Growing up in Orange County I was lucky enough to visit Disneyland on several occasions. In fact, more occasions that I can count and I feel like I practically grew up inside the park. I was pretty lucky. As an adult I still love Disneyland but I don’t visit it nearly as often – mostly because it’s just too darn expensive. But this summer I heard it through the grapevine that the park was a bit slow and I decided it was time to return. I also decided to try something I’d never done in all my previous trips – go alone.
I decided to go during the week to increase the odds of low crowds and lucked out with a day that wasn’t too hot. I arrived mid-day and when I entered the parking structure I knew immediately I made the right choice – it was nowhere near full! I breezed through security, immediately hopped on a tram and soon found myself on Main Street.
The carriage might have been full but Main Street certainly wasn’t! I’ve been to Disneyland on days where I felt smushed like a sardine and to see it this empty (during the summer!) was wonderful.
When I was a kid I lived for Fantasyland and when I was teen it was all about Space Mountain but now I just love Main Street. I love to walk around and take in all the details and no matter how many times I visit I always see something new.
I also made sure to catch a Steamboat Willie cartoon in the Main Street Cinema (happily not a gift shop as rumored but they need to bring back the heavy curtains and turnstiles!), look at the unique artwork at the Disney Gallery and watch Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln.
After a hearty lunch at the Plaza Inn I headed toward Adventureland. I had completely forgotten about the new Tropical Hideaway which replaced the former Aladdin’s Oasis space. I couldn’t resist trying something and decided to go all out with the Loaded Dole Whip.
Isn’t it a thing of beauty? Pineapple-orange swirl Dole Whip on a bed of coconut, mango, pineapple and mandarins topped with crystallized hibiscus and Pocky Sticks makes for a very delicious dessert. I enjoyed it while listening to Rosita the cockatoo serenade the passing Jungle Cruise.
I have to say the Tropical Hideaway might be my new favorite spot in the park.
I had no real agenda for my day but there was one ride I needed to go on – Haunted Mansion. Next to Peter Pan it’s my favorite ride in the park and I wanted to get on it before the changeover to Nightmare Before Christmas. Like everywhere else the line was short and I enjoyed a “relaxing” ride in my Doom Buggy.
After getting on the Haunted Mansion everything else was gravy so I just wandered around seeing where the day took me. There were short lines everywhere and I managed to easily get on Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh and, another favorite, Big Thunder Mountain.
One area I couldn’t care less about was Galaxy’s Edge. I have no interest in Star Wars and I’m still bummed it replaced my beloved Big Thunder Ranch but, as they say, “when in Rome” so I check it out.
It did nothing for me. I know Star Wars fans love it but…I guess I just don’t get it. There is one ride, Smuggler’s Run, which allows you to pilot the Millennium Falcon. Since I actually do know what that is I was mildly interested but the ride was home to the only long line in the park and I wasn’t about to wait. Wait a minute! Since I was alone I could get on as a single rider!
After a 5 minute wait I found myself the engineer of the Millennium Falcon. The ride is similar to Star Tours except that it’s interactive and there were times when my engineering services were required. I have to say I didn’t fully watch the action because I focused on my tasks (mostly hitting a button when it lit up) but I didn’t really mind. Our pilot was about 6 years old and, let’s just say, she wasn’t the best flyer. It was actually pretty funny and I found myself laughing out loud every time we ran into an asteroid.
I’d love to say I then shut down the park but I was pretty tired and ended up going home fairly early. I know! I guess I’m getting old. Doing Disneyland solo was a brand new experience for me and, honestly, I doubt if I’ll ever repeat it. I enjoyed doing exactly what I wanted and being a solo rider does have its perks but…it’s lonely. I think I prefer Disneyland with a group (or at least someone else) and next time I’ll be sure to go with family and friends.