Disney’s California Adventure Was Fun on Thursday Morning!

On Thursday we wanted to have more fun in Disney’s California Adventure so that’s where we headed in the morning.

That’s us in front of the Golden Gate Bridge-inspired monorail track at the entrance to DCA. It was taken by a professional Disney photographer but this version of it was actually shot with my iPhone off the digital display inside the DCA PhotoPass office, where we found out more information about the best way to order the photo CD we wound up getting. They also showed us how the photo we had taken at Goofy’s Kitchen would be on the photo CD.

It is great that they’ll put photos like that on the CD, but I wish they’d also put photos taken on the attractions on the CD, too, like the ones taken when Guests ride California Screamin’ and the Tower of Terror. It is too bad that they don’t.

The next thing we did was to go to Grizzly River Run…

…and get FastPasses for the three of us even though Carol didn’t plan to tide. You never know when someone might change their mind later, but in this case she did not.

We also used a locker at GRR, which are free for a few hours and then the price goes up based on how long you keep your things in there after that. Michael and I had heard about how drenched you can get on that attraction so we had planned ahead, bringing a change of clothes and water shoes to wear on the attraction later when our FastPasses could be used. The plan included us getting these clothes from the locker then (rather than carrying the stuff around with us in the park) and changing clothes in the closest men’s room — which turned out to be around the corner in the Condor Flats area across from Soarin’ Over California.

That plan would have worked out perfectly except for two things: The t-shirt I was going to change into was one I had bought that week at the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney and it was marked on the label as my size, but actually it was a child’s extra large rather than an adult’s extra large, so it wouldn’t fit me. The way the shirts were displayed in the store didn’t make it clear it was meant for a kid (they refunded our money later when we explained what had happened). The other thing was that it turned out Michael and I only got a bit damp on the attraction and didn’t have to change clothes… however others in our boat got thoroughly drenched! So, we were prepared in case that had been us. Ya never know. Here are pictures Carol took there… Since I’m writing so much out of order from what we did and when, I might as well put the GRR pictures here, too:

Michael and I had a very short line because of using our FastPasses, but the wait was so long on the regular line Disney provided live music to help pass the time waiting to go on Grizzly River Run.

Because Carol opted not to ride, we simply had her keep the bag with our original clothes after we changed to avoid getting our other clothes soaked (but, again, we didn’t get soaked anyway as luck would have it) along with my iPhone and camcorder. The lockers gave us a bit of a problem when we tried to open them up before changing, but a Cast Member helped us open the faulty lock. That problem plus that Carol wasn’t going to ride is why we decided she’d just keep our bag of clothes next to her while we rided. Here’s me at the lockers:

Getting back to the order of how we did things, after getting the FastPasses to GRR we walked through the section of DCA that has the San Francisco building facades (and nothing behind them… what a waste!) and over the bridge to Paradise Pier, which put us walking past the whimsical Ariel’s Grotto building, where the “Under the Sea” Character Dining takes place.

Michael made sure we didn’t even take a peek inside, but kept walking to our next destination: the California Screamin’ roller coaster…

…where we got three FastPasses rather than wait in the long line. It turns out that on this attraction Michael would be the one who didn’t want to ride, so we were able to give that one FastPass to a stranger to use so it wouldn’t go to waste. So, with two sets of FastPasses (one set to California Screamin’ and the other to Grizzly River Run), we set off on what we wanted to do while waiting for when the FastPasses could be used. By the way, GRR is not on the same networked computer system that other FastPass attractions are on, which is why we could get them for California Screamin’ right after getting some for Grizzly River Run. Doing research on the internet before our trip paid off!

The posted wait time for King Triton’s Carousel of the Sea was only 5 minutes, and it was right next door, so that’s what we decided to ride next.

Well, actually, Michael is at the age where he decided he’d have more fun not riding it, so he watched and waited while Carol…

…and I enjoyed riding next to each other, which we weren’t able to do on King Arthur’s Carrousel in Disneyland that week because of the crowds.

There’s Michael, sitting under the umbrella, waiting for us. This was just the reverse of when Walt Disney was inspired in to build Disneyland… when he was sitting in Griffith Park waiting while his kids rode the park’s carousel!

There’s King Triton, delighted that his sea creatures were giving us a ride. Instead of horses like on a normal carousel, on this one you sit on sea creatures! Amazingly, we didn’t get wet on this attraction either. 😉

There’s not much of a view, looking out at the boardwalk… Better things to see are right on the attraction itself.

Next, we walked next door to Toy Story Midway Mania, but decided to ride something else first because at that point the line was even longer than when we rode it with Lisa the first day at DCA! It was so long this day, the line even went across the boardwalk. Cast Members had to hold up temporary rope barriers to stop Guests walking along the boardwalk there when from time to time Guests queued up for TSMM were let across the boardwalk from one part of the attraction’s line to the other!

You can see one of the Cast Member “Carnival Barkers” (dressed like Mr. Potato Head) stopped us Guests while Toy Story Midway Mania-queued Guests were let across the boardwalk in between the temporary rope barriers.

Next, all three of us rode the Sun Wheel, making sure to find the entrance to the non-swinging gondolas — another bit of pre-trip planning on the internet planning which paid off! It is another attraction which was about to undergo change, to be converted to Mickey’s Fun Wheel, so we wanted to experience it in its original form while we were there.

Looking up from the entrance, the Ferris wheel looks massive.

Carol boarded our gondola first. The other guests boarding behind the gondola enter the swinging gondolas on that side.

You actually enter the gondolas below the surface of the water — and yet, amazingly, this was another attraction where we didn’t get wet!

This is the bird’s-eye-view you get from inside the birdcage-like gondolas.

We’d ride that sliced orange attraction later.

The view is great! If our iPhone could have the camera focus set, we’d set it to Infinity like I did with our camcorder, which makes the bars of the gondola “disappear” by being out of focus.

That’s Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel across the street.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, undergoing construction to expand it.

You can see Disneyland’s Matterhorn in the distance on the left.

We were higher than California Screamin’!

Next, Carol and I rode the Orange Stinger…

…so named because this giant sliced orange has giant bees and a giant honeycomb inside it. You can actually hear bees buzzing as you ride around high in the air on the swings. Michael didn’t ride it because he thought it was lame. I did, too, but had to close my eyes at one point to ward off motion sickness from the spinning.

It has nice theming, but it is pretty low on the fun attraction list. The next one Carol and I rode on, trying to experience as much of the original DCA attractions we could before they would be changed or removed, was Jumpin’ Jellyfish. Again, this attraction seemed way too lame for Michael to want to ride, so he waited for us. It was a walk-on and a very short ride, so he didn’t have long to wait.

Wouldn’t this have fit in with the theming better if it was next to King Triton’s Carousel of Sea? At least there would have been more sea creatures to look at while riding the carousel.

On this attraction, you sit securely fastened onto these hard seats as the parachute-like jellyfish above you “jump” up and down a few times, giving you a nice view but not much thrill if you’re an adult.

You can’t ride on that white tower to the right of Mulholland Madness… because it’s not an attraction, it’s a construction crane being used to expand Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel by adding more rooms and the Disney Vacation Club to it. Then again, Mulholland Madness won’t be an attraction itself when it is closed soon to remake it into Goofy’s Flying School.

Then our California Screamin’ FastPasses were good to use, so Carol and I rode it. We both did fine, even Carol who is normally very afraid while riding roller coasters. She did great!

FastPasses are the way to go with this attraction. Guests without them had a very long wait out in the hot sun. Michael chose to sit this one out instead of riding and he waited for us at the exit.

Then we went into an attraction we all enjoyed on Monday earlier in the week: Toy Story Midway Mania. The line was still very long, so we tried the short “Single Rider Line”, not minding if we’d all not sit next to each other. Only two people can sit next to each other in that attraction anyway. As it turned out, even using the Single Rider Line, Michael and Carol were assigned to sit next to each other. That saved us a lot of time!

Here are our scores after riding it:

In the next blog entry, you’ll see where we had lunch at DCA that day.

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