You've asked for it, and finally here it is! Our day at Disney California Adventure. I can say without a doubt, completely worth the plane ride from Australia. My only regret really is that we only spent one day there and spent too long at Disneyland. Don't get me wrong, Disneyland would have been great had we not had such bad luck with the rides and if your kids are six and under it's totally your park.. but for us, with eight and nine year olds - California Adventure all the way!
As we were staying onsite at Disney Grand Californian Hotel, we just popped downstairs for breakfast at the StoryTellers Cafe. Everyone told me I had to book that way in advance and I booked the night before - thinking I might not get us in - but I did and when we arrived at 7am there was next to no-one there. We were having a lucky day it seems! Reason we started so early is because if you stay at the hotel you get an extra hour in the park - 8am - 9am - depending on the day it could be to Disneyland or California Adventure - this day it was California Adventure and the entrance was less than 100 metres from the restaurant too.
So we fuelled ourselves up - characters come and sit with you at breakfast - it's a big hit with the kids!
We're a bit blurry before our morning tea and coffee...
Great start to the day!
And you can get up and do the hokey-pokey too!
The kids had a kids breakfast set which was pancakes with syrup, juice, and fruit.. We had maple bacon and eggs - all hearty and the bill for five of us was about $85 USD with a tip.
Then we set off for our day - one hour in the park almost to yourself is a god-send and we headed straight to Soaring over California. It's a ride that you sit (strapped in) on a structure that lifts you up to a large 3D screen, it moves, blows wind in your face, you get the smell and feel of flying, I lost my stomach a few times I'll admit, but it was AWESOME.
Next it was off to a 'A Bugs Land'. I thought this was more for smaller kids - ideally 4-8 year olds - but my kids still liked it - the scene is very well done - everything is scaled up to make you feel as small as an ant - these are 'recycled juice box and leaves' ride called 'Flik's flyers'.
Next we headed to Cars Land and whether you're a girl or a boy you're going to love these - these are vacuum powered tyre ride called 'Luigi's Flying Tires'. We had great fun bumping each other!
We then went on the cars ride 'Radiator Springs', and it was great until the race at the end - the kids and hubby loved it - I just accepted I'm not thrillseeker. No I am not!
As you may remember from when we went to Hong Kong Disneyland I'm not fond of rollercoasters. Even though we hadn't quite seen it in the flesh at this point I started to get very anxious about Laura and Olivia's desire to go on California Screamin' I just think I knew it would be too much for them and I was almost beside myself in tears and I begged my hubby to side with me and not let them go on it. For some unknown reason I didn't have the same concerns about Eloise - perhaps because she's older.. I thought honestly as we neared the entry to Paradise Pier that I was going to throw up!
Anyways, we turned the corner and everyone got sight of the massive structure and Laura and Olivia declared 'No, I'm not going on it now!'. I had a little tear of relief. As it turned out, they were too short anyways.. PHEW.
So hubby took Eloise - and apparently she didn't even scream. Thank goodness my hubby loves these kind of things because I can't do it!
She looks a bit non-plussed right?
We did this instead...
Paradise pier is a brilliant place to have lunch I think, it's very picturesque and we were there in December the weather was beautiful, much like Sydney spring weather - in the early to mid twenties each day. At night there is a light show 'World of Color'. We didn't go to this but wish we had now - we were just too tired.
Then it was time for 'Mickey's fun wheel' you can choose whether you want a sliding carriage or a stationary carriage,
I honestly wish we'd spent two days at California Adventure, I want to go back!
As they got a bit wet... hubby had to go change his jeans - luckily it was right by the hotel so no biggie. This was an enormous hit with our family.
Then we went to Hollywood land - some highlights:
Muppets 3D - this is like going and being a real part of Muppet Theatre, I think hubby and I enjoyed it a little bit more than the kids!
Animation Academy - where you get taught to draw popular Disney characters - we did Donald.
And sometimes the scenery is better than the rides.. this couple we saw in Disneyland the day before in the same outfit, here they are at the Monsters Inc ride.
When we were in Hong Kong a month later we spotted these, but we didn't buy them.. kind of regretting that now.. (for the fun factor)
Then day turned to night, and we hung out at the 'southern' end of California Adventure - like a mini dixie-land called Carthay Circle - we caught the red car trolley up and down and took in the sights, we were exhausted by this stage!
This wasn't ALL our day of course, but a good chunk of it!
If you're looking to go some tips I will leave with you:
1. Get in early - and do Soaring over California and Radiator Springs first before the queues get too long.
2. Take as little as possible. 1 backpack between a family is plenty really just for water and your camera.
3. Take sunglasses and hats and sunscreen - regardless of the season.
4. If going to grizzly peak, buy a poncho, worth the money.
5. For character photos - take your own, mine turned out better than Disneyland ones you can use on the photopass.
6. Talking of photopass - this is great though - the first photo you get taken you get a card, then every time you get your photo taken after that - whether it's on a ride or whatever get it added to the same pass... register your pass and generally after a few days after your visit - Disney will send you an email discounting the digital download of your pics.
7. Souvenirs I think are quite reasonable. Set your kids a limit of $30 that should get them one good thing or a few small good value trinkets.