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Los Angeles Trip Recap 2…

February 8, 2011

{ First trip recap is HERE }

Our second day in California was the only day I had set aside for the Disneyland/ California Adventure parks. Trying to do both parks in one day was a bit optimistic, even for me – but at over a hundred dollars a day per person, I was going to get my moneys worth!! (Our ticket price could have been cheaper per day if we had been there for more than 1 day, also we opted for the park hopper pass to see both passes. So we got the golden ticket but it was what worked for us.)

Day 2:

We woke up super early around 6 am, remember we had been awake for about 20 hours the day before so anything other then lunch time would have felt early! We had scheduled our Disney wake up call and I had laid out my outfit the night before (it can really only be described as Disney-nerd-chic) and I was excited!

The BEST thing about staying at a hotel on Disney property is that you are entitled to what Disney calls “Extra Magic Hours” – this allows you to either arrive at the park an hour early before the regular ticket holders or they have hours that let you stay past normal closing. We lucked out and the morning we had planned on being at Disneyland we got to be at the park at 9 am for our EMH (keep up with the lingo here people).

You can see in the picture above that even though the park was not open to the regular ticket holders, the lines can still get VERY long – a lot of people stay at a Disney hotel specifically for this perk, like um… us! But once you get into the actual park, everyone spreads out and you can ride just about anything you want without much of a wait.

You can also see out map above – what you can’t see are all the notes written all over it. We have our own personal Tinker Bell/ Fairy Godmother (Hi Deb!) when it comes to planning Disney trips and she helps us by writing what we call the “Playbook” – it names down to the hour what order we should be doing each ride and attraction. We talk over email about what’s on my A and B List then she works her magic and suggests when lines will be shortest, when we get to slow down, when to actually just hunker down and wait in line for a ride and when to skip the line and opt for a FastPass. I always like to toot my my own horn when it comes to Disney knowledge but I have nothing on Deb so we follow her advice to a T!

With this specific trip I wanted to experience all the things that make Disneyland different than Disney World. This was tough to pass to up some of my favorite rides for the sake of doing some new things, but I think it helped me to stay on track and experience Disneyland better.

We started off with the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage which our Fairy Godmother had warned us was a “slower moving/ loading” ride so it was super smart for this to be our first ride of the day. For old timey Disney fans, you’ll remember the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride – this kind of took over that and it’s really a cute ride now where you look out the port windows and you are under water.

Our next new ride was the Matterhorn Bobsleds which is a Disneyland original ride and it was so so fun! We did Mr. Toads Wild Ride which we though sends a very intense message to kids that if you drive crazy, you will be sent to jail where you will then be condemned to hell. That’s what it looked like to us anyway…

While we were over in Fantasyland we took our chance to ride King Arthur Carousel and finally take a peak at Sleeping Beauty Castle!

I know everyone who’s been to both Disneyland and World remarks on the size of the castle and you really can’t help it! The castle in Disneyland is SOO tiny! It’s just as magical and as pretty but my goodness it is little!

After we did a few more rides we headed over to Adventureland in time for the actual park opening and were greeted with a lot of people making a beeline for the same ride we were, Indiana Jones Adventure. I was used to the Indiana Jones show but this ride was so fun!

We rode the Indiana Jones ride next to an older Asian  man named “Peter” who the staff greeted by name and high-fived all along our wait in line winding through the building. He started random clapping chants and was there by him self. Come to find out, that Peter rides this very ride first thing EVERY MORNING.  He seriously sat in the back laughing and smiling the whole time – he loved it and that made us love it more I think.

We stayed around this side of the park to do the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and look at New Orleans Square. We opted not to do the Haunted Mansion since we heard it was pretty similar but the house was different looking and it’s  in a really cool park of the park.

We head into Mickey’s Toon Town where I got to meet Goofy (my favorite Character!) and we tried to ride Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin – they claimed it was closed for a little while so we ended up coming back to it later.

After Toon Town, around 10 am, we had a major gear switch in our day and the playbook had us leaving Disneyland to walk over to California Adventure.  We weren’t done at Disneyland yet, and we’d only been at the parks for 2 hours, and we were already tired! But onto Disney’s California Adventure!

First ride in California Adventure was California Screamin’! I am a big roller coaster person and Albie is , um… not. So the only way I can get him to ride them is if there is very little time for him to stand around and read the warning signs. So we got on this ride quickly and it was so much fun! (Note the picture Albie took of me right away at the end – he liked my hair the most.)

While we were on on Paradise Pier, we did the Toy Story Mania ride. They have this ride in Disney World too but it was super fun so we rode it here too! Unfortunately you’ll see int he picture below Albie is now two for two on this ride in beating me. (For the record I go into the “extra round” a winner – but the ride prefers Albie for some dumb reason and it lets him win.)

We also stayed around this area to do Mickey’s Fun Wheel – which Albie would argue is actually the opposite of fun. I thought it was really cool and it gave me some really great views – but Albie is terrified of heights and was not a fan – at. all.  We opted for the “non-swinging” basket but it didn’t really help the fact that I am pretty sure you can see Nevada from the top – where it stopped frequently.

Next up was an old favorite of mine – Hollywood Tower of Terror. Our tour guide extraordinaire had recommended to save this for the B List since it’s not very different, but something about being in Hollywood made me want to ride it extra bad!

We were glad we rode it as it did have some changes, and there was no wait – so we had a lot of fun doing an old favorite! We did the Silly Symphony Swings and walked all over the park to get from attraction to attraction.

After our morning of rides, and according to the playbook it finally time to break for some lunch. We knew in advance we would want to watch the World of Color show that night so we bought the “World of Color Dining Package” which includes your meal and a ticket to stand in a preferred viewing area. We thought this was a great deal and recommend it everyone. You can eat the meal either for lunch or dinner and you just have to reserve/ pre-pay at least a day in advance on line.  The meal options aren’t bad but I of course got the kid’s meal :)

After lunch we started our walk back to Disneyland (about a ten minute walk) and even tracked down our personal Fair Godmother of  trip planning’s brick!

When we got back into the other park we got to slow down our day significantly. We rode the rides that we had gotten FastPasses for, we did the silly walk throughs and museums that I like and got our picture taken by the PhotoPass people.

By far one of the coolest things Disneyland lets you do is go IN the castle.  It just says “Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk Through” on your map and it’s not exciting for anyone else but those of us who are truly Disney weirdos.

The walk through has their beautiful story book open on different parts of the story throughout the castle and you can look through tiny windows to see parts of the story being played out in pictures. As an actual Princess, I can attest to how similar this castle is to my real life experience – ha!

We rode Space Mountain and waited until just after dark to head back over to California Adventure (I needed a night time picture of the castle – duh.)

On our way over we rode the monorail. We got to ride up front, which Disney World has stop letting people do – but other then that we were not impressed with this part of Disneyland. Their monorail system is one of the more original parts of the park and it isn’t so much a “people mover” as it is a “ride”.

Back in California Adventure we got to do our fastpass rides we’d been saving all day and finally rode Soarin’ – also in Disney World but one of my favorites! We did the Monster’s Inc ride and got dinner on the Pier then we got in our spot for the World of Color show.

Even with the “preferred viewing” we were told to get there a bit early to get a good spot – and we got one on the bridge over looking the water – perfect for the show!

World of Color is really hard to explain but it’s like a water/ laser/ music show. (You can search for a YouTube of it if you want to ruin the surprise for your self.) It incorporates all of your favorite Disney movies and songs and it’s longer then you expect – which is awesome! This is one of the more impressive shows I have seen and it *almost* makes up for me missing Fantasmic both times I have been to Disney this year. I still rank this nighttime show below Wishes (nothing competes with my Wishes) but above Illuminations.

And that was how we ended our day – it was a very long and tiring day but it was so much fun!

That night we drove straight back to Hollywood and stayed the night there in a hotel I should have done more research on. Next up is our morning in Santa Monica and then the actual wedding that we flew out to be a part of!

SideNote: Bless you for getting to the end of this. I know I was long winded but I wanted to get it into one post :)

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2011 11:19 am

    Great Disney recap post!

    My husband I did an inpromptu Disneyland trip in Dec. to see the Christmas decor (how sad is it that we live 25 miles away but have not been to Disneyland in 4 years). We did most of the rides you did. We rode Mr. Toad and were both like WTF, that is one scary ride – jail and hell and then it ends?! The kids in the toad car behind us were SOBBBING. I loved the new nemo ride. I’m so glad they revitalized that pond after it sitting dormant forever. Also Indiana Jones is one of my favorite thrill rides at Disneyland b/c each time you ride it it’s a little it different.

    I have not been to California Adventure in over 6 years — so I know they added a lot to it — but when I went I found it underwhelming compared to Disneyland. I do LOVE the sorin’ over California ride there.

    PS – I love your Disney-chic outfit. :)

  2. February 8, 2011 10:02 pm

    Such a great post! I’ve never seen anyone plan a theme park trip the way you seem to. I’m super jealous you’re able to get Albie to ride roller coasters. Mike would NEVER do that! Also, loved your Disney outfit – so appropriate!

  3. February 9, 2011 11:10 pm

    I love love love your Disney chic ensemble!! I am so impressed you were able to get so much accomplished in one day–but I think I would’ve wanted to get my moneys worth in as well! :)

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