This post is part of a special Disney community countdown to the Disneyland 60th anniversary called 60 Days to 60 Years.
Disney Parks, east and west coast, have been a life-long love of mine from my first trip as an infant and then dozens of times since. But 2003 was a very special year, and the most special trip to Disneyland ever, because it was my Honeymoon!
My husband Todd and I were 21 years young, and this was our first time planning a trip from head-to-toe, our first vacation independent of our families, the first time we got to spend money basically without a budget (we were generously given this trip by our families), and our first week spending life 24 / 7 with each other – and we loved every minute of it! I’m not sure any five days in Disneyland have been more magical! We didn’t have a care in the world – and we ate a lot of Mickey Pancakes and Frozen-Chocolate-Covered-Cheesecake-on-a-Stick (yes that was a thing back then) to prove it!
We went on every ride, watched every show, and of course ate treats to our hearts content. We were also very excited to explore the still-new California Adventure park for the first time. We had plenty of time to do everything and relax at the hotel pool thanks to a little thing the Walt Disney Travel Company offered, called the “Unlimited FastPass.” Yep, it was what it sounded like, and basically meant that we could get all of the e-ticket rides out of the way in the first hour or two of the day! They don’t offer it anymore, and honestly I’m not sorry about it, but it sure made that one trip we had it EXTRA awesome for us!
Although we had been to Disneyland many times as children, and had even been together once before, to lay the foundation for our love of Disney – it was really this 2003 visit that cemented Disneyland as our favorite, and happiest, place on earth, as my undying obsession, and as our vacation destination of choice every year afterward.
Let’s go back in time to Disneyland, 2003:
Ticket Price: $47 (one-day, one-park)
- In June of 2003, Disneyland held it’s first in-park movie premiere for the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, based on the attraction of the same name. Many A-List celebrities including Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Kiera Knightly attended to walk the “worlds longest red carpet” from the front of Main Street to the entrance of Frontierland. The movie-goers sat on bleachers along the Rivers of America to watch the movie shown on a huge screen located on Tom Sawyer Island. Frontierland, New Orleans Square, and Critter Country were closed to the public on the day of the premiere – guests of the premiere were free to enjoy attractions in that area after the movie.
- Tragedy struck in September at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad when, due to poor maintenance practices, a wheel fell off and the train derailed causing several people to be injured, and one man to be killed. It was a sad, sad time for Disneyland.
- Then, in October, Matt Ouimet became the president of the Disneyland Resort – it was an exciting and much needed change for Disneyland. He breathed new life into the park, restoring many practices left by the wayside in terms of safety and maintenance. Matt could often be seen roaming the park during business hours with his Cast Member name tag on.
Attractions that Closed:
- The American Space Experience, a partner exhibit with NASA was about space exploration.
- The Jolly Trolley, a quick mode of transportation from one end of Toontown to the other, closed due to the safety hazards of operating through crowded walkways. The track and one stationary Trolley still stands in the middle of Toontown.
Attractions that Opened: The Many Adventure of Winnie the Pooh
After The Country Bear Jamboree closed in 2001, Winnie the Pooh began moving in, Critter Country seeming to be a natural fit for the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood. Popular with small children – but not so much with the majority of crowds, the wait for this 4-minute long dark-ride rarely exceeds 15 minutes and is typically less than 5 minutes. Here are some fun facts about The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh:
- The ride buggies are 6-person, over-sized beehives which alternately make fly, bounce, and float motions.
- This ride provides a great little cool-off, especially the windy part!
- Listen for some of your favorite and most classic Winnie the Pooh songs.
- Just for fun, see how many “hunny” pots you can count… there are a lot!
- Little known fact: Right after the Heffalumps and Woozles room, look up and behind you on the wall (you’ll have to be in the front two seats for this) and you will see an homage to the Country Bear Jamboree – Max, Buff, and Melvin still remain.
- Near the exit of the ride you can turn into Pooh’s Corner for a sweet treat, and some cute merchandise, and you are likely to see Pooh
or one of his friends hanging around to meet you!
There are still 12 years coming up! If you would like to read more about the last 60 years of Disneyland – click on the picture below!
Many thanks to Didi of DisTherapy for allowing me to be a part of the 60 Days to 60 Years of Disneyland series. I have thoroughly enjoyed reliving my honeymoon to Disneyland in 2003!