March 15th, 2022
The Alarm sounded around 5:30 as we awoke to prepare for a BIG day in the parks. Our aim was to try out the New Genie+ Service and try and pack as much into the day as possible. This is not always the best plan and we don’t necessarily advise doing Disney this way, but we had a lot of catching up to do and we really wanted to see if the Genie+ Service was any good. If we could fit in 10+ rides on what was scheduled to be a very busy day we think that’s pretty good.
We have 2 Day Park Hopper tickets so anything we miss today er can snap up tomorrow. But there is one big question mark that even Individual Lightning Lanes and Genie + can’t fix if it’s really busy, Rise Of the Resistance! So to ensure we got this ticked off with minimal queuing, we hit the park SUPER early.
Park Opening was 8:00 am but we decided to be there before 7:00 am to ensure we were ready to dash to “Rise” as soon as the Rope dropped. So with the early start, we geared up and headed o the park, just as the sky was lightening! No time for breakfast so we just ate Pop Tarts in the Queue.
Arriving at the Security Checkpoint it seemed 7:00 was a bit late! The entire pen was backfilled right out of the park, but once the Checkpoints opened we moved through quickly and before long we were in the main plaza waiting in line for the entry gates to open. These started letting us through at around 7:30. But you were still cut off from any of the Ride Areas until the 8 am Rope Drop.
This gave us time to ready the weapons. You cannot buy Genie+ until you are inside the resort (literally we were trying while we were in the queue) but this early entry counts and we were able to buy the service and book our first attraction. As we were in planning on hitting Rise straight out the gates, we opted for a pretty decent 8:05-9:05 for Smuggles Run.
At 8 am sharp the ropes literally, drop and it’s a MAD dash to the ride. No-Running but a super powerwalk. There are three routes into Galaxy’s Edge and we opted for the right hook. We chose badly. We have done some analysis since and the left route through Frontierland is definitely the quickest. However, we did arrive at Galaxy’s edge FIRST and had the whole place to ourselves, for about 12 seconds!
As we headed through the outpost the other routes merged into ours as we neared the ride entrance. This was pretty insane there were people everywhere arriving from all angles and groups split up trying to re-join each other. The honest ones waiting, letting people past until their group caught up, the dishonest ones pushing through the queue trying to get to their group. It’s easy to lose your cool with these queue jumpers but we are supposed to be having fun so focus on the themeing!
NOTE: We have full reviews of all the Disneyland Rides, and videos of most, so we will not pass our judgment here. This is just a run down of how we executed our day. Click the links to the reviews if you want to know more about the rides.
Ride – 1: Rise Of The Resistance
Getting to Rise Of The Resistance at this time meant we almost bypassed any queue whatsoever. We stood for about 10 mins in the queue and were through the rather long and lengthy experience by 8:40 am. We checked afterward and for most of the day Individual Lightning lanes were available, for $20, but queue times never really dipped below 120mins! So the early start had worked.
Ride – 2: Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run – Genie+ 8:05-9:05
Having Smugglers Run on the Genie+ worked great too as we could head straight there and jump straight onto the other Star Wars attraction. Bothe AAA Starwars attractions ticked off and the park had not been open an hour!
While in the Queue directly after scanning the Pass, we booked our next Genie+. Available times had moved on quite a bit, and there was nothing for the next hour so we bagged Space Mountian for 10:05
Ride – 3: Jungle Cruise
While waiting for the next Genie+ return time we used the app to see what was nearby and had low queue times. One of our favorite rides was only showing 20mins so we headed over to Jungle Cruise. The Queue time pretty much matched the advertised time and we were off on our Jungle Adventure.
It was still only 9:45 when we got off so needed to kill some time, and as we were right next door to the Enchanted Tiki Room, it was the perfect chance to grab some DoleWhip ($5.99) from the Tiki Juice Bar via the Disneyland App.
Ride – 4: Space Mountian – Genie+10:05-11:05
Next up was Space Mountain, the Genie+ queue was really short and we were on the ride in no time. While queueing we saw Buzz Light Year was available for instant Return, and as it’s right next door we couldn’t miss that!
Ride – 5: Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters – Genie+10:10 – 11:10
After saving the universe, the next Genie+ we wanted was quite a way off, so we decided to take some downtime. The weather was glorious. The sun was blazing down but it was still March and not too warm. So we headed to the Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Ride – 6: Sleeping Beauty Castle
We took the chance to visit the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-Through, which is really quite quaint, but we were having a real hard time with the lighting! It was really dark in there and with our eyes firmly accustomed to bright sunshine, we could barely see!
After this, we just took some time to enjoy the castle and get some shots and some selfies of the Icon of the Park. We then wandered over to Frontierland.
Ride – 7: Big Thunder Mountain Railway – Genie+ 11:40-12:40
Before heading to Big Thunder we did a bit of shootin’ on the rifle range and then headed over to the mines. Again we had next to no wait in the Genie+ Lighting lane. In the queue, we secured our next choice for just after our Lightsaber Build.
Ride – 8: Savi’s Workshop 12:05
The next stop was back at Galaxy’s Edge and Savi’s Workshop for our Lightsaber Build appointment. This was pre-booked and fitted into our day really well.
The Lightsaber build has one big drawback, what the heck do you do with the large unwieldy item for the rest of the day! Fprtauely Disney has thought of this and the Saber comes in a free carry case. You can also check it in at the Droid Depot and they will look after it until you are ready to leave.
Ride – 9: It’s A Small World – Genie+ 1205- 01:05
The last ride of our morning shift was It’s a Small World and we hit this around 12:30. We wanted to hit 10 rides for the day, including all the top rides, and we had managed 9 in just one morning. Pretty amazing seeing as we had done quite a bit of non-ride action as well! As we headed down towards Main Street a Disney Parade was just kicking off so we timed this perfectly and got to see a load of Characters!
It was now getting pretty hot and we had been all go, all morning, so it was time for lunch. We headed over to Cafe Orleans and grabbed a table on the Terrace, at the french market restaurant. Some great Gumbo to start was followed by Deep-Fried Monte Cristo and a Roast Chicken Entries. The Sandwich was epic but the chicken was a little flaccid.
We were now eligible for Park hopping and a flock of people seemed to be heading over from Disneys California Adventure and we decided we would do the opposite and head over to the other park. However, we ran into Anna and Elsa on the way who were doing a socially distanced Character Meet! We already had our next Genie+ booked so needed to hop across to go Soarin!
Disney California Adventure
There was still plenty of time until our next ride and we had also reached the 2-hour window on Genie+ So could book another Attraction and stack it up with the one we already had. Guardians of the Galaxy came up so we had 3 lighting lanes all booked and ready to go.
We spent a bit of time just exploring the park and checking out the new Avengers Campus. It’s pretty small but there are a lot of character appearances, there is someone around nearly all the time in the Campus.
Ride – 11: Radiator Springs Racers – 3:15 – 4:15 – Individual Lightning Lane $12.00
This was our first time using the controversial Individual Lighting lanes. Radiator Springs was showing 85+ mins and we just didn’t have the will to wait for that. So we ponied up the money and skipped the queue. To be completely honest, the Lightning lane was pretty sucky! It took a good 15 mins to get through which is not what we expect having paid extra. The Genie+ Lanes were all fantastic and got you straight on, but not so when coughing up $12 Each!
We are really not fans of these additional Lightning Lanes, they just feel like a shameless cash grab. Genie+ Seemed to be working really well (We are not hearing such positive things over in Orlando) but these additions just seem cynical!
Radiator Springs is a great family ride and most people want to ride it. So you are faced with the terrible choice of paying extra or horrific long waits… or the Single Rider Queue, but that often doesn’t suit families. The more we think about it the harsher this is on Families! Me and Kate are adults and can make that informed choice, but for a family of five it’s a big ask to pay up and an even bigger one to queue, and they probably do not have the option like us to just skip a ride if had to!
Ride – 10: Soarin’ over California – Genie+ 3:55 – 4:55
We then headed over to Soarin’. We love Soarin’ not everyone gets it but we think it’s such a clever ride and a great experience. We were super lucky that for a limited time Disney was running the “over California” edition of Soarin’. This was the original film and features just California, which feels really special in Disney California Adventure. When Soarin’ opened in Epcot Florida, they “upgraded” both rides to Soarin’ Around The World.
This makes sense in Florida but here in Cali we just love the old film. From Time to Time Disney bring it back, and well this is one of those times. We have not seen this version for years!
Ride – 12: Guardians Of The Galaxy Mission Breakout – Genie+ 4:55 – 5:55
Next up was Guardians Of The Galaxy. We have a love-hate relationship with this ride. On the one hand, it’s just not as good as the old Tower Of Terror or at least not as Scary, but on the other hand, we love the Guardians films, and, god this ride is fun!
It still is are really incredible ride and a really intense thrill, it lacks that spine-tingling terror of the old lift drop, but it’s still a good buzz as you float weightlessly at the top or plummet to your doom, held in only by the lap belt!
It was now 12 hours since we woke up and we had been on the go All-Day. We were seriously shattered. so we called it a day and headed back to the Hotel. But only for some rest and recuperation. We needed to take the weight off the feet, freshen up, and you know maybe have a few Liquid Libations to get us fired up for the next round!
Back in Disneyland Park and everything had changed to darkness we had managed to get Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones, and Star Tours Stacked up on our Genie+ so endeavored to tick these off through the night.
Ride – 13: Haunted Mansion Genie+ 8-9pm
Starting with Haunted Mansion. This feels particularly spooky during the nighttime and gave us a great spooky thrill as we visited the ghost and ghouls of Disney’s past.
After the Mansion, we headed to the main Plaza as the Nighttime Entertainment was about to Start. Fireworks were reserved for weekends still but we still got the Mickey’s Mix Magic with Projections which was quite fun but not exactly the fireworks we are used to.
Ride – 14: Indiana Jones – Genie+ 9-10pm
We now had two rides lined up on the Genie+ and headed to Indiana Jones first, another great ride and a lot of fun. The themeing is even better at night as the creepy forest and temple are even eerier in the darkness.
After this, we were pretty hungry and hunted out the Bengal Barbeque, which was pretty easy as the smell is phenomenal. We ordered through the app and got some delicious Barbequed meats and a Tiger Tail.
Ride – 15: Star Tours – Genie+ 9:10-10:10 pm
We thought this would be the last ride of the day but there was a final treat for us in the end. Star Tours was a great choice as once off the ride we headed straight back to Galaxy’s edge. Partially to get a look at the Black Spire Outpost in the dark and partially to pick up our Light Saber!
The outpost is even cooler at night with the glowing mountains, weird alien structures, and no end of lightsabers shining in the darkness. It was also far far quieter and the queues have quietened down but were still 60+ for Rise and 45+ for Smugglers.
After spending some time exploring and enjoying the area we called it a day. We were pretty much dead on our feet and had a thudding dull ache in each of our feet, the type of pain only a day at Disney can create.
Ride -16: Dumbo
On the way out of the park, we walked past our favorite Disney Ride, Dumbo! Despite the pain in our feet, the crippling fatigue, and the huge desire to just go to bed, we just couldn’t resist. The queue was really short, about as short as Dumbo gets and we were on the ride within 2 ride cycles!
This was the perfect end to the day and took our total to 16 rides in a single day! Pretty impressive really, there were a few big names missing from the list, but that was what tomorrow was for. We actually had been so successful we planned on not buying Genie+ Tomorrow and just waiting for the rides we wanted.
We also decided we would skip Rope-Drop too and hit the park at a more reasonable hour.
Walking Total – 32,117 Steps – 16.2 Miles
an absolutely huge day on our feet, 16+Miles spent hiking around the park. And while this is bad it doesn’t show the whole picture a so much time is spent standing in queues which is probably worse for foot pain the walking!