The sound that transports me to Disneyland is none other than the sound of Thunder Mountain Railroad screeching around the track on one of the last turns of the ride. It’s that high screeching noise of a runaway railroad train that never fails to put a smile on my face. Frontierland and Adventureland are two original lands in Disneyland that Walt always dreamt of incorporating into his park. Because the lands are notably smaller than the previous lands I’ve written about, I decided to lump the two together. So without further ado, here is a day in Frontierland and Adventureland.
Start the day by grabbing a Fastpass for Indiana Jones: Temple of the Forbidden Eye (I’ve never ridden this attraction without a Fastpass, and I don’t think I ever want to because the line is always horrendously long). Enjoy the nearly empty walkway throughout Adventureland; it won’t be empty in a couple hours.
Proceed to Rancho del Zocalo in Frontierland for an authentic Mexican breakfast (or treat yourself to a typical American breakfast if that’s what your mouth is watering for). Enjoy from options such as the American breakfast plate, biscuits and gravy, tamale plate, or chilaquiles. Sit outside and listen to the Western music playing from the Golden Horseshoe as excited guests prepare to ride the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness.
Head to Adventureland and take a ride on the famous Jungle Cruise before the line gets long. I recently rode the Jungle Cruise for the first time in a while. I used to think that it was nothing special; boy was I wrong. The Jungle Cruise has quickly become one of my favorite attractions, mostly due to the fact that I always leave with my abs hurting from listening to the countless jokes the skippers tell (“Over there is what we call the Indiana Jones Adventure and the Temple of the Four-Hour Line.” “I have a special treat for you, folks. You may never have seen this before... there it is- the backside of water!” “If we start sinking, we'll have to lighten our load. (Turns to guest) You folks over there want to get your belongings together? You may be leaving us shortly.” “And now, probably the most dangerous part of our journey- the return to civilization! I certainly hope you've enjoyed our cruise. If your in-laws are still with you, you've missed a golden opportunity. However, bring them back later tonight for our "in-law" special... halfway for half fare, no questions asked.” “Any children left on board become property of the Walt Disney company after 24 hours. If you leave them, we will be forced to take them back to It’s a Small World and glue their feet to the floor and make them sing that hideous song over and over and over.” “Let's get one thing straight... if we start to sink, the captain will be going down with the boat. I'd like you to meet your new captain (looking at nearby guest)... What did you say your name was?”).
Your Fastpasses should be usable by now so take a ride through The Temple of the Forbidden Eye and attempt to help Indiana Jones on his adventure. Indiana Jones is truly a wonderful attraction that I was too scared to ride for the longest time (one time, I walked through the line and then chickened out so my uncle had to take us a backway through the cast member area so we could get back without backtracking through the whole line). I’ve never seen the Indiana Jones movies, but I feel like I’m transported to Indie’s world when I ride the attraction. After all, it is Disney’s specialty to immerse guests in a different world.
After disembarking Indiana Jones, climb to the top of Tarzan’s Treehouse, and take a good look once you’re at the top. It’s one of my favorite viewpoints of the park. Take in the sights of the gigantic plume from Splash Mountain and the eerie graveyard of Haunted Mansion and the Mark Twain Riverboat floating majestic in the Rivers of America.
Take a stroll through the Adventureland Bazaar or Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost and maybe buy Indie’s famous hat if you’re feeling adventurous. Break for lunch at the Bengal Barbeque. All of the skewers here are flavorful and filling; I’ve heard that the bacon wrapped asparagus is too-die-for (I’ve never tried it because I’m deathly afraid of asparagus). Because crowds can get pretty overwhelming near the Bengal Barbeque area, if no tables are open, consider walking the short distance to the Mark Twain and eat your meal on one of the tables on the deck of the ship (the Mark Twain will be docked until Star Wars Land opens).
If you were lucky enough to find a table at Bengal Barbeque, make your way to the Mark Twain once you finish your lunch. Relax and enjoy the sight of the calm river and take in the sounds of the jazz band playing; maybe even visit with Princess Tiana or Dr. Facilier if they’re onboard.
After you’ve relaxed on the Mark Twain for some time, head to the Golden Horseshoe Saloon, and enjoy the show. Fun fact: Walt and Lillian Disney celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary at the Golden Horseshoe with the Golden Horseshoe Revue in 1955 just a few days before Disneyland officially opened. The Golden Horseshoe Revue, with over 50,000 shows, holds the Guinness Book World Record for “the world’s longest-running live stage show”.
If the Disneyland Band is playing outside of the Golden Horseshoe, take the time to listen to their old Western tunes. The show the Disneyland Band puts on at Main Street is completely different from the show in Frontierland, and I highly recommend both shows.
Head to Adventureland and make your way to the Enchanted Tiki Room. Step in line for the Tiki Juice Bar (make sure to enter the line on the side of the Tiki Room and not in the line outside the Tiki Room. The line inside is normally a lot faster). Order a Dole Whip or Dole Whip float and enjoy your refreshment while waiting for the tiki gods to summon you inside the Tiki Room. Once inside, enjoy the famous show that highlights some of the first animatronics Walt created.
Head back to Frontierland and pay a few dollars to spend at the Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition. It’s a classic Frontierland attraction that everyone should experience.
After getting all of your anger out at the shooting gallery, head to Thunder Mountain and ride my favorite attraction in the whole resort. The attraction was closed for about a year and a half a couple years ago, which was torture for me. It felt so amazing to hop on the familiar attraction again after the refurbishment was complete. It’s especially fun to keep your hands up high while riding Thunder Mountain because it’s fun to slam into your seat partner while going around the sharp turns.
After you’ve disembarked from the attraction, head to the River Belle Terrace for dinner. Enjoy from options like pork spareribs, oven-roasted sausage link combo, or the pulled pork sandwich. I recommend eating outside so you can suck up the last rays of sunlight. Enjoy the serene scene of the calm river amongst guests quickly heading off to their next adventure.
After a relaxing dinner, treat yourself to a Fantasy Funnel Cake from the Stage Door Café or a hot fudge sundae from The Golden Horseshoe before staking out a spot on the top of the Mark Twain Riverboat for the fireworks. As the fireworks soar high above Thunder Mountain, and as the magical music plays from The Golden Horseshoe, reminisce on your perfect day in Frontierland and Adventureland.
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