By Mira Temkin
There is magic in the air in Disneyland. You’ll feel a sense of wonder wherever you go at “The Happiest Place on Earth,” seeing enchantment in the eyes of the young and the young at heart. Opened in 1955, Disneyland continues to be the most visited amusement park in the world, unfolding in eight wonderful lands with more than 60 rides and attractions. Main Street USA welcomes you with its old fashioned charm; bands are playing, balloons are flying and this is about as All-American as it gets.
You’ll watch your kids fly high in the sky with Dumbo or whirl around the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and you’re immediately transported back to your own childhood. There’s still plenty of excitement around every bend with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain and Star Tours. Dare you visit the Haunted Mansion? In Mickey’s Toontown, a cartoon come to life, you’ll see where Mickey and Minnie live, plus get their autographs as well as a hug. “It’s a Small World” in Fantasyland continues to delight a whole new generation of children. When the sun goes down, the new Disney new nighttime show, “Fantasm,” explodes into the night, featuring music, color and a few special surprises.
California Adventure Park – Excitement to the Max
This park was opened in 2001 and is themed after the history and culture of California. with seven different “districts” and 34 attractions. Toy Story Mania on Santa Monica Pier is the king of the fair. Here you don 3-D glasses, sit in a moving vehicle, and when it stops at several carnival type shooting galleries, you shoot. Do take time out of your day to see the production of Disney’s Aladdin. It’s a spectacular show with amazing costumes, glorious music and a flying carpet. Of course, Elsa and Anna from “Frozen” still reign supreme here and you’ll find everything from a “Frozen” sing-a-long to a meet and greet.
Downtown Disney – Shop, Dine and Enjoy the Game
After a day in the park, Downtown Disney is a great place to relax. This lively promenade features unique shopping, dining and entertainment, all without an admission fee. Eat at Rainforest Café, watch the big game from inside an ESPN broadcast studio, or catch live music outdoors.
Celebrate Disney’s Diamond Celebration
Disney’s 60th anniversary celebration just kicked off in May with three new dazzling parades and shows. “Paint the Night“ parade showcases Disney’s beloved characters, while the “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular is filled with color, characters and surprises. Once again, an all-new “World of Color” returns to light up the night. You can sure they’ll be celebrating throughout the year.
Be a VIP
Disney’s VIP Tour Services enable you to experience Disneyland in a carefree way. Imagine discovering all the magic and adventure at both Disneyland Resort theme parks with a VIP Tour Guide as your personal ambassador. Your VIP Tour Guide will customize your visit by arranging special seating for parades and live stage shows and more. The biggest perk of the guide is the special access to the FastPass line and skipping the lines all together. Your guide will escort you on every attraction. $315 [$355 during peak season] per hour/per VIP Tour Guide – 6 hour minimum. Price includes unlimited FastPasses. To reserve, call Disney Special Activities at 714-300-7710.
Stay and play with Disneyland Vacation Packages
There are three Disneyland Resort Hotels on the grounds, offering a range of benefits including theme park tickets, early park admission, access to Disney character dining and more. To share the Disneyland adventure with your family, call 714-520-5060 or visit: www.disneyland.com
Go with the Anaheim Resort Transportation (ART)
The truth be told, you don’t need a car here. The ART system is an excellent way to get around. With almost two dozen routes, ART can get you anywhere from Buena Park (Knott’s Berry Farm) to the Anaheim Canyon Train station to the Packing District. Multiple-day passes are also available on the shuttle, visit: www.rideart.org
CityPASS – Value to the Max
If you’re planning to go to Disneyland for more than one day, the Southern California CityPASS is the easiest and most economical way to visit the parks in the Anaheim/L.A. area. The pass is good for a three day park hopper in Disneyland and California Adventure Park, plus one day each at Universal Studios in L.A. and Sea World in San Diego. The card is viable for 14 days after the first use, so you have plenty of time to enjoy the benefits. Plus with CityPASS, you avoid the ticket lines at the parks as well. Purchase your Southern California CityPASS online at: www.citypass.com or call 888-330-5008. Get savings of $100 or more over individual ticket prices.
When to go
The slowest times for Disneyland include the first few weeks in December, September through November (excluding Columbus Day weekend) and parts of January and February. But sometimes rides and attractions are down for repairs, so it’s best to check the website to avoid disappointment: www.gocalifornia.about.com/od/cadisneyland/ss/disneylandbymonth
As new rides and attractions take over the park, somehow, Disney magic never grows old. •