Friday, June 29, 2007

Disneyland Day 4 .... California Dreamin'

Today was the day we decided to bang out Disney's California Adventure (DCA). One of the perks of staying at a Disneyland resort is the fact that we get to use the entrance into DCA from the Grand Californian. Well, it's only a perk if you plan on going to the parks once DCA has opened. Otherwise, you can cut through the Grand Californian to get to Downtown Disney.

Well, it turns out that part of DCA opens 30 minutes prior to the official park opening. So we utilized the Grand Californian entrance to DCA and bypassed a line. Well, there were probably 5 people in front of us. Then we made our way to Condor Flats to see if we could get onto Soarin' without a wait. Sure enough, we walked right on. We didn't get our usual preferred seat of front-row center, but I found that I like being on the far right outside edge seat. I also got some good pics from the ride.

After we got off Soarin' we decided it was time to visit the Tower of Terror. It was at this point, that we discovered that only Condor Flats opened prior to 10AM. We were in a large crowd at the rope. So, for the first time, we are getting to participate in the ritual known as the "rope drop".

While waiting, we met a nice family. The husband happened to own the same camera as me and offered to take a picture of us. I think this was the first picture that had both of us in it. When the rope dropped, it was a mad dash to Tower of Terror.

It turns out the same family was going there too and the husband wasn't sure if he'd enjoy the ride due to the dropping and stuff. His young tween-age son was looking forward to it. My wife and I did our best to reassure the husband that he'll have a blast.

I barely had time to stash my camera in the protective bag before we were on the ride. It was a blast as usual. I typically ride the entire time with my hands in the air. Only the seatbelt keeps you attached to the ride. There are parts where my rear-end comes off the seat and you feel like you are free falling....awesome!

After exiting The Tower of Terror, we got our picture taken in front of the ride's sign and made our way to the Monster's Inc ride. This was a pretty cute dark-ride. It kind of told the story from the movie, but I enjoyed it.

After Monster's Inc., it was off to MuppetVision 3D. This is one of my favorite 3D movies and I never tire of seeing it. I took a few pictures inside the pre-show area, but it isn't as elaborately themed as I hear the one at MGM-Studios is themed (I didn't get to that one last time).

After Muppets it was a brisk walk to get fast passes for California Screamin'. This was the first time we decided to do a Fast Pass. California Screamin' is closed till 1PM each day to allow for construction of the new Toy Story Spin attraction. Due to this, the line to get on the roller coaster after 1PM is long.

After getting our fast passes, we did some shopping at the Point Mugu Tattoo shop where we met a very nice Cast Member. We purchased some T-Shirts that we just couldn't resist. Disneyland was also selling a $10 limited edition Pirates of the Caribbean 3 lithograph is you spent over $50, so we picked that up too.

After doing that quick bit of shopping (have I said how much my feet are hurting now), we went to get some ice cream from what we think is one of the best places for ice cream in all of Disneyland (both parks combined). That is the Catch a Flave Ice Cream stand near the Ariel's Grotto Character Meal restaurant. Yummy!

Then we migrated over to P.T. Flea's for some Pin purchases. We picked up some Disneyland specific pins for our collection.

Then we moved onto It's a Bug's Land. This was mainly a picture taking venture, but we decided to give Heimlich's Chew Chew Train a spin. It's definitely a kiddy ride, but so is everything in this land. We got a good chuckle out of it. The theming here is phenomenal. Lots of details were put everywhere to give you the impression that you were the size of a bug.

After finishing taking pictures here we decided to do the Mission Tortilla Factory Tour. The Cast Member at the Point Magu Tattoo Shop told my wife that if you have a Happy Birthday pin on they'll give you a free 12-pack of tortillas if you are wearing it.

Coming out of the Tortilla Factory we started wandering looking for a place to eat. I wasn’t in the mood for Californian cuisine. While wandering we ran into the High School Musical Pep Rally. My wife grabbed my camera and popped off a few good shots.

While trying to find something to eat, we ended up going to Downtown Disney. I wasn’t impressed with my choices because I wasn’t willing to pay those prices. While I scouted out the food choices, my wife did some looking and shopping at the Department 56 store. We have a Christmas Village from them and she was looking for additions. Fortunately, I escaped with only the purchase of a park bench.

We went back to our room, dropped off our bags and decided to consult the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland for some lunch ideas. Well, it’s not as detailed about food as the Walt Disney version is, so we decided to take our chances at Disneyland.

We returned to the parks, once again, via the Grand Californian entrance into DCA. We made sure we got our picture taken in front of the Kodak Photo Spot of a waterfall coming off the Grizzly Mountain. The photopass photographers came in handy for this.

We made our way to the River Belle Terrace for a couple sandwiches which were remarkably tasty and filling.

After that, we went to the Golden Horseshoe to take in Billy Hill and the Hillbillies which I wasn’t too eager to see. But, it was much better than I expected. Plus, I got to play around with taking some seriously zoomed in pictures because we sat in the balcony.

After the Golden Horseshoe, we crossed the street and got on the Mark Twain steamboat and took a spin around Tom Sawyer Island. I haven’t done this since I was in single digits so it was nice to do again.

After exiting the Mark Twain we made our way back to California Screamin’. This process involved stopping in various shops along Main Street USA to do some shopping.

The allure of the Disneyana store was too strong. We ended up going in there and dropped some cash. I finally found a Scrooge McDuck statuette from the Walt Disney Classics Collection (WDCC). I collect Scrooge McDuck and Grumpy Disneyana stuff. Scrooge is hard to come by and I just had to get this. In addition to that, we got a Jim Shore piece of Nurse Minnie for my wife, a statuette of Mickey & Minnie on a park bench, and a lithograph of Mickey drawing a picture of Walt while looking at himself in a mirror (called Self Portrait). This was our largest purchase to date on this trip. We decided to have it shipped back home and I must warn you that Disney’s shipping charges are steep, but you may not have a choice if you don’t have room in your bags and with our track record with American Airlines, I didn’t want to take any chances.

We got California Screamin’ out of the way and then headed back to the room. We were planning on meeting up with my sister-in-law, her husband and kids for the Electric Light Parade and wanted to get some rest.

Well, it turned out that we didn’t get much rest. Pretty much once we got back to the room we got the call that they were at the parks. So we headed back out. After some searching for each other, we met up outside the Monsters Inc, attraction. It’s one of my nephew’s, Collin, favorite. With him being autistic (among other things), he gets temperamental if he doesn’t get attractions in a particular order.

After we met up, Collin wanted to do the Paradise Pier Rockets. I’m not into rides that spin so I waited while the rest of the crew rode the thing. Afterwards, we went to Cucamonga Cucina for dinner. It took FOREVER. We made it to our seats for the Electric Light Parade just as it was starting.

I quickly setup my tripod (its maiden voyage) and started taking some pictures. I think I did a better job than the first time on Tuesday with Tim Devine helping me along. Only time will tell.

After the Electric Light Parade we all decided to go to bed. Getting out of the park was easier said than done. There was a huge log jam at the exit because people pretty much stopped moving in order to watch the fireworks that were going off at Disneyland at the time. Once the fireworks were over, we easily got out of DCA using the wheelchair exit.

We walked with my sister-in-law and her family to the tram (Collin’s FAVORITE “ride”) and they went to their home and we went back to the hotel.

Thus ends day 4 of our crazy adventure.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Hi Grumpy!
I've just found your blog and was loving your Disneyland trip report. You did two of my favorite things on this day... Catch-a-Flave and Billy Hill and the Hillbillies! :o)

My boyfriend and I are owners of Our website focuses on all things Disney but since we are located in Southern California a lot of our news and pictorials center around the Disneyland Resort. We are re-launching our website very soon and to kick off the "Grand Re-Opening" of the site I wanted to write an article about what it is that makes Disneyland so special. Since, from reading your blog, you seem to love the place too I was wondering if you'd like to be quoted for the article. If you're interested, please email me (beth[at]mousehub[dot]com a few sentences about what it is you love about Disneyland or what makes it so special to you? Make sure you include how you want your name to read so I can give proper credit to you. And I'll be sure to contact you back once the article is up to read. Thanks for your time!

Beth Clarke
Co-owner and Columnist for