California Adventure

Although we had fun at the Magic Kingdom, we preferred California Adventure Park, probably for a number of reasons: the crowds seemed to be disbursed more evenly, there were fewer strollers to navigate, the rides were more exciting, we were rested and more organized.

The full breakfast offered by the hotel was served earlier on weekday mornings, so we went down in good time to fuel up for the day. Breakfast was wonderful – the kids were able to make their own waffles, and there were eggs, breads, cereals, fruit, yogurt, meats, etc. We took Cheerios and a safe bagel downstairs for Olivia each morning and she was able to use their individually packaged cream cheese and jams. To keep her from being jealous of her siblings’ waffles with whipped cream, she put whipped cream directly on her cheerios and was a happy girl! Breakfast of champions…


Cheerios and whipped cream for breakfast

We made the 3.5 km walk to the park and picked up our tickets for the day just as the park opened at 8am. We had a plan and immediately went to the California Screamin’ roller coaster – an upside-down-loopty-loop high-speed adventure. We grabbed a fast pass and rode the coaster immediately. What fun! The line was still short so we got back in and went immediately after. We went from there to Mickey’s Ferris Wheel, which raised us 150 feet in the air. We had a choice of a swinging car or a stable car and I chose the stable car, much to the others’ disappointment. I think they were relieved after we got up there though – what a view!!
When we were off the ferris wheel, we went back and rode the roller coaster for a third time – it wasn’t even 10am yet! We thought we would check into fast passes for a roller coaster in Cars land, so the boys went there while the girls waited to get their photo taken with Daisy Duck. We had a message from the boys that the fast passes for that ride were already sold out for the day and the wait was two hours! We figured it wasn’t worth it…


In Mickey’s Ferris Wheel


Mickey’s Ferris Wheel


California Screamin’ roller coaster – we rode it three times!


Sarah freaked her mother & sister out, keeping her hands in the air the whole time.


Olivia, Christmas Daisy, and Sarah

As we wandered back to meet up, the girls and I stopped to see a Phinneus & Ferb live street show and got picked to go up and dance. They had a blast!


Participating in the Phinneus & Ferb show

We met up at the Grizzly Rapids, where we were able to secure a fast pass for the evening’s 10pm “World of Color Winter Magic” show before riding the rapids. D’Arcy and the boys got soaked while the girls & I fared slightly better. Alex had been wanting to try a Churro (fried pastry with cinnamon sugar) since Evan had raved about the ones he had in Brazil. He bought a couple to share (eggs, so not safe for Olivia) and they ate them in the sun while drying off.

While we were that close, we went over to secure a fast pass for the “Soaring over California” ride, then went to the other side of the park to ride the Tower of Terror, narrowly avoiding being run over by a trolly. My recurring nightmares are of being in a free-falling elevator, so this ride is not my idea of a good time. However, the boys love it and the girls were keen to give it a try. We waited in a line of about 35 minutes with some interesting people and chatted, making the time pass more quickly.

The girls were all smiles at the beginning of the experience. Once they got buckled into the elevator itself, however, it was a different story… Sarah was really and truly terrified by the experience and vowed never to ride that one again!


Before the Tower of Terror


Sarah & Olivia are frozen in their seats – just before the first drop!

Hot and tired, we stopped and got some frozen lemonade and took our time eating them while wandering around. We stood in line to get a photo with flight attendant Minnie Mouse before heading into the Soaring over California adventure. It was one of my favourite experiences at Disney. You’re strapped in to a glider seat and lifted high in the air as you are guided through a 4D experience simulating the California landscape. As you glide over the citrus groves, you can smell the citrus, and you get the impression of a golf ball whizzing past your head as you fly over Palm Springs.


Enjoying frozen lemonade with Dad


Covering up the cacti I was trying to get a photo of…


With Flight Attendant Minnie

We left the park after that ride and went back to the hotel for a break. D’Arcy and I were going to walk to the grocery store together and leave the kids in the room with the boys in charge, but as we were leaving, housekeeping was coming to make up the room, so we took the kids with us. At the store, we got supplies to make supper, Back at the hotel, Evan rested while I made supper and D’Arcy took the other three kids to the pool. Back in the room, Olivia crashed while we had lasagna, Caesar salad, and garlic bread. Mom & Dad shared a $6.99 bottle of California wine. After supper, Sarah napped briefly too and D’Arcy went down to the lobby to buy shuttle tickets ($24) to take us back to the park for the evening.


The walk home


The hotel under construction near ours that Alex thought would be a good extension to the Belgravia!


Swimming in the evening while it snowed at home


Nap time before going back to the park


When in California…

We woke the girls and Sarah dressed in her Rapunzel dress to go back to the park. Olivia had a hard time waking up and we ended up missing the shuttle by about 30 seconds. We went back into the hotel to ask some questions, then ran across the street to catch the public bus. ($2/person)


Grumpy and Rapunzel

The public bus was an eye opening experience, to say the least, with some very colourful characters on board. One woman wearing a hula skirt said she recognized us from an intersection we had crossed a number of times, so she probably did. Then she told us some crazy stories while another passenger further back on the bus was laughing at her, saying she was crazy. I was quite happy to get off at the park.

The World of Colour show, which takes place in Paradise Pier is a half-hour water, sound, and light show and was worth going back to the park for! Some of the fountains shot up over 200 feet in the air, higher than the Ferris wheel we’d been on earlier in the day. With our fast passes, we had a decent viewing spot, with no one directly in front of us to block our view. However, we were far enough away that we didn’t get wet.


Disney’s World of Color

When the show was over, the park was closing and we had a problem trying to find where to catch our shuttle. We were given two different directions, then finally found it at the outside gates, just in the nick of time. We said good night and good bye to Disney, anxious to get into bed. Sarah was worried she’d have nightmares from the Tower of Terror, but I reminded her to think about all the fun and positive things she’d done in the past two days as she went to sleep.

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