Alarm set for 4am. Check
Pin badges and Oswald hat ready. Check
It was time to take on the ultimate theme park challenge, 24 hours in two of the busiest theme parks in the world. Even on paper it doesn’t sound easy. Luckily there was things on our side. We knew Pirates of the Caribbean and ‘it’s a small world’ would have reopened so extra capacity at Disneyland. We knew kids wouldn't be able to take on this challenge and we knew many wouldn’t attempt such a feat so the first few hours were cruical. So with that in mind, we arrived via driving through the middle of Los Angeles at Disneyland at around 5:45. A giant Olaf snowman had been sculpted on the entrance way and to open the parks was none other then Josh Gadd, of Frozen fame. He spoke about living near Disney World (BOO!) and how he takes his kids to the Disney parks like a right of passage. With that the parks were opened.
Oh hey Olaf!
Fireworks get the parks opened! Here we go!
We had decided early on to get into California Adventure first and grab a Radiator Springs fastpass. Our thinking was to get the busiest rides out the way first so we could relax on the longer rides later in the day. We grabbed ourself an information leaflet for the day and bad news. Radiator Springs, Tower and California Screamin’ wouldn’t be opening till eight. That left us two hours to find something to do. We tried Toy Story Midway Mania but that wasn’t ready yet, so Little Mermaid was chosen. We then had a go on Soarin’ which opened at 6:30, and then onto Mickey’s Fun Wheel. Wow. This is a ferris wheel which offers stationary pods and ones that swing violently. We naturally chose swinging and what a ride. Seriously more intense then it looks and only the second ride I’ve done that offers sick bags in the pods. It was now around 7:30 and we decided to head towards Flo’s via Radiator Springs to see if fast pass was available. SUCCESS! It was. Whilst Chris went to get the coffees, I grabbed our fastpasses which was for 9:30am. We relaxed for a bit, after all, there was plenty of time left. 8 o clock was finally upon us and we went for a ride on the Tower (grabbing a fast pass too) which was as spell bounding as ever, a ride on Heimlichs chew chew train, Tower then took a gamble. We decided to queue for RC Racers, after all fast pass hadn’t started and this was the only reasonable time to try it. If you know the queueline, we were just under the bridge near the entrance. From there it took us exactly 18 minutes to get onto the ride. Faster then using fast pass the week before. So there you go people, the detrimental effects of any fast pass system right in front of your eyes. We decided therefore to do it again. And it took us 15 minutes this time. People have queued six hours for this thing and here we were essentially casually strolling on without a care in the world.
Astounded by this turn of luck, our fast pass turn was quickly upon us. And then it broke down. We had to wait an hour for it to come back to life, so I decided to have a lie down instead of getting depressed about things.
Finally free we descended on California Screamin’, grabbing a fast pass and queuing for Toy Story Mania. It took about 25 minutes to get on and we got exactly the same score somehow. With five minutes remaining till our fastpass, we rode King Tritons Carousel and then rode Screamin’, good as ever. It was now around 11:30 and basically time to jump ships and visit Disneyland. It only seemed natural that our first stop should be Pirates of the Caribbean but naturally we grabbed an Indianna Jones fast pass. Now Pirates. This is a classic ride and no mistake. It makes the Florida and Paris versions look like mere imitations in my opinion.This version evokes such an incredible atmosphere, there is just something about being transported away to that period of time, to not be able to see the roof of the shed sticking out in the pirate boat attack scene or for the journey to be more leisurely paced then its brothers. Captain Jack isn’t necessary but he doesn't detract from this enriching, engaging experience. It’s popularity here is incredible. Hundreds of people joining the queue every minute, each one eagerly anticipating Walt’s last ride he was involved in before he died. I loved it. It’s my favourite ride at Disneyland.
Alas, it was time to move on, we ended up in Fantasyworld for a little ride on its a small world. This one takes on the Paris look of having an outside loading area but unlike Paris, this one is a series of show rooms and not just one big warehouse. And here the props are far much larger and interesting then I’ve seen previously. My favourite hula girls also appeared here with speedy hips so that made me happy. Time for a ride on the other side of Matterhorn, the Tomorrowland side. Felt quite similar to the other one although Chris found this side rougher. We still had a while until Indianna Jones so we entered Tomorrowland and rode on Buzz Lightyear’s Spin thing. I officially hate all three versions of this ride so far. Dull, Dull, Dull. At least this one didn’t have fastpass. Before heading to Indianna we grabbed a fast pass for Star Tours, went and had some chicken on Main Street then rode Indianna Jones Temple where some more effects seemed to be working this time. That was good. With luck our Star Tours fast pass time was upon us but before we headed over that way we grabbed a Thunder Mountain night time ride fast pass and knowing the parade was on, waited near the Storybook Canal Boats. Somehow this had alluded us on our trips, it business and random closing times meaning we never got a look in. This time we somehow started the queue for it, meaning we’d be the first on when it reopened. Totally different world to Paris where there it’s walk on all the time. I like the cast members talking to us though, nice feature. Rode Star Tours then headed down to potentially queue for Splash. I wasn’t keen, 65 minutes for a ride that I don’t really like wasn’t worth it so we queued five minutes for Winnie the Pooh instead. By now it was around six o clock and to slow the pace down a bit we headed to Fantasyland to get rides on Pinocchio and Snow White. With twelve hours left of the day we still felt okay to carry on but it is hard going to keep the energy levels high.
Fastpass Top trumps. I think I win.
We decided not to bother with Space Mountain either and decided to get some snacks to give us an energy boost. It was soon time for Fantasmic and the fireworks. We didn’t move once Fantasmic ended, instead choosing to watch the fireworks from a distance. Works just as well. Our plan was to try and get on Pirates before the second Fantasmic started but unfortunately got caught in the one way system. So instead we had a go on Jungle Cruise which was walk on. The cast member this time was a bit of a mumbler so didn’t catch much of her jokes. We got off and Fantasmic was about to start. We darted into Pirates queue and luckily wouldn't be exciting as Fantasmic finishes (would be disaster). Pirates <3
After our ride we went and saw the Tiki room show which I am a big fan off. This was a chance to rest our feet, necessary after nearly 18 hours of Disney parks. After Tiki, it was Thunder Mountain time where the fast pass queue and stand by queue had become one big sprawl of people; it wasn’t pretty but we made it. And what a ride in the dark it is. So much fun especially as its barely lit up at all. Wonderful stuff. We had no more fast pass energy left and somehow we ended up in Tomorrowland. Space Mountain seemed to be dead so we decided to ride Autopia. I hate this ride too, it seems like such an unnecessary waste of space especially in a park as small and compact as this. Unfortunately we also had to sit in the car for ages as one had stopped somewhere around the circuit. BROKEN! We were evacuated from the ride and decided to call it a day at Disneyland. California Adventure was calling with a 3am showing of World of Colour. There’s nothing like standing in the cold at 3am in the morning and being sprayed with water for thirty minutes. With Screamin’ and Radiator Springs Racers closing at 4 we raced (pun not intended) over to get a go but both had closed already and with Tower the only major ride still running after 4 (but with a tasty 120 minute queue) we decided to call it a day. We’d made it to 22 hours and I especially knew I had driving to do in the morning.
TOWER! I love you but 120 minutes is just to long at 4 in the morning.
So what can I say about the day. It is a hard hard day of theme parking and takes the patience of a saint. It says something that the night-time shows finish and you still have essentially a day at Alton Towers left before the parks close. I whole-heartedly recommend it though as the parks have a special atmosphere like no other. Getting on Pirates was the icing on the cake.
And with that, thats the theme park side of the holiday done and dusted. Whilst I would love to have done some of the other parks in the area, that can be done another time around. For now though, we had done some of the most famous theme parks in America and I have to say I was so impressed with the rides on the west coast. The B&M's and Intamins in Florida are kind of hit and miss but over in California, each one was ridable and enjoyable. Special mention goes to the two floor less coasters of Medusa and Scream. They were great.
I'd like to thank anyone thats read all my trip reports. You guys rule