I would have liked to try one of these unique churros with chocolate dipping sauce, but after the decidedly mediocre churro I had two days prior, I decided against it. $4.25 seem liked a lot of money to spend on a (small) dessert that I probably wouldn’t even like.
I think that New Orleans Square is the most beautiful land at Disneyland, but during spring when all of the flowers are in bloom, and especially during Bayou Bash when there’s the beautiful blossoming of flowers plus festive bunting and other decorations, the land really shines. To me, New Orleans Square is the land that best typifies the Disney experience, and not at all because this is where Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion are located (although those don’t hurt my love of New Orleans Square!).
Rather, it’s because New Orleans Square presents the perfect balance between authenticity and romanticism, and does so with an incredible amount of details and a great level of charm. I’ve been to New Orleans a couple of times, and while it’s a lovely city, it’s also a dirty city. It’s beautiful and historic, but also rough and raw. Disneyland’s New Orleans Square captures the beauty and charm of New Orleans, without the less desirable aspects. Those who live in New Orleans might find New Orleans Square wanting due to their familiarity with the real thing, but, as a tourist who has casually visited New Orleans, I don’t feel the same way. To be sure, it’s a sanitized version of New Orleans without the same historical elements and depth, but for being a theme park nod to New Orleans, I think it’s close to perfect.
Certain compromises must be made when adapting real locales to theme parks, much as compromises must be made when adapting books to movies, and I think Disney made the perfect compromises to make New Orleans Square Disneyland’s greatest land.
From New Orleans Square we caught the Disneyland Railroad to head to Main Street, USA. The Walt Disney World Railroad is about a once per year experience for us, whereas the Disneyland Railroad is a once per trip experience for us. The critical difference? Dinosaurs. Anything with dinosaurs is a must-do for me. Well, perhaps not The Boneyard at Animal Kingdom, but that’s only because I receive weird looks when diggin’ in Dinoland.
We got off the Railroad at Main Street and decided to head for a showing of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more time until the next show–I wanted to watch the Steve Martin video and look at a few of the models–which is a bit odd because normally I hate waiting long periods of time between shows. The one other exception to that is at the American Adventure. Either I’m incredibly patriotic or both Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and the American Adventure are excellent even beyond their main shows.
It was approaching dinner time (if you’re on an “over 60″ eating schedule like us), so we decided to head to Hungry Bear Restaurant. Someone commented on our Hungry Bear Restaurant review the other day noting that our final 8.5/10 score was pretty generous given my summary of the food. Upon re-reading the review, I realized that the person was exactly right. Yet, I still feel like Hungry Bear warrants that score, even if the food isn’t the greatest. I just love sitting there gazing at the Rivers of America so much, and Hungry Bear’s tranquil ambiance is so good that it’s really easy to overlook the food. Mind you, the desserts are awesome, but I think the rest of the food (even since the new, better menu) is pretty mediocre. Still, we go here once per trip and have a wonderful time each trip. It’s almost inexplicable.
Maybe next time we eat at Hungry Bear we should only get cupcakes!
After dinner, we wandered around Critter Country and New Orleans Square a bit more, finally making our way over to Adventureland to experience Indiana Jones Adventure. More importantly, we got to experience its preshow. While I love the attraction itself, the preshow and queue are so clever. They’re actually flat out better than a number of standalone attractions. I know it’s one of the most iconic Disney attractions ever, but I’d much rather experience the Indiana Jones Adventure queue and preshow (but not the attraction itself) than I would Dumbo (the attraction).
After a walk-through Sleeping Beauty Castle, it was time to enjoy sunset over Disneyland. Unlike the anti-climactic sunset (perhaps not the best way to describe a sunset, but I think it works) of “One More Disney Day” this sunset was an pretty one.
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