The people who work at and run Disneyland are certainly the most courteous, friendly and attentive people I have met. I have been to other theme parks where the employees couldn’t care to give you the time of day. That alone sets Disneyland apart from the rest.
They have an area called Downtown Disney. Its full of shops and restaurants and does not require admission to the park to enter. It’s in between the Disneyland Hotel, The Grand California and the entrances to the parks. I sure they created this area to get people to enter the part by giving people at Conventions something to do if they stay at their hotels. It has a Rainforest Cafe, a ESPN Zone restaurant (Don’t forget ESPN is owned by ABC which is owned by Disney), a House of Blues. Plus a ton of shops including a Lego Store that I really liked. Like all food at the park its expensive. A meal at the Wetzels Pretzels in Downtown Disney for the 4 of us including 1 pretzel and 1 pretzel hot dog would have cost at least $40,00! Thats without a drink.
I always remember getting on the Monorail right from the Hotel. To get on it you have to walk some distance into Downtown Disney. According to an employee there they knocked down a bunch of buildings between the hotel and the monorail so maybe at some point you could. Speaking of the Monorail, I have to say I was pretty disappointed with it. Sure in 1955 it was high tech but even today it could be. I feel though that its underutilized. It does go through the front of the California Adventure (cross the Golden Gate Bridge) and goes right through the Grand California Hotel, but doesn’t stop anywhere. It only go through Tomrrowloand. THey should make the Monorail the transportation system of Disneyland.
Speaking of Tomorrowland, it was apparently renovated in 1998 but wasn’t that impressive. I would say they still have some work to do. Space Mountain was closed until 2005 (for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary). I’ll be interested to see what they do to it. There is a weird little ride that use to run through TomorrowLand (replacing the Wedway people movers) called the Rocket Rods which opened in 1998 only to be closed in 2000 for “electrical problems” or so I was told by one of the employees. The Submarine Voyage was removed, so there is just a big pool of water there. There is a large attraction called “Innoventions”, but to me just seemed like advertisments for the companies that had attractions there. Star Tours and Honey I Shrunk The Audience was cool. Overall I was pretty disapointed in Tomorrowland. It didnt seem to offer much.
We did ride the classics, including the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. Both good rides that are as good as the day the were put in. New rides for me was the Indiana Jones ride. Very good and was like being in a movie. Big Thunder Railroad was a good roller-coaster. The Jungle Cruise was good. We couldn’t figure out where the line was for the Matterhorn.
We didn’t do A Small World. Seems good for the kiddies and was looking a bit dated. Mickey’s Toon Town was actually pretty interesting even though it seemed for the kiddies too.
Finally onto the California Adventure. This park looked brand new and everything was working unlike Disneyland. Yet for some reason there weren’t as many people there as were at Disneyland. The California Adventure looks more like a theme park somewhere other than Disney, which might explain it. Not a lot of Disney stuff around.
The Hollywood Studios Back-lot was cool. Looked like a “movie town set”. They had a Muppets show there that looked just like theater that was on the TV show with the hecklers in the balcony and the penguin orchestra. If you liked the Muppets then this is a must see. There is also a place called Disney Animation. That was pretty interesting also as it had a nice show on how they choose characters for their movies and other interactive exhibits.
There was a flight themed area with a IMAX like theater that took you flying over California. THere were moving seats and air and smells that made you feel like you were flying.
The most noticeable was the California Screamin’ roller-coaster. A very smooth ride that pulled a lot of G’s. I was dizzy every-time I came off this ride.
You can view all the pictures on Flickr.