Yesterday I went to Disneyland for the first time in several years, this time with my wife, and we had a blast. Thinking (rightly) that most people would be home watching the Super Bowl (yawn) we hit the Happiest Place on Earth and went on every major ride except for Space Mountain -- the line for which never dipped below 65 minutes even as the park was closing. I tried by hardest to find a discounted ticket deal, but there doesn't seem to be any way to get in for less than $59 per person -- ouch! As Southern California residents we were able to get the "Twofer" deal that lets us now attend California Adventure for free within the next 30 days, so I suppose that's a nice deal. Still, I would have preferred a straight discount.
The whole park was cleaner and sharper than I remember, so they must have been doing some painting. As for rides, my new favorite is Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. The ride is pretty tame, but you get to control the spin of your own car and each rider gets a laser gun with which to shoot at targets that surround the ride on every side. You get your own personal score at the end of the ride and can see how you compare with everyone else. Basically a high-tech shooting gallery, but loads of fun.
Star Tours was as good as ever, though Rex's claim that every flight is his first is getting a bit old. In the scenery before the ride were displays announcing new destinations "coming soon" to Hoth, Dagobah, and Tatooine, but those have been there for years, right? Why hasn't Disneyland put in some new shows? It would seem that the Star Tours ride could handle any number of "destinations", and it's past time to change things up.
The Indiana Jones ride was a lot better than I remember it being. Reading some of the ride history online makes me want to go back and ride it a few more times to get more of the flavor. Apparently there are three (or more) different sets of scenery that you can ride through that are selected randomly when you board, and it would be fun to see them all. The ride was a lot less jerky than I remember it being, which is good because when I first rode it ten years ago my neck was aching for a week afterwards.
I went on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride for the first time and enjoyed the colorful scenery. The Hell room was actually very neat... I wasn't expecting the furnaces. Some of the other explosion effects and so forth were well done. Thunder Mountain and the Matterhorn were great, but the latter is starting to show its age and is feeling a little loose. I wish we could have ridden the new Space Mountain, but alas, we didn't have the patience and couldn't even get a Fastpass. (The only Fastpass we did get was to the Indy ride, and we didn't even need it.) Pirates of the Caribbean was as fun as ever and looked like it had been updated; most of the scenes were the same or similar to what I remember, but the cannonball/water explosions were far larger than in the past and actually got some riders pretty wet. It's amusing to see old attractions simply renamed to suit new marketing needs, like Tarzan's Treehouse née the Swiss Family Treehouse. When will Tom Sawyer's Island be seized by Pocahontas?
One thing I only now remember missing: there were no characters walking around! I don't think we saw a single Micky, Minnie, Donald, or anyone!
Now I'm interested in learning some secrets about Disneyland. Does anyone have any information or pictures of the employee tunnels that run under the park? Any stories about the security measures or hidden control rooms? I'm sure the park holds a lot of secret goodies, so someone cough them up!