Disney Now and Then: The Rides



I used to be a very spoiled Disney girl. After work in the character department, I would high-tail it back to the breakroom to change clothes and run back into the park. You would think that I would be sick and tired of Disneyland after spending 40 hours a week there, but as a college-kid, an affordable date night or hangout with friends meant heading right back into the park. When you go to Disneyland all the time, you start to develop your favorite rides that you don’t mind riding a million times. I’ve noticed that my ride palette has changed a little bit since I worked at the parks, and when I have the chance to go once in awhile, I choose wisely, and sometimes differently. Here’s my DISNEYLAND RIDE: Now and Then based on lands!



Then: If I had a small amount of time to kill, I would hit Fantasyland first, because I knew I could see a lot in a short amount of time. Pinnochio and Snow White were the rides I always hit because the lines would be short, and I’d make it a point to not leave without going on Mr. Toad. Unless I was hanging out in the park til closing, I usually gave up hope on going on Peter Pan even though it’s actually my favorite ride in the park. What I always replaced it with, was my 2nd favorite Fantasyland ride, Alice in Wonderland. The ride I would usually end the night with, was the carousel. There is nothing in the world like riding that beauty late at night seeing the park lit up.

Now: My Fantasyland habits are pretty similar, except I do everything in my power to make sure that I go on Peter Pan. I will plan an entire day around waiting in that line if I have to, because I don’t know when my next visit will be. While Alice is still a huge favorite of mine, the Carousel is the one that I can’t miss, so in a sense, Carousel is the experience that stays exactly the same for me.



Then: This was the land that I spent the most amount of time in after work. Between the Dole Whips, close proximity to Fantasmic! and Bengal BBQ, it was an ideal choice when it came to the perfect hangout spot. My favorite thing was riding Jungle Cruise at night. My friends and I would usually wait until one of our favorite skippers was on, so that we could get a special trip. Indiana Jones was the other must-see for me. Something about that ride never gets old.

Now: Adventureland is so crowded! I used to be able to navigate it like a pro, but now when I head into this land, I get a little overwhelmed. While I used to make it a point to never miss Jungle Cruise, I feel like it’s not a ride I need to hit every single time anymore. To be honest, I’ve heard those jokes a lot. When I do go on the ride, I love taking a Jungle Cruise Virgin with me so that I can experience the ride from a newbie perspective, or, I have to go on the ride at night. It’s hauntingly wonderful. Indiana Jones is still a must-see. The boulder, the fire, the snakes. It’s all gold.



Then: Splash Mountain hands down. That ride never gets old. It didn’t matter if I pulled a full shift at work and was exhausted and it was a freezing 70 degrees out, I would always risk pneumonia for this ride.

Now: Splash Mountain didn’t happen on my first trip to WDW this year and it also didn’t happen on this recent visit over the summer. It all had to do with the fact that my party didn’t like drops. As much as I thought that I would lose sleep over this one, I have re-discovered my true favorites. Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Carribean are the rides I HAVE to go on every single time. It’s Disney Imagineering at its best. Give me a ride full of animatronics and I’m on-board. Also, I have fallen back in love with the Walt Disney Rail Road. I took a full loop and a half trip last time I went to the park. It’s the best way to see the park on a busy day without sitting in a crowd.


Then: Thunder Mountain was my jam. At night. What is with me and going on rides at night? I think it’s my preference because that was the time of day I went on most of these rides due to work.

Now:  Thunder Mountain keeps getting skipped. I’m not doing it intentionally. I actually really like this ride. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It’s like I don’t want to be 100% happy when I visit the Disney Parks. I’m so sorry, Thunder Mountain!


Then: I would always make it a point to visit Innoventions. Not only did I work there, but they have a spectacular view of the fireworks on their exit ramp.

Now: I will usually visit the Jedi Training Academy for a nostalgic throw-back, but ride-wise Star Tours is always top of the list. I love the upgrades to the ride and it’s a different experience every single time. Plus…Star Wars. It never gets old.


BOTTOM LINE: I would be happy walking around Disneyland with a cup of coffee looking at flowers all day. Seriously. Disneyland is my happy place. Any ride there brings a smile to my face. If I could only go on 1 ride when visiting the park, I’d pick Peter Pan. As a kid, my mom would pull me out of school to go on this ride, and it’s impossible for me to experience this ride without hearing her voice in my head as the jolly roger flies over Neverland, “Erika, look we’re flying!”

Erika Jenko
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Posted on September 18, 2015, in Articles, Disney Now and Then and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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