<HONEA EXPRESS: Disneyland's 50th Gala (click for photos)
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It finally happened. Honea Express has moved to greener pastures, or possibly just out to pasture -- you make the call.

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Sunday, May 08, 2005

Disneyland's 50th Gala (click for photos)

We arrived at the Grand Californian Hotel on May 4th. Disneyland, as everyone knew, was closed that day, so we would spend it by the pool or perhaps stick our heads into Disney's California Adventure and see the new Pixar parade. We checked in a little before 9am and to our surprise were given FREE (since when does Disney do anything for free?) tickets to Disneyland! It was a media day and all guests of the 3 Disney hotels got surprise entry. Very cool. Steve Martin was there dedicating a theater. Tim Allen was there dedicating the new Buzz Lightyear ride. Kelsey Grammar was standing in line at Indiana Jones. Julie Andrews was giving interviews on Mainstreet. Art Linkletter was over at DCA checking out the latest rides. Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Wayne Gretzky, John Stamos (who actually owns the original Disneyland sign- has it in his yard) and the rest of ABC's primetime lineup were riding rides, eating cotton candy and wearing little gold mouse ears. Very cool.
The morning of the 5th we went down to the park entrance about about an hour and a half before opening. You know, to be the first in. Yeah right. The plaza between the two parks was jam-packed. It was like the Superbowl. People were dancing and singing and complaining. It was awesome. We went in the park and were able to get fairly close to the castle. Imagine rushing the stage at a rock festival pushing a stroller and being pushed by little old ladies and gay men. It was like that.
Art Linkletter came out and talked about the original opening day at DL, and about his friend Walt Disney. LeAnne Rhimes came out and sang a song that Richard Marx wrote for the event. Christina Aguilara followed with a song. Julie Andrews came out and spoke. An orchestra played. The 'Come Home' commercial was continued, with the little boy that was "missing" running from the castle afraid he was too late, only to be joined by all the Disney characters as they were in the ad. Stitch on his motorcycle. Genie fresh from his camel. You get the picture. After that the large curtain covering the front of the castle was dropped to reveal the final touch, a Mickey icon in gold with the number '50' written inside it. Some had speculated that the curtain hid a raised drawbridge, but that was not the case.
The remainder of the day was normal, aside from new merchandise and insane crowds.
The new parade and firework show were both amazing. They both cover a lot of Disney history- the parade covers the movies and the fireworks cover the park.
Over at DCA the Pixar gang has it's own new parade, which is basically Toy Story meets American Bandstand. It's got a good beat. I can dance to it. I give it an 80.
We stuck around until Sat. morning and managed to pull ourselves away in time to make the two hour drive home, change our clothes and go to work. Talk about reality hitting you square in the arse.
The whole experience was fantastic. I highly recommend it. If you would like to learn about The Happiest Faces on Earth exhibit then check out http://atticuscorner.blogspot.com.