12 Fantastic Things We Miss Most About Disneyland
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Happiest Place on Earth will remain closed for the rest of 2020.
That’s not even a metaphor about 2020, just a fact. We can’t even visit the Happiest Place on Earth because this year sucks so bad.
We’re not going to dwell on the negative, though! Instead, we’re going to celebrate the greatness of the world’s first theme park.
Here are 12 things we miss at Disneyland Resort.
Haunted Mansion Holiday
Let’s start with the one that matters the most at this time of year.
Haunted Mansion Holiday should be celebrating its 20th year in operation.
Alas, we live in dark times when the universe refuses to allow us to have nice things.
So, we cannot watch with joy as Haunted Mansion turns into a glitzier version of Halloween Town.
In a better world, we’d watch Oogie Boogie dance and spin his wheel.
Thank God for YouTube videos:
Indiana Jones Adventure
For several years now, Walt Disney World fans have tracked rumors about the debut of an Indiana Jones ride. Nothing has come of it (yet).
Until then, the only option for a true Indy escapade is available at Disneyland (and Tokyo DisneySea, which cloned the ride).
We all miss bouncing around our Enhanced Motion Vehicle as we explore the Bengalese Temple in search of the proverbial Forbidden Eye.
As usual in Indy stories, the search for a historical artifact goes poorly. In fact, even Indy struggles mightily.
Indiana Jones Adventure perfectly captures the spirit of the franchise, and that’s why we hate that we can’t ride it right now.
It’s a Small World
You’ll discover some version of It’s a Small World at every Disney park except for Shanghai.
However, Walt Disney only worked on one of them, the original version that charmed audiences at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
The Disneyland version of It’s a Small World possesses the most history and directly traces back to Uncle Walt. So, it’s the best one.
The Matterhorn Bobsleds
Over the years, Disney has developed a tendency to share rides across parks. Exclusives have grown rarer.
There’s one ride that Disney has never tried to duplicate, though.
Back in the earliest days of Disneyland, its creator feared that the park would grow stale over time.
So, he came up with an idea to make the place even more special.
Uncle Walt asked his Imagineers to build a mountain, and he put a sled ride on the side of it.
The Matterhorn Bobsleds dazzled upon arrival in 1959, as it was the first legitimate E-ticket ride.
More than 60 years later, this roller coaster remains a thrill ride that everyone loves…and one of a kind.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Here’s a weird one. For a time, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was only available at Disney’s American parks.
Then, on a dark day in 1998, Magic Kingdom closed down its version, leaving the original as the only one in operation in the world.
With Disneyland closed, nobody can hop on a motorcar and follow J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq. on a trip to Hell.
No, seriously. This Disney ride begins in a mansion and finishes with judges sentencing our hero to jail and then Hell.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride stakes a claim as the darkest of all dark rides. Disney attractions need more of this carefree whimsy and humor.
Radiator Springs Racers
Last year, Oh My Disney’s YouTube channel published several videos about diehard fans.
The one I’ve thought about a lot is the dude who has ridden Radiator Springs Racers 12,000 times. This is a real thing. Watch:
I have to wonder what the pandemic has been like for this gentleman. He’s used to riding this Pixar attraction several times a week.
Now, he cannot do so for nine full months. That would legitimately disrupt his entire world view.
In a way, we are all like this person. We want to experience the best that Disneyland Resort has to offer…but we can’t.
The Secret Menu at Lamplight Lounge
Something we all love about Disney is uncovering its secrets.
You’ll never feel more like a Disney insider than when you know how to do something that nobody else does.
At the Lamplight Lounge, you can order a full secret drink menu, one complete with appetizers. That’s not the best part, though.
When you know what to ask for, you can enter a secret room and look at some pictures that few have ever seen.
The Lamplight Lounge highlights the modernization of Disney fun, even as it ties back to a past generation of hidden speakeasy-style joints.
Snow White’s Scary Adventures
One unheralded aspect of Disneyland involves its opening day attractions.
Many of them have not only stood the test of time but remain in operation to this day.
Snow White’s Scary Adventures is one of them, a ride that debuted in July of 1955 but continues to satisfy guests even now.
This closure’s especially frustrating, as Imagineers were in the process of refurbishing the attraction.
In a better world, Snow White would have returned in May, brimming with new life thanks to many improvements.
Instead, we’re left waiting and wondering what the 2021 version of Scary Adventures will look like.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
We had just fallen in love with this one! Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance was barely three months old when Coronavirus forced the park’s closure.
Now, the most technologically impressive ride in the world sits unused while we all fantasize about riding it.
The newer version at Walt Disney World often sells out in a matter of minutes, sometimes even seconds.
I find it excruciating to know that we could all be riding this one if not for the stupid pandemic!
Walk Through Sleeping Beauty Castle
Today, we’re all used to Disney theme parks, including life-sized castles.
Back in 1955, Uncle Walt garnered headlines for his bold idea, though.
The entrepreneur understood that guests must buy into the illusion that they’re entering a storybook realm.
So, he constructed Sleeping Beauty Castle and added a walkthrough.
In all sincerity, few people talk about this experience, but it’s quietly one of Disneyland’s best overall attractions.
Don’t worry. It’s still burning.
In truth, if there were ever a war or natural disaster in Anaheim, I fully expect that cast members would work as a team to keep the lantern lit.
Even so, I think we’d all feel better if we could look at Walt’s Lantern. It’d remind us that Disneyland remains a constant, even in years like 2020.
World of Color
No Disney day ever feels complete without a nighttime presentation.
Uncle Walt recognized this back in the late 1950s, as guests tended to leave the parks too early. He used fireworks as a way to entice them to stay.
More than 60 years later, the technology has evolved dramatically, but the premise remains the same.
We want to watch some sort of dazzling show, the kind we’d only expect at a Disney theme park, before we end our visit.
Right now, World of Color at Disney California Adventure qualifies as the shiniest nighttime presentation of all.
Isn’t World of Color stunning? One day soon, we’ll go back to the park and watch it in person again. That’s gonna be the best day in ages!
Featured Image: Matt Shoshane, Disney