This past weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif. The trip was a great deal of fun – I heard updates on New Fantasyland, saw an amazing rendering of Shanghai Disneyland’s Enchanted Storybook Castle, and oh yeah, visited Disneyland park for the first time.
I grew up vacationing at the Walt Disney World Resort and have been lucky enough to visit Disneyland Paris twice, but I’d never been to the Disneyland Resort, so I jumped at the chance to attend this year’s D23 Expo.
I promised my team I’d share some of my first-trip highlights with all of you, so as we like to say at Disney Parks, “Let the Memories Begin!”
- Visiting Disneyland Park – Each Disney park is uniquely wonderful in its own way, but in this case, there’s just something about being at the first park, the one that Walt Disney himself introduced to the world and forever changed the way many of us vacation, imagine and dream. I had the best time just strolling through the park, enjoying the attractions Walt would’ve seen, and trying to pick out buildings that looked familiar from park’s opening-day broadcast.
- Experiencing the original Pirates of the Caribbean – I was lucky enough to try out several of the park’s classic attractions on this trip, including The Haunted Mansion, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, “it’s a small world” and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, but I just fell in love with this version of Pirates. It starts out a bit differently, with a gentle coast through the Blue Bayou, then a drop underground through caverns brimming with pirate treasure. A second plunge brings you to the scenes that Magic Kingdom Park fans would recognize – pirate ships, blasting canons, the bride auction, and of course, Captain Jack.
- Hosting a live-chat from Club 33 – Last Thursday night, my fellow authors, Thomas Smith, Jim Ames, Erin Glover and I were very fortunate to do a live tweet from Disneyland park’s Club 33. While I was amazed with every aspect of this unforgettable dining experience, I was equally pleased to see our messages get retweeted in Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. (I think the photo above was the only time my hands weren’t on a computer).
- Attending “World of Color” – On the last night of our trip, Thomas and I were able to break away from the D23 Expo for a viewing of “World of Color” at Disney California Adventure park. As you can see from the photo above, it was simply amazing! And Mickey’s Fun Wheel makes one heck of a background to the show.
- Gaining at least five pounds – I have to admit I’m a quite a foodie, so when Disney Parks Blog Food Author Pam Brandon sent me a list of must-try restaurants for my first trip, I was up for the challenge – to hit all of them! Pam sent me on a true tour through culinary destinations big and small that ranged from Corndog Castle (best crispy corndogs ever, according to Pam), to Napa Rose (best wine selection), Blue Bayou (best New Orleans-style chow), and beyond.