suffered from motion sickness just to get the job and is then put on this.

Pretty girls get the nice costumes. Others get to be fish.

and some poor soul gets to be in a monkey suit.

How do they do this? I don't mean getting a balloon within a balloon. I meant making money from sales even whilst the parade is going on. I guess that's the magic of Disney.

Disappointing that the Imagineers have yet to find a way to get Tinkerbell to be tiny. That way I can do a Banksy in reverse and put her in my rucksack and take her home.

The synchronised drummers were actually pretty cool.

When she gets married I bet the ceremony is good, but not as good as the reception. (True Disney fans should get that one)

More lovely women but here we have several famous one sharing the same float. If they didn't the parade would last all day.

The parade is actually fairly decent and they do a good job keeping every entertained for the 20 minutes or so it takes to come past. People take their positions early so be prepared to have your view impaired if you leave it too late, and also be prepared to have those people in front film and photograph incessantly.

Well Disney is Disney, a huge money making machine that gives kids the right environment to play up and act like brats when they don't get what they want. If you're bringing a family I feel sorry for you, it must be an absolute nightmare but it'll give kids good memories I guess whilst you remember the last time your bank account was so empty. That aside there are still some good, and unique rides in the park with Indiana Jones and Space Mountain still being my favourite.

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