March 10, 2010

Disney: Day Three (or So This is California Adventure...Can We Go to Disneyland Now?)

Today started very early because we had reservations at the Storyteller's Cafe for breakfast with some Disney characters and we couldn't be late! The restaurant was in the Grand Californian Hotel which is where I'm going to stay the next time I'm rich. We only really saw the lobby and the restaurant but just being in the building made me feel all fancy.

Breakfast was a buffet-style affair with an omelet bar and as much as you could eat of every type of breakfast food you could imagine, including the requisite Mickey-shaped waffles. We were shuffling along the buffet line, filling our plates here and there, when Sam saw the giant bowl filled to the brim with bacon and sausages. He turned to me, saucer-eyed, and said, "This...is...the...best...place...EVER!" before loading 3.2 metric tonnes of pork onto his plate. It was all extremely delicious!

As we ate, several B and C-list Disney characters worked the room, mugging and posing for pictures. We had Chip & Dale, Kenai and Koda (from Brother Bear), and Turk (from Tarzan). The kids didn't seem to mind the fact that the A-listers were all working a gig over at the Disneyland Hotel and they hugged and high-fived with enthusiasm.

After breakfast we were off to get our first taste of Disney's California Adventure. The plan of attack, you ask? Well, the ride that loads-up the fastest and stays loaded the longest is Pixar's Toy Story Mania, so that's where we were headed as soon as the gates opened. This, my friends, is a spectacular ride. You essentially ride in a funhouse cart with a small cannon mounted on the front. As you are whipped around the ride, you shoot at various types of midway-style targets on giant video screens, Pixar characters offering up copious praise as you go, all in glorious 3-D. Very, very fun! We made it there early enough for me to post the second highest score of the day, but as we left the ride, there were hundreds of people in the line. The only downside of the ride? No FastPass!

Other standouts were the Grizzly River Run (a whitewater rafting ride), Monsters, Inc. (a funhouse-style ride), and the two 4-D shows: Muppet Vision 3-D and A Bug's Life, It's Tough Being a Bug. Another cool experience was Soaring Over California. In this one you essentially strap yourself into a chair lift and they haul you up so that you are just a few feet away from an enormous concave movie screen. The image fills your entire vision and, as your seats twist and turn, it really feels like you are flying over, well, California.

We spent some time in the playground area, with it's rope ladders and rock climbing, but by dinner time we were ready for little more Disneyland action. The girls wanted to watch the Main Street parade, while us boys just wanted to hit some more rides, so we split-up into teams. Sammy and I hit, in order, Indiana Jones, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Roger Rabbit, Gadget's Go Coaster, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We exited our last ride at exactly 8:01 p.m., met up with the girls on Main Street and hobbled back to the HoJo's for some rest.


Pro Tip If you don't want to pay exorbitant roaming fees on your cell phone while in Disneyland, do what we did: invest in a moderately priced pair of Motorola two-way radios for those times you are separated. These things are priced at around $40 and we can communicate easily between one in the park and one back at the hotel. They are ideal for reconnecting after solo excursions! Plus you get to say cool things like, "What's your 20?" and "There's a bear trap just past the double nickels on the 105!"

Tomorrow: Universal Studios: The Mediocre-iest Place on Earth

Posted by Sean at 9:45 PM
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