Our 16 Hour Day @ Disney CA Adventure

I had been holding onto a Disney gift certificate that I won from last year, waiting for a good opportunity to use it.  I was waiting for Disney to announce their “deal” for Southern California residents that usually happens in the beginning of the year.  Meanwhile, D has been wanting to go to Disney California Adventure for a while so he could check it off the kids’ list.  k went when she was two years old, and n had never been before.  How sad that we live so close, yet hardly get to go since it is so expensive!  So, at last, Saturday was the day!

How is it possible that we spent sixteen hours, door to door at Disney California Adventure?  Well, I will tell you!  Since it was supposed to open at 8 a.m., we left a little after 7 a.m. to make sure we had enough time to park, go through security, and take the tram.  At least we did not have to buy tickets there since I had purchased them online the day before.


In the morning, when you first arrive, everyone is in a good mood and excited for the day.  Even the tram ride seems fun!

I am glad we had a cast member take this picture.  It is our only family shot of the whole day!

In the morning, we attempted to follow a touring plan that I had found online.

  • First, we grabbed our Fast Pass tickets for Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Then we rode Soarin’ Around the World.  The kids kind of knew what to expect since we did a similar ride last summer in Vancouver.

  • Next we grabbed our Fast Passes for the 9:45 showing of World of Color.
  • Then we went on ToyStory Mania!  After that we obtained Fast Passes for Radiator Springs Racers.

  • Then we rode the Guardians of the Galaxy, fka Tower of Terror.  After riding that one, I declared that “Once was enough for me!”, but D really liked it.  I think we had not really adequately prepared n and he was a little shell-shocked.

It does not look like we were having as much fun as everyone else–ha!

  • We went on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.  This was my first time seeing Cars Land, and it was pretty impressive!

  • Next we did Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters.  I like the “dance” that the cars all do at the end.

I like noticing all of the Disney details, like the tire topiaries…

…and the Radiator Springs trash can.

  • We had a mid-morning snack at Cozy Cone Motel.

Bacon Mac & Cheese in a Bread Cone.  The bread was not that great; the concept was better than the execution.

  • We watched It’s Tough to be a Bug!
  • Finally it was time for our Fast Passes at Radiator Springs Racers.  This was my favorite ride of the day!  Definitely get a Fast Pass for this one, though.

The 3 + 3 rider configuration is a little awkward since you basically always end up sitting with single riders.  The cars are spacious though, so our personal bubbles stayed intact.

  • I really wanted to make the noon showing of Frozen at the Hyperion Theater.  I had to make a quick stop to grab more Fast Passes for Radiator Springs at night along the way.  We ended up power-walking and they almost shut the doors on D after the kids and I were already seated.  Luckily, they let him in and we were reunited.  The show was done really well and lasted longer than I thought–about an hour!  This was a good resting time for us.  It brought back memories of the theater production we saw onboard the Disney Wonder.
  • We ate lunch at Pacific Wharf Cafe.

Broccoli cheese soup and potato soup in a Boudin bread bowl and took it easy after our somewhat rushed morning.

  • We rode The Little Mermaid.
  • We went on Silly Symphony Swings.  This was n’s first time on a ride like this, and he liked it!
  • We watched Turtle Talk with Crush.
  • We waited in line for Monsters, Inc., but there were technical difficulties they stopped the ride and we left.

I know they are trying to make the park less California-specific, but I hope they keep this waterfall!

Both Grizzly River Run and California Screamin’ were closed that day.  We knew that beforehand, though, so it was not a major disappointment.  Check online before you go!

  • We went on Goofy’s Sky School.
  • We ate a corn dog from Corn Dog Castle.  Tip: ask to have the corndog by itself (it comes with apple slices or chips) and save $2!

  • We did a little window-shopping in Downtown Disney and ate at Earl of Sandwich.

  • We stopped by Starbucks for an Americano (mostly for D) and a Vanilla Steamer for k and n.  It is crazy how crowded all of the Starbucks locations are at Disneyland!
  • Cars Land takes on a whole new aura at night!

  • We used our second Fast Passes for Radiator Springs so we could ride it at night.  Our car ended up on the alternate track, so that was fun.

  • We rode on Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train just because we had time to kill before World of Color.
  • We went on Soarin’ Around the World One more time even though we did not have a Fast Pass.  The wait was about 35 minutes, which was our longest line of the day–not bad!
  • We queued up for World of Color around 8:45 even though the show was not set to start until 9:45.  I am not sure why there was not an earlier showing that night. At this point, D was wishing that he had brought a warmer jacket.  n was able to stay up and actually did not fall asleep.  We were able to find seats at the front of the first elevated section along the pier.

World of Color has been around for a while now, but this was our first time watching it.  The lights/water/fire effects were quite impressive, but I think Fantasmic! is still my favorite.

Of course, no amateur iphone pictures could do the show justice.  It is something that you just have to experience for yourself.  The show ended around 10:15.  By the time we left the park, took the tram, found our car and arrived home it was just after 11 p.m.  It was an exhausting, but fun day.  Now I need to plan our upcoming day at Disneyland!


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