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article imageReview: Escaping the cold with a first-time trip to Disney in your 30s Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Feb 6, 2018 in Travel
This writer just demonstrated you don’t have to be under a certain age to go to Disneyland for the first time – and have a blast.
When someone mentions “the happiest place on Earth,” people recognize the reference to Disney and their assorted theme parks. But it’s difficult to gauge the truth of this statement if one’s relationship with the fantasy creators has only been through the screen. As audiences fall in love with the wonderful characters that range in size, species and disposition, they attempt to recapture the blissful feelings these characters evoke by buying and collecting related merchandise.
Yet these primarily static replicas cannot compare to “meeting” these beloved personalities “in-person” or experiencing their worlds “in real-life.” Disney has always been a fantastic means of escape and those in the Great White North could generally use a southern getaway between November and March when below freezing temperatures can make life less than cheerful. And what better distraction than a magical kingdom designed to make everyone’s dreams come true?
Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disney California Adventure Park
Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disney California Adventure Park
California offers two parks for fans’ enjoyment, though it’d be difficult to choose one over the other as the attractions both complement and differ from each other. Disneyland contains classic theme areas, including Mickey’s Toontown and the twisty-turny Roger Rabbit cab company; Tomorrowland and the thrilling Space Mountain; Adventureland and the timeless Indiana Jones voyage; and, of course, the majestic symbol of all things Disney — the castle, which includes a striking Sleeping Beauty walkthrough.
Just steps away is California Adventure, which houses some newer and more exciting choices, including the exhilarating Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT; the adrenaline-fuelled Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land; and the picturesque global flight, Soarin’ Around the World, complete with accompanying wind and smells.
Roger Rabbit s Car Toon Spin at Disneyland Park
Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin at Disneyland Park
Thankfully for those unable to choose, there’s the “park hopper” pass available for one to five days, which allows visitors unlimited entry to both parks in the same day. When combined with the $10 (USD) “MaxPass” and a less busy day midweek, one can get a lot done in a short period of time. The MaxPass is somewhat different than the average FASTPASS as it works in conjunction with the parks’ corresponding app, allowing users to reserve a one-hour timeslot for more popular attractions or ones you may want to ride later in the opposite park.
The wait times between bookings depends on how far off the reservation is and can range from 30 to 90 minutes. On the plus side, you can conveniently check the estimated wait times of any attraction in either park to avoid long lines throughout the day via Wi-Fi hotspots. Moreover, collecting the unique codes linked to your attraction photos gives MaxPass buyers unfettered access to their images for 45 days. Just be sure to pack a portable charger since the app’s connectivity demands tend to drain your device’s battery.
As it turns out, even though the majority of the attractions are geared towards younger visitors, there is plenty for an adult Disney fan to enjoy. They’re all tagged with useful descriptors, like “slow ride,” “dark,” “loud” or “thrill ride” as well as suggested age groups, to help visitors choose their adventure. But even a coaster fiend may find enjoyment via an unhurried trip through Alice’s Wonderland or Finding Nemo’s submarine dive since the rides are designed to provide you with an overall experience linked to your favourite narratives.
And although the larger Star Wars area is under construction, there’s still plenty to experience, including the lightspeed, 3D Star Tours to several planets with tie-ins to The Last Jedi and a dedicated exhibit featuring models and costumes from the movies.
Sleeping Beauty s Castle at Disneyland Park
Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland Park
The only surprise (and admittedly minor disappointment) was the lack of character interaction. Movies and television have led us to believe our favourite characters can be found all over the park, yet only a few (Goofy, Mickey, and Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum) were spotted at the end of long lines of fans waiting patiently for their photo opportunity. But one has to set priorities when you only have a day to “do it all” and while it was tight, we just made it to the closing World of Color light show after a day chock-full of heart-warming fun.
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