We visited Disneyland on Friday, May 9th. My last previous visit was in 1999. With me were some friends - and two teenagers, a 15 year old girl (it was her birthday!) and an 18 year old guy. Neither of the teens has ever been to any theme park anywhere.
(By the way, even though it was a Friday and the park seemed crowded, we never waited more than 10 minutes for any ride. We only used FP for Indy and Space Mountain.)
Here are some quick impressions of the park that stand out:
Main Street - WOW! It looks great. On my previous visit in 1999, Main Street seemed faded and sad. Now it sparkles. Lots of activity with vehicles, barbershop quartet, great aromas, etc... Upon entering this "other world", the two teens were, at first, experiencing a wonderful kind of "cultural shock."
By the way, while on Main Street, we took the birthday girl to City Hall where she received a "First Timer" button AND a "Happy Birthday" button. She loved it - and during our entire one-day visit, she was greeted with a "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" 21 times from the CM's (she counted). She was very impressed.
Pirates - This was the first ride we went on - and I must say that this ride looks better than ever. The new additions (bigger explosions, music, waterfall mist, etc.) are excellent. The Jack Sparrow characters, however, are SO impressive that they make some of the other parts of the ride seem outdated. Nedless to say, this ride really impressed the teens.
Jungle Cruise - A classic ride that is still fun. The ride looks great and the new piranha effect is cute. Everyone liked this one.
Star Tours - A classic ride that's lots of fun - but why can't they update this ride? It seems like an easy matter to come up with a new story and simply reprogram the ride without making any major hardware changes.
Enchanted Tiki Room - This classic attraction was a nightmare for the teens. They thought they were in some bad horror movie where the walls start talking at you. When the flowers started singing, they wanted to walk out. We stayed till the end - and then they ran out of there fast. (This attraction is really outdated. Maybe some better music would help.)
Finding Nemo - It's great to see the subs back.. but this ride doesn't live up to it enormous potential. It's cute - but very slow and not much happens. The 18-year-old almost fell asleep half-way through. (We went on at 11:55 pm so we had only a five-minute wait.)
Space Mountain - The new improved Space Mountain is GREAT! This is now the best ride at any Disney park -- and the second best ride at any theme park anywhere. (The best ride is, of course, "Spiderman" at IOA). The new light effects, the darkness of the interior, the smoothness of the ride, and especially the soundtrack are amazing. Bravo. We went on it twice. (Thanks to Justin, the CM, who gave us a free Group Fastpass for any ride of our choice.)
Fireworks Show - Probably the best fireworks show I have ever seen. It's not your average 5-minute thing -- this was a full-blown extravaganza.
Jedi Training Academy - Priceless! When the nervous kids stand face-to-face with Darth Vader and he points at them and says: "I have been waiting to confront you!", it was very cool to see the brave kids stand up to him and beat him. Bravo to the Show Dept. for thinking this one up. A gem of a show!
Food - The park used to have lousy food. We were very impressed by all of the dining choices and the quality of the food.
So thanks to you all for the tips that helped us plan our one-day visit. Overall, we had a GREAT time. And congrats and thanks to the Disney folks for their hospitality and for the many wonderful improvements in the park.