I love Disneyland. If I woke up and was the last man on earth, I'd probably go down to Anaheim and set up my home within the park. I've been a few times in the past, but it's been more than 10 years since my last trip, and with my kids 7 and 10 years old, it's the perfect age for both of them to experience it for the first time. Of course I brought along my camera to show you some of neat behind the scenes things I found along the way.

Between Disneyland and California Adventure is a strip of restaurants and stores called Downtown Disney. It's free to get into, and it's actually a much better place to hang out and eat than the overpriced crappy food you'll find at either of the parks. There's a House of Blues, Rainforest Cafe, and an ESPN Sportszone for starters. There's also a very swell Lego store there with lots of cool displays, like this awesome Darth Vader who's sporting a most impressive lightsaber.

Make sure if you're visiting the Lego store, that you take time to pre-order a Millennium Falcon that's a staggering $499.99. Before you get greedy, don't forget there's a 5 per customer limit.



Meanwhile, back in Disneyland, for a really cool thrill, go and check out the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland movie that's hosted by Steve Martin and Donald Duck. It's a rather fascinating movie with neat footage of Walt himself measuring out the orange grove that would soon turn in to the theme park, and very cool news footage of their opening day (which includes Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. riding Autotopia). Anyway, the film alone is worth a look, but the lobby is just chock full of neat old things like this scale model of the original park that was used during construction.


Here's the plan for Cinderella's castle. The caretaker said these sorts of things were normally destroyed, but they found this in an old crate years ago marked "DESTROY". Good thing someone didn't follow instructions.


Here's a beautiful blueprint model of the Space Mountain ride, without the mountain shell on top, so you can see every inch of the nausea inducing track. They recently modified the standing in line area of this ride to make it more high-tech and futuristic looking, but I prefer the cool retro space version they used to have. The early 60s version of the future was a lot cooler than what we'll really end up with.


Here's a cool little table of treats you can see while standing in line for the Snow White ride. That skeleton scale is pretty damn awesome, but that ocean of pennies is pretty lame. What kind of shitty wishes do people think pocket change is going to buy them, anyway?

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is the It's A Small World Ride. The colors are just so beautiful, and really shine on a sunny day like the one I was treated to in these photos.

It's a rather silly ride, but I can't help but enjoy it. The only problem is getting the damn song out of your head sometime within the next 5 days.

Bet you didn't know that Scotland has hills made of tartan?

The mod '60s storybook colors are a sight to behold. Plus if you throw a dollar to these dancing girls, they'll show you even more leg.

The Indiana Jones ride is one of the most intricate and thrilling rides you'll ever have the pleasure of going on. It's also one of few rides that actually make waiting in line enjoyable. 


This videoclip from YouTube doesn't quite do the ride justice, but you get a pretty cool idea of the scope of the ride.

For pure '60s kitsch, you can't beat The Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland. The outside of the theater is full of goofy Hawaiian themed tiki goodness, while the inside boasts animatronic birds, flowers, and more in an attraction that thankfully hasn't changed a bit since it's debut more than 40 years ago. Disneyland did a fantastic job completely restoring the ride and the hundreds of little robots within.

Here's a cool video that captures both the outside pre-show and the interior show in their entirety. Might I add, it's a great dark and shady place to hang out if you're getting boiled in the Anaheim sun.


Another great retro ride I recommend highly is the Jungle Cruise, which is one of the park's original rides. It's known for having a corny boat captain cracking stupid jokes as they take you around an African river, but 50 years later, the scenery, effects, and robot animals still look fantastic.

By the way, a nighttime ride on the Jungle Cruise is a blast. It really adds a whole other layer of mystery to the experience, and everything's just lit up enough to enjoy, but it's a lot more dangerous and remote feeling.

Here's just some more random pictures I took that don't really fit into any particular context, but I thought they were fun to share.

This is the lobby of the Twilight Zone Ride over at the California Adventure park. I dug the Grizzly Falls Ride, The Aladdin live action show, and the California Screaming coaster, and Soaring Over California there, but everything else was just OK.

Here's some cool candles in The Haunted Mansion ride. Another must ride it at night time experience, because waiting outside the building in the dark really adds to the creepy mood.



And finally, here's a very cool statue of the sexy redheaded Pirate Wench that they were selling for $150 in one of the Downtown Disney stores. I wish I bought it.

Overall, a great great trip, and I can't wait to go back!

-Robert Berry



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