Disney California Adventure

05/28/2013
Originally the plan was to go to Disney days earlier and visit the parks multiple days, but because of the hustle and bustle of the last few days the schedule has changed and now we try to visit both Disney parks in one day. For parking we have a few options: we can use the shuttle back and forth from the hotel for a few bucks or we can take the car and take the free shuttle that Disney provides from the parking lot to the main gate. In the end the parking lot proves to be right in front of our hotel and so we just walk over there and let the Disneybus take us to the entrance.

On that parking lot all options for tickets are still offered, including the 3-day pass with military discount. But we no longer need those anymore.

We start in Disney California Adventure Park where it's not yet that crowded. First we use a fast pass to do The Tower of Terror, a ride that we already know from some of the other Disney parks. These remain mighty nice attractions though, especially if you are a bit fan of the old Twilight Zone series.

A short walk back we enter Turtle Talk, the interactive show with Crush the sea turtle. Very nice to see the interaction with the children in front and how Crush entertains the audience with his heavy Australian accent. Very nice show indeed.

We have lunch with a cup of soup and a turkey leg and that is almost literally a real bear. We also get a fastpass for Soarin'. What wonderful images again. The attraction seems to be identical to that in Florida but then with California as theme. Many of the areas we instantly recognize from earlier this holiday, including Yosemite National Park.

At Paradise Pier, we see the gigantic wonderwheel and of course the roller coaster California Screamin' (#817). This is a track where the train is launched obliquely upwards through a tunnel and then sweeping through a series of more tunnels. It is quite a long and very pleasant ride. For California Screamin' we take the single rider queue entrance because the normal queue is well over an hour wait. Disney has a somewhat strange concept of the single riders. First, everyone gets a piece of paper to take into the queueline. We are then posted next to the train on the opposite side of the platform, take the elevator to go up and take another elevator down again about 20 meters further. Then we hand over the papers again and the staff points us to the empty spots. The same principle, including the elevator, we get to see again later at a number of the other rides.

Goofy's Sky School (#818) also has a single riders line, albeit without the elevator. This is a Wild Mouse roller coaster made by Mack with the particularity that one hill is omitted from the standard layout.

Disney California Adventure has very beautiful themed areas. A Bugs Land and Paradise Pier are brilliant but most striking to us is Cars Land. Although we are not particular big fans of the Cars movies, the decor here is overwhelming. On a substantial area Radiator Springs is put down, with great attention to detail. Great fun and there are some unique attractions, including the hoovercraft bumper cars.

The main attraction here is, of course, Radiator Springs Racers, and there is therefore a huge line waiting, even in the single riders line it still takes a long time. It is getting mercilessly hot again in the blazing sun and almost unsustainable. But the ultimate ride is great. In the racing cars with two rows of three passengers we first go through an indoor adventure and then we make some serious speed out on the racetrack. Hellen sits up front with two small children who are very excited to say the least and the smallest holds Hellen's hand firmly all the way.


Arrival at Disney, just like in Paris the choice of two parks.


The 'Main Street' of Disney California Adventure.






Nice optical illusion.


Tower of Terror was not disappointing.


Just a picture of the picture.




Fine interactive show with Crush.


Lunch.


One of these legs would have been sufficient.


The Incredibles.


Soarin 'is in our opinion one of the top attractions. In all its simplicity yet quite impressive.


A bugs land is beautifully manicured.


Mega clover leaves.






Overview of Paradise Pier.


Curious Single Rider method here.


California Screamin'.




Cars Land exceeds the other areas in beauty with Radiator Springs.


Shops in the cones.


The Cozy Cone Motel has vacancy still :)




Gas station with pistons to support the roof.


No lack of detail here.


One brilliant attraction. Driving by weight displacement is not all that easy.




Radiator Springs Racers are great too. Unfortunately that causes the ride to be very crowded.





Disneyland

05/28/2013
At around 4 pm we cross over to the main Disneyland park. Here we grab the train first to tour around the park and see what it has to offer. That is a bit disappointing because the view from the train is not all that great. We get off again at Tomorrowland station.

We decide to have a look first at the attractions which offer fast passes but they were for about 1.5 hours at Space Mountain (#819) so we enter the normal queue instead for 45 minutes. Space Mountain contains a completely new roller coaster since 2005 with new special effects along the way. The ride is pretty fast and wild with some sharp turns in it.

At the Matterhorn Bobsleds, we can again use the single rider line which saves time quite considerably. This double roller coaster was built around and through the Matterhorn mountain and dates back to 1959. It is thus one of the oldest functioning steel roller coasters. Because I cannot say for sure whether I've been in the Matterhorn Bobsleds (Left) (#820) or Matterhorn Bobsleds (Right) back in 1984, I do them both again just to be sure. The ride doesn't look very comfortable but it strikes me as being not all that bad.

Meanwhile the park gets more and more crowded. Also because of the parades much of the road is often blocked and we have to bypass a few times. Yet we still managed to do things from the list. But at some point Hellen starts to suffer back problems by of the hanging around and waiting all the time and it becomes a little annoying.

Around 7 we want to go into Mickey's ToonTown but we can no longer enter the area?!? It is closed because of 'circumstances' is what they tell us. Can't be any more vague than that. This part of Disneyland would normally be open until 8:30 so bummer because there is still a roller coaster to do. They can't tell us whether it will still open at all today, but with only 1.5 hours to go the chances are slim. So we see what other things we can do but the queues are beyond the meandering almost everywhere.

After It's a Small World After I enter the single riders line for Indiana Jones Adventure by myself. This appears to be a pretty wild and spectacular ride by Jeep through the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, based on the Indiana Jones films. Including the huge massive stone ball that comes rolling after us. Nicely made.

Then we check to see whether ToonTown has reopened again and we are indeed in luck! It has already been 8 o'clock by now so we rush to Gadget's Go Coaster (#821). Coming into the queue there are announcements that they will close the place at exactly 8:30 and we are quite certain that they are not going to empty the queue. It is now 8:25 and with squeezed buttocks and all fingers crossed we're really in the coaster at the nick of time. The reason that they do not proceed here emptying the queue is because of the fireworks that will be at 9:30 and so they have one hour to clear the area. The reason for the earlier closure becomes clear when we are back in the hotel. There was a bomb threat, someone had thrown a bottle with water and dry ice into a garbage bin. Nice. Anyway fortunately there was nothing serious going on.

Back at the hotel we ordered some food and we pack the suitcases again. Then we have to weigh them to avoid the issue of being overweight again. We ask if the hotel has a scale for luggage but that is not that easy because the concierge is not the one who exercises this function normally. We ended up using the scale in the gym, there is a first time for everything hahaha.

This concludes our vacation, tomorrow we fly back home, back to the brown cheese sandwiches and my kittens!


Train station at Disneyland.


A famous attraction: Autopia.




Space Mountain. Only the building itself is still original.




Matterhorn Bobsleds is an oldie.




Cinderella's Castle.














It's a Small World at dusk.


Mickey's Toontown re-opens at the very last moment.


Again, this is taken care of to perfection and looks great.




Gadget's Go Coaster just met.


Goodbye Mickey.