Peanut Adventures, Issue 8 (Disney California Adventure)
I told myself that I was physically prepared for this trip. That my weekly trips to Disney had me in optimal theme-park-going condition. I was SO. WRONG. We forget that the way we go to parks as an AP is so much more chill than a tourist trying to maximize their experience at a new park. So I woke up hurting on Day 2, but determined not to let it slow me down. Fortunately for me, although Disney California Adventure is a far larger park than Disneyland, it was definitely a more laid-back day. And though it was crowded, the crowds weren't as packed together feeling as at DL with more space to spread out.
DCA is sort of like Hollywood Studios over at WDW as far as theming goes, especially with the walk-in being very old-Hollywood. But then the theming just goes wonky with Grizzly woodland area (I'm not calling it the right name), A Bug's Land, Cars Land, Paradise Pier... it's all over the place. So calling it Hollywood Studios would have made no sense (particularly since Universal Studios Hollywood is just a short car ride away).
Continuing to utilize MaxPass, we grabbed a FastPass for the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout ride for very shortly after park open. DCA has done an overlay of the old Tower of Terror ride to make it Guardians of the Galaxy. I was skeptical, since ToT is one of my all time faves, even if I do love Guardians. Still, with time to kill , we took a detour on the way to check out the Monsters, Inc. ride.
It was a cute dark ride, but felt a little lacking in modern dark ride technology for a more recent film (I now want all dark rides to be as awesome as Alice over at DL). Right next door was an exclusive preview for the upcoming Thor Ragnarok, so D put on her SpiderGwen costume and we went to check that out, too.
Y'all please help me convince my child that she needs to dress up like Hela, I'm obsessed with this costume. The movie preview looked awesome, technicolor madness. We can't wait to go see it. It was finally time to go check out the Guardians ride. D wasn't having it (we tried to convince her that this WASN'T Tower of Terror, but she was not fooled).
But it meant I got to ride it twice thanks to ride swap (although twice in a row is about all that my stomach could handle). I LOVE THIS RIDE. WE ALL LOVE THIS RIDE. Every ride is a little different. It's hilarious and completely in keeping with the spirit of the film. GET RID OF OUR TOWER OF TERROR AND GIVE US THIS. I don't care if we're getting a Guardians roller coaster at Epcot, I WANT BOTH!!!!
I grabbed the next available FastPasses for Radiator Springs Racers, but we headed toward their Animation Building to kill time first. This is basically what we used to have at Studios, but honestly? Way cooler. Beast's Library was a favorite.
D even did Animation Academy.
It had warmed up, so D was back in her summer wear for our trip to Radiator Springs.
The Halloween overlays in Cars Land were super cute. We took a ride on Mater's Junkyard Jamboree (which was cute, but then you had to listen to Larry the Cable Guy "singing" Halloween tunes the whole ride... the horror). Finally it was time to check out the much-hyped Radiator Springs Racers.
It's basically Test Track, but with MORE- more storytelling, more Cars-franchise theming, more ride. D loved it, and I'd say as a whole it's a better experience than Test Track (which is still great). By now it was HOT. Still not sweaty (because this isn't a Florida Swamp), but roasty. There really aren't a lot of rides at DCA (they have Soarin', but it's the same as Epcot, so... why bother?). I noticed there were FastPasses for their River Rapids ride. We have one at Animal Kingdom, but have not gotten around to riding it. This seemed like the perfect weather, so we decided it was as good a time as any to introduce D to the round river tube ride that is at almost every theme park in existence.
D LOVED it. Giggled and squealed the whole time in absolute delight. She hasn't stopped asking when she can ride the one we have here (we've been having a strange cold spell, but I promised when it warmed back up we'd go). We got JUST the right amount of wet for hot weather: wet but not soggy.
Our next stop was my #1 requirement for our trip: meet Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. We never get to see Oswald at WDW, the true originator of the Disney empire, but he's out at DCA EVERY day. I'd told D about him while we were still trip planning, and she was pretty excited to meet him, too. She insisted on a little photoshoot while we waited, though.
Oswald was the cutest, sweetest rabbit ever.
D even snuck in some extra hugs during Mellie's time.
D kept asking to go on the river rapids again, so we grabbed another fastpass and went to check out A Bug's Land until our window opened. Y'all... I have a huge sentimental attachment to A Bug's Life, and I was in heaven.
I was so excited to ride Heimlich's chew chew train I couldn't hold the camera still.
D loved everything. We did the bumper cars...
And the ladybug version of teacups before heading back to do the river rapids again.
Last we took a walk to check out Paradise Pier, the state-fair themed area of DCA. It was honestly my least favorite area, since nothing felt particularly special about it. We stopped and grabbed some food. I appreciate that I could get tamales and street tacos at a regular counter service stop (they had a whole area themed around Day of the Dead). Some puppeteers walked by while we were eating. Casual.
We walked back through the area that was sort of like the San Francisco wharf. The lines for Margaritas were staggering. We walked through a bread factory and ate some free bread. Our last stop was to see the Guardians of the Galaxy dance party. I was stoked. D was excited to watch but absolutely NOT participate.
At one point Starlord through the dance to me. Oh god. I had to dance. And throw it back. I did it. I'm a team player.
Honestly we were all pretty done-so by then, so we decided to head back to the hotel and get a good night's rest for our last day at the parks. I needed it. I had a blister the size of a shelled peanut on my left foot. D basically never wanted to leave either park ever, but crashed promptly as soon as she'd showered and hit the pillow.
Plus, our last and biggest day was still to come...