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Travel [1402.05]

California Adventure 2006

(this article first appeared in our 2006 holiday newsletter)

We missed Disneyland’s 50th anniversary celebration last year, so when it was continued through mid-2006 we decided to take a look. Never having made it over to the neighboring California Adventure, we scrambled in late April to catch a "2fer" promotion that allowed local residents to see both parks for one (still exorbitant) price.

It was fun, and there were some good rides at California Adventure. "Soaring" uses motion bases and IMAX projection to make you feel like you’re hang gliding, albeit on a giant glider with 80 other people. "Tower of Terror" makes good use of visual effects, including pitch darkness and motor-assisted drops that exceed 1G. The "California Screaming" roller coaster ride was great, mercifully lacking the bone-jarring jerkiness that normally goes with a giant coaster.

We especially looked forward to seeing the fireworks show at Disneyland. For years I had seen the display from the I5 freeway while driving home from work late at night. Since it includes amazing forms such as concentric rings, huge starbursts, and even smiley faces and cubes, I was curious to experience the show as it was designed to be seen. It was worth it to endure the crowds in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Not only do you see the fireworks from the correct viewing angle, there is a whole musical narration that accompanies it (message: "buy more Disney videos").

The electrical parade didn’t seem much different from the early ‘70s, other than changing names from the "Main Street Electrical Parade" to "Disney’s Electrical Parade" since it no longer runs on Main Street in Disneyland. The music made us nostalgic; we used to blast it while driving around in the EV1!

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