Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Disney's California Adventure-The Non-Cars Parts

After knocking out Radiator Springs Racers first thing, we set out to explore the rest of Disney’s  California Adventure.

Since I couldn't find a t-shirt I liked that fit with California Adventure, I thought I'd try a simple Disneybound. I was going for Minnie Mouse. 

Grizzly Peak and Condor Flats

We never made our way to Grizzly Peaks as it wasn’t warm enough to ride Grizzly River Rapids.

In Condor Flats, we hopped on Soarin’ since the wait was super short, but never made our way back into that area again.

Hollywood Land

One of the many street shows in California Adventure
As a fan of matte paintings, I appreciated the massive, fantastic painting that acts as a backdrop in Hollywood Land. 

I heard that the Aladdin show was not to be missed, so we queued up. I was super envious of this cast member sweeping fallen purple flower petals into a Mickey shape. It looked very relaxing, and you get to wear a fun hat.

The Aladdin show was a slightly shorter version of a full on Broadway musical.  It was impressive. 

I was rather taken with the handsome Aladdin.  You know the line in One Jump Ahead where the lady sings, “still I think he’s rather tasty?” Never have lyrics been so true.  

The acting, sets, costumes, and musical numbers were top notch. Of course you can’t forget The Genie. He not only acts, sings, and dances, but he's also a stand-up comedian.  I’ve heard that no Aladdin show is exactly alike because Genie is always changing up his shtick to keep current with the latest happenings.  I’m sure many of his jokes went over the kids’ heads, but they kept the adults laughing.  

Though I think Festival of The Lion King is still my favorite Disney Park show, if you go to Disneyland, the Aladdin show should not be missed (and not just because Aladdin is so, so pretty). If we were there longer, we probably would have seen it a second time. 

A portion of Hollywood Land was walled off due to the Mad Tea Party stage being under construction.  Finding the entrance to Mike & Sully to the Rescue was quite the challenge. It seemed that even cast members were uncertain how it could be found. We did finally manage to find the entrance.  

This dark ride attraction was cute, and it’s worth riding for the door room alone, but it wasn’t something we felt the need to ride more than once.  

Buena Vista Street 

Buena Vista street was the other new area that was added along with Cars Land.  Theme park or not, there is no denying that the architecture in this area of DCA is beautiful.  

If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the park, Buena Vista Street is a great place to plop down on a bench, and soak  up some relaxing, sophisticated atmosphere. 

Bugs Land

We spent a little bit of time walking through Bugs Land. The theming gives guests a view of what it would be like to be a bug with oversized yard equipment and gigantic, towering plants.

With the exception of It’s Tough to be a Bug, the other attractions in Bugs Land are off the shelf, and primarily meant for little kids, so they weren’t worth the waiting time, except for one. 

I am the trip researcher, Shannon is not, so it’s easy to lead him blindly into things when we are on trips. This is how we ended up in line for Heimlich’s Chew-Chew Train. 

The ride is meant for the littlest of kids. 

You step aboard Heimlich, who takes you for a very short ride around the garden. He chats, in his charming German accent, about eating different foods. The highlight of the ride is being sprayed with watermelon scent as you pass through the watermelon tunnel. 

The ride is adorable and made me giggle. Shannon liked it too. 

Paradise Pier

The Green Army Men put on an entertaining show. Here are kids obeying the command to act like dinosaurs
After Cars Land, we spend the second most amount of time in Paradise Pier. It makes sense since the area has a good amount of attractions.   Though it is supposed to be reminiscent of Santa Monica Pier, the boardwalk feel made this Jersey girl feel right at home. 

Paradise Pier is often maligned by guests for having too many off the shelf attractions, but the area, like most of the park, is beautiful, and sometimes a little familiarity is nice.

Since I’m not a huge super thrill ride person, when we go to local amusement parks, the swings are my go to ride. I needed to take a ride on the Silly Symphony Swings to see how they compared. 

The line was short, as was the ride, which is probably what keeps the line short.  It was really fun to twirl around to some Silly Symphony music, plus you get great views of the park.  

The only down side was that as soon as you get up there and really start catching the breeze, you are right back down again.  

As stated above, since I’m not a super thrill ride person, I did not join Shannon on the California Screamin’ roller coaster.

 I have to give Disney a big thumbs up. They created a great viewing space for the non-coaster enthusiasts. 

California Screamin’ is a launching roller coaster. Riders sit, there is a countdown, done by Neil Patrick Harris, and then, vooooom, the coaster shoots up the first hill. A viewing deck sits over the launch point, so you can watch the coaster take off.  This was one of the highlights of my day. It was so much fun watching people waiting for what was to come.  Some were excited and enthusiastic, like Shannon.

Some people looked downright terrified. Friends held each other. People closed their eyes before the countdown even started, and oh the screams and facial expressions seen when they took off.  It was good times.

As a coaster enthusiast, Shannon deemed it a great ride. He regretted not having time to ride it a second time.

We didn’t ride the rest of the attractions in Paradise Pier, either because the wait times were too long, they were broken down, or just because we plumb ran out of time.

World of Color

We did the World of Color dinner package at Carthay Circle restaurant, so we had reserved standing spots for the show. It came in quite handy, as we didn’t have to stake out viewing spots hours in advance.

What can I say about World of Color? It was amazing. It is now our favorite Disney Park night time show. 

Getting set up for the show
What they are able to do with fountains, lights, and water projections was spectacular. 

I was enthralled. 

I possibly shed a tear or two at the part where Simba is trying to wake Mufasa.  

I wish every night could end with a spectacular light, water, fountain show.

Our day at California Adventure was wonderful. Unlike Disneyland Park, which was a crazy, full on military operation, California Adventure offered us some moments to sit, relax, and take it all in. The lands are imaginatively themed, the attractions are fun, and our only regret was that we ran out of time to enjoy absolutely everything. 

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