As the "Celebrate Today!" signs plastered throughout the resort imply, there's more to the celebration event than scoring free birthday tickets. Some of the ways celebrants could mark their special occasions at Disneyland include:
- Celebration Roundup Barbecue
The dormant chuck wagons at the Big Thunder Ranch will get rolling again in April when singer/actress/ranch owner/restaurateur (and purely fictional Disney character) Miss Chris reopens her barbeque. The host will serve up a show as well as ribs, chicken, and other vittles. Along with Woody, Jessie, and Bullseye of Toy Story fame, Miss Chris will interact with guests to help them acknowledge and celebrate their birthdays and other special occasions. Expect a lot of cowboy-style, sing-along renditions of "Happy Birthday to You."
- Celebrate! A Street Party
Disneyland and its park-goers love a parade, and this season's procession, which kicks off in late March, will be more of a participatory dance jam. Three float units will temporarily set up camp along Main Street U.S.A. and in Fantasyland, and performers will get the crowd on its feet to join in swing, rock, and Latin dance numbers. The rhythmically inclined will even be able to play Mickey-shaped hand drums. The call-and-response parade will give the crowd a chance to publicly proclaim its celebrations.
- Celebration Central
There are many other ways, large and small, to keep the celebration good times going at Disneyland. For example, celebration pins and a birthday call from Goofy are available at City Hall in Disneyland, free for the asking. For a special celebratory meal, you could consider making reservations at two of the resort's upscale restaurants. Steakhouse 55 in the Disneyland Hotel, has a swanky, yet hushed, 1950s Hollywood vibe. It offers classic steakhouse fare at relatively reasonable prices. Napa Rose at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, on the other hand, is relatively pricey, and features creative dishes that draw on the Napa Valley for inspiration. If you go, consider asking the engaging Michael Jordan, the eatery's master sommelier, to grab you a bottle of Magicale. The aptly named Italian dessert wine is a fine way to toast your celebration.
Disneyland Dolls Up Small WorldIn addition to all of the celebrating, there are other developments at the Happiest Place on Earth. Disneyland's circa-1964 it's a small world received a much-needed makeover, although the addition of animated characters such as Ariel and Pinocchio has caused a bit of a stir among Disney purists. The Disneyistas embraced the reopening of Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough, however. Debuting late in 2008, the attraction once again tells the Sleeping Beauty story through dioramas. And Disneyland fans will surely welcome the return of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln to the Main Street Opera House.
Also opened late in 2008, Pixie Hollow shrinks visitors down to itsy-bitsy size so that they can meet Tinker Bell and her pixie friends. Not coincidentally, Disney recently released a Disney Fairies video. Hey kids! Can you say "synergy?"
Over at Disney's California Adventure, the most visible evidence of the park's ongoing, massive overhaul is the construction walls going up everywhere. Nothing major is expected to open in 2009, although the Coney-Island-style Ferris wheel at Paradise Pier area will sport a pie-eyed Mickey Mouse and get renamed Mickey's Fun Wheel, and the boardwalk games will get Disney makeovers with themes such as Goofy About Fishin'. Interestingly, the Mickey ears will be coming down from the loop on the California Screamin' roller coaster. The Imagineers determined that the Mickster clashed with the revamped vintage look of the seaside pier area.
The park has opened Blue Sky Cellar, a preview center that provides models, sketches, videos, and other details about the changes in store. For more info about Disney's California Adventure makeover, including the Disney's World of Color nighttime spectacular, The Little Mermaid attraction, and Cars Land:
- Putting the Disney into Disney's California Adventure - Overview of the park expansion.
- Disney's California Adventure Expansion Preview Photo Gallery
The California Ride Guide 2009 continues on page two with more California parks and their new attractions.