America

Disneyland California!

Going back to Disneyland is fun and exciting, and brings back so many good sweet memories~ I had the chance to visit Disneyland in LA County with Victor and his sister Katalina, and I was surprised that most of the people I saw were actually adults wearing Minnie Mouse ears or even groups of adults wearing the same flashy t-shirt.

Entering Disney Downtown area
Entering Disney Downtown area

Disneyland is located in Anaheim, 40 minutes away from the LAX airport and 30-40 from downtown LA. Coincidentally, they are now celebrating their Diamond birthday (60 years) with special shows and deals. As you could have read on my previous post about Disneyland, I already had some sort of a plan in my head, and that´s exactly what you have to do. The park gets really crowded, so if you plan ahead, you can go first to the busier attractions and save yourself some waiting time.

Mickey & Pluto tickets
Mickey & Pluto tickets

Disneyland has 3 main parts: Disney Downtown Street (shops and restaurants, free entry), Disneyland Park (where most of the typical Disney attractions and characters are) and Disney California Adventure Park (more Disney and Pixar themed attractions). The most popular park was Disneyland. Normally, if you buy a basic ticket ($99), you only get to enter one of the parks, However, by paying an extra $40, you get the Hopper ticket that allows you to visit both parks on the same day. We got this ticket for free because one of Victor’s aunt works for Disney (how awesome is that!?), so we had all the fun for almost free 🙂

Wearing Disney Hats that weren't very practical
Wearing Disney Hats that weren’t very practical

We first drove in the park and took the small train shuttle that brings you to the Disney Downtown. Then, after getting the park tickets, you walk to the park you’re visiting first. We decided to visit California Park first, and as we entered the park, we encountered a Jazz group playing music and dancing with Goofy, which was very cheerful and cute. After watching for a while, we headed to the “Soarin’ over California” ride, which I totally recommend. It is a short ride through various highlights of the State. You sit on a row of chairs that will slightly elevate and make you feel like you’re flying. It is apt for everyone, it barely moves. However, if you suffer vertigo, don’t look down. The videos you watch are very beautiful and it looks like you’re almost bumping into some of them. Music and smells accompany you through the whole route, and you feel relaxed after the short trip. My only complaint (besides the 40min line) is that they don’t tell you what you are looking at exactly, so sometimes I felt a bit lost.

Our second stop was the close-up meeting experience with Anna and Elsa from Frozen. I know… meeting the princess and the queen… it sounds like the typical attraction for little girls who still believe in Disney tales, but we, 3 adults, really wanted to see what it was like. We got timed-entry tickets (it’s the only way to meet them) and still had to wait some time in line before seeing them, but this time in line was actually the most interesting part, as we were waiting in an indoors theatre with a lot of screens showing several theme songs from Disney. We watched Aladdin’s “A whole new world”, Pocahontas’ “Colors of the wind”, and Mulan’s “Reflection” among others. When we finally met Anna and Elsa, we took some pictures with them, had some small chit-chat about my hair braids, and got some autographs.

Picture with Queen Elsa and Princess Anna
Picture with Queen Elsa and Princess Anna

Before heading to Disneyland Park we still had one last “must”: The Aladdin musical, a 50 minute music show portraying the first Aladdin Disney movie. We had so much fun watching it, with small twists on the original version, mainly carried out by the Genie who made a lot of jokes related to our times rather than the Arabian nights’. The theatre was huge, so we got a good seat even though we arrived only 10 minutes before the show and saw a lot of people already entering. Some of the characters will fly around the ceiling on the magic carpet, to the delight of the people sitting upstairs. This musical has nothing to envy to those of Broadway, with a very high execution budget, great actors and a lot of fun and entertainment. I loved the magic carpet the most, but missed Abu the monkey, who was missing in this play.

Amazing musical show
Amazing musical show

From the California park to the Disneyland park you can walk, as they are door-to-door. As we entered, we went to take some pictures in front of a lawn with a huge Mickey face. There, some Disney professional photographers will take pictures for you and give you a card called Disney Photo Pass, with a code that you can introduce on their website to retrieve the pictures. Very convenient and ideal for families to pose all together and smile 🙂

05. disney
More pictures at Disney entrances

We then rushed to the train because we were really hungry and hadn’t eaten anything yet, so we took a seat on the Disney Train and got off at New Orleans. We had planned to eat Montecristo sandwiches at Cafe Orleans, but it was full and we had to wait 1 more hour! But it was already 4pm! Anyway, we went to the next-door French Market Restaurant, where you can get several options of meat+rice for under $15. Well-priced and decently flavored, quite good for theme park food.

Decent food for an amusement park
Decent food for an amusement park

After lunch Victor decided to buy a Disney balloon. There are many people selling them around the park, and they cost around $8. However, we bought a special one that is transparent outside and has a small white Mickey balloon inside that lights up at night into various colors. This one costed $14 and Victor’s life, almost, as we got swallowed by all the balloons while trying to pay for one. I’m still not sure buying a balloon was the best idea, as the park was so crowded that we bumped into other people, but for sure it is a cute souvenir.

Victor trying to buy the balloon
Victor trying to buy the balloon
Finally with the balloon~
Finally with the balloon~

Next attraction was a shooting game based on Toy Story’s galactic characters: the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. We had laser guns and had to shoot the targets placed on Zurg and other enemies. I was a bit confused and didn’t start shooting because I thought we hadn’t started, so I ended last out of us 3, although honestly, under fair conditions I might had finished last anyway. Victor got a quite high score and we had a lot of fun, but the attraction was a bit confusing and the cars we were on kept stopping every now and then.

Shooting at aliens
Shooting at aliens

Then, we went to the Disney Castle, which is where the princesses and other characters usually wander around, but we didn’t see any. Therefore, we entered the Bibbidi Bobbidi shop, where little girls can get a complete make-over and become one of their favorite princess (at a quite high cost, I must say).

Disney Castle!
Disney Castle!
Trying on some princess/prince accesories
Trying on some princess/prince accesories

To get some excitement after so much shopping and wandering, we rode the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which is a small rollercoaster perfect for my taste (that is, quite mild). Afterwards, we went to Pirates of the Caribbean, which is more a show than a ride. There were just a few small drops at the beginning that might get you wet if you sit on the front lines, and after that it’s just some cadavers and then a lot of pirate music and figures. We spotted Jack Sparrow a couple times, which is always quite fun.

It was already getting dark and I still had to see the Mickey Toon Town, which is a cute area with small houses and shops, perfect for some silly pictures. We took a train there, but had to wait really long (train comes every 10 minutes, but they only allow a certain number of people in, even if the train is not full, so we had to wait for almost 20 minutes) and by the time we got to the toon town, it was already dark and hard to take pictures T.T This part of the park also closes earlier due to the fireworks, so if you plan to visit, go before it gets dark!

Having fun posing at pics
Having fun posing at pics

Finally, we went to “It’s a small world”. This is the typical attraction you take little children, as there is no thrill at all and all you see is small figures and dolls dancing and moving. My parents took me to Disneyland Paris when I was a kid, and they told me that I liked it so much, I rode it for 7 times on the same day. The ride is much more than 5 minutes long and the theme song “It’s a small world” keeps playing on and on, so I don’t know how my parents managed to listen to it so many consecutive times! Being a parent sure is hard work!

It's a small world <3
It’s a small world ❤

It was almost 8:45 so we decided to rush to the entrance to see the fireworks from there. You can see them best near the Disney Castle, but we heard it gets really crowded and then it takes forever to exit the Park, and since we were flying to SF the next morning at 6AM, we decided to watch from the entrance and leave as soon as the fireworks finished. We weren’t on our lucky day, as there was another night show going on due to the 60th anniversary. It was the “Paint the Night” (8:50pm) which is a cool night parade with lots of colored lights. I wish we could have watched it, but the streets of Disneyland Park were too crowded so we had to skip it. However, even though we wanted to leave the area, it was so crowded that it took us more than 30 minutes.

The little mermaid and her dad~ all lighted up!
The little mermaid and her dad~ all lighted up!

In the end, after squeezing and getting squeezed, we reached the exit around 9:30, just in time to sit on the lawn and contemplate the amazing “Disneyland Forever Fireworks”. I am so surprised to know that they have this show every night (originally thought it would be only on Fridays and Saturdays) since fireworks are really expensive, but I guess the amount of visitors and the money spent on souvenirs does make it up.

Fireworks are always hard to capture ^^
Fireworks are always hard to capture ^^

We then got picked up by Victor’s parents at the drop-off area and went to eat dinner in “In-n-out“, a Californian burger chain that believes in healthy fast food. In-n-out is quite cheap and has interesting features such as a “secret menu” that can only be found online (and that’s not really secret anymore). Their restaurants all have a red & white checked decoration and offer less salty fries and non-sugared ice tea, among other “healthy” options. It was pretty good, although I didn’t enjoy it as much as Five Guys or Shake shack, but this one is much cheaper and easier to find in California.

Finally got to try In-n-out
Finally got to try In-n-out

And this was my long and tiring but super exciting and fun day at Disneyland California! i hope I’ll return again with children in maybe 10 more years, hehe~


 Versión en Español

Volver a Disneyland cuando eres adulto puede ser realmente divertido y, además, rememoras tu infancia. En mi viaje a Los Ángeles tuve la oportunidad de ir a Disneyland con Víctor y su hermana Katalina. Lo que más me sorprendió al llegar, fue que había muchísimos otros adultos: parejas con orejas de Mickey y Minnie, grupos con camisetas a juego, etc.

Entering Disney Downtown area
Entrando al Disney Downtown

Disneyland California está en Anaheim, a 40 minutes del aeropuerto LAX y unos 30-40 del centro. Cuadró que estaban celebrando el 60 aniversario cuando visitamos, así que había varios shows especiales. Nosotros fuimos ya con un plan en mente, que es lo que hay que hacer a no ser que no les importe nada hacer colas durante todo el día.

Mickey & Pluto tickets
Entradas temáticas de Mickey & Pluto

Disneyland California está formado por 3 partes: Disney Downtown Street (de libre entrada, con tiendas y restaurantes temáticos), Disneyland Park (el típico parque Disney, con varios personajes rondando por ahí) y Disney California Adventure Park (también temático de Disney, con más influencia de Pixar, y con más atracciones moderadas-fuertes). Normalmente puedes comprar una entrada básica por 99 dólares, con la cual solo entras a uno de los dos parques. Pagando 40$ extra, consigues el Hopper ticket, que te permite visitar ambos parques en el mismo día. Nosotros conseguimos las entradas más hopper tickets gratis porque una de las tías de Víctor trabaja en Disney (¡qué bueno trabajar para ellos!)

Wearing Disney Hats that weren't very practical
Gorras de Disney. Muy bonitas, pero poco prácticas

Al llegar al parque, primero tomas un tren lanzadera que te lleva al Disney Downtown, donde pueden comprar los billetes si no los adquirieron por avanzado. Nostors entramos primero al California Park y, nada más entrar, nos encontramos con un coche de época y una banda de jazz cantando. Goofy iba con ellos, y bailaba el que más. Tras escuchar su mini concierto, nos fuimos a la atracción “Soarin’ over California”, ¡totalmente recomendado!. Te subes en unas sillas, te abrochas el cinturón de seguridad, y asciendes levemente como si estuvieras en un avión abierto. A partir de ahí, ves en una pantalla gigante y 3-D varios de los lugares más populares de California. No marea ni asusta, aunque a veces sientes que te vas a chocar con algo, y si tienes vértigo mejor no mires abajo.

Nuestra segunda parada fue el encuentro con Anna y Elsa de Frozen. La mayoría de la cola estaba formada por niñas pequeñas disfrazadas y sus familias, y nosotros éramos 3 adultos, pero estábamos dispuestos a esperar para ver cómo actuaban las actrices. Conseguimos una entrada con cita previa para esta atracción, ya que es la única manera debido a su popularidad. Aún así, había cola para entrar a saludarlas, pero esta cola se hizo muy interesante porque estábamos en una sala circular con pantallas por todos lados y estaban poniendo muchas canciones de Disney que nos transportaron de vuelta a nuestra infancia (y no tan infancia también). Finalmente, nos condujeron a una habitación donde nos esperaban la Reina y la Princesa. Yo iba con trenzas, así que estuvimos charlando acerca de peinados y luego nos hicimos fotos, y conseguimos sus autógrafos. Jeje~

Picture with Queen Elsa and Princess Anna
Foto con Anna y Elsa

Antes de irnos al otro parque, había una cosa más que quería hacer: el musical de Aladdin, un espectáculo de 50 minutos llenos de risas. La obra permaneció bastante fiel al original, aunque incluyendo algunos twists modernos como bromas incluyendo celebrities actuales. La sala era gigantesca, y aunque llegamos muy poco antes del show, aún encontramos buenos sitios. Algunos de los personajes volaron sobre nuestras cabezas en la Alfombra mágica, que fue uno de mis personajes favoritos. Abu el mono no apareció, aunque sí hubo un elefante (de mentira). La ejecución y el presupuesto no tienen nada que envidiar a los musicales de Broadway, así que si les gustan estas obras, ¡no se pierdan el musical de Aladdin!

Amazing musical show
Increíble

Para ir al Disneyland Park desde el California park solo hace falta andar y pedir una estampa antes de salir. A la entrada de Disneyland puedes ver la estación de tren y un jardín con una cara de Mickey en la hierba. Nos sacamos un par de fotos ahí con el servicio Disney Photo Pass, donde un profesional saca las fotos y te pide que poses de una forma determinada. Después te da una tarjeta con un código que puedes introducir desde la comodidad de tu casa para ver las fotos y decidir si las compras o no.

05. disney
More pictures at Disney entrances

Ya eran las 4 y aún no habíamos comido, así que tomamos el tren y fuimos a New Orleans. Teníamos planeado comer sandwiches Montecristo en el Cafe Orleans, pero estaba lleno y la lista de espera era de 1h. Terminamos en el French Market Restaurant, que estaba al lado y ofrece platos variados con carne, verduras y pure de papas por menos de 15$. Sin precios exagerados y con buen sabor, la verdad es que me quedé impresionada por la comida de este parque de atracciones.

Decent food for an amusement park
Comida criolla

Después de comer, Víctor decidió comprar un globo de Disney. Habíamos visto a varios vendedores con una multitud de estos globos, y los vendían a 8$. Nosotros compramos uno de 14$ porque brillaba en la oscuridad (tiene una bombilla dentro). El globo es bastante bonito, la verdad, con un globito en forma de Mickey por dentro y uno circular con imágenes por fuera. C

Victor trying to buy the balloon
Victor trying to buy the balloon
Finally with the balloon~
Finalmente con el globo~

Nuestra próxima atracción fue un juego de lasertag (Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters) basado en los personajes más galácticos de Toy Story.

Shooting at aliens
Disparando a los alienígenas

A continuación, visitamos el Castillo Disney, aunque no vimos a ninguna princesa. Entramos en la tienda Bibbidi Bobbidi shop, donde las niñas entre 6 y 12 años puede pedir una cita para maquillarse y peinarse como auténticas princesas (siempre y cuando los padres estén dispuestos a pagar bien por ello). Estuve mirando los precios, y hay un paquete especial con el que incluso te escortan al palacio para ver a tus princesas favoritas.

Disney Castle!
Castillo Disney!
Trying on some princess/prince accesories
Jugando a princesas y caballeros

Era hora un poco de emoción, así que nos subimos al Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, que es una montaña rusa suave, perfecta para mí. La verdad es que iba asustada, pero Victor y Katalina querían montarse en algo menos infantil, y yo accedí. Para mi alegría, la atracción no tiene grandes sustos. Por ello, nos pusimos en la cola de otra atracción prometedora: Pirates of the Caribbean, aunque esta resultó más como un show de maniquís. Apenas hubo un par de descensos rápidos en los que lo único que pasa es que te mojas, y después unas cuantas escenas con muchos cadáveres falsos. Finalmente llega la parte agradable con piratas y canciones. Durante la atracción, vimos a Jack Sparrow dos veces, creo que se supone que tienes que buscarle ^^.

Una foto muy oscura de la atracción

Ya estaba oscureciendo y aún tenía que ir al Mickey Toon Town, que es una zona con muchos edificios con pinta de dibujo animado a la que quería ir para sacar fotos. Tomamos el tren de nuevo, aunque esta vez tuvimos que esperar bastante, y llegamos 20 minutos antes de cierre (esta área cierra pronto para preparar los fuegos artificiales).

Having fun posing at pics
Sacándonos fotos tontas

Nuestra última parada antes de dirigirnos a la entrada para ver los fuegos artificiales desde lejos fue “It’s a small world”. Mi obsesión por ir era simplemente porque de pequeña fui a Disneyland París con mis padres y mi primo, y se ve que insistí en montarme unas 7 veces en el mismo día. Necesitaba ver si realmente era tan buena atracción. Al salir, reconocí que mis padres son unos santos y tuvieron mucha paciencia conmigo. Vale, la atracción es bastante chula, pues vas en una barquita y ves muchos muñequitos disfrazados de distintas culturas cantando al unísono. Sin embargo, tras los más de 5 minutos con la misma canción, uno se cansa.

It's a small world <3
It’s a small world ❤

Ya eran casi las 8:45 así que salimos del parque a toda prisa. O al menos eso intentamos. Queríamos ver los fuegos desde fuera porque se pueden ver desde ahí, y la zona del castillo (donde se ven mejor) se llena de gente y luego es imposible salir. Sin embargo, cuando intentamos salir estaban haciendo el desfile de “Paint the Night” (8:50pm), que también queríamos ver porque trata de un desfile de personajes con muchas luces de colores. Sin embargo, había demasiada gente, y no se podía ver nada. Tampoco se podía andar bien por el parque y nos tomó más de media hora para llegar a la salida.

The little mermaid and her dad~ all lighted up!
La sirenita y el Tritón, ¡iluminados!

Para terminar la velada en Disney, nos sentamos en el suelo y contemplamos los fuegos artificiales del show “Disneyland Forever”. El show es diario, lo cual me sorprende por la cantidad de dinero que cuestan los fuegos artificiales. Supongo que lo que venden en merchandising (incluyendo globos a 14$) es más que suficiente para estos shows, ¡y más!

Fireworks are always hard to capture ^^
Es difícil hacer fotos de los fuegos artificiales u.u

Los padres de Victor y Katalina nos recogieron y, como era de esperar, no habíamos cenado aún, así que fuimos al famoso “In-n-out“, una cadena de hamburgesas de California que enfatiza la comida rápida sana. El menú es sencillo y barato, aunque hay también un menú secreto (no tan secreto porque está en Internet). Se caracterizan también por la decoración de cuadros blancos y rojos, y aunque no resultó mi favorito, no está nada mal.

Finally got to try In-n-out
Probando In-n-out, tras la intensiva recomendación de mis amigos Californianos

Y esto es todo por hoy. Un día muy intenso y divertido, ¡que espero repetir en el futuro cuando tenga familia!

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