As cliche as it sounds- there really is something magical when you enter the gates of Disneyland CA. Could it be true - Is Disneyland really the happiest place on earth? Usually my husband and I prefer places with more natural beauty over the man made destinations like Vegas, Dubai....or yes, Disneyland. But there is something slightly overwhelming when you enter this resort, built by the amazing Walt Disney in the 1950's. Could it be nostalgia? Of course that adds to the experience, but Disneyland is like a very well oiled machine. Everything is created with such perfectionism and no detail is overlooked. Quite frankly, Disneyland runs like clockwork.
The first thing we notice are the gardens...they are stunning. Citrus trees, topiarised shrubbery and blooming flowers are all throughout the park and not a petal or leaf are out of place- you almost have to check they are real they seem that perfect. Food and drink carts are placed on most corners are are all themed to have a vintage style. Not only do they sell naughty food (such as churros, popcorn, or ice cream) they also have a range of healthy snacks- sliced carrots, giant pickles, yoghurts, fresh fruit or even turkey legs. There really is something to cater for everyone and these snacks are very reasonably priced considering where you are.
Cast members are all immaculate and never break from character- they also notice the small things such as visitors birthdays (you receive a special badge when entering if your Birthday falls on the day of your visit). There is also music streamed throughout the resort- I challenge anyone to be in a bad mood when Disney music is playing! As I said, Disneyland is like a swan gliding gracefully on the surface- when under the water it's paddling frantically to keep things moving smoothly.
Weather always seems to be in our favour too- another thing Anaheim does well is a mild sunny day with clear blue skies. It's that kind of impossibly-blue sky that just makes you happy looking up at it. September or October are definitely our favourite months to visit- please note that some rides could be closed during this non-peak season, but the weather and lack of queues make up for this tenfold. October is also the start of Halloween decorations which are amazing and put another dimension to the whole Disney experience. Gosh Americans (and Disney in particular) do Halloween well!
The rides are not "thrill" rides- they are the perfect mix of having incredible detail (Pirates of the Carribbean is a classic example of this) with just the right amount of thrill, to make it fun for both younger and older visitors alike. There is also a small petting zoo area, which is a hit with most visitors (be sure to check its open during your visit, as I believe its a seasonal thing). Horses, goats and turkeys are housed in a gorgeous barnyard environment. These animals are treated with the utmost respect and care, which is something very important to me- so its always a favourite spot to visit and give a pat to our fury and feathered friends. Our favourite time at Disneyland is when dusk starts to creep in and all the lights start to flicker on. It's like you are in a faitytale- especially around the area of the Jungle Cruise- where orange lanterns give off the most beautiful glow. The whole resort is just full of a romantic ambiance that is hard to describe (this is not normally a word I would associate with Disney- romantic!- but I cant find another word as fitting).
There are lots of tricks to planning your day on the internet- even some apps that give you a schedule and times to attend certain rides to get the most out of your visit. We found the most valuable asset is the "fastpass". More detailed information about this here: http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Travel-g29092-c3632/Anaheim:California:Disneyland.Fastpass.Tips.html.
In summary, Disneyland is not for everyone but it's an escape from everyday life that I'm sure most people would appreciate or even welcome. Forget your worries (and your age!) and just go with one thing in mind- to have fun. It's a must visit for us when we are in Los Angeles- and we are child free, so that is saying something! Disney California Adventure review to follow shortly.
* Don't miss: the dole whip near the Tikki Room. This is such a yummy treat on a hot day- a whipped fluffy pineapple soft serve.
For more information on schedules, rides and prices, visit: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/
All photos by Belinda- www.outoftheoffice.com.au