Aug 23, 2010

Disneyland... where every Cinderella story comes true (or so they say)

The 5-year-old me used to watch Beauty and the Beast all the time. In the beginning of the video there was an advert of Disneyland (and of course I always watched the ads - that's the beauty of the old VHS casettes, skipping the ads just wasn't that simple). The ad showed kids hugging Mickey Mouse, a gorgeous fairytale castle, and all my favourite princesses come to life, waving and smiling in their beautiful dresses. The place seemed to me like another world - a land far far away - and sometimes I suspected if it was even a real place. Seeing that magical place with my own eyes remained a dream until this month. I had been waiting for it for many long years - an ideal opportunity for disappointment to occur - but I loved it. I don't think anyone can be disappointed in Disneyland. Because it's pretty damn amazing.

We went to Disneyland on the fourth day of our trip, it was a Sunday. My friend worked there for a summer two years ago, and lucky for us, a friend of hers works there this summer, too, so we got in free of charge! Which was awesome, naturally, though I'd been more that happy to pay the price if I had to. 40 € is a small price when we're talking about fullfilling childhood dreams.

We arrived to the park soon after 10, that's when it opens. I was pratically jumping up and down of excitement, grinning like a madman and sighing of pure wonder. We first went to the Walt Disney Studios, which is a smaller park next to the main park. We chickened out from trying the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and went for a Studio Tram Tour instead. It was a cool and fascinating ride to the "backstage" of film making - we saw some film props and sets. The most awesome thing was a staged "action film shoot" with an earthquake, explosions and a surge of water. (They had also built a little bit of London along the ride, and I had a feeling I should go there again, soon...)

Then we entered the Disneyland Park itself. And it was WONDERFUL. We walked along the Main Street, packed with shops and little cafés and there was a train driving through the park with this very disney song playing (inside information: the staff practically want to shoot somebody or themselves everytime the train comes and the song's played, haha, don't blame them) in the background and some characters dancing and waving aboard it. We saw Woody and Mr Incredible and Mickey and Lilo and as you can imagine, I was pretty close to heaven.

Disneyland is divided into four lands with different themes. First we went to Discoveryland, with future and space themed things. I was happy find a Star Wars spaceflight stimulator, which was a lot of fun, I still don't quite understand how those things work, because it sure felt like we were going up and down and forward - and jumping into hyperspace! There was also a French speaking C-3PO, which was weird, especially as he still talked with his "right" voice. Hmm. Cool.

Next... Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, whoo! We sat in these small wagons and had to shoot as many evil aliens as possible. I was pretty good, I must say, for a first-timer, and we sure defeated Zurg! By then we were getting quite hungry, so what's a better help of not Pizza Planet! Like in Toy Story, get it? Hahaa! It was 17 € for pizza buffet, but well, I liked the place a lot, as it was decorated to look like the restaurant in the movie. And cool toilet sings as you can see on the left!

Autopia - a track where you can drive with these little cars - was where my friend used to work. She spotted a familiar face at the entrance and ta-dah! we got to walk right past the kilometre-long queue. I felt a bit guilty, looking at those little ones patiently waiting for their turn, but mostly just like a damn V.I.P., haha.

Next we went to explore Fantasyland, a true fairytale world, which also included the famous castle. Which apparently is Sleeping Beauty's! It was pretty nice inside, too. I think I maybe could manage to live there, if I really really had to. Hmm-mm.

(RIGHT: Someday my prince will come! And if not, at least they can't blame me for not looking.)

Fantasyland is all about princesses and classic tales like Peter Pan, Dumbo and Alice in Wonderland. We spent quite a lot of time there... We spotted Cinderella, next to a long queue of kids wishing to meet and pose with her. What a summer job! At least her smiling muscles are on top shape after a few months.

Peter Pan's Flight was a ride starting from the Darlings' bedroom, across the London skies (it looked so nice, stars above and city lights below, cars and all, and Big Ben, naturally), second star to the right and straight on till morning to Neverland. It lasted all too little time compared to the wait on the queue, but I guess that's kind of a must-see. There was similar ride in the world of Snow White. The part in the forrest with the monster trees was just as scary as in the film, and I might've screamed just a little. Hmm. We tested Mad Hatter's Tea Cups, too. And even dared to spin a little, though not like a bunch of guys, who spinned their cup as fast as they could, all the time (also, there were five of them in the cup - there were three GIRLS in our cup and it felt a bit crowded) - no wonder that one of them fell right down on his knees as he exited the cup. That was a sight, haha.

Let's move on to Adventureland! First we walked through an Aladdin house, or Le Passage Enchanté d'Aladdin to be specific. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril is a rollercoaster, which we entered hesitating a bit, and not only because of all those suspicious stories about it being broken all the time and stuff. But we got out fine and it was fun!

Pirates of the Caribbean was surely my favourite in the whole park. We sat on boats and floated through the world of pirates, battles and wild parties. Cool! Yo ho, a pirate's life for me and so on. Afterwards at the shop we met two Finnish girls, and I was happy to do my business in Finnish, as weird as it was. (For that matter, it was nice to speak English for a change, Disneyland was the only place I didn't just let my French-speaking friend to do the talking for me. Everyone were tourists there, so it didn't matter, haha.) I bought a cool key chain, it was like Davy Jones' key from The Dead Man's Chest. What else did I buy... Not as much as I thought I would! Ha, a Buzz Lightyear straw! Haha, I know, it was a real impulse purchase. Then some chocolate coins I don't want to eat because they're wrapped in Disney characters, oh and Mickey Mittens for my nephew! He doesn't really appreciate them yet, but oh well, he will. Haha. I do, at least, if he doesn't.

Last, Frontierland with cowboys and pioneers. We only had time for Big Thunder Mountain, another rollercoaster, more traditional one, but maybe even more fun! Twice the track went through a pitch-black tunnel, which was cool.

Seeing the familiar characters 'in real life' was obviously one of the highlights of the day. At one point we happened to walk past the Central Plaza, right at the beginning of a 'Disney Showtime Spectacular', meaning characters jumping and dancing and singing about friendship and solidarity and... ratatuille. Haha.

Oh, and of course the parade! Or the parades, to be exact. First one at seven and second around eleven, just before the final fireworks show. In summary, the parade was this: characters from the most beloved stories - everyone from Simba and Woody to Mary Poppins and all the princesses, of course - riding by, wawing and smiling and generally just being very cool, while all the best Disney songs are playing in the background. Simply wonderful! I wasn't supposed to take any pictures, afraid that I might miss something just concentrating on my camera, but no, I needed to eternalize some of those moments. And I did, when ever the idiots people in front of me weren't standing to photograph. (You're on second row, you sure you HAVE TO stand?) Anyway.

I loved the parade, and was happy to see the other one later, too. It was, again, awesome. The vehicles they were riding (I don't know what to call them) were all lit up fabulously and everyone had their happily ever afters - Beast was a human again, Ariel was human... for a change (that ungrateful little... hmm) and so on. One prince, don't remember which one, had a pretty amusing style to wave. Like the royal wave, but exaggerated. Haha. Finally, there was the fireworks show, which was sweeeeeeeet. I guess there was some belt-tightening going on, because the show wasn't as grand as it reportedly had sometimes been, but sweeeeet anyway. Ah! Then we had to leave. That was the only part that sucked.

Shame to end this post with a picture of the mermaid brat I declared as the most annoying Disney princess just a few posts ago. But it was the only decent picture I've got. Oh well, let's call this making amends.

... Okay, no. Here's one more photo. I feel better now.

(Aww. It's so preeeettyyyy. Mama get me one please pretty please!)

In summary: It was awesome, wonderful, magical, escapism at its very best. I felt like a child, and was free to do so. I will go back, because I want to and I have to and I need to. Also, I want a time machine so I can go and kiss the ground under Walt Disney's feet.


M-link said...

I was at Euro Disneyland when I was about ten years old.... which was eons ago. I loved it so much and I'll bet that if I'd go there again, I would love it even more.

I feel a bit sorry for the people working there. After a while the constant smiling and sugary sweetness of the park must get to you. It would really suck to get used to it all or even worse to start hating the whole thing.

(P.S. The vehicles are called floats :)).

Leena said...

Mennään mennään parin vuoden päästä!!

Eeva said...

M-link: Agreed! You don't get to have a bad day when you're working in Disneyland. The bright side is they get to wear those awesome clothes, especially the pirate costumes they wear in Adventureland, wow.

Floats, right! Today's lesson learned, thanks. ;)

Leena: Mennään mennäänkin!!

Paivi [] said...

I'd love to visit there some day as well. Maybe in a couple of years when our daughter is also the age, when she can get more out of that :)

Eeva said...

Oh yes, it's really worth it! Any kid will love it, no doubt, but I agree, there's a lot more to do for a bit older child. :)