Disneyland/California Feburary 27

After the night we had had previously, I was hoping everyone would sleep until 4:30 or 5 on morning 2, and had this far-flung dream of sleeping in until 6.  Nolan was in our bed at 5 and fell back asleep until 6:15, the girls and Kyle slept until 6:35!  Score!

With the later waking time, it was a pretty uneventful morning before heading to the promenade to start our day at California Adventure!  It was this day that we learned, and would confirm each day forward, that Disneyland is extremely inefficient at getting people in the doors.  After the gates opened, it took us almost 30 minutes to get through the turnstile (and there was nobody there, relatively speaking).  We’d move literally one foot and stop for several minutes at a time.  Considering WDW moves people and traffic better than anyone in the world (I think I’m speaking literally, with little to no hint of exaggeration), this was shocking – and incredibly frustrating each morning.  Eventually, at least, we’d be mentally prepared for it 🙂

First things first in DCA, Kyle headed to the line to get fastpasses for Radiator Springs Racers.  I took the kids to ride a few things (or so I had thought), but it turned out that Nolan was pretty much too small for everything near where we wanted to be in the park, and the girls were too little to ride anything without me.  So instead, we got a snack from the (adorable!) Cozy Cone Cafe.

Once Kyle rejoined us, our first stop was Luigi’s flying tires.  It took quite a while for Kyle and Elise to get through the line, but Nolan did well taking in the sights and Avery was content to dig for treasure in nearby gravel.  When they were finished, she and I took our turn much more quickly.  The ride was really a lot of fun!

Next we had lunch at Flo’s, which was pretty good – and themed as wonderfully as we had expected.  We ran into Red outside and tried to get a picture with him, but he would occasionally rev his engine or start his siren, scaring the girls half to death.  The cast member asked him politely to “hold his breath a minute”, rendering him quiet long enough for us to get a picture.  So sweet! 🙂

Next we rode a couple of rides in It’s a Bug’s Land, which I thought was an extremely cute area of the park if you’re traveling to DL with little ones.  Relatively overlooked, from what I have read (and now experienced).

Finally it was our turn to ride Radiator Springs Racers – touted by newbies, imagineers, disney aficionados, travel gurus, and everyone in between as Disney’s greatest ride yet.  It really was wonderful, until Avery and I got stuck on it at the end! 🙂  Thankfully it was the end, so it didn’t hinder our ride experience at all – just delayed Kyle and Elise’s turn.  Eventually they rode though, and we all enjoyed it even more than we had expected to.

Our next destination was Paradise Pier.  I don’t know – I think even aside from the incredible, certainly park-altering additions of Carsland, World of Color, Buena Vista Street, etc – this park is just really cool.  Then again, I never thought of Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom as “half-day parks”, either.  The kids all watched Mr. Potato Head outside Toy Story Mania while Kyle and I took turns on California Screamin’; the girls and I went on King Triton’s carousel next – twice! 🙂

When Nolan woke up, we headed to Mickey’s Fun Wheel.  While waiting in line, we got a little treat when the “Just Add Water – Instant Concert” happened on the lake.  It wasn’t as moving as the Fountain of Nations shows, but was entertaining nonetheless.  And the wheel?  A freaking riot.  Incredible ride!  We rode the Golden Zephyr next (with Nolan in his own seat – yikes!) and Jumping Jellyfish, took another spin on the Little Mermaid ride, and then found ourselves in the middle of a dance party with none other than Phineas, Ferb and the Fireside Girls!  Elise and Avery had an absolute blast. Adorable!

At this point, it was just about time for the Pixar parade.  We staked out a spot, then Kyle took the girls on the Monsters Inc ride.  What a great parade!  I always thought the parade at DHS was cute but sort of an afterthought – not so with this incarnation.  The floats were interactive and had *incredible* special effects, the scope of the parade was much larger, and it was clear this was the daytime parade at Disneyland – not the third or fourth daytime offering at an oft-undervalued park, as it was at Disney World in the Studios.

After the parade ended, Elise finally got to ride on Tower of Terror.  She had been insisting the entire trip that she wanted to, but we never actually expected her to go through with it!  I took Nolan and Avery on Monsters Inc (very cute!) instead.  We met up at the Pacific Wharf for dinner from a few of the restaurants there, where I heard Elise was quite brave on the ride… but didn’t really want to ride it again ever! 😉

We grabbed dessert at a coffee cart after dinner, and made our way to our assigned viewing area for World of Color.  Our seats were, hands down, the best in the “house” – and the show was just phenomenal.  Indescribable, really.  You can check out this video, but it really doesn’t do the show any justice!

It was an extremely late night, but everyone did great – even on the walk back.  This was turning out to be quite a decent vacation already!