I'm back with more Disney questions, this time centered around the parks. Click here to read my first post of questions and answers.
1) Which Disney Parks have you visited? - Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. In other words, only the Anaheim parks.
2) What is your earliest Disney park memory? - This is hard to say because I grew up in California until I was eight and would often still visit the L.A. area afterward to visit family, so I was always familiar with going to Disneyland. One of my earliest memories is an image of the ballroom in the Haunted Mansion: it's such a memorable scene. I also remember going to the park with my cousins and other family one time; we all waited in line for Pirates of the Caribbean together but about four of us walked right through the boat to the exit instead of going on the ride because we didn't like that one. So I suppose the earlier memory would be going there with my dad and brother. We had one of those huge lollipops in a bag; we would break off pieces of it to eat. But when we went on Pirates, we forgot it on the seat. This was my first ride on Pirates; my dad told me it was like Small World, but I thought that the drops were terrifying plunges straight down into darkness. Hence my later shunning of the ride (until I was around twelve, that is).
3) Which is your favorite park? - Disneyland, of course. DCA is only nice for half a day at a time but Disneyland is exceptional.
4) Which on-site hotel have you stayed at? - The Disneyland Hotel, courtesy of a family member. We were there for a party at Goofy's Kitchen, but since my birthday was around the same time, my family also had a small dinner of our own the next day at Steakhouse 55 (both restaurants, by the way, are at the hotel). I was really ecstatic about staying on-site: it's a fully immersive experience.
5) What is your favorite Disney holiday photo? - The Christmas tree? I must admit: I've never taken a picture of myself or any other friend or family member in front of the tree. But the one time when I went during Christmas, I did take a picture of the tree itself.
6) Which is your favorite castle? - Disneyland because, in many ways, it's the only one I know. But from pictures, I'm quite fond of the castle at Disneyland Paris. It has so much detail and yet keeps to the fantasy feel and look (Disney World's castle, for instance, looks too flat in color, too much like a real castle).
7) What is your favorite land/area? - Probably New Orleans Square. It's such a small space but there's so much to look at and so many little nooks and shops to wander through in between going on rides. This space also has a great view of the Rivers of America, despite the water technically belonging to Frontierland.
8) What is your all-time favorite ride? - Splash Mountain is the one I usually name. I like the combination of a story and lots of scenes and characters with a light thrill ride; it's what you would call the best of both worlds. Indiana Jones has that, too, right (and that one is a great ride as well), but Splash Mountain adds a nice little theme and message to it all. It's a very complete ride.
9) Most underrated ride? - Mad Tea Party. I'm not the best at spinning (it's best when there's someone else with me who can do most of the muscle work for me), but I do love to try and make these teacups spin as fast as possible. I never quite manage to get dizzy (despite the fact that other people get dizzy without even spinning the cups), but close enough. And I am rather fond of tea.
10) Most overrated ride? - Small World. Sorry, as a Disneyland enthusiast, I feel like I should be one of the defenders of this ride, but I just can't get behind it. I don't overly mind the song, and the building is very nice. But the dolls look cheap and temporary to me, the sets too much like someone cut them out of paper. I don't feel like I'm reentering childhood with this ride; I just feel like it's a ride with a good concept that just hasn't lasted in quality.
11) Favorite show/parade - 50th Anniversary Fireworks (Remember Dreams Come True). I had the chance to see these at least three times, possibly more. The 50th Anniversary was an exciting and beautiful celebration, and the fireworks show was a true celebration of all that Disneyland is and was. The way in which the types of fireworks (their shapes and colors and movements) went with the music just blew my mind.
12) Do you enjoy meeting characters? - Not exactly. I don't always like the interactive parts about Disneyland, even though I know that this is one of the things that makes Disneyland so special. It's just that I don't know what to say or do around characters and I have a history of feeling awkward in any type of situation like this. But lately I've been watching Disneyland content on YouTube, so I've been getting an appreciation for all that the characters do. They're very dedicated and skilled. So maybe in the future I'll be less hesitant.
13) What characters have you met and which are your favorites? - Mickey Mouse at his house, of course. At Goofy's Kitchen, I met Goofy, Pluto, Alice, and Aladdin. If I've met others, I don't remember if, and likely there weren't too many when I was younger because I think my whole family has never really been that interested in meeting characters--except for Mickey. Mickey Mouse is classic, and I do like to watch clips of the Mad Hatter around the park.
14) What is your favorite restaurant? - The Blue Bayou for atmosphere. But for a more regular restaurant, French Market has some good dishes and can also have great atmosphere. Last time I was there, the band was up and they had a singer there, so it made for a nice break from walking around and also a good place to spend our last meal at the park for the trip.
15) What are your Disney traditions? - Let's see, I always enter at the left gate. A mint julep and some beignets have turned into my favorite snack to get. Most often, I go on Indiana Jones first. Wherever the location is, I usually watch the fireworks because you can see them from so many different places; it was awesome watching them one time while riding Thunder Mountain.
16) What is your most fond park memory? - This is hard to say, so I'll just go with a certain season: the 50th Anniversary. As I mentioned, I had the chance to visit the park more than a couple of times during this celebration, one time during Christmastime. So it was a very magical time, enjoying all the extra details while spending time with family.
17) What is your favorite thing that you bought in the parks? - I don't usually do much shopping at the parks themselves; instead, I do my shopping at World of Disney in Downtown Disney the night before. And my souvenirs are usually pins. So I'll have to choose an item from World of Disney: Disneyland: Then, Now, and Forever, which was on sale during the 50th Anniversary. It was my first Disneyland book and made for a great introduction, plus it has lots of pictures of bygone things from the park that I had previously only read about.
18) Describe your dream Disneyland holiday. - Someday I would want to get about a five day pass for the Anaheim parks and stay at one of the hotels for the whole time, possibly splitting the time between the Disneyland Hotel and the Grand Californian. This way, I would have time to enjoy the hotels: their pools and restaurants and various rooms. And I would also be able to enjoy the parks at leisure, to see shows I don't usually make time for, to go to sit-down restaurants instead of just going for the quicker things. A full Disney week.