Learn some new jokes on the Jungle Cruise

I remember being an 11-year-old riding the Magic Kingdom’s “world famous” Jungle Cruise for the first time: was the skipper for real? What possessed him to spout off corny jokes the entire trip down the great rivers of the world? By age 17 I’d wizened up. No way was it coincidental that all the Jungle Cruise guides had a penchant for comedy. And, by the time I was a honeymooner, finally had a soft spot for the witty spiels and classic commentary. Indeed, the jokes and puns are likely why we ride it. (more…)

Hitch a ride on the Main Street Vehicles

Cruising down the Magic Kingdom’s main drag in one of the Main Street Vehicles  requires some departure from our usual traffic patterns. Like many families, when we enter the park in the morning we’re on a mission. Usually it’s to seek out a favorite attraction to avoid waiting in a long queue later. The vintage vehicles that tool along Main Street have always been more of a part of the backdrop for us than a mode of transportation. More like colorful props that lend authenticity to a turn-of-the-century scene. (more…)

Head back in time with the Disneyland Railroad Dioramas

Attention all those who have yet to experience this time warp! Please disregard any web references you may have seen to the Disneyland Railroad Dioramas as being “dated”. In my book, “unheralded treasure” would be more a more appropriate term for them. Allow me to explain.

For one thing, both dioramas on the Disneyland Railroad circle tour were pet projects of Walt Disney – as was the Railroad itself. Walt had a famous passion for steam trains. He also had a deep appreciation for stunning landscapes. Creating the dioramas along the railway in Disneyland was an ideal way for Disney to fuse his hobbies.

As you’re puffing along, keep your eyes peeled for Primeval World. This diorama, featuring 46 Audio-Animatronic dinos, originated from a 1964 World’s Fair attraction. Do not, under any circumstances, let the kids miss the baby Triceratops emerging from its shell. The attraction made a big splash when it opened in 1958 and again in 1966 when it was joined by a second exhibit.

(more…)

All Aboard the Casey Jr Circus Train

“All aboard!”

I didn’t question the three-year-old for her rabid enthusiasm over this ride: the bright colors pop, the train cars resemble ornate zoo cages, and the Casey Jr theme song is a catchy one. The fact that Casey Jr is about the only cheerful part of the 1941 animated film Dumbo – apart from the scene where the tormented elephant finally takes flight – is irrelevant. Your littles will want to ride this, so embrace it. Check out my family in the monkey cage, for support.
(more…)

Catch Mickey’s and Minnie’s 1928 debut in Steamboat Willie

disneyland main street cinema

We finally ended up popping into this rather obscure little attraction this past fall in order to escape throngs of families lining the streets for the evening parade. All we were searching for was a bare patch of ground to get off our feet for a few and this fit the bill perfectly. The cinema was nearly empty, had a viewing platform just for shorties, and screened classic cartoons that kept the kids entertained while we recharged.

(more…)

Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland Park

When the holidays descend upon the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park, something very bizarre happens inside those gates. Jack Skellington and his crew of comrades from Halloween Town have taken up temporary residence in the classic attraction and given it a Nightmare Before Christmas makeover. From the jack-o-lanterns and candelabras trimming the exterior of the mansion to the pumpkin-bedecked Christmas tree, gingerbready ballroom, and ghostly white snow in the graveyard beyond, it’s a darkly enchanting collision of the two holidays.

PicMonkey Collage HM holiday - Copy

(more…)

“it’s a small world holiday” at Disneyland Park

Need a bit of a reprieve from one of the most infectious, yet overplayed songs in the world? Note to self, schedule your next trip to Disneyland Park during the holiday season when the famous peace-promoting theme song is interspersed with a perky version of “Jingle Bells” (sung, of course, in a perky variety of languages and beats). Bonus: “Deck the Halls” is also thrown in for good measure.

PicMonkey Collage small world holiday - Copy

(more…)

Avoid motion sickness on Mad Tea Party

My stomach just isn’t what it used to be. I stopped deliberately spinning those teacups half a lifetime ago. When the kids were toddlers they were pretty content to ride without the extra rotations but each year they get a little bolder and want to move a little faster. (more…)

Uncover secrets at Smugglers’ Cove on Tom Sawyer Island

MH tom sawyer island dlpOne thing I clearly remember thinking about Disney when I was a child: they sure did love themselves some skeletons. There seemed to be bones lying around all over the place – Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and Big Thunder Mountain to name a few. Well, the relatively-new Smuggler’s Cove on Disneyland’s Tom Sawyer Island definitely doesn’t buck the trend. Before touring, I had a hunch my kids would be both intrigued and wary of what they might find should they give that capstan wheel a spin. (more…)