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Unread 25 Jan 20, 10:00 PM  
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Stewboy
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Wonder on the West Coast: Day 3 - Disneyland, California Adventure, and Disneyland again

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Wednesday 23rd October 2019

Another day of excitement lay ahead of us, and to make the most of it we were up early and raring to go. After the usual early morning coffee at about 6:15am, Jo and I got ready, woke Isabella and by 7:30am were downstairs taking advantage of the breakfast buffet.

Isabella opted for porridge again; Jo and I went for a selection of pastries, chicken enchiladas, sausages, and pancakes with banana - all thoroughly enjoyable. We finished up, made a quick stop back at the room, and then took a short walk to the Toy Story parking lot.






Breakfast

By 8:10am we were on a bus, and by 8:20am we were making our way into Disneyland for our second day of fun - and today we wanted to ensure we hit the attractions we missed yesterday. First on the list - oh yes, there was a list - was Pirates of the Caribbean. Being early, we were fortunate to walk straight on. The loading area is reached quickly and the ride begins very differently to the Magic Kingdom version; starting as it does in an open Louisiana Bayou before gently floating past houseboats accompanied by the gentle strumming of a banjo - no long dark and winding walk to the boats here.


Sun rising over an empty Toy Story parking lot




Main Street traffic


Jo likes a list


First stop: Adventureland...


...for Pirates of the Caribbean

The majority of the ride is similar to Magic Kingdom, but overall I think enjoyed this version more.

We left Captain Jack Sparrow and headed to Fantasyland hoping to ride Storybook Land Canal Boats before the queue got too long like it did yesterday. This is a really cute ride - complete with an inboat narrator - that begins with the boat travelling through Monstros mouth into a canal that weaves through a miniature landscape featuring numerous Disney animation settings including The Three Little Pigs, Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, Cinderella, Snow White and many more.




















Storybook Land Canal Boats

Next up was a trip to Toad Hall to ride Mr. Toads Wild Ride. Jo and Isabella watched The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad before we came on holiday, but Ive never seen it, nor have I read the book so I didnt really know what was going on and found it slightly surreal. However, that didnt stop me from enjoying it and I can see why its sorely missed at the Magic Kingdom.








Mr. Toads Wild Ride

The fun continued with a ride on the Mad Tea Party teacups - now theres a sentence I never thought Id write! Having refused to ride the Magic Kingdom version of this ride since the one time I rode it and hated it, I decided to give it a try here. Isabella likes a lot of spinning, so I was only going to go if I could go in my own cup, and I must say it was actually a lot of fun - I even spun the cup a few times slowly of course.






Tea cups!

We were ticking lots of rides off of the list, and our next ride was Alice in Wonderland - literally next door to the tea cups. Its another fun ride that goes up and outside, affording some nice views of this corner of Fantasyland.

As we waited to board, the Mad Hatter made an appearance, stopping for photos and autographs on his way to his meeting place; we saw a lot more characters out and about in Disneyland than we generally do in Magic Kingdom.


Mad Hatter


Fantasyland view from Alice in Wonderland

After the ride we made a quick restroom break in the Alice in Wonderland themed restrooms. Now usually I wouldnt draw attention to this, but like the Rapunzel restrooms in the Magic Kingdom, these restrooms have some really nice theming, including playing card cubicle doors. Apparently they are usually quite popular too so we were lucky to get to visit them when they were quiet.










Alice in Wonderland theming

We left the charm of Fantasyland behind and made our way over to Tomorrowland for our first FastPass of the day. This was to be a return to a galaxy far, far away with a second ride on Hyperspace Mountain - we might not ever get to do this overlay again so riding again was a must-do.



Once again we all thoroughly enjoyed this ride, and even without the overlay Id definitely want to do this ride again. As we exited, Isabella did a pin trade with a cast member and then we headed out of Tomorrowland and made our way back to Main Street.


New pin
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Edited at 10:07 PM.
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Unread 25 Jan 20, 10:02 PM  
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Stewboy
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Now it was time to head into California Adventure where Jo had booked our next FastPass - Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout! What can I say about this ride? We absolutely loved it. The waiting areas are full of loads of items from the Guardians of the Galaxy, the wider MCU, and Disney parks. The pre-ride show is fun, and the ride itself is excellent. Despite being the same ride system as Tower of Terror, its a much better ride in my opinion - believe it or not, Im not actually a fan of Tower of Terror... there, I said it!






California Adventure








Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout = excellent!

After Guardians of the Galaxy we found a place in Hollywood Land to have sit down, while Isabella had some mini cheddars and some water.

Once we were rested, we had a look around at the Marvel themed posters and meeting areas, hoping that we might get a chance to meet some Marvel characters. The only one out and about was Captain America but he received an urgent call from Nick Fury and had to dash off before we could join the queue.








Hollywood Land


Hollywood Land selfie


Captain America meeting queue


Captain America on the phone to Nick Fury

Paradise Gardens Park was our next destination. To get there, we took a walk through Pacific Wharf, which looked like it might be a cool area to get drinks and food. We had a quick look at some of the menus and earmarked a couple of places that might be worth a visit tomorrow night during the Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party if were in need of something substantial.

Lunch was booked at the Lamplight Lounge in about half an hour, so there was some time to kill on some of the Paradise Gardens Park rides. First we rode the Golden Zephyr, this was a fun little attraction that felt like an old fashioned amusement park ride. Next was Silly Symphony Swings - another fun ride that could belong in old fashioned amusement park.


Paradise Gardens Park


View from the Golden Zephyr

Now it was time for our lunch at Lamplight Lounge. After checking in there was a short wait before we were seated outside with amazing views over Paradise Bay to Pixar Pier and Paradise Gardens Park.

The theming inside this restaurant is fantastic, I tried to get as many photos as I could but some of the best stuff is above and behind guests tables and I didnt think it was right to intrude on their lunch for the sake of a trip report!
















Lamplight Lounge














Menu details

For our food we ordered the following:

Jo had the Chicken Sandwich: crispy Chicken Breast with Spicy Chili Sauce, Vinegar Slaw, Pineapple Butter, Pickles, and Toasted Amish Bun served with Malted Fries.



I had the Cheddar Burger: grilled custom Burger blend with Cheddar, Roasted Plum Tomato, Red Onion, Avocado Ranch Spread, and Toasted Amish Bun served with Malted Fries.



Isabella had the Pasta: Corkscrew Pasta with creamy Cheese Sauce and Cheddar Fish served with a flower pot of Veggies with Hummus and fresh Fruit.



For drinks Jo and I ordered mocktails. She went for the Mint to Be - limeade, watermelon and berry pure and fresh mint topped with soda water; I had a Falling with Style - lemonade with Mango Pure.




Cheers


View

As I mentioned the setting is amazing but unfortunately the same can not be said for the food. The burger wasnt cheap; for $22 you expect it to at least remain intact, instead it was so overly juicy the bottom bun disintegrated and made it really messy to eat. Jos sandwich - almost the same price at $21 - was very sweet and she did not like the fries.

After a hugely disappointing meal we decided we probably wouldnt bother with this place again, although I am glad we got a chance to see it.




Leaving Pixar Pier
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Unread 25 Jan 20, 10:03 PM  
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Stewboy
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We now headed back to Hollywood Land to do some drawing at The Animation Academy. We used to love the Animation Academy at Hollywood Studios and were excited to get the opportunity to experience it here at California Adventure.

The Animation Academy is one of the attractions inside the Disney Animation building and the next animation class was in about 15 minutes. To keep us occupied while we waited we watched the screens around the central Animation Courtyard area featuring original artwork, scenery, and character concept art from various Disney and Pixar animated films.






Animation Courtyard

When it was time for our animation class we made our way inside and found some seats in preparation for drawing Mr Oogie Boogie. We were really excited to get to draw him especially as tomorrow we would be going to the Oogie Boogie Bash.

The Disney Artist that took the class was really good and the class was a lot of fun. We were all proud of our drawings and have added them to our Disney drawings collection.


Animation Academy


Mine


Isabella's


Jo's

As we left Disney Animation, Isabella spotted a pressed penny machine and got herself another pressed penny.

Back outside in the park Jo and I decided it was time we treated ourselves to a Starbucks and, as it was so hot today, we opted for an Iced Caramel Macchiato - it was delicious; somehow they just taste better at Disney.


Iced Caramel Macchiato

Wed done all we wanted to do in California Adventure for today, so back we went to Disneyland where we decided wed ride the Disneyland Railroad. The last couple of visits to the Magic Kingdom weve tried - with no luck - to ride their version, so we were very pleased to be able to ride the original railroad.


Excited!


Back to Disneyland


Like father, like daughter

Judging by how busy all the other stations were, wed been very lucky to get on virtually straight away at Main Street. It was a nice and relaxing ride, and we stayed on all the way round and back to Main Street - a nice way to see the park.


Busy!












Train views


Back to the beginning




It's Halloween remember?!

After alighting the train our next stop was the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour. Jo did mobile ordering to try and beat the queue; Isabella and I both ordered cookies and cream ice cream cones, Jo got mint choc chip ice cream in a cup.

The ice cream was delicious and a much needed treat! Our next FastPass was for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Just like Pirates of the Caribbean, its very similar to the Magic Kingdom version but has some differences which enhance the ride experience and make it better in my opinion.




Time for ice cream


Wildest Ride in the Wilderness

Following on from the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness it was finally time for us to head over to Galaxys Edge. Obviously we were all excited to see this, and were hoping to ride Smugglers Run too, depending on the queues - there are no FastPasses available.

First impressions entering Batuu and seeing the Millennium Falcon for the first time is pretty impressive and exciting. However, as we started to explore I couldnt help but find it slightly reminiscent of Pandora at Animal Kingdom. Also, Batuu isnt a location recognisable in Star Wars, which means that for me the wow factor isnt there despite the presence of the Falcon.

We stopped into a shop for a quick browse and Isabella bought herself an R2-D2 hair band, then we continued exploring. Another thing that becomes quite apparent is the lack of atmosphere, maybe it just bad timing but there was no Chewbacca, no Kylo Ren, not even a stormtrooper - so far not so good.


R2-D2 hair band


"R2-D2, it is you! It is you!"


Droids

Jo had managed to get a Ogas Cantina reservation for about 4pm, so we made our way there and joined the queue about 15 minutes early.

As we waited we finally met our first character - a couple of stormtroopers who made a beeline for Isabella, obviously knowing that shed previously been a rebel spy! This interaction was quite fun, but also brief, and not anything that we havent experienced during previous visits to Hollywood Studios and the Star Wars Launch Bay.





After a wait of about half an hour, we were let inside and allocated a standing spot at the bar. This meant there was nowhere for Isabella to sit - there wasnt much point in her standing at the bar as she couldnt see. Wed heard that the cantina didnt really cater for children which I find a really strange decision.

The cantina itself feels small and there arent enough tables. I also found the atmosphere severely lacking; whos idea was it to have Rex from Star Tours as a DJ? Its like a rip off of Cosmic Rays!




Overpriced, underwhelming

We ordered a couple of mediocre non-alcoholic cocktails, drank them as quickly as possible, and then left. We were only inside for about ten minutes and left sorely unimpressed. Another venue that I dont think wed bother with again, which is a huge shame. For me it feels like such a wasted opportunity. In fact the whole area feels wasted. I dont really understand why they didnt just make it a familiar location like Tattooine where there is at least a real cantina which us Star Wars fans can relate to. I know I wouldve loved visiting places, seeing characters, and hearing music that Id been experience on screen for the last 40 years! So Star Wars fans, unfortunately I suggested you lower your expectations!








Not having fun in Oga's Cantina

After that disappointment we hoped that we could get on Smugglers Run. There was a 40 minute queue time, which we decided was acceptable. The queuing area was ok, again it lacked any real interactions, even something on the scale of the Star Tours queuing area wouldve made it more enjoyable - another wasted opportunity.






"What a piece of junk!"

Once we were on the ride Jo and I got to be pilots and Isabella was a gunner. It was a really fun ride to do together - maybe not so fun if youre riding solo - pun intended. On reflection though, it wasnt anything special, certainly not on the same level as Flight of Passage, and not really any better than Star Tours. Seeing Hondo was fun for Star Wars Clone Wars & Rebels fans like Isabella and I, but probably confuses must people!


Hondo


Chillin' in the Falcon

We were going to come back and visit Baatu another time, maybe at night, but for now wed had enough for the day, and headed for home. Walking through Fantasyland we saw Belle and the Beast riding the carousel - which mustve been fun for anyone else that was on there!




Belle and the Beast riding the carousel!

We got the bus back to the Toy Story lot and made the short walk back to the hotel. The time was about 5:30pm so we were in time for the buffet!

After dropping off the bag in the room we headed downstairs, and like last night helped ourselves to a selection of food - pasta, salad, and bread tonight - and relaxed with a couple of drinks while discussing the days fun and tomorrows plans - Isabella read again!


Exhausted bus selfie


Sun setting over the Toy Story parking lot


Home


And relax


Another list




Dinner


Reading

At about 7pm we headed back to the room where Isabella had her bath and went straight to bed, while I wrote up my notes for the day, showered and then went to bed not long after - we were all exhausted after another fun-filled day.

Tomorrow its the Oogie Boogie Bash so well be having a relaxing morning before dressing up and heading out in the afternoon!

TFR
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Unread 25 Jan 20, 10:43 PM  
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Lovely day again, shame you weren't keen on Galaxy's edge
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Unread 26 Jan 20, 12:58 AM  
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Another busy, fun packed day. I didnt know about the story book canal boats, the area looks similar to DLP. Shame about Star Wars, Id read reports from WDW about Ogas Cantina being a bit of an overpriced nightmare. Think well give it a miss in August. Looking forward to day 4
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Unread 26 Jan 20, 10:03 AM  
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Mrs Red C
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Love Disneyland, lots of memories flooded back reading your report! Glad you enjoyed Toad's ride, one of my favourites there. 😁
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Unread 26 Jan 20, 10:12 AM  
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loving your report its bringing back lots of memories from ours last year.
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Unread 26 Jan 20, 11:07 AM  
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Fantastic day, Lamplight Lounge looks fab, such a shame about the food. A great read, thank you!
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