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Reliving The Dream At Disneyland
By Michael Stazko

I’m a 34 year old father of one who grew up in Southern California. When I was a child, it wasn’t uncommon for me and my family to visit Disneyland at least three times a year. When I became a teenager, Disneyland no longer interested me because the things that seemed so large in my imagination appeared a lot smaller in actual appearance. You could say that, for me, the magic of the Magic Kingdom had gone. Now, through the eyes of my daughter, a recent trip to Disneyland has rekindled many of the fond feelings I once had as a child about the Happiest Place on Earth.

Several things have changed about Disneyland over the years. However, the one thing that remains constant is the look of wonder in a child’s face when they walk through the entrance and into Main Street for the very first time. The biggest change is what was once just known as Disneyland, is now known as the Disneyland Resort featuring four hotels, the Downtown Disney District, Disney’s California Adventure, and Disneyland Park. Our day was spent in Disneyland Park after a half-hour parking excursion that was a bit of a challenge and the only blemish on our visit.

The best way to navigate Disneyland Park and to avoid the crowds is to hit the E-Ticket rides (and old Disneyland term) like Space Mountain, Star Tours, the Matterhorn Bobsleds, and Big Thunder Mountain, first. Then, work your way around the park and see some of the other biggies like the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and Splash Mountain. Later on in the day, when all the other kiddies are tired, make your way into Fantasyland and ride the childhood favorites like Dumbo, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Peter Pan’s Flight, and the Mad Tea Party (the Teacups). This tactic works just as well today as it has in years past and contributes to an even better time to be had. Another option is to take advantage of the Fast-Pass which is available on some of the rides. The Fast-Pass is basically a ticket that allows you to visit the attraction at a later, specified time, and skip to the front of the line.

My daughter loved every minute of our visit, but was especially thrilled by two particular rides. Her first favorite was Space Mountain, now known as Rockin’ Space Mountain. The added features of this ride are the speakers inside the train that pump out rock music in-sync with your high speed journey though outer space. My daughter’s other favorite was The Pirates of the Caribbean. The most fascinating thing about the Pirates is that it has become a ride based on a movie, based on the ride. The addition of Captain Jack Sparrow adds a fun, where’s Waldo element without detracting from ride’s original charm. I hate to admit this, but I had the most fun on the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. This interactive ride allows you to compete with your friends and family in a laser shootout through a dazzling light show of creepy aliens and the Evil Emperor Zurg. My final score was enough to beat my daughter handily. She is, however, only five years old.

Disneyland has always excelled at creating a fun, family atmosphere despite the large crowds that come through their gates 365 days a year. You’ll never find a piece of trash on the ground and the employees have mastered the art of keeping the lines moving so everyone can enjoy their rides. The availability of all of the favorite Disney characters allows for photo opportunities that you can’t get anywhere else. This magical day was one that my daughter and I won’t soon forget because we intend on starting our own family tradition of visiting Disneyland Park at least once a year.

Michael A. Stazko is a Plano TX real estate agent and founder of a website that provides information on San Diego real estate and attractions. Visit his website to view pictures of his trip to Disneyland California.

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