Sunday, September 3rd
I'm not sure what time I woke up, but Kevin was already awake and ready to go, whatever time it was. After showering, we hit up the free breakfast again, then headed out for California Adventure.
There was quite a lineup when we arrived, so we stood roasting in the already boiling sun for maybe 10 minutes or so before we could get in.
Kevin wanted to do Tower of Terror first, but then suggested getting a Fast Pass for Soarin' first. When we arrived at Soarin', the wait was only about 10 minutes, so we went ahead and rode instead of waiting until later. I still think this is a great ride, and Kevin loves it as well!
Next we went over to Tower of Terror. My first thought upon seeing the front of the tower is that it just looks fake. The burn on the building is very obviously painted on, unlike Florida's which resembles much more closely a real charred building. This tower just didn't look decrepit enough...or old enough, or dirty enough, or scary enough. There was no wait, and when we entered the lobby...
...we both thought it looked very out of place. It was very well lit, and looked somewhat inviting, which isn't the point at all! It's supposed to be dark and creepy! The library and interior queue were nice, but I took the chicken exit down before the ride started because I hate drop towers. Kevin said that the ride was good despite not having the 4th Dimension scene like MGM's tower does.
Mickey fountain in the Muppets and Monsters Inc courtyard
The next ride we did was Mike and Sully to the Rescue! Basically, I thought this ride was awesome! I loved it! The queue was packed full of stuff to read and look at, and it was all hilarious.
A passenger rules sign inside the ride
Mmm...I think I'll have a Bag O Calories and some polyvynil chloride please!
I particularly loved the overhead monitors that were displaying the Child Detection Emergency Broadcast System "test." It pretty much said that if an actual kid had been sighted, you were supposed to scream your head off! Love it!! The ride itself was really great...a fantastic addition to that park. I loved Superstar Limo, but I guess I'm with the masses in thinking that Mike and Sully is a better ride. I particularly liked how the Japanese restaurant actually smelled like Japanese food, and the area where they store all the doors...I'm sure it was probably just mirrors, but I was very impressed by the effect nonetheless.
We both picked up some frozen strawberry lemonade on the way out of the courtyard, then got in line for the next Aladdin show. The lemonade was way too frozen to eat right away anyway, so having 45 minutes to let it melt during the show was nice hehe We sat in the first balcony of the theater, a few rows back from the front, so we had great seats! I thought the show was really good...much better than the Steps in Time "be nice to your little brother" crap that was in there last time I was at DCA! Someone described the show as "Broadway caliber" and while I definitely wouldn't praise it *that* highly, I did think it was above average for a theme park show.
When we left, our frozen lemonade was just at the perfect consistency, so we ate as we walked back to the Wharf area.
We hadn't decided on anything for lunch ahead of time, so we decided to do the bread and tortilla factory tours, then grab lunch at one of their respective restaurants. We did the Boudin bakery tour first, but they weren't giving out any samples! Boo! It is quite impressive that Disney can take something as ordinary as baking bread and turn it into an entertaining and educational theme park attraction!
Next we went to the tortilla factory, but as soon as the doors closed behind us, our friend Scott called Kevin. So Kevin pushed through the doors, went outside to finish the conversation, and we went back in to the preshow. When the doors opened up to let us out of the preshow room, the right side door (the one that Kevin had barged through minutes earlier) didn't open! So Kevin says "Oh my god...the tortilla factory went 101 because of me!" Once we got to the end, we got a hot and fresh tortilla, which Kevin said was the best tortilla he'd ever made go 101 in his life. He also jumped on the "what is your weight in tortillas?" scale, but claimed that it was off by one since he'd just eaten one tortilla.
Kevin decided to go back to the bakery's restaurant for lunch, while I stayed at the Mexican place by the tortilla factory.
While I waited in line, our friend Scott walked by! I hadn't seen him since about 2003 or so, so it was nice to see him again. We chatted for a bit, then he went to find Kevin. I got the chicken taco platter with beans and rice, and I thought it was excellent. Kevin got a salad in a bread bowl and said his was great also. Mike called during lunch, so we chatted for a bit, then when we were all done with lunch, we walked back towards the Pier.
Kevin quickly dissipates the burger invasion
Scott doesn't do thrill rides, so he held my camera bag as Kevin and I got in line for California Screamin'.
We didn't wait very long...maybe 10 minutes or so. I still love this ride, even after having ridden some much bigger and more powerful coasters. It's just fun! I didn't notice the effects of the trim brakes too much since I still thought there was a nice amount of floater air over the bunny hills.
Screamin' is a really solid ride...one that I wish was closer to me!!
Kevin and Scott didn't want to ride Maliboomer, so I utilized the single rider line. For a moment, I thought the ride was gonna break down. We all got strapped in, the ride lifted up in the air and moved up and down a bit, then immediately dropped back down to the base of the tower. Of course at that point, the person in the control tower tells the riders to please remain seated...like we had any other option! After another restraint check the ride was fine. But I do like this one less than others though because of the stupid scream shields.
Kevin said that he really wanted to ride Grizzly River Run, but Scott and I agreed that we didn't want to get that wet, so Kevin went for a solo ride.
Scott and I waited on a nearby bridge and watched him float past, then retreated to the cool gift shop nearby to wait for him. I found this one spot in the store where an air vent would blow directly on me, so I just parked myself there. I joked with Scott that I was really studying the shirts in front of me...yep, that's what I was doing...NOT standing directly under an air vent! ;-) When Kevin found us, he was barely wet at all! Just his butt seemed to be wet.
I got a call from our friend Sean at that point saying that he and his wife Pamela were in the parking garage and wanted to know where to meet us. I wanted to tape Seasons of the Vine, so we agreed to meet there. After waiting outside the theater for only a few minutes, they found us and we went inside. It was great to see them too, but we see them most Decembers at WDW, so it wasn't some grand reunion or anything hehe I started taping Seasons of the Vine, but my battery ran out right in the middle of it!!! And it was right at the "time lapse grape growing" clip too! :-( Oh well, just another reason to go back!
Kevin and I hadn't been in A Bug's Land, so that's what we suggested as our next stop. The entrance was a little haphazard, with some water play areas for kids, and some random fenced off areas with Bug's Life character statues inside them. The rides area was really cute though! You can tell that the budget for the area wasn't that huge since everything is off the shelf, but I think they did a nice job with the theming.
Tower of Terror as seen by a bug
Little did anyone there know, but Heimlich has been my favorite Disney character since the first time I saw Bug's Life. So I definitely wanted to ride...
...Heimlich's Chew Chew Train! We only waited for one cycle, but I would have certainly waited longer! It was so adorable!!!>
You ride in Heimlich themed caterpillars, and pass all these foods along the ride path.
You go through a watermelon that mists you, and an animal cracker box that smells just like animal crackers, and at the end you pass CANDY CORN! Realistically, if Heimlich wasn't my favorite character, the ride would have garnered a "meh" from me. But he is, so it's the best ride in the resort hahaha Ok, so that's an overstatement, but I did think it was really really cute!!
I said that I wanted to video tape the Monsters Inc ride, so everyone headed in that direction for a ride. My video of it came out pretty well, including when we stopped at the end and got harassed by the slug lady with the clipboard. She said "Oh great, another camera. Hope you get my good side" and "Hey, you left the lens cap on!" haha
At that point, the guys decided that they wanted to watch Block Party Bash, but the girls decided against it, so Pamela and I went to watch Muppet*Vision instead.
I hadn't intended on watching it during the trip, but it was certainly better than watching another parade!! The preshow was almost empty, so I sat down on the floor and stretched out my legs and back. I must have looked pretty dumb, but it felt wonderful! The preshow, theater and show are all identical to Florida's version, so needless to say, I enjoyed it.
After a bathroom break, we called the guys and agreed to meet up with them at the Wine Country Trattoria, which is where we had set up dinner reservations. When we got there, they were going on about how great the parade was, and that it really was a "bash" and all. So Pamela and I start saying "Yeah, well Muppet*Vision was completely live action today. They said they were only gonna do that for that one show, and you missed it." hahaha I don't care how big of a bash they had, I can assure you that I enjoyed Muppet*Vision more than I would have the parade.
We were seated within just a few minutes in the Trattoria, so we had time to cool down before we ate. Pamela and I ordered the chicken alfredo lasagna, Sean and Scott ordered the lasagna rustica and Kevin ordered a panini, and everyone really seemed to enjoy their meals. I also got a glass of Riesling, which was very nice. I wish I could remember what winery it came from! Scott and Kevin also ordered a sorbet dish for dessert. When they arrived at the table, Scott's was piled high on the top of a frozen orange, but Kevin's took a tumble and ended up laying on the plate next to the orange. We all awwed, then giggled about it.
After dinner, we wandered back onto the Pier, enjoying the park at night and the good company. Eventually, we decided to do the Sun Wheel, which was when Scott decided to bow out for the evening. Sean and Pamela opted for a non-swinging bucket, while Kevin and I got in line for a moving one. Kevin then decided to get them to let people go in front of them until we were gonna load in side by side buckets, so we could watch each other ride. I sort of freaked out about the wait, thinking that I might not have enough time to get a good seat for the Electrical Parade, but the parade ended up being later than I thought it was, so we were fine.
The Sun Wheel has got to be one of my favorite rides anywhere! Dare I say it's even my favorite ride in the whole resort! It's just so much fun! And I love the fact that you're not strapped in, so you can move around, get tossed around if you like, catch airtime if you like, whatever! I took video through most of the ride, and it is hilarious! It makes me laugh just watching us ride it!
Having fun on the Sun Wheel
After the ride, we all scurried over to where I'd decided that I wanted to watch the Electrical Parade. It was across from the Golden Dreams theater...exactly where I'd been planning on watching it. We didn't have to wait too long before the parade started, and when it got to us, I was in heaven! I've loved this parade since I first watched it. It makes me happy, simple as that. It's so strange that I hate parades, yet my favorite thing that Disney has ever done is a parade! I got fantastic video of it, so any time I'm feeling down, I can watch it :-)
After the parade, everything was closed, so we filed out with the masses. We noted that Disneyland was open for another two hours, with another fireworks show and a Fantasmic, so we decided to go over there. That was the only feasible time to see Fantasmic if we were gonna see it. We ended up walking out through the Grand Californian, which is such a spectacular hotel! We spent a little time there in 2001, and if I had the money I'd stay there in a heartbeat! We weren't able to get hand stamps as we exited, but we were assured that it wouldn't be a problem.
Well, we obviously weren't the only people who had that idea. The entry plaza was PACKED with people trying to get into Disneyland, so we had to wait forever to even get in! Then Main street was packed to the gills with people waiting for the fireworks to start, and we had to hustle through them too. I wanted to get a little something sweet from the bakery, so I popped in there right as the fireworks started. I ended up with two Mickey shaped cookies and two glasses of water for Kevin and myself. When the fireworks were over, the bakery became overwhelmed with people flooding in for snacks...glad I got in there when I did!
We met back up with Kevin, who had waited outside while I got the cookies, and went over to New Orleans square to stake out a spot for Fantasmic. Being locals, Sean and Pamela knew a great spot to watch from that offered a great view, and that no one was already occupying! The show was great as always, and we had a great view. The two Fantasmics both seem to have their pros and cons, which I figure makes them just about equal. The seating in Florida is much better and more organized, with every seat having a good view. But Disneyland's use of the Columbia, and the added Pinocchio scene are really nice touches. Equally good in different ways, I'd say.
After the show, once again everything was closed, so we headed out. Sean offered to drive us back to our hotel, and we gladly took him up on his offer since we were both extremely tired. He didn't even make us walk all the way to the car...he went and got the car and picked us up near the escalator! What a nice guy! I was pretty wiped out by the time I got back to the hotel, so we both crashed as soon as we got there.