Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Day 2 of Exploring Disneyland

by Meghann on September 4, 2013

After Disneyland’s 10k on Saturday morning, I had two special visitors waiting for me back in my hotel room.

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It’s my twin brother and his girlfriend Kristin!

My brother is currently in his last year of residency in Los Angeles (I seriously can’t believe he’s been in L.A. for two years now!) and, when it was confirmed that I would be flying out to Disneyland, he was the first one I called to visit with. Luckily he had the weekend off and jumped at the chance to spend the day at Disneyland with his long lost sister.

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Love ya, bro!

I quickly showered and the three of us headed to “extra magic hours” at California Adventure. “Extra magic hours” allows Disneyland Resorts hotels guests early admission to one theme park on select days. They have the same program at Disney World with early and later admission to the parks. Since there are so many hotels on Disney World property, the parks are still relatively crowded during the extra hours. I’m not sure if it was because the majority hotel guests ran the 10k (and were either still recovering, showering, or napping) or if it was because there were only three hotels on Disneyland resort property, but Disney California Adventure was EMPTY. We walked right on a few of our favorite rides and had no problem grabbing fast passes for Cars Land Racers and the early World of Color show.

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Actually, considering it was Labor Day AND race weekend, I was surprised how relatively quiet the parks were all weekend. The longest line I saw was for Racers for 60 minutes. Everything else averaged a 15-20 minute wait. Compared to Disney World standards, that’s not bad at all!

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We broke for an early lunch at Pacific Warf Cafe aka Boudin Bakery (p.s. did you know they give yummy bread samples if you take the bakery tour? we followed up the bread samples with chocolate samples at Ghirardelli across the street. 😉 )

I ordered the Sonoma Chicken & Apple Salad, which came in a bread bowl.

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I’ve never had a salad in a bread bowl before. I honestly felt like the bowl was a bit of a waste. I just ate the top (lid?) of the bowl and all the salad (which was really tasty!). When I was done, I still had the whole bread bowl left! I wish I had a way to save it, it was good bread just way too much of it.

After lunch we circled back to Tower of Terror to try the west coast’s version of one of our favorite rides.

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Again, it was the same, but different. At Hollywood Studios you move forward through the tower and feel like you’re really entering the hotel. Disneyland’s version just goes straight up and down. I did enjoy how the first drop was in the pitch black, then they brought you up to the windows. I was screaming like a little girl for that one!

We saw the Aladdin show (which is a MUST see if you ever go to California Adventures, it’s similar to Hollywood Studio’s live version of Beauty and the Beast, but bigger and better), then headed to Disneyland for a bit.

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We went on Indiana Jones (I liked it!) and Splash Mountain.

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I hate to say it, but Magic Kingdom wins for their version of Splash Mountain. You get a little more of the story line in the build up and some extra drops. This one felt a little short. Still an awesome ride though no matter what coast you’re on. I haven’t been on Splash Mountain in years because the line is always too long. I really need to ride it again next time I’m in Magic Kingdom, it’s a classic!

What trip to Disney would be complete without a little ice cream?

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I was hoping Main Street would have my favorite Disney World treat (massive homemade ice cream/ cookie sandwiches), but I was sad to see they didn’t make them at Disneyland (at least none of the places I looked had them). I think Josh and Kristin must have thought I was crazy trying to hunt that down!

Instead, we settled on the hot fudge cookie sundae.

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Still good, but it’s no ice cream/ cookie sandwich. 😉

I took a step back in time when I rode Mr Toad’s Wild Ride.

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They closed Mr. Toad’s back in 1998 at Magic Kingdom. This ride scared the crap out of me as a kid. It was fun to re-ride it as an adult.

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I wanted to ride Matterhorn Bobsleds, but the line was too long and we had fast passes for Racers. That’s another ride we don’t have at Disney World, so I’ll have to come back to ride it one day.

Our final ride of the day was the Flying Tires in Cars land.

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It was air hockey meets bumper cars, only you’re a puck. The air comes out of the floor and lifts the tires slightly so you can move left and right. The objective really is to simply crash in everyone. So much fun! Definitely an original idea for a theme park ride.

We ended the night at World of Color.

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I’m usually not a fan of water shows or fireworks at theme parks, but everyone was raving about this one and told me I had to go. We grabbed fast passes for the early show (because apparently you need fast passes for a water show?) and headed to our reserved spot 45 minutes before the start. Which meant, of course, we were there late. The roped area was packed… I guess that’s why you need a fast pass.

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The show was really cool. It was more than just having your favorite Disney movie scenes projected on a curtain of water fountains, it was a beautifully orchestrated piece of art. I only wish I was a little taller (or the people around me were a little shorter) so I could actually see more of the show. Next time we’re getting there an hour and half before the show!

I wish I had more time in Disneyland and California Adventure! Two days were not enough to explore. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to go back one day. Until then I’ll just have to fill the void by visiting Walt Disney World, my annual pass is currently burning a hole in my pocket!

Which Disney theme park is you favorite? Walt Disney World? Disneyland? Tokyo? Paris?

I’ll be back tomorrow with my Disneyland Half recap!

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