Full Day At Disney: More Steps than Step Up 2-5

Today was our first full day at Disneyland, and as I type this, I am exhausted. More than 20,000 steps, a dozen or so rides. A few good meals. And some okay beer.

Staying onsite here in the Grand California comes with the added bonus of the exclusive early morning hour at California Adventures, which features some of the more popular attractions.

Immediately after entering the gates, we had fortunes favor us. My sister is a Disney pin collector, and she had tasked me with trying to find two specific pins. I’ve gotten my first hint this week of the culture around Disney pin trading. I am refusing to start this new hobby. We have seen my self control with Funkos. Anywho, the first cast member we see had one of the two she is looking for. Halfway done with that task right off the bat. Still need the Mary Poppins weather vein though.

Radiator Springs and the Cars ride is one of the more popular rides, so we hit that one first while the crowd was still limited. I went into this one without high expectations, and was pleasantly surprised at how fun it was. Plus, we won the race.

That was the start of a whirlwind of rides before lunch. We managed to get to Incredicoaster, Toy Story, Guardians of the Galaxy, Soarin’, Mr. Toad’s, Haunted Mansion–A Nightmare Before Christamas version, Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear and Pirates of the Caribbean, all before lunch.

Toy Story scores. The important thing to remember here is not that both our scores suck, but that I beat Sarah.

I love Guardians of the Galaxy, and the theme/story of the ride was fun, but the actual ride was not my favorite. The up and down of this ride is one I really struggle with the most. Coasters, I’m fine. This one, nope. Once was enough for me on this one. It is basically a randomly bouncing elevator with a screen in front of it.

Then it was off to Disneyland proper, and the obligatory photo in front of the castle. Yes, we both wore A’s shirts. The Angels can still suck it.

Confession time: I had never seen Nightmare Before Christmas before this week. Otherwise, this Haunted House overlay with the Nightmare theme would have just been weird.

Then we hit Star Tours, the original Star Wars ride here before the new land was built.

And visited another space explorer, from a different world afterwards.

A lot of my rides pics did not turn out. Too dark, too much motion. Good thing I’m not a photographer of some type.

Lunch was at Cafe Orleans, a bayou inspired restaurant we had reservations for. It has small seating, so they focus on getting people in and out quickly. The food was outstanding. I went 3-for-3 here, with seafood & sweet patater fries, shrimp and grits, and hot chocolate beignets.

Most of the afternoon was spent in Galaxy’s Edge, the new Star Wars world built at Disneyland. This was the part of this stop I was looking forward to the most. A ton of detail went into building this world. You really do feel transformed to a galaxy far, far away. It is immersive. I got to pilot the Millennium Falcon, and have drinks at Oga’s Cantina.

Sarah and I were on our own for supper tonight, so we stuck close to the hotel and hit Craftsman Bar just outside the California Grand. Can’t go wrong with my wife, an IPA and a charcuterie pizza.

Oh, and about those Funkos.

We wrapped up Friday night by doing the Dessert/World of Color combo, which included cocktails, cheeses, sweets and seats with a view of the water/laser/projection show. Tonight was the debut of the new holiday version.

And, of course, one last ride–The Little Mermaid, which is Sarah’s favorite Disney movie.

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