disneyparadeOver a decade ago our family got our first set of Disney Annual Passes. We’d just watched the Mulan parade on Main Street USA and we were so enchanted with both the parade and our young daughter’s reaction to it, that I don’t even quite remember walking into the office turning our day passes into year long ones and having our photos taken. I just remember being so happy that we could come back and see the parade and attractions again and again at our leisure. Which we did, dozens of times. Particularly in the summertime.

The new Soundsational Parade brought me right back to that day long ago when we bought our first Disney passes. It’s the best Disney parade that I’ve watched in a long time. Just long enough, diverse enough and a balance between the classics and newer characters. Everyone has a moment, from Mickey Mouse to Mary Poppins and her charming chimney sweepers. My sons will delight at Peter Pan and Captain Hook. Of course there were also princesses aplenty for the girls.

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Also brand new to Disneyland & California Adventure this summer are two new attractions: The Little Mermaid and Star Tours.

littlemermaidThe Little Mermaid, on the California Adventure side, is a classic Disney ride with vignettes that put you smack in the middle of the action. Your ride begins at the beginning of the story, introducing a curious and sassy Ariel. Your shell carriage then transports you through the world of the story via a magical multimedia presentation, comprised of a careful blend of animated and animatronic characters and illusions. Everything is spectacular. The whole gang is there, from Neptune, to Sebastian the Crab & Ursula the dreaded Seawitch. Of course the ride ends with the wedding of Ariel and Prince Eric. It’s not too scary for little ones who will definitely want to ride this again and again. This ride has amazing nostalgia appeal for younger parents that enjoyed this classic film as children themselves.

Star Tours, in Disney’s Tomorrowland, has been around for over 20 years. When it first opened up it was a marvel of technology. I rode the original ride in the first weeks of it’s opening, and it was an experience I’ll never forget. At the time, I was simply blown away by the technology. I don’t think I could have even conceived of the new and improved version (that’s what imagineers are for, right?).  Wow.

Not only is this ride now engineered in 3-D, enhancing the experience immensely, it’s also a different ride every time you get on. This is because there are 50 versions of the ride, and nobody knows where the Star Tours vehicle will blast off to next. You could literally ride this ride all day long and never repeat the same experience. Riding it all day long is going to be an inevitable request for my two Star Wars loving sons.

disneyparade2Of course Disney is loaded with a million other things that make summer days and nights spectacular, including their World of Color show and evening fireworks display.

Summertime is Disneytime for us. No worries about staying up till late on a “school night”, perfect temps and friendly travelers from all over the world. If you’re thinking of a trip to Disney, I can’t think of a better time!