Friday, February 13, 2009

A Day in Disney's California Adventure


It's been more than 5 years since I've set my footsteps on the Disney amusement parks, and this time, we experienced it on a weekday with rain and shine. Mainly, this visit was for a performance during the afternoon (the Community Arts Showcase), or else I would have not gone here. After all, there was a 90 percent chance of rain!


The rainbow above set most of the tone for the day. This was near Disneyland, and it was HUGE! The bands of colors were thick, and the rainbow in general spanned a vast distance. Click click click went the cameras; WHOA went the people in the bus. Simply said, it was a rare sight.


It was long before we even reached the Disney area. Afterwards though, the Disney people were ready to serve. Or not! Printing tickets for about 200 people apparently took more than an hour. But that time wasn't wasted! It was simply more time to glimpse at everything available and to snap the photos.

Not long after, we did get the tickets, and then a mob of people started heading to the entrance. Other groups were also arriving for the day too...but I was lucky, and didn't wait long compared to the regular weekend.


After the very cool scan for the ticket, we were admitted into California Adventure, and the first thing you would notice would obviously be this. A "fake" Golden Gate Bridge. I think this was for the monorail, but I didn't see any monorails moving. But we weren't staying in the area for longer, as we moved on.


Walking forward, we reached the Sunshine Plaza. Obviously, the main highlight is this: a sun and fountain area! The water that you see is programmed too. See here:




Other than the fountain, Sunshine Plaza has lots of concrete seating and landscaping areas, as well as some souvenir shops. It is a gateway also to Golden State and the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, which I'll talk about later. And lastly, lots of California inspired music goes on here throughout the day, and unfortunately, it is on a loop! I heard the same songs at least 5 times during my day.

After looking at the California Zephyr train, we went to lunch at the Taste Pilot's Grill. And well, it started to pour rain all over the place. We looked out at the window, and people were wearing ponchos! Being smart as Disney is, they also sold ponchos too, and many of the people who came unprepared were buying them. We overheard this, "I don't care how much it costs, but I am buying one!!!" Disney must have earned a lot of money that day just from ponchos.

We planned well, and so, we next went to Soaring Over California, which was one of my friend's suggestions. It was also why we ate at Taste Pilot's Grill in the first place. Soaring Over California was very cheesy for some parts, like the "ready for boarding" section. Instead of waiting in one line and then like on a plane directing you which seat you have, Disney made 3 lines for the three rows.

Storage for your items that you bring along was interesting. You can put it under your seat (they have a elastic compartment to make sure the items are safe), or, you can put it on the walkways. Why? Because the whole seating just moves slightly forward and up during the ride, as well as turning. It is all off the ground, and nothing does happen on the ground for this ride.

The experience was also intriguing in a way. Obviously, it is a dated technology, and the screens were a bit pixelated. However, the screen showing the images was interesting, as it curved like a bubble to create the 3D illusion. Also, it seemed like some air was pumped; so if you were flying over orange groves, you could smell a slight scent. I don't know if that was me or it was really true though!

After the ride was over, the walkway to leave was like if you were on an airbridge, but not that real. But you could definitely see the effort put into it!


A quick right turn from the exit of Soaring over California led us to the Cars display. Lightning McQueen (featured here) and Mater (sorry, no pic as people were in front of him for photos) were featured, but no other different characters from the movie. And smart as Disney can be, they made a Cars store nearby which looked a bit like Radiator Springs in the movie.

We then decided to move on forward, and while doing that, we used the map. The map's integrity was really tested at that time, as it was raining hard! Did it stand up to the rain? For now, it did.

Next stop? Toy Story Mania, at Paradise Pier. It is a pretty interesting 4-D ride, but as the description says, it is just a series of games. Waiting in line, Mr. Potatohead greets you which is very, very funny. He keeps asking questions, but it seems more like an automated program. When he asked us if we knew Buzz and Woody, 3 people raised their hands, and he was happy that so many people knew Buzz and Woody!

Inside the game, you basically are using hand-eye coordination and you use a string gun to hit things for points. As things go on, you move along, and the points accumulate. At times, water and other things will spray at you, but you won't get wet; by the end of the ride you would have got dry already.

The best part is at the end of the ride. When your car arrives at the last screen, you and your partner's (person sitting next to you) scores go up onto a big screen for you to see! I got 123,300 points in the end, but some people apparently got 300,000 and counting!


We then wanted to go on some other rides, such as the Sun Wheel and the Golden Zephyr, but they, unfortunately, were all closed for the day! I guessed because so many groups were here, they didn't want to open everything. So, we went onto the Orange Stinger, which I wanted to go on as in my past experience, these rides are always very fun. That is, until I went on it!


But, we had to wait. As we just arrived, they started! Plus, they weren't even ready (not everyone in the sitting area was ready), yet they wouldn't allow us in. So, I took this pucture. See all the construction going on? That is why we couldn't go on some of the rides. They look like they are taking the "sun" theme out and putting back the "Mickey" theme. They say the Sun Wheel will become the Mickey and Friends Wheel in spring, and other rides are also opening this spring.

Anyway, we then were able to go on, and the seats were wet! So, if you weren't wearing waterproof pants, your clothing got wet. Boo! And soon, we went up, fairly quickly. The ride continually, as it rotates, goes up and down. It doesn't stay at the same elevation. I personally felt a lot of movement, and I got almost dizzy from the ride. Because of the quick rate of speed plus the ups and downs, it feels like you may hit the seat in front and the orange outside. And, the ride was so short! But, it was short enough so that I didn't get sick due to the up and down movement.

We then found the Mulholand Madness rollercoaster which was more of a "mini" rollercoaster, but it too, was closed. With no other choice, we went on the Jumpin Jellyfish, which is a toned down version of "Maliboomer" as it doesn't go up that high and the movements aren't that quick. What made this ride so good though, were the employees. They seemed to be the most enthusiastic and friendly workers in the whole park! During the checkups for safety, they always did everything with a smile and had a very enthusiastic tone in their voice, which almost no other employee had that much of. Good job!

The ride offered a great view of the lake as well as Paradise Pier. And, the up and down movements weren't that awful, compared to the Orange Stinger, which my friends hated!


Hmm. Someone wanted to get wet today, even when it was already raining! How ironic. I didn't want to get wet, but since I got my Orange Stinger, my friend got this ride: the Grizzly River Run. And yes, it was WET! In the beginning of the ride, they try to get you to be scared when you go up really high. However, you don't go down much afterwards (only about 3 feet or so), and then, the ride really starts to get bumpy, and there are two big splash areas. It depends on luck if you get wet. Somehow, I got the wettest, when I didn't even want to get wet! And my friend who wanted to get wet didn't really get wet the first time. And so, we went again, and I got the opposite side from where I did get wet.

Guess what? I got the big splash again! We dried off though later.

Then, after the ride, we visited "A bug's land", which is primarily made for smaller kids. The rides are not at all frightening, and yes, again, some of the rides were closed!

Nearby are lots of food places. But being so full, my friends didn't want to visit the Bakery Tour or the Mission Torilla Factory nearby, which I wanted to visit! We did look around the area though, but it looked almost completely closed, so we left and visited...


The Hollywood Pictures Backlot area! Look at the picture carefully. Is the section in the middle really continuous?


No, it isn't! From far away though, it does look real. But as you reach the board area, you definitely will notice it isn't real at all!


Everything nearby here has a "Hollywood theme". Like this hot dog shop. It is called "Award Wieners"! How funny! I took this picture as we were planning to eat here for the evening, but it ended up not to be as it later was closed!

At Hollywood Pictures Backlot, we visited the Animation Academy, Character Close-Up, Turtle Talk with Crush, and Sorcerer's Workshop. All of them are located in the same building!


The main part I wanted to visit was the Animation Academy, and as part of it we got to listen about some animation at Disney. The one thing that caught my eye though, were models of the characters in Disney! Wall-E was there, and so I took a picture of him.


After all this walking, we were definitely tired! So, we sat in the middle area of the 4 attractions in the building, and I noticed 2 Disney Characters! First, I noticed Mickey, which was trying to poke a hi to someone- that photo ended up very blurry. And then, I saw Minnie, which was taking pictures with other people. She then was signing someone's book, and so I decided it was the right time to snap the photo. And here you go!


Still a bit exhausted, my friends decided to visit the Churro stand in the Sunshine Plaza. Throughout the day, lots of people were here for churros. But, if you know your stuff or have worked in a cafeteria before, you probably know that these churros are the pre made, frozen churros. I saw the guy putting the churros in to cook, and they were white and rock hard! Freshly made churros definitely are not like that. Interested in the machine, I took some pictures of it. Later on, the guy sprinkled some cinammon sugar, and took 3 dollars for each churro given out.

We then visited the souvenir shops which had lots of sweets and Disney labeled products, and walked around the park. Then, we had to gather up for the performance, but it wasn't time to prep. So, I walked around, and noticed something big was happening! The Disney characters had come out. Minnie, Mickey, and Goofy!


Yes, it was the same Minnie from the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, and she was happily signing books and taking pictures with people who wanted their Kodak opportunity with her.


And she also posed for photos of herself! One person wanted her in their umbrella, and so she posed herself with the umbrella, and above, you can see the results.


Mickey had a different outfit today, which I had never seen before. Cargo pants, T shirt, and a button up shirt. He displayed a very outdoor-sy and relaxed look.

Mr. Mickey seemed to also be really happy too and liked to look at everyone. He had so many people who wanted to take photos of him, and so there was even a bodyguard nearby Mickey! Haha.


Goofy I didn't see that much, but when I took this picture, he was looking at me while some girl was hugging him!

Afterthat, we got to prep for the performance, and did our performance in the rain!!! The show did continue though...but after that we were all soaked. Boo. Everything after our performance started to close down as California Adventure as a whole was closing down for the day too! So, we again had dinner at Taste Pilot's Grill, and then happily got whisked back to the parking lot by the tram, and left California Adventure. What a day!

California Adventure

1313 Harbor Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92802-2398
(714) 781- 4565

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