Our First Look at Disneyland

Saturday, May 17, Part 4: Disneyland APWe finished lunch and since our “Big Kahuna Suite” still wasn’t ready, we walked to the main entrance to Disneyland across from Disney’s California Adventure (DCA). We were anxious to check out DCA but we had to get our Annual Passes (APs) activated inside Disneyland first. Now what we haven’t mentioned yet is how much we love Downtown Disney–more about that later as we spend more time there.

Oh man, were we excited to finally get our first peek into Disneyland since our last visit in October of 2000. Every time we rode “Soaring Over California” at WDW, tears would fill my eyes when we soared over the Matterhorn at Disneyland. That’s when I knew the Florida dream was over, I was homesick, and I needed to go home. As we made it through the security check and over to the entrance where they scanned our AP printouts, another CM asked, “Did you just get back from Hawaii?” Apparently, everybody thought our leis were real (and unaware of the “Big Kahuna Suite Family for a Day” at Paradise Pier.)

The CM who processed our AP voucher was wonderful. When she saw our leis, she asked if we had just returned from our Hawaiian honeymoon. “That was 12 years ago,” we said, and she asked, “Which island?” When we told her we’d been to Maui and Kauai, she said she was from Kauai. She also mentioned how much she loved her job. “At least it’s inside an air-conditioned building,” we said. “Yes, but they make us take our breaks outside.” We laughed.

Then we had to pose for our pictures. APs at Disneyland have your photo on them and there’s a bar code that they scan at the park entrance, which makes this wonderful Tinkerbell-like chime–instead of the insert your finger hoop-dee-doo at Disney World.

The whole experience felt very intimate and that could be said of our entire experience at Disneyland. And that was a nice change from the sheer size of WDW.

Upon exiting the bank with our APs in hand, we noticed a crowd gathering around a jazz band with Minnie Mouse dancing up a storm. We stood and watched for a bit. Minnie Mouse—now there’s my girl—she wears red.

Being already inside Disneyland, we couldn’t leave just yet. So we decided we’d return to the resort via the monorail and check out stuff along the way. As we headed for the monorail station in Tomorrowland, the first thing we noticed was how teeny tiny the castle looked. After living about two miles from the Cinderella Castle at WDW, we saw this tall, majestic castle several times a week. It was particularly awesome all lit up at night. Ah, I’m having a WDW moment… So, anyway, it was quite jarring to see how tiny the Sleeping Beauty Castle was. We knew it to be true, but it seemed even smaller than we remembered.

But the Matterhorn—now that’s the real Disneyland landmark to us. It was a site for sore eyes and we were looking forward to riding it again. We then got our first look at the new submarine ride; redone as “Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.” The line was as long as we’d read. When we climbed the stairs to the Monorail station, we got an aerial view of the ride and from that point of view, it all looked the same. We weren’t sure if we’d try to ride it on this trip or not. Besides, the way co-workers described it, it really didn’t seem worth a long wait. Riding the monorail as our first ride was a great way to catch glimpses of Disneyland. BTW, the monorail is not air-conditioned—open-air windows only.

Next: First View of the Big Kahuna Suite

About Kathy

Novelist, Singer/Songwriter, Music Producer