As the world spins madly on and Disney’s original theme park remains closed, it’s time we head back there virtually. I had one last trip report tucked away for a time when there wasn’t much to update. Now is that time. Let’s head back to a few weeks before Disneyland Resort was shut down due to Covid-19 and the world wasn’t shut down.
After arriving late on Thursday night, Melissa unfortunately had to work the next morning until lunch time. Michaela and I headed off to Disneyland for opening and spent most of the morning riding attractions and testing out the new camera I had gotten a few days earlier. It’s a Nikon D7500 for those interested. My first photo of any meaning is, of course, a picture of a duck.
Boy, do I miss the Disneyland ducks. This one is especially pretty albeit slightly pretentious.
We did a decent amount of rides that morning that included Pirates, most of the Fantasyland dark rides and the river boat. Honestly, since this vacation was quite some time ago, this trip report may be even more focused on photos than usual. Remembering the exact order of events isn’t the easiest thing 5 months later. Here’s a few more photos from that morning.
Skipping breakfast isn’t a great idea but it does lead to an earlier lunch! We went over to Rancho del Zocalo and I ate my favorite thing on the menu, the Carne Asada and Cheese Enchilada platter. I love the little details around the restaurant, be it some vibrant vases or beautiful fountains. Also, I was just having a good time playing with my new camera.
Full of energy and rice and beans, we headed off for a galaxy far, far away and stumbled upon this old friend.
R2 roaming around Galaxy’s Edge remains one of those treats that really brings the land to life. He draws a following and is easy to interact with thanks to his handlers. There’s no shortage of character in Galaxy’s Edge and I expect that to only grow over the next 5 years. You know, after this whole global pandemic is through, Lord willing.
We rode the train around and accidentally stumbled upon the first showing of Magic Happens, Disneyland’s new daytime parade. The parade was at random times that day so we were off in when we thought the first showing would be. Instead we switched gears and decided to go for the second showing. Melissa was about to be off work and we decided to meet at Big Thunder for a wild ride around the wilderness. The park wasn’t especially busy that day, even with the parade premiering, so wait times were pretty low.
Melissa grabbed a bite to eat and then we walked around Frontierland, New Orleans Square and Galaxy’s Edge. This walk, starting in Frontierland and circling in the river, is one of my favorite paths to walk in any theme park. Three incredible lands that flow fairly well into each other while still being incredibly diverse.
After finishing the loop we walked over to Fantasyland for a quick dash of attractions before getting a spot on Main Street for the parade. Obviously, the parade was a priority for the trip but there’s always time to squeeze in a ride on the teacups and Pinocchio! Fantasyland’s skyline with the Matterhorn behind it is one of my favorite views in the entire park.
Then it was time for our first viewing of Magic Happens. It’s a shame that this parade essentially had a 2 week run before getting shut down. Who knows when it will come back, or when any Disney parade will ever come back. For those that saw it in those few weeks, it left a favorable impression. While maybe not quite as over the top as some of our other favorite parades, Magic Happens had more character and personality than most. We look forward to it’s return someday.
Photographing a parade for the first time is always exciting. Inevitably, I end up with about 500 photos taken over the span of 20 minutes. This specific viewing will always have a place in my memory, as our group of 3 was very excited to see it. In between hundreds of photos were lots of smiles shared and some of our own dance moves.
After the parade, we went back to riding a few attractions including Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Winnie the Pooh and the Jungle Cruise. There weren’t many lines to speak of and most rides were less than 10 minute waits.
We eventually ended up at French Market for dinner. I ordered my usual Jambalaya while the others went with various soup options. I’m still not used to ordering hot things at Disney Parks, mainly because most of my visits have been around summer months. Being able to have a nice bowl of soup or a warm meal as the temperature drops is one of those weird Disney treats that most people wouldn’t think twice about.
After dinner, we had a FastPass for Indiana Jones Adventure. Thinking back, eating a large plate of Jambalaya before getting jerked around on Indy probably wasn’t a wise choice. But I don’t remember any repercussions so I’ll go ahead and give that the ol’ “Wandering in Disney Stamp of Approval”. If you’re not eating a large plate of Jambalaya before riding Indy then you’re doing it wrong. After our wild ride, Melissa headed back to the hotel because she unfortunately wasn’t feeling well and the park was nearing closing.
Michaela and I hung around for a little while, watching Mickey’s Mix Magic by the river (it’s a terrible show no matter where you watch it) before heading to Galaxy’s Edge for a while. Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run is best late at night when you can ride with next to no wait as many times as you’d like. I’m curious to see if that trend will continue and if it’s only a Disneyland trend as opposed to WDW. Galaxy’s Edge is certainly stowed away in the back of Disneyland so there are times when it is extremely empty an hour or two before closing. Hollywood Studios is much smaller making it less of a time commitment to go back and ride Smuggler’s Run.
All of this to say, Galaxy’s Edge is best visited at night. When Pandora opened I was a defender of visiting it during the day, reasoning that the colors were far more vibrant and the lighting package was maybe a little too dark for its own good. Galaxy’s Edge is the opposite. The land is purposefully gray without much vibrancy. That changes at night when the blue lighting makes it both uniquely Star Wars and a gorgeous theme park land.
The yellow and brown tones of the land contrast well with the deep blues and purples at night. We walked around and took some photos of the land before security swept through. It’s nice that one of the busiest parts of Disneyland, this new land, is also one of the quietest at night. There’s a good amount of depth to Galaxy’s Edge even at such a young age.
With security not far behind, we took a few photos on the way out of the park before stopping on Main Street for a few more photos. We cleared out the park that night, the last people out of the gates. It’s something that I love to do at Disney Parks and maybe what I miss most about it at this point.
Among the questions that come with going to Disney Parks often (and having a site about it) is “Don’t you get tired of the crowds and doing the same thing over again?” We do travel elsewhere and enjoy it but these moments of serenity after a day filled with laughter and overwhelmed senses are a Disney thing to me. More specifically, it’s a feeling that I get with my camera and the end of a day on a Disney trip. It a feeling that I can’t wait to get back to.
We’ll pick up the next installment on the next day, starting at California Adventure. If you have any questions or comments, including any additions you’d like to see in future trip reports, please let us know in the comments below. Planning a trip to Disneyland Resort? Check out our Disneyland Trip Planning Guide to help you out. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends and like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Trip Reports