The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™
Disney's California Adventure
Photo © Disney
Sample wine at The Golden Vine Winery in Disney's California Adventure Photo © Disney
Disney's "Aladdin-A Musical Spectacular"
Disney's California Adventure
It's the stuff that dreams are made of. And thanks to Walt Disney, who wasn't a man to give up on his vision, we can be children again when we visit the Disneyland Resort.
Your adventure begins at Downtown Disney, before you even check into your hotel. Build new structures with the kids at LEGO Imagination Center or create a souvenir at Build-A-Bear Workshop. Goofy's Kitchen, an all-you-care-to-eat buffet located in the Disneyland Hotel, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef Goofy and his friends are your hosts and you'll find fun things on the menu such as peanut butter & jelly pizza, gummy worm cake, and waffles & chicken tenders shaped into little Mickey ears. Bring your autograph book because you'll have a fun time chatting with the characters. You never know whom you may meet: Pluto, Alice in Wonderland, Gepetto, Aladdin and Princess Jasmine have all been known to show up.
All three hotels on the Disney campus offer Disney-themed pool areas, so sit back in a lounge chair and order a beer while the youngsters splash around, because tomorrow is going to be an active day.
Disney's California Adventure Park
With the purchase of a park pass, you can walk from Disney's Four Diamond Grand Californian Hotel directly into California Adventure-avoiding long lines. You'll find this park less crowded than Disneyland, which makes it easy to enjoy the awesome attractions and entertainment including "Aladdin-A Musical Spectacular", a 40-minute live Broadway-esque stage show that contains amazing effects you don't want to miss.
"Check into" the luxurious and almost vacant Hollywood Tower Hotel, where the only guests are ghosts and you'll get the thrill of your life when you experience the 13-story drop into The Twilight Zone®. This newest addition to the park, Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror is limited to folks 40" and taller.
Head on over to Soarin' Over California where you'll 'hang glide' over such sites as the Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite Park and the vineyards of Napa Valley while enjoying the fresh scents of the state and the breeze in your hair. You'll probably want to ride this attraction several times during your visit, so get your Disney's Fastpass as soon as you enter the park.
Now it's time to get soaked on Grizzly River Run, located just outside the Grand Californian Hotel door. Don't like being wet? It's convenient to drop in at your hotel and change into dry clothes. Take a park break and grab a soda and sandwich you've stashed in your in-room fridge.
But don't delay. The Pixar Play Parade makes its way through Sunshine Plaza at about 5:00 each evening, with familiar faces from every Disney-Pixar film.
It's Tough to be a Bug, a 3-D show with lots of surprises, is great fun. Because of all the surprises, kids over seven will probably enjoy it best. There's a great play land, Flik's Fun Fare, for the toddlers-done up right in Disney fashion. If you're a fan of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Bug's Life, you'll feel you've walked right onto their movie sets.
Be sure to be in the Sunshine Plaza by 8:45 pm for one of the most beloved Disney events: Disney's Electric Parade--a half million colored lights choreographed to joyful music. It's a sight and sound you'll never forget.
It's been a long day, so it's time to head to the Grand Californian for a massage for mom and dad and some quiet time in front of the Disney Channel for the kids. If you've made reservations on the Concierge level, then you may be in time for the wine and cheese reception. Either way, snuggle into the comfy robes and appreciate that someone else cleaned up your room and turned back your bed while you were out.
Morning has broken and that means a hearty breakfast with Chip 'n Dale at the Storytellers Café before another day of park adventure. Hint: To avoid lengthy lines entering Disneyland, pick up the Monorail in Downtown Disney and get off in Tomorrowland.
Retaining much of the theme park you remember from your childhood, Disney has unwrapped a few special gifts for park visitors:
The beloved classic, Sleeping Beauty Castle, will open in December, just in time for the holiday season. As a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the film, the interior of the Sleeping Beauty Castle will be revamped and available for a classic walkthrough presentation.
The classic Disney attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean, sets sail with re-"Imagineered" special effects, enhanced storytelling and some crew from the blockbuster film.
The always much-anticipated Disney parade has been expanded to include one of the largest casts of Disney characters and performers ever assembled for the musical extravaganza, "Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams." More than 100 entertainers and acrobats, dedicated to beloved Disney films, appear on spectacular rolling stages-some even equipped with water features. This is a production not to be missed.
Who doesn't vividly recall blasting through darkness on Space Mountain? Only as Disney can, it has been re-"Imagineered" with new effects, rockets, and an all-new on-board audio soundtrack, queue, and Space Port. There are even a few surprises.
The evening fireworks, "Remember…Dreams Come True" is now the most elaborate in the history of Disneyland, set to an inspiring musical score, spectacular pyrotechnics, and never-before-seen displays. Tinkerbell floats about behind and around the castle, different sounds and sites will remind you of each of the park's 'lands.' It's truly amazing. Hint: Stand on Main Street or in front of the castle for the best view.
Pyrotechnics, fiber optics, lasers, floating scenes, and a forty-five foot fire-breathing dragon are all part of the amazing "Fantasmic!" show in Frontierland.
"Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters," the newest attraction in Tomorrowland, allows guests to twist, turn and fire personal laser cannons while piloting their very own Star Cruiser through a comical interactive space mission. At-home fans are virtually paired up with park guests in real time through web cam technology. Working together, they shoot at targets in an effort to conquer the evil Emperor Zurg. At the end, email a photo of yourself on the attraction to your friends (free!). Hint: Shoot for the diamonds and triangles. You'll want to reboard this attraction again and again!
"Disneyland-The First 50 Magical Years," exhibits five decades of recently released artwork, models and designs. Steve Martin and Donald Duck host a new film highlighting the amazing evolution of Disneyland from concept to reality. Included is recently discovered film footage, most of which has not been seen in over 45 years.
Thank you, Walt Disney, from all of us, for believing and building your dream.
Editor's Note: This article was updated in May 2008. Call for updates.