Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Fantasyland Pt. 1

Fantasyland is perhaps the happiest place in Disneyland. It was definitely my favorite land in the park, with an amazing number of classic rides--some of which are one-of-a-kind, of course--and that wonderful Disney band organ music coming from the carousel. This post will skip the Fantasyland dark rides, which will be covered in the next post.
Now that our trip is months in the past, I've forgotten about some of the pictures I took, like this shot of pretty clouds behind Sleeping Beauty Castle.
With pathways running through the castle to Tomorrowland and Frontierland, Fantasyland feels closely connected to the rest of the park.
The Snow White Wishing Well seemed to be overlooked by many guests. It's another peaceful spot that makes Disneyland special.
We saw many roaming characters during our five days at the park. I'm very happy that visiting Disneyland is still spontaneous in some ways, even after the pandemic.
I love the little gardens and old rockwork making up the quaint moat of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Although I know some people are not fans of its new paint job, you can't complain about it not standing out against the sky. 
Looking at all of the carefully trimmed hedges around Fantasyland, I wondered about the hundreds of hours put in by the park's horticulture and maintenance teams that go unnoticed by most people on a day-to-day basis. It's cool to think that this side of the castle was originally intended to face Main St.!
Early morning in Fantasyland is really something special. With most of the crowds off at the E-Ticket attractions, I rode every darkride and Casey Jr. in almost less than an hour one day.
It's hard not to miss Tinker Bell's zipline coming from the Matterhorn! I don't know how she avoids this narrow collision with the carrousel tent every night.
I like that these merchandise stands use duplicates of a few of the horse heads on the carrousel.
I took this picture from the Mr. Toad queue line, and the worker in a blue shirt is going to attend to an URGENT maintenance issue. He's hauling butt.
Although the King Arthur Carrousel horses have been heavily modified, the ride is an amazing amalgamation of different carousel artists, like this astounding work of master carver Daniel Muller.
While the Storybook Land Canal Boats is uniquely stuck in the past (for the most part), this low-capacity ride has more charm than you'll find in an entire Six Flags park.
I'm amazed how Disneyland experiences like the journey through Monstro's mouth were directly experienced by Walt Disney... yet simple things like this have had a profound impact on millions of people.
Riders enter the dark cavern of Monstro's mouth, and some never return.
I was surprised that they still allow kids to sit on the bow of the boat.
If you couldn't tell, I absolutely adored Storybook Land, including Casey Jr.
This quick jaunt through Storybook Land has to be one of the most carefree rides in the park, with that wonderful upbeat soundtrack.
It's cool to think that these cars were originally created using molds of the original Carrousel chariots.
"Wild Animals..." such a classic!
Even though there's hardly a guest who has heard of the Silly Symphony that inspired the floral patchwork quilt, Disneyland still keeps it looking immaculate, much to their credit.
I took two rides on Casey Jr, one in the rear of the train. Of course, I had to closely inspect the lift hill mechanism near the start of the ride.
The forced perspective of the Sleeping Beauty Castle model just doesn't work when you're this close to it.
A canal boat guide is in training in this shot. Any attraction with a live tour guide has to be a great ride to work.
I'd love to know the care put into the landscaping around these models daily. I've seen the videos of Disneyland Paris' Storybook Land where they're not taken care of well, and things can certainly go downhill fast.
A mutant duck is wreaking havoc on London Park!
Once again, the Mad Tea Party is slightly different from the Magic Kingdom version, but those little differences make it so much better. The vines covering the ride, the abundance of lanterns, and the variety of delightful paint schemes are all improvements over the Magic Kingdom's steel pavilion.
I love the pastels, and the work it takes to keep them looking this good is definitely overlooked by most people.
I also couldn't pass up on the ride that sparked legions of imitators, Dumbo the Flying Elephant. I took a ride near closing at midnight, and it gave me a great perspective on the atmospheric lighting of Fantasyland. (Nighttime photos will be the focus of the final post in this series!)
I do have one complaint about Dumbo though. They should get rid of that ugly fountain around the base of the ride. I fell into it four separate times while I was getting in and out of my elephant.
The Motor Boat Cruise loading station remains, a ghost of Fantasyland's past. I entered the dock and sat down with a smile on my face for a few minutes, taking time to reflect on the once-great attraction that called this area home. Then I promptly stood up and left.
"it's a small world" is peeking through the greenery, but you'll have to wait until the next post, when we'll cover it and the rest of the Fantasyland dark rides. I still have a lot of great images left to share!