Monday, March 24, 2014

Disneyland Resort ~ California Adventure By Day

This is Part Two of our tour of the Disneyland Resort. The Disneyland Resort isn't as big or spread out as Disney World but there are 3 distinct areas. Disneyland, Downtown Disney, which lies between the two theme parks, and California Adventure. Last week I covered Disneyland so this week we'll cover California Adventure. As previously, I'll only cover parts of the park because it is so big!
 If you have been there before but not in the past few years then the first thing you notice is that the giant letters spelling out California are gone. Instead these new gates, placed where the letters use to stand, greet you and welcome you to the park.They also set the "retro" feel that you will have in all sections of the park.
 Once you pass through the gates the 1930's/1940's era feel is definitely apparent. They have renovated, or retro-vated, the whole area to this look and feel. I'm a huge old car buff so I was very pleased to see this beauty waiting at a shop (disguised as a gas station) in the front of the park.
Even the Trolley is a vintage style vehicle. All dressed up for Christmas it's even more beautiful. You can hop on it at the front gates and it will take you for a tour down and around the main square, through Hollywood Land and to the back gate of Bug's Land.(This photo courtesy of Tory Bright.)
 Walt and Mickey are right there too. The huge sunburst fountain is gone but there are additions here that are truly wonderful. Walt is just the beginning. This is the center of "Buena Vista Street" and if you turn left here you head to Hollywood Land. We'll go there later. Right now we'll head straight forward.
 And one of the treats you get is the Carthay Circle Restaurant. This circa 1940's eatery looks like a California Mission and inside it's a gorgeous fine dining option for you in the park. This look is just SO Californian that it lets you know where you are as much as a Pagoda lets you know you are in Japan.
 A little walk from the restaurant is Bug's Land. Everything is on a big scale there so you feel like you are on a small one. Even at Christmas they bring out the giant decorations to help set the mood!
 All year round there are plenty of wonderful details from the Disney movie to enjoy like these Bug Lights.
 Although it's a "kiddie ride" we still love Heimlich's Chew Chew Train and go on it every time we visit the park. It's a very slow train ride that meanders through items like giant Animal Crackers that smell like real cookies and a tunnel that is actually a giant slice of watermelon that smells like real watermelon. SO cute!
 If you walk through Bug's Land you can hang a right and walk through a back passage to Car's Land. You can also walk down the main street way to get there but this is a nice way to take a short cut. It lands you right in the middle of Car's Land where you may end up face to face with one of the characters, like Red, just as I did!
 At the Cozy Cone you will find your favorite characters such as Lightning McQueen or Mater posing for the cameras!
 The little things from the movie are everywhere. Disney always "gets it right" but they truly out did themselves this time. Every single detail in Car's Land is spot on.
 The premier ride, Radiator Springs Racers, is also my new favorite ride in this park (not that I don't still love California Soaring, I do) and one we went on 3 times during our brief time there. It starts off with a leisurely tour of area and characters of Radiator Springs and ends with a race to the finish. It does have high speed and steep corners but this is not a rollercoaster.
 We hoped on over to Flo's for lunch and, once again, they have done it up right. The inside does, indeed, look like a 1950's Diner.
As with all of the park's menus, it's not exactly Happy Meal priced but for about $13 we got a roast beef dinner that was simply amazing! Homecooked style. We were all fairly impressed!

 There is a balcony to the back left hand side of Flo's that looks out over the racecourse of the Radiator Springs Racers and having the cars come zooming by every few minutes really entertained the 2 year old with us!
 Our most surprising ride was Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. When you are watching the ride from the outside it looks so "kiddie ride" that you may consider not going on it. GO ON IT. It swings you around and twirls you and slides you from here to there...truly just a barrel of laughs.
 We knew we were doing World Of Color later on in the evening so as the afternoon wore down we headed back to Hollywood Land for Playhouse Disney instead to see the Disney Junior - Live on Stage show. This features Mickey and Friends but also covers a lot of the more popular shows on Disney Junior right now.
 Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Doc McStuffins and Princess Sophia were all there to entertain. Most of the families sit on the floor for the show, and the best view, but if the floor isn't your thing...or getting back up from the floor isn't your thing...there are benches all along the sides of the auditorium.
 We stepped back outside and headed over to Monster's Inc and found ourselves right in time for the Parade!
 Many of the "non-Princess" characters are in the California Adventure Parades so you get so see your favorites from Monster's University, Toy Story and Bug's Life.
We ended our afternoon at Monster's Inc. This is another one of the "kiddie" rides that we simply can not resist going to each time we visit the park. If you've seen the movie then you'll remember the great "doors" scene in the warehouse and get a big kick out of it on the ride like I do!

This isn't where our day ended at the Park...just where the daylight ended. Next week I'll share with you the Disneyland Resort After Dark. See you then!


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