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After a night off my feet and a morning of sleeping in, we were back at California Adventure for another fun-filled day. That said, California Adventure is not exactly as fun-filled as Disneyland. Still, Michaela’s blockout dates from Disneyland had one more day on them so we spent our time in DCA riding attractions with low wait times.
The day started pretty slowly so we weren’t in the park until after noon. By then we were both hungry so we strode over to Lucky Fortune Cookery and had a bowl of ramen that was decent enough for a theme park offering. I wouldn’t get it again unless the weather called for it but you could certainly do worse. After eating, we grabbed some FastPasses and walked over to the Grand Californian.
Really the plan for the day involved a lot of sitting and relaxing. I’m happy to announce that the plan was accomplished. I love Disneyland far more than the average human but I’m not sure there’s a better place to sit in all of Disneyland Resort than in the Grand Californian. Whether it be the lobby or the second story near the concierge, it’s a beautiful place to relax and take in the gorgeous architecture.
After a relaxing early afternoon, it was time to get back into the fun. We strolled back into California Adventure with plans to get a FastPass for Mission: BREAKOUT! (I will never not type it with this stupid punctuation.) On the way there we saw that Frozen – Live at the Hyperion was just finishing up their loading for a late afternoon showing. Without much thinking, we hopped in line and got one of the last few seats for the show. I think it’s a strong illustration of what Disneyland Resort offers relative to WDW. While guests can certainly be spontaneous in Disney World, it’s simply so much easier at Disneyland. If we were in a similar situation at WDW chances are that we’d already planned out our day with FastPasses or the show would have been filled already with FastPass+.
It had been quite a while since I’d seen Frozen at the Hyperion. Frankly, it’s not great. The pacing of the show is pretty terrible, focusing on fitting all of the hit songs inside of the show instead of having a coherent plot. That said, the performances are very good, especially relative to most theme park shows. With the show going on 5+ years now, I’ll be curious to see if anything will replace it over time.
California Adventure has a few hidden treasures, chief among them is the Animation Academy. I know that I’m constantly praising the attraction in trip reports so I won’t carry on here. Still, I think DCA has a personality void and Animation Academy helps fill that gap.
After my very unsuccessful drawing, we walked over to Pixar Pier and took in the view as the sun was beginning to go down. It turned the sky a cool blue and, while Pixar Pier has some issues, made the area very photogenic. The night had gotten chilly and I was not very smart, forgetting to grab a coat, so we walked back to grab an extra layer before gearing up for another California Adventure night.
Once back inside the park, we headed back to the pier to use a FastPass on IncrediCoaster. The night was pretty picturesque and the kinetic energy of the pier is always a selling point.
After IncrediCoaster, we walked over to Monsters Inc. Mike & Sully to the Rescue. Now I’m not the biggest fan of DCA’s Hollywood Land, outside of Animation Academy, but I think I might have stumbled upon the land’s purpose – to house attractions with incredibly long, weird names and bad punctuation. The aforementioned Monsters Inc. ride has 8 words in the title and an exclamation point. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! has 6 words, a colon, an exclamation point and a word in all caps. After that it gets a little less noticeable. Let’s not act like Award Weiners and Schmoozies! aren’t crazy choices though. This is definitely a theory I’ve been working on and not something I’m making up on the spot.
We ended up back on the pier to end the night, watching World of Color. Despite the cool temperatures and breeze blowing, we watched from the splash zone and narrowly escaped getting drenched several times. Instead of being miserably wet, I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It’d been a while since I’d seen it up close and it still plays well even if the original debuted a decade ago this June. World of Color remains one of Disney’s best nighttime spectaculars.
After the show we took the slow walk out of DCA. If you aren’t hurrying off to somewhere else, I always suggest watching the fountains after the show while the rest of the crowd clears out. This makes for a very pleasant and quiet walk out of California Adventure instead of being herded like cattle. But maybe you enjoy being herded like cattle? Who am I to judge? Anyway, we called it a night and got to bed relatively early with an early morning awaiting us.
Tuesday morning started like most other mornings that trip – getting to Disneyland far before the 9 AM opening and then waiting to gain access to a boarding group. Once again, my thumbs prevailed as some of the fastest in the galaxy and our group of four, a couple of Michaela’s roommates joined us, were in one of the first boarding groups. We were on the ride within an hour of park opening.
Looking at the opening of Rise of the Resistance now that the parks have been closed for 2 months is interesting. I would imagine that Disney was counting on a big summer thanks to it being the first that Rise was open. Now a big summer, attendance wise, is simply not going to happen. Obviously, theme parks couldn’t have had the foresight to see what was coming down the pike but I wonder if the roll out of the ride would have been any different if they’d known what was coming.
The late morning was filled with rides on Pirates, Jungle Cruise and Indiana Jones Adventure. All great attractions, all somewhat difficult to photograph so enjoy the lack of photos on this go around!
After a ride filled morning, it was time for lunch at Jolly Holiday Bakery. While I find the savory items there bland for the most part, the turkey sandwich was just fine. The Raspberry Rose Mickey Macaroon remains one of the best snacks in all of Disneyland, although this particular one was a little too sweet.
I was set to fly out that night so the afternoon was filled with greatest hits, jumping from ride to ride and enjoying some photo taking. I’m on the record saying that Tokyo DisneySea is the greatest park in the world, and I stand by that wholeheartedly. But if you’re looking for a park to spend an afternoon where you’re trying to fit in as many great rides as possible then Disneyland can’t be beat. Here’s a few photos from the beautiful afternoon.
Sadly, it was time for me to leave Disneyland. We drove up to the Burbank Airport, about an hour long drive through the traffic, and right as we pulled off for the exit I got a text that my flight had been canceled. It was all a strange experience, having my trip gaining an extra night just a few days after already prolonging it. After some quick rearranging of my schedule and booking yet another flight, we laughed about the whole experience as we headed back to Anaheim.
Michaela had an amazing Cast Member event that night where she rode Space Mountain with the lights on, so we got back to the park and took a few nighttime photos before she went on her way. I soldiered on, not getting to do some cool event but instead taking some photos on a gorgeous, cool night in the park. Here’s a few of my favorites.
Eventually, we met up on Main Street. I booked a hotel last minute on Hotel Tonight after the airport debacle and it was just a short jaunt away from the parks. Being one of the last few people on Main Street, we called it a night shortly after.
The next morning we were up early once again for one last ride on Rise of the Resistance then it was off to the airport, ending a fantastic and memorable trip. It was a dream come true to be at the opening of a new attraction but it’s the memories that surround that opening that I will forever hold dear.
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Categories: Trip Reports
Have you guys ever stayed at the Grand Californian? Is it worth the price? What type of room would you recommend? What’s the best approach for the Disneyland parks? (Park Hopper, Single Day Passes, etc.) Do you think Disneyland will reopen in 2020??