Welcome to the Magic! The Happiest Place on Earth Just Got Happier! And any other cliche Disney slogans I missed.
It is MickMouse day!
Another 7AM morning in San Diego got Tuesday kick started. Two full days of putting in some serious mileage pounding the pavement combined with early/late hours finally caught up to me. I needed my alarm to get up and moving. Goodbye East Coast time!
It’s not a day in San Diego without a trip to Starbucks (trip #3). And for breakfast, we swung by Chick Fil A, being the local Southern California fine dining experience that it is, before hitting I-5 North to Anaheim. It went by fairly quick for it being a two hour drive. And luckily, the traffic wasn’t very heavy so everything kept moving.
The park opened at 10, so we weren’t the first in. But we were there early enough to get a good parking spot. Since we bought our tickets the night before, we got to skip our first line of the day. Easy breezy (beautiful Covergirl?)! Time to do this, Mickey!
I’ve only been to Disney World in Orlando, so Disneyland is set up a little differently. There are two parks: California Adventure and Disneyland. So naturally, they guilt you into buying a park hopper ticket that’s half a ticket cheaper than if you bought two tickets. But everything’s smaller too. My super-Disney-fanboy college friend in Orlando told me after the fact that both California parks can actually fit into the Magic Kingdom’s parking lot. According to the internet, the Disneyland Resort is on 300 acres, while the Disney World Resort is on 30,000 acres. So crazy!
First up was California Adventure, which was opened on a Disneyland parking lot in 2001. We hopped in line for the California Screamin’, a roller coaster in the Paradise Pier section built to look like a wooden roller coaster. The line was a little short and took maybe 10 minutes to get through. I just chalked it up to being early in the day and we had beat the rush. I’m always down for a good roller coaster! Unfortunately, we were outsmarted by the two little girls in the seats in front of us. When we checked out the pictures they take on the ride, Bethany and I look like the typical surprised tourist riders, while the girls knew exactly where the camera was and had their routine all planned out. I’d like to think I’m smarter than a 12 year old. But apparently not today.
Next up was Mickey’s Fun Wheel. From afar, it looked like a regular Ferris wheel. But two of every three cars were actually on wheels that looped around as the wheel spun. Pretty intense. Which means we had to do it! The line was a little longer (see! Now the people filter in…) at 15 or 20 minutes. The
funny scary thing that happened while waiting in line was the California Screamin’ stopped. Like as the cars were 3/4 of the way up the big hill. It seemed like the people were up there forever before they made them get out and walk down the ramp. So yup, we definitely broke it. At least we survived. We got stuck with a couple and a plus one they knew in our car. I’m not a fan of heights and the movement was a little trippy at first but it was funny watching the guy half of the couple practically strangle her hand holding on. Ha! I got to play the role of smooth-12-year-old on this ride!
From there, we scooted off to Cars Land. It was a little spooky how close the actual section of the park mirrored the movie (such a good movie, by the way!). All the tiny details were covered. That Disney! He doesn’t fool anyone. We hopped in line for the Radiator Springs Racers. As soon as we hopped in line, it was announced the ride was temporarily shut down. So apparently we prematurely broke this one too. We decided to stick it out and wound up waiting in line for close to two hours! And now is when the real Disney experience is had – understanding how slick those imagineers are at hiding how long the line actually is. It weaves and snakes and zigzags all over to keep you from actually spotting the front. It made for interesting conversation to pass the time. We picked a place to live. We ate cotton candy. We were given a death stare by the little redheaded girl in front of us for no particular reason. Fun times! Then we finally made it to the ride itself. It’s essentially the same ride as Test Track at Epcot in Orlando, only in a giant cartoon movie setting instead of real cars. They even have you race another car at the end. We definitely won! And looked dumb in our picture afterwards again. I’m no good at this game.
Originally, the next in line was going to be the Grizzly River Run to cool off from standing in the sunny line for so long. But the clouds had come out by then and we were much too intrigued by the Luigi’s Flying Tires ride. It was essentially bumper cars mixed with hovercrafts on hardcore steroids. It was super fun to watch but looked super dumb to ride. Off we went!
So… about those heights things… Clearly the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was next. I hate heights. I hate the sense of being dropped. But hey, I don’t go to California Adventure every day. So why not? And this is about the time our fortune really started to change for the lines. We were worried after the two hour wait for the Cars ride and the marquee said the wait here was 45 minutes, I believe. 45 minutes in Disney time wound up meaning we walked right in to the front of the line. I think there were two cars that went before we hopped on? And the dropping, heights thing wasn’t terrible since 90% of the ride was either dark or enclosed. The very top of the ride is open to the outside, so you see far out. But other than that, piece of cake. We survived this one too.
With that, we called it quits on California Adventure and utilized the hop part of our park hopper passes to take on Disneyland.
We’re just getting warmed up!