NCL Free At Sea

Disneyland And California Adventure In The Rain

By on 01/31/2015

We don’t get a lot of rain here is Southern California, so when we do it’s pretty memorable. For many locals, it feels like the world is coming to an end, and they don’t go out in it. However, if you don’t mind a little wet and cold, that’s the perfect time to go to an amusement park. I grew up in Oregon, so a little rain has never stopped me from doing anything in the rain, except maybe getting a suntan.

A couple of weeks ago, during a particularly wet couple of days here in the Southland, my wife and I went to both Disneyland and California Adventure and practically had the place to ourselves. It was great! We hadn’t been to either park in three years, just before Cars Land opened, so we were especially excited to check that out.

Before we go any further, I must warn you. I was so excited leaving the house that morning that I left my camera behind. All I had with me was my cell phone, so the pictures aren’t the best, but they’re not horrible either. What an idiot, right?

We decided to start with Disneyland. After all, this is ground zero, where it all started. You can’t help but have a smile on your face as you approach that iconic entrance:


We arrived shortly after opening and it was still raining. As you can see, there were very few people on Main Street:


My wife and I were smart and we each had an umbrella. However, those don’t make for good selfies. We had to lower our umbrellas, quickly snap a pic, then take cover again. Needless to say, we didn’t do this very often, but we had to get a shot in front of the castle:


Our first ride of the day was Space Mountain. It’s an awesome roller coaster and the fact that it was indoors was a bonus. It was a walk-on and you can see that rain ponchos were the fashion choice of the day:


I was so excited. We were placed in row 1, for the front of the train. I’ve never been in the front, so I was really pumped up. Unfortunately, instead of turning right towards the lift hill, we went left and were immediately evacuated from the train:


This was the first time I had ever been evacuated from a ride at Disneyland. No explanation was given, but I’ve been told this is common if the train is overweight. We were led through a side door, past rows of computers that I assume we’re the ride controls, then back out to the loading area. We were immediately put on the next train, but I was no longer in the front row. I will give the ride operators credit. This all happened very fast and really wasn’t a bad experience at all. They were all super nice.

Our next ride was Indiana Jones, which was also a virtual walk-on. I really like the theming at Disneyland. They pull out all the stops and make it a truly immersive experience:


As we were exiting Indiana Jones, a Jungle Cruise boat went cruising by. I didn’t hear what the skipper said, but they were all looking my way and laughing. I’m used to it:


We next made our way to another of our favorites, the Haunted Mansion. Despite being the middle of January, it was still sporting the Christmas overlay, which I really like:


Pirates of the Caribbean was up next. Some people worry about getting wet on this ride, but I think most people were in line for it today so they could dry out while on it:


It was now getting close to lunch time and we were getting hungry. Since most of the food locations in Disneyland have outdoor seating, which was soaking wet, and the indoor locations were packed, we headed over to Downtown Disney to eat. Check out how dead it was:


We ended up at Tortilla Jo’s, which is one of my wife’s favorites. As soon as our food came, the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate. We ended up standing back out in the rain with the employees until the fire department arrived and cleared the building. Once back inside, they said they would remake our lunch. Since it was still a little warm, and we didn’t want perfectly good food to go to waste, we declined the offer. The manager even came over to ask why we didn’t want fresh food.

I was hoping the meal was going to be comped, or at least discounted a bit. We were one of only about four groups in the restaurant, and we even waited through the event, unlike others. One group had already finished eating prior to the evac and wanted to pay while outside, but they told him not to worry, it was on the house. When our check did come, not only was it not discounted, but everything had been charged twice. Ouch! Had I known we were going to be charged double, for food they were wanting to throw out, I definitely would have had them remake our food. It was all good in the end, though. The staff was super nice and the food was delicious.

After lunch, we decided to go check out Disney California Adventure:


The last time we were here, the trolley rails were in the ground, but all the construction walls were still up. It was cool seeing this as soon as we walked in:


The rain had still not let up at this point, so the crowds were just as light over here as they were at Disneyland:


The first ride my wife wanted to go on was the Hollywood Tower of Terror. This is one of my favorites as well:


As I mentioned before, their theming is second to none:


The water in Paradise Bay has been drained, presumably for maintenance. It’s amazing to me everything underwater that is necessary to make World of Color the spectacle that it is:


Our next ride was the California Screamin’ roller coaster. This coaster is fast, smooth, and one of the longest in the world. It was practically a walk-on as well. Maybe only a five minute wait:


We went on Astro Blasters while we were over in Disneyland, and my wife killed me. Since she likes Midway Mania even more, she was excited to repeat the performance:


Much to her chagrin, it was I who emerged victorious. I may not have been as accurate as her, but I definitely scored the points:


Goofy’s Sky School is the only other roller coaster in California Adventure, but unfortunately it was closed due to the rain:


What we were most looking forward to this trip was Cars Land. Since it was still under construction during our last visit, this was the first chance that we’ve had to see it:


Of course, you can’t go to Cars Land without a side trip to Radiator Springs:


We got to meet Stanley, the founder of Radiator Springs:


The rock work they did in Cars Land is absolutely stunning:


The most popular ride here is Radiator Springs Racers. We were fortunate and had a fast pass, so we bypassed the long regular queue. However, it looks to be quite well themed:


The loading station is inside a voluminous cavern, and the cars looks very cool:


This is a very fun ride and we can see why it’s so popular. We absolutely loved it:


I’ve heard that Luigi’s Flying Tires will be going away soon, so we definitely wanted to experience that. I was blown away just by the queue! Check out how nice that is:


The way this ride works is that each tire floats on a cushion of air, pumped out by all those circles you see in the ground, just like a hovercraft. By leaning different directions, you can somewhat control the direction the tire moves. At that point, it’s basically a bumper car ride. Unfortunately, the tires move very slow, and the directional control isn’t very good. You never really build up enough speed for a good bump, and if you lean too far, it digs into the ground and you stop moving. It was a novel idea, but it’s probably for the better that they’re replacing it:


Just like in Disneyland, California Adventure has some great roving entertainment. I believe this group was called Five & Dime, and they were pumping out some great jazz music from the back of their car:


We decided to head back over to Disneyland to catch some rides that we had missed earlier. First up was another great roller coaster, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I hadn’t been on this since they refurbished it, and the special effects that were added on the lift hills were fantastic:


We hadn’t been inside the Innoventions building in quite some time, so we decided ti check it out. The first thing we saw was the Iron Man Tech display, with the various iterations of the Iron man suits on display. It was pretty cool:


When my wife found out that she could meet and have her photo taken with Thor, she was all over it. Since it was so quiet that day, it was only her and a couple of other people, so she got to talk to him quite a bit. She was a very happy girl:


I saw this in the Thor: Treasures of Asgard display and was going to buy it for my wife, but apparently it wasn’t for sale. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have worn it for me anyway:


She also got to meet and have her picture taken with Captain America. It wasn’t the same as Thor for her, but I’m pretty sure she was still blushing.

By the time we were done checking out everything there was in Innoventions, it was dark outside. Disneyland at night is awesome! The lights are very well done and everything looks great:


We wanted to go back over to California Adventure to see Cars Land at night. On the way out, I stopped by the Disneyland Fire Station. I’ve never actually walked in there before and it was pretty neat to see:


Even though we really liked the Mission tortilla factory that was in the wharf area before, the Ghirardelli Chocolate store is a decent replacement. I loved how the paintings on the wall had moving parts:


Even with virtually no water left in the bay, there’s still a beautiful reflection:


California Screamin’ has a pretty neon sign at night:


My wife insisted on a rematch at Midway Mania, claiming I just got lucky the first time. My accuracy didn’t improve much, but I smoked her even worse this time:


The lighting on the rocks, bridge, and waterfall in Radiator Springs makes this entire area just as impressive, if not more so, at night as it is in the daylight:


Of course, we just had to experience Radiator Springs Racers in the dark as well. What a great ride:


My wife didn’t want to go on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree at first because she thought it was just for little kids. After watching it, I convinced her to try it out and we both thought it was a pretty fun ride:


It was fun to see Lightning McQueen and Mater cruising the streets and talking to people:


We heard the neon work in Cars Land was not to be missed, and they were absolutely right. It’s all bright, colorful, and really looks awesome:


In all our years of coming here, we had never been on Mickey’s Fun Wheel before because these types of rides scare my wife. She agreed to finally go on it with me, as long as it was a stationary cabin:


What a fantastic view from up there! I’ll have to ride that again with a real camera:


We ended our night back over at Disneyland to watch the Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks Spectacular. Due to the weather, all the smoke from the first couple of explosions just stayed there. About 40 seconds in, you really couldn’t see the fireworks anymore. It was just colorful bursts of light coming from within the smoke cloud, which was actually pretty cool by itself. I’m just grateful they even had the show given the light rain that was falling:


That’s it! A lot has changed in the three years since our last visit and we will definitely not wait another three years before our next visit. Both of these parks are always a lot of fun. I don’t even think it’s possible to not have a good time at a Disney park, so if you have never been and get the chance to go, take it!

My wife and I would like to personally thank Brian Barber for making today possible. Thanks, Brian!!

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  1. Eric

    01/31/2015 at 8:06 pm

    Looks like you two had a great time. I have yet to see Cars Land, the new Star Tours, and The Little Mermaid ride, so there’s a lot of catching up to do.

    Next time you go, do be sure and ride in one of the swinging cabins on Mickey’s Fun Wheel. Crazy experience, but you’ll like it.

    • Samuel

      02/01/2015 at 10:52 pm

      Not to be rude, But…. YOU COMMENT ON PRETTY MUCH ALL of his posts. i have seen maybe 3 posts that you HAVEN’T commented on… not to be RUDE. but its creepy to comment on pretty much every single one of his posts… just a little advice..

      • Scott C

        02/02/2015 at 3:13 am

        Not to be rude? Really? I don’t think you could have been more rude. I doubt highly that Eric needs advice from the likes of you.
        Excuse me if I am being a bit “creepy”.

  2. Erik

    02/01/2015 at 10:35 am

    you’re the man. Appreciate every update, it just fires me up. Only went once in 2014 and have until early march before I have to renew my AP, so I definitely will be going at least 2 more times before then, so my one trip won’t have cost me $325. thanks Kurt

  3. Casey

    02/02/2015 at 9:23 am

    Wow. One of the rudest comments I have ever seen. So what if he enjoys commenting on posts? If he likes it, then he wants to comment on it. The website was made to be public, so let it be, Samuel.

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