What We’re Thankful For – 2015 Edition

You know those blog advertisements, typically on Facebook, that are just lists?  Like “Seven Ways to Feel More Rested While Getting Less Sleep” or “Nineteen Things We Wish We Could Bring Back From the Year 1900” or the elusive “4 Tips on how to Kidnap a Rhinoceros Without Getting Injured!”  You look at those headlines and think “well, that’s better than the stupid blogs that are like ‘A Girl Walked Into a Grocery Store and You Won’t Believe What Happened Next…’ but those lists are kind of dumb” and then you click on it anyway because you’re really interested in Rhinos?  Yeah, that never happens to me either.

Thanksgiving, at its best, is a day that we reflect on what we’re thankful for.  At its worst, Thanksgiving is a day we eat way too much.  What I’m trying to say is, Thanksgiving is really great.  I’m also trying to say that, since this is a Disney parks blog, you have stumbled upon one of those lists (that I mentioned up above) of things I’m thankful for at Disney Parks.  Remember, you should be spending this day enjoying your family and friends.  Finding out that this is one of those ‘list posts’ is punishment for not doing that.  This will become a new blog tradition if I remember that I wrote this post next year.  I give that a 54% chance of that happening (I’m a math genius).  So, without further ado, here are a few things I’m thankful for at Disney Parks in 2015.

Woody and Slinky

New nighttime entertainment at Disneyland – I’m not positive if this is an actual saying but the phrase, ‘you don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve been there’ completely embodies the new entertainment offered for Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary.  I never knew how much I would enjoy a nighttime parade but it completely blew my mind.  Paint the Night is a cherry on top of the best theme park in North America.  Disneyland Forever is the kind of forward-thinking, technologically advanced, fireworks show that makes everyone so hopeful about what Disney will come up with over the next few years.

Colorful Disneyland Forever

Goat Galaxy – With new coming in, old has to go out.  Not all of the old but some of it.  Unfortunately, that means the end of the run for one of Disneyland’s most charming areas.  When I write this next year (again, not sure that this will actually happen) the petting zoo in Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch will be no more.  That’s because Big Thunder Ranch will be no more.  The goats will be herded towards a galaxy far away as Star Wars Land rumbles into its spot.  These goats aren’t something many people know about but they make Disney feel a bit more like the opening day version of the park than the version we have now.  Plus, goats are incredibly cool.  Travel safely, goats.  The goats at my local fair just don’t measure up to you.

Lock the goat, look back!

A Star Wars Land Announcement – It only took a decade (or so) but a Star Wars area is coming to both coasts.  With the recent success of themed lands, it’s hard not to feel good about the direction these Star Wars Lands are headed.  They both will be massive and completely immersive.  While we will have to wait a long while for the land itself, an announcement was finally made and we can look forward to what is to come with more certainty.

Dole Whip – Well, duh.

dole whip 1

runDisney – This was the first year I did a runDisney event and, boy, the race was everything that it was built up to be.  The organization was superb, the course (Disneyland 10K) was excellent, the feeling was euphoric, and the memories won’t soon go away.  I’m very thankful for this side of the Disney company and this won’t be the last time you hear me heap praise on them.  I’m also incredibly thankful for the company I had while completing this race!

10K Finish with medals

Loving Animal Kingdom before it was cool to love Animal Kingdom – You thought “Okay, he suckered me into reading his list.  Surely he won’t talk about how he’s so awesome for liking something before it was a trend to like it!”  First of all, don’t call me Shirley.  Second of all, figure out how to word that second sentence better.  Third of all, of course I’m not above that!  Animal Kingdom is about to become the second best (if not the best) park in Walt Disney World.  With new nighttime hours and entertainment, the park will take on a different feel and I can’t wait to see what it’s like.  Then, Pandora will come on-line and knock everyone’s socks off.  But, Animal Kingdom is already an incredible theme park.  There is nothing like it in the world.  Not everyone gets Animal Kingdom, and that’s fine.  But the concept behind Animal Kingdom is a joy and it’s executed to near perfection (if it weren’t for DinoLand), here’s guessing that more people catch on to that after these coming additions.  I’m just thankful for the park as it is now.

Tree of life trail AK

Pommes Frites at Cafe Orleans (Disneyland) – The best thing I ate at a Disney Park this year.

Pommes Frites Cafe Orleans

The Disney Fan Community – This blog is almost a year old and we’ve been honored that you have spent some of your time reading our posts.  We’re thankful for other Disney blogs and podcasts that have inspired us.  I’m especially thankful for my group of writers who have helped me start this blog and keep it going.

What?  Didn’t you know all of these lists end with a sappy, cheesy one followed by a picture of a sunset?

sunset california screamin paradise pier

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

– Andrew

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