Day 3: Don & Shirley do Disney (part 2)

Disney California

Just outside California Adventure

After a quick stop in our room, we headed back out to Disney’s California Adventure. We had several “must do’s” for this park – first on the list was Soarin’ Over California. This is an amazing ride that gives you the sensation of flying through the many environments in the state of California – including the scent of pine or orange trees! We decided to go as single riders as it had worked out so well for me before, but -maybe because it wasn’t as busy – the cast members seemed to be more sticklers for protocol and separated us down different hallways. They kept everyone in their lane from the line before “boarding” to seating assignments – ah well! Next time through, we stayed together and got in the front row – weeee! Before going through “Soarin'” again, though, we went over to the Grizzly River Run – a “white water rapids” ride where everyone gets wet – at least a little bit! We had tossed a Mickey poncho (from a previous trip to Disney World) into my backpack as well as some large plastic bags for Don’s shoes. It was in the low 70’s that day, so we weren’t worried about a little bit of water, but it is uncomfortable to walk in wet shoes and we had miles to go before we slept… The locals considered the weather to be too cool for Grizzly, so we walked right on and shared our “raft” with a young man – a kid in his mid-teens. We gleefully bagged Don’s shoes and tucked my backpack (with my shoes & socks) under my poncho, regaling the kid with tales of our upcoming soaking! It was great! I did get a good-sized splash in the face, but our clothes came through just fine.
We headed to the Paradise Pier area next to check the line for Toy Story Mania – it was long, so we decided to try out the Mickey Fun Wheel. The boarding process was tedious – it took a while to fill all those “cages” and I insisted on a non-moving cage. After the Ferris wheel was filled, I think we only went around twice before the unloading process began. The views were amazing from the wheel, though – you could see the whole California Adventure Park and the higher points of Disneyland. After dark, the wheel was beautifully lit with changing colored lights and simulated movement, but I’m getting ahead of myself…
Next was Toy Story Mania with it’s 40 minute wait – and this was a slow day in the park! It is much better to stand in line with someone instead of by yourself, though!! Don beat my score this time, although my accuracy percentage was better than his – I consider that a moral victory.
By now, it was time to pick up our picnics for the World of Color Show. I had purchased them online ahead of time to get us into a preferred viewing area for the show. We were still stuffed from our huge lunch in Blue Bayou, so we planned to take them up to our room and tuck them into the fridge for later. As we walked away with our cool new lunch bags, we found that the Pixar Parade would be starting soon and we had the opportunity to sit along the edge of the route – we took it!
Monsters Inc character Boo in parade

Boo from Monsters Inc toddles toward us.

We were able to see the full parade unobstructed and you know Disney does a good parade!
We hustled our food up to our room and grabbed our previously discarded jackets and headed back into Disney California. We had a bit of time (still!) before we were to get into the queue for our viewing area, so we wandered into the Backstage area and went on the Monsters Inc ride. Now this ride is specifically for the little ones – too bad they didn’t take the chase scene in the door area from the movie and make that into a ride. That coulda been something! It is a cute ride, though and it is fun to see the little ones as they enjoy the animatronic figures. As we walked out of the ride exit, Don said, “let’s go through again!” He wanted to try to get some pictures inside the ride. He cajoled me (and was supported by the lady with two kids who was following us out – “Aw c’mon! Let him ride again!”) so we went through again to take pictures. Weee! (the pictures did not turn out)
Now it was time to head back to the Paradise Pier area and find our preferred viewing area. Oh – that would be the hundreds of people surrounded by cast members and guided by rope lines across the water from Mickey’s Fun Wheel. Holy crap! Not so exclusive feeling anymore! Eventually, it was announced that, if we didn’t mind the possibility of getting wet, people could get right down on the boardwalk and line up along the water. We decided to chance it and settled on a couple of folded towels right at the railing. Others filled in around us, including a set of grandparents with a couple of grandchildren who pondered aloud what would happen if we should stand up. “They will let you stand in front of them and you will have a front row view!” exclaimed the grandpa. “As if!” I thought. This family was swathed in ponchos to avoid the splashes we were warned about. While we were waiting, the grandpa talked loudly and constantly so I was worried we’d get a running commentary throughout the show. We were also treated to a light show on Mickey’s Fun Wheel – very mesmerizing! I took some video of the changes and now wish I had taken more. (Look for a side bar on the Fun Wheel light show soon!) The show began and the music was loud enough to mask “grandpa’s” remarks. The prevailing wind – which was very slight, moved across the water parallel to our seats so we had the occasional light mist.
It was an amazing show – animation was projected onto walls of water, jets of color shot into the air (how did they make the color so intense!?), familiar Disney songs played throughout, fire blasted up from the water – hot enough to feel the heat. I highly recommend going to this show – and getting the picnic lunch for a preferred view as it is cheaper than the dinner at Ariel’s Grotto and the viewing area is not much different.
Our day of doing Disney together came to end after our late picnic in our room and we went to sleep knowing we would be leaving the next day….sigh!

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