The first regular day of the 50th @ Disneyland

After Terry’s post last week on the 50th anniversary of Disneyland I decided to see what the park was like on the day after the stars and media filed out of the place. While the weather sucked for most of the day (over cast and some showers) the place was still packed.

When we arrived at the parking structure by noon most of the structure was already full. After walking through the structure and down to the trams, a large number of people were already waiting, we swam through a sea of people just to make it inside the park. I personally hate the trams, they just serve to trap people in the park and make them spend more money. I remember when the parking was right in front of the main gate and you could walk right up to the ticket booths and into the park.

Inside the park it was like a busy middle of the week during the summer. Most people were sitting on the curb of main street waiting for the anniversary parade when others were making beelines for the attractions. We decided to see the “The First 50 Magical Years” (the show which replaced my personal favorite “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” for 18 months. The film is really amazing as it shows Anaheim and the Orange Groves before Disney started construction on the park. One amazing fact is that when Walt laid out the plans for Disneyland he marked the trees on the property with Green and Red ribbons (Green meaning keep, and Red meaning remove) but the bulldozer driver was colorblind and removed the trees with the green ribbons. The lobby contains a scale model of the park as it appeared on opening day, Disney passports through out the years (including the original e-tickets, and sketches and designs used in the planning of the park.05-05-05_1332.jpg

While most of the “disneyfreaks” stormed the gift shop for the golden mouse ears and special 50th merchandise, I decided to go get in some classic rides: Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, and Autopia. The wait time for the rides wasn’t bad as people in the park were sitting on the curb waiting for the 50th anniversary parade or waiting in line for the three hour tour (Why did the Gilligan Island theme just pop in my head?) Anyway, the crowd really wasn’t bad at all (just wait for summer and I’ll have to eat my words). Most of the day was spent waiting for the sun to go down.

At 9:25 Disneyland puts on the best fireworks show I have ever seen in the park.05-05-05_2123.jpg Main Street was packed with almost no room to move. Even the central plaza was packed, probably because that is the best spot to see the show as the Castle is the main centerpiece. Each ride is well represented with the audio from the Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, Star Tours, etc serving as the soundtrack to the show. At one point the castle is lit up with lasers during the Star Tours part and big flames shoot out of the castle’s moat during the Indiana Jones part. 05-05-05_2134.jpg

From my experience on Thursday, Disneyland may have regained some of its sparkle. The Golden Mouse Ears were every where with whole families wearing them, guest seemed to be in a more joyous mood, and the who park seemed to have it’s positive vibe back. Disney’s California Adventure Dirt Cheap Attractions was a ghost town and I doubt it will experience an attendance boost as every one will be going over to it’s older, wiser, and defiantly more historic neighbor.

1 Comment so far

  1. Terry Chen (unregistered) on May 10th, 2005 @ 12:29 am

    LUCKY! While I’m not suprised it was packed to the brim with disney-a-philes; I’m still disappointed that I wasn’t there for the first day.

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