Looking back I wish we'd started at Disney California Adventure and ended on Disneyland! I think the adjustment morning with Disneyland kinda threw off our opinions on it and once we re-adjusted expectations we loved it a lot more! We went into our DCA day with much lower expectations and were BLOWN AWAY. While our road trip day was probably my favorite trip day overall, our DCA day comes in a narrow second. We had a BLAST!
We got up that morning and had Panera again for breakfast then took the short walk over to the parks. I mean I can't tell you enough how cool it was to walk to the parks AND how cool their set up is with Disneyland on the right then Disney California Adventure on the left. We talked to another semi-local lady in line waiting to get in and she had a son with special needs. I think it's SO amazing how Disney goes above and beyond for special needs situations. Yet another reason I love me some Disney!
Guess Disneyland can cause cancer?!?
Much like Disneyland, we were allowed in the park way earlier than when the park actually opened. It worked out well as we were able to look around some and make some decisions. In my itinerary we originally planned to join the masses and RACE to get fast passes for the Radiator Springs ride. But when we saw the massive crowd of people all doing that same thing we decided to take a tip we got from a local the day prior who said to ride a couple rides then go get the fast passes!
Y'all. I really really loved our themed shirts for both park days. I know most men would complain about it but Zach even loved the attention we got from them. These shirts were a HUGE HIT. Every single line we were in people would be talking about them to each other and asking us questions. It was super fun!!! I don't want to recommend the seller I purchased them from though...I did find them on Etsy (I searched for Disney couples shirts until I found them) but they were NOT well done. They made it that day but probably wouldn't make it another and they were $20 each! The letters were already pulling apart when I opened the bag! If you can't tell what they say...Zach's is all the princes and mine is all the matching princesses :) You can even get cheesier and have your names added, but I didn't take it that far ;)
We split from the pack and headed to Paradise Pier area first to go ahead and ride Toy Story Mania. We have it at "home" (Hollywood Studios) and LOVE IT and it's the ride that the masses run to there. It was super eery to feel so alone and just walk on the ride with no wait!
Another big ride they have is California Screaming. It's a roller coaster and Zach said it was probably the best coaster he's even ridden! We went ahead and did that since there was also no wait and we knew as the day went on it'd become a bigger ticket ride. I enjoyed a chance to walk around a little bit while he was in line and check things out. I LOVE Disneyland b/c of the history but it is SO similar to Disney World. Zach said California Adventure is his favorite Disney park of all time, including all the ones we have in Orlando. It is SO different from anything we have back home and the whole layout was just awesome. It was so spacious and never felt crowded much at all. We truly LOVED IT and it's the main reason we would love to take the kids out to Cali to experience it!!!
As close as I'd ever come to riding this beast...and I'd probably look even more terrified if I actually rode ;)
I walked around a bit and checked things out and happened to be walking back and got to watch Zach ride!
After the coaster Zach ran to get the fast passes for Radiator Springs so I hoped on the Carousel. I felt a little silly b/c I asked the CM if there was a special animal or anything, like they have the special horses at Disneyland and World. He said no and kinda acted like I was an idiot haha. Ariel is my favorite princess and I was excited to get to ride on King Triton's Carousel. It's def not something Zach would want to ride and it was good practice if I ever take a solo day to the parks :)
We did one meal at each park and I had a hard time choosing between two of them at DCA. My ariel loving self really wanted to try out Ariel's Grotto but it's a character dining and I'd rather save it for if we get to bring the girls! I did ask if I could look inside and they said since they had characters out that I wouldn't be allowed (I did try again later in the day and was granted access!)
How cool is this whole area?
When Zach got back with the fast passes we got some pics!
We were the first photo of the day! Doesn't it look like we own the place?
I do NOT like heights but can usually handle a ferris wheel! So thankful they had non-swinging seats!
We felt SO relaxed. It was probably THE most laid back day I've ever experienced at a Disney theme park. We had an itinerary but didn't follow it and just used it as a check list of things we wanted to make sure we did. We strolled. A lot. We laughed. A lot. We held hands and people watched and just soaked it all in. It was fabulous! The crowds were MUCH more what we had expected. I don't know if it's because more people visit Disneyland or if it's bc this park is just much more spacious? Whatever the reason, we loved it!
We took our time and strolled around the peer area and looked at everything. A lot of the rides there were stuff we didn't want to ride, but we still wanted to see it all!
Zach had been CRUNK for a cheese dog but they weren't open yet!
I didn't see the Little Mermaid ride on my list of things to do and I didn't realize why it wasn't on the list until we rode it. It's the exact same ride as MK :) I do prefer the MK one due to the awesome entrance!
Soarin' is a ride neither of us have ever done. I knew it wasn't "my kind of ride" but I went for it. Yolo right? I was a tad freaked out and of course we got the first row (which I was told to aim for back row if you don't like heights). It was a COOL experience and I'm proud of myself for doing it! I will def ride it ONCE at Epcot with the kids. But just once. I didn't LOVE it or anything and did feel a little unsteady after! I'm glad we got to experience it as they have changed it recently to Soarin' the World!
Freaking out before the ride haha
Big Girl Status :)
I'm thankful we did our homework before traveling as we knew a good bit of insider scoop on things to do! If y'all are planning any sort of Disney trip then Touring Plans is where it's at!!! We wanted to check out the Redwood Creek trail even though it's more of a kid area (an awesome one I'd like to add). We had our pictures from the hidden Mickey book and wanted to find out our spirit animals :)
It was REALLY neat! You go into this cave and put your hand on a stone and it tells you your spirit animal. And they were pretty dead on!!! I got bear which is "loving and strong"
And Zach got eagle which is "intelligent and brave"
The kids would have a BLAST in this play area for sure!
Hidden Mickey :)
They have a HUGE water type ride called Grizzly River Run but you get DRENCHED. As in Touring Plans recommended wearing trash bags on the ride. I told Zach I was down for him to do it but no way was I going to. It was PERFECT weather. I was in jeans and never broke a sweat. It just wasn't hot enough to justify getting SOAKED and I also had on a white shirt haha! He didn't really feel like getting drenched either so we skipped it.
Heading back to the center of the park for lunch!
For lunch I booked us a package deal that included reserved seating for the show that night. I heard amazing things about Carthay Circle and knew we had to eat there! It is more of an "adult" vibe that if/when we do take the kids I doubt we'd go for so it was the perfect chance for us to enjoy!
Carthay Circle is named for the Carthay Circle Theater where Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs first premiered in 1927. The restaurant is themed for the theater and includes tons of personal touches that Walt loved. Scenes from Snow White are on the walls and fresh lilies fill the rooms as they were Walt's wife's favorite flower! It has a very old hollywood glam feel and we LOVED it! (plus this time I had the reservation time right haha!)
Oscar win for first animated film!
We did the "World of Color" package so we had a limited menu to choose from but it was still fabulous!
We found the smallest known hidden Mickey in the floor entrance of the restaurant!
We had such an incredible morning that only got better as the day went on! Part 2 coming up!