January 3, 2006

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    After leaving Arizona about 5 a.m., Bryan, my brother and I arrived at Disneyland just after the park opened at 10 a.m. We parked and headed to buy our tickets. The lines for the ticket windows were really long. We bought park hopper passes, which were $116 and good for two days at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure.

    We entered the park and hopped in line for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters because the line for Space Mountain was long (we got Fastpasses for Space Mountain). This ride was OK. I got a higher score than Bryan but a lower score than my brother. I didn't figure out until about halfway through the ride that there was an aimer on the gun. That made it easier amid all the other guns shooting at the same target. 6/10.

    We were hungry, so we got a bite to eat. Bryan and I got turkey legs, which were $5 and delicious. We wandered around for a bit and decided to hop in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The line wasn't long. While in line, my brother scratched a scab off his arm, which started to bleed. He cleaned it off in a water fountain in line. We got to sit in the front car. This ride is pretty fun. It has three lift hills and lots of tunnels. The tunnels are cool. Sitting in the front lags when we head down drops because the rest of the ride has to get over the hill. The water splash at the end is neat. 6/10.

    Afterward we headed to Haunted Mansion, which was themed to "The Nightmare Before Christmas." The queue was really neat. It seemed long, but because it was split in two, it went fairly quickly. I really enjoy this ride. It's just a simple dark ride with smoke and mirrors, but I still think it's cool. The whole place had Christmas decorations up and characters from the movie all around. 7/10.

    We went to Indiana Jones Adventure, which is one of my favorite dark rides. The wait was about 45 minutes, but it was a good wait. The queue was great and had a lot to look at. It was covered in vegetation and had snake statues around it. The entrance to the temple looks good, too. This ride is amazing. I really like it. The trucks drive around a course, take sharp turns, tip all over the place and drive next to ledges. It's so fun. The ending is the best. I forgot about the drop after the huge boulder falls toward the vehicle. I think only Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure is better than this ride. 10/10.

    Pirates of the Caribbean was next. I really enjoy this ride. It's relaxing, pirates are cool and it looks good. You don't get wet, though there are a few spots where you think you're going to get splashed. We saw a hidden Mickey toward the end of the ride. That was great. 8/10. 

    We used our Fastpasses to get on Space Mountain. My brother and Bryan ended up getting to sit in the front. I was one seat behind them. The last time I rode this ride was before they revamped it. This new version is definitely smoother, though the turns aren't heartlined. I was surprised at how this ride kept spiraling down. Every turn took us farther down than the last section of track, and we sped up with each drop. It was a lot of fun. The music in the cars kept the ride's pacing up. Look at our photo. 7/10. This is much better than the earlier one, even though the layout is the same.

    Next we got in line for one side of Matterhorn Bobsleds. The last time I visited Disneyland, this ride was down for rehab. The last time I rode this was when I was 5, and I only rode one side. While waiting in line, you see trains zoom by every so often. You also hear something roar inside the ride. Toward the end of the queue, you can see the primary braking on the coaster: a water splash. It slows it down before the final curve into the skid brakes. We waited about 30 minutes to get on.

    This ride is pretty bumpy. Every transition jolts you around. The cars are uncomfortable. Good thing it only has seat belts. They didn't even make me buckle the second seat belt. They just checked mine and sent us on our way. Most of this ride takes place inside the Matterhorn. Every so often we'll pass by an opening in the mountain. The sunset looked great from this ride. The water splash at the end takes off a lot of speed. 6/10.

    Bryan and I hopped into the line for the other Matterhorn track. We waited about 20 minutes for this side. It was pretty much the same as the other side. There was a part when we passed by a train going the opposite direction, which was cool. The track's bumpy, but I sat in a different position so I didn't hit my tailbone. 6/10. It started to get a bit cooler outside.

    We wanted to get sometime to eat, and my brother wanted to spin the big stone ball in Tomorrowland. We spun it around a few times. That water was really cold. We headed to Redd Rockett's Pizza Port in Tomorrowland for dinner. We each got a slice of pizza and a soda, which cost $9!

    We hopped on Star Tours after eating. This is a simulator themed to "Star Wars." It was pretty lame. I'm not a big fan of simulator rides, and this one didn't do too much. The idea of it wasn't too great, either. You're on a tourist space ship that will travel from Endor to a nearby moon, but your newbie captain can't drive. Blah. 3/10.

    We went to Honey, I Shrunk the Audience next. This attraction is really dated. The movie was OK more than a decade ago, but it's just old now. This attraction is just a theater with a large screen. You wear 3-D glasses, and things on the screen appear to come off the screen. Eh, not really. I'm used to these things, and I'd already done this attraction the last time I visited this park. 2/10.

    We headed over the Splash Mountain because we thought the line would be shorter as the Main Street parade was going on. It was about 75 minutes, so we got Fastpasses that were good in about an hour. By now it was dark, and the temperature had really dropped. We were walking around in shorts and T-shirts, and it was pretty chilly. We didn't want to ride a water ride because it was cold, so we decided to stick around and watch the fireworks show. This show was excellent! The fireworks were all timed to music. I especially liked the fireworks shooting back and forth in the style of Pirates of the Caribbean. This was a pretty long show, too. It must have been about 30 minutes. 10/10.

    After the show, we headed out. We were cold and had pretty much ridden everything in the park. We'd come back tomorrow to ride Splash Mountain after California Adventure.

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