December 23rd: Walked 15+ Miles; Drove 0
Disneyland / California Adventure
Disneyland was a primary destination on our trip, as beside visiting her mom the only other place on our entire trip she specifically wanted to go. So luckily the rain stopped for one day and the weather was very cooperative for us for our day at Disneyland.
We stayed at a small hotel only about a half mile away and so we walked over first thing in the morning not knowing how long or how much time we were going to spend in the park.
Disneyland is VERY small child oriented and I am going to guess that any teen or even tween could become bored easily between the lack of ‘thrill’ in the rides as well as the lines involved for such an unrewarding experience. As the rides are more theatrics than thrill.
This is the stroller parking lot.. just for one ride at Disneyload.. I think it was like Mr. Toads or the TeaCups.
I was overall really disappointed with the main “Disneyland” portion of the park. Yes I realize it is oriented towards kids.. but some of it was just beyond disappointing, mellow, and in the example below both lame and insulting.
By noon.. the place was absolutely packed..and I was anxious, annoyed, and bored stiff all at once.
There was also at least a 45 minute wait to even go on anything and after checking out just about every food option we could find in the park (think hotdogs, ice cream, and cheese pizza as 90% of your options) we decided we were going to walk back towards the hotel, grab some grub and a nap and return later in the afternoon. About 3pm when we returned we both decided Disneyland just wasn’t enough for to keep us entertained and it had ‘magic hours’ so we would return later that evening to check it out at night and give it another chance. So we upgraded our tickets to also go to California Adventure.
California Adventure was immediately more entertaining and a little less packed with a lot less direct marketing of Disney for the most part. It was also a bit more ‘thrill’ oriented and more for adults and teens.
The current big theme of the ‘downtown’ shop area was Tron, complete with light techno, people dressed up in Tron outfits, and even Tron clad go-go dancers. Though at the same time toned down a bit for the family.. the laser show was neat and mildly entertaining.. but then they brought out lit holluhoops trying to get people involved. But then had rules that you had to keep it below your shoulders and above your knees.. so those people like Kat who can really holluhoop and do tricks it was kind of disappointing. I got a few shots of her using the glowing hoop.. which makes me want to get one for a shoot some time.
The Hollywood Tower of Terror was pretty fun, but short in duration. I would highly suggest doing it at night over the day for added affect. The ride wait though is long and mis-leading with an introduction to the ride.. and then another long wait before the ride actually begins. We used Fastpass and still had a 30 minute wait.
Our favorite ride all day was the main roller coaster “California Scream’n”. It goes from a complete stop to what they claim is 60 mph in a few seconds, I rode it twice and had my phones gps running both times and the top speed recorded the entire ride was 35 mph. None the less it was a blast, but not as much as an overall thrill as some of those ridden at larger theme parks as it only has one loop and only a few big drops. The best part of the ride though is that Kat is afraid of coasters and wouldn’t even go on the Disneyland kiddy one ‘Thunder Mountain’ pictured above. But somehow I got her on this one, and a couple ladies in line helped with the re-assurance prior to getting on the ride. The ‘first’ time through she had her eyes closed the entire time and was heavy Lamaze breathing the entire time. It was the one time I broke down to get one of those blurry and quite cheesy photos they take of you on these rides. Her face was priceless.. but sorry I am not going to post that photo. As we got back on the second time.. I said something to the affect of ‘this time try to have your eyes open for most of it other than the loop/upside part’.. and her reply was “there is an upside down part?!?”. She then kept her eyes open for all but that part.. but did scream the entire time which was fun. She even said she enjoyed it and would do it again but the coaster was and most of California Adventure was shutting down for prep for the 8pm World of Color light show.
So we were able to get on one last ride the ferris wheel of sorts pictured above and below. We got on a edge static cart vs. a swinging gondola one. Many of the people we heard in the swinging track gondolas really sounded like they were not having very much fun.. including a set of teen girls we heard scream “Let us off!!”.. they then hit the ground running and just kept running.. which based on complete lack of localized restrooms there I assume where they were heading for off in the distance.
People in this swinging gondolas were not as happy as Minny Mouse appears above.
Another advantage of being in a static gondola is being able to take photos.
Once we got off the gondola, we though seeing the World of Color show.. but then got Disney tweebs harassing us saying we couldn’t take position along the spot we had setup and were standing as they were roping it off for the World of Color show. We communicated that is why were were standing there and they then asked for our FastPass ticket for the next show? Because the thought hadn’t occurred to us (as it is a ridiculous thought) we weren’t allowed to stand there anymore and had to get on the other side of the rope. This disgusted us both.. so we decided we were done with California Adventure and left the park. We then went over to the mall behind Disney and hit us the Cheesecake Factory which Kat hadn’t been to before for some light appetizers. After which we returned back to Disneyland to check out the lights displays and fireworks. Apparently we had our timing off for the Fireworks as we never saw them from about 9:30-11:30 at night. It was pretty crowded and so we just walked around and grabbed some photos.
The castle and other parts of the park were quite neat lit up with Xmas lights.. though it makes me wonder what it looks like when it wasn’t Xmas.. does it look as neat? The shops area and the Xmas tree were looked nice but I didn’t have a good vantage point to setup and get a good shot with all of the motion around me but this one didn’t turn out too bad. Another note is that on the way out of the park at Midnight is many Disney employees were around holding iPads attempting to ask people about their day at the park not so successfully. We would have been happy to answer their questions.. but we must not have fit their demographic of interest as one came right up to us and offered to take out photo with my camera.. but didn’t ask us to complete their survey.
This day ended up being one of the nicest weather wise of our entire vacation. We got to go and spend time at Disneyland and California under good weather; which is what my wife wanted and thus it makes me happy and declaring it a good day.
Would I go back to Disneyland.. No, not unless I had kids between 4-10.
Would I go back to California Adventure.. Yes.. but only if otherwise in the area.