Tag Archives: california

USA 2016 – 03 Disneyland Park – Fantasyland (2016-07-13) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 13 NOV 2017

Having now gotten over the initial incredulous feeling of “Oh wow, I’m in the actual Disneyland!” while moving through Main Street, U.S.A., I crossed over the bridge, marveled at the effective forced perspective trick, and then entered through the gates of Sleeping Beauty Castle, thereby entering the grounds of Fantasyland!

One of the original themed lands of Disneyland, Fantasyland is dedicated to the classic stories of Disney, with the initial area clothed in Renaissance and Bavarian Village motifs and sporting attractions dedicated to the likes of Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, and even Dumbo of all elephants.

The first part of Fantasyland feature a lot of the older style “dark rides“, which are essentially rail cart rides that have you following a tunneled track with lots of twists and turns while a variety of lights, sounds, and puppets tell you a story.

I went on a couple of these, but of course, I’m far too old to be riding kids rides without bring any actual kids of my own along! (For those of you who missed the previous entries, I was in Anaheim for a business expo).

From there I ambled towards the leisurely Storybook Land Canal Boats ride, which as the name would suggest, takes you on a lazy little boat ride past a lot of miniature locations, many of which are plucked directly from big Disney movie locations.

So not exactly a thrilling ride then, but definitely one where the queue was short enough to make joining it a worthwhile endeavor.

It was also in this area that I got to experience the famous Disneyland Band doing their thing, a classic marching band decked in white uniforms performing some fantastic musical pieces on their assortment of brass instruments.

(Interestingly enough, given that this was during the 60th anniversary celebrations at Disneyland, the version of the marching band that I got to experience featured a lot of young, energetic faces – something which apparently caused a bit of a stir when Disney first announced it was going to be swapping out its old guard members).

The final big set piece I stumbled upon in Fantasyland was of course the classic “It’s a Small World” ride, which for those of you not familiar with it, is essentially a water-based dark ride that features over 300 singing and dancing audio-animatronic children, all in traditional costumes showcasing cultures from around the world, with the theme of global peace running strongly throughout the trip.

With that done and dusted, I next strolled over to the Royal Theatre, but sadly for me (I was hoping to take a video for Jess and Emily), there was no Frozen being performed just then.

Oh well, onward to the next magical land then!

So, in summary: Purportedly Walt Disney’s favourite land in Disneyland Park, Fantasyland is great for the smaller kids with its more gentle rides, as well as for those of you old enough to have grown up with the proper Disney classics of old.

Related Link: Disneyland Park | Wikipedia

USA 2016 – 02 Disneyland Park – Main Street, U.S.A. (2016-07-13) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 11 NOV 2017

Having arrived in Anaheim a day before the NACUFS expo was due to kick off, I did what any first time visitor to the United States of America who finds themselves in Anaheim, California does – I immediately purchased a (VERY expensive) ticket to the legendary Disneyland, the only theme park to have been designed and built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney himself!

Disneyland, or rather Disneyland Park as it is known these days (because of all the other attractions on the Disneyland lot nowadays), is of course absurdly massive, and in fact I literally spent the entire day wandering about the theme park – so much so that I have had to split the day’s cache of photos into 10 separate blog posts!

(The fact that Disneyland is naturally split into separate themed lands also kind of facilitates this anyway).

Given that the first area you enter after passing through the gates is good old Main Street, U.S.A., it makes perfect sense then to kick off my Disneyland series here.

Patterned after a typical Midwest town of the early 20th century, Main Street, U.S.A. is reminiscent of the Victorian period of America with the train station, town square, movie theater, city hall, firehouse complete with a steam-powered pump engine, emporium, shops, arcades, double-decker bus, horse-drawn streetcar, jitneys and other bits of memorabilia.

Disneyland is of course always filled with people, but seeing as this is technically the hub of the theme park, there are a LOT more people milling about, shopping at the various specialty stores, grabbing something to eat from the themed eateries or food snack vendors, and generally just resting their feet up for a bit.

Main Street is also home to the Disney Art Gallery and the Opera House which showcases Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, not to mention the important City Hall that has all the answers for any question that you might think of.

Also, pro tip, if you are a first time visitor to Disneyland Park you really should pay a visit to City Hall and lay claim to your special 1st visit badge!

On the far end of the street is the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle as well as the famous Partners statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse holding hands. (Fun fact, this statue now appears in five different locations, namely Disneyland Park, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney Studios, and Disneyland Paris).

That’s also the location of the Hub, otherwise known as the Central Plaza, which gives you direct access to Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, and Tomorrowland.

As you can see from all the photos, this is section of Disneyland doesn’t actually feature any theme park rides, but nevertheless there is plenty for the eye to take in.

Also, and rather satisfyingly at that, because there aren’t any rides in Main Street, U.S.A. there aren’t any of those scarily long queues that you will soon encounter (and become VERY familiar with) as you enter the rest of the lands!

I did of course not stay in Main Street, U.S.A. for too long – after all, I had arrived early morning and was on a mission to take in every facet of this iconic theme park that I possibly could given that I only had one day to explore.

(That said, I did return to this area a further three times over the course of the day – the first to tuck into a delicious ice cream snack, the second to experience Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, and then later that evening to experience the Paint the Night Parade and obviously the massive Disneyland Forever fireworks display!)

Going through all these photos a year later – man I wish that I can take my kids here when they are still small enough to properly enjoy the magic of this incredible fantasyland experience!

So, if you have kids or you yourself grew up during the classic feel good period that defined Disney for the early parts of its existence, then a visit to “The Happiest Place on Earth” is definitely a must!

Related Link: Disneyland Park | Wikipedia

USA 2016: An Expo under the Hot Californian Sun My Life 22 NOV 2016

I lucked out a bit this year. Touchwork does a lot of its business in the United States in the University realm, and as such, tends to be quite visible on the relevant expo circuits. Occasionally the boss sends a team member up to join our American team for at least one of these expo appearances a year – basically whenever we get the funding from the DTI to do so.

Now normally this perk falls to our COO and customer liaison Rory Florence, but this year  (much to his chagrin) he couldn’t go – which then meant that as the next longest standing member of current Touchwork SA team, I got asked if I wanted to go.

Hell yes, USA here I come! :)

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So this all happened in July this year. I left for the USA on the 11th and arrived back in South Africa on the 22nd of July, making for a whirlwind trip of around 10 days.

Of course, technically this was a business trip, but in essence it was only business for about 2 of the days (and even those two days were peppered with touristy things) – the rest were all proper sightseeing days, made all the more enjoyable thanks to my brilliant Touchwork USA hosts Johann Leitner and Carl Mostert, who literally went out of their way to show off their part of the magnificent piece of paradise that is California to this USA (and travel for that matter) newbie!

The expo that we were exhibiting at was NACUFS Idea ’16, the 2016 national conference for NACUFS (National Association of College & University Food Services), held at the the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.

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Anaheim, other than being the base of the Mighty Ducks, is of course most famous for being the home of Disneyland, Disney’s landmark first ever theme park that opened way back in 1955! Following that, I would then travel with Johann to his home base of San Diego (home of Comic Con and of the world famous San Diego Zoo!), for a couple of tourist days there, before heading back out the same way I came in – i.e. via Emirates through the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, Los Angeles!

So, not a bad destination for only my second ever trip overseas eh? (The first being of course that amazing trip to Japan that my brother Ryan and I embarked on in 2014. At this rate, Chantelle is just about ready to murder me with jealousy! :P)

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Right. I’ve got an amazing 23 or so photo galleries to sort through, post and write about, so plenty of USA 2016 content coming up in the pages of An Exploring South African over the next little while then!