All Orange County residents are bound by compulsory service to serve at least a year on active duty at the park, which comes with a pittance and free admission. Working in Southern California, you may find your company working with Disneyland (and after the work is done, free admission) or you may attend a company party held at Disneyland, two experiences I know very well. You'll likely know someone who knows someone who can "sign you in," and be dragged to the park because a significant other does not tolerate your elitist views on Disney theme parks.
So you want to know what I think?
Trams: The new doors installed on the trams are, of course, some lawyer's wet dream, conceived to prevent sue-happy Americans from falling out. I knew I would have a hard time collecting statutory and punitive damages from Disney with these newfangled doors in the way, so I decided not to fall out and sue. I guess they worked!
Captain EO Tribute: Disneyland is a museum, after all!
Also, 3D crotch bulge! At last you've returned.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln: What an ingenious solution! Move the 50th anniversary movie to the lobby! It took four years to figure this out?
It's now connected to the Disney Gallery, which resembles more of a store to pimp reproductions of Disney artwork than a gallery to admire Disney artwork.
And I agree, Miley Cyrus is truly a great American.
Rivers of America: A couple of changes noticed on the old river. A stream and new vegetation has appeared just after Splash Mountain and the Hungry Bear. The final bend just before the dock invokes a strong Southwestern motif. Additional animal life improves the atmosphere.
These are probably inconsequential changes that will go unnoticed by the general public but are otherwise appreciated by fans. They were likely designed by someone with a true sense of appreciation for this often overlooked Disneyland gem. If more tasteful improvements and additions like this are budgeted for, there may be hope for the old park just yet. We are still waiting for the ultimate Rivers of America upgrade, some version of Discovery Bay planned and designed so many years ago.
World of Color: Over at DCA, they are really pushing World of Color, going so far as to countdown to the water show that will end all water shows. The mass of spouts, nozzles and machinery that will power the performance is on full display and impressive in its own right as technicians make final preparations throughout the coming days. The test videos that I've seen are amazing, as if they are some kind of water show tech demo.
What remains to be seen is how the actual content of the show resonates with audiences. I would definitely prefer a show that is more abstract, such as BraviSEAmo!, over a traditional Disney character-driven show, but characters alone wouldn't stop me from enjoying World of Color.
I suppose it depends on whether or not World of Color feels like a real, unique show, and not just a rehash of Disney film clips. Fantasmic! strikes a balance between the mist screens and the live performance, something World of Color may have a harder time with. Lacking a human component, the challenge for World of Color will be to capture the essence of the Disney films and personalities it has at its disposal without simply turning it into a 26-minute trailer for Disney films.
Space Mountain: In the past I have harped on Space Mountain for always being dirty. On this day, it was reasonably clean, but not to the extent that you could eat off of it, something I would like to try someday.
-"This is my daughter's favorite ride," overheard on Pirates of the Caribbean. So much for pixies and princesses, huh?
-I take bad behavior at Disney parks in stride, but it's fun to bitch about it. Flash photography in dark rides is an art. "C'mon kids, let's get a picture of us surrounded by darkness!" Teen girls who scream at the drop of a hat (or the bump of a boat) distract and disturb. Theme park etiquette dictates that you scream during drops and maybe when the lights suddenly go out, not during the entire ride and whenever nothing is happening, for example.
-The grounds were impeccably clean and generally well maintained. Most of the wear and tear could be found in high traffic areas, especially where thousands of feet trample through, which is to be expected. The problem was always when nearly half the effects in any given attraction were simply not working, and those days appear to be over.
All in all it was a fun experience, but man, the parks really get packed around quittin' time. When you've got Space Mountain holding steady with a 30 minute wait time all day, but ratchets up to 60 minutes by 6 o'clock, you know it's time to head home. Something, something annual passholders.