One of the great things about walking around Paradise Pier is when riders go whizzing overhead on California Screamin’. It’s a driving force to the liveliness of the boardwalk area. Couple that with carnival games and flashing lights and you have yourself a day of amusement.
Disney California Adventure
The first time I saw it from the Disneyland parking lot, I thought this peak resembled a wolf…
I know I wasn’t the only one. Fortunately, my perception of it changed over the years and I wholeheartedly embraced the grizzly bear. In fact, I don’t see the wolf anymore at all.
Call it quality concept art. Call it Mickey Mouse Kool-Aid. I’m always game for an adventure at Grizzly Peak.
Today marks 6 years for TDD. In that time, I’ve taken hundreds (and hundreds) of pictures all around Grizzly River Run. It’s ironic, really, considering it’s an attraction I’ve never been on.
I think what draws me to this area so much is that it feels, rather convincingly, like escaping into the wilderness.
When I was a kid, my family didn’t go on many vacations. But the ones we did go on were to beautiful scenic places. Visits to national parks were my favorites and have been ever since.
In some way, this area reflects those memories and touches on that desire that John Muir waxed so eloquently:
The mountains are calling and I must go…
Or as I like to put it—the photos are calling and I must shoot. Here’s to another year!
Ahh… the Boudin Bakery at DCA. Its aromas hook us all by our noses like something out of a classic Disney cartoon. Thank goodness for sourdough starter preserved in socks!
The remodeled entrance and vintage automobile aren’t exactly new news, but they are a welcome addition to the Pacific Wharf space, and give another reason to visit aside from free samples.
Flo’s Cafe doesn’t need its neon to glow. It’ll find a way in just about any light. This one is definitely worth pulling up bigger to get the full effect!
We did it once before and said never again but they were empty words. When we heard everything that Disneyland was planning to kick off their big 60th anniversary Diamond Celebration, we got a little excited. Okay, maybe more than a little.
A new fireworks show.
A new nighttime parade.
A new World of Color.
The Hatbox Ghost finally back in the Mansion.
A new Harold (the abominable snowman), in a revamped Matterhorn.
A 24 hour event to kick off Memorial. Day. Weekend.
What could possibly go wrong?!
It wasn’t the easiest decision, given the mayhem that was sure to take place, but we bit the bullet and decided to go anyway.
We were fortunate enough to be offered a room at the Grand Californian by a friend who’d booked a room but wasn’t able to make it. We took it as a sign that maybe there would be plenty of sunshine headed our way.
Knowing that people had begun lining up to get in the night before and that Disneyland would bring guests into Main Street at 4:00am, we decided to sleep in until 5:00am in hopes that the congestion would ease up by the official park opening of 6:00am.
We woke to gloomy skies that quashed the excitement of an epic sunrise and made for slow going getting ready for the day. We decided to forego the security checkpoints at the esplanade and used the Grand’s entrance to DCA. It was a brilliant move that got us straight into the park at 6:40am.
We walked briskly through the newly re-themed Grizzly Peak Airfield, taking a few photos along the way. (More on this wonderful new area in an upcoming post!)
Naturally, we had to stop and take a few pictures of Carthay done up in its 60th anniversary decor before heading over to Disneyland.
It seems that no matter where you go at the resort, diamonds will find you. The esplanade flags are no exception.
It only took us 10 minutes from the time we entered Disney California Adventure and photo-walked our way across the esplanade to pass through the turnstiles and into Disneyland. Despite the heavy cloud coverage, it seemed that sunshine was indeed headed our way.
After a couple of stops on Main Street, we headed for Sleeping Beauty Castle to see what she will look like for the next year or two (or three…). The last time we’d visited Disneyland, the castle’s makeover was only halfway completed.
In pictures I’d seen online, the “diamonds” on the castle looked off to me, sort of plastic-y and cheap. In person was a different story, having more an appearance of glass, and they quickly grew on me.
And that is where we will leave you. We’ll return soon with Part 2!
Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of “Tours Departing Daily.” Can you believe it’s been 5 years?
In some ways it’s crazy to think that we’ve been at this for that long, but when I look back at all the pictures we’ve taken, the experiences, the people we’ve met, the hours and money invested, it feels like forever. It’s kind of like being married in a way. It’s hard to remember a time before this. A time before we were taking pictures at Disneyland and sharing them on the internet.
There have been a lot of wonderful changes in the last 5 years.
Michaela and I moved to San Diego. I got a great job as a graphic designer and photographer for UC San Diego after having worked as a custodian for most of my adult life. We’ve made some truly amazing friends.
There have also been some challenges.
When Squarespace “helped” us out by canceling our hosting early, leaving us scrambling to put something together on WordPress, Michaela and I weren’t sure we had it in us. We’re actually still working on cleaning up that mess. People selling our work on eBay and Etsy has certainly been frustrating.
The most challenging part of any of this has been finding balance. Is this a hobby? Is it more? Our sporadic absence over the past year has been the result of us trying to answer those questions, and make sure our focus is where it needs to be. Not only that but making sure that we spend quality time together and get adequate rest. Those are easy things to forget when you’re passionate about something but that something isn’t your 9 to 5, paying the bills.
About a month ago, I mentioned that we would be changing how we do things. I said that we were going to shift our posts to a more content rich, storytelling style. We’re just about there and I can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on. For the first time in a long time, we feel like there’s promise on the horizon.
So here we are. I feel like I rambled. Did I ramble? I hope not. I hope you know how much we appreciate you. It means a lot to us for you to take time out of your day and pay us a visit.
With the closure of Condor Flats, an afternoon Fly ‘n’ Buy is no longer possible. I imagine the shop itself will remain, rebranded to the Grizzly Peak theme. There must be merchandise, after all. It would be cool if some national parks stuff snuck its way in.
The progression of change at the Disneyland Resort has been interesting to watch over the past several years. Things don’t really go the way of the yesteryear in a hurry. They sort of get picked at, piece by piece. Condor Flats saw its entrance sign disappear some time ago now. Luigi’s Flying Tires lost its beach balls. The safety updates…
It lessens the final impact, to have change come in bite-size pieces rather than hit you all at once. I think in most cases, these decisions have been good or necessary. Some, however, I think we may not feel until the steady passage of time has brought it into focus. In particular, the Disney Gallery comes to mind. First moved. Then consolidated with Disneyana. That was the writing on the wall. Putting two signs on a single building doesn’t make it two things.