It's been a full weekend already, spending 2 days in Oak Glen California visiting apple orchards, but we're not done yet. Weekends are perfect for a Disneyland visit. I love seeing all the different Halloween decorations, plus Alli just turned 40" tall so she's got lots of brand new things she can ride.
Hats this week continue the Nightmare Before Christmas theme from last week. From left to right, we've got a Jack Skellington style top-hat from Disneyland years ago. Next is Jack Skellington bursting out of a pumpkin which I think was offered last year at Disneyland. Then there's a Scary Teddy hat, followed by a Santa Jack hat complete with beard.
Both parks open today at 8am. At 8:05 we were in a long line of cars trying to enter the parking structure, and by 8:45 we had made it through security and were walking through Downtown Disney. I always opt to take the 1 mile walk from the parking garage to the entrance instead of dealing with the tram. One other "trick" you can do is scan your pass at the monorail entrance and then immediately exit. That lets you start making fastpass reservations right away while you continue the walk to the main entrance.
Today we're starting with California Adventure and our friends in Radiator Springs. Again I love seeing the place decorated for the season.
My first time noticing these pumpkins at Luigis. Cleverly made from tire treads and a funnel.
All dressed up in our halloween hats. Alli missed not wearing the Zero headband last week, so she wanted to change out her hat.
We enjoyed our spin with all of Luigi's cousins.
And then headed over to Mater's Jambooree. You've got to love the unique songs this time of year. The Monster Truck Smash (Monster Mash), Purple Fender Bender (Purple People Eater), and more.
Even though DCA had Early Magic Hours (opening at 7am) the park has been pretty quiet. Toy Story Midway Mania has been down all morning, so perhaps that's why the back of the park seems dead.
I still have a hard time calling this the Pixar Pal-Around. Despite the name, the four of us almost walked on to the non-swinging gondolas.
The benefit of the non-swinging gondola is that you get the highest view of the park. Ian said he could see everything from up here.
Hey Alli, next up is a brand new ride for you...
It's the swings! After easily hitting the 40" mark, she ran up the stairs and over to the dual swing. Theresa doesn't do the swings, so it's up to me. Instead, she's taking Ian on the Jumping Jellyfish.
We're off and she's loving it. Hey Alli, you can hold your hands up if you want.
There's my brave girl! And what a big smile!
After the swings, we headed over to the Jumping Jellyfish to watch Ian. Even though the height limit is 40" here, it seems like it's a little more than that in actuality. Well let's see how close she is.
The cast member helped line Alli up and told her to raise her arms nice and tall. With that, her head touched! She's good to go! Excellent! Theresa and I swapped kids and she stood in line with Alli while I took Ian over to the swings.
Ian loves the swings too.
We were off the swings even before Alli and Theresa boarded the Jellyfish. Ian decided Jack Skellington needed to go on a spinning ride too.
Finally it was time. Once again she was all smiles and even raised her hands at the top.
Our fastpass is coming up, but walking by Ariel we saw it was a walk-on. Can't pass that up.
Continuing into Radiator Springs I was excited to see Cruz Ramirez in costume. I don't remember seeing her in costume last year. I also read that DJ is dressed up too.
Time for Alli's next big girl ride. Radiator Springs Racers! A combination dark ride plus thrill ride, I thought this would be a great introductory ride for her. She insisted on sitting in the driver's seat.
And it turns out I got it backwards. The part I thought she would like (the dark ride) was the part that scared her. It was too dark and too loud, so she had her hands covering her ears most of the time.
Once it got to the thrill portion, as soon as we started driving fast, she stuck our both hands like she was holding a steering wheel and started pretending to drive. That lasted until we caught a little air over the first hill. Then the arms reached for mommy. Alli's driving helped us cross the finish line first! She said she liked it, but I suppose time will tell if she asks to go on it again or not.
Lunchtime. I've been looking forward to this seasonal soup all week. Theresa figured out why she likes it so much. Instead of thinking of it like a soup, she likened it more to a cheese fondue. It's a very thick soup with a strong cheese, bacon, and ale flavor with onion and other spices. Dipping pieces of sourdough in it just like a fondue.
Someone powered through 5 slices of buttered bread. Surely he doesn't have any ulterior motives, does he?
Uh huh. The ducks are going to start following him around before too long.
Our time in DCA finished for today, everyone headed over to Disneyland. Since today is a day of new rides for Alli I asked if she wanted to try a new roller coaster. It's a little like Gadget's Go-Coaster but a little more wild. Do you want to try it? Alli - Yes!
Ian held her hand as we walked down the queue. He explained a few parts of the ride and told her she could cover her ears when the fire exploded.
No fear. All smiles.
One of the great parts of this ride is that it's a bench seat and I can ride with two kids at one time. It's easy enough to throw an arm around each of them while we go along.
As luck would have it, we ended up on a train full of screamers. You know the kind. The ones who are yelling at the top of their lungs no matter what section you're in. It's especially bad in the enclosed tunnels, but still annoying everywhere else. That meant Alli wasn't particularly fond of this ride, covering her ears the entire time. We'll try this one again later.
The parks are starting to get crowded, so it's time to do some rides with short queues. It's difficult for the carrousel to build up a large queue, so that's always a winner.
Next it was time to get some more family photos from a photopass photographer. Ian really really wants to pull this sword out of the stone. He claims it will make him King for the Day if he can do it. Today he said the whole family needs to grab it and try to help him pull it out. Try as we might that sword didn't budge.
I miss the show with Merlin that would happen here daily. If it were still going on, we'd surely be here quite often until Ian had the opportunity to pull that sword out of the stone.
One smiley photo.
And one Nightmare Before Christmas scary photo.
I had no idea Alli could make such a good scary face.
Gadget's Go-Coaster was next on our list, but despite the app showing a 10 minute wait, when we arrived the line was backed up quite a bit. Knowing there is only 1 train running, it takes 2 minutes for it to load and go around the track, and that each train can hold 16 people, you can do the quick math and see that it's going to take a bit longer than 10 minutes to get to the front of the line.
Instead I snagged an immediate fastpass for small world and headed to the boats. Ian and Alli had both found money earlier and wanted to toss it into the water. I just have to make sure they time it and don't toss it on anyone's head as they float by.
In my effort to make the kids more independent, they are now in charge of telling the cast members how many are in our party. Way to step up Alli.
She's talked about it all week, so Splash Mountain had to be on the agenda today before we leave.
And Theresa even came along too. Alli seemed a little nervous this time, but after going down the big hill she was all smiles.
She surprises me sometimes with her speech too.
Alli - I was so afraid, but then I did it and I liked it.
I'm glad girlie. We'll have to keep going on it.
Our last ride of the day is simple but fun. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was Ian's very first ride ever at Disneyland. Now he's big enough to ride in the front row with just him and his sister. Time sure does fly.
Such big kids.
Our day completed, it was time to walk back out to the parking structure. Despite the lines for the tram being much more reasonable, it's tradition now to enjoy a relaxed walk back to the car.
T just loves all kinds of fruits and vegetables, so these decorations in Downtown Disney certainly draw her attention. They're enormous!
It's been a very full weekend with 2 days visiting apple orchards followed by another day at Disneyland, but it's been so much fun.