Photo Credit: “Sleeping Beauty Castle DLR” by Carterhawk
I was absolutely, positively beyond excited when I received my invitation to visit Los Angeles for Disney last month because in addition to previewing Disney’s new movie, Tomorrowland, I learned that we would also be visiting Disneyland! As I have mentioned before, I don’t travel much, in fact, I have never been to California and the last time I went to Walt Disney World (in Florida) was when I was a kid. Sad, isn’t it? Don’t fret; my husband and I have been saving up for a trip so we can take our daughter to see the mouse a.k.a. Mickey up close and personal! 😉
Let’s fast forward to LA, shall we? It was Thursday, May 7, 2015, it was going to be in the 60s all day in LA, funny since it was going to be in the 90s in Ohio, and I was up, dressed, and giddy as a schoolgirl waiting to go on a field trip. The transport arrived, we were delivered, and boom, there we were, Disneyland: The Happiest Place on Earth and I was feeling … guilty. Yup, you read that accurately. GUILTY. I was surrounded by 24 amazing bloggers, 3 amazing tour guides a.k.a. Disney employees, and Tyler, a Disney Destinations Public Relations Manager (who was a cutie pie by the way) and I was feeling nothing but complete guilt. Why? As I mentioned above, I have a daughter and she is five. A daughter that I haven’t been away from for a single day since she was born and now, here I was, standing in the most magical place anyone could imagine, especially kids, and she was at home in Ohio. Epic fail on the parenting front? Perhaps. I gave myself a quick pep talk reminding, well, me, that I was on a business trip and that it was okay to mix a little fun with business, it was okay to enjoy the day. As I was talking to myself … don’t worry, the conversation was going on in my head, I kept walking with the group and then we came to a stop. I looked up and there it was … SLEEPING BEAUTY’S CASTLE! After taking a few bazillion pictures I was set for the day, the smile was perma-plastered on my face, and I was ready to roll.
Since we were on a press junket for Disney’s Tomorrowland, there was no better way to officially start the day than riding It’s A Small World; see the movie and you will totally understand! On this ride I was filled with so many emotions that words cannot describe them. First, I flashed back to my childhood and riding It’s A Small World at Disney World. My older sister was a teenager, my little sister was a baby, my father was still alive, and it was the last trip we took to Disney. Okay, I may have teared up a little. Then I smiled thinking about experiencing the ride with my husband and daughter and both of their faces lighting up. Yes, my husband is totally a big kid and will geek out over a trip like this!
After the ride it was time for a quick lunch before heading to the Sneak Peek of TOMORROWLAND! Last week I shared with you the experience of going to the Sneak Peek and then visiting the Tomorrowland Exhibit. The concept artwork, the props, the costumes … they were amazing and brought everything full circle for me. Even now, I can close my eyes and remember the details. I don’t know about you but I have never experienced anything like this before. I have never been so involved in a film and it was actually really cool. The Tomorrowland Exhibit provided me with not just a sneak peek into the adventure of creating the film but a newfound respect for those involved in the industry as a whole, not just the actors. If you plan on visiting Disneyland soon, I highly recommend you check out the Tomorrowland Sneak Peek AND Exhibit! For more information about my Sneak Peek into the Magic of Tomorrowland, be sure to check out our post from last Friday!
Then, it was time to get down to business and ride some more rides while still in Tomorrowland! Our first stop was Star Tours. As we approached the ride there were two Storm Troopers heading the same direction; I had a little fangirl moment on behalf of my husband as he is in love with EVERYTHING Star Wars. It was kind of cute when one of the Storm Troopers decided that she should join our group for the day! He never stepped out of character and returned to his patrol rather quickly. It was fun being greeted by R2-D2 and C-3PO and having them guide us through the ride. Star Tours was fun, exhilarating, and had us giggling through the ride. It was a great way to get the blood pumping and the fun button revved for the day.
Next up was Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters! This ride was awesome! You are in the dark, shooting laser guns, in a car that 360 degree turns!! I may have spun around a few times until I felt like I was going to puke but it was epic. Unbeknownst to me, there was a part of the ride where they take your picture. I don’t have photographic evidence but I can assure you that I looked amazing. A big toothy grin on my face, all hunkered down, and blasting away at bad guys; yup, totally amazing!
Photo Credit: “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 2” by AmaryllisGardener
After that, it was time to break down into individual teams based on our ride preference. I’ve lived in Cincinnati all my life. A few of you may be aware of a well-known amusement park in my area and I have ridden ALL of the rides. Keeping that in mind, it should be of no surprise to you that I was part of #TeamGaby a.k.a. the Coaster Crew! Our crew consisted of Team Leader Gaby, Carlee from FrugalAndFunMom.com, Jennifer from JenniferSikora.com, Melissa from The-Mommyhood-Chronicles.com, Olivia from ThisNThatWithOlivia.com, and Rebecca from RWeThereYetMom.com. Our first ride, mining our way through Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland as I slid from side to side on the seat and felt my hair flip around as we flew down the hills. Hair all askew and adrenaline pumping it was time for a quick break and my first experience with Dole Whip Floats. This was completely foreign to me as we don’t have Dole Whip in Cincinnati. We have blue ice cream at our amusement park but not Dole Whip. It was sweet, pineapply (is that a word), tasty, and gone in a matter of minutes.
Next, to conquer Indiana Jones Adventure in Adventureland (fitting name)! The props leading up to the actual ride were so cool. I felt as though we were slinking around a cave with Indy and waiting for the bad guys to jump out and go BOO. On the ride, my head whipped around and I kept waiting for it to bounce off a wall … totally AWESOME and then we recovered from the thrill by taking what we thought was going to be a leisurely ride in the jungled of Africa on Jungle Cruise. There were hippos, tigers, and crocodiles … OH MY! This was a fun little trip that I am sure your little ones will enjoy. I know my daughter will love it!
Photo Credit: Flickr Advanced Search
And then, it was finally time to see the ride that I had been waiting for, Space Mountain in Tomorrowland. I have heard about Space Mountain a million times while watching Disney. I have seen pictures of the building, heard people rave about it, and I was about to experience it. I have no desire to ruin this ride for anyone that has not experienced it. All I will say is pitch black, rocking roller coaster, and I totally screamed. Enough said! No seriously, there is so much more to say about this ride but I just can’t do it. Everyone NEEDS to experience it and I just don’t want to tell you. Ahhh, this is so difficult … must walk away … ahhhh
Ahem, my second MUST DO at Disneyland was Tower of Tear in California Adventure Park. I had been hearing about this ride since I arrived in Los Angles. Actually, scratch that, my seatmate on the plane told me that I had to ride it. I had no idea what to expect. Everyone awaiting the ride was freaking out. The anticipation and nervousness was palpable. I was bouncing around on my heels wondering if I had made the wrong decision volunteering to sit in the front row. The elevator door opened, the attendee gave us instructions, and Holy Spit Batman it was flooping amazing. I won’t mention my seatmate but she was screaming her head off like she had lost her ever loving mind. She may or may not decide to identify herself. I was laughing like a hyena because I couldn’t get over her screams and prayer and I experienced the rush of a lifetime. I wouldn’t classify Tower of Tear as a roller coaster; I’m not sure anyone does. But it was wicked awesome. Like, you have to ride this ride if you are an adrenaline junkie. It was so cool, I can’t even …
Photo Credit: “California Screamin’ Launch” by SolarSurfer
To bring our coaster experience full circle we ended our ride time in California Adventure Park on California Screamin. The ride is fast, has amazing hills, loops, overlooks the awesome scenery that is Disneyland and left me feeling like a teenager. I stepped off the ride feeling rejuvenated after a night with little sleep and a day that included walking over seven miles. My second wind had kicked in and I was all smiles. This was the perfect time to meet up with the entire group and grab a bite to eat before the grand finale to close out the day.
Photo Credit: “World of Color overview” by Stansberry from Cali
World of Color at Paradise Bay! The nighttime show has almost 1,200 fountains and includes lights, water, fire, fog, and lasers, with high-definition projections on mist screens. The show features scenes from popular Disney animations throughout the years. I have never been in an area with thousands of people that are in a complete hush because they are in such awe of the vision before them. I kept looking around at all of the little ones snuggled up with or on the shoulders of their parents and I couldn’t help but feel that twinge of guilt again. Now, don’t get me wrong, I had a fabulous day but THIS was an experience and one that I hope to enjoy with my family someday. The show was created to be powerful … mission accomplished!
As the day came to a close and we were loading back on to our transport to head back to the Sheraton Universal Hotel I couldn’t help but sit there in silence reliving the entire day. There was chatter all around me but I was processing what I had just experienced and that is when it occurred to me, it really was all about Tomorrowland. Tomorrowland is about the future, a message of hope, a call to action. It invites us to live life instead of sitting back and watching it fly by. THAT is what I want. I want my own Tomorrowland. I decided that night that it was time to renew my efforts in focusing on the future … my daughter and family, living with hope … I want to experience more, and take action … the world is out there, we just have to experience it. It’s time to create Tomorrowland.
Tomorrow, May 22, 2015, gather your family and take them to Tomorrowland. It may just change your life.
In addition to celebrating the opening of Tomorrowland, Disneyland Resorts is also holding their Diamond Celebration!
The Diamond Celebration celebrates 60 years of Disney magic with three new nighttime spectaculars, dazzling décor and an exciting sweepstakes that will aware authentic diamonds and one-of-a-kind prizes to lucky guests!
The three new sensational shows highly the 60-year tradition of innovative and immersive storytelling: the brilliant, high energy “Paint the Night” parade and “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular at Disneyland Park, and the all-new “World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” at Disney California Adventure Park.
There will be a 24-hour party that inaugurates the Diamond Celebration, from 6 a.m. Friday, May 22, until 6 a.m. Saturday, May 23, 2015 (local time). Will you be there?
There is still more to come about Tomorrowland including our official review of the movie which will debut TOMORROW! Until then, follow #TomorrowlandEvent to make sure that you stay up on all the latest happenings.
Tomorrowland opens in theaters everywhere on Friday, May 22, 2015.
CONNECT WITH TOMORROWLAND
Disclaimer: I was sent on an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles, California courtesy of Disney to experience Tomorrowland and a series of other adventures surrounding the movie. Regardless, all opinions expressed are still 100% my own.