The Spokesman-Review

Making Awesome Disneyland Memories The New Indiana Jones Ride Is Only One Of The Exciting Attractions That Will Thrill Any Age

“Cool!” enthuses my son, 14.

“Cool!” exalts my daughter, 11.

“Cool!” echoes my wife.

With faces beaming, all the other thrill-seekers agree: the new Indiana Jones Adventure ride at Disneyland is a blast.

Since this was Paul and Kristin’s first trip to Disneyland (or any big theme park, for that matter), their wide-eyed reaction to the Indy ride gave their parents another kind of thrill.

But our son’s first reaction upon hearing about the trip was typical teen: a shrug, a frown, an I-don’t-want-to-waste-my-valuable-time-there reaction. And our daughter’s response registered just a wee bit higher on the thrill meter.

Plus, my wife Susan and I just had to reminisce about our own adventures there as youngsters.

We also told the kids that the park is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a year full of parades, shows and, of course, the opening of the Indiana Jones Adventure. When the park opened on July 17, 1955, it had only 18 big attractions; today it has more than 60.

The second we check into the Disneyland Hotel, we truly enter the Magic Kingdom, and Kristin and Paul are all grins. After tossing our gear in our room, we stroll around the 60-acre hotel grounds, checking out the pond and its paddle boats and remote-controlled miniature tugboats; the jumbo swimming pool (there are two others); the Disneystuff stores (12 shops in all); the restaurants and lounges (only 11); a beach with a volleyball court. Oh, yeah, and the monorail station that jets passengers inside the park.

Awaking at the crack of dawn on our first morning, we launch our attack. Bolting from our room before 7, we hustle over to Goofy’s Kitchen for a buffet breakfast with a bunch of other blurry-eyed families. As we munch on sugared, crispy french toast, along comes Tigger, rubbing Kristin’s hair until it stands up and bringing smiles to all around. Minnie walks over and hugs everyone, and naturally, everyone starts clicking away with cameras. Another morning, Kristin’s favorite “Lion King” character, Timon, walks up, and the two are all hugs.

Energized with breakfast, we jump on a tram and ride across the street to the park’s ticket windows, getting there a half hour before opening and ahead of the throng. (Hotel guests can also ride the monorail.)

Once inside, we sprint for the Indiana Jones ride - along with everyone else. It looks just like Bloomsday: runners, speed walkers, moms jogging with strollers, everyone moving quickly down the street toward the finish line.

Our battle plan - to hit the most popular rides early before the horde arrives - works to perfection. We’re among the first to enter the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.

We march quickly through passageways and rooms, finally entering the main interior chamber. After strapping ourselves into one of the 12-passenger “troop transports,” we jolt forward and approach three closed doors while a deep, ominous voice warns of impending doom. Once through a door, we’re gobbled up in subterranean darkness while the transport pitches from side to side, as if driving over rocks.

Speeding through caverns and chambers, lurching up and down, we encounter screaming mummies, horrifying bugs and rodents and snakes, beams of fire, a crumbling ceiling, poisonous darts hitting our vehicle, and scary laser-light holograms that cause people to duck as we drive through them.

In the Cavern of Bubbling Death, the transport crosses a shaking suspension bridge above lava pits and steam vents, avoiding fire balls and falling debris as a 45-foot tall decaying skull of the deity Mara peers down on us.

Surviving that, we enter the Snake Temple and are surrounded by hissing serpents. A poised 100-footlong king cobra strikes at the vehicle, and shrieking passengers duck.

Then we come to a halt in a dim place, staring at one of those huge round boulders that threatened Indy in his first movie. A mechanical Indy hanging from a rope from high overhead warns us to get out, but naturally, the ball starts rolling toward us and there appears to be nowhere to run. WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!

But the transport backs up a bit and then plunges straight down into darkness, passengers screaming their heads off.

The Indy thrill, it’s way cool.

The four-minute ride goes fast. Each of our rides (we took it three other times) is different, thanks to a computer that controls the vehicles, sounds, lights and actions.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Disney expects an extra half million people to visit the park this year alone just for the Indy ride, which cost a reported $100 million.

But there’s a heck of a lot more to Disneyland. Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise, the Haunted Mansion, Swiss Family Treehouse, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Matterhorn Bobsleds - all have fantastic special effects and robotics and great attention to artistic detail.

Even such kiddie rides as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Peter Pan’s Flight put smiles on our faces. And when we stumble across Mickey’s Toontown, which opened in 1993, we think we’ve wandered inside “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

At Star Tours, a couple of dozen people pile into a small theater that looks like the interior of a Star Wars ship. The robots R2D2 and C3PO narrate a wild ride through an ice asteroid and an attack on the Death Star. Many fellow passengers fear certain death as the images on the screen dart at us, and they shriek as loud as humanly possible. I laugh so hard at the screaming that I almost choke.

But the best visual adventure is the Fantasmic! laser, fire and water show near New Orleans Square. This plays three times each Saturday, Sunday and holiday. It can only be described as awesome, right from some of the best scenes in “Fantasia.” Even the river is set ablaze.

Besides the rides and shows, there’s plenty of other fun. While strolling through the back streets of New Orleans Square one afternoon, Paul spots a shop with funky hats for wizards, jokers, princesses, kings and other assorted Disney characters.

Being somewhat of a joker, Paul pulls on a court jester’s hat - a tricolored cap with three drooping horn-like corners with tiny bells on the tips. With his Disney shades, he’s quite the teen picture.

So we’re stuck with a souvenir, one that he wears for the next two days. All the girls stare and smile (what a smart purchase), and some ask directions to the store. Even a few fathers compliment him on having the guts to wear such a goofy hat, even if we’re in the land of Goofy.

As sappy as this sounds, Disneyland creates - and revives - some of the best childhood memories. I relive one of my own on the Submarine Voyage (this ride will be demolished when Tomorrowland is rebuilt). As Kristin peers out a submarine, mouth agape, eyes bugging, lips curling into a smile as she watches bubbles float to the surface and other underwater wonders, I see myself as a child back in the ‘60s.

Both she and Paul agree the ride is a bit cheesy, but they enjoy the experience - as they do the entire park. That’s what makes places like Disneyland special. The fun and thrills are fleeting, but the memories last a lifetime.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: IF YOU GO There are more than 150 hotels (and 450 restaurants) in Anaheim, Calif., with dozens surrounding Disneyland. Your best bet is to shop around and call for the best packages, ones that combine lodging, park tickets and other features. Start with the Anaheim Area Visitor and Convention Bureau, 800 W. Katella, P.O. Box 4270, Anaheim, CA 92803. Phone: (714) 999-8999. Here is information on Disney properties:

Disneyland Admission: adults, $33, one day; $57, two days, $79, three days. Children 3-11, $25, one day, $44, two days, $60, three days; children under 3 are free. Seniors (age 60 and over), $27, one day, $50, two days. Unlimited use of attractions. Summer hours: Sunday and Friday, 9 a.m.-midnight; Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-midnight. Stroller rentals: $11 per day with $5 deposit. Wheelchair rentals: $26 with $20 deposit. Kennel: $10 per day, includes food and water. Lockers: between Market House and Disney Clothiers on Main Street. Lockers big enough for suitcases located near Parking Lot Tram Stop. Parking: $6 per day, or $12 for preferred parking. Phone: (714) 999-4565.

Disneyland Hotel Address: 1150 W. Cerritos Ave., Anaheim, CA 92802 Reservations: (714) 778-6600. Accommodations: 1,136 rooms, 62 suites. Rates: $150 to $240 per night for 2 adults and up to 3 children under age 18; additional person, $15 per night; rollaways, $15. Suites from $425 to $2,000. Amenities: 11 restaurants and lounges, 12 shops, 3 pools, fitness center, sand beach, hot tub, video arcade, pedal boats, remotecontrolled raceway, nightly waterlight show, liquor store. Park admission: hotel (and campground) guests get one day to enter Disneyland an hour before it opens to general public. Special packages available.

Disney’s Vacationland Campground Address: 1343 S. West St., Anaheim, CA 92802. Reservations: (714) 774-CAMP. Accommodations: 295 pullthrough and back-in RV sites with full hookups; 74 tent sites. Rates: pull-throughs, $38; backin, $33; tent site, $25 (as of July 1). Amenities: pool, picnic area, laundry room, convenience store, exercise room, playground, recreation room, video arcade, use of hotel’s amenities. Pets welcome. Discounts: for members of Good Sam Club, Automobile Club and Disney’s Magic Kingdom Club. Special packages available. - Chris Wille

This sidebar appeared with the story: IF YOU GO There are more than 150 hotels (and 450 restaurants) in Anaheim, Calif., with dozens surrounding Disneyland. Your best bet is to shop around and call for the best packages, ones that combine lodging, park tickets and other features. Start with the Anaheim Area Visitor and Convention Bureau, 800 W. Katella, P.O. Box 4270, Anaheim, CA 92803. Phone: (714) 999-8999. Here is information on Disney properties:

Disneyland Admission: adults, $33, one day; $57, two days, $79, three days. Children 3-11, $25, one day, $44, two days, $60, three days; children under 3 are free. Seniors (age 60 and over), $27, one day, $50, two days. Unlimited use of attractions. Summer hours: Sunday and Friday, 9 a.m.-midnight; Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-midnight. Stroller rentals: $11 per day with $5 deposit. Wheelchair rentals: $26 with $20 deposit. Kennel: $10 per day, includes food and water. Lockers: between Market House and Disney Clothiers on Main Street. Lockers big enough for suitcases located near Parking Lot Tram Stop. Parking: $6 per day, or $12 for preferred parking. Phone: (714) 999-4565.

Disneyland Hotel Address: 1150 W. Cerritos Ave., Anaheim, CA 92802 Reservations: (714) 778-6600. Accommodations: 1,136 rooms, 62 suites. Rates: $150 to $240 per night for 2 adults and up to 3 children under age 18; additional person, $15 per night; rollaways, $15. Suites from $425 to $2,000. Amenities: 11 restaurants and lounges, 12 shops, 3 pools, fitness center, sand beach, hot tub, video arcade, pedal boats, remotecontrolled raceway, nightly waterlight show, liquor store. Park admission: hotel (and campground) guests get one day to enter Disneyland an hour before it opens to general public. Special packages available.

Disney’s Vacationland Campground Address: 1343 S. West St., Anaheim, CA 92802. Reservations: (714) 774-CAMP. Accommodations: 295 pullthrough and back-in RV sites with full hookups; 74 tent sites. Rates: pull-throughs, $38; backin, $33; tent site, $25 (as of July 1). Amenities: pool, picnic area, laundry room, convenience store, exercise room, playground, recreation room, video arcade, use of hotel’s amenities. Pets welcome. Discounts: for members of Good Sam Club, Automobile Club and Disney’s Magic Kingdom Club. Special packages available. - Chris Wille



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