Thursday, September 17, 2015

Disneyland Bucket List

        Over my years of visiting Disneyland I've gotten to do some pretty great things, from being in an old parade when I was nine (dancing with Baloo no less) to having the most magical conversation with the Fairy Godmother. That being said, there's still a ton of experiences I'd love to have. So, here's a list of some things I'm hoping to do at Disneyland!

Don't you want to see when this sign lights up?
  • See the Lighting Ceremony in Cars Land: Every night when they switch the neon on in Cars Land they do a little ceremony in which the lights slowly come on and they play a song from that moment in the movie. It seems so magical and I can't wait to see it!
  • Meet Mulan: I've met Mulan before, but it was a very long time ago. She's at the top of my list of who I want to meet!
  • Eat at Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue: With the impending arrival of Star Wars Land the days are numbered for Big Thunder Ranch. I've never had the barbecue there but I've heard it's amazing so I definitely want to try it before it's gone!
  • See the Disneyland Forever Fireworks From Every Viewing Area: I love that Disneyland worked so hard to make the fireworks more accessible and I want to experience every viewing area that they've created (and hopefully see the Matterhorn light up as Mount Wannahockaloogie).
  • Ride the Carousel with the Pearly Band: I love the Pearly Band and I love going on the carousel so getting to ride around as they play would be amazing!
  • Ride on the Columbia: I haven't been on the Columbia in a very long time, so I think it's time to go on again.
  • Ride in the Lily Belle Train Car: It's pure Disney magic and history and I want to experience it so badly!
  • Have Megan Be the Rebel Spy: My best friend Megan love Star Wars and she's been hoping forever that she would be the rebel spy on Star Tours. Let's hope it happens soon!
  • Pin trade with Cast Members: I've been collecting pins for years but I've never really gotten in on the trading part. I'm hoping to change that and I know the easiest way to get started is by trading with Cast Members, so that's my next step!
  • Go on the Canoes: This is just something that I've never done and think looks like fun.
  • Ride in the Wheelhouse of the Mark Twain: Again, it's just pure Disney Magic and I would love to experience it.
  • Go to the Tiki Room: It's shameful that I haven't done this before, so I'm hoping to correct that soon (preferably with a Dole Whip in hand)!
        So, that's my list! I tried to keep things realistic, hence the lack of the Dream Suite. Hopefully I'll be able to accomplish everything here in the next year!

Friday, August 21, 2015

D23 Expo Announcements and Reactions

        As pretty much everyone knows, the D23 Expo was last weekend in Anaheim. I couldn't go, but I'm almost glad that I couldn't. All of the coverage that I saw of it, mostly through Instagram and Disney's blogs, made it seem exceptionally crowded and packed with a ton of things to see and do. Frankly, I probably would have had more than one panic attack had I been there, not mention I would have spent all of my money on the exclusive and limited edition merchandise, so being at home with my cats wasn't so bad.
        So many exciting things were announced and it's all a bit overwhelming so I'm focusing on what I found most interesting and sorting it all into a few categories.
  • Star Wars Expansions: This has been a long time coming, and with the new movies fast approaching, it was something that I don't think could be stopped. Now I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan (I haven't seen the movies since I was very little and, frankly, don't even remember them that well) but I'm still excited for these lands. It'll be a new challenge for the Imagineers and I'm curious to see just how immersive the lands are. It will be interesting to see what exactly we lose to gain these lands, especially at Disneyland. Before the official announcement I know that there was talk of losing Toon Town, but now it seems like we'll only be losing Big Thunder Ranch and some of the backstage areas nearby. It's sad that we won't have the seasonal events in the Ranch anymore, but I'm really excited to see what new rides and other sorts of attractions Disney has in store for us.
  •  Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios: While I've only been to Disney World once, I'm still always intrigued by any news from that resort. This land sounds like a ton of fun and a great way to show off the Imagineers' theming capabilities!
  • Pandora: The World of Avatar: Ever since it was announced, I haven't been thrilled with the prospect of this land. I personally didn't like Avatar that much and I don't think that it matches the tone of Disney very well, but I understand that it's got a ton of potential for immersion. The art shown this weekend certainly makes it all seem exciting but I'm still very skeptical.
  • Soarin' Around the World: I have extremely mixed feelings on this new version of Soarin' Over California that will feature new footage from all over the world. I absolutely adore Soarin' as it is, but I've also thought that it needed to update its footage for a long time. I don't think that this change will ruin the theming of the newly redone Grizzly Peak Airfield in California Adventure, as I've seen some people say, because it's still aviation themed. That being said, though, I do hope that they'll end the ride by focusing in on California and arriving at Disneyland.
  • Disney Animation: I've been quietly optimistic about Zootopia for a long time. It just sounds like fun and I'm always happy to see Disney balancing fairytale and non fairytale films. We didn't get much news about it though which is disappointing but understandable considering it's coming out in only a few months. Moana, meanwhile, is something that I am bursting with excitement for! It just sounds absolutely fantastic, with the directors of some of my favorite Disney movies directing and with an amazing setting and concept I have very high hopes for this movie. I'm also just so, so happy to see Disney still working on adding diversity to their films. The last movie to talk about for Disney Animation Studios is Gigantic, which we still don't know much about. One thing we do know, though, is that it's about a human boy and a young giantess. I get the feeling that this movie is going to be a lot about friendship and if Wreck-It Ralph is anything to go off of, that'll be amazing.
  • Pixar: A lot of the news surrounding Pixar was about the footage shown from The Good Dinosaur which was apparently fantastic. I'm trying to keep my hopes low after having a lack luster experience watching Inside Out, but I'm still excited. Of all of Pixar's up and coming films many of them are sequels. There was a line of posters at the expo showing a poster for all of their announced movies that are still in production, and most of them were sequels. I trust Pixar to make good sequels, but I'm worried that they'll overwhelm the original ideas that will also be debuting. The other original idea that was discussed was Coco which has something to do with Dia de Los Muertos. Not much is known, but it's supposed to be another great high concept film, so I'm hopeful.
  • Live Action: Frankly the only thing I really care about from the news about further live action films is that ORLANDO BLOOM WILL BE BACK FOR PIRATES 5! (This is all I've wanted since I saw On Stranger Tides.)
Merchandise: Not a ton to say here but there is supposed to be a ton of new merchandise coming this fall (some from Tokyo!) and it all looks very intriguing. I haven't ben thrilled with a ton of the merch that Disney has sold for a long time, so anything new is exciting.

Overall, an incredible amount of exciting news was shared at D23 and the future of Disney looks very bright.

All of the pictures and news discussed here can be found on the Disney blogs.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Getting Stuck on Peter Pan's Flight // Magical Memories

        Back in January, my best friend Megan and I took a trip to Disneyland on a rainy Friday afternoon. We knew that Peter Pan's Flight would be closing for refurbishment soon and that it would be our last chance to ride it as it was, so we got in line and waited 45 minutes to board our pirate ship and take our trip to Neverland.
        It started off great, of course, because that ride, even before its refurbishment, was one of the most magical attractions in all of Disneyland. As we flew over the streets of London, however, we heard an announcement reminding people to keep their hands inside of the ride vehicle. And then, after entering the Neverland room, just as we were about to circle the island, our ship stopped.
        Now I had never truly been stuck on a ride before, so I figured we would keep going momentarily, as had happened whenever rides like Haunted Mansion and Indiana Jones had paused. Then the lights came on. It was interesting, at first, to look around the room with the lights on. We saw Neverland in better detail than ever before, as the volcano continued to smoke. We could also see what created the stars around the room, fiber optics stretching out like branches from the wall. It was okay, for a while.
        But as the time passed by, panic set in. We hadn't seen or heard from a cast member and we were left dangling in the air. Maybe dangling is a bit dramatic, because having looked up at the track in full lighting I can tell you that it's not lightweight, but I'm afraid of heights, really afraid of heights, so it still felt exceptionally precarious to me. It didn't help that there was a little girl in the ship behind us that kept voicing aloud all of the worries that were running through my head.
        "How are they going to get us down?"
        "How long are we going to be up here for?"
        "What's wrong with the ride?"
        Megan and I were still discussing the details of the room that we could never see before when a cast member finally came in. He asked how everyone was doing and assured us that we would be out soon, but that just set a whole new wave of worry on me, because he never said how we would be getting out. In our ship, Megan and I tried to guess how they could possibly get us down the perhaps 10 ft. difference between us and the floor. The only thing we came up with was a ladder, which made me panic because I did not want to have to face my fears that day by climbing down a tall ladder.
        After about fifteen minutes of being stuck, it occurred to us that we should have eaten before hand because neither of us had eaten in hours and were starting to get hungry. We were already rationing our quickly emptying water bottles. Around the twenty minute mark, another cast member came into the room, but he didn't even say anything to us. He just walked around Neverland and went into the next room. Boredom had set in, because it turns out that there's not much to do inside of a pirate ship and cell phones can't connect to the internet from Neverland, and I was still stewing in worry about how exactly we would get off of the ride.
        Twenty-five minutes after we had stopped, I found out that I had worried for nothing. A cast member approached the boat in front of us, on the other side of the island, and after she did something to it, it started moving. Once they disappeared into the next room, she came and sent our ship on its way. The rest of the ride was odd. We moved along the track with all of the lights on and none of the sounds. The weirdest thing we saw was Tiger Lily, essentially coming out of the ground and missing her lower half.
        After we disembarked and finally left, we saw that, of course, there were still people not so patiently waiting to ride. It was sprinkling and we made our way to the Jolly Holiday Bakery and split a cinnamon roll, celebrating our survival.
        In retrospect, that whole experience is hilarious. We were only so eager to ride it that day because of its impending refurbishment, so essentially the fact that the ride needed work was why we got stuck. And frankly, it was great ride to get stuck on. We got to see behind the scenes and we weren't in uncomfortable restraints. I've seen videos online of other Disneyland rides breaking down and I can say assuredly that I would choose Peter Pan's Flight every time, ten feet off the ground or not.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Disneyland Official App Review

        Disneyland has finally released its own app! I haven't gotten the chance to use it in the park yet, but after messing around with it for a few days I've got a ton of thoughts about it, so let's jump right in!


  • Finally an official app to check wait times from anywhere in the parks! I've used some of the unofficial apps before and, frankly, they just weren't that reliable. As previously stated, I haven't used the app in the park yet, so I'm not sure how this one is, but I'll certainly feel more comfortable trusting it than I do with the others.
  • Character meet information! While I'm not sure if it's real time, it's great that this app gives guests knowledge about where their favorite characters might be. I and other frequent guests may know where to find Cinderella and Genie, but for people going for the first time or the first time in forever, it'll probably be loads of help!
  • Dining prices! Of course, the app doesn't give full menu information (more on that later) but it does allow people to have an idea of how expensive each location is. It does so by giving a rating ($, $$, or $$$) for how much an average meal for an adult costs. Again, for first timers and more casual Disney fans, that feature will probably help out a lot.
  • As someone who always forgets to grab a time guide upon entrance, this next feature is particularly exciting: show and parade times! Gone are the days of needing a time guide and having to dig it out of your bag to double check! Seriously, I can not tell you how happy this makes me! I feel like the times for Mickey and the Magical Map are constantly changing and I've heard more than one inaccurate announcement about it on the train, so I'm quite pleased that I'll have those times in my pocket from now on.
  • Easier access to information about guest services is another great feature of the app. I personally have found it kind of difficult to read the park maps in regards to these things and so I really love that they've got their own category in the app.     


  • I love the wait times, but I don't love that you can't sort by land. Of course you can just look at one land on the map, but that gets messy. I'd really like it if in the list mode you could organize according to land instead of just alphabetically.
  • You don't have access to restaurant menus. On Disneyland's website you have access to the full menus of most restaurants and I think it'd be great to add that to the app, or at least have links to them. They do tell you the cuisine type of each restaurant but I know that for me a full menu would be of much better use.
  • On top of that, there's no way of looking at just one style of cuisine. I wish that you could sort the restaurants by cuisine type, because if you're in the mood for Italian it'd be nice to just look at the places that serve that type of food.
  • Not really a true negative but I do find it odd that a major promotion point of this app is that pass holders can use it to enter the park when you can't use it for Fastpass and discount services. I guess it's nice to not have to retrieve your pass in order to park hop but it still seems silly that there's not much use for having your pass on your phone.
        Overall, I'm really excited about this app and I'm really looking forward to all of the things Disney can do with it through updates. I can't wait to use it on my next trip to the parks!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Disney Descendants Review!

        So let's just start this off with a warning: I did not like this movie and I will be spoiling it in all sorts of ways below. If you don't want to hear negativity or spoilers, stop reading now!

        I've been skeptical of Descendants ever since it was announced. To me, the idea of any movie linking together all of these different Disney stories and providing information on what "happily ever after" had in store for many of my favorite characters is horrific. The fact that it was a Disney Channel movie doing so made me dread it even more. That being said, I tried to watch this movie with an open mind, I really did. But I just couldn't like it, no matter how hard I tried.
        When I know that I want to review a movie I try to take notes during it. Usually I fail at doing that, because I just get lost in the story and want to dive into the film wholeheartedly. This time, however, I never stopped taking notes until the last five minutes of the movie. Some of those notes include:

  • Why did they make the castle look like Cinderella's if it's the Beast's?
  • Why the comment about Mrs. Potts that's awful.
  • OMG Beast has his beast face on his crown, WHAT?
  • Why are they slut shaming Evie?
  • Jay seems much more like Aladdin's son than Jafar's.
  • Kristin Chenoweth can do better than this.
  • Why do Maleficent's henchmen look like rejected lost boys?
  • How would Doug of all people not know all of the dwarfs' names?
  • Why would the Fairy Godmother give up her wand to a museum?
  • Why do they all wear heals all the time?
  • This is the worst thing I've ever seen.
  • "I'm not hideous" because even cool, seemingly confident and proud girls have to be self conscious about their appearances.
  • "I hope you like bikes." THAT IS A SCOOTER.
  • "We get to choose who we're gonna be" finally something good thank God.
  • Wow a bad montage sequence with footage we just saw, great.
  • Be Our Guest is the worst thing they could have done I am personally offended.
  • Why is Snow White a news anchor?
  • Let's just completely reinforce how important it is to be beautiful according to conventional standards, fantastic.
        And again, that's just some of my comments (some of which were edited for comprehension and to take out not-so-Disney-Channel-safe language).
        I strongly believe that this movie could have been a cute and campy musical full of fun, if not kind of stupid, references to the Disney classics that we all love, but there were many aspects that kept if from reaching that potential. For example, the musical numbers seemed very forced. It felt like they were merely a way to showcase Dove Cameron's voice, with a couple by Mitchell Hope thrown in to make it slightly less obvious. The dance routines were rather weak also, failing to pick up the slack of the less than impressive songs, two things which I never thought would happen in a Kenny Ortega movie. Mal, while at times a relatable and interesting character, also annoyed me because she seemed to have sudden moments of doubt for no reason when she had just been extremely sure of her status as either "rotten to the core" or better than what people assume of her.
        My main problem with this movie, however, was that it sent such awful messages toward its viewers, young girls--its target audience--especially. Throughout the film we're bombarded with stereotypes of girls. The idea that physical beauty, as defined by society, is of the upmost importance for girls is repeated tirelessly. Mal's transformations of everyone's hair being the way for her to gain popularity and Jane's unhappiness with her appearance driving her to act horribly both contirbute greatly to this exceptionally problematic idea. The portrayal of Evie is especially upsetting to me, as she is constantly judged for her interactions with boys and with the assumption being shown that she is stupid because she is beautiful. While she does come to find and embrace her intelligence, that is shown to be some giant surprise to everyone, including herself. It's as if no one could believe she had a brain to start with, let alone a bright one. Also upsetting are the ways that the Isle of the Lost and Auradon differ. The "good" people of Auradon are shown to be conventionally beautiful and rich, while the evil inhabitants of the Isle of the Lost have unique styles and appearances and outdated, broken electronics. These portrayals only reinforce the ridiculous and harmful notion that rich, pretty people are good and poor, ugly ones are bad.
        The central theme of the movie, that everyone can decide for themselves whether they are good or bad, is a wonderful message. It's a shame, though, that it is delivered in the midsts of awful stereotypes and misconceptions.
        (Also let's never forget the disaster that was that Be Our Guest remix. I wouldn't be surprised if Alan Menken leaves Disney forever and Howard Ashman rises from the grave just to slap Kenny Ortega across the face.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Top Five Disney Princes!

        The Disney princesses are some of my absolute favorite characters in all of Disney. I love everything about them, from their movies to their dresses and meeting them in the parks. Their princes are also fantastic. Now, this list has been made with only the love interests of the official Disney Princesses in mind, so no Hercules, Tarzan or Robin Hood unfortunately. This top five is not hard and fast for me, and coming up with it was pretty difficult, especially outside of my top three, but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, so let's get started!
5. Prince Charming
        I know that he isn't usually included with most people's favorites, but I've got a soft spot for Cinderella's prince. He's a guy who knows what he wants, and who won't take things like love lightly even to please his father. Maybe it's just me, but I've got respect for a guy who has every girl in a kingdom throwing themselves at him yet only pursues one. When Cinderella ran away, there was still a ballroom of eligible women who would have loved his attention, but rather than give them any thought he only wants to get her back. To me, he's determined and passionate, and those are great qualities. I think we can also gather that he's rather humble, as he obviously wasn't talking much about being a prince if Cinderella didn't even realize who he was after hours together. The guy is also a romantic. I would love to be danced around the beautiful grounds of a palace. Overall, we may not know him that well, but what we do know about Prince Charming is all good, so he deserves a spot in my top five (for now at least).
4. Prince Eric
       Eric is handsome and charming, of course, but what really sets him apart is his kindness. It's clear from the start that Eric is full of compassion. His interactions with Max alone get across his caring nature. Add to that the way he takes in Ariel and shows her around the kingdom, and you've got me hooked. Eric is one of the few princes in Disney who are born with their title but don't have an attitude about it. His benevolence and compassion are clearly reflected in the way he rules. Even though he wields power over Grimsby and Carlotta it's obvious that there's a lot of love among them, and he never abuses his power to put them down. (On a side note, Chef Louis still has a job at the end of the movie, so clearly the kindness extends to him too.) The bravery that Eric possesses also adds to his appeal. Whether it's saving Max from the fire or taking on Ursula, he doesn't back down when his loved ones are at stake. Overall, Prince Eric is an amazing guy, but I'm not sure I'd give up my voice for him.
3. Aladdin
       Over the course of his movie Aladdin more than proves that he really is a diamond in the rough. I'd argue that Aladdin's generosity is his best trait. He really tries his best to take care of other people, even if his ways of doing so aren't quite legal. Whether it's giving his bread to the little kids or getting Jasmine out of trouble, Aladdin uses every skill he has to make sure the people around him are cared for. He's also clever, constantly getting out of trouble and tricking Genie into granting wishes without actually having to wish for them. Now, he does get off course a bit while posing as Prince Ali, but he also realizes that and works to make amends afterward. Maybe it's just me, but I think that being able to admit when you're wrong is one of the best qualities that anyone can have. Having looked closer, it's obvious to me that Aladdin is no street-rat.
2. Prince Naveen
       At the start of The Princess and the Frog I certainly didn't think that I'd love Naveen, but his character development over the course of the film is some of the best that Disney has ever done. Naveen's journey from cocky, spoiled prince to the hardworking and compassionate man that he becomes is a joy to watch and absolutely buys him a spot on this list. Naveen, like Aladdin, must come to grips with the fact that he had been wrong in the past. His love for Tiana truly brings out the best in him. For someone who once turned to Dr. Facilier to make his life easier, his dedication to making Tiana's dreams come true is remarkable. One of my favorite sequences from any Disney film is when he prepares to, and then fails to, propose on the riverboat. It's a lovely thing to watch him transform from selfish to selfless. His suave, smooth talking ways are amazing, but they're nothing compared to that journey.
1. Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert
        Now I know that this is a pretty popular choice right now, but I believe that that's for a reason. Flynn is like every Disney prince rolled into one--he has the charm, the shady past, the compassionate heart, and the moral transformation, not to mention a great sense of humor.
Nothing beats the reveal of Flynn's real identity, except maybe the way that Eugene goes on to try to give Rapunzel the best day ever, and then to sacrifice himself to save her. He literally goes from stealing from Rapunzel to giving her everything, including his life. That's quite the transformation and it reveals what a loving and all around great guy Eugene is under all of that talk and cockiness. At the risk of being a bit extreme, I'd say that Disney will have a hard time ever topping Eugene Fitzherbert.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Inside Out // (A Very Late) Review

This post contains spoilers, be warned!
        I've been very excited for Inside Out ever since I first heard about it. It was a concept that I could get behind. I've always found emotions interesting and seeing them interact within someone's head sounded like the most intriguing thing to come to film in years. Pete Docter being named director also piqued my interest, given that he has directed two of my top three Pixar movies. Take that level of interest and add in superb reviews that heralded Inside Out as the best thing to ever come from Pixar and I had very high expectations for this movie. In retrospect, maybe too high.
       For me, the film was incredibly smart and original, however it failed on some basic story aspects, pace being a big one of those. The story seemed to drag at the start, as so much needed to be explained and built up for the story to even make sense. I'm not sure what Pixar could have done to fix this, but I'm sure that there's something. That particular problem continued for me throughout the rest of the movie as well, after Joy and Sadness embark on their journey. The slow pace made me just want to get moving, which probably hurt my sympathy for the characters, who I ended up not caring about as much as I should have. The only characters I really felt for were Sadness and Riley. From the start I was annoyed at Joy. Bing Bong, meanwhile, struck me as a villain. I've read that the animators wanted him to appear suspicious at first, to throw the audience off, and that may have worked too well for me. I was so suspicious of him that I never developed any positive feelings for Bing Bong, and so his sacrifice did not have as big of an impact on me as I'm sure it was supposed to.
        My major problem with the film is that I felt like they went in the direction of having Riley become depressed, but didn't actually commit to it. She went into feeling nothing only for a moment, and they never actually named depression as what that was. Of course it would have been difficult to deal with the topic of depression while keeping the film family friendly and entertaining for young children, but as someone who's struggled with that illness it felt cheap of Pixar to glance at it and have it serve as a plot point but only have minimal screen-time and mention. I was also left wondering if everyone goes through that sort of experience in order to feel complex emotions, or were Riley's emotions just not aware of how they were meant to function? Clearly they had guide books, and they had read them all, so surely if that information were included there they would have already known that. That is a question that will bug me for a very long time.
        All of that being said, the film was still fantastic. The concept is brilliant, as expected from Pixar, and all of the settings inside of Riley's head are beautiful and so, so smart. My favorite parts of the film were definitely whenever the various emotions were gathered and interacting. I was excited every time that we went back to check in with Anger, Disgust, and Fear and absolutely loved watching them attempt to keep Riley going. (Although I did feel that Disgust wasn't necessarily strictly disgust, as the social aspect seemed more like something that Fear should have dealt with.) I also really loved the interactions of Riley and her parents. Their family dynamic was fantastic, and that's something I wish we saw more of in film. Sadness was by far my favorite character. She was so complex and so well done, and the voice acting of Phyllis Smith was absolutely phenomenal.
         My absolute favorite scene, however, was when Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong enter Riley's abstract thoughts. It was a very brave thing for Pixar to veer so far away from the overall look of the film for that sequence, but the use of different art and animation styles was executed perfectly and created what I believe is one of the most original and daring scenes in animation.
        Clearly my emotions are mixed in regards to this film. There were many things that irritated me and still bother me when I think about them. I'm left wondering if maybe Pixar bit off more than they could chew this time around, picking a concept that perhaps needed a longer amount of screen time and a more mature target audience to excel. However, I'm also in awe of how creative and beautiful this film was. The story was still very touching and had very funny moments throughout. Overall, Inside Out was an A- when I expected an A+.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Disneyland's 24 Hour Celebration// May 22-23, 2015 // (A Very Late) Trip Report

        This past May was the first time that I've ever been able to attend a 24 hour event at a Disney park, so you can bet that I was not going to miss it. It turns out that I couldn't go for a full 24 hours, but my best friend Megan and I were there from 1:00 PM to 6:00 AM, and those 17 hours were some of the craziest I've ever had.
        May 22nd also happened to be the day that we had to move out of our dorm room, so that morning was spent loading up our cars and cleaning, and then making the 45 minute drive to our hotel on Harbor Boulevard. We settled into our room, each had a snack, and then headed for the park. We had tried to plan out some of what we wanted to do, but even with that preparation we were nervous things wouldn't go very well. As soon as we got onto Main Street, it was apparent that we should have been even more nervous.
So realistic.
        People were already lining up for the Paint the Night parade, with their blankets spread out across the vast majority of the route. We immediately went to get Fastpasses for Space Mountain, and got even more evidence of how crowded it was when the return time was already for 1:30 AM. With that on our minds, we rushed to get in line for the just refurbished and re-opened Matterhorn. The wait was somewhere around an hour and half, and I'm glad we did it to start the day because later on there was no way we'd have had the patience for it. Once we got into our bobsled and started our ascent, though, it was clear that the wait was worth it. The Matterhorn is one of my favorite rides, so I was more than a little skeptical of the changes, but just seeing that animation through the ice on the climb up the hill was enough to make me solidly a fan of the updates. The new figures of Harold were amazing too and the photo opportunity nearby was a perfect way to cap off that first leg of our day.
        At that point, we were both hungry and decided that it was now or never to go get the special macaroni pizza that was being served at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta in California Adventure. It was fantastic, so fantastic that I forgot to take a picture of it, but let me assure you, pizza topped with macaroni, bacon, and pesto is one of the most amazing things you could ever put into you mouth. Now, we felt pretty good about ourselves at this point, and as we headed to the front of the park so that we could go back to Disneyland. Once we were out of DCA, however, and in a giant line that wrapped around itself in the esplanade, we started to panic. They were only allowing reentries, and only ones who had been inside of Disneyland before 2:00 PM. We barely made it, but we did, and we couldn't even be mad about how crowded Main Street was.
        Taking note of how crowded the whole of Main Street was, though, we decided to abandon our plan of seeing the first showing of Paint the Night, and try for the the second one at 1 AM instead. We were still trying to figure out how we would see the fireworks as we headed off for Big Thunder Mountain. For the rest of the evening, we did rides, so many rides. The lines were surprisingly short, probably because everyone was already waiting for the parade and terrified to leave their spots.We rode Big Thunder, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Jungle Cruise in just a couple of hours. Then we went to the 7:15 showing of Mickey and the Magical Map, the last showing of the day.
        Maybe it was because it was the last show, maybe it was because it was the start of the sixtieth anniversary, maybe it was because only people who love the show bothered to show up that day, but that showing of Mickey and the Magical Map was by far the most fun and magical that I've ever seen. Everyone, the crowd and cast, was so happy and energized. Everyone was singing and laughing and cheering. It's frankly indescribable just how joyful that half an hour was.
        After we left the theater, we did a grand tour of Fantasyland--well, of most everything in Fantasyland that isn't a dark ride, anyway. We hit the tea cups, we soared with Dumbo, and we rode our white horses around the carousel. All of this was at dusk, and it truly felt like there was pixie dust in the air.
        The panic was starting to set in, though, that we still hadn't figured out how we would see the fireworks. We desperately wanted to see them on Main Street and take in the new projections and everything else that came with the new show, but given that the parade would be there we didn't know how we would do it. In this confusion we got in another ride on Big Thunder, and then wandered into the Emporium. We figured that, if nothing else, we could shop. We took advantage of the slow crowds inside of the store to wander and actually found a pretty decent deal on some 60th anniversary totes. The parade started up outside, and we stood by one of the doors, half admiring merchandise and half watching the show over the heads of the people on the sidewalk outside. While there, we figured out what we would do. We stood by that doorway for the entirety of the parade, and as soon as it was over, we joined the crowd rushing into the middle of Main Street. Our view was surprisingly good, and all we had to do was wait.
        The Disneyland Forever Fireworks show is my favorite thing about the Diamond Celebration. The music selections are fantastic and flow together so well. The songs come from throughout Disney's history and even included some that I never would have guessed. (That Nemo sequence!?!) Standing in that crowd and singing along with everyone was spectacular, and tiring, and maybe made it okay that after the last pyrotechnic Megan and I immediately rushed to the sidewalk and claimed our spot for the second showing of Paint the Night, which would start three hours later.
        During our wait for the parade, we enjoyed coffee and humorous Cast Members, both of which were greatly needed. It also gave me a chance to take some artsy pictures of our Space Mountain Fastpasses, because how often do you get a Fastpass marked for 1:30 AM?
        I'm not going to lie, Paint the Night is not my favorite, it seems a little too jumbled and the style of many things (like Belle's float) aren't really up my alley, but in that moment, after waiting for hours and having had a very stressful and busy day, it was fun. It was just the kind of release we needed. Also, it happens to feature my three favorite princess all as a part of one float, so it gets bonus points for that. Our experience of Paint the Night was also special because we witnessed it have to stop, as Goofy, true to form, dropped his paint brush and had to wait for a Cast Member to retrieve it. In the end, it took them somewhere around ten minutes to do so, so we got Goofy hamming it up right in front of us for an extra hunk of time.
         The rest of the night/day were kind of a blur. We went to Space Mountain, adventured with Indiana Jones, and got pastries at the Jolly Holiday. One of the things that we definitely wanted to do during our 24 hours was meet one of the big 5 in their pajamas. We headed over to Toon Town and got in line for Minnie. What then ensued was a monstrous wait that nearly broke us. I never like to complain about CMs, they have very hard jobs especially during special events like that. However, the two who were supposed to be handling Minnie's meet weren't doing their job, and so what should have been a forty minute wait, was more like two hours. They allowed everyone from large groups to take pictures individually and to take their own separate pictures of just Minnie (who rotated with Donald and Daisy at one point). It was nightmarish. The end picture was okay, but they had allowed it to go on for so long that when it was finally our turn, Megan and I each had rushed experiences with hardly any interaction.
        From there we went for a delirious ride through Storybookland on the canal boats, and then one last spin on the carousel. With about an hour and half until six, and with the sun slowly rising, we went over to New Orleans Square and rode Pirates for our last attraction. Then, we took a few last pictures, and then went to Town Square for our send off.
        Later, after going back to our hotel and each passing out for most of the day, Megan and I heard about the nightmare stories of those who never even got to go into Disneyland that day. I feel so grateful that I was able to go to the 24 hour celebration, that I got to be there for the kick off of the Diamond Celebration, and that I got to do it all with my best friend. There were many things that I wish I could change about that trip, but also loads of memories that I will fondly remember forever. All in all, it was a pretty great way to spend 17 hours of my life.