Six months after Tay and I started dating we went on our first trip together.  We went to California to shoot a friend’s wedding and made time to go to Disneyland while we were there.  It’s one of our favorite places in the world so it was awesome getting to go there together for the first time.  After spending a day in the park we wanted to go back as soon as possible.  Three years later and we still hadn’t made it back, so our first wedding anniversary felt like the time to go.  I was more excited for those two days of our two week trip than the rest put together!

Previously I had only been to the park in the Spring and Summer, never during a holiday season.  It was late September this time so I got a chance to see things at the start of Halloween.  All the decorations and special character costumes were great.  Even better though was getting to ride the Haunted Mansion with its Nightmare Before Christmas overlay.  I’ve always heard about it but had never had a chance to ride it.  It really felt like a different ride.  The second time we went on it I was noticing even more details than the first.

Perhaps best of all though was the Tower of Terror.  It’s hands down our favorite ride in California Adventure (Tay’s second favorite at the resort after Space Mountain).  We knew there were plans to permanently close the ride just a few months later.  It’s currently undergoing a transformation into a Guardians of the Galaxy ride.  We knew it would be our last chance to ride it in its current form so we made as much time as we could to do so.  I had heard that that Halloween there would be a special “after dark” version of the ride running.  It was unadvertised in the parks but word spreads fast.  No fast passes were given out for times after dusk so the only way to get on was to wait it out.  I heard that wait times could get crazy and after a certain point you might not even be able to get on.  We planned ahead and only had to wait 30 or 45 minutes at the end of our last day for a final special ride.  Getting on no one knew exactly what to expect.  The entire ride start to finish was pitch black and eerily silent.  There was a bit of the normal narration but nothing else.  No sound effects and none of the normal scenes playing out in front.  The timing of the ride was also definitely off.  There were long periods where nothing was happening and no one knew why.  It made it impossible to tell when our elevator was going to drop or what was going to happen next.  As much as we love the normal version of the ride, riding it in the pitch black silence with an elevator full of other terrified guests was the highlight of our trip.

One other moment of note was the Frozen live musical show at California Adventure.  It had opened earlier that year and I heard how great it was.  Tay took a bit of convincing since it took a good hour and a half out of our day but we were both really glad we went.  The show itself was great but the way the sets and theater itself were integrated into everything was amazing.  There were constantly moments of surprise as something completely unexpected happened in an ingenious way.  It’s hard to explain the things that made it so awesome but we definitely recommend it.  Totally worth missing an hour or two out in the park, especially during the hottest part of the day.

–kyle