Disney California Adventure

Background: About a year ago, I got a great idea for a road trip. I’d take my kids, fly from my hometown of Houston TX , to San Diego CA, and then drive from San Diego to Oakland. We’d stop and see all the sights along the way, and then fly home from Oakland. Then I asked my friend Gina, who lives in California, if she’d like to come along. With her kids. She agreed, and Death Match 2014 was born. Two ladies, seven kids, and a 15-day road trip up the California Coast.

Day 10 – This day began very early in the morning! The alarm went off at 5:45 so we could leave the room by 6:30, so we could enjoy Extra Magic Hours at California Adventure starting at 7:00am. This is a great benefit of staying at one of Disney’s On-Site Hotels!

We lined up, then power-walked to Cars Land as soon as they let us in. We still had to wait about 15 minutes for Radiator Springs Racers, but it was a very short wait compared to the lines that existed later in the day! My six-year-old was very out of sorts, but I chalked it up to the early wake-up call, and we kept moving on.

Radiator Springs Racers

We rode all the Cars Land rides for our first time, and loved them all. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is a new twist on the “spinning cups” kind of ride, and Luigi’s Tires was an interesting sort of bumper cars, and I really recommend trying them both! The theming of the Cars Land area was awesome too – so many neat touches to find. Well done, Disney!

Cars Land

Then we took off to the Paradise Pier area, to ride California Screamin’, Toy Story Mania, and Mickey’s Fun Wheel. Now, I should mention that I am afraid of heights. I can do roller coasters all day long and have a ball, but ferris wheels have always scared the bejeepers out of me. The kids wanted to try it, so I figured I’d give it a shot. We chose the “Swinging Gondola” option. This, my friends, was a Bad Move. My little girl was shrieking and crying, and I was trying to comfort her while shrieking and crying inside my head. Some of the other kids in our group positively loved this ride, so I won’t say

it’s a bad ride. It’s a good ride. But if you have an irrational fear of heights to begin with, you probably want to skip this one!

At this point, I went to rent a stroller for my little one. I could see she wasn’t going to be able to hold up all day if she had to walk. I really recommend a stroller at all the Disney parks, because they will help your children to have a much better time. There is still plenty of walking involved in getting through the lines, and they will hold up SO much better if they can ride from one ride to the next! My ten-year-old wanted a stroller, too, but I had to draw the line there. Up to about 7-8 years old, I’ll totally rent a stroller for them though!

We rode the Little Mermaid and the Monsters Inc. ride to try and regain our composure again, and that’s about the time I noticed that my little girl was not just out of sorts or tired, she was downright feverish. Not good at all.

So our group had a bit of a conference, and decided it was best to split up. I gave my daughter a dose of fever-reducer, and found a shady spot for her to nap in the stroller while I sat on a bench to watch the people go by. The others went a couple of different directions to ride more rides, and we agreed to meet again for our reservation for a late lunch at Ariel’s Grotto.

Lunch there includes meeting several princesses, and I’m sad to report that my daughter was not feeling well enough to really enjoy it very much. She was still glad to meet them all, but just didn’t feel much like interacting. Ah well, we will try again on another trip!

Princesses at Ariel's Grotto

After lunch, we all went back to the hotel to rest. The kids were all worn out, and just wanted to spend the rest of the day playing video games and watching television. My eldest offered to hang out and watch the little ones if I wanted to go back to the park, since I missed out on a lot while I was doing stroller-nap duty. I took advantage of the offer, and went to see two things I had really been looking forward to: the Pixar Play Parade, and the Aladdin show.

They were both really superb! I love all the Pixar characters, and the parade was fantastic, lively, and colorful. Some of the floats shoot little streams of water, which was welcome in the afternoon heat (they warn you beforehand, so you can put away anything that shouldn’t get wet), and some floats had bubbles. It was very fun to watch!

Pixar Play Parade 1

Pixar Play Parade 2

Pixar Play Paraade 3

PIxar Play Parade 4


After that, I watched the Aladdin show in the Hyperion Theater. This was a truly great production, and a must-see! The guy who played the Genie was excellent, and so was the rest of the cast. The theater holds a lot of people, and the musical lasts about an hour. Be sure and plan that in your day when you come to California Adventure!

The day ended with quick-service food back in the hotel room with the kids, who had perked up a bit. Another early night, for our second early morning coming the next day!

My name is Brenda Arnold-Richard, and I’m a travel planner with Travel with the Magic. Like the Travel with the Magic page on Facebook, and follow me on Pinterest to see more of our trip.

It’ll either be fabulous or awful, but it’s bound to be interesting!