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‘Disneyland Advice’ Category

  1. Love the ‘land

    June 17, 2009 by Ryan

    Sometimes people ask me why I like Disneyland so much? What makes it so special? Why do I keep going back?

    As you enter the park, you must pass under a tunnel that supports the train track. Above the tunnel is a sign that reads:

    Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.

    And that sums it up for me. Even if I have spent most of the day standing on my feet at the convention center across the street, or fighting the stressful traffic at the end of a 564 mile car ride, I feel an energy and renewal wash over me as I approach the land. When you walk through that tunnel, you emerge on a typical 1900 era Main Street scene like you could imagine happened in any small town at the time. Go a little further, and you see a fairy-tale castle, inviting you to come further and explore. Along the way, you can detour into the jungles of another continent, ride herd through the frontiers of America, or blast off in the exciting world of space and technology. Or head through the castle and end up in a place that could otherwise only be found within the imagination of a child.

    I distinctly remember being there for my first visit, which was as a grown adult. Somewhere in the middle of our multi-day trip, I found myself so lost in the experience that I stopped, and thought to myself, “I know I have a job somewhere, but where?” I had to think hard for a couple of minutes before I could pull reality back enough to remember my employer’s name. It was a tranquil experience where I found I had let go completely of my cares, and I liked it.

    I like the feeling every time I go. I love the immersive theming, the impressive entertainment, and the inviting ambiance.

    I agree with their saying, “love the land”.


  2. I felt the Earth move under my feet

    May 23, 2009 by Ryan

    Everyone in California is pretty much going to laugh at this. I don’t care. It is my blog post, and it is interesting to me, so I’m going to write it. And yes, I’m going to make myself sound very heroic, like a true survivor who has a wondrous tale to spin. A daring adventurer, full of conquest and deserving of admiration. I also want to apologize for the lateness of getting this article written and posted. After all, after enduring such a remarkable experience, it took some time to overcome my emotional high. Plus there were the obligatory media interviews, parades, parties and celebrations thrown in my honor upon my triumphant return home. All of these distracted me from recording my true-life adventure for all to read.

    I was in Anahiem, CA (no surprise there) on the evening of Sunday, May 17, 2009. I had been working at the Anahiem convention center, setting up the booth, working the show floor, and then packing the booth away at the California Dental Association’s exhibit hall. All of that standing on my feet, accompanied by the obligatory trip to the Magic Kingdom on Saturday night from 6:00 pm – midnight, made me feel as though I deserved a rest.

    I had wandered my way through Downtown Disney, enjoying some wonderful blues music played by Brother Yusef out on the street. I found my way to the Paradise Pier Hotel, where I meandered up to the third floor pool and observation deck. In this section of the building, this was the roof. For the rest of the building, the rooms continue up many stories higher (see photos here).

    I had arrived early to stake out my position for a view of the evening fireworks at Disneyland. I sat in a tall chair, close enough to the railing that I could prop my feet up high and change the blood flow through my legs. If you ever want to view the fireworks but cannot go inside the park, this is the best location to do so, as they also play the music with it.

    It was at about 8:45 pm, local time, that it happened. A 4.7 earthquake, centered close to LAX,  rolled through this part of the state. The first jolt was the hardest. It felt as though the entire building swayed, startling me from my relaxed position at the railing. I brought my feet down quickly and sat up, at once recognizing it was, and at the same time questing if it really was, an earthquake. All the earthquake training I had received came flooding my mind; how I should get under a desk or in a doorway.

    As the second rolling motion came through (a little less powerful than the first), I instinctively started looking around me, and saw that there was nothing close to me that could possibly fall on me. I reasoned that if the building didn’t crumble, I had nothing to worry about, and so I settled my fears and chose to ride it out and enjoy the experience.

    The third rolling motion occurred, gently and almost unnoticed compared to the first two. It may have been a reaction of the building swaying more than anything.

    As I sat wondering, “Is that it?” some native Californians nearby began to cheer and applaud.

    Within about 5 seconds time, I survived my first earthquake experience unscathed (as apparently everyone else but one person in the state did too).


  3. Flying to the State of “Shock”

    May 16, 2008 by Glorajean

    Amid the exhaustion and excitement of getting up at 3:00 in the morning to fly out to Disneyland – one of my favorite places and the Happiest Place on Earth- I was ill unprepared for what was about to happen. We arrived at the airport at 4:30 for a 6:30 flight and found that no one shows up to work until 5:00. We, along with a handful of other early birds in the queue, waited patiently for the airline attendants to show up and get us one step closer to our destination. It was finally our turn – what excitement filled the air – we were on our way! It was our family’s turn at the ticket counter; the computer had just finished printing our boarding passes as the attendant behind the desk (we will call her Madame X) casually mentioned that she would need to see my ID. No problem, I had already triple checked to make sure I had it with me. I handed it over. What ensued sent my head spinning. Madame X proceeded to ask me, “Do you have a form of identification that hasn’t expired?” Expired! What in the world was she talking about! I gave her a look of complete shock and disbelief. She then showed me my driver’s license, it had expired only 3 days earlier. No, I wasn’t flying to the State of California, I had already landed in the State of Shock. A zillion thoughts were jumping around in my head all at the same time. I was an absolute mess. Madame X asked me to hand over my boarding pass – “uh oh,” I thought, “I’m not going to Disneyland, she is taking my boarding pass away.” A small sigh of relief comes when Madame X hands me over a new boarding pass. I asked her what I should do about the situation. Madame X replies, “Go to you local drivers license division and renew.” Well, duh I was vividly aware of that fact, at least now that I realized it had expired!!! So, I decided to clarify, “No, I mean how will I be able to fly back from California without a valid ID?” Madame X says, “We get dozens of expirations every day, you just have to go through extra security, but they will still let you fly.” Goodbye, Madame X. Hello, Mr. Security Guard. Mr. Security Guard says, “Miss, you have been selected for a high security check. Please remove your shoes, watch, and belt and place them in this special red bin, along with your bag.” He asked what was in my carry on bag and I told him clothes, snacks, digital camera and video camera. He asked me to remove the video camera and to set it in the red bin separately. He then directed me to a puffer machine. Now, have you ever taken an expedition on the Indiana Jones Adventure ride at Disneyland? Well, if you have you will be able to relate with this experience. Do you remember how it feels as you are driving along and the ancient skeleton warriors are shooting arrows past your head with sharp gusts of air? Well that is what the puffer machine is, except the arrows (gusts of air) are shooting at you from every direction. After getting properly “puffed” a green light turns on indicating that you can leave the puffer machine. You are then escorted along with your belongings – which you are not allowed to touch and which have already gone through the x-ray machine- to another security guard. He then commences to swab and test every single inch of your belongs, this takes several different swabs and several minutes. Then finally, at least for me, the major sigh of relief when Security Guard #2 says, “Everything looks good, you’re on your way.” Whew, I made it!

    What have I learned from this experience? First, I can definitely testify of Salt Lake International Airport’s great security system; I am now intimately familiar with it. Second, If you are selected for high security try and make sure you don’t have any carry on items with you. Last of all, I will forewarn you that the Utah Driver’s License Division no longer mails out a reminder that your license is about to expire – so, if you have already had your “one time renewal by mail,” keep a close tab on your expiration date so that you don’t get sent to the bizarre yet interesting “State of Shock.”


  4. Disneyland’s Downside

    February 25, 2008 by Nate and Michelle

    Since our return to the far flung north earlier this month, we have begun to notice negative side effects from our trip to Disneyland. I know, I know; what could possibly be the downside to visiting “The Happiest Place on Earth?” Sure, we enjoyed the rides, the shows, the lack of stress, and the great weather. But therein lies the problem: the great weather. See, since we returned, we suddenly loathed the snow, the cold weather, and the brown/white, barren landscape. We long for green. Our friends rejoice when we have a sunny, 45 degree Saturday. But 45 degrees is not warm, it’s cold! Perfect weather consists of a cool morning (about 55 or 60 degrees) followed by a mild 75 degree day and lots of sun. The plants are green and the roads and walks are dry. That’s a nice day. And we officially have Spring Fever.


  5. Wait? Wait For What?!

    January 23, 2008 by Ryan

    It bothers me when people say that they want to wait until their kids are older before they take them to Disneyland. I usually bite my tongue and let it pass.

    If you know me, you know I do a fairly good Jimmy Stewart impersonation. I have a favorite scene, from “It’s A Wonderful Life,” where George gets upset and hollers back at Mr. Potter, in front of the rest of the Building and Loan board…

    “Just a minute — just a minute. Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You’re right when you say my father was no business man. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I’ll never know. But neither you nor anybody else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was . . . Why, in the twenty-five years since he and Uncle Billy started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn’t that right, Uncle Billy? He didn’t save enough money to send Harry to school, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter. And what’s wrong with that? Why . . . Here, you’re all businessmen here. Doesn’t it make them better citizens? Doesn’t it make them better customers? You . . . you said . . . What’d you say just a minute ago? . . . They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait! Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken-down that they . . . Do you know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about . . . they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn’t think so. People were human beings to him, but to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they’re cattle. Well, in my book he died a much richer man than you’ll ever be!”

    So, when people say they will wait to take their kids to Disneyland, they usually offer reasons like “I’ll take them when they are older and they can enjoy it more,” “They are too young to remember it,” “They can’t enjoy the rides yet,” or other similar themes.

    To that, I want to launch into my Jimmy Stewart impersonation, and ask, Wait! Wait for what?! Until your children grow up and leave you? Until your children are so old and broken-down that they – that they are too old to believe in magic of the fairytale? Until they get to an age when they don’t want to hang around with you in the park anymore? DON’T WAIT to go and create memories!!! The sights, sounds, colors, motion, activity, and experience are just as great for a six-month-old as a 106-year-old. If you wait, then you leave that much less time to enjoy the memories later in life! Granted, your toddler may not ride the Indiana Jones jeeps or California Screamin roller coaster, but there is a small world of rides that parents and children can enjoy together. And that is the best part of Disneyland – you can experience it together.

    Here is what Walt Disney himself said about the park he created…

    “It came about when my daughters were very young and Saturday was always daddy’s day with the two daughters. So we’d start out and try to go someplace, you know, different things, and I’d take them to the merry-go-round and did all these things – sit on a bench, you know, eating peanuts – I felt that there should be something built where parents and the children could have fun together. So that’s how Disneyland started. Well, it took many year – it was a period of maybe 15 years developing. I started with many ideas, threw them away, started all over again. And eventually it evolved into what you see today at Disneyland. But it all started out from a daddy with two daughters wondering where he could take them where he could have a little fun with them, too.”

    Still not sure? Here are a few specific items that you CAN do together with your young children…
    Rides
    Disneyland Railroad
    Main Street Cinema
    Main Street Vehicles (Fire Engine, Horse-Drawn Steetcars, Horseless Carriage, Omnibus)
    Mark Twain Riverboat
    Sailing Ship Columbia
    Big Thunder Ranch (Petting zoo)
    Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
    Haunted Mansion
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    Jungle Cruise
    Tarzan’s Treehouse (if they can walk up stairs – lots of stairs)
    Goofy’s Playhouse
    Mickey’s House
    Minnie’s House
    Alice in Wonderland
    Casey Jr. Circus Train
    Dumbo
    it’s a small world
    King Arthur Carousel
    Mad Tea party
    Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
    Peter Pan’s Flight
    Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
    Snow Whites Scary Adventures
    Storybook Land Canal Boats
    Astro Orbitor
    Autopia
    Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
    Monorail

    Shows:
    Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (Opera House)
    Billy Hill and the Hillbillies
    Disney Gallery
    Enchanted Tiki Room
    Innoventions
    Captian Eo
    Parades
    Fireworks
    Characters meet and greets

    You’ll fill up your time easily enough!


  6. Disney Character Warehouse and The Disney Store

    December 24, 2007 by Ryan

    Disney Character Warehouse and The Disney Store

    Two separate topics today – first, the Disney Character Warehouse

    A company by the name of AMS Liquidation runs some outlet stores under the name Disney Character Warehouse. I’ve mentioned them in the Beardall’s Guide to the Disneyland Resort (see pages link), but not in great detail. The best I’ve been able to determine, the way these folks operate is this: Imagine that a retail store at Disneyland or Disneyworld has extra stock. That store sells off boxes of their stuff to the AMS folks. This company then distributes that among their several stores. Most of the time, that merchandise ends up being the old stock – such as a stuffed animal or t-shirt that has “2006” on it, or a holiday themed item that’s time has past. Sometimes though, it seems that one store might have overstock, and sell to the AMS people. So they end up receiving current merchandise that is still available in other Disneyland stores — just not at the particular store that gave up their extra stock. Recently at the Salt Lake City location they had recently received a huge Christmas themed shipment, and I picked up some current merchandise of that nature that I later saw on our winter pilgrimage to the park.

    If you are interested in a deal, they are worth keeping an eye on, and if one comes to your town, check them out. Keep in mind that if you spend $100, they will give you a card that is good for 10% off at future visits ($250 gets you 15%). We have combined purchases for several family members, and easily obtained that discount card.

    Second, the Disney Store

    We used to have a couple of Disney Stores around here. During the 90’s, they were especially big and did a lot of business. Then the merchandise line started changing to more kids, and more generic items; less for adults or collectors. Business started falling, and the Disney company began closing them until they finally sold out the few remaining stores and the brand name to The Children’s Place. In the closing of the stores, we lost all the locations near us. In fact, the closest one we could find was in Arvada Colorado, a good eight-hour drive.

    I was recently on a business trip to San Francisco, and was ecstatic to find that my company trade show coordinator had put me in the St Francis hotel, which unbeknownst to me until I got there, was directly across the street from The Disney Store (a special thanks and shout out to Christy! Though in actuality, I don’t think she knew it was there either).

    It was one of the classic stores, decorated when the Disney company was in charge and was building them with real pixie-dust. I was so excited (and such a Disney nerd), that half of the photos I took of that trip were just of the inside and outside of that store.

    Now yes, the actual content of the products they were selling were nothing special. I could buy most of it here at home at Target or one of the “-Mart” stores. The rest of the products I could buy online at disneyshopping.com. But this store at least had the feeling and brought the excitement to me momentarily! And getting lost in the feeling and excitement is a big part of what the Disney magic feeling is all about.

    So a few weeks ago, they finished building a new Disney Store in the mall here. It will be sandwiched in-between “The Children’s Place” and “Build-a-Bear” so it has good company. In fact, that little corner of the mall will kind of seem like a part of “Downtown Disney” with that combination of businesses together. They have just opened, and from the looks of the crowds inside have been very well received! But the decor is not as magical. In fact, it is only a slight notch above the standard retail look, in my opinion. It misses the magic a bit.

    But no matter, the Disney company knows they have me and my family hooked. We’ll spend a few dollars here and there, and enough others like us will spend some to, that we’ll keep the place open and make business worthwhile.