Redeeming Disneyland | Katherine Smith

After staying up entirely too late last week working on my latest project – a pair of hand painted, Anna-themed Toms – I was ready to go Disneyland it up with my childhood best friend, wearing said shoes, of course.

After staying up entirely too late last week working on my latest project – a pair of hand painted, Anna-themed Toms – I was ready to go Disneyland it up with my childhood best friend, wearing said shoes, of course.

The “excuse” for said weekend excursion was to redeem Disneyland for her. Her previous, and first, trip to the happiest place on earth had not quite lived up to the Southern California hype.

Her first trip to LA came as I was concluding my college career: for graduation, the road trip home, and, it goes without saying, a stop at Disneyland.

Now, she wasn’t entirely new to Disney parks, she’d been to Disney World several times, but never to the original.

I had never, in the three and a half years I lived in LA, seen it rain in the Southland like it did that weekend.

To say that we were unprepared when we hit the parks would be an understatement. Being properly attired is key to successfully Disneylanding on a rainy day.

Been there, done that.

This, however, was not one such day. She at least had the excuse of packing light, at my request, due to the space constraints in my car — we were driving up the coast the next day, my car packed with the contents of my apartment. Technically, I could have fished hardier shoes out of the abyss, but I had just crammed everything in there; naturally I didn’t want to unpack everything — in the rain — and repack it again. So I soldiered on in my Rainbows.

Ten hours later we were soaked and ready to call it a night before embarking on the two day trip up the 101.

It’s a weekend that lives in infamy in the history of our friendship.

As I dropped her off at her home two days later, we agreed that someday we should go back, she should see Disneyland in the sun, as it’s supposed to be.

That day was Saturday. And, boy, did California deliver.

One hundred degree-plus days during the week cooled to a positively delightful weekend, about as perfect Disneylanding weather as one can get.

We spent the next three days playing in the parks until we dropped, almost literally.

Mutually agreed upon favorites of the trip were Radiator Springs Racers, Indiana Jones, Thunder Mountain, Toy Story Midway Mania and World of Color.

Indy has long been tied with Thunder as my favorite attraction, and I was happy that both looked better than ever.

Indy just came off a refurb about a week ago, and I can’t remember the last time I saw the attraction look so good. The doors into the Chamber of Destiny actually worked, as did the falling rope bridge effect. I can’t recall the last time the bridge worked, or the doors for that matter.

Thunder reopened a couple of months ago after an extended refurb that was well over a year long. Loved. It. The new explosion effects at the finale worked every time we rode, and the whole attraction looked great.

We had a great Jungle Cruise Skipper on Saturday, he told some of the best, little used jokes in the Jungle, in my opinion.

Not one of them, but still a great moment, was when we turned passed Schwitzer Falls. He did the predictable, “Well folks, we just turned down the Nile River, and if you don’t believe me you’re in —” at this point he put his hand out and waited, wanting us to call out the punch line. And, of course, I obliged.”

“De-Nile!” I called from the back of the boat without missing a beat.

Yea, nobody else answered him. Just me. He laughed.

“That’s right folks, you too can be a Jungle Cruise Skipper.”

Indeed, you can. And I have.

I made it a point that we would see World of Color during our trip. I took my friend on our previous visit, we were way in the back and it was just kind of ‘meh.’ To me, being able to see the full height of the fountains makes so much difference.

We stood in the splash zone (depending on which way the wind is blowing you really don’t get that wet, and the fire at the end dries you off) and on the plane home my friend listed it as one of her favorite things that we did. #worthit

It was great to go on some rides that I normally skip and/or hadn’t ridden in ages. Splash, Fantasyland dark rides and Autopia among them.

We ended our weekend with one last trip around the Jungle, and I even got to dust off my spiel for my friend as we made our way through the line. Yep, still got it. Once a Skip, always a Skip.

It was a successful mission. Said friend wants to go again next year.

Disneyland redeemed.