October 19th, 2022
Early Start – Jetlag
Early morning start for Rope Drop at Disney California Adventure!
Helped by a little bit of jet lag but mainly fuelled by Disney- excitement we were out of the hotel and walking the familiar route to the main entrance by 7 am (but let’s be honest, 6 am Disney wake-ups are not the same as any other 6 am wake up- jet lag or no jet lag!)
Attraction 1 – Radiator Springs Racers
Stand by line
Once through security and Ticket gates, armed with my Cozy Cone Motel Loungefly bag, Radiator Springs Shirt, and Cars-Themed Mickey Ears, we stood waiting for Disney California Adventure to open by 7:40.
As time ticked on, we patiently waited for that all-important 8 am announcement and spent the time booking lighting lanes and Genie + for later that morning. Our plan was to save money by not booking an individual lighting lane on Radiator Springs Racers, and by literally racing to the ride at rope drop (carefully, with no running of course!)
Radiator Springs Racers is one of our favorite rides at Disney California Adventure along with many other Disney fans too so it was important to get in the queue as soon as possible. As soon as the rope dropped we were off and made it to radiator Springs in record time. After hardly any wait, we raced through Radiator Springs, only to be beaten by the other car on the track!
We then took our time wandering through Radiator Springs, taking photos, and enjoying being back in one of our favorite parts of Disney California Adventure. Radiator Springs was all decorated for Halloween but we would be back in the dark for the Oogie Boogie bash so didn’t hang around for long before we headed to our next ride.
Attraction 2 – Web Slingers
Leaving Radiator Springs, we walked towards the Avengers campus for our Web Slingers Genie+ booking. The last time we visited Disney California Adventure Web Slingers was only available on a Lightening lane, not a Genie+. Web Slingers is a universally popular ride for Marvel fans of all ages so we are glad that Disney has dropped the Lightening Lane and added it to the Genie+ list, as this is one less extra cost for Disney visitors.
By 8:58 we were on our 2nd ride of the day and ready to do some web-slinging! Those who follow our blogs may remember that I beat Steve on our last Web Slingers ride, all while struggling to see, so the competition stakes were high!
My previous high score must have been beginner’s luck or sympathy for painful eyes as this time Steve totally smashed the best score! Happy that the scores were more even, we moved on to Pacific Warf in search of breakfast.
Attraction 3 – Incredicoaster
We had been counting down the days until we were back at Disney eating Disney Snacks and just like on Christmas, anything for breakfast goes while at Disney! We were looking forward to trying the Chocolate Espresso Bread Pudding from the Pacific Warf cafe but when we got there, to our dismay (and hungry stomachs), the cafe was not open until 10 am! We completed our mobile orders for the Bread Pudding along with Pumpkin Cold Brews from the nearby Coffee Cart and Steve went off to use our Genie+ Booking for Incredicoaster while I did some Gift Shop browsing.
Attraction 4 – Little Mermaid
We had a genie+ booked for Soarin and on our way over, we noticed that the Little Mermaid only had a 5-minute wait time so jumped into the queue to enjoy some under-the-sea nostalgia. The ride technology for The Little Mermaid is very dated despite only opening in 2011 and gets a lot of negative reviews because of this. Honestly, we completely understand this viewpoint however, it is one of my favorite movies with one of the best Disney soundtracks so, for us, it is a must-ride!
Attraction 5 – Soarin’
With “Part of your World” in our heads we continued our walk to Soarin’. Despite having a Genie+, there was still quite a wait for this, possibly due to the amount of time it takes to board and depart the ride. However, it wasn’t long before we were on and Soarin’ around the world! We hadn’t been on this particular theme for a few years so we enjoyed our trip around the world one more time!
Pacific Wharf – Food Items
Finally, we got a notification that our Cold brews and Bread Pudding were ready so we headed back to pacific Pier, picking up our coffees from the cart and the pudding from Pacific Warf cafe.
The Chocolate Espresso Bread Pudding is a new snack available for the fall. We are big fans of Chocolate Espresso drinks and bread Pudding so this was right up our street! The Pudding was sized big enough to feed up both and was very chocolatey but we felt the coffee taste could have been stronger. We struggled to taste the espresso flavor through the chocolate, but our Pumpkin Cold brews more than made up for the caffeine hit on the side!
Attraction 6 – Golden Zephyr
Tummies more full and Caffeine in our veins, we headed over to Goofy’s Sky School to use our booked Genie+. Unfortunately, once we arrived, there were technical issues on the ride and it was closed. A cast member assured us we could use our Genie+ for other rides, including any at the other park after we park hopped so we decided to save the Genie+ and ride the Golden Zephyr instead as there was only a 5-minute wait. As we floated around the sky, we took in the incredible views of Pixar Pier.
Attraction 7 – Lamp Light Lounge
Next, we had reservations for lunch at the Lamp Light Lounge on Pixar Pier. After securing this booking at the must-do 60-day period, we had been very much looking forward to this, especially as the Chocolate Espresso had not really filled our rumbling tummies!
We are both massive fans of the Pixar- Disney films and have been ever since the relationship began with Toy Story back in the 90s (I already had my eye on a Park-exclusive Bo Peep Loungefly seen in the shops!)
Lamp Light Lounge did not disappoint and was worth the wait! The decor is trendy and sophisticated yet has obvious and subtle nods to the Pixar franchise. We were seated at a small table for 2 with comfy bucket seats, which had different Pixar characters on the back. WALL-E is probably our favorite Paxar film (if we had to choose of course!), so it seemed fitting that WALL-E and Eve were on the back of my chair.
We really love the Lounge and the attention to detail and abundance of cool easter eggs make this one of our favorite spots in Disneyland Resort. We literally only noticed while editing the Photo’s the “Hidden Hank” in one of our photos. The lounge is littered with little touches like that and some incredible Concept Art and Promotional Material.
Steve ordered a cocktail (Open Ocean) and I decided on a refreshing-sounding mocktail with a Pixar ball souvenir straw! We couldn’t resist ordering the Lobster Nachos, as it was on our must-eat list of Disney foods. The portion was more than enough for 2 people to share and had an abundance of lobster and toppings. We happily ate our lunch before heading over to the Disneyland Resort to park hop from 1 pm.
Park Hopping – Disneyland Park
After a fab morning at Disney California Adventure, we headed over to Disneyland Resort to see the castle! Admittedly, it seemed backward to even us that we would not do rope drop in front of the castle on our 1st morning at Disney BUT, we had Oogie Boogie tickets for the next afternoon so it made sense to save rope drop at Disneyland for the morning before the bash.
As we entered the Park and headed down Main street, as always the view and the smells took us away, transporting us into our dream Fantasyland. You really can’t beat the moment you walk down the street towards the castle and to be honest, not doing it at rope drop meant we could take our time and take it all in! Rope drops are frantic, everyone is desperate to get as far in front of the queues as possible to get onto their 1st ride of the day and I feel we miss that first major Disney moment.
And this time, there was the massive Mickey pumpkin waiting to greet us. The Halloween decorations had been more subtle inside Disney California Aventure but there is nothing subtle about the giant Mickey Pumpkin greeting you: Halloween please but make it Disney! Halloween is more of a subtle affair in the U.K. so we were excited to throw ourselves into the spooky holiday within the country that created it.
Past the Pumpkin and down Main Street, was the big man and his mouse waving at us greeting us home. More pumpkins carved with Disney characters surrounded Walt’s statue with the castle as its backdrop. We patiently took photos (never easy but we wait to get the good shots!) and headed off to our first ride.
Attraction 8 – Big Thunder Mountain
Our first Genie+ for Disneyland Resort was Big Thunder Mountain. By now, the heat had started to rise and we were struggling to stand in the queue despite how short the wait was. This was not the weather we had expected for California in Mid October pushing the mid 90’s°F (32°C)! We were both dressed in t-shirts and shorts but we had envisioned being more comfortable rather than overheated and desperately seeking the shaded areas of the park.
Attraction 9 – Pirates Of The Caribbean
After we rode Big Thunder Mountain, we decided to try our canceled Genie+ from Goofey’s Fly School on another ride. The App said we could use this on Pirates of the Caribbean despite it not being part of the usual Genie+ ride list. We had a mobile food pick-up booked for the Mint Julep Bar coming up so we headed toward New Orleans.
Our solution when we are not sure about something at Disney is to ask a Cast member. We approached the entrance for Pirates of the Caribbean and explained to a Cast Member what had happened they gave us a Multi-Attraction-Pass and told us to give it to the other cast Member at the start of the queue. We did this and we were directed to a shorter queue for Pirates.
The last time we visited, the Pirates ride was shut for refurbishments so we were really excited to go on the improved ride! The improvements did not disappoint, the ride was longer and had new aspects to it including the return of Captain Jack Sparrow!
Mint Julep Bar- Mickey Pumpkin Beignets and Mint Julep Drink
Mickey Beignets are a must-eat Disney Snack and we were so excited to try the fall limited Pumpkin edition. We had been warned that these Pumpkin Mickey Beignets sell out fast so we had completed a mobile order on the app earlier that day to ensure we could try them.
We ordered 3 of the beignets to share between us with a side of sugar syrup. The Pumpkin flavor was evident but not too strong but we felt that the beignets were covered with way too much sugar powder: so much so that it was impossible not to spill the powder we could even see little piles of sugar powder on the floor where others had eaten their snacks too.
We washed the Beignets down with a refreshing drink of Mint Julep (another Disney must!) and made our way over to Galaxy’s Edge for our Smugglers Run Genie+.
Attraction 10 – Millenium Falcon Smugglers Run
As a big Star Wars fan, Galaxy’s Edge is a highlight for Steve, and after Rise of the Resistance, Smugglers Run is one of his favorite rides. We had last been on this ride in March and our memories did not disappoint, it was as good as before. Although this time we were gunners, not pilots, and our other teammates did not do their jobs very well leading to us only getting one Canister of Co-Axiom.
With plans to do Rise of Resistance tomorrow after Rope Drop and with the heat still bearing down on us, we decided to go back to our hotel for a break and rest before we returned to Disneyland later in the evening to see it in all its Halloween night-time glory!
Attraction 11 – Blue Bayou
After a much-needed rest and change of clothes, we headed out refreshed for dinner and we had reservations for the Blue Bayou. We arrived for our reservation a little early but we were still waiting for our table until after our booked time. Cast members were turning walk-ups away (with the exception of a group of people who were let in by the manager!) but seating seemed very slow. We were seated 10 minutes after our booked time slot and as we were very hungry we ordered our food quickly. Steve ordered the Steak and I ordered the Jambalaya. Both were yummy and despite being hungry I still could not finish the large portion of my food.
We enjoyed our food while watching people float past us through the ‘Bayou’ spotting fireflies and shooting stars. The food is good but the dining experience of eating at the Blue Bayou is even better.
Attraction 12 – Haunted Mansion – Holiday Edition
With our tummies full once again we headed out into the dark with only one attraction in mind: The Haunted Mansion. Once the Halloween season approaches, the Haunted Mansion is treated to a Nightmare Before Christmas Overlay with non-other than the Pumpkin King greeting you at the gate. As this is an extremely popular ride in the Halloween season, the wait time had not gone below 40 minutes, and Multi-Attraction Genie+ passes were not being accepted for this ride. We had saved this ride for the night so we could see it in all its Halloween/Christmas glory, lit up in the dark.
We had secured a Genie+ while at our hotel resting, but there was still a large queue even for Genie+. As we queued, we took photos of the holiday overlay and enjoyed the new details of the mansion. As we neared the end of the queue, we were not expecting anything different to the ride apart from the overlay.
SPOILER ALERT: once on the ride, the Haunted Mansion has a Nightmare Before Christmas theme, and you are transported into the land of the Pumpkin King, Sandy Paws, and the evil Oogie Boogie himself! It’s obviously a matter of opinion but I actually prefer the Haunted Mansion with the Nightmare Before Christmas theme, especially the outdoor overlay. I can see why wait times are constantly high for this ride during the Halloween season: it is not to be missed!
Happy but tired with Disney feet starting to hurt, we headed back to our hotel for a good night’s sleep before our next day in the Happiest Place on Earth.
Total Rides and Attractions:
We only managed 12 Rides and attractions on this trip and overall felt we had not done as well as usual. But we were really focussing on certain elements of the parks and trying to get back around all the foodie highlights as well. We spent more time in restaurants and exploring the dining options than just hitting ride after ride. Genie+ delivered 7 rides and we practically walked on a few others. So it worked out really good value even though the price has been bumped up to $25!
Walking Total – 27,300 Steps – 13.8 Miles
A monster of a day on the feet as we covered a half-marathon in distance, along with a lot of standing! Our feet were pretty wrecked by the end of the night and were going to take another beating tomorrow.
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