Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Trip Report & Thoughts From Tokyo
8 min read
Our trip to Disneyland Resort for the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration is best summed up as “extraordinary”, in almost every way imaginable. Both John and I went with zero expectations (that is always the best approach in my opinion) and by the time our trip was over, we created life long memories, forged new friendships, and re-connected with some old friends, too. In addition we gave away a tree’s worth of Tokyo Disney Park Maps! Oh, and I strutted my stuff in my Chip N Dale outfit, which received quite a few compliments.
Meeting New Friends
Before heading to the parks, we tweeted that if you spotted us we would give you a park map! Not only did I give away all my park maps (about 30 of them), we met all you wonderful TDR Explorer (and Tokyo Disney Resort) fans! To put it simply, you guys are all amazing. It makes doing what we do well worth the effort. We had many great encounters hanging out and talking about everything Disney!
Not only did you guys make us feel welcome, but you also shared some of your best tips with us to experience the best of Disneyland! (Finally, someone to give us some tips!)
The most notable tip was how to get the BEST spot for Disneyland Forever (which by the way is one amazing show, but more about that later on).
If we did not get to meet in the parks, be sure to hit us up if you are ever in Tokyo! There is always a spot at our table at the Teddy Roosevelt Lounge for you.
Special thanks to our friends over at the DisneyTouristBlog, TheDayDreamistheReality, Angry AP, and LifeOfLoon for taking the time out of their busy schedules to hang out with us Tokyo Folk!
Experiencing Attraction Updates
My last trip to Disneyland was in 2012 for the opening of Cars Land. Since then, there have been many new and exciting updates to attractions for us to check out!
The update to Alice in Wonderland was simply fantastic and I loved every minute of it. While I am not the biggest fan of this particular film, I can appreciate everything about it. I wonder if they will do something like this in Tokyo during the Fantasyland expansion? I highly doubt it, but it is nice to dream.
The recently refurbished Peter Pan was lovely and one of my favourites. To be honest I could not see exactly what they updated since it has been a while since I rode the original. But, it was still fun none the less!
Matterhorn was also on the list of refurbished attractions we needed to ride. It still broke my back (would it be the same if it didn’t?) and the number of hats, Mickey Ears, and other randomly dropped items along the tracks has not decreased. But the new and improved Yeti was a welcomed change. Still a classic and always will be!
Over in Carsland we rode Radiator Springs Racers three times over the two days we were there. An incredible ride in one of Disney’s best-themed lands at Disneyland Resort. My group of friends forced me on Tower of Terror (I am not a fan of the dropping feeling) and they got a lovely photo of me screaming my face off ….
60th Anniversary Entertainment
The goal of the trip was to experience all of the Diamond Celebration shows, otherwise the trip was all for not (well not really I just wanted to say that)! In some ways, they hit it out of the park. But there was at least one notable place where things did not meet expectations.
I loved the original World of Color. The last time we saw it was when TRON was featured in the show. But for the 60th anniversary celebrations, the show was an utter disappointment. In some ways, it felt as if it was a re-edited ABC prime time special – and it was not very well thought out. I am a fan of Neil Patrick Harris, but they completely missed the mark with this show. My favourite part of the show however, was Frozen (which is saying something). I know not everything can be a home run and I am happy the remaining entertainment options made up for it.
Paint the Night was entertaining and a great addition to the nighttime entertainment. However, it is no Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights (which was recently updated and sets the bar for nighttime entertainment for any Disney Park in my opinion). The floats were over the top and “loud” with all their bright neon colours. My favourite floats were Mack from Cars (seriously that thing is HUGE!) and the Beauty and the Beast. The final float with Mickey was interesting to say the least, I enjoyed how it messed with your eyes.
The music was a bit loud for my liking and I thought the Owl City song from Wreck-It Ralph wasn’t a strong choice and could have been replaced with something better. Overall the parade was enjoyable and I had fun soaking in all the lights and sounds.
As an aside, on our last night we caught the last showing of Paint the Night from the VIP seating near it’s a small world. John and I found spots around the area (as a protip from friends) and were waiting for the show to start. A Cast Member came up to us asking how we were doing, and to be honest I thought we did something wrong. We were then asked us if we wanted to sit in the VIP area. What a surprise! We happily accepted the invitation and had an unobstructed view of the show! Also in the VIP area were two other girls who seemingly were randomly picked to sit there too! Now, that is Disney Magic.
Finally, the pinnacle of the entertainment at Disneyland for the Diamond Celebration is Disneyland Forever. One word can describe this fireworks display, spectacularly-awesome (I made that up obviously). We made a point of not watching any videos online before viewing it in person. The number of disappointments? Absolutely none. From the over-the-top fireworks perfectly timed to the best in Disney music, to the projections all along Main Street U.S.A., it was clear no expense was spared when Imagineers created the show. I would be lying if I said that I did not become teary eyed a couple of times. Even though I am completely over “Let It Go” (I know I am not the only one), I found myself singing along and enjoying the “snow” coming from the sky. John said the snow reminded him of our 2011 trip to Walt Disney World for New Year’s Eve. As a Canadian, I thought the snow was cute.
One thing which surprised me was the number of people waiting to take in both Disneyland Forever and Paint the Night. Waiting a long time to watch a park entertainment show is something I have come to only associate with Tokyo Disney Resort. However, it’s clear word of mouth has spread about these two fantastic shows, and I can see why people would wait for the perfect spot. It’s worth it – and with Disneyland Forever in particular, is something I wish we had in the Tokyo parks (an excellent fireworks display!)
Disneyland Forever is my favourite fireworks display simply because of the emotion and perfect execution. Kudos to everyone at Disney for pulling it off. This alone is worth the (really expensive) price of admission.
Stuff Our Face
If you read our trip report from 2012, you’ll notice that the last time we dined at the Carthay Circle we were denied alcohol. This time at Carthay Circle we enjoyed glasses of wine with our meals with zero hassle! Cathay Circle is one of my favourite places to eat in California Adventure. I did feel a little out-of-place while wearing my Chip N Dale outfit, but I rocked it.
For snacks we visited Clarabelle’s Hand Scooped Ice Cream in California Adventure. I got the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Bar with enough candy Mickey’s to make my dentist groan. Over at Disneyland I had to try the marshmallow Mickey, because I am a sucker for anything with marshmallows.
Our 2nd favourite meal (besides Carthay Circle) was at the Plaza Inn. Of all the time we have visited Disneyland Resort, we have never experienced the amazing-ness that is the fried chicken. Big thanks to Guy and Tom who gave us this recommendation. Now all I can think of is that darned fried chicken! We need this in Tokyo. Maybe we can get KFC to sponsor something inside the parks at Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea? (Can you imagine the line-ups?!)
Compliments On My Outfit
Typically I am not one to “stand out” when I go places. To be honest, I’d rather blend in with the crowd. This is challenging as someone living in Japan, as I stand out pretty easily on my own! But, I decided to get outside my comfort zone and wear my most outrageous outfit to date while visiting Disneyland.
I purchased my outfit at Tokyo DisneySea as part of the Summer Festival. If you visit the Tokyo parks, you’ll notice many people wearing the outfit (which makes it easy for me to blend in).
Over at Disneyland Resort, however, you can bet that I was the only person wearing such an over the top outfit. It got me numerous comments ranging from “That is so awesome” to truly bizarre comments such as “You must really love Bananas”. Overall I received:
- 21 compliments
- 3 dirty looks (I bet they were just jealous)
- 5 people asking where I got my outfit
- 1 movie recommendation
- 1 attempt at match maker
I wrote down the most memorable comments I got from both guests and Cast Members, so here they are:
- “Do you like Chip N Dale or something?”
- “That is so amazing!”
- “You like bananas? They are good for you, ya know!”
- “My daughter would love you.”
- “There are no words to describe how awesome your outfit is.”
- “That is memorable.”
- “You came here just to rub that in my face, didn’t you?”
- “You’re so cute, I want to keep you.”
- “Have you seen the Minions movie? If not, you should, cause there are bananas in it.”
- “Jessica, Jessica! Look at his outfit. He got it from Tokyo DisneySea. Girl, we need to go there RIGHT NOW.”
All the compliments I received completely justified my decision to wear this outfit. You guys are all amazing!
A visit to any Disney Park is not complete without buying souvenirs. Allow me to show you what we all bought!
While, I did kinda spoil it at the beginning how our trip went, I am going to reiterate just how fantastic everyone we experienced the parks with was. That was simply the highlight – it would not have been the same without everyone.
Disneyland Resort has put on an anniversary celebration Walt would approve of with excellent entertainment options (albeit one flop). If you are heading to Disneyland for the Diamond Celebration, be sure to read the Ultimate Guide to Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration.
Thank you to everyone for reading and to everyone we met at the parks! I cannot wait to see everyone again at Disneyland Resort. Enjoyed our trip report? Make your way over to our trip reports page to read our past adventures. Don’t forget to subscribe to receive the latest from TDRExplorer!
So glad you enjoyed your trip to the DL Diamond Celebration and that you got to try the Plaza Inn fried chicken! 🙂 We were at DL recently during the D23 Expo and enjoyed a plate of chicken goodness at an outside patio table and watched both Paint the Night and Disneyland Forever while we munched. Admittedly it wasn’t the best view, but it was rather a triumvirate of DL experiences. 😉
I too was disappointed by the new World of Color, though I did appreciate that they wrote a show to celebrate Walt. And those giant columns of fire were something!
Even though I’m not a Chip n Dale fan, your outfit is awesome! 🙂
I am so happy to have tried the fried chicken! I cannot believe that I never experienced it before. Definitely on my list of “must dos” for the next visit.
Completely forgot about the columns of fire! Those were pretty awesome.
I was a little nervous wearing such an outrageous outfit, but I figured I might as well go for it! It really paid off. Thank you so much for reading!
Just so you know, you can buy individual pieces of chicken from the Plaza Inn with a la carte pricing (and you can specify if you want a breast/thigh/leg specifically). You don’t have to buy the full meal. So you can have just a drumstick as a nice savory snack! 🙂 You can also get the sides, such as mashed potatoes, on their own.
What did you decide was the ideal spot for watching Disneyland Forever?
Thank you for the tip! Now I know for next time that I can just get a single piece of chicken! Our ideal spot was right in the middle of Main Street, but I cannot remember the name of the store we were in front of. It is halfway down the street.
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