Thursday, August 07, 2008

Road Trip Report -- California Adventure

When people say they're going to Disneyland, California Adventure is often wrapped up in that statement. After all, it's just across the plaza from Disneyland proper, so why not refer to the whole shebang as Disneyland, like Walt Disney World in Florida encompasses everything from Magic Kingdom to Epcot to that Animal place. :)

Why not, indeed? I dunno. I just wanted to separate the two in my posts because the Disneyland-titled ones were threatening to eat the blog, they were getting so danged long.

My youngest had been itching to hit DCA (Disney's California Adventure) since the minute we turned onto South Harbor Boulevard. See, last year said child was a quarter-inch too short for Grizzly River Run, a fact that was heartbreaking at the time.

This year, the kid topped the required 42 inches by almost two extra inches. And wanted to test out the ride NOW!

So, midway through our second day of the four-day pass, we headed across the plaza to DCA.

Now, DCA is smaller than Disneyland, so it can be a little more manageable. There are a few really popular rides -- Tower of Terror, Soarin' over California, the aforementioned Grizzly River Run, California Screamin', and the new Toy Story Midway Mania. All except Toy Story have the FastPass option, which is lovely. (Although what is it with new rides and no FastPass? Argh, the lines, the lines...)

We did the FastPass tango right away, picking up tickets for Soarin' before going on the ride, and then heading to the far end of the park where California Screamin' is -- right next to Toy Story. Amazingly, Toy Story only had a forty minute wait, so we got in line. (Later, I noticed that the line is set up to hold people in a queuing area across the walkway, which I thought was overkill -- until the next morning. Oy!)

Loved, loved, loved this ride. I'm only sorry it wasn't FastPass-enabled, because I would have been on that thing many times over. It's a 3D ride based on midway games, from balloon popping to plate smashing, and the ride moves from game to game at a really fast pace. It's fun, easy to do (unlike Buzz Lightyear, which frustrates me to no end because I can never tell which little red dot is mine), and a kick in the pants. Big, big thumbs up.

Once done with that, we got FastPasses for California Screamin' and headed over to Grizzy River Run for FastPasses/first ride, too. As expected, youngest child LOVED it.

Hint of the Day, part one: If you have anything in your possession that can't get wet, they evidently have lockers available for short-term use. I didn't know that until it was too late to make a difference. A good alternative is to carry ziplock baggies to put your camera, phone, etc. in so they stay dry, even if you don't. And you will get wet. After one ride, my DH and I didn't fully dry out for about five hours.

The next day, we went back to DCA at opening, which is later than Disneyland -- 10 am at the time we were there. We got there at about 9:15, hoping they might let us in early even if the rides weren't open yet. Sure enough, they opened the gates, then told people to follow the signs to Toy Story if they were interested in getting in line.

We wanted to give it another go, so we got in line, fairly close to the front. A cast member led us through the park, along paths I'd never seen before (someone joked that they were just yanking our chains, making us take the longest possible route to see if we'd follow), and then made us stop for about fifteen minutes.

Right before "opening", they led us to the ride itself, weaving the line through the many twists and turns to get to the entryway. At one point I looked back and the line behind us stretched over the bridge and past the point of visibility. We guesstimated there were over a thousand people waiting at that point.

Very, very glad I didn't wait to get in line.

Had another great day at DCA, skipping the shows for more time on the rides (though if we go again in the next year or so, we'll definitely make time for Aladdin. It's a great show.). At about five that evening, we decided to head to Tower of Terror for our last ride. It was so empty, we rode it four times in less than an hour. Walk in, go on the ride, walk out, go around the corner and walk in again. It was great.

Tip of the Day: Multiple rides in a row can be great fun. If you're lucky enough to happen upon a favorite when there aren't many people waiting, go for it!

And to that cast member who singled me out in the front row the last time through during the "no photography or videotaping" spiel, staring at me and saying he didn't want to see anything about the ride on my MySpace page, here's a message:

Nope, no MySpace. But you never said anything about Blogspot. So there. ;)

Tomorrow -- first Road Trip Report winner!


Jane said...

I've never heard of DCA.

Kate Davies said...

Sorry, Jane -- I wasn't clear on that. DCA is shorthand for Disney's California Adventure, the second park across the plaza from the original Disneyland. When you buy a ParkHopper ticket, you can bounce back and forth between the two parks at will. Hope that helps! :)

Maia Strong said...

"Walk in, go on the ride, walk out, go around the corner and walk in again."

Janet, Nancy, and I did that on the Indiana Jones ride the first time. Went three times in a row before we decided we'd had enough...until the next trip. :)