Last week we left off in CarsLand. We positioned ourselves just for the display at sunset. This is because there is a routine at sunset that you really should see if you and your family love CARS.
They begin by playing Life Could Be A Dream over the loudspeakers in town and then the neon lights begin to light up!
The streetlights first and then slowly over the course of the song the entire street begins to glow with neon. It is really so beautiful.
Once it really gets dark this part of California Adventure is my favorite. It, literally, glows.Even the race track for the Radiator Springs Racers glows! If you get a chance then make sure to ride this during the daytime as well as at night. (There is a single rider line, if your party doesn't feel like it has to ride together, that moves much faster than either the fastpass or the regular lines)
We left CarsLand at that point so we could head back over to Disneyland and was stopped in our tracks by how beautiful the Carthay Circle Theater looks all lit up at night. Truly stunning!
Take a few moments to look back at the parks entrances when you leave for the night. Everything has been designed to be exceptionally beautiful.
After the first parade, which is around 8pm, it was absolutely crazy. Even with low crowds the "let out" of the parade was insanely crowded. Little Man doesn't like the fireworks so we positioned ourselves in front of the Main Street train station...about as far from the fireworks sounds as we could be and still be in the park. When we do this again we will be on the other side of this park so we can see the buildings on Main Street as well as the castle.
They start off the fireworks with Mickey Ears!But it was the projections on the buildings of Main Street that stole the show! What was going on up in the sky was certainly beautiful but the colors of lights on the buildings of Main Street were SO cool!
And they changed! Each song brought new colors and projections!So, if you are going, make sure that you position yourself on Main Street for the fireworks display. This works if you are planning on seeing the parade after it too since it goes right down Main Street as well!
I had heard the parade was beautiful but nothing prepared me for just how truly dazzling it would be.
Everything is lit up in neon colors! From the floats to the dancers to the ground just glowed!There was only one small, picky, problem. The characters didn't have their faces well lit. I'm hoping that this is something that, over the year, they address and correct.
The use of projections is really big this year in the Parks. We saw many of the rides using this technology and the parade was no exception.
We all loved the aerial marionettes which are as tall as the buildings in the square!What was fun was seeing the puppeteers inside of them...you could tell they were having a great time putting on this display!
One of my favorite floats was the Monsters Inc. float. Sully was dancing around on it while pretending to work the doors.
And the doors, using the projector technology, were SO much fun! Bright and colorful and wonderful! We all "ooh'd and ahhh'd" at this one!
The favorite of our Little Man was the CARS characters. Lightening led the group, showing off, as usual.
I'm not really sure what these dancers are supposed to be but they were definitely a lot of fun.But it was Mac who was the hit for this part of the show. His broad sides projected several different scenes and light displays.
He was definitely my favorite with his big personality showing through with the lights!
DJ, hanging out on the back of Mac, was bouncing around and being his normal, playful, music playing self.
Then it was Under the Sea time! I think the "delicate" dancers were my favorites in this parade.
Ariel, Flounder, King Triton and Sebastian could all be found on this very bright and colorful float.
Even the back of the float was super bright and colorful!
The it was Toy Story's turn to take the floor. With Jesse and her dancers leading the way we knew that fun was going to follow!
Buzz and Woody both road on the Slinky Dog float. Unfortunately, because of the above mentioned problem with seeing the characters, I couldn't get a good shot of either of them. But Slinky Dog sure looks happy!
What Disney parade would be complete without Princesses? The fair Ladies in Waiting began that section. Their lights changed colors as they made their way down the parade route too!
The Disney Princess float was definitely the most ornate float of the parade. Beautiful Belle led the way.Rapunzel and Cinderella followed in their own grand little trailing floats, divided by beautiful candelabra floats in between.
But right now, the Disney Universe is crowded by FROZEN and the dual princesses of Elsa and Anna.The float is truly magnificent. I have no idea what it is really made out of but it definitely looks like a carved ice sculpture!
Elsa and Anna act like the royalty they are, greeting their adoring fans. This float got the biggest response from the crowd.
The details, like this side panel which shows the princesses as little girls, is part of what makes this my favorite float.I'm not a huge FROZEN fan...I liked it but I'm not obsessed...but I do dearly love Olaf! He rides on the back of the float, merrily dancing his way through the parade!
And here comes Mickey Mouse! Like Santa at the end of a Christmas Parade, all Disneyland parades end with Mickey. The rest of the fabulous 5 (yes, Daisy always gets left out) ride in on their own floats.
Then Mickey gets his own personal entourage of dancers to lead the way.And what a float he has! It stands as tall as a building and seems to have more lights than any of the other floats. Not only does he stand on a multi-colored light tier but...
The part of the float that trails behind is made up of a huge diamond, surrounded by piano key-like lights with swirling rotating lights above. This parade is truly Dazzling!
By the time the parade was over it was after 11:30pm and most of everyone in the park had begun to leave. We did the opposite. We headed for the castle!
It is truly stunning. Just standing there, trying to take it all in, I realized that, of all the editions of decorations this castle has had in my 53 years, this one is my absolute favorite.
Each section has been "blinged" out. Covered in lights, draped with jewels and bathed in blue lights.Of course, the giant diamond cut 60th sign hangs over the entranceway. Beautiful during the daytime, it is breathtaking at night.
This late at night there were so very few people around that it feels like this is your own private world. I have to recommend taking the time to be here, at the castle, when the park closes. It's truly magical.
In fact, I was right here, taking this shot, when the announcement that Disneyland was now closed played over the park. I think it was me and 3 other people who were still here at that time. Just magical.
Disneyland is a very special place for all of us in our family. It is where we still meet up as a family, even though most of the kids and grandkids are grown and the only small ones are now the great-grandkids. We have had major celebrations here, ran away from the world during times of great sorrow to here, and consider this a place of healing for us. There is something to the idea that Walt had all those years ago. For us, this is a place of Magic, of Wonder, of Joy. I've been over a hundred times and I'm sure there are another couple of dozen times in my future. With memories like the one in the photo above, how could I resist returning to such a beautiful place?
I hope you can make it out while the 60th Anniversary Celebration is still going on. We'll be back out again next April to celebrate our son's 15th birthday...this time we'll take a couple of days so we can explore even more. Make sure to click on the same photos so you can see the full sized versions!
Next week, I'll take you back to Sicily and tour the area where they filmed the Godfather! In the meantime you can catch me on Facebook and daily on Instagram. If you stop by make sure to say HI!