Undoubtedly the Centre Piece of Disneyland Park and a favourite with all little girls is Sleeping Beauty's Castle. From outside the Castle looks stunning especially when the sun is shining directly onto it, the pink and blue colour is a perfect combination and the gold coloured Disney Statues are very pretty indeed. When you enter go to the first floor to see the story of Sleeping Beauty come to life through very impressive stained glass windows to rival any Church. While your up there take a walk on the Castle's Ramparts to get a closer view of the decorative roof and turrets. Little boys have something to do here too, back down the stairs then some more finds you inside the dragon's lair - a very dark - cleverly designed smokey cave with great sound effects and realistic dragon - well realistic in Fantasyland. All good fun with a lot of beauty to see. Before you leave you can visit the Castle Gift Shop filled full of dragons and dresses. The kids loved this special place and so did I a place to totally escape reality
To keep the kids happy and me as well we chose the non white knuckle rides. While on most of the rides it is near impossible to take pictures, the Pirates of the Caribbean is too dark and a bit fast moving but a great experience with all the fighting pirates. I thought I'd be in luck with Snow White's journey through the dark forest so my camera was at the ready. We had fast tracked this ride because the queues had been long all day - I do think Disney speeds rides up when they are busy - we crashed through the doors into every scene at a rate of knots with no time to digest the story far less take a decent picture - as Lorna remarked "It went so fast I missed the death scene" Dumbo was a self controlled ride where you could fly as high or low as you liked, I sat with Shannan and to my horror she had me terrified as she had the elephant jumping up and down like a pogo stick. The backlot tour was my favourite - it felt quite real travelling through the action from a safe seat The sail around the lake with Mark Twain wasn't worth the crush so I only took a picture and was left wondering why so many people wanted to go on a paddle steamer for a few minutes. Ah Disney rides to leave you dizzy
On our first visit to the park the weather was grey and cold so we sought shelter inside. The live show at Animagique in the black-light theatre was very funny and featured Donald Duck who let lots of Disney friends escape from the archives. Ha ha I didn't know Donald was bilingual - he was so funny as he switched languages with ease this show lasted about twenty minutes. It was still cold so we then opted for the Art of Disney Animation. There are two theatres here one where you just watch some clips from Disney classics, the other explains all about animation techniques. You can either listen to the presentor who speaks in French or listen through headphones in your own language. This show also last about twenty minutes but here there is more. After the presentation you are led into a hands on activity centre, Kyle loved the interactive computers and we had more time to escape the cold enjoying the educational experience.
"It's a small world" is a magical indoor boat ride and one of the most popular attractions in Disney. The building, if you could call it a building, has lots of eye catching details
especially the tick tocking clock which chimes every fifteen minutes with a musical parade of little animatronics who eventually disappear through a wooden door at the top. Lines are long here but interesting to see and hear so many nationalities all going to see the "world" together. Once your boat ride starts you will be met by a spectacle of 281 audio animatronics showcasing countries from around the globe. The dolls are all dressed in traditional costumes and the displays are quite steriotypical of the featured country. The tune gets annoying after a while but the language keeps changing so you can listen in your mother tongue. We loved this ride for its colour and atmosphere I particularly liked the inclusion of small countries like Ireland to one of the biggest - Canada. When your ride is coming to an end look out for the lovely water feature - good fun going around the world but you don't need a passport!
It is always thrilling for me to discover natural beauty in locations where you would least expect to find lush trees and scenic water ways. This was a solo activity for me, everyone else was too busy rushing to the next ride, while I entertained myself in fascination and wonder with natures greenery. The water ways are a facade of course but beautifully created. I loved the little building with the stained glass window perfectly framed by the trees and was surprised to notice that it was just the public toilets. My most favourite spot was looking through the bamboo towards the little man made beach complete with little fishing boat. I could have been anywhere - totally lost in thought - but that is Disney full of wonderful surprises.
Disney is not all about rides and roller coasters, due to long queues and waiting times between fast tracking, we had some time to explore the other attractions which are much less crowded but still a lot of fun. Le passage Enchante d'Aladdin was indeed enchanting as you wandered through the dark passages seeing all the colouful models from the movie in action. Alice's Curious Labyrinth is another walkable activity, finding your way through the maze with lots of comical things to see was a fun way to get lost on a beautiful sunny day. The kids had a great time playing with the many water jets, if you get caught in a rain shower you will know you have conquered the maze. Before leaving climb to the top of the tower for some nice views of the park
We went to see the musical stage version of the Legend of the Lion King. Please be aware you have to book free tickets in advance from the Booth in Discovery Land you can't just turn up - well you can but you'll miss the show! Again there was a long queue to book tickets but the show was magical. Doors open 15 minutes before show time but not a boring wait, we had fun watching the audience as the camera's panned in on unsuspecting visitors. The show last around one hour and follows the story very well through dance and songs. I only took one picture at the end of the show - I was too busy singing along and enjoying myself - no complaints here from any in the party plus a good rest from all the walking! I nearly forgot to tell you the Theatre is called Videopolis by that name you probably wouldn't have guessed
Parades times in both parks are well advertised in the free park guides times and routes are also available through the web site. We were lucky to be at the front beside the ropes during the parade at Walt Disney Studios and were able to see and enjoy the parade with no extra heads in the way. The situation at the Disneyland park was not as favourable. By the time we got to the location the crowds had already arrived and were growing to mulitude levels. The kids and I spotted a small hill with good views through the trees, time for a rest and a seat on the grass. As the excitement mounted the parade could be seen and heard in the distance, time to stand up and join in the fun we thought. As the parade got to our vantage point to my horror and that of the many children gathered here, adults appeared and stood right in front of the kids. Ah well there is no accounting for some people, we still enjoyed the music and colourful characters even if the pictures contained many heads they still hold happy memories.
Disney is all about the famous characters and autograph hunting a favourite pastime for children. The Walt Disney Studio Park had characters appearing with alarming regularity. Maybe it is because it is a smaller park with not a lot of great attractions so this then becomes the attraction. We did see some of the characters in the Disneyland park but most were staged managed here and you had to have an official photo taken but not for free! Shannan and Kyle were both armed with their autograph books and Disney pens, they had great fun with lots of excitement and some arguments about who had the most = Kyle won ha ha he had Chip and Dale, so did Shannan, but he caught them a second time and got their French names of Tic and Tac. By the way carry spare pens with you - the Disney ones don't work for long!
The Roller Coaster all have height restrictions and a little red triangle warning of health dangers, I qualified on both counts but prefer to stay sane. Kyle couldn't go on the Indianna Jones Temple of Peril but did size up for the Rocking Roller which was a surprise judging by speed and loops on this ride - he vows, like me, never again. The Big Thunder Mountain was a great success, I thought its location was one of the pretties places in the park, Kyle played happily with some small stones and an empty bottle, while we waited for the rest of the gang to appear from their white knuckle rides which they all assured me was 'pure dead brilliant' I'll just have to take their word on this!
A fine old building built in !879 I had to laugh at the date = Disney is celebrating her 15th. Birthday so that can't be right!! The City Hall is not just for show but has an important purpose here on Main Street - it is the tourist office or more politically correct Guest Services. A 'real' place in Disney where you can pick up brochures, park maps and more importantly book some special treats, we did go in on our first day here to book the Character Lunch for a special and secret treat for the children. I still think it looks exactly like I would expect a City Hall to look!
On Main Street, there's always something going on. Meet the characters from your favourite Disney movie and Disney Cartoons. Mickey, Minnie and scores of others will keep you entertained. Look out for the Parades where fun characters in weird and wonderful costumes do their thing.
You can take a ride on a real steam train or on a horse-drawn tram. Feel what it must have been like in the days before modern inventions.
If you take the train, you can get off at the stations at Frontierland, Discovery Land or Fantasy Land. This is a good way to get a quick tour around the park so you can decide on how you want to spend your time.
Have a great time at Disneyland!
Fairy Tales come alive at Fantasy Land.
One day my Prince will come
One Day I'll find my Love
And how precious that moment will be
When the Prince of my Dreams comes to Me
Some Personal Thoughts & Family History:
As a girl, I grew up with very few frills and almost no extras, certainly not enough for a cinema visit. One day, to celebrate my cousin's birthday, my aunt gave us all a treat. She took us to the movies. How exciting-my first time watching a movie on the big screen!! And that movie was non other than Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Now you know why I like this castle so much.
If there was a ride that I really enjoyed, it was this one: Big Thunder Mountain. A ride within the mountains of Frontierland, this train ride takes you through a dark mining tunnel within the mountain, taking in the curves and bends at high speeds, as you climb higher and higher, till the final descent! Wheee!!
This ride was so great that despite the long queues, I went for it at least three times. A must try when you're next in Disneyland!
Take a cruise down the Mississippi River on the Mark Twain and get a feel of what it must have been like back when Southern Ladies and Gentlemen dressed in their best white suits and sipped mint juleps under the shade of the old magnolia tree.
Oh dear, my imagination is getting in the way of reality. This ride on a genuine paddle steamer was filled with adults and kids taking a cruise up the river for a look around Frontier Land. In reality, the crowds were an eclectic, international bunch and were dressed in saris, sweaters, jeans, kurtas, salwa kameez, mao jackets...