Saturday, June 07, 2014

Disneyland 2014: Fountains, Fireworks, and Floats

This post is all about the shows, parades, and fireworks we saw while at Disneyland. On our very first night at Disneyland, we had purchased the dessert seating for Fantasmic. That was a long day with the time change thrown in there too. But the show was quite fun. 

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By purchasing the dessert seating, we had preferred seats (actual chairs, as you can see) for the show. We lined up before the show to pick our seats and then returned at the show time. It was so nice to not have to claim our places and stay there for a couple of hours. And it was nice to have a chair after a long first day in the park. The boys were wild and crazy but still in pretty good moods despite being up WAY past their bedtime at this point and adjusting to a two-hour time difference between Texas and California. 

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Besides the seating, the dessert was pretty fantastic too. My mom snapped this photo of our goodies. To be clear, we each had a box like this. Five of them. I had read somewhere that if you purchase these tickets, you should skip dinner and wait for this dessert box. Well, if it hadn't been so late, we might have done that. And they were right...this was a lot of food for each of us. We ate some during the show and then precariously carried all of the boxes back to our rooms, and we snacked on the contents for the rest of the week. No joke. Also, I should note that we had our choice of beverage...and all of this served to us by a cast member while we remained seated. 

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Fantasmic is essentially a show about Mickey's crazy nightmares and dreams. So, it was very weird in places and definitely had a dream-like quality to it. The colors were very cool and so was the music. 

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Our boys loved when the pirate ship - all lit up - began circling in front of us. It really was a neat sight. Of course, Peter Pan and Captain Hook were aboard and embroiled in yet another skirmish. 

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Mickey finally gained control of his dreams and won out against the nightmares. There were pyrotechnics and fireworks too. This is my feeble attempt to capture some of that...with only my 24-70 lens and no tripod. You can just barely see Mickey raising his hand to command the fireworks. 

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Immediately after the Fantasmic show, we were invited to stay seated and watch the fireworks show that was happening right over/behind Sleeping Beauty's castle. I think they just didn't want a big crowd of people moving around the park with the lights out, which they keep off for Fantasmic and the fireworks show. The fireworks were fun and we could see them just fine, but it definitely would have been more impressive if we'd been in front of the castle. We kind of missed Dumbo and Tinkerbell's flights because we were was just a little too far away for us to see. 

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After the fireworks, we made our way to Main Street to exit. We were delighted to see the castle lit up at night in blues and purples. The boys loved it. But, they were completely DONE with the day. So, although I would have loved to stay and get one decent shot of the castle at night, I only had time to snap this really quick (pathetic) one. Needless to say, we all crashed that night...and slept well, thank goodness!

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The very next night, after another long day at California Adventure park, we had purchased a dinner seating for World of Color. I had heard rave reviews about this show, so we decided to do the dinner seating to make sure we got good spots for viewing. Well, that didn't happen, but more on that in a minute. First, check out those glowing ears. My mom bought a pair of them for each of the boys and they were actually synchronized with the show. It was so cool! They blinked and lit up with all different colors during the show...and all those that had them were doing the same thing. 

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The boys were tired again and didn't wear their ears the whole time. Logan was letting me wear his some of the time. But when they actually started doing their thing during the show, they were enthralled. 

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About our can see that we didn't have a very good view at all. Everyone had to stand, which was fine, but we obviously had several people in front of us so we could only see the parts of the show that were above them. As to why we didn't get a better position with our dinner seating...well, our dinner ran extremely late (which was out of our control) and we didn't get over to the viewing area until most everyone else was already there. So, we were lucky to find a spot at all. I would make a much earlier dinner reservation next time and/or not do the dinner seating at all. I might just arrive early and take my chances with staking out a good spot. 

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Also, I am SO frustrated with people that hold their devices above their heads during the entire show. This was not uncommon, but I find it so rude. But, as you can see, the World of Color show is very colorful! And it was really impressive technologically too. They actually projected scenes from movies on the water fountains that were spraying up in the air. I think I would have enjoyed it so much more if I had been able to see more of it! Casey and I were incredibly sore after the show because we had to hold the boys up for them to even see anything. 

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After the show, we went down front for a minute to see Mickey's Ferris wheel lit up and the fountains still full of color. Like I said, the show was impressive and definitely colorful!

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The first parade we saw was the Pixar Play Parade at California Adventure. We actually got to see this parade twice, which was so fun because the boys absolutely loved it. This was their first real parade and they were mesmerized. And if there was a parade that was custom-tailored to my boys, it would be a Pixar Parade. They have seen and love every single movie represented in the floats. First in the line-up is a current favorite, Monster's University. 

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All of the characters were there. Ethan was especially happy to see Art (the purple one). 

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These next two photos are from the first time we saw the parade. The boys kept pointing at what they saw, and they caught on pretty quickly that if they waved, the parade characters would too!

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The Incredibles were on these really cool motorized things that they controlled...kind of like segways. 

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The Nemo float and characters were actually beautiful. And one thing I have not yet mentioned is that the floats sprayed water at us. Not just the Finding Nemo one...all of them. That's the "play" part of the Pixar Play Parade. 

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I thought the Heimlich character showed a just a bit of creativity. Each segment of the caterpillar was a different person. They stayed in line and swayed back and forth just like a live caterpillar would. It was really ingenious. 

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Of course, the Toy Story part of the parade was awe-inspiring for our boys who are huge Toy Story fans. First, the aliens glide by in their space ship with blasters. 

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The first time we saw the parade, one of the Tinker Toy men gave our boys high fives...they were thrilled!

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Buzz was actually only in the second parade we saw, so we're glad we did it twice. I am a parade person. I love them. We all were totally on board with doing this one twice and amazingly, the boys were just as rapt the second time. 

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Here come some more toys...Mr. Potato Head in a dump truck (cute!), and most of the rest of the gang following behind on the main float with Hamm "pulling" the whole thing. 

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Jessie's and Woody's "guns" spray water. I managed to keep my camera dry during both parades...barely. 

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Bringing up the rear of the parade are Lightning McQueen and Mater. We had met them earlier in the day, but it was still great fun to see them again in the parade. 

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The second parade we saw was Mickey's Soundsational Parade in the Disneyland park. We snagged a spot right on Main Street for this one. We all really enjoyed this one too. It was really fun and engaging with lots of different characters from Disney movies, of course. Here's the Genie leading the procession for Aladdin, who is atop that large drum in the back. 

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Ariel came up from the sea for the parade. The boys loved the huge, purple octopus...and Sebastian sitting right on the front with his claw raised to wave. 

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I loved Rapunzel's tower float. It housed FIVE Disney princesses...Rapunzel, Snow White, Aurora, Cinderella, and Belle.  My boys are still at the age that they like seeing the princesses too. Also, I'm actually a girl, and I grew up watching these princesses in their respective movies...I loved seeing them too. 

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As much as I loved watching the parade itself, faces like this were what I really loved and remember. And that really sums up going to Disney with your kids...seeing the wonder and excitement on their faces. Experiencing it through their eyes for the first time. There's nothing like it. 

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Some more floats...the Lion King and Tiana. I thought Tiana's float was, stylistically, really cool. I have never actually seen the Princess and the Frog, but this float was super fun. 

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Toward the end of the parade, Tinkerbell, Peter Pan, and some pirates - led by Captain Hook - came on the scene. Smee waved at us and the boys were so excited. By this point we had already met Tink in Pixie Hollow, so the boys really waved at her up there on her perch by the mushrooms. 

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That was, my no means, all of the characters and floats...these are just my favorite photos. 

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And that concludes not only this post, but my series on our Disneyland trip. The boys are (even now) asking to go back. I really want to as well. It was a great family vacation. We all had so much fun and made a lot of memories. I'm so glad we were able to make this trip with our boys this year. 

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