I went to Disneyland this past Monday with my friend June. She and I had this trip planned since our last Disneyland trip because we had a very specific mission. A bunch of things will be closing down starting on the 11th for the construction for the new Star Wars land. Many things are only closing temporarily, but some are closing forever. So we wanted to make our round of goodbyes to some of our Disneyland favorites.
We got to Disneyland around noon and started our day over at California Adventure. We had planned on riding Radiator Springs Racers, but as soon as we got in line the ride broke down. We didn’t really feel like waiting to see how long it would take to reopen, so we headed over to the Animation Academy for some drawing fun. I don’t know if I’ve actually ever done the Animation Academy at California Adventure before (I did it at Disneyworld when I went a long time ago), so I was excited to check it out. We were drawing Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas. And I did try my best to draw her, but clearly I have issues drawing circles. June was able to do a pretty great drawing!
After that, we headed over to Disneyland for what we considered the main event of our trip. We went to the Big Thunder Ranch to get all you can eat BBQ!
I’ve actually never been to the BBQ and sadly it’s closing on the 11th because it’s turning into Star Wars Land. June and I tried to go the last time we were at Disneyland, but we couldn’t get a reservation. So we made this one a few weeks in advance and planned our trip around it. It was really good and I’m sad that this trip was my first and last time getting to go. I loved the coleslaw (it was vinegar based) and the cornbread. And the BBQ ribs were messy and yummy.
When we were done eating, we made our rounds through Big Thunder Ranch to say our goodbyes. We went over to the petting zoo and said goodbye to the donkeys and goats. All of the animals have been adopted already so we wished them the best in their new homes. I’m sure as a kid my parents took me to the petting zoo at Disneyland, but as an adult I really never went in there.
While we were saying our goodbyes to the goats (a lot of people were doing that and it was really crowded), we saw Pluto and how upset he is that the Big Thunder Ranch was closing.
All of Big Thunder Ranch is closing permanently and I think that we spent a decent amount of time admiring what we sadly did not take advantage of for many years. And hopefully Star Wars Land will have some sort of reminder of Big Thunder Ranch inside (many rides that take over other rides have Easter Eggs that are about the original ride).
After our big lunch, we went over to ride the Haunted Mansion. First, we didn’t want to do an extreme ride on a full stomach and second because we were inspired by drawing Sally earlier in California Adventure. It’s probably the last time I’ll be in the parks before Haunted Mansion changes back from the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay, so it was nice to see that one more time before it goes back to the normal Haunted Mansion.
Next on our list was to ride the train around. The Disneyland Railroad will be closed for at least a year to be rerouted during construction, and I really do love the train. We rode around the entire loop to check out the view and see the Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas and animatronics. I’m sad that I won’t be able to see those things again for a while and I’m going to miss having the railroad to use as transportation on busy days.
Next on our list was to ride Star Tours. This isn’t going away, but it was the first time I got to ride the ride since seeing the new Star Wars movie! I heard that they had added things to the ride that are from the new movie, and we got to go to Jakku as our first location on the ride and BB-8 was the hologram that appeared in the middle of the ride offering help. That was pretty awesome.
After the Star Tours ride, we decided that we should head over to Innovations where there are some Star Wars photo setups. The lines were too long so we took advantage of both Star Wars photos and the one Avengers one that was still open.
And since we have no idea how long the Hyperspace Mountain overlay will be at Space Mountain (I hope for a long time because I love it!), we rode it again. The ride is so wonderful with the overlay and the new effects that were added for it. We sat in the front row and it felt so fast that for a bit I couldn’t ride with my hands in the air. We tried to do a cute pose, but I almost had a quick wardrobe malfunction so I wasn’t quite into the pose when the photo was taken.
By this point, we had been at Disneyland for a long time. But we had 2 more stops to make. First was to ride the Jingle Cruise, which is the holiday overlay for the Jungle Cruise. I had never seen the overlay before and it was really cool at nighttime with a bunch of lights strung around the ride. The jokes were as corny as always, but it was fun to see what they changed for the overlay.
And no trip to Disneyland is complete for me without a Dole Whip. So right after the Jingle Cruise, we got a Dole Whip and enjoyed it right next to the Enchanted Tiki Room.
It really was a full day at Disneyland. There wasn’t really anything that we missed that we wanted to go on. I would have like to have taken the boat around the Rivers of America because that will also be closed for a year or so, but between riding the train around plus walking all over we got to see a lot of the river.
I know I’ll be at Disneyland again in February and I need to go to the parks soon to renew my pass (I might do a quick trip into the parks when I go to do my renewal). But I don’t think I’ll be there again before things closed down or go back from their holiday overlay so I’m glad that June and I were able to make it on Monday.