On Wednesday we did our second (and last) day in Disney and it was even more amazing than the first!
We arrived just after 9am which gave us enough time to park the car and get to the gates before the park opened at 9.30. We went to the Disneyland Park after doing Walt Disney Studios on the Monday.
The night before we had made a list of everything we really wanted to do and then the things that we wanted to do but could live without doing if we ran out of time. Our plan was to do the ‘must do’ list first then do a second lap if we had chance.
We did a clockwise map of the park so the first area was Frontierland. Everything here was decorated for Halloween and had a Halloween Town and Sugar Skull/Book of Life theme. There wasn’t an awful lot we wanted to do here but the main one was Thunder Mountain. We queued up and went on this ride first and it was so much fun. It’s just a rollercoaster set as an old mine so you sit in a little rickety train; there is only a lap bar as you don’t go upside down. Afterwards we went to Phantom Manor which appeared to have been based on the film The Haunted Mansion (one of my favourites). It looked like a bit of a kid’s ride but was actually really good. You all gather into a room and all the lights go out except for a few lit pictures and then it takes you down. You then get on this moving belt, hop into a little 2-person cart and go through different rooms/scenes; the whole ride is a big circle and it continuously moves around.
After the ghost train we were going to move into the next part of the park but people had started to queue for the Meet & Greet for Jack Skellington (from The Nightmare before Christmas). The line wasn’t too long so we decided to wait. It did take close to an hour but I had some pictures with him and it was so much fun!
Next we went to Adventureland which again only had a couple of things we wanted to do. We first queued for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril. The wait time was actually pretty good (about 20mins). It’s hard to know what to expect from the rides and I’m always a bit anxious about the seating, the type of restraints and if the ride is too scary, but this one was actually ok. Again you’re on a little train but this time there is an over-the-head restraint as there is a loop on the track. Actually the rollercoaster was pretty fun and is over so quickly. After this we went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride which was a slightly longer wait. This was the first ride that really made me appreciate how much design & planning they put into these things. You queue in a cave but there were props everywhere and little waterfalls and it feels very authentic. The ride is a log flume so you go around in little boats but the detail in all the scenes are just amazing! There are skeletons and characters all the way through which operate mechanically but they are so realistic, even the movements.
Next we went to Fantasyland which was the one I was most excited for. We had a lot more on our list here. We arrived at the Meet & Greet for Mickey and Minnie Mouse, but with wait time of over 60mins we decided to give that a miss. Just next to that was another small line for the Meet & Greet for the Queen of Hearts. She hadn’t arrived yet but as the queue was small, I decided to wait. While I was waiting Nick popped off to get us some popcorn and a drink as we hadn’t eaten and it was approaching 1pm.
After a quick photo with the Queen we went to Alice’s Curious Labyrinth. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite Disney films so I was super excited. It’s basically a maze which takes you through the story with the White Rabbit, the Dodo, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat and then onto the Queen of Hearts with all the playing cards. You can also go into the Queen’s castle. We then went on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party which is the spinning teacups. It’s more for kids but was good fun, except for when I almost fell off the saucer getting off and really hurt my foot!!
After the teacups we went to get some lunch on Main Street; Nick got a hot dog and I just had chicken nuggets, then we headed back to Fantasyland. We walked through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle so took some pictures there then queued for It’s a Small World. The line for this was pretty long and we waited probably close to 45mins but it was definitely worth it. This was one of the only rides I remember from when I came about 17 years ago and it still just so magical. Everything is so colourful and happy.
We then went to check the wait time for the Meet & Greet for the Princesses; this was also over 60mins so we skipped that and went to the Snow White ride. This one was definitely more for kids but we still enjoyed it. The ride was just a small train/cart which took you through the story of Snow White. Even though it was very tame, the design was still amazing and the artwork is so detailed.
Once we had finished on Snow White I stopped to get some ice cream (which we had to queue about 20 minutes for) and we headed over to Discoveryland.
The queues for rides here were a lot longer and it seemed a lot busier. We went on Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain first. I wasn’t too keen on the look of this one and really didn’t enjoy it. You get onto this ‘space shuttle’ and there is an overhead restraint. It feels weird though as the main restraint is fixed but there is another one underneath which sits right on your chest and this gives a bit of movement, so it almost feels unsecured. The ride takes you to this really steep incline but just at the bottom you stop and then it hurtles you forward and super speed. The ride is all indoors and pitch black apart from some really bright flashing lights which I can only imagine are meant to look like lightsabers? This was definitely my least favourite!
Once we go off it was around 5pm so we headed back to Main Street and waited for the Disney Stars on Parade at 5.30. This is when you realise just how many people are there, as literally thousands of people line the streets, and that’s not even everyone in the park. The parade was amazing to watch all the characters come out and perform their routine; some are on foot and some are on these giant floats which are just incredible. It lasted about 30mins and we then raced back to Discoveryland to queue for Star Tours. We must have timed it well as the wait was only about 20mins. This was one of my favourite rides and I’m not even a Star Wars fan. You get into this big ‘spacecraft’ and strap yourself in with just a lap belt. It’s basically just a simulation but the graphics are incredible and it does chuck you around a bit.
After this we went on the Pinocchio ride back in Fantasyland; the wait time said about 20mins but we queued for well over 30. This one was very similar to Snow White where it just takes you through the story but again everything was so detailed.
When we got off, the park was pretty dark. We decided to queue for Thunder Mountain to finish it all off. This ride had closed earlier in the afternoon and there was still about a 25min wait time, which again took much longer. It was great fun and we’re happy we chose this as our last ride.
By this point it was getting late and our feet were in agony. It was just before 9pm so we went back to Disney Village to get some dinner. After wandering around for a little while, we got a pizza and drink from one of the restaurants and sat down to eat. We were knackered but determined to stay until the end for the fireworks.
Just before 10pm we headed back into the park for the Disney Illuminations. Again the streets were packed with people and we had to stand really far back. I definitely underestimated the final display; it was absolutely out of this world!! The whole castle is lit up with a projector showing clips from different movies, this time they did The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Frozen all with music and fireworks perfectly in time. The display lasted for a good 20mins and was the most amazing and emotional part of our whole trip (yes, I cried!).
It was by far the best firework display I had ever seen and they do that every single day.
I am still on a massive high from this holiday and it has been my favourite one yet. We’ll be going through all of the photos over the weekend but keep an eye out on my Instagram for some uploads. I’ll also be doing a post over the weekend about the parks themselves rather than just the rides.