Hi - 2 year (or so) lurker, 1st time poster; my name is Ray, a 36 year old, big football player type that Disneyland has the ability to turn into a big 'ol kid.
As a kid, between family trips and field trips I had the opportunity to visit Disneyland 2-5 times a year and am now enjoying sharing the magic that is Disneyland with my two children (Ages 5 and 6). We have started a Christmas Disneyland trip tradition for our family and we will try to hit the park another 2 times, or so, throughout the rest of the year.
Disneyland has always put that smile on my face and one of my favorite things is going through that "transformation" when you first cross under the bridges and finally enter into another world (I get trampled a little bit, because I love to stop and look at the posters). The dark rides have always been some of my favorites as I enjoy the storytelling aspect and the detail that goes into the rides themselves. I do have a routine for our trips - we always come in through the left bridge, head up Main St for an early morning Jungle Cruise, play on the Tarzan tree for a second before going into Pirates, investigate the not so abandoned Haunted Mansion and then do some island hopping over to Tom Sawyers for the kids to run around for a while before heading into Fantasyland. After that it turns into a bit of a free for all.
With a good amount of trips to Disneyland under my belt, it lets me share with my kids some of the small things that not every guest knows about and gives me an opportunity to make them feel just a little bit more special or maybe see something cool that not everyone is aware of (The 1st time my poor daughter tried to grab the apple - priceless). In my time here lurking, I have also learned a lot from you guys that has helped to make our experiences just that much better (I have also learned just how much I didn't know about the park, LOL); thank you for that.
For my nostalgia items - I miss the old Submarine Voyage. I vaguely remember the boat version of Autopia. I'm glad that my parents took me to Tom Sawyers island, as my kids now get to enjoy it too (So many people never get out there and miss out). A steamboat ride at that moment right after sunset and just before it gets dark really adds to the feel of the "adventure". My cousins and I ALWAYS closed our eyes, as kids, when passing by the Yeti on Matterhorn. I miss Adventure Through Inner Space. HM 339 was chosen as my screen name because I love the Haunted Mansion and I abused that record as a kid and played that thing over and over and over and I can probably recite it to this day.
That's my big, long introduction and again, thank you for all the information I've gleaned from this site that helps to make each trip better than the last. It's all the little things that make Disneyland so great, so if people want to contribute, in this thread (Or point to me a different thread), all the little things that not every guest knows (Things like the Cheshire cat mirror, the apple @ Snow Whites, the Steamboat pilot's license, etc) please do - I know my kids will appreciate it..