Star Wars is taking over Disneyland. No, seriously. It is. Have you heard of Season of the Force, where Space Mountain will become Hyperspace Mountain? Or the new themed food locations and special entertainment (including the Jedi Training Academy, which has yet to pick me for the next class, just saying). But with all the changes coming to Disneyland, what do you need to do NOW before it’s either gone or reimagined?
Big Thunder Ranch BBQ
If it’s good enough for Adam Sandler — well, this restaurant is really delicious. The food isn’t sophisticated. You sit on benches with picnic table clothes, and eating with your hands is allowed. Plus there’s a ranch hand who comes around and sings to your table, making up the songs as he goes along. But Big Thunder Ranch BBQ isn’t something to miss out on. The BBQ chicken, rib, beans, coleslaw, and corn-on-the-cob are yummy, and you can have as much as you want. (This has been tested.) And with a closing date of Jan. 10, 2016, to make way for the as-yet-unnamed Star Wars Land, Big Thunder Ranch BBQ is something not to be missed.
SPOILER WARNING! The video below shows the ending of Fantasmic, so if you haven’t seen the show yet, you might not want to click.
Arguably Disney’s best show in any theme park (really, there’s no argument; it’s that awesome), Fantasmic has been dazzling guests since 1992 and has become so popular in Disneyland that parts of New Orleans Square were redesigned to make better viewing space for this show (in World, Disney actually built an arena, and it fills up!). So you seriously do not want to miss out on the show that takes you from reality to Mickey’s imagination and back again. Oh, and let’s not leave out the dragon that miraculously appears on Tom Sawyer’s Island. But Fantasmic will be closed “temporarily,” starting Jan. 10, and though no end date was giving for the closure, I did find one website that said it would not be reopened until 2017. Don’t miss out!
Soarin’ over California
I thought it was a little funny when I was in Florida and rode “Soarin’ over California,” but over in California Adventure Park, it makes sense! And it’s a great way to see California’s many regions, especially if you’re only traveling to Anaheim and/or Los Angeles. But according to Screenscape, Soarin’ Around the World, a new film with aerial scenes in England, France, Italy, Egypt, India, China, Japan, and even New York City and the Grand Canyon, is expected to debut at Disneyland in 2016 after it’s unveiled in Shanghai.
Disney’s Aladdin — A Musical Spectacular
Had enough of Frozen yet? I hope you said no because coming to the Hyperion Theater in Disney California Adventure Park is a musical based on Frozen! But before Aladdin’s production takes its last bow in January, you should check it out. I was surprised at how big the theater really is, how quickly it fills up (especially after 14,000 performances), and how spectacular this show truly is. The scenery changes. The singing is life, and the jokes are timely. The week I saw the show, actors even slipped in a joke about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby being named South West. Oh, and Aladdin actually rides a flying carpet. Don’t believe me? Then go see the show.
Remember that system in Florida years ago, before those new fangled MagicBands? You used to have to run to your favorite attraction, stick in your entry card, and get a slip of paper with a time to return to that destination. That still happens in Disneyland, and isn’t it grand? No need to worry about your MagicBand not working or having to plan your vacation down to the time you wait on line WEEKS in advance. At Disneyland, you can be spontaneous. You can walk into the park and be unsure of what you’re going to do except having fun. Of course, on a sad note, you might actually have to wait on line, which…y’know, isn’t that much fun. But with the launch of Disneyland’s new app and the option to “link a pass,” FastPass+ is coming sooner than we think.
Other attractions to close soon to make way for Star Wars Land are the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes, plus the Disneyland Railroad. As I have not been on any of these rides except the Disneyland Railroad, and I haven’t even done that in a few years—you might miss these, but you won’t be crying over them.
So ready to plan your trip? Better get on it quick to grab these attractions before they’re gone, some forever.