As you know, I spent the middle part of May in Los Angeles and was lucky enough to spend 2 very full days at Disneyland, California Adventure and Downtown Disney. So today's "Friday's Favorites" will be about Disneyland.
On our first day in Anaheim, we arrived at the park an hour before it opened. We actually had to wait for 25 minutes to get into the parking lot/ deck. We turned off the car and sat while we watched the cast members arrange the cones, open the "toll booths" and get ready for the day. We were third in line. We rode the tram to DTD and purchased our 2 day park hopper tickets. We then waited for about 15 minutes for the main gate to Disneyland to open. They chose a group of 8-10 youth to "open the park." It was fun as the cast member announced who they were and where they were from, but it was very boring compared to the opening ceremony at the Magic Kingdom in WDW!
Finally the gates were open and we were on our way to the original Disney Park! We took our time going under the train tracks and into Main Street USA. We looked around, took pictures, got our 1st trip buttons and started making our way down Main Street. We were hungry since we didn't have a chance to eat at the hotel so we stopped at Carnation Cafe for breakfast. We had a great breakfast!!
While we were finishing our meal, a man (cast member) approached our table wearing a chef's hat. He asked how the meal was and if he could get anything for us. We told him it was delicious and we were doing fine. He asked where we were from and the conversation started. This was my favorite part of the trip! Oscar Martinez has been working at Disneyland since 1956. He didn't know Walt personally, but had some stories to share. Sadly, between his accent, the crowd noise and his soft spoken voice, neither Jonathan nor I understood the stories. It almost seemed he was trying to keep quiet so others wouldn't be able to hear what he was saying. He did sign my Disney autograph book and took a picture with me! When he signed, he included the date he started working (12-29-1956) and he wrote "54 years" because that's how long he's worked at Disneyland. A few minutes later he came back and gave me a copy of the "Disneyland Line." I believe this is a publication for cast members only. He showed it to me, signed the page where his photo appeared and told me to hide it in my backpack so other guests wouldn't see it. So, I did! He was pictured with Tom Staggs (WD Parks and Resorts chairman) and some other Disneyland cast members.
My advice is, while you are on your Disney vacation, whether it's in Disneyland or Disney World, take time to slow down and enjoy everything! Talk to the cast members, ask questions, look at the architecture, take pictures, learn about the history of the attractions... there is so much more to a Disney vacation than rushing from ride to ride, show to show, park to park and parade to parade!
have a magical day! :)