Thursday, October 25, 2012

First Impressions of Land

It's been two years, but I'm happy to say, I've finally been back to the one, the only, the original: Disneyland.

It's been more than a year since I've been to any Disney park, which is far too long, but two years without visiting Walt's original, that's just painful. Especially since so much has happened to the resort in the past two years. Finally, my family and I got around to getting a trip to Anaheim.

Flo's V8 Cafe with its stunning neon. (Preston Carter Melbourne-Weaver)
Obviously, the most exciting part of the re-theming of Disney California Adventure is Cars Land, and you've probably read enough to fill a novel about it. There's not much new insight that I can provide. It's everything everyone has said about it. Stunning, breathtaking, immersive, capturing the Disney magic that the park so terribly lacked since its opening in 2002.

It's also packed beyond belief. The best day to go, I would have to say, would be the day they had the press preview. I'm envious of those who got to go and just take in the new land, soak it up without the 30 minute wait for a Fast Pass, or the elbowing and shoving it takes to go up and down the strip. Overall, I didn't wait more than 30 minutes in any line while there, but that took a lot of strategy.

Luigi's flying tires didn't quite soar for me, but I enjoyed the attraction for what it was. It makes for a nice C-ticket attraction. The queue was far more exciting, with its classic Disney details displayed throughout Luigi's tire shop.

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, despite being themed around my least favorite Disney character of all time (and by the way, he's nowhere to be seen on the attraction, only heard. What the heck?), were a pleasant surprise for an attraction that looked to be pretty basic. The whipping and constant change of direction made for a thrill.

The food was great. And by food, I mean everything served in a pretzel cone. I had the Chili Cone Queso, the Chicken Verde and the breakfast bacon, cheese and egg cone. The best I'd have to say was the Verde. Quite a surprise for me, as I was betting on the Chili, and had to sample my girlfriend's Chicken Verde. The Apple freeze was delicious, though too sweet for some members of my family, and the pomegranate lemonade was sweet and had just the right amount of tart.

The merchandise was appealing, using the art deco colors and style in a callback to the original screen printed posters of Disneyland. I didn't purchase any though, as I'm not a fan of the vinyl printing they used. It's cheap, uncomfortable and gets killed in the washing machine.

As in the film, Radiator Springs really shows its feathers at night. When the neon's flipped on, it's like the already beautiful land masterfully applies makeup and turns into a real stunner. I had a great time challenging myself with my newly acquired photo-knowledge by taking pictures of the fantastic neon signs and the deftly lit rock formations, and found myself overloaded with things to look at.

It's surely a place so fantastic, one visit will not be enough. I'm starting to understand why Lightening McQueen decided to stay.

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