Disney's Calidornia Adventure, 4-27-07

Associated parks:

This is day two of our five day theme park trip to California. Since we knew Saturday would be busy and we had already done half of Disneyland, we hit up Disney’s California Adventure today. I had never been here before, and had read many discouraging stories about the park, so I was excited to see what it was all about.

Right off the bat, I was impressed. The theming in this park was amazing. I know it’s a relatively new park, but it still looked great to me. I loved the “wave fountain” in Sunshine Plaza. Since I know Tower of Terror (at least in Florida) has a long queue all the time, we headed there first. I have to be honest and say I wasn’t that impressed with this version. I mean, they had some great effects like when everyone in the elevator turns white and starts moving around on the mirror. That’s a classic effect. But, I didn’t really like the multi-floor loading area or the lack of two elevator shafts. I’m guessing they did this to cut costs, but it made waiting for the elevator seem to take forever. It surprised me the first time we dropped because I wasn’t expecting it. But, there was just something about it that didn’t seem right to me. Still, we rode it twice because there was no line. I’ve always considered the Florida version to be the best non-coaster ride, but this version let me down a little.

We then headed over to Monster’s Inc. and Muppet Vision 3D. I have to say, Monster’s Inc. was THE best dark ride I’ve ever been on. The door room was stunning. I wish there was a version of this in Florida. I was blown away at how cool it was. Muppets was basically the same, but you gotta love the Muppets. I was actually looking forward to seeing the Mobile Muppet Lab roaming around outside, but we didn’t see it over our three days there. We even asked several cast members about it and half of them didn’t know anything about it. So, I guess it’s still a little too soon.

After grabbing some fast passes for Soarin’, we headed off to Paradise Pier. Speaking of Fast passes, the CA version sucks. The machines in FL suck in the ticket to scan it. That way, you can put the ticket in any way you want and it works. In CA, you can only put the ticket in one way or it doesn’t work. I can imagine on a busy day this causes a lot of confusion. It seems like a simple upgrade to me.

On the way to Paradise Pier, we stopped off to check out Grizzly River Run. We weren’t sure we wanted to get wet just yet, so we watched for a bit and then kept walking. Just before we got to the pier, a garbage can started following us around. It was hysterical. It kept trying to converse with my friend, and he kept ignoring it, so I was quite amused. I love these things in the Disney parks. It makes the experience so much more meaningful for kids and adults alike.

I loved Paradise Pier. I thought they did a great job of theming the rides and also had a nice blend of “thrill” rides for a Disney park. Screamin’ was back to the non-Rockin’ version which I was happy to see. I’ve heard there used to be more airtime, but it’s been trimmed to death recently. Regardless, it was still a fun ride. I enjoyed the launch and the LSM lift. It was also quite lengthy which I liked. The soundtrack, although cheesy, added to the ride for me. Even though I HATE Ferris wheels, I wanted to ride the Sun Wheel because I wanted to see what the swinging cars were all about. I also found it a little ironic we waited longer for this than anything else in the park. LOL!! I thought the wheel was awesome. I was terrified the whole time, but it was great. I was a little disappointed in how short the ride was though. We only got one entire rotation and I thought people before us got more. Maliboomer and Orange Stinger were next. I had to laugh to myself that Maliboomer had scream shields on it to cut down on noise, but the cast member on Orange Stinger was encouraging everyone to scream as loud as they could. Still, they were both fun.

We then headed off to Soarin’ which I love dearly. I love it even more when you don’t have to wait in line. ? We also bit the bullet and rode GRR. I think we only queued for 25-30 minutes which wasn’t bad. All I have to say is wow. This has got to be the best rapids ride I’ve ever been on. It didn’t look like a “ride” at all. Plus, it was a TON of fun. Two hills and lots of rapids – wow. We also managed to get only a little wet. Two of the other people on our raft weren’t so lucky. Every time water came into the raft, it hit them. Ha ha – yeah, great ride.

After hitting up the tortilla factory and sourdough bakery, we headed off to “a bug’s land”. Even though I’m 30, I loved this area. Yes, we rode everything in here except for Princess Dot’s Puddle Park and Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies. I gotta tell you, Francis’ Laddybug Boogie was the best ride in here. I think it’s better than the teacups. Maybe it’s because it was late in the day, but I had a blast in here. My friend thought I was insane, but oh well.

Before Disney’s Electrical Parade, we rode Mulholland Madness, the Golden Zephyr and watched Golden Dreams. Mulholland was fun and a nice relief it wasn’t a spinner. I think the spinners are a little overdone now since every park has them. I absolutely adored the Golden Zephyr. It was partly because it’s an old-school attraction, but also because I was pleasantly surprised at how fun it was. Golden Dreams was ok, but I didn’t know who a lot of the people in the flick were because they never said. Maybe I should know more about history, but I doubt many other people watching this flick knew who they were either. The Whoppi talking statue effects were cool though.

We hung around for a little bit on the pier before the parade started. It was GREAT. Since I practically grew up with the Main Street Electrical Parade, it brought back a ton of memories seeing it again. If I’m not mistaken, even the music was the same. Awwwwww, memories. ?

On the way out of the park, the fireworks at Disneyland started going off which clogged up the whole entrance plaza to the two parks. This, in turn, clogged up the exit of DCA. In hindsight, we should’ve stopped to see the fireworks, but we finally made it out of the park and into Downtown Disney.

Honestly, I was disappointed in Downtown Disney. As a lot of you know, I’m not a big fan of chain stores and restaurants in theme parks, but that’s really all Downtown Disney is. They did a nice job of theming the area, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t visit in any other major city in the US. Needless to say, we didn’t stay long. We also made the big mistake of eating dinner at Tortilla Joes. Wow. We probably had the worst table in the entire place. It was right next to a service station, the doors to the patio and the back of the bar. The food was ok, but the restaurant disappointed me so much. I’m sad to hear that Disney has some big agreement with the Patina Group for restaurants at the different parks. I hope they turn out better than this one did.

Oh I almost forgot the two highlights of the day. I guess I shouldn’t have waited a week to write this. LOL!! We watched the Aladdin show as well. While I thought it was a fabulous show for a theme park, I had to deal with my friend rolling his eyes the entire time. LOL!! I’m used to the “overdone” productions Disney puts on, but even this was more elaborate than I was expecting for a park. I’m definitely glad we took the hour to watch this. I wouldn’t be surprised if this show arrived on Broadway someday. The other highlight of the day was Turtle Talk with Crush. I’m a huge fan of Crush, but this show was really cool. Even my friend thought it was really cool and he’s not that fond of Disney “magic”. I can’t wait to see more attractions with characters interacting directly with guests.

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