Theresa's sister and her daughter are visiting from Michigan, and what's a visit to California without a trip to Disneyland? On Saturday, we all piled into the car to head to the Happiest Place on Earth.
Arriving at the parking garage, we were backed up all the way to the bottom of the ramp. This doesn't bode well for the busyness of the park today. It took over 15 minutes to get the car parked.
The tram was crowded as well, but for some reason, the very back car, just behind where the strollers line up is typically less crowded than the other lines. As the tram drove to the drop-off point, we were having fun with the cast member at the back. Apparently someone had taken his cheat sheet for the announcements.
Over the PA system: "Be sure to check out our new show, Mickey and the um.... Magic....
Um... Mickey and the Magic Lamp?"
Me: "You mean Mickey and the Magical Map?"Once we arrived, he thanked me for my help with the announcements, and suggested that maybe I should work there... Don't tempt me.
Over the PA: "Yes, be sure to check out Mickey and the Magical Map. Also go see Woody... um, and the Rodeo?"
Asking me: "Do you know what this one is called? Someone took my sheet with the names on it."
Me: "Uh, maybe Woody's Round-up behind at Big Thunder Ranch?"
Instead of using normal Disneyland tickets, Rita and Aubrey were going to try to use un-expired WDW tickets to get in the park. Previous guests of ours had just used this same method back in June, so we knew they should likely be able to do it. As soon as they showed the cast member at the turnstile the tickets, he said "Oh, no problem. We'll get you right in. Let me call someone over to exchange them." That was a pretty good sign. Rita and Aubrey waited to the side while me and T stood just inside.
While waiting, I overheard a father trying to get information from a cast member and sounding like he was getting exasperated. I heard him continually asking where the guest relations location was, and the cast member kept telling him it was back outside the park. Finally after asking and getting the same answer multiple times, he just started walking away. I asked what he was trying to do, and he said he needed a Guest Assistance Card for his autistic son, who I saw was following behind him. I directed him to the Guest Relations just behind Oswald's gas station near the entrance to DCA and he was thankful. If the cast member who was helping him had tried a little harder to figure out what he needed, maybe his day would have started out better. I'm feeling so helpful today!
Meanwhile, back at the gate, a cast member took one look at the tickets and told Rita they wouldn't work to get in the park. She didn't even take the tickets back anywhere to check them. Just a straight, nope, these won't work. We explained that other family members had done it not 2 months ago, but she was still adamant that it wasn't possible. Okay...
So you know what that means right? We head across the esplanade to Disneyland and see if someone over there knows what they're doing. While we're in line, we saw a few cast members plus Disney security show up. They weren't looking for us though. Instead, they point out a few other girls in the line beside us and say "Yep, they're the ones." Turns out, each girl was wearing a t-shirt with swear words on it. Security went to chat with them and informed them they won't be allowed in the parks with that attire. +1 for Disney security
We make it to the front gate and T and I entered while Rita and Aubrey waited off to the side. A cast member was called over and took their tickets to the back.
Looks like those girls didn't take the advice. Waiting at the front of their line were multiple cast members plus Disney security and once they got to the gate, they were pulled to the side, explained the policy again, and sent away. +1 more to Disney for actually enforcing the dress code policy.
Just a couple minutes later, the cast member who took Rita's tickets came back with a couple paper tickets. he explained they'd taken one day off their WDW passes, and here's the tickets they can use for the day here. Awesome! Who knows why it works with some cast members but not others. Obviously it can still be done in their system.
Having a 1 day park hopper in hand, we went back to the park we wanted to go to first anyway. California Adventure. Interesting rumor overheard along the way by some uninformed guests, "Didn't there used to be the word CALIFORNIA out front? Yeah, but Disney takes it down every other year then puts it back up. They can do that? Yeah, they can do whatever they want, they're Disney."
Happy to not be driving home right now.
Everyone else headed off to Cars Land while I grabbed fast passes for Soarin Over California then joined back up with them.
My 12 year old niece Aubrey has been saving money all summer and finally got enough to buy a DSLR and a couple lenses. I've taught her what I know about photography during her visit, and she's been enjoying it so much she decided to bring her camera to the parks today. She caught this candid shot of me walking through the crowd trying to find them as I made my way through Cars Land from Soarin. I actually ended up using a few of her photos in my trip report. I'm putting rounded corners on her photos so you'll be able to differentiate hers from mine.
Am I really dressed similarly to a cast member today? While hanging out in front Ramone's, a man walks up to me and asks where the nearest restroom is. Maybe I just look like I come here a lot. I directed him just up the street past Flo's and thought to myself that I'm being very helpful today. Time to order that cast member name badge!
A very happy place indeed!
Rita, Aubrey and I all jumped in line for Radiator Springs Racers while Theresa sat out. As soon as the baby boy comes in November, I suppose I'll be the one sitting out while Theresa gets to ride. Single rider is actually the only way I've ever experienced the line for this ride. The regular wait was 120 minutes. In the single rider line, we only waited 30 minutes and we were on. It's Aubrey and Rita's very first time on this ride!
Lookout! It's Minny and Van.
Mater shows us how to go tractor tipping.
And the tractors all looked to be working correctly!
Welcome to downtown Radiator Springs!
Who are we going to visit today? Looks like it's Ramone and Flo!
It's time to race!
Rita and Aub were in the car racing me. All my practice hasn't been paying off though. I lost to the newbies.
Rita said she has a new favorite ride now. Radiator Springs Racers!
We made our way back to find Theresa. Initially Aubrey was going to surprise her, but then decided it wouldn't be a good idea to scare the pregnant lady.
As we were leaving Cars Land, Lightning McQueen was making his way through the town too. How cool is that! Here's my photo of Lightning.
It's lunchtime! Always a favorite is the Hot Link corn dog from the Corn Dog Castle.
I know the Little Red Wagon on Main Street inside Disneyland has it's fans, but to me, the Hot Link is even better! Yet another picture to add to Kelly's Pointless Fun - A Photo Dare! thread.
It wasn't exactly eating around the world like in Epcot, but we still all ate what we wanted. Theresa had the Carne Asada from the Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill. She thought the meat was a little tough, but still had good flavor.
Rita and Aubrey both got food from the Pacific Wharf Cafe. I tried a bite of Aubrey's Loaded Baked Potato bread bowl and I think I have a new favorite. It's even better than the Broccoli Cheddar!
Carne Asada and Chicken Tamale - Marinated and Grilled Beef cooked to perfection served with a Chicken Tamale and warm flour tortillas.
Loaded Baked Potato Soup and Kid's Turkey Sandwich. I questioned why the turkey sandwich is served on a fish shaped bun.
And while we were eating, we enjoyed the live music of the Pacific Wharf Mariachi Band.
Next up, it was time to use our fast passes for Soarin!
And this is why I don't like sitting on anything but the top row.
At the exit, an enthusiastic cast member was handing out pins to anyone who was interested for the new Disney/Pixar movie Planes. Makes sense I guess to be handing them out here.
Coming August 9th! Is anyone really looking forward to watching this one?
With all we have available, what should we do next? Back to Cars Land!
We're spending a lot of time in Cars Land today! Next on the agenda was Tow Mater's Junkyard Jamboree! The parade was just about to pass by and the line here was only 2 minutes! We walked right up to the loading area!
Aubrey and I rode together. And yes, I did squish her quite a bit (maybe on purpose) whenever we shifted directions.
Look out at the petting zoo! The baby tractors bite!
Their first time on the Junkyard Jamboree. Always a good time.
Lightning McQueen making his way back into town.
Time to collect the third and final ride in Cars Land. Luigi's Flying Tires.
And after only a 20 minute wait, we were on board!
A rare photo of me! Great to have a 2nd photographer along!
Lean lean lean to make it turn! I actually found it easier to steer by riding by myself since I could feel where the tire bottoms out.
As we were leaving, Mater was making his way through Cadillac Range.
Ariel's Undersea Adventure was a walk-on, so we rode that next! Rita and Theresa rode together, while Aubrey and I took another clam shell together so we could practice our photography.
Actually, most of these photographs came from Aubrey!
The budding photographer at work.
We're going to visit Ursula!
A shot from Rita in the shell next to us. Photography is serious business!
Beautiful photographs Aubrey! And really good results for it being your first dark ride!
Tune in next time for part 2 as we finish our day at the park!