While this trip to the Disneyland Resort was, primarily, for Disneyland we did have a couple of things we wanted to do in California Adventure too. One was to watch the parade while enjoying our celebratory dinner at the Wine Country Trattoria. The other was to ride the Radiator Springs Racers in CarsLand. The rest of our afternoon was spent waiting to achieve that second goal. Sometimes plans don't go smoothly and, when at Disney, you have to learn to go with the flow.The parks were still rather uncrowded by the time we made our way over to the second park. You can see there are basically no lines to get in and the square isn't even crowded. It was about 4pm on a Thursday so, remember, timing is everything.
Immediately I could tell that there would be all sorts of hidden diamonds all over the resort. Such beautiful additions to the already existing decor.
And, while Disneyland is all about Victorian details, California Adventure is all about vintage California. Being a native Californian I can tell you that the details are spot-on and so very beautiful. By the way, this is the restrooms.
Even the benches carry typical Mexican influenced details that are so very well known in our California architecture. This makes me want to go tile something...right NOW.
The Park also has it's own here-to-there transportation. I've never actually ridden the Buena Vista Trolley but I can't help but photograph it each time I see it. Sure is a beauty!
Ok, I'll say it. I miss the Golden Gate Bridge that use to be here in this spot. When they renovated a few years ago the bridge was removed and this causeway was inserted instead. As with Disneyland, this entryway is mainly shops and places to grab a quick bite to eat. Still...I did love the addition of the D with the diamond.
One of the changes I do love about this area is all the Art Deco details. Seriously, they are everywhere. And not just on the outside but on the inside of the shops and restaurants too! LOOK UP! So pretty!
But my favorite renovation was the removal of the Sun Fountain (altho' my son still misses it) and the construction of the Carthay Circle Lounge and Restaurant. This is such a stunning landmark for this park.
Designed to look like a vintage movie theater it even has a grand Marquee....that they have made even more grand for the Diamond Celebration! Inside you will find a gorgeous, intimate lounge for you and your "other" to cuddle up and spend some romantic time.
And upstairs you can find a world class restaurant perfect for any Honeymoon dinner! Inside and out this is just a gorgeous feat of architecture.A quick word on Disney Style. Pretty much anything comfortable and decent is the way to go in a Disney park. BUT...there are those who go so much further. We simply adored how these two couples made custom shirts just for their visit! SO much fun! So if you are wacky enough (and we were wishing we'd thought of it first!) then fly your Disney Flag...this is the place to do it!
No matter how beautiful the architecture, it's the waterfall that gets the most press when it comes to the Family Photo. In case you are wondering, the Disneyland Resort started water saving measures back in 2008, before our drought here in California began. All water is recycled and reclaimed water. They catch storm water, what there is of it, and purify and treat all reclaimed water so while the water is non-potable, not recommended for drinking, it's not wasted water either.
Right past the waterfall is the Wine Country Trattoria. This was where we were told we could have a wonderful dinner and have a great view of the parade as it passed by at about 5:30. So we made a 5pm reservation and requested a balcony side table. Dinner was wonderful but this is not "cheap eats". This was to celebrate a wedding anniversary though so the one splurge was worth it.
The view of Paradise Pier was great from here too! We all loved it when California Screamin' roared past!
But the parade was one of the reasons we wanted to be where we were sitting so when it started all eyes were on the dancers and floats that passed by...starting with Monsters University!
Some of the characters are animatronics that interact with the crowd.
Some of them catch a ride on the back of the dancers.But some of them actually have people inside the suits really making the characters come alive. Sully was one of my very favorites from this parade!
Of course Mike was on the back of the float!
Other Family Favorite Films were covered in the parade as well like The Incredibles.
Finding Nemo has a few characters spotlighted as well.But it was the dancers that kept grabbing my attention. Their ornate costumes and their graceful joy they kept handing out like candy to their audience is just captivating!
It wasn't too hot of a day but definitely too hot to be wearing a long sleeved polyester costume with a plastic wig on your head and yet, with her attitude you would like this was 60 degrees and everything was just fine!
A Bug's Life was also spotlighted and the Stick Insect, Slim, was my absolute favorite! He bopped and danced all over the street!
Toy Story was a highlight for my grandson. He's 4 and not much into parades but when the aliens arrived he was ALL about this parade!
Buzz Lightyear has his own dancers. You have to hand it to them...dancing with that tall, plastic hair has to be hard to do...but they make it look easy!
Jesse and Woody were on their float, teeter-tottering on giant Tinkertoys but it was the back of the float that made the kids laugh out loud.
Slinky the Dog was at the back and, poor thing, he was unraveling into the crowd! His tail end was all over the place, to the delight of the kids!
Somehow, Slinky didn't seem too dismayed that he never did get his tail under control!The real star of this Park is definitely Lightening McQueen. You can find him in the parade, of course, but you can also find him in CarsLand ready to pose for pictures at the Cozy Cone Motel.
And look who was right behind Lightening!His true blue buddy, Tow Mater! This was the end of the parade and the end of our dinner and time for us to make our way to CarsLand!
You can actually walk from Paradise Pier to the back tunnel into CarsLand where you get your first glimpse of the waterfall. You ride past it when you are on the ride too!
One thing you may not have expected is the plants and flowers they have all over the place in the Parks!Or the fact that they are color coordinated to match the color schemes for the ride or restaurant where they are planted! These bright Gazania are planted at the Cozy Cone Motel near one of the food service windows.
A moment to talk about souvenirs. We all fell in love with these souvenir cups in CarsLand. Our little man has a transportation/Cars themed room so buying these was as much for decoration for his room as to get us all something to drink. So we didn't mind paying the HUGE cost for them. In fact, we joked that we needed to pretend we were getting them at Pottery Barn so the price wouldn't seem so steep. So keep in mind...the items are totally cute but totally expensive so think about what you will use them for when you return back to your real world before spending the money at the themepark.
This almost looks like I inserted a photo of Arches National Park here on accident...this is to show how perfectly Disney "gets" it. These are the "mountains" behind the Radiator Springs Racers ride!
You will even find real plants along the edges, like these cactus which flower this time of year. Sadly the ride itself was broken. With the promise of it running in the next half hour or so we decided to head off to Bug's Land.
Where we met DJ on the way!! The kids were thrilled to see him and he hung out while they danced around to his music!
We got in line for Heimlich's Chew Chew Train. This silly ride is a family favorite that we can't resist each time we go. You also get a great view of the Tower of Terror from there!
HUGE plants are planted here to give the illusion that you are so very small. There are many different types that it's fun, and cooler, to hang out in their shade on a hot day.
At night these adorable lightening bugs light up their butts to provide illumination along the pathway to the head of the line.The ride is a slow, small circle in the adorable little train. You go through a hollowed out watermelon and actually smell watermelon, past animal crackers and smell cookies...it is tons of fun and not scary in the least to the little ones in your party. I'll admit, it's always the adults who suggest going on the ride again, not the kids!
After the ride it was back to CarsLand.
To watch them run empty cars but not actually open the ride yet.
So we headed back to Paradise Pier to ride The Little Mermaid Ride. This ride is fairly new, just a few years old, and is located in a gorgeous Art Deco styled building right where you would meet up to watch World of Color.
The ride is a slow one filled with music and lots of fun characters from the movie but if your little one is afraid of the dark then this wouldn't be a great one for them. It starts off with Scuttle.
Onto Ariel telling Flounder all about wanting to be part of that world...
Then the enchantment begins where she meet up with Ursula and is offered the promise of legs.
There's just one...little...catch....This was my favorite effect of the ride...where you can see Ariel signing the contract to give her voice away and earn legs.
Of course Sebastian wastes no time in trying to get Eric to "kiss the girl"...
Ariel looks less than convinced that this plan is actually going to work out.
Of course, the plan works perfectly, Sebastian and King Triton rejoice....
At they lived Happily Ever After....If you are staying at the resort you can actually "rent" the movie to show the kids when you get back to your room!For us it was back to CarsLand and one more try at getting on this ride. As the sun began to set we were...not victorious. Sometimes it doesn't go smoothly but that just means you have to go find other adventures to enjoy while you wait. So we hung out and watched the sunset and waited.
Next week I'll cover our favorite time of the day in the parks....Disneyland Resort After Dark! The parks come alive after dark but with the Diamond Celebration there are so many extra treats in store for you I just can't wait to share them! (Spoiler Alert: We did get on the ride in the end!!!) See you next week!
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