We were up very early on our second day at Disneyland Resort, since we were looking forward to the day and couldn’t wait to get started. Our first order of business was to eat breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen – a fantastic buffet restaurant in the basement of the Disneyland Hotel, which features tons of Disney characters (we saw Goofy, Chip, Dale, Pluto, Baloo, Alice, Jasmine, and Belle in the first day there) as well as crowd-pleasing food for every palate. Top billing in my mind was the peanut butter and jelly pizza and the awesome ice cream factory, but there were tons of options for breakfast and lunch.
Very close to the hotel is the monorail, which takes you right into Disneyland Park and saves a lot of time if you already have your ticket with you – otherwise, you will have to walk the 10-15 minutes through Downtown Disney to get to the two parks. The monorail is quick and fun, and drops you off right in Tomorrowland.
It’s A Small World has been totally redesigned for the holidays. Whether or not you have ever actually been on it before, you probably know the basics – It’s A Small World features thousands of lovingly crafted animatronic figures of children and Disney characters from all around the world. We decided to go there first. I loved it, and it’s the perfect speed for very small children – no seatbelts required. The holiday version has loads of cute winter touches, Christmas trees, and a new soundtrack which mixes Christmas carols in with the usual “It’s A Small World” theme. The outside of the ride is more than worth seeing all by itself, especially all lit up for Christmas!
On our second day at Disneyland Park, we also had the opportunity to meet Elsa and Anna, the princesses from the upcoming Disney film Frozen. They were very gracious and funny and their little house had a photographer in it (who was happy to take pictures with my camera as well as his own.) After we had our picture taken, I was handed a card with a code on it which I could use to access the picture online and decide whether or not I liked it. Very handy!
One of the highlights of any Disney park is definitely the variety and number of characters you can meet. If the characters are from a new movie, chances are they will have their own little area, like Anna and Elsa, Merida, and Tinkerbell and her friends. Otherwise, you will see them wandering around in the park throughout the day – feel free to approach them for a hug or a high-five.
If you have a child who isn’t into mascots and princesses, Disney now owns Marvel and Star Wars – meaning that there are a number of Star Wars attractions and characters, such as Jedi Training Academy, and a meet-and-greet with Thor. Jedi Training Academy is an outdoor show with loads of audience participation, plus popular villains and characters like Darth Vader and Darth Maul. Thor hangs out in the Innoventions building along with Iron Man’s armour, which is a pretty incredible display all by itself. There are many opportunities for children of all ages to get excited about something at Disneyland!
In the evening, we were allowed special access to the world premier of World of Color – Winter Dreams at Disney California Adventure park. (Insidethemagic.net has a full video of the event as we saw it, although you really have to see it in person to get the full effect.) This multimedia show takes place on the water, and features hundreds of synced water jets and colored lights which combine to allow video projections on to streams of mist on the water itself.
It’s hard for me to express the sheer scale of this show – they accomplish an absolutely incredible amount of spectacular effects, including multiple projected musical numbers featuring favourite Disney characters, an Honor Choir made up of hundreds of regular Americans singing a song together via projection on the water, and much more. It is jaw-dropping and an absolute must if you are going to Disney California Adventure at any time. Along with our special access, we were given Mickey Mouse hats with ears that glowed and flashed along with the show – because there were hundreds of these hats distributed, it added an entirely new dimension to the show.
We ended up going back to our room at the Disneyland Hotel around 11:30 PM, after being treated to dinner at ¡Viva Navidad! (Insidethemagic.com) taking place in Paradise Garden, the Mexico-themed area towards the back of Disney California Adventure. It has all the flavour of a street party, lots of music, and characters like the Three Amigos dressed and mingling with guests. It is high-energy and loads of fun! You can get some wonderful Mexican and South American food in this area, which is a lovely change from pizza and hot dogs for the more adventurous palate.
Wherever you go in either park, it feels like there is always something special and unique going on – no matter what time of day, there are little moments of Disney magic. Whether it’s a light show, fireworks, a parade, or just a favourite character rounding the corner into view, it can’t help but put a smile on just about anyone’s face.