Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Disney Vacation Day 2: California Adventure

After our first day without breakfast I decided room service was the way to go. 6:30 am and we had a full cart in our room. The kids were all still asleep until Leeloo saw the food and yelled out "Yum yummy time!". She was delighted.

Total immersion in the Disney theme.

Looking rough at 6:30 am.
California Adventure was significantly less crowded for Magic Hour. Unfortunately, we spent a lot of the time trying to find the rides that were open. We were successful with a couple of things in Cars Land. Leeloo especially liked the Mater ride (akin to Tilt A Whirl), so we rode that a few times in a row. By nine, Bugs Land was open, and that's where a lot of the chiquita-sized rides lived.


Luigi's Flying Tires

You had to lean to make them move.

First time on bumper cars!

She loves Sulley, but she was totally intimidated by his size.
 While the boys jumped on Tower of Terror Leeloo and I wandered around and explored. We ran into Sulley, who was so sweet, but the chiquita just froze, she was a little frightened of Mickey too. They are giant compared to her, it's no wonder.

 One of the best places in California Adventure was the Animation building in Hollywood Land. It was great to get out of the sun and be surrounded by screens upon screens of favorite Disney moments. The chica was totally enthralled. We went there a few times during our visit just to chill and relax.

The Animation building also contained Turtle Talk with Crush. It's an interactive experience with Crush, the sea turtle, in Finding Nemo. Right away Crush singled Leeloo out and had a conversation with her. I'm sure they thought she was older than 2&1/2 (as most people do), so I had to translate. He dubbed her "Riptide Ripley" and spent the subsequent minutes mesmerizing her.

The one thing I planned for our Disney trip was a character lunch at Ariel's Grotto. This way we could meet the princesses one at a time and without waiting in line. This all sounded good in theory, but the reality was a little different.

Our 6:30 breakfast fed us early, but also meant by 11:30 Leeloo was ready for her nap. Originally I had planned a mommy & me experience, but everyone else decided to join (which changed the price significantly). D convinced me to not worry about the cost and we signed up. It was fun, but kinda a fiasco.

We arrived with plenty of time for our reservation, so we had a few moments to wait. Leeloo wanted to go to the potty (she's not potty trained yet, but she's obsessed with trying). Of course they buzzed for us as soon as she went away. We were the first in line, but lost our spot because she was gone. By the time she emerged, the stairwell that led to Ariel (the first princess to meet), was filled with young girls and their families. They graciously didn't make us go to the back of the line, but there was such a crowd and a sense of rush that the chiquita got stage freight. Sigh. Off to the table.

 We were seated outside, which had a beautiful view of the boardwalk. However, it also faced the roller coaster that the boys were so eager to ride. Suddenly neither of them were very hungry. Ugh. If I would have taken a moment, the best thing would have been to excuse them from lunch all together. But, since I am imperfect I just let myself get annoyed. Anyone over 9 years old is considered an adult ($40), and the adult menu is a little fancier than your average Disney fair. The boys chose to order off the kids menu. Which meant they both had $40 chicken fingers. Insert eye roll here. When lunch did come they just picked at it (the same growing boys that usually eat us out of house and home). I was fuming.

Sigh. So again, I'm imperfect. All in all, lunch wasn't that bad. The boys did have Crab Bisque, and of course they finished their dessert sampler. They even finished those very expensive chicken fingers after they rode their roller coaster 5 times. Alright. Maybe now I'll get over it.

Our lovely but distracting view.

Lobster tail with greens, bacon and quail eggs. Actually quite good.
Mac & Cheese, Goldfish & Hot Dog with fruit and broccoli. Seems oddly simple, but was badly cooked.
Everyone's favorite. Dessert. 
Another strange thing about Ariel's Grotto was that the princesses come while you're eating. So you have to stop eating, grab your camera, clean up your kiddos face, try to get them to pose, say hi and get an autograph without getting the precious princess autograph book dirty. On top of all of this, when we sat I realized that I had forgotten to charge and download my camera, which means the whole time the battery was blinking and I was deleting things haphazardly to make room. Terrible.

Despite all this, the chiquita did get to meet a fair amount of princesses. Was it worth a quarter of our food budget? No. But I would totally do it again as a mommy and me treat. Like I wanted to in the first place (all snark intended).



Snow White


After lunch Leeloo and I headed back for nap time. She slept while I downloaded and charged the camera, and recharged myself. The boys headed back (after many roller coaster rides and some pool time) to finally eat their lunch. By early evening we were all set, physically and mentally, for our second round of Cali Adventure.

The boys were so excited about riding California Screamin'. D had spent all afternoon on it with them, so it was my turn. I don't think I've ever been on a proper roller coaster. I have been on several carnival rides, but nothing as big as Cali Screamin'. All in all it wasn't bad. In fact we rode it twice (so I could sit once with each boy). Our evening was all about the fun again.

In line

Crazy monkeys.

Leeloo rode the Merry-Go-Round while we were having our fun.
Next up was Mickey's Fun Wheel. I was more hesitant about this than the roller coaster! It's so very tall. Also, the boys didn't want to ride in the stationary car, they wanted the one that swung to and fro while the ride was in motion. It seemed entirely too grown up for the chiquita. I was sure she'd be frightened. Of course, I was totally wrong. She completely dug it. 

Mickey's Fun Wheel. 

One of the longer lines. Devices, Dum Dums and PlayDoh had to all be utilized.

Our evening consisted of dinner, Cars Land again and World of Color. World of Color is pretty amazing (check video), but very long and crowded. The chiquita was into it, but the boys were kinda dragging by that point. To their complete joy, when the show was over at ten, Leeloo begged to go back to Pirates of the Caribbean. I think we only rode it twice that night. Maybe three times, by midnight it was kinda a blur.

Cars Land is so pretty at night.

Beyond tired.

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