Upon stepping through the grand entrance plaza and into Disneyland’s main street, the park performs a miraculous transformation: turning two 20-something year olds, dealing with money and responsibility issues into starry eyed children high on life. I think this in a nutshell is Disneyland’s lasting appeal: The ability to unleash the inner six year old within all of us as we explore this highly imaginative fantasy world.
The decor and atmosphere in Disneyland is exceptional, five unique larger than life districts depicting the kind of places every kid dreams about exploring. A mysterious jungle land, the wild west frontier, a retro-futurist’s vision, a fantasy kingdom and a Victorian main street all rendered in painstaking detail. The immersion is amazing, while walking down the main street, horse drawn carriages ride past as you hear the train steam off into the background, however should I step into fantasyland, I’m on cobbled roads facing a giant castle. In other amusement parks or funfairs, the themed elements can lose their appeal as it can be easy to see behind the smoke and mirrors, however Disneyland is seamless, never at any point do you find yourself behind the scenery, realising this epic castle is actually a two dimensional set piece.
While the scenery is great, any theme park’s main draw lies in its rides and once again Disneyland hit’s the bullseye. The underlying theme of Disney’s rides is it’s seamless implementation with the fantasy, while a roller coaster may seem completely out of place in the wild west, a runaway train through a dangerous mine site is completely fitting. My favourite ride, space mountain, from the outside is a futuristic dome with a orbital cannon mounted on the side. Watching from the outside you see the riders fired out through the cannon, before disappearing at the top (apparently fired into space), but when riding It you are taken into this dome which contains an enormous roller coaster that is lit up like planetarium, creating the illusion of whizzing though space.
Disneyland has been a blast, but now it’s unfortunately time to leave the make-believe world behind, I’m off to Paris now for something… real and …educational.