Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Disney's California Adventure

On Christmas morning, in the pitch black all I heard was a little voice saying
"It's 52 o'clock mama"
then a little while later, and a little louder
"mom, I just want to let you know it's 53 o'clock"
 Even on vacation, after being up longer then they ever had in their lives the day before, my kids were up bright and early Christmas morning! We opened a few small gifts in the room and then headed to Disney's California Adventure Park. Because we were staying in a Disney hotel we were allowed to enter the park 1 hour before it was open to the public, so we took advantage of that and chose to do the "most popular" rides and experiences first before the park got crowded
I was totally shocked to be the first people to walk up and meet Anna and Elsa. Brianna was in absolute heaven and was so excited! I loved that since there was no one else in line we weren't rushed and the princesses took a long time with her and were so sweet. From there we went to the very back of the park and hit Radiator Springs.
The rides in Cars Land were some of my favorites! There was a moment while we were spinning on the tractor in Mater's Junkyard Jamboree that Marshall was laughing hysterically and yelling "this is Awesome!!" at the top of his lungs. There wasn't even a full line of people waiting for the next ride, so the man just let us stay in our same seats and ride it again immediately once it ended. After getting dizzy, we headed to Radiator Springs Racers which may be the top favorite ride for all of us at the end of our trip!
We were able to ride this twice and then grabbed a Fast Pass for later in the day to ride it one more time. By the end of the day the wait time was close to 2 hours, so I'm so glad we went there first when the park wasn't open to the public and then as soon as the Fast Passes opened at 8 am we grabbed one and went around the rest of the park until it was our time to return. Such a time saver!!
I had downloaded the "Disneyland Wait Times Free" app on my phone and that was also a huge help in figuring out what we should do next and which rides we should get passes for. If anything was 30 minutes or less, we went for it. If it was longer we would either get a Fast Pass or go to that one later on. I totally recommend having something similar on your phone if you go!
Once we did our second ride and grabbed our Fast Passes we took a break for breakfast at the Cozy Cone Motel. I think another tip for having a successful trip, especially with little ones is to eat at "off times" I brought a box of granola bars with us and packed them in our bag each morning. We would snack on those while waiting to get into the parks in the morning and were able to do the bigger more popular activities when everyone was eating breakfast. Then, once the park started to get more crowded we would take a break and eat. Then it wasn't hard to order food or find a table since most of the breakfast rush had already passed. Having a late heavy breakfast set us up for having a snack in the afternoon and then an early dinner- again, when there wasn't much of a wait time for ordering or finding a table. For us, it worked perfectly!
 Cozy Cone Motel was the cutest little spot and each cone had a different snack or meal. We tried both of their breakfast cones:  Chorizo & Eggs Cone- Scrambled Eggs, Chorizo, Tomatillo Sauce and Pico de Gallo served in a Bread Cone and the Southwest Scramble Cone- Scrambled Eggs, Bell Peppers, Onions, Roasted Corn, Black Beans, Cheddar Cheese and Avocado Corn Salsa served in a Bread Cone. The Chorizo Cone was so much better than the Southwest Scramble one! They were both delicious, but the chorizo one was by far my favorite! My kids are already asking me if I can make them at home and I can't wait to try!
It was such a gorgeous day and we had a ton of fun meeting characters, riding different rides and seeing the shows that were offered. All was great, merry and magical until we got on that damn Ferris Wheel. It looks all innocent from far away and then you get on it and realize the entire cart slides on rails and when you are actually sliding on said rails into the middle of the giant wheel you feel like you are an inch from death. I'm not kidding, it terrified me and my kids were begging to get off of this thing. There is also a stash of barf bags provided for you on each door. How convenient.
After that traumatic experience, my kids and husband decided to try out Tower of Terror (which did not scare them as much as that wheel of death if that tells you anything) and I found a better way to spend my time by people watching with some bubbly. Let me tell you, after sitting and just watching the people walking by for about 30 minutes or so, I was shocked at the amount of mullets I saw. Why is this still happening?!
 We filled the rest of the day with:
 meeting Olaf- the kids were so excited but the line was WAY long, Goofy's Sky School Ride- the kids did this one 6 times in a row, Grizzly River Run- this is like a white water rapids "ride" where you will get soaked, Toy Story Mania- this one is also in Disney World and my kids love it!
Ariel's Undersea Adventure, Bug's Land, The Carousel and walking the Boardwalk
After all that I was starving and was really glad we had early dinner reservations at Ariel's Grotto at 4:30. It was right when the sun was setting and it was really beautiful to look over the water at the death wheel over dinner.
 When you walk in you are met with these gorgeous views before you walk down a long winding staircase to meet Ariel, take pictures and then are seated at your table
We were given this pretty bread right when we sat down
And I got this fun drink! It was so delicious and my kids were amazed by the light ice cube, so naturally, I ordered another so each kids could have a light. The things we do for our kids...
I will be re-creating this drink at home for sure!
"Magical Star Cocktail- X-Fusion Organic Mango and Passion Fruit Liqueur, Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, Pineapple Juice, and a souvenir Multicolored Glow Cube"
Our starters were Veggies and Ranch for the kids and Crab Soup for us, which I could have sworn was the exact soup we had the night before. It was delicious, but I didn't notice any crab in it
For entrees Louis had the Red Oak-Smoked Honey-Whiskey Barbecue Tri-Tip with Mashed Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables and I had the Fire-Roasted Corn Cakes with Sautéed Spinach, Onions, and Shiitake Mushrooms with spicy Bean Salsa and Chili Oil Drizzle. Mine was SO good and it was a huge portion so I wasn't able to finish it all even though I tried! Louis said this was better than the dinner the night before, but still not amazing. I really think Ariel's Grotto was worth it, especially if you have a small princess in your family!
Marshall chose Ursula's Octo-Dog- served atop Macaroni & Cheese with fresh Fruit and Vegetables and Brianna had Angel Hair Pasta a la Dinglehopper served with fresh Fruit and Vegetables
All through dinner you are visited by all the princesses there that evening.
Again, Brianna was in heaven!
For dessert the kids and adults got their own trios
 I think the s'mores bar was the best with the mini crème brulee was a close second
Then the waiter brought the kids a cupcake for being so well behaved at dinner
Another sweet end to a fantastic day!


  1. Just catching up on your trip to Disney - looks like everyone had a great time! I am not the biggest fans of Ferris Wheel's either, yet I don't mind roller coasters - go figure! Happy New Year Lauren!

    1. It was absolutely perfect Biz!! I had to laugh at how many fast/scary rides didn't make my kids blink but the stupid ferris wheel made everyone queasy!


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