Never gets old | Inquirer Entertainment

Never gets old

By: - Columnist
/ 09:39 PM November 06, 2013

We’re 35,000 feet in the air. My daughter Nicole’s school break would last all of a week. Rob and I decided to spend it in Los Angeles… and no trip to LA is complete without a visit to the happiest place on earth: Disneyland!

Yes, I have written about it before but, goodness, this place is so magical that I just have to write about it again. With each visit, there is something new to find, discover and enjoy.


There was some concern that the weather would not cooperate, but once we were on our way, the clear blue skies and bright sunshine allayed our fears. We couldn’t have asked for a better day to have a romp in the park.

Invited friends


Rob, Nic and I were not alone; we had invited a few friends from San Diego to join us. One was Nicole’s BFF, a young man named Xander that she met during our lengthy stay there last year; the other two were newlyweds (married just three days).

As on our past visits, we were given a wonderful red-vested escort to take us around the park through secret entrances (her name is Nicole, and funnily enough, she’s also from San Diego). The day began at California Adventure, buying hotdogs at Award Wieners and figuring out dinner reservations. Since our friends were all still at the Hyperion Theater watching “Aladdin,” we had time to spare. We took in the Monsters Inc. ride, based on the first movie in the series, and had a meet and greet with

Sully. We decided on a thrill next, so we asked Nicole to take us to The Hollywood Tower of Terror.

The ride lived up to its name. Rob, our friend Fletcher Callanta, and myself were willing victims (Nic stayed behind with Nicole). My husband is not steely-stomached enough for rides like this one; I had a feeling it would not go too well.

As with every thrill ride in any theme park, the anticipation was far worse than the moment of truth. I mean the seconds of darkness, the theme song of “The Twilight Zone” playing in the background along with a Rod Serling sound-alike doing a voice over, the clinking of the chains as the ride was pulled up above the ground, the special effects of ghosts… finally, as the visage of two elevator doors pulled away from us, we were dropped… then pulled back up… and dropped again. I felt my husband clutching at my pant leg, white-knuckling through the experience.

To be honest, I was scared, too! It was very possible I crushed Rob’s right hand while doing a silent scream as the ride did its final four-story-tall drop. And then… multiple expletives, lots of laughter, and a vow to never ever ride the Tower of Terror again. His, not mine. I’d do it again, for sure!

The rest of our rides that day were far more peaceful.



The brand-new Cars ride in Cars Land is fantastic! You are taken through the town of Radiator Springs, your car spray-painted in preparation for a race. Near the conclusion of the ride, your car pulls up beside another… and off you go for a race!

Nicole, now tall enough for this ride, sat right in front. I was a bit concerned about how she would take this little thrill, but it turned out I didn’t have to worry. When she emerged from her seat, I heard this high-pitched voice cry out, “That was awesome!”

We took in a few staples that we had previously visited: The Haunted Mansion (decked out in “Nightmare Before Christmas” fashion for the holiday season, with a real gingerbread house inside… it smelled heavenly); “Pirates of the Caribbean” (how many Jack Sparrows can you find?); and “Jungle Cruise.” Afterwards, we hit the store on Main Street to find Nicole’s Halloween costume (she picked Merida, the heroine from “Brave,” complete with the bow and arrow and the flaming red wig) and shop for souvenirs.

Dinner was at the Napa Rose, at the Grand Californian Hotel. We toasted each other with glasses of wine and partook of some wonderful food. Napa Rose served beautiful salads and entrées, artisanal breads and cheeses, sustainably raised local fare and great desserts. We couldn’t linger, however, as we had reserved seats to see “World of Color.”

It is one attraction that my family and I always make it a point to see. Excerpts from many memorable Disney films are projected against water screens, and alongside fire, water and light displays. Many Disney characters are prominently featured: Woody and Buzz… Merida… Pocahontas… Dory and Marlin… Simba… and yes, Aladdin and Jasmine, as they ride the magic carpet singing “A Whole New World.”

After “World of Color,” it was time to bid our guide Nicole goodbye and take in more shopping for souvenirs and pasalubong before finally heading home. Nic fell right to sleep once we started the drive back, dreaming of the wonderful day we had in the happiest place on earth. And wondering when we’ll be back.

Soon, for sure. Very, very soon.

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