Oct 30, 2014

DisneyMania - Final Thoughts & Some more Photos

If you haven't figured out yet, we had a great time during our visit to Disneyland this year. It was just as much fun seeing it through Sydney's eyes for the first time as it was when we watched London experience it almost 3 years ago. And it was fun watching London experience it again, in her mind, for the first time, since now she is at an age where she could comprehend it was something special. 

Like our trip 3 years ago, we stayed at Paradise Pier, with their TV room near the lobby being my saving grace - my mom was able to sit in there with the girls while I loaded up the car (three trips total between the car garage and our 6th floor room) since Cameron had left the night before for his Canada hunting trip. 

Sadly, we likely won't stay there again. We love it but for the price, and when we will need to be buying 4 tickets for our family, it just won't be worth it, when there are so many other hotels at much cheaper rates within walking distance. We did it this time so that Sydney knows she got the same treatment as London did for her first visit. And we got the same perks, which included a Free Lanyard and pin for each of us "paying" guests (Cameron, London and Myself) which meant we were able to start Sydney's pin-trading lanyard. We also scored a Free Nightmare Before Christmas Oogie Boogie Vinylmation figure. It fits in perfectly in Cameron's office. 

The girls & I with Minnie - can you tell Sydney is hiding?
The one thing we did terribly was the planning of our days in the parks. We always start in Disneyland - honestly we could probably spend 2 days in Disneyland and only one in California Adventure. And planned right, we wouldn't even need park hopper passes but just purchase individual tickets to each park. But we knew we would be park hopping, at least on our last day there, due to the Bibbiti Bobbiti Boutique in Disneyland, the lunch at Ariel's Grotto in California Adventure and then the Castle picture back in Disneyland later. 

Sydney enjoying lunch at Ariel's Grotto

But with our staying at Paradise Pier, we also got Extra Magic hours in the park. Problem is, the first day we were there, that morning was for California Adventure. We always start in Disneyland. And we didn't make it to the Extra Magic hour any how. The first day we didn't even park hop. 

On a side note,  one of the things that I think makes Disney so amazing, is the way Cast Members go out of their way for you. We were in line for Dumbo The Flying Elephant and found out we would be the last in line for the next group to get on. We mentioned to the Cast member that told us that that we hoped we would be able to get to Elephants next to each other. The reason being is that my parent's have a photo of my mom and I riding Dumbo when I first went to Disneyland in 1985. Without knowing that at the time, Cameron took a picture of London and I together on the ride during her first visit. We only recently saw the picture of my mom and I in 1985, just before our trip, and of course then we knew that we needed a photo of Sydney and I during her 1st visit. We explained this to the Cast Member. When it came time to board, he came over to us, and let us through a different gate first, and told us we could take the two elephants nearest to us to get that picture and to ride. So we got to board first. 

Sydney & I on Dumbo! She loved it.

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But the second day we did, as we did make it to the Extra Magic hour in Disneyland, but then headed over to California Adventure to grab fast passes to Cars Racers and take London on The Twilight Tower of Terror. Not too bad, just one park hop. 

Sydney crashed hard during her nap on the 1st day

Friday was the worst by far, as we did make it to the Extra Magic hour in California Adventure that morning. So we went from California Adventure to Disneyland, back to California Adventure and then back again to Disneyland before the day was through. It was all a little nuts by the end.
Cameron couldn't resist and thoroughly enjoyed a Giant Turkey Leg!

That Extra Magic hour in California Adventure was worth it though. Cameron and I were able to go on California Screamin' a total of 5 times between the 2 of us. Cameron didn't even disembark after his first ride - he just went right on through as no one was waiting to get on outside of 2 people at the front. The previous two people in the front just had to move farther back on the ride! While he was doing that, the girls and I went on King Triton's Carousel, two times in a row without disembarking! And we walked right on to Toy Story Mania after all that. We were only able to sneak in two rides during our Extra Magic hour at Disneyland the day before - Peter Pan's Flight and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (20 minute waits on average for those two rides at that time. It also didn't help that Peter Pan's Flight broke down and had to be restarted, checked and tested for an addition 20 minutes! We were 3 groups of people away from getting on so we could go no where if we had tried.)

We spotted Mater moseying through Cars Land in California Adventure our 2nd morning while we ate breakfast at Flo's Cafe
We were quite impressed with Cars Land in California Adventure. My dad could have stayed there all day he said. Between the music and atmosphere it was like the days of his youth. Last time we came to Disneyland, Cars Land was still being built. They did a fantastic job at recreating the main drag of Radiator Springs and the few off shoot roads - Cameron even noticed that the cracks in the off-shoot roads were there on purpose. Disney is so good at detail. And Cars Racers is a new family favorite. After our Extra Magic hour in Disneyland on the 2nd day, we actually headed over to Flo's V8 cafe for breakfast. It was a great spot to sit and relax, enjoy some good food and people watch. That's when we spotted Mater and Lightning McQueen for the first time. 

Overall, London's favorite rides were in Disneyland: Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Tours. In California Adventure they were: Cars Racers and The Little Mermaid. London did not care for Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy or The Twilight Tower of Terror. We think if was because they were so dark at all times. She was also quite bummed that she couldn't go on California Screamin' and can't wait until she is tall enough so that she can go on it. She also just missed out on going on Indiana Jones. I go back and forth on whether should would have liked it or not. 

Sydney's favorite rides in Disneyland were: The Disneyland Railroad, Buzz Lightyear's Astroblasters, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and probably Finding Nemo's Submarine voyage. In California Adventure: Flik's Flyers, Francis's Ladybug Boogie and The Little Mermaid.

A room-service picnic dinner with grandma on our last night - see the hair is still up and perfect, even after swimming!
Stay tuned for my final post tomorrow about our Disneyland trip tomorrow.

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