California Adventure (Where Everything Seemed to be Closed) - Elias and Carrie's Excellent Summer Vacation Day 3

June 8th, 2012

Luckily, we didn't have to be up as early this morning. I slept like the dead. Elias slept better than the night before, but he still wasn't as rested as he could have been. We both felt the results of the first day's massive amount of walking. Each of us made some sort of awful groan as we got up this morning. This is a groan that would only increase in volume every day of the trip. There's actually no way to prepare your body for a vacation like we take. You can't walk all day in preparation. You just have to muddle through it each day and pray that you'll survive the journey. I know last time we took a theme park adventure, I broke him. I was just hoping I wouldn't do the same this time.

We walked across the street to the Grand Californian Hotel. Because we were staying on property, we had access to the park through the hotel entrance. We had decided the night before to go to breakfast at the Storyteller's Cafe at the hotel. There was a character meal, but we didn't care. We just wanted a Mickey Waffle. Luckily, we could order food that wasn't as expensive as the breakfast buffet. Though the buffet did look good. Elias got the Banana Stuffed French Toast. I got the Mickey Waffle. Both were good. We seemed to be in the prime spot for character interaction, though. The hotel is themed for the Wilderness of California, so the characters were all animals. Chip and Dale, the raccoon from Pocahontas, the bear from Brother Bear and Brer Bear all made appearances. The raccoon was near us for a while, then the kids all swarmed...near us. A mom was trying to take the picture of her kid from the other side of our table. It got a little obnoxious, but what can I's Disney. It didn't matter...too much. Soon enough, we had eaten, we had gotten our tickets and we were on our way into the park.

We didn't know much about this park. Well, we knew that they were updating it and that most (all) of the new stuff was opening on June 15th. This was a bit of an issue for us because we kept asking about things, only to be told that it would open...June 15th. There was no grand entrance. There was no massive store for souvenirs. It was just slightly off.

Our first stop was Soarin' Over California. We love this ride in Epcot. We knew we'd love it here. But we had to get a Fastpass because the wait was already long. So we started down a road to see where it would lead. It lead to Monsters, Inc. Love it. This is like all of the rides yesterday, where you were in a vehicle and it just goes through the story. It's safe and it's fun.

Around the corner from the ride was an area that would be used for evening shows. But first thing in the morning, it was for a free picture because I have a Disney credit card. We got our picture with Pluto. Awww...

We walked back to Soarin' Over California (love), then made our way to Tower of Terror. The wait was 85 minutes at this point, so we got a Fastpass for later. We actually used it much later. Much, much later.

There was a new Little Mermaid ride (actually open!!) similar to Monsters, Inc with almost no wait. By that time, we went to go see the Aladdin show and we are so glad we did. I had heard raves about the show. It's a musical based on the film. There was plenty of swashbuckling and singing and dancing and it was really funny. It was also nice to sit for a while and not have to race around. Though, when you sit for awhile, your body does shut down and lock up. There might have been a few moments at the start where my eyes closed slightly.

Lunch was nothing to write home about (except for the massive crowds...they surprised the workers too). We quickly ate, then went to the side of the park we hadn't explored. Paradise Pier. These are all of the rides we could see on a boardwalk somewhere (Santa Monica, maybe??) but (we believed) much more safe. But our first stop..we had to see Duffy.

Duffy the Disney Bear made his first appearance in my life last year when I went to Epcot. Duffy is Mickey's bear who Minnie made to keep Mickey company on his travels. He is soft and huggable and entirely not appropriate for a 37 year old to love. But I do. Cause he's soft and huggable!! He was there and he had nearly no line. So Elias and I went to Duffy to show him some love. He hugged us both. And we did our pictures. Awww..Duffy.

After Duffy Cuddle Time was over, we went to the Ferris Wheel. I don't know if I'd ever been on a ferris wheel before. This one though had two different cages. One was static. One was swinging. We both said, let's swing. So we waited in line. For a while. But we were in the shade, so...yay!! Eventually, it was our turn and we went into the gondola with three Japanese tourists. Screamers, we liked to think of them. We started along, then the swinging started. I thought Elias would be the one to freak out, but he was sitting there, cool as a cucumber. I was hanging on to the grate separating us from the outside world. He thought I was joking. I really wasn't. While I wasn't losing my mind (or my lunch), I was mildly freaked out. I thought my bravery deserved a treat, so we got a root beer float, then rested for a bit of time.

We road swings. We road a jellyfish thing that was like a little version of Tower of Terror. Elias kept pestering me about going on the Grizzly Falls ride. This is a water ride that was like one we rode in Universal Studios, where you get soaked. I hate being soaked while wearing street clothes. Hate it. So I kept pushing him off. I hoped it would last. The last time I road on a water ride like this, I spent the whole time swearing at him in front of children. I didn't want to recreate that memory.

Soon enough, we went to dinner. Dinner was chosen because of the Premium Seating for World of Color. We went to the Wine Country Trattoria. Normally, I don't drink when traveling with Elias, cause I always worry I could over do or I don't want it to feel weird for him in any way. But we are in California and we are at a place called "Wine Country." How could I not partake?? We got soup. We got dinner (lamb shank for him and filet for me). We got dessert. And we got our tickets. We left the restaurant and did some shopping.

We did see an interesting show before World of Color. There was a sneak preview of the Mad T Party near Monsters, Inc at night. It is a dance party with food and beverages and the characters are based on the Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland. The DJ was dressed in white, with a backwards baseball cap with white rabbit ears (White Rabbit). There was a bouncer-looking pair of dudes (Tweedle Dee and Dum). Then there was the band. The lead singer (Mad Hatter) and various other band members rounded out the characters (March Hare, Caterpillar, someone else and the Siamese Cat on drums). It was a loud dance party and I think Elias would have enjoyed spending more time there. Unfortunately, we paid to get premium seats at World of Color, so by god, we were going to use them. Soon enough though, we went to stake out our World of Color seats.

I have to admit, I didn't know what to expect from World of Color. We bade it to the right area, where Cast Members told us we would get wet. Wait. Wet?? One Cast Member said, "it's just a light mist.". Ok. That's doable. So we hung out in around the second row where people near us were putting on ponchos. What?? The show started and after about 5 minutes, Elias turns to me and says, "I have to go to the bathroom.". Ok, good luck. He left my side and while the show was amazing (just as fabulous as all of the other Nighttime Spectaculars), the ponchos re a good tip. Cause I got SOAKED. So much that I was starting to worry about my camera. The show was also really long. It clocked in at least at 30 minutes. When the show was over, Elias showed up at my side, completely dry, and said he couldn't get out, but that the view about 5 rows back was great. And dry. This is the same kid who when I asked 15 minutes before the show, "Should we move back any??" responded, "I think we're good here.". Nice.

So we hightailed it back to the bathroom. By this time, we knew we were pushing the closing time. And we still had the Fastpass to Tower of Terror burning a hole in our pockets. I was nearly dragging Elias by his arm to get to the ride before 10p. We did make it and Elias was nearly jumping out of his skin with anticipation. And nerves. Cause he loves but hates the ride.

As we were waiting in line, we had been herded into the area before the story area (where "Rod Serling" tells us about the Tower Hotel and the "accident"). Elias was wildly jumpy and leaned back against what he thought was the wall. Turns out it was a door that said, "Caution: Do Not Lean Against the Door". The door opened and Elias went sailing into the scenery, though didn't fall down. I call that part a win. He kept asking, "Did anyone else see me lean toto the door??". Yes. Yes they did.

Soon enough, we were in the elevator. We had strapped in and we were ready to go. Before the doors even closed, Elias was clutched on to my arm in terror. Then as the ride started, he was losing his mind. We all scream on the ride. That's part of the fun. That's part of the ride. What made laugh was that Elias was screaming during the non-dropping parts, but couldn't get the scream out on the dropping parts. So I spent my time giggling at him. When the ride was over, we saw the picture taken of the ride. I was laughing, but you couldn't see his face as the chick in front of us chose that moment to raise her hands like she was on Space Mountain.

Post-Tower of Terror, we left the park. We ended up in Downtown Disney so we could do some final shopping. World of Disney is always good for a few last minute purchases. But we also had hit the wall. Two full days of theme parking is enough to make you exhausted. We barely made it back to bed. Though if we didn't make it back, we would have had more problems. We packed as much as we could, since we were leaving the resort in the morning.

We definitely enjoyed our time at Disneyland, but we both agreed we wouldn't be in a huge hurry to go back. Disneyland is nice. But Walt Disney World is much more epic. Disneyland is the original. It's what all theme parks these days aspire to be. It's much more quaint. It gets the job done. WDW is an entire experience. I couldn't imagine spending more than two days in Anaheim. But in Orlando, we can spend a week or more and just have Disney fun. You're in a protective bubble in WDW. We didn't feel that way in Disneyland. It was still fun. And we had a great time. But we could forego a Disneyland visit next time we come to Southern California. No problem.

Tomorrow, we hit the road and see what Santa Monica has in store.


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