The last time we visited Disney World Lite (Mike’s term) was prior to my discovery of Tour Guide Mike and EasyWDW and the revelation that there is actually a way to tour that helps avoid lines and all that jazz. Although we visited often and I understood how to use FP and had a general idea of what needed to be done early to avoid lines, I was still an infant when it came to touring plans. I was really excited to be back here and see how all my education about the right way to tour would change Mike’s mind about this place.
See, in Mike’s mind, Disneyland is made up of fun rides, crowds, and long wait times. California Adventure is the boring place where he can get in a nap while his wife rides stuff.
Looking at the schedule for today and tomorrow, morning EMH today is over at Disneyland, tomorrow it’s California Adventure. Also, Radiator Springs Racers is down for maintenance today and open tomorrow. Putting on my WWJD (What Would Josh Do) thinking cap, it wasn’t hard to figure out where we’d start this morning.
As we walked up the center promenade, I pointed out to Mike the long lines for DL while there were just a few people on the CA side – his response, “sure there are, people LIKE Disneyland, NO ONE likes California Adventure”. Grump. My plan here is to get in and grab FP for World of Color, then head to TSMM and hopefully get in a few rides before lines build.
Mike kept asking me what was so special about this nighttime water show. I knew from experience that if I try to talk things up too much it just gives him more ammunition if it doesn’t live up to expectations, so I just said that there were lots of people on EasyWDW who said the show was incredible, and they were all people whose opinion I trusted, so I think we should see it. He grumbles about the hassle, but since there’s no fireworks at DL either of the days we’re here, he finally accedes to my wishes.
Getting FP for WoC was quick and easy, and we were on to TSMM at a fast walk. We got there in front of most of the crowd…and the ride is down.
Honestly this sucks. For me it’s not a big deal, but I know that if I can get Mike on a ride he enjoys right off the bat, it’ll put him in a better mood so he’ll be ready to try new things. The ride being down is doing the exact opposite. He’s now officially in grump mode.
I give him 3 or 4 options that are sort of nearby that we can ride together, and he says, “Why don’t you ride your coaster and I’ll take a nap”. All right, Mr. Grumpy McGrouchypants, I’ll just do that!
I really like California Screamin’. It’s a super smooth and fun ride, but it’s missing any major forces that give a coaster that adrenaline-producing punch. Still, I love the launch, the little bunny hops at the end, and the view is awfully pretty from the top.
I get done and go find Mike who is enjoying a siesta in the sun, he sleepily tells me to go again, which I do. Hoping he’ll wake up on the right side of the bench and be in a better mood when I get back.
He’s not. But TSMM is open now, so we get in an unfortunately long-ish line. 20 minutes later, after listening to his litany of complaints about how this should have FP, why is it so crowded, and why are there so many kids here on a school day, blah blah blah, we’re finally on the ride. But I’m so frustrated I don’t enjoy it much. We get off and wait times are now at 45 minutes, so re-ride now isn’t really an option.
I read off the list of other attractions that are available here that we both enjoy at WDW, and he shoots down every single one of them. I say, do you just want to go back to the room? He said no, he’d rather head over to DL. I tell him it’s going to be busy, but he says it doesn’t matter he’d rather be over there.
On the way out he tells me I should ride ToT. I agree, not because I really need to ride it here (I thought I liked HS version better), but more because it will allow me some time away from The Grouch. He finds a comfortable bench and I go ride.
The location for ToT here at CA isn’t nearly as spooky as the HS version, it feels sort of crammed in next to other things:
But I’m surprised that the ride is actually better than I remember it being.
The sequence leading up to the drops is very cool, and I love that air time! Mike says I should ride a few more times, which I do, so it’s 12:30 and I know we’ll be entering DL at the peak of the crowds, but okay, we’ll give it a shot.
Surprisingly, Main Street is uncrowded and what the heck did they do to the castle? Hit it with a shrinking ray??
I’d forgotten how teeny-tiny that thing is!
We head over to Indiana Jones and grab FP, but standby shows 20 minutes so we get in line.
We both really love this ride, and even though the wait is longer than Mike is completely happy with (which is silly because he’s the one that said we should ride standby), he really has fun. So yay, Mr. Grumps-a-lot has left the building, and my husband has returned. Finally.
Matterhorn is also a short 15 minute wait. This is the first time we’ve ridden with the new cars, and I think they’re more comfortable. The right side seems somewhat smoother, but both are still giggle-inducing rough (as opposed to painful-rough like Space Mtn. at MK).
We do a few rounds of Buzz Lightyear and enjoy our normal friendly rivalry.
Mike wants to check out the wait times on the Fantasyland dark rides (I know they’ll be too long), so we head up there and guess what, they’re 20+ minutes each. Quick before Grumpy Mike returns I duck into the castle and drag him in with me. He is charmed by the castle walkthrough, he didn’t remember it, and they have some new and very cool special effects that make it even better.
I love this because I can remember walking through here as a kid, holding my dad’s hand and reading about the evil witch and that bad apple.
Speaking of evil witches, Snow White’s Scary Adventure has no wait, (thank you Walt for putting the word “scary” in a kids ride name so adults don’t have to deal with a 20 minute queue full of whiny kids)
Haunted Mansion even has a bulky 30-minute wait time, which is only acceptable if you’re using it as a training exercise in patience and acceptance:
So we continue on to Pooh’s ride, which is hidden in this quiet little corner of the park and gets not much love on the left coast.
I think this area of Disneyland is so pretty. With both Splash and Big Thunder down, the area back here is a beautiful and peaceful haven.
And they have bear benches!
Obligatory boat pic:
Even though the park is definitely more crowded than CA, we’re able to do quite a bit. The frustrating thing is that I keep having to pull out my list and give Mike all the potential options that I know will probably have little to no wait. So the conversation goes something like this:
Pam: “Buzz Lightyear?”
Pam: “Monorail ride?”
Mike: “More Boooring”
Pam: “Jungle Cruise”
Mike: “Sigh, oookay, I guess”
It’s like some angst-ridden teenager has body-snatched my husband.
Maybe one of the snakes on Indy can give him the evil eye and change him back or something?
Or maybe this lady can help him find inner peace?
Evening comes, and we decide to head back over to California Adventure. It’s quiet, and Mike really gets a kick out of CarsLand.
We have a great time wandering through the shops and checking out all the fun stuff on the walls:
Of course he loves it, we’ve got Disney-fied internal combustion engines and Imagineered Monument Valley.
My normal husband is back, in a great mood and we’re having fun just hanging around with each other. Yay!
We take the tour through the Sourdough bread factory, and the smell is so good we grab a loaf (cheap!) and make a dinner of it with cheese from our sack lunch while waiting in line for World of Color.
I have a map of the best viewing spots, and we find a place in the second tier center, right at the rail.
I’m still a little anxious, hoping it’s really “all that”, the show starts and It. Is. Amazing.
It’s so good I forget the camera and we watch, in awe at the spectacle. There’s many places where we both say, “How the heck did they do that??” Magic.
What a wonderful way to end a day that started with frustration and anger. And really, what do you usually remember about a story? The ending, right? A mediocre story can still leave you feeling good if the final chapter is worthy.
Unfortunately, the epilogue is that we have to go back to that yukky room, but we try to ignore the bad (and keep our shoes on). We get to sleep relatively early again tonight – mainly because the TV keeps going to a red screen every few minutes so it’s sort of hard to keep up with the action on the NBA game we’re attempting to watch.
Tomorrow, the last day of vacation and Disneyland Rope Drop!