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Considering the fact that California has practically become my second home, I feel increasingly bad that my wife and kids have never come with me to the west coast. That means that they’ve not yet been to Disneyland Park or Disney’s California Adventure… which I have. Having done our first big Disney family adventure last year with a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida, I’m setting sights on getting the family out west – probably around the time that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in 2019, but maybe sooner if we can find a way to make it all work. For those who are headed west this year, Disneyland has a fresh lineup of new activities and attractions, and I recently had a chance to experience them first-hand during the Summer of Heroes!

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Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! is the newest attraction in Disney California Adventure Park, and the first time that a Guardians of the Galaxy story has taken place inside a Disney theme park. It’s also an attraction that my wife didn’t think that I’d actually ride – she thought I was telling her about it without taking the drop! Knowing that I couldn’t accurately report on the experience without strapping in for the adventure, I was all-in on helping Rocket Raccoon rescue the rest of the Guardians in an up-and-down-and-up-and-down-and… (you get the idea) experience. 

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With a line queue themed as The Collector’s Fortress (Benicio del Toro reprises his role as The Collector), guests are taken on a wild ride to assist the Guardians as they attempt to breakout of the collection. Similar to Star Tours, there’s six random ride profiles, so guests never know which they’ll get. Taking a cue from Star-Lord’s “Awesome Mix Tape,” each is themed to a song…

  • “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar
  • “Give Up The Funk” by Parliament
  • “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf
  • “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5
  • “Free Ride” by The Edgar Winter Group
  • “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley

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Summer of Heroes brings members of The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy to life throughout Hollywood Land with food, experiences, and photo opportunities inspired by some of their favorite Super Heroes. I spotted Captain America posing for photos in “NYC,” while Peter Parker’s camera was suspiciously trapped in a web high above. My group also happened upon Hawkeye, no-doubt returning to Avengers HQ after a battle with HYDRA. While I didn’t see them personally, I heard that Groot, Star-Lord, Gamora, Black Widow and Spider-Man were somewhere nearby.

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Fantasmic! Returns: I happened to be visiting Disneyland during the D23 Expo, in which guests got their first-look at the upgraded return of Disney’s longest-running and most popular nighttime spectacular. Taking place on the Rivers of America at Disneyland park, Mickey’s exploration now features enhanced state-of-the-art projection technology and has new scenes with characters from “Aladdin,” “Tangled,” “The Lion King” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” 

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The Empire Can’t Stop the Classics: Due to the construction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (opening 2019), several classic attractions including the Disneyland Railroad, Sailing Ship Columbia and the Mark Twain River Boat had been temporarily closed. Now, they’re back – and there’s some new views to be seen.

Last Chance for the Main Street Electrical Parade: The classic parade is back through August 20, offering guests a last chance to check out the iconic trek before it disappears (like Elliott!) once more.

For more on what’s going down at Disneyland Park and California Adventure this year, check out Disneyland.com!

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Yep, I finally got to visit Radiator Springs… and it was AWESOME!

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