CALIFORNIA: Disneyland and California Adventure

Disneyland California Snow White's CastleDisneyland California Snow White's CastleEvery theme park enthusiast knows that California is the birthplace of the phenomenon known as Disneyland. The Los Angeles airport were always full of people wearing Mickey Mouse t-shirts when the word came out that Disneyland is open and ready to take visitors. Tourists all across America and around the world started flying to California witness the Disney Magic everyone was talking about.

Disneyland California Railroad StationBeing one of the most visited place in the world since it opened, every one can almost predict that Walt Disney definitely have to open one or two more theme parks to accommodate all the Disney fanatics of the world. Often times, Disneyland is overly crowded during its first few years making the Disney Magic experience less enjoyable. Most people joke that the most enjoyable part of being in the theme park is watching and talking to other people in the queues for the attractions since more than half of their days were spent falling in line. Some say even the kids are not patient enough to stay in line that long and complain that they are already too tired even before being able to see a single attraction.

Disney California AdventureDisney delivered in a big way. Not only that they opened Disneyland in other cities, they even opened multiple theme parks in multiple cities, including a second theme park right next to it, naming it California Adventure. Other than the two theme parks in California, they also now have four theme parks in Orlando(Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios), two in Tokyo(Disneyland and DisneySea), two in Paris(Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios), and one in Hong Kong(Disneyland). And come December 2015, another Disneyland will open in Shanghai, China and two more additional Disney theme parks; so that's three theme parks to open in Shanghai, China. Not to mention that Disneyland's number of visitors yearly is still growing. It's not too far fetch to say that in the next 10 years, Disney will again be working on one or two more new Disneyland in another city or two.

Disneyland California Toon TownSince Disneyland California is the very first Disney theme park, it rarely have a unique attraction. A lot of times a new attraction will be introduced there first but not long after its introduction, a similar attraction will be opened in another Disney theme park. When we were there, the ride Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage was the only ride unique to Disneyland California to our knowledge. The other major rides are as follows:

Space Mountain - an indoor roller coaster ride simulating a ride at light-speed velocity in outer-space

Jungle Cruise - a boat ride around a "jungle" full of animatronics

Disneyland California Mark Twain RiverbaotMark Twain Riverboat - a boat ride around Mark Twain's island

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters - an interactive shoot-em-up ride featuring Buzz Lightyear and some friendly and not-so-friendly aliens

Disneyland California Indiana Jones AdventuresIndiana Jones Adventure: The Temple of the Forbidden Eye - an indoor buggy ride with lots of special effects, lasers, and animatronics

Star Tours: The Adventure Continues - a 4D ride that takes you flying right in the middle of some Star Wars action

Splash Mountain - a flume ride with tons of character animatronics

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - a story-book ride with holographic special effects

Disneyland California Haunted MansionHaunted Mansion - a full-on special effects ride with animatronics and holograms

Matterhorn Bobsleds - a combination indoor/outdoor roller coaster featuring the abominable snowman

Fantasmic - a musical full of special effects and pyrotechnics featuring Mickey the Sorcerer

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - another indoor/outdoor roller coaster though mines, caves and canyons

Disneyland California Pirates of the CaribbeanPirates of the Caribbean - a boat ride with hundreds of animatronics including animatronics of everybody's favorite pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow

it's a small world - "the happiest cruise that ever sailed" is an indoor boat ride with animatronics representing different countries

Storybook Land Canal Boats - a boat ride featuring miniatures of famous places popularized in fairy tales

Captain EO - a 4D ride featuring the late Michael Jackson as Captain EO himself
Enchanted Tiki Room - a show with singing animatronic birds, plants and tikis. Also in Tokyo Disneyland

Disney California Adventure entranceDISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE

Right across Disneyland is another theme park, Disney California Adventure. The facade in its entrance looks exactly like Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios in Orlando. The original second theme park that Disney was planning to build next to Disneyland was supposed to be called WestCOT, being the west coast version of Epcot. Due to the high-cost of most of the attractions to be featured if they want to keep it as close to the original Epcot, it was eventually scrapped and they decided to build a California-themed park instead.

Disney California Adventure Soarin' Over CaliforniaThe most popular attraction in Disney California Adventure is Soarin' Over California. It is a ride simulating a hand glider ride in California complete with wind blows and scents. Since it opened, most of the visitors of the theme park visit California Adventure just to experience the ride. Lots of people lineup early in the park entrance and run straight to the attraction because that will be the only time the queue wait time is not over an hour.

The ride is so popular, they opened a replica of the attraction in Disney World's Epcot called simply just Soarin', and the ride queue to it is even worse than Soarin' Over California. When we were in Epcot, the Fast Pass tickets were all out 2 hours into opening.

Disney California Adventure Mickey's Fun WheelCalifornia Adventure's main icons, other than the Grizzly Peak, used to be the "California Sun" and a huge ferris wheel in the Paradise Pier called the Sun Wheel. Majority of the theme park was re-themed and re-imagined during a $1.1 billion dollar revamping of the park. The California Sun was removed and the Sun Wheel was changed and renamed as Mickey's Fun Wheel. At the time of this writing, Mickey's Fun Wheel is still unique to Disney California Adventure.

Disney California Adventure Hyperion Theater Aladdin MusicalAnother attraction that is always packed with people in Disney California Adventure is the Hyperion Theater where they play a musical show based on the Disney movie Aladdin. Shows in a theme park is the most common attraction we skip thinking that we can always watch it somewhere in the internet. When we watch shows, it is mainly to just get some rest and when the showtime is just a few minutes away as we pass by the attraction. We were glad that we did not skip this one. We were surprisingly entertained and amazed by the special effects of this show, most specially the part where they were flying around(or hanging around) the theater on top of the magic carpet. Genie was very entertaining too in this musical and the main source of comic relief. The play also centers on the love story between Aladdin and Jasmine so it is also a very nice and fitting musical for couples to see.

Disney California Adventure Monsters Inc Mike and Sulley to the RescueThe other major attractions are the following:

Monsters Inc.: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue - a dark ride featuring heroes and villains of the movie

Grizzly River Run - a river rapids ride around the Grizzly Peak

Muppet Vision 3D - a 3D movie featuring Kermit the Frog, Elmo and the rest of the Muppet Characters

Disney California Adventure Twilight Zone Tower of TerrorTwilight Zone Tower of Terror - a free fall, accelerated drop ride with a Twilight Zone intro putting you in the middle of the 1960s TV show

It's Tough to be a Bug - the main attraction of "a bug's land" part of the theme park. It's a 4D movie featuring Flik and the rest of the characters from the movie "A Bug's Life"

Radiator Springs Racers - a fast roller coaster ride, like Epcot's Test Track, right in the middle of Radiator Springs are pictured in the movie Cars

California Screamin' - a thrill roller coaster ride with a "wooden coaster"-look

Disney California Adventure Mickey's Fun WheelToy Story Mania - an interactive 4D shoot-em-up ride

Goofy's Sky School - a mini-coaster rides with sudden turns and drops

The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure - a dark ride with effects and animatronics