Disney’s California Adventure

Three days before Disney announced the closures of their California parks, we were lucky enough to spend the at Disney’s California Adventure! Since then, the parks have been closed due to concerns over the Coronavirus pandemic. As of right now, the parks are officially closed until April 1st, but it is assumed that the closures will last well past that. I was originally a bit hesitant to post my re-cap, in light of all that’s going on, but I realized that in times like this, we need to focus on the happy things in life- and let’s face it: Disney equals happy. So here’s a little recap of our day in Disney’s California Adventure!

We arrived at the park about an hour after it opened. Being that it was a Sunday, we were prepared to face big crowds. Walking in we realized that it didn’t seem too bad! We really don’t know this park very well. We had only been here twice. The first time was after a long day at Disneyland when Cooper was three years old. We basically checked out the rides in Bugs Land and then Coop crashed out in his stroller, so we left. The second time we visited was a couple years ago before a Mickey’s Halloween Party. On that trip we walked into the park, rode the Guardians of the Galaxy ride, and then left the park for Disneyland. So we were excited to spend the entire day at California Adventure and see all the park has to offer! The Food and Wine Festival was also going on, and we were looking forward to eating some delicious food.

We walked into the park and decided to head towards the left. We thought we’d just walk towards Guardians of the Galaxy since we knew we wanted to ride that. On our way there, a churro cart caught our eye.

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A chocolate and peanut butter churro?? Yes please! We jumped in line for that right away. The portion size was perfect for sharing:

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Look at all of that deliciousness! This was by far the best churro dessert I’ve ever had. Cody and I loved it. I could have eaten 3 trays of this. The churros were fresh and crispy, the peanut butter cream and the chocolate sauce were warm, and the flavors complemented each other perfectly. It wasn’t too sweet, and it wasn’t too rich. It was an amazing treat and it was worth every calorie.

While we were enjoying our churros we noticed people lining up to take a picture with Chef Goofy! So we had to get in line for that too.

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We continued on and came to Monsters Inc. Mike and Sulley to the Rescue. We love the Monster’s Inc. movies, so we hopped in line. The ride was cute! It’s a dark ride in a taxi cab through Monstropolis. You see all the characters from the movie and you see familiar scenes from the movie.

We exited the ride and headed straight for Guardians of the Galaxy.  We had been on this one a couple years ago, and we loved it, but we hadn’t seen the movie yet. Fast forward to February when we finally watched both Guardians of the Galaxy movies(thank you Disney+) and we LOVE the movies! Lately we’ve been watching them at least once a week. So we were excited to ride it now that we had an understanding of the movie and it’s characters. The line looked super long, but it actually moved pretty quickly and we were in line for about 40 minutes. There’s quite a bit to look at while you’re in line, so that helps the time pass too.

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This ride is SO fun! We really, really loved it. I laughed and screamed the entire time. If I made a list of my top ten rides this would be on that list for sure!

As soon as you exit the ride, you pass through the area where you get to see you ride photo:

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Then you enter the gift shop where we immediately saw the little “shoulder Groots”. We had to buy one! They are so cute!

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We wanted to head into Cars Land next, so we started off in that direction. We were quickly distracted by some of the Food and Wine Festival booths along the way, so we decided to stop for some snacks first.

The first booth we came to was the Nuts About Cheese booth. We ordered the white cheddar lager soup that came in the sour-dough bread bowl, and the cheeseburger mac and cheese. Both of these were really good! The bread bowl was so good soaked in the cheddar soup- really rich and tasty. The mac and cheese was super creamy with a toasted breadcrumb topping that added a garlicky-butter flavor. The “cheeseburger” part of the mac and cheese was the Impossible brand meatless crumbles, which I had never tried before. I was surprised at how much it tasted like ground beef- if I hadn’t told Cody that it was plant-based and not actual beef, I don’t think he would have known. For my drink, I got the Violet Mimosa, and I wasn’t impressed. It just tasted like regular old champagne to me. So still good- just nothing special.

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We ate near this little waterfall where we had a ledge to rest our plates on.

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We continued on towards Cars Land, when another food item caught our eye: the Pizza egg rolls!

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These were delicious!! I really want to try making these at home. So, so good! The spring roll was crispy and not too greasy, the pepperoni was delicious, and the pesto sauce they give you for dipping was so good. My only complaint was that they could have been cheesier, but I generally think all foods need more cheese.

Finally, without any more food distractions, we made it to Cars Land! We stopped for photos near the entrance:

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Cars Land is so cute! The whole land looks like it fell right out of the movies. We saw that the wait time was short for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, so we jumped in line for that.

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This ride was fun! It’s a swirly, spinny, ride. It reminded us of the Alien Swirling Saucers in Toy Story Land over at Disney World.

Next, we walked down to get in line for Radiator Springs Racers. So many people have told me how fun this ride is, so we were excited to check it out. We had been waiting in line for about 10 minutes, when they announced that the ride had broken down. We stayed in line for another 10 minutes hoping they’d get it up and running, but no luck. So we decide to go on something else.

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters was right there as we exited so we got in line for that. I really loved this one! I thought it was so cute how the cars “dance” around, and everything is so adorable.

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While we were in line for this ride, Cooper decided he was hungry. It was getting chilly, so we thought the idea of eating at a table-service restaurant where we could warm up sounded good. I hopped on the Disnleyland app and searched for reservations available in the next hour. The only thing that came up was a 5pm spot at Carthay Circle, so I booked it.

This gave us enough time for another ride before we needed to check into the restaurant, so we rode Guardians of the Galaxy again!

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After the ride, we walked over to Carthay Circle to check in. The restaurant is really pretty- definitely on the fancy side for an amusement park. It’s designed to be reminiscent of the Carthay Circle Theatre, which was where Snow White premiered in 1937. The walls are decorated with old black and white photos of Walt and various celebrities.

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Our waitress was super friendly and informative. She told us about the specials of the day and how many of the ingredients used are locally sourced and organic. We took a look at the menu and decided to order a couple appetizers and share an entree.

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The kids menu had the usual choices like pasta with marinara or butter, a cheeseburger, grilled cheese, etc.

We chose the Carthay Signature Fried biscuits, and the Bao Buns of Crispy Shrimp for our starters. Cooper got he kids pasta with butter and parmesan cheese. For our entree we chose the Grilled Chicken Meatloaf.

The fried biscuits were the first starter to arrive. I didn’t really know what to expect since I had never heard of a fried biscuit, but since they were the signature item we figured we had to try them. They just look like little round pretzel dough bites- but then when you bite into them you find that they’re filled with cheese and bits of bacon. The menu says there’s jalepeno in there too, but I didn’t taste any.

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They tasted fine. Definitely better with the apricot honey butter they’re served with, but honestly they were nothing special. Especially considering that they were $15 dollars. I’m glad we tried them, but I don’t think I’d order them again.

Cooper’s food arrived quickly and he inhaled it! Seriously, he ate it all right way and then asked for more. So we ordered him a second serving and he inhaled all of that too. We were really glad we’d made the reservation just for that alone. He’s not one to grab small bites to eat as we travel around a theme park. He really needs to sit down to eat a meal. He definitely accomplished that here!

Next came our Crispy Shrimp Bao buns. These suckers were GOOD! I was sad I had to share! If we come back here again, I’m ordering this as my entree.

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The bao bun was soft with that great texture, the shrimp were light and crispy, the sauce had amazing flavor(sort of like a sweet dynamite sauce) and there were these yummy pickled cucumbers and other veggies that gave a great fresh crunch to this dish. Seriously, if this is on the menu get it! My husband isn’t a big seafood guy and he loved this dish as well. It came with two bao buns, so it is a great one to share.

Our Grilled Chicken Meatloaf was also good- I had never had chicken meatloaf before and I thought it had a better texture than traditional meatloaf. It wasn’t as heavy tasting, and the flavors of the spices really shone through. It was served atop a sweet potato mash that I loved and my husband hated. It was good, but I wouldn’t be in a big hurry to have it again.

Those Bao buns though…I’m still thinking about those!

All in all we really enjoyed our meal at Carthay Circle! I felt pretty lucky that we were able to snag a same day reservation here since it seems like this is a pretty popular place. Upon walking in I felt like it might have been a bit too fancy for us, but everyone was dressed in their theme park clothes and there were plenty of kids in there. Our waitress was super sweet and very attentive too. I would eat here again for sure!

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After dinner, we wanted to hit some more rides. We had snagged two Fastpasses- one for Soarin’ and one for Toy Story Midway Mania, so our plan was to ride those two and then head home.

We walked over to Soarin’ first. We were excited for this one because we LOVE Soarin’ at Epcot, and this Soarin’ was running a special, limited time showing of their Soarin’ Over California experience. It was neat to see all the beautiful places in California. We got to fly over the Golden Gate Bridge, the central California coast, wine country, San Diego, and more. We had a great time on this ride- I mean, how could you not? That sensation of flying is SO fun! Cooper actually liked the flight over California better, but I totally prefer the Soarin’ Around the World that I’m used to.

We met back up with Cody outside the ride(he sits out any VR rides or anything that spins), and we took some pictures next to this cute old car.

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Next we walked way over to the other end of the park for Toy Story Midway Mania. We love this ride at Disney World, and it’s exactly the same here. So fun! I got my side of the car all to myself, and I did my best to score as many points as I could. Cody and I are super competitive, so I always take a picture of my score to prove that I beat him 😉

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When we were walking to Toy Story Midway Mania, we had passed the Incredicoaster. Once Cooper saw it, it suddenly became the ride he “absolutely-positively-had-to-go-on-please-please-please”!! It was getting late, and we had school and work in the morning, so I told him if the wait was 30 minutes or less after we were done with Toy Story, we could go on it. He didn’t forget. Sure enough the wait time was 30 minutes. So we got in line for the Incredicoaster.

I wasn’t too excited for this one! Cooper has only been on one upside-down roller coaster before, and I was just nervous about it. I had no idea what to expect, and I don’t like going on rides with him when I don’t know what it’s like. But I put on a smile and kept telling myself over and over that the rides are safe.

We got to the front of the line in less than 30 minutes, it was probably closer to 20. I made sure that harness had him buckled in tight and away we went! I gotta say, this coaster is FUN!!!!! I LOVED it! All three of us did. It was so smooth, not jerky at all. It’s also a long ride, and the loop is super fun. Plus all the lights on at nighttime make for such a pretty view when your up so high. I can’t wait to ride this one again. I’m really glad Cooper was so persistent in convincing us to go on it.

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We exited the ride, and headed out of the park. We got home a little later than originally planned, but it was worth it. We had such a fun day! I can’t wait to visit this park again.

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I hope we get through this Coronavirus crisis soon so we can go back to the places we love. I also hope that when California Adventure re-opens, they continue with the Food and Wine festival since it got cut short. Also, if you are EVER in a Disney Park, and you see a sign advertising Chocolate Peanut Butter Churros, GET IN THAT LINE. You won’t regret it! 🙂 Thank you for reading my recap of our day at California Adventure.

Until next time-

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