Last week, the Disneyland Resort opened two highly anticipated new rides, The Little Mermaid- Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and Star Tours- The Adventures Continue with fan fare and ceremony that only Disney can provide. It had been three years since the Disneyland Resort had last launched a new ride so I knew they would have something special up their sleeves. Once again, Disney exceeded my expectations and gave us plenty to get excited about for the Summer of 2011 and beyond. Here is the lowdown on what’s new and exciting at the Disneyland Resort:
Who better to perform at the grand opening than the voice of the Little Mermaid herself, Jodi Benson? Her live rendition of Part of Your World was flawless, and yes, a tear or two may have trickled down my cheek during the performance. Diehard Ariel fans lined up at the Disney California Adventure gates at 2AM just to be amongst the first to climb aboard a clamshell and be part of her world. The ride itself is reminiscent of the classic rides in Fantasyland, but is taken to another level thanks to today’s technology. Classic songs such as Under the Sea and Kiss the Girl are brought to life with nearly 200 incredible Audio-Animatronics figures that seem to give life and emotion to the characters. The ride is appropriate for all ages but may be most popular with young kids and parents who grew up watching the movie.
Attention East Coasters- Fear not, the Little Mermaid ride will be coming to the Magic Kingdom as well!
Read my full review of the new Little Mermaid ride.
Still to come at Disney California Adventure
Anyone who has visited the park lately knows that it is currently one big construction zone. This summer in addition to the new Little Mermaid ride, the park will also open Goofy’s Sky School on July 1st, a retooled and more Disneyfied version of the old Mulholland Madness ride, as well as Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, Paradise Garden Grill and Bayside Brews, a beer and pretzel stand.
The biggest news is the current construction of Cars Land, a themed area filled with rides, restaurants, and attractions themed after Radiator Springs in the popular Cars movie franchise. It has recently been announced that this new area of the park will open the summer of 2012, probably to even more fanfare than this months new rides!
When the original Star Tours launched, George Lucas had only produced three Star Wars movies. Now there are six. In an effort to keep up with the times, both cinematically and technologically, Disneyland updated the ride to create an experience that truly does feel like it came from a galaxy far, far away. The new Star Tours features amazing 3D technology and 54 different versions of the ride, ensuring riders will have a different experience every time they board the simulator. Kids will love the adventure and fast pace of the ride (though not really scary) and if they are lucky, they might even get to be the spy on board!
Attention East Coasters- The same version of the ride opened up at Walt Disney World a few weeks ago.
Read my full review of the new Star Tours ride.
Mickey’s Soundsational Parade
Nobody does a parade quite like Disney and this year’s new addition is no exception. Mickey’s Soundsational Parade celebrates the diversity and rhythm of Disney music in an uptempo celebratory atmosphere. No Disney parade is complete without an appearance by the big cheese himself, Mickey Mouse, who kicks up the parade in a cheerful style. New favorites such a Rapunzel and Princess Tiana makes appearances, as well as classics like Peter Pan and The Three Caballeros. If you want a front row view be sure to line up on Main Street early. We saw families camped out on the curb nearly two hours ahead of time!
The Disneyland Hotel’s exciting remodel
I have three words for you: Monorail pool slide. While the entire remodel of the Disneyland Hotel has yet to be completed, I am very impressed with what has already been finished, including the newly updated and incredibly fun pool area. For the past few years, The Grand Californian seemed to hold the distinction of being “the” place to stay at the Disneyland Resort, but I have a feeling the Disneyland Hotel will be giving her sister property a serious run for her money. The property embraces its mid-century architecture with nostalgia based Disney style and updated rooms. For those looking for an over the top Disney experience, 5 massive themed suites (Big Thunder Railroad, Adventureland, Mickey Mouse, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Fairy Tale Suite) are available if you can handle hefty price tag, approximately $3000 per night. After touring the rooms (except the Fairy Tale Suite which was occupied), I can tell you that they are incredibly detailed, one of a kind, and worthy of your most special occasion. For the record, the Mickey Mouse Penthouse is my favorite.