Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Virtual Disneyland Trip - Part 4 - DCA

Yesterday I mentioned that there were few reasons to start a day in Disney California Adventure. Well on the third day of this imaginary trip, we came up with a few reasons. Yes, we did want to catch an early show of Aladdin, if you call 12:40 pm early. And we did want to get on one of our favorite rides, Toy Story Mania, before the lines got too long. And this is would be a first chance to get on the new Little Mermaid ride. And we did want to get over and try out the new DCA Paradise Pier restaurants that opened up a couple of weeks ago. Yes there are reasons for starting a day in DCA. But in our 5+ day stay here, this will be the only day that opens with us being in DCA. It used to be a "half day park". Well at least now, it's pretty much a full day.

The morning is a bit different. Since DCA opens 2 hours later than Disneyland, I take my time and begin downloading some pictures off the camera and on to the laptop while Mrs. DisneylandTraveler gives several feeble attempts at waking up. Today, we'll make it over to the park together. We have the time. Again, breakfast consists of bagels, cream cheese, and bananas from the CCI free breakfast spread. Two days in a row, it works, but it will hard to go back for a 3rd tomorrow.

We catch the shuttle over to the parks at 9:30 ahead of the 10 a.m. opening time. DCA opening just doesn't have the festive magic as the Disneyland park opening countdown. But the new gates do look kind of spiffy even if the do have that Disney Hollywood Studios look about them. We don't need to stop for a World of Color fastpass because we have reservations for the Ariel's Grotto WOC dining package. We had done this before and it is a winner both with the dinner and the seating they provide for the show. So immediately we head for Toy Story Mania, a favorite of both me and Mrs. DLT. Something we both agree on? That doesn't happen very much.

We ride TSM and naturally, she wins again. I can get closer in TSM to her winning score than I can in Buzz but I will lose. I suck. Actually, I was born with a benign familial tremor - my hands shake. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Kind of like Barney Fife if you remember your TV history. After Toy Story Mania we head over for our first crack at the Little Mermaid. Its a nice ride, not great, but a welcome addition to the park. The wait time is short and it loads people fast. It's early but if we're going to make the first Aladdin show we better think about an early lunch at one of the new Paradise Pier counter service restaurants. On the way over to the dining facilities, we pass by the Golden Zephyr. I have never ridden this thing. It just never seemed important enough. Of course Mrs. DLT has ridden it (with my sister) but "it just messes with my head". End of Story. We pass by Goofy's Sky School. It looks kind of cute but its still Muholland Madness no matter what color it is. Its a carnival coaster.

We choose the ka-bobs at the Paradise Garden Grill, I chose the steak with Moroccan chili sauce while Mrs. DLT opts for the chicken with chimichurri. We are both pleasantly surprised with the food and the surroundings and say we'll be back and maybe soon. While were there, we watch the Silly Symphony Swings go round and round. Even I'll be so bold as to say that the ride will mess with my head. Never been on it. Never will. The Mickey on top should have been bigger. We head back on our long trip over the the Hyperion Theater and Aladdin. With any luck at all we'll get there about 20 minutes before the doors open minimizing the wait on a summer day that is getting warmer by the minute.

Aladdin was great. It always is. At a running time of 50 minutes it's a great way to get out of the heat for awhile. While we are over there we also take in Monsters Inc and Muppets 3D simply because there are no lines. We head over to Turtle Talk with Crush because we usually enjoy the show but it really depends on the audience more than the talking turtle. We also go over to check out the Toy Story Zoetrope simply because it amazes me every single time I see it. We stop off in my favorite gift shop in either park, Off The Page. It's just different from the rest and doesn't seem to be a collection of junk.


Before going over to It's A Bug's Life, we stop over by Grizzly River Run to grab a fastpass. After Bug's Life, we pass through A Bug's Land. I think its cute and serves a purpose even if there are no attractions for adults without kids. The Tower of Terror is standing right there but me and Mrs. DLT may have come to the conclusion that this is a ride for the younger thrill seeker. If I die of a heart attack, it won't be on the TOT. We start making our way towards Ariel's Grotto for a 5 p.m. dinner time. On the way over there is just enough time to stop by and check out Blue Sky Cellars.

The dinner is at Ariel's Grotto is really good with an appetizers, choice of entrees, and a dessert plate. I went for the ciopino while Mrs. DTL goes for the tri-tip with mashed potatoes. The food at Ariel's Grotto is much improved over what it was 5 years ago or so when it was extremely disappointing on a couple of visits. But with the WOC package tacked on, dinner for two will run close to a hundred bucks without alcohol which is available. We won't do this package on every trip but since it's imaginary - what the heck, let's go all out.

After dinner, we are getting close to our GRR fastpass window and head down towards the ride. It's a great night for it. Grizzly River Run is a great raft ride IN THE SUMMER. In mid November as the sun is setting, not so much. I've never been so wet or so cold. Get the shivers just thinking about. We store assorted cameras, purses, etc. in one of the available lockers. Do this! We hit the ride and I lose my hat in the process. This is hat #3 lost on GRR.

After GRR, we head back and wait and wait for the start of the World of Color. It takes about fifteen minutes before Mrs. DLT comes back with "why couldn't they put in seating". It's a long story and as a long day comes to a close, its just not worth getting into. We watch the spectacular but flawed WOC and drag ourselves back to the shuttle. This day ends the same way the rest of the days end, a beer or two, Advil, and blessed sleep.

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