Monday, March 31, 2014

The Disneyland Resort ~ At Night

Disneyland Resort at night is another level of fun for every member of the family. With small children, who are use to early bedtimes, it can be a hard night to stay late enough for the fireworks show. The presentation usually begins at 9 pm and some kids will be sound asleep by then, or wavering on cranky legs. This is one more reason why going later in the year is a great idea, because the days are shorter and the kids will get to see the Parks light up in time for even the little ones to see them!
 Neon is a Southern California institution and you will see lots of displays of this art form in California Adventure. You can see this beautiful marquee right inside the entrance to Hollywood Land .
In fact, Hollywood Land is fun to explore after the sun goes down. It is also the pathway to get to the Tower of Terror! I'm more of a Monster's Inc kinda girl and that is also located in Hollywood Land!
  And there is always shopping. Sitting in front of the theater, where Disney Jr. Playhouse shows are presented, you can see the whole street from one end to the other...and all of the shops and places to get snacks too!
But the Carthay Circle, new since they renovated the street, is just breathtaking at night. For the grown ups there is a wonderful 1940's style bar and for the families there is a very nice fine dining restaurant upstairs. Just Beautiful!
Carthay Circle is a little jewel that many people just walk right past. As I was taking this photo I had 4 other people stop and exclaim about how beautiful this was. It's easy to get caught up in the rushing here or there in the Parks, especially if you have kids, but try to slow it down and really catch all of the wonderful details that Disney is known for. Even I didn't go slowly enough. I'm betting there is a Hidden Mickey in those tiled stairs and I didn't even think to look! If you go and find one make sure to shoot me a photo of it over on Facebook!
But the real treasure in California Adventures, daytime or nighttime, is Cars Land. It is amazing how they have made this movie just come to life. I couldn't get over it.
 The Cozy Cone is a place to meet up with the characters like Lightening, Mater, Red, as well as grab a snack.
Shopping is available behind some familiar landmarks on the main street of Cars Land. 
But nowhere is the neon more amazing than at Flo's! You will be amazed. Great place to get dinner but just a wonder to see at night.
 Right next to Flo's is Ramone's. This cute little shop is filled with clothing that you will want to bring home with you. As with all Disney merchandise, it is expensive, but if you are looking for one shop to get Cars clothing then this is the one.
But if fun is what you are looking for then head over to the Radiator Springs Racers. I, highly, recommend you riding this ride during the day and again at night. It's totally different and totally cool...and yes, I'm totally a SoCal girl! LOL!
 Here comes one of the most important tips of this three part blog. If you are even thinking of seeing World of Color then go to this park at 9am and head straight for the Grizzly River Run and get your Fast Pass for World of Color. It doesn't matter if there is almost no one in the park, doesn't matter if it's pouring rain and everyone is leaving. If you do not have a Fast Pass to this show you WILL NOT SEE IT FROM THE FRONT.  Guaranteed. Ok, there's one other way. Pay for one of the dinners at the nearby restaurants but even those you have to reserve. And they are very, very...did I mention, very expensive. So get to the park early and get your Fast Pass. Because it is stunning. 
Yes, we learned this the hard way. We didn't get the Fast Pass since the park was nearly empty and were still not allowed to watch the show from the front. Now the show includes projected movies onto the water so watching it from the front is a pretty cool thing. BUT, if you forget, or the Fast Passes have all been given out, there is a place with lots of seats on the Boardwalk behind the Ferris Wheel where it's still really cool to watch the show from the back. There are benches where you can relax and enjoy it.
If you go midweek after the World of Color show the park is closed down so you walk out at a time when the park is nearly deserted. This is a very cool feeling. Like you have your own private park.
 That's when you head back over to Disneyland! I'll happily take this resort at any time of the year (altho' summer is a bit too hot for me) but Christmas time is definitely my favorite. Not only is there an incredibly tall tree in the middle of the Main Street square but there are all sorts of extra lights that are not up the rest of the year.
 It's a Small World is simply stunning at night. Check with your hotel or at the Town Hall on Main Street and find out when they turn the lights on. We sat, impatiently, on benches outside of the little shop near the ride and waited for them to go on and believe me, it was worth it. Stunningly beautiful. The words are inadequate for what the feeling is truly feels like.
 All year round there are lights on at the park. Any outdoor ride that you ride during the day is a completely different ride at night. Even the Tea Cups are more magical once the lights go on.
And, of course, there are the fireworks. Yes, I know this isn't the best photo but it's the one and only time I caught The Mickey on film! I've been going to Disneyland since I was 6 months old. Back then fireworks were saved for the 4th of July. That was it. Then they added New Year's Eve and they were off and running from there. Now, it seems, that they set them off every night that the weather permits. If you are watching in the park then stick around It's A Small World for the best viewing. By "best" I mean you get to see them clearly and there is less of a crowd. If you are ok with crowds and waiting then head for the Castle at about 8pm. Settle in and wait. It is, by far, the most magical place to see them. It is also, by far, the most hectic and crowded places to see them. We actually watched from the upper deck of our hotel this time.

And speaking of the Castle. It really is magical at night. You can see it from several different vantages including from Tomorrowland. Just catching it at Christmas time, all decorated up and adorned with thousands of lights makes this the best time of the year to see the Castle. 

So that's what I'll leave you with before we continue our tour of Los Angeles. A view of the spectacular Castle at night. 

Next week we'll head off to the BEACH! Yup we are headed to Venice Beach next week! Can't wait to share it with you.


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