By Judy Shields and Lucas Camacho
Anaheim, California (The Hollywood Times) 05/17/2022
This was the first time since May 3, 2019 that I have been able to go to Disneyland. Which I normally go on my birthday, which just happens to be May 3rd. This year I decided to go on Thursday, May 5th, since my kids wanted to have a birthday party on my actual birthday.
Just to let you know, things are a little different from what you and I have been going to Disneyland pre-pandemic are used to.
First off, you need to download the Disneyland app on your cellphone. Once you do that and create an account, open up your Disneyland app and it will show up with cool Disneyland balloons and says “Hello, [Your Name]!
Next you will see an area that says “Disney Genie Service.” Will you see a place to click “Summons Disney Genie”, click there. This is where you will make your reservation for the day you want to go to Disneyland and or California Adventure Park. Just follow the prompts to Schedule Park Visit. It will take you to your Disney Account Sign- In page. Sign in. You will see “My Theme Park Reservations and there are several paragraphs to read before you get to the “Book Theme Park Reservation TAB.
But wait, I did that and it would not allow me to go any further without linking a ticket. There is a tab that says to link your ticket or magic key.
To help you get started here is the link to find your reservation date availability:
You can choose 1 Park Per Day Tickets or Park Hopper Tickets.
Once you have chosen your ticket you have the opportunity to add the Disney Genie+ for an additional $20 per ticket. This is Disneyland’s new service that allows you to use their Lighting Lane Entrance (which took the place of their FastPass). It is worth the price for sure.
The other cool thing about Genie+ is you can enjoy unlimited Disney PhotoPass download from the day you go, so find that Cast Member with a camera around their neck and have your picture taken, like in front of the train station after you enter the park and all those magical places throughout the park.
You can also and should add parking, which for standard 1-Day parking the voucher is $30 now. Disneyland added more parking to their Mickey and Friends parking structure, extended out. Now Pixar parking and the trams are now under that to provide shade, which is awesome during our hot summer months. The security checkpoints are also there before you are allowed to go get on the trams, so that is way cool for guest and Cast Members.
After adding Genie+ and parking it will take you to the check out screen. Next I had to sign into my Disney account and then it took me to a Guest Info page, which ask “Who will use the item(s)? Your name should automatically be filled in and you click on Next. The next screen is about Disney eTickets and it will ask for your emails to send confirmation and phone number, hit Next. How would you like to pay? Options to use a Disney Gift Card or Use a Disney Rewards Redemption Card, Credit or Debit Card, Click to Pay or PayPal. That is all for purchasing your ticket.
Your ticket will have a barcode that you will need to link up with the reservation part in your Disneyland app.
All I’m saying here is that you have to have lots of patience to get through the whole process, but you can do it!
It is a good way to get to know what you phone can do for you and also one important thing to remember is to bring an extra large portable phone charger, because you will most likely use up all your battery power having to use the app for lightning lane and reservations for dining and wait times for all the other rides. I had to use mine for sure!
Here is what cousin Lucas Camacho had to say about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge:
“The first ride I got on at the new expansion of Disneyland, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, was the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Inside, they put me in a group that comprised five other people.
The pre-ride show features the character Hondo Ohnaka, a character familiar to Star Wars fans from the animated show The Clone Wars. Hondo tasks riders with piloting the Millennium Falcon on a mission to steal Coaxium, aka precious cargo, from the First Order. Here’s the catch: this is an interactive ride, which means all the riders have a role. The pilots sit up in the front. Behind the pilots are the gunners. Finally, sitting in the back are the engineers tasked with fixing the ship. (Side note: being an engineer sounds easy until you remember the Falcon is the “fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy” with emphasis on hunk of junk). On my ride experience, a couple of kids were our pilots, I and another single rider were the gunners, and the parents of the kids were the engineers. I thought we would get shot down. But in the end, I thought we did pretty alright overall. Our pilots did okay, the engineers kept the ship from falling apart, and the other gunner seemed to know what he was doing, but I was exceptional.
After the mission, they give you a score on how you did. Had I known they deduct points for how many shots you fire, I would have been a little more careful with how I aimed. Overall, it was a fun experience. Hondo thanks the riders in the end for helping the Resistance in their fight against the First Order. But of course, he gets his cut of the profits (Jack Sparrow would like this guy).
Later, I finally got to ride the Rise of the Resistance ride, after it had problems for some of the day. Actors Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and Domhnall Gleeson appear on the ride reprising their roles as Rey, Poe Dameron, Finn, Kylo Ren, and General Hux respectively. You and the other guests have just become the latest recruits in the Resistance. Rey and Droid companion BB-8 brief you that the outpost was under threat from the First Order. Thanks to Finn infiltrating a First Order Stardestroyer, the Resistance has time to evacuate to another base run by Leia (rest in peace Carrie Fisher). They took me with the other guests to a transport, passing the black X-Wing Fighter piloted by Poe. After the transport takes off, the First Order arrives and takes out the escort in order to take the transport (some Resistance fighters we are). Poe promises to come back for them as he’s chased off by TIE Fighters. Tractor beam takes the transport aboard a Stardestroyer where Disney cast members in First Order Officers’ uniforms (and in perfect character) take us off the transport. All the Stormtroopers stared at us as they took us to a cell. We are about to be interrogated by Kylo Ren and General Hux until they’re told they’re needed on the bridge. That’s when we’re rescued by Resistance fighters, more Disney cast members in costume and totally in character, being led by Finn. Guests get into a troop transport that fits about eight people, and that’s when the actual ride begins. The transport goes for a wild ride through the Stardestroyer. Kylo Ren attempts to stop us but is ultimately foiled thanks to a surprise attack from a Resistance fleet. The transports get to the escape pods, and there is a sudden drop and crash before we head to the unloading station.
Both rides were extremely unique. The Millennium Falcon ride offers riders a chance of riding in one of the most famous ships in the Star Wars franchise. Rise of the Resistance also makes you feel you are part of the story thanks to the imaginative story. Also, a round of applause to the Disney cast members whose ability to stay in character really sold the story of the ride. Since they are the newest rides at Disneyland, the lines can get long. I got lucky because I went through the single rider entrance for the Millennium Falcon ride.
Also, because I have a cool family member who got me a Lightning Lane reservation for Rise of the Resistance. Now, if you are not a fan of the Star Wars franchise, it may not be worthwhile for you to have to wait in these long lines. You are free to still explore the shops in Galaxy’s Edge and still get a genuine Star Wars experience. If you are a die-hard fan of Star Wars, then it is worth the wait. If you’re not patient and love Star Wars, then you should definitely get a Lightning Lane reservation. Overall, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is an amazing extension of the Star Wars franchise that should grow the fan base for generations to come.”
I was lucky enough to meet this great cast member who explained everything I ever wanted to know about Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy Edge while Lucas was on the new ride. Great costumes in this new Galaxy too! Thank you so much Shelby. We both definitely recommend going here first thing in the morning and also to go during the week.
It was great to finally be back at The Happiest Place on Earth since the past two years. It was worth the time and effort. We were able to use some lightning lane passes to get on Buzz Lightyear, Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain. Pirates was closed for renovation. We had a lightning lane pass for Indiana Jones, but it was down and we were not able to make it at the time assigned later that night due to the fact I had gotten the lightning lane pass for the Rise of the Resistance ride for Lucas and we wanted to see the Main Street Electric Parade at 8:45 pm.
We were able to sit down to enjoy the Enchanted Tiki Room while in Adventureland and the wait for the Classic Jungle Cruise was not too bad.
Always nice to get out of the sun to look at the merchandise. I noticed several of the gift shops were no longer in Adventureland, like all the Indiana Jones merchandise. They now have seating for the Bangel BBQ, which is really nice and the store over by jungle cruise that had many fake rubbers snakes is now a place to park the baby strollers. Great to have them in the shade! Way to go Disneyland.
Always a nice stroll through Frontierland to check out who is shootin’ at the shooting gallery. We always have to stop in and see what leather bracelets they are offering up for sale. Big Thunder Mountain is the ride to do and we found out the entrance to Galaxy’s Edge was up past Big Thunder Mountain.
I was also wanting to get my long awaited Chimichanga and they now have a breakfast one! YUMMY. It was loaded with eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese. I recommend getting that for a on the go breakfast and don’t forget the delicious hot sauce. You will surely walk it off!
When you pick a park hopper you have to chose which park you want to go to first and then you can go to the other park after one o’clock. So we chose Disneyland park first and then California Adventure Park. We used a Lightning Lane pass for Haunted Mansion, both of our favorite ride. In line at the Haunted Mansion, we waited for a family of 12 people to gather so we could continue in the line and I noticed one of the young girls didn’t look too happy so I pulled out my bag of pins and found a special pin for her and her sister as well. The grandparents were so thrilled that I did that for them. I love giving Disneyland pins to kids for sure. As I was putting my pins away and felt a small hand reach into my bag. I had to pull the bag away because I didn’t want the little hand to get stuck by a pin back, because you never know if that black pin back will come off. His mother wasn’t too happy with him doing that without asking first So I told the little boy about why it wasn’t a good idea to do that by showing him the back on the pin and that it was sharp. I allowed him to pick out a pin from a few I put in my hand. I met up with them after the ride and the one young girl said she was afraid of the ride and I told her I am still a little afraid of that ride and gave her another pin. They wanted to know how I knew so much about pins and I told them I used to be a Super Pin Trader Cast Member back in 2001 for several years and how much fun that job really was. A happy smile on her face.
We ate our lunch at River Belle Terrace and had some delicious food and wet & cold drinks.
After lunch we headed over to California Adventure and went to sit to watch Mickey’s Philharmonic show. An entertaining show indeed. This sit down show took the place of the Muppets show. We walked around to go see the new addition of Avengers Campus. The Web Slinger ride has a $15 fee for Lightning Lane, both of us decided not to get on that ride this trip. There is a new Stan Lee plaque. Nicely said.
We continued to go into Cars Land to see about riding Radiator Springs Racers. Glad to see they still offered single riders, so off we went. The line was not bad at all.
We were in line for about 20 minutes and a guest let us take her place so we could at least sit in the same car. There are indeed nice people in the world.
We then headed to get on Soarin’, which we heard had a new film experience. They no longer have single riders on this ride, just the Lightning Lane which we used. Unfortunately for me, we were put in lane number one, which is the highest seated chairs, so I didn’t enjoy the ride as much. Honestly, I had to close my eyes quite a bit. There were amazing video shots of all around the world showing us the Wonders of the World, through partly closed eyes, LOL. On being The Happiest Place on Earth with fireworks like used in the previous film. I want to get on this ride again but on the 3rd lane seated closest to the floor!
We headed back to Disneyland so Lucas could get onto the Rise of the Resistance ride. After his amazing experience we headed to Fantasyland to get on the carousel ride, which I never miss when I go to Disneyland.
We then went to get on It’s A Small World to honor my mother Carmen and Lucas’s mother Bev, both watching us from Heaven, but we both know they were with us in spirit. They both enjoyed that ride so much.
Lucas wanted pizza, so off to Pizza Port and ordered online, which is actually a great way to order food rather waiting in line. We went inside so he could eat and then headed over to Main Street to get some dessert and coffee and Plaza Inn so we could watch the Main Street Electric Parade.
This was sure a delicious dessert and the hot coffee was also a welcome drink. We found a table close enough to get some great photos the Main Street Electric Parade. The parade was at 8:45 p.m. and that memorable music we all know started up and the camera was ready!
The first float of the train engine pulling along the iconic drum that shows 50 Years. Themed to the concept of “togetherness,” the parade’s newest float is intended to inspire “a whole new generation of dreamers.” The reimagined, limited-time parade continues its homage to the original “Main Street Electrical Parade,” and to Disney artiest and Legend, Mary Blair, best known for the iconic “it’s a small world” attraction’s whimsical, child-like design. Characters from more than a dozen Disney Animation and Pixar films graced the parade floats in animated doll form, along with thousand of twinkling lights and a unique electro-synth-magnetic musical score.
It was indeed magical! I still love Pete and his dragon Elliott.
The night was over for us and we headed towards the tram and yike, what a line! So I decided, yes I decided…to walk up further to enter towards the front area like the good ole days! NOPE, only one entrance and the walkway that many of us with strollers used to use is no longer available. So now you have to walk through Downtown Disney and use the parking lot to access a new bridge that crosses over to take you to the new Pixar parking structure, which we found out drops you off on floor two. (Little Secret here, take the monorail and it will drop you off at Downtown Disney, Lucas pointed that one out!) We were on the fourth floor and the elevators were full of folks with strollers and we had to go down to the first ground floor to be able to take the escalator to the 4th floor and above. Just like Mickey & Friends parking structure. We had a some trouble finding our car, it was further up than we thought, so please take a photo of the section you parked at. Especially if you end up at the Pixar parking because I remember being on Goofy. Goofy me. But check out our STEPS number!
Overall, it was a magical day indeed and we both look forward to returning when the Haunted Mansion is taken over by Jack Skellington for The Nightmare Before Christmas.