I know – what a title…right? We’ll get to that excitement, but first things first. All in good time people! We arrived at Disneyland on Sunday afternoon (how has it already been almost two weeks?!?) and checked into the Disneyland Hotel! We were in the Adventure Land Tower and y’all – the room was an absolute treat! The room was quite large, the bathroom was spacious and not only did the beds have pillows that said “A dream is a wish your heart makes…when you’re fast asleep…” but the mural of the castle over the bed had actual light up fireworks! WHAT?!? It was – AMAZING!
We passed Sunday evening exploring Downtown Disney – Pixar Fest is in full swing and it was quite evident before you even reached the parks themselves. The bakery had all manner of Pixar-themed candy apples, cake pops, cookies and cupcakes – we got our start on the Pixar Fest Food Checklist on Sunday night with the perfect start: a Luxo Ball cake pop! The topiary throughout Downtown Disney had been given the full Pixar treatment; we laughed and laughed at a toddler who pointed out the Buzz Lightyear and alien topiary with a perfect imitation of the alien’s “aaaahhhh”. We had dinner at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen before heading back to the room for bed!
And because I absolutely cannot resist sharing here – the headboard above the beds, already fantastical with it’s rendering of Sleeping Beauty Castle – played music and the fireworks lit up! Y’all – like I said – just magical.
Monday morning I woke before everyone else – excitement or the difference in time zones? Who even knows? Regardless – we headed for California Adventure for the start of our three days of park hopping and…well…adventure! Monday was the extra magic hour for California Adventure and so our plan of attack was to go straight for the Radiator Springs Racers Fast Passes, then head for Mission Breakout and Soarin! And our plan worked out perfectly!
I will tell you without shame – the first ride we went to was Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout – which used to be Tower of Terror. I don’t do heights and I don’t do drop rides but I most certainly walked through the ride to see as much as I could see before the riders boarded their gantrys (as Rocket called them). The attention to detail at Disney is always stunning and stepping into the Collector’s Fortress was like stepping into scenes from the movie – I will never not be blown away by the way Disney does things; it is always amazing.
My Mom and sister loved the ride and decided that they’d have to return to ride it again before our trip was done…meanwhile, I purchased an amazing Guardians of the Galaxy back pack while they got jerked around by a roden…er…a Rocket. Ha-ha! We rode a favorite of mine next – Soarin – and I realize the irony of one of my favorite rides being flight related…when I don’t really love flying. We grabbed churros for breakfast (it’s the breakfast of champions y’all) and headed for my absolute favorite part of California Adventure – Cars Land!
We discovered a ride that we somehow missed two years ago – Luigi’s Rollickin Roadsters – which was a delight! The little cars spun, danced and moved around the floor and it was fun and hilarious at the same time – my car even did a little solo! When we hopped off those little cars, we made our way through Radiator Springs to hop into different cars…to race! I honestly (again) cannot get over how much Cars Land is like stepping into the middle of the animated film and I absolutely love it! I’d like to know if I can rent a room in Radiator Springs, have my coffee at Flo’s each morning and just take it all in. I love…love…love all things Cars Land!
If I remember correctly – our car won the race, so there you go! We had reservations for lunch at Wine Country Trattoria but we also had something like two hours to kill before that, so we made the rounds and crammed in Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Jumpin Jellyfish, the Zephyr and Goofy’s Sky School..with some iced coffee and photo opportunities thrown in for good measure. Our lunch was absolutely divine, I had multiple cups of coffee, Italian Wedding soup, lasagna and some of the best tiramisu I’ve ever had in my life for lunch…and then…
You see – we noticed as we perused the show guide that there was something called Guardians of the Galaxy Dance Off and we decided we had to see what that was all about, so we quickly got to stepping back to the front of the Collector’s Fortress for the 1:30 performance. And well – y’all – this event is where I ended up dancing with Star Lord (sort of).
Star Lord and Gamora arrive on the scene and are being tracked by heat sensors – so of course, Star Lord’s solution is to dance to throw off the sensors. It was all going so well until he said he was going to select dancers from the audience and he came in my direction…pointing and saying “duck…duck…duck…goose” and pointing directly at me. He then grinned at me and said “you knew it was going to happen” and so I took the stage. Now listen – I am absolutely never interested in being the center of attention, but I did my best, I have no plans to share the video footage and I can now say that I have danced with Star Lord. And yea – we definitely met him after it was all said and done – you pull me up on stage, you’re going to take a picture with me!
Inspired by my dance break with Star Lord and Gamora, we decided that we’d spend the next couple hours meeting as many superheros (and villains) as we possibly could – we stood in line to meet Captain America, snapped a shot of Thor from afar and chased down (I’m not even kidding) Loki to grab a picture. Loki informed me that I was “very forward” – a sentiment that has never been uttered to me in my life – but I loved every minute of it. Meeting Loki (even if it wasn’t Tom Hiddleston) was a highlight of the day for me and we capped off our superhero binge by catching a sneak peek at the first ten minutes of The Incredibles 2.
We passed our afternoon watching Frozen: Live at the Hyperion, playing Toy Story Midway Mania, getting lemon ice cream from Adorable Snowman and posing with Walt Disney – before heading back to Cars Land to race around Radiator Springs another time! Also, I have no clue why I look so startled in the picture pre-race…when it comes to me and photos taken on rides, I just cannot manage to not look like a complete loon.
Another dream came true on Monday – because when the time for dinner rolled around, we went to the Cozy Cone in Cars Land and I got the Chili con Queso cone from cone #3 and we even ate our cone-related foods under a cone shaped umbrella. The Cozy Cone is hands down my favorite part of my very favorite land – and once we finished eating, we found a spot on one of the benches lining the street through the center of Radiator Springs and waited for the neon lights to pop on – another favorite for me y’all.
The weather was so strange for the entirety of our time at Disneyland – so Monday night after watching the lights pop on throughout Radiator Springs, we went to the Ghiradelli Soda Fountain and got HOT chocolate (I got coffee) to sip as we grabbed our spots on the parade route. Seriously – I was actually quite chilly at one point, thank goodness for my white mocha and windbreaker! The Paint the Nite parade seems to be a twist on the old Main Street Electric Parade and was just a delight – but then again, when is anything done by Disney not a delight?
And thus – with the tail end of the parade, our first day at Disneyland came to a close. It was crazy nice to be able to head out of California Adventure and make a quick walk through Downtown Disney and toward the twinkling lights of the Adventure Tower of Disneyland Hotel.