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The Things I Miss Most About Disneyland

I love Disneyland. It’s hard not to. And now, even as an adult, I still feel the same rush and excitement being in Disneyland as I did when I was a kid. It feels like you’ve been transported to a whole other world where things are perfect and everything is good, and I’ve been feeling very nostalgic for that feeling. I actually wasn’t at Disneyland all that long ago but it feels like it has been an eternity and a year. I went twice during my senior year of high school, once around my birthday in the winter and another time as a surprise graduation trip with my boyfriend. When the second trip came around, I remember people saying to me that it wouldn’t feel as incredible because I had been there a couple months ago but they were so wrong. Disneyland is a truly magical place where the only concern you have is how long the wait will be for the Radiator Springs ride and whether you’ll be able to ride it before it breaks down for the 800th time that day. There’s truth to that last sentence; the time I went for my birthday I was on the ride and it broke down, and then for my senior trip it was broken down the entire time we were there. I still love that ride though. I decided that because I’m feeling so nostalgic for the magic of Disneyland I should make a list of the things I miss most about it.

1. The smell of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride

This. This is the smell. The smell that I’m pretty sure could be universally recognized. The moment that you walk into the Pirates of the Caribbean ride it just washes over you and most everyone I know recognizes that smell as a good one. I actually did some research on this because I wanted to know what exactly creates this smell that everyone who has ever been to a Disney park would recognize. Turns out, it’s the smell of Bromine. Most pools don’t use Bromine as a water cleaner because it’s more expensive, but this is Disney we’re talking about. Disney parks use Bromine as their water cleaner of choice because it is less harsh than Chlorine and has become a staple of all of the water rides. Some people love this smell so much that a perfume brand quite literally bottled it. The brand Xyrena created a scent called “Dark Ride” that apparently smells of chlorinated water, fog, mildew, and damp ozone. Apparently it not only captures the essence of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, but also Splash Mountain.

2. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

This ride is such a thrill. It actually feels like you’ve been transported back to 1849 California. I love the feel of this ride and how it never ceases to be so much fun no matter how many times you go on it. A great thing about this one is that it is fun for adults and little kids! It’s a rollercoaster, but it isn’t so intense that kids can’t ride it. I love watching little kids put their arms up during the ride and having so much fun. 

3. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!

I’ll admit, I wasn’t ecstatic about the Tower of Terror being changed to a Guardians of the Galaxy themed ride. However, after being on it a couple times now I can 100% say that it manages to be more fun than the Tower of Terror ride. The whole ride is absolutely incredible. They transformed the Tower of Terror from a hotel theme into a giant fortress that is completely and utterly breathtaking in the detail that was put in. This ride is an immersive experience. Disney went all out on revamping this ride and they did an amazing job. I truly cannot emphasize that enough. They also adjusted the drops that you experience on the ride. The ride is longer, you get more drops, and it’s way more interactive. I miss this ride, a lot. 

4. All of the food

Churros, Dole Whips, beignets, ice cream, bread and chowder bowls. Disney has some of the widest variety of foods in one place. I miss all of the smells and consuming so much sugar in one day that I feel like I could drop. I love how all of the foods are themed to movies and rides, it just rounds out the whole Disney experience. Plus, with all of the walking you do at Disney, you don’t really have to be concerned about how much sugar you have. So, for me, it’s a free for all.

5. Soarin’ 

I missed this ride so much that I actually added the song they use for it to my Spotify. It’s so calming and majestic. I got to experience Soarin’ Over California and Soarin’ Over the World. Personally, I like Soarin’ Over the World a tiny bit better. But I think we all know the best part about this ride, the smells. Disney manages to make it feel like you are actually soaring over the Taj Mahal, or the African savanna. They even include wind and water where it might be expected. 

6. New Orleans’ Square

Another one of the places in the world that I’m missing right now is New Orleans. New Orleans is magical in a different way than Disneyland, but it feels like a theme park in its own right. I remember the first time I realized that Disneyland had a whole square dedicated to New Orleans, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The architecture, music, food that you have at your fingertips in this little nook of Disney is pure bliss. It makes Disneyland the best of both worlds. 

Taylor Wells

Oregon '23

Hi, I’m Taylor! I’m from Bend, Oregon and I’m a sophomore human physiology major at the University of Oregon. I’m passionate about traveling and exploring all of the wonders our world has to offer us. Airports are my favorite place to be, so much so that every year I go to the airport for my birthday dinner. I love reading, spending time with friends and family, and watching movies. I’m so excited to be a part of an inclusive, women-inspired environment!
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