Day Thirty: Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
The PeopleMover is one of our family’s favorite Magic Kingdom experiences. It provides a nice relaxing break from the excitement, even though it is located in the middle of Tomorowland – the noisiest land in the park. This particular memory is a tale of two experiences on the PeopleMover. The first was a calm daytime cruise around Tomorrowland during our first day at Magic Kingdom in February 2013.
The second experience was an evening spin the next day. You may notice in the evening picture that Abby doesn’t look so happy. That’s because she had just ridden Space Mountain with me and emerged with tears. My memory from my last Space Mountain ride many years earlier was that there was a lot of darkness and blue glow, but not pitch black. Wrong – it was almost entirely pitch black! And with Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain cars being single file, I couldn’t really comfort her during the ride. So our spin on PeopleMover was just the relaxing time Abby needed to get back on track after her introduction to indoor rollercoasters.
I did not win Father-of-the-Year for that decision, but Abby was a good sport, and she has since ridden Space Mountain several more times, and she loves it!
Day Twenty-Nine: Good Morning Ariel!
At the time of our first family trip to Walt Disney World, our daughter Abby was primed and ready to meet all the princesses, especially her favorite Ariel. But after rushing down Main Street and through Fantasyland to ride Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid at rope drop, we weren’t expecting to find Ariel greeting guests in her grotto after getting off the ride. There was only one person ahead of us meeting her. Score! As expected, Ariel was sweet as pie.
Later in the day, we gathered in Frontierland to watch the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade. As Ariel and Prince Eric floated by greeting the crowd, Abby was over the moon when Ariel waved directly to her.
Abby felt like a star at that moment, and she was walking on a cloud for the rest of the day!
Day Twenty-Eight: The Uncool Parents
Why do kids get so embarrassed when their parents act out and let loose? If there is ever a place to let down your guard and fill yourself with glee, it’s Disneyland.
As Walt looks over us in this photo, I think he’d be pleased to see us, as he intended. In Walt’s words:
“We believed in our idea – a family park where parents and children could have fun- together.”
Trust me – our kids were actually amused by our antics. We were inspired by one of the amazing PhotoPass photographers.
Day Twenty-Seven: Cars Land
Wow! Wow! Wow! Welcome to Radiator Springs! I’ve got a fairly lengthy post coming about Cars Land, because I was so amazed and impressed with this land at Disney California Adventure. This vintage mid-20th century Route 66 oasis gave us all the feels – nostalgia, warmth, happiness, and excitement.
While I was excitedly anticipating my first visit to Cars Land, it wasn’t the area I was most looking forward to. But in the end, Cars Land stood out as the most amazing area to me. We rode Radiator Springs Racers several times, ate lunch at Flo’s V8 Cafe, got a snack at the Cozy Cone Motel, and “danced” our way through Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters (a mild but surprisingly whimsical outdoor car ride).
Disney hit the ball out of the park with Cars Land, and I can’t wait to fill up there again!
Day Twenty-Six: Bronze Legends
There’s not a specific memory attached to these little guys, but overall they warm my heart to see them sprinkled around the hubs of Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. Everyone wants a photo in front of the castle, or with the Partners statue, but these tiny friends stand pat around the hubs, going largely unnoticed by those rushing by to their next FastPass. I love to say hello to them as I travel through.
How many people do you think they’ve seen?
Day Twenty-Five: Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
Like many kids (and adults) of my generation, I grew up loving Star Wars. One of my earliest movie theater memories was seeing The Empire Strikes Back in theaters. I think I saw Return of the Jedi five times in theaters (that fond memory has led me to claim Return of the Jedi as my favorite Star Wars movie). So to have the chance to live out my love for Star Wars in real space, was a dream come true.
Galaxy’s Edge brought me home. To me, Black Spire Outpost on Batuu felt a lot like what I think Mos Eisley Spaceport on Tatooine would feel, and I always thought of Tatooine as a sort of home base during the Star Wars films. The outpost is technologically advanced, yet weathered and worn. There is a surface presentation of local marketplace, with an underbelly of uncertainty, fear, and glimmers of hope.
Our ride on the Millennium Falcon was a rush I will never forget, and the multi-phase breakout mission through Rise of the Resistance was a combination of major Disney attraction styles combined into one exhilarating experience.
Did I mention the photo opps? This is easily one of the most Instagrammable places in the Disney parks.
Day Twenty-Four: Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar
The legendary Trader Sam has set up libations in two U.S. locations – Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel, and Grog Grotto at Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Resort. Both locales offer a robust selection of unique drinks – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The food selection is a little more limited, with a small selection of primarily savory bites.
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar was on my Disneyland bucket list, and it did not disappoint. I enjoyed a potent HippopotoMai-Tai, a rum-based potable served in an adorable souvenir tiki head mug. Nicole chilled out with a frozen Piranha Pool, served in a horribly beautiful souvenir piranha fish mug. The kids were able to partake in non-alcoholic frozen drinks.
There wasn’t much on the food menu that would interest our kids, so we were thankful that we had already eaten an early dinner before heading to Trader Sam’s. We would’ve stayed much longer, but we were on fumes after completing a super early cross-continental flight earlier in the day.
While we were on the Disneyland Hotel Campus, we explored some of the resort. We were wishing we had chosen to stay there, instead of down the street outside the parks!
Day Twenty-Three: Outrageous Shakes
On our first day at Disneyland, we spent some afternoon time at Downtown Disney, and ate an early dinner at Black Tap Burgers and Craft Beer. I absolutely loved my Mexico City burger, but let’s be honest – we ate here because of the sinfully oversized dessert shakes they offer.
Nicole enjoyed a Cotton Candy shake, Abby went into chocolate overload with a Brooklyn Blackout shake, and Ben feasted on a Bam Bam shake (Fruity Pebbles). Me? I just pollinated a bit of my family’s flavors by trying a taste (or two, or three) of each. Suffice to say, none of us ate another bit for the remainder of the day (though we did get an evening drink at Trader Sam’s – more to come on that).
Have you tried one of these over-the-top shakes at Black Tap? Were you able to finish it???
Day Twenty-Two: Our First Disneyland Trip
Our family has been to Walt Disney World for three wonderful vacations over the last seven year (plus we made a quick stop in Disney Springs while on a Universal Studios vacation a year ago). It was only less than two months ago, just before the Coronavirus frenzy was ramping up, that we took our first trip to Disneyland.
It’s been a bucket list items for years to make it to the park that started it all, and it did not disappoint. We did not stay in a Disneyland Resort hotel – we chose to stay down the street, less than a ten-minute walk from the Disneyland gate. I’ll be posting more memories from Disneyland over the coming days and weeks, but suffice to say, it clearly had Walt’s prints all over it, both in the ways I was looking for him, and in other ways I wasn’t expecting. The history inside this berm is so inspiring, I could have easily stayed twice as long, just to absorb it all.
It is inevitable to draw comparisons between Disneyland and other Disney parks (for me – Walt Disney World), but I firmly believe that both parks I have visited have such different values to offer – I don’t want to pick. I prefer to simply enjoy both for what they are. And hopefully I will get back to both again – and maybe some of the international Disney parks as well!
Day Twenty-One: Our Autograph Frame
Autographs – one of the most popular souvenirs that guests can get on a trip. And they are free! Our kids both have autograph books full of those distinctive Disney signatures. During our 2015 trip, we decided to up our game a bit. We brought with us a white 16”x20” frame matting (sleeved in cardboard for protection) on which we collected every autograph from our trip. We collected over 20 autographs that week, and have them proudly displayed in our house along with a photo from the trip. Yes, it was a bit of extra work, and provided some anxiety, needing to protect the matting from bending or getting dirty, but it was well worth it. Every now and then, I stop at the frame and read the autographs, retracing the steps of that magical trip.
Most of the autographs on this frame came from several character meals we attended. Can you guess where we ate that week, based on the assortment of autographs on the frame?
What’s the most unique Disney autograph you have? How do you keep your autographs?