Star Wars, Bright Lights and Magical Lands
Day 6. We were back in Disneyland Resort for the 3rd day. It wasn’t as cold as the day before but still quite chilly that December morning. The sky was a cloudless blue – a perfect background for our first family picture of the day.
Disneyland Resort has two parks, as I have mentioned in my previous blog – Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. If you intend to visit both parks, you’ll need two to three days in Anaheim. You can take advantage of Disney’s multi-day pass. This gives you some savings and can also get you an extra hour to enjoy the park ahead of everyone else. That means being able to ride your favourite rides one hour before official opening time. They call it Magic Morning. The nearby hotels also have accommodation packages that include park tickets.
For us, we bought online the Southern California CityPass which included a 3-day park hopper pass to the two Disney parks and tickets to two other parks in San Diego. It also included a Magic Morning. It was priced at USD1,413 for our family of four. Based on my research this would give us the most savings.
Since we have been to quite a few rides already in the past two days, we said that we should not hurry and get panicky over the queues. We will take our time, take it slow, and just enjoy that distinct Disney atmosphere in the next 13 hours.
Benjamin and Joaquin loved the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster ride in Disney Paris and so here in California that was the first thing we did on the 3rd day. This ride, which is in Tomorrowland, is popular and so FastPass was available; but since we were there early, we did not have to get FastPass tickets at all.
The Astro Blaster is an interactive ride where boys and girls shoot the enemies of Buzz to accumulate points.
Our boys wanted to do it one more time but the queue had become longer, and so we just walked around looking for the next ride.
And there it was, the Matterhorn Bobsleds, one of those rides that weren’t in our plan.
It’s a high-speed ride with a lot of small drops. Euben got all excited about it and dared us to go. Only Joaquin can be convinced. Not Benjamin and I, not even for USD50.
Matterhorn Bobsleds has two tracks. They are almost identical except the other has sharper curves. The ride goes up 80ft in and out of Matterhorn and ultimately goes down in high-speed while avoiding the Abominable Snowman that resides in the mountain.
We walked down to Fantasyland for The Story Book Land Canal Boat. It was a relaxing slow ride on a small boat that cruises along the sets of various fairy tales.
Our next ride was Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, which is also located in Fantasyland. It was a zig-zagging buggy ride inside a dark manor and countryside as we tried to get past the police. Young children will enjoy this ride.
We were hoping to do Peter Pan’s Flight because we liked it a lot when we first tried it in Disney Paris, but the queue was terribly long. And so without stress but with some regret, we moved past it and instead entered Sleeping Beauty’s Scary Adventures. It was a slow suspense ride that took us along Snow White’s adventures and into the seven dwarfs’ cottage.
I enjoyed this short ride although the boys could not relate to it. That’s when I realised that it was because I don’t really read to them those classic tales of prince and princesses and their happily-ever-after stories. Their interests were geared towards Bambi, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Harry Potter and the likes. Well, I hope it’s not yet too late to tell them the other stories because, they too, are about bravery plus kindness and beauty within.
Well hello fairy godmother, I didn’t see Cinderella walking around. Did she lose her slipper again?
Joaquin’s walking with Alice in Wonderland.
Still at Fantasyland, Joaquin and I hopped onto King Arthur Carrousel. I guess merry-go-round is the one ride that I wouldn’t want to miss in any amusement park. There’s that happy-go-lucky feeling that I get whenever I’m on one. And once in a while, no matter how old, wouldn’t it be nice to feel that?
By midday we knew we had to go to Tomorrowland already for the much awaited Star Wars attractions. But we had to fuel up first at the Galactic Grill. We loved the restaurants in Disney; they accommodate food allergies. I remember the kids sharing pizza and pasta, and a drink from this super cute BB-8 sipper cup. We brought it back with us all the way to Singapore.
We were lucky to have gotten FastPass tickets earlier in the day to Star Tours-The Adventures Continue because when we got there, the queue was very very long. The next movie instalment, Star Wars-The Force Awakens, was premiering in Hollywood in just a few days and so this ride was extremely popular that time.
Waiting in line wasn’t bad after all since the waiting area was nicely decorated with Star Wars characters like C-3P0.
Star Tours is a thrilling 3D motion-simulated adventure in a galaxy far far away…
The boys loved this ride very much. Our Starspeeder 1000 took us for an inter-galactic adventure, going from one planet to the next as we ‘battled’ the Imperial forces. For those who get dizzy easily, like me, you can just close your eyes whenever the starspeeder plunges.
Draw out your light saber Jedi! The Storm Troopers have arrived!
And then there was the short film, Star Wars: Path of the Jedi, which we watched next.
Tomorrowland also has an excellent exhibit of replica props for the Star Wars movie series at the Star Was Launch Bay. If you are a Star Wars fan like our family, you will thoroughly enjoy this.
On the second floor of the same building was the Super Hero HQ which houses exhibits of Marvel super heroes.
Joaquin did this motion-simulated exhibit where he virtually suited up to became Iron Man. Joaquin had fun doing this and we enjoyed watching him do his Iron Man moves.
We were glad that we still had time to do Autopia. Joaquin drove one car and Benjamin another.
It was already getting dark but we still had time to watch the encore of Jedi Training.
At 8:45pm we saw the most remarkable parade we’ve ever seen. Paint the Night debuted on May 22, 2015 as part of Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary. We were very lucky to have experienced this parade because it wasn’t gonna be there for long. We understand that its run ended last September 5, 2016.
Everything in the parade was made of lights. Everything was brilliant, painting the night with dazzling colours.
“Life is a highway
I wanna ride it night day long
If you’re going my way
I wanna drive it all night long”
I nearly cried when I heard the Cars theme song and saw Lightning McQueen and Mack driving in. They were too beautiful. It was an OMG moment for us four.
This was the look on Joaquin’s face as Lightning and Mack were passing by. He wasn’t screaming for joy, in fact, he was speechless, mesmerized…
And there he was, Mickey (!), concluding the most wonderful parade we have ever seen.
We waited for Disneyland Forever fireworks which was supposed to happen at 9:30pm. But the breeze, they announced, was too strong to safely hold the event. Too bad we didn’t get to see the fireworks at all in the 3 days that we were in Disney. Perhaps next time we will.
As we walked out towards the gates, we turned around to see the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough one more time. And there, in the dark of night, the castle illuminated with blue lights.
It was an enchanting sight that reminded me of why we will never outgrow Disney. There’s magic, courage and beauty, and good that always prevails over evil inside that castle. There’s the beautiful childhood that I and Euben had (thanks to our dearest parents) and the desire to give the same to our big Benjamin and little Joaquin…
As we approached closer to the gate, the towering Christmas tree ahead, the Christmas lights in the street and the loud ‘Holly Jolly Christmas’ song that filled the air, got us excited once again. Looking forward to the next legs of our holiday and to Christmas which was just around the corner…
In the next four days, we explored Los Angeles – classic cars, NBA, Cirque du Soleil, Universal Studios, Star Wars, van Gogh and a lot more.
I’m excited about the next blog on Petersen Museum in LA because it will be written by Benjamin. Do look out for that especially if you’re a car aficionado like Benjamin!