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The Magic Years
Disney through the eyes of teens
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Adrienne Krock, editor
Get Away From the Crowds!

Sometimes it's even crowded to ride the trams
Sometimes it's even crowded to ride the trams

Have you ever noticed how Disneyland can get really crowded? Sometimes you can't do much when the crowds are huge, but you don't just want to go home! Well, I found some fun things to do at the Disneyland Resort that don't have huge lines and aren't all that crowded. I've discovered a place where you can shop, drive remote control motor boats, get hair wraps, see some beautiful artwork, and much more. All this is in the hotel area of the Disneyland Resort.

From Downtown Disney, you can get to the hotel by walking under a big blue sorcerer's hat and through the yellow stars that surround it. You see the Disneyland Hotel as you walk through the hat.

The hat under construction - the Marina Tower is behind it
The hat under construction - the Marina Tower is behind it

Our first stop is the Marina Tower, which is the main part of the hotel and the first building you see when you enter the area. Directly in front of the tower is a Cartoon of You cart, where you can have an artist draw you as a cartoon. There is a temporary tattoo cart, where you can get a painted tattoo of a butterfly, sun, dolphin, spider, and other things. These "tattoos" last for three to five days, and start at $12. You can also get a hair wrap. These are lots of fun! A Cast Member wraps your hair in your choice of different colors of string and can put beads and charms in, too. I got one of these a few years ago, and it stayed in for quite a while -- two months, at least! It costs $1.50 per inch, and beads and charms are sold separately.

Inside the Marina Tower, the Fantasia Store sells your typical Disney merchandise. Just left of that is a really neat wall with pictures of Walt Disney and Disneyland in its very early stages, from the drawing board to highlights of its early years. Just turn around and there is another wall with pictures of celebrities visiting Disneyland. Among those in the pictures are: Dick Van Dyke, Macaulay Culkin, Japan's late Emperor Hirohito, Louis Armstrong, Muhammad Ali, former King and Queen Gustav of Sweden, and former President John F. Kennedy. These pictures are all black and white, and it is fun to see these people in their younger years.

On a wall right around the corner from these pictures is a huge showcase filled with old Disney memorabilia such as pictures of famous people visiting Disneyland, puzzles, games, and other trinkets. This showcase was created by artist and former NFL defensive back James Ridlon, in celebration of Disney's 35th anniversary. The things displayed here are really great and lots of fun to look at. Much of this stuff is unlike anything we buy today. All of the items displayed -- there must be hundreds -- are from the artist's personal collection.

Goofy hard at work
Goofy hard at work

Not too far in the same direction is a small coffee bar, and right next to it is Goofy's Kitchen. At Goofy's Kitchen, you can enjoy all- you- can- eat dining with characters. They serve "mud" and "worms" for dessert, too! Goofy's Kitchen is a lot of fun for the entire family, and everything from the carpet to the cake is bright and colorful. This restaurant is nice, but not too formal.

To go upstairs in this building, you can use a glass elevator or an escalator. Once you are on the second floor, you can see some really great artwork. I don't know if you're into art or not, but some of this stuff is really beautiful and you should check it out. You can see a mural of Michael, John, Wendy, and Peter Pan on their way from London to Neverland. There are paintings of the Mad Tea Party, Fantasyland cottage- like building facades, and of other Disney-related things. My favorites are the scenes from Sleeping Beauty by Eyvind Earle. These are really wonderful. There are also a few, very large paintings of Sleeping Beauty Castle by Tom Gilleon, Herb Ryman, and Dan Goozee. These paintings run all along the walls of this part of the Marina Tower.

The Disneyland Hotel pool area
The Disneyland Hotel pool area

There is an outdoor patio on the second floor too, and from here you have a great view of: Cove Pool; the green, peaceful reception area; the Safari Adventure Jungle Cruise remote control boats, and the Trinidad Steel Drum Band performing on the sand at the Cove Pool. The band's rhythm is really great, and their Jamaican sound is relaxing and cool to listen.

The remote control boats are fun, too. You pilot miniature Jungle Cruise boats around a lake and navigate them through caves. You can also make an angry gorilla shake a long bridge, and even cause an elephant to put out a boat fire. There are lots of surprises on this safari!

The miniature Jungle Cruise . . . you're in control
The miniature Jungle Cruise . . . you're in control

Around the grounds at the Disneyland Hotel is a little brook and koi (Japanese carp) fish pond, where you can watch them get fed at 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily. There is also a small arcade, as well as cool photo opportunities. For example, you can have your picture taken in a scene where Donald and his nephews are camping -- that is, if you're like me and totally love that sort of thing. Right near here is the famous Fantasy Waters Show. The show is held nightly at 9 and 10 in a small pool of water, and is quite amazing when it comes alive.

Now, for something anyone should like. In front of the Bonita Tower at the Disneyland Hotel are waterfalls! You can walk over them and around them and under them. This is a really cool place to be and it is so lush and green here! This place is even more beautiful on a warm, summer night when the huge falls are illuminated with color. The waterfalls are a little loud, but very peaceful. There is even a little cave you can walk through, but watch your step while you're hanging around the falls, as it gets quite slippery there!

Near the waterfalls is Tinker Bell's Treasures. This little store carries all sorts of, well, treasures! There is a selection of Disney merchandise, but a big part of the store is set apart for crystal. They sell many beautiful crystal pieces there such as castles, necklaces, knickknacks, characters and more, and you might even see a Cast Member blowing glass. Tinker Bell's Treasures is quieter and not as busy as most stores in the park. In front of the store is a pin cart. If you are into pin trading, you can go here as it is not as busy as carts in the park. There are some photo booths and Disneyland Hotel penny presses here as well. For a quick bite to eat, check out Croc's Bits 'n Bites for burgers, fries, sandwiches and ice cream bars. All around the hotel area are shady places to sit and relax, as well as some mini roses and hedges that add to the hotel scenery.

Sometimes you can see a wedding going on in the gardens of the hotel
Sometimes you can see a wedding going on in the gardens of the hotel

Everything I have mentioned is at the Disneyland Hotel, and I haven't even told you about all the other shops and restaurants. All of this is fun to do, but do you want to know the best part about it? You don't have to stay at the hotel! Everything I talk about can be done whether or not your family is staying overnight. You don't even have to be a Disneyland guest. Although you can't go to the pools without being a hotel guest and who needs to do that anyway?

With all the fun new information, why are you still here? Get out there and get a hair wrap! Go have fun and be crowd-free!

Ciao!

~Jewel


Jewel's FastFact: Did you know that Who Framed Roger Rabbit is the only full- length film that Minnie Mouse is featured in?


Have any questions, comments or suggestions? Send them to me at coolkids@mouseplanet.com. I'd love to hear from you!

Get Away From the Crowds

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jewel
Hi!
My name is Jewel.

I am 13 years old, and a typical junior high student. I live with my mom, dad, and little brother. My family and I have annual passes to Disneyland so we go quite often. I love school, and science has always been a favorite subject of mine. I am in band and hope to be involved in music for the rest of my life.

Right now, my career goal is to become a deejay. In my mind, that is the coolest job in the world! My hobbies include: listening to and playing music, reading, writing, messing around on the computer and hanging out at Disneyland. We have seven cats (four of them found us), a black Labrador, and I have a goldfish.


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