California Adventure Ultimate Tour – July 4, 2012

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We traveled all the way from South Carolina to California by van this summer.  My kids wanted to see the all-new Cars Land that had just opened and we had an opportunity to meet up with some friends from Texas.  We enjoyed a day at each park and then threw caution to the wind and decided to attempt our first California Adventure Ultimate Tour.  It was July 4th and as I stated Cars Land was very new, so our friends thought we were crazy.  I know that a good plan always beats any crowd, so we were all in!

We were the very first ones at the gates!  Yea! Wahoo!  We were using Walt Disney World tickets for entry, which requires a switch out, so we asked the guy to help.  He seemed really confused and wandered around for a while only to return with 10 minutes to go before park opening to tell us we couldn’t use them.  We had to inform him that we had used them 2 previous days, so he sought out a manager.  (Queue Jeopardy music).  To complete an Ultimate Tour often means moving quickly to the attraction that is in greatest demand, we weren’t too sure how the day would go after we were already delayed.  At about 7:05 a.m we finally entered and hurried toward Radiator Springs Racers only to find a HUGE line and the ride was in delayed opening, so we journey to Luigi’s Flying Tires instead.  We debated getting a FASTPASS for RSR, but the line for those would cost us an hour because they didn’t begin distributing until 8:00 a.m.  We chose to try to attempt every other attraction in the park and take on RSR last and accept any insane wait that came our way.  RSR topped out at 240 minutes that day!

It was still really early and the kids were already a little bummed by the delay and RSR not opening, but Ultimate Touring involves overcoming challenges.  Things NEVER go exactly as planned, so we reschedule things on the fly.  After riding the Flying Tires we saw Red the Fire Engine and the kids were excited to meet him, then it was over to see Lightning McQueen.  We rode Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree to finish up what we could at the time in Cars Land.

We heard that Paradise Pier was open, so we headed that way.  There was NO ONE in that area!  EVERYONE ran to Cars Land or to get a FASTPASS an hour later.  After riding California Screamin’ my son wanted to ride again, and again and again, but we had to remind him that we were on an Ultimate Tour and didn’t know if we’d get a second ride later.

Have you EVER seen a ZERO minute wait at Toy Story Midway Mania?
Have you EVER seen a ZERO minute wait at Toy Story Midway Mania?

Honestly, Paradise Pier was the easiest part of the day, there was no wait for the rides and the Cast Members were happy to see actual people.  The lady at the Little Mermaid asked if it was our first ride of the day at 8:27 a.m.  We told her we were on ride #14 and she was rather shocked.

Next, we thought it wise to move to Bug’s Land to knock out all the slow-loading kiddie type rides that have such unnecessary waits later in the day.  Before heading in we caught the 5 and Dime show.  While in Bug’s Land, we found the 4 leaf clover.

The Bug's Land Four Leaf Clover!
The Bug’s Land Four Leaf Clover!

We rode all the little rides and decided to save It’s Tough to be a Bug for later and headed to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and there was very little wait there too.  We were flying through this Ultimate adventure!  We did a couple of things in that area, then grabbed a FASTPASS for Soarin’ for later on.  Disneyland Resort still allowed late FP usage at the time, so we weren’t worried about the return time.  We spent about 4 hours in the Hollywood and Condor Flats areas meeting characters, seeing shows and riding Soarin’.  The posted wait for Soarin’ was 60 minutes, but it only took us 11 minutes to reach the seats with our FASTPASS – SCORE!

It was ladies dance time!
It was ladies dance time!

We had to do a lot of running around after that section, over to Paradise Pier for some shows and the parade and back to Redwood Creek.  This is the point things became a little more frustrating.  We used a FP to ride Grizzly River Run and got soaked.  It was cool that day in Anaheim and I forgot to bring the camera on the ride and accidentally left it in the locker.  We figured we’d just purchase the Photopass photo and everything would be good.  Well, there is no on-ride photo there, so we got soaked for no reason.  About this time my son was cold and wet and thinking he’d never want to do another Ultimate Tour as long as he lives.  He’s a veteran and holds 3 records with me at Walt Disney World, so that was a bit unexpected.  I stopped for a few minutes (which is rare on Ultimate Tours) and we discussed whether we wanted to continue, give up or just take an incomplete tour.  I had to accept an incomplete once at Magic Kingdom and didn’t really like that, so that wasn’t an option.  After hearing everyone out, we decided that we would try again later as long as I bought some towels.  We grabbed another FP for later.

This was our photo after riding Grizzly River the first time.  Wet and cold!
This was our photo after riding Grizzly River the first time. Wet and cold!  A deceptive person could have easily edited this to appear on the ride, but that’s not our style.

We were already wet, so we ventured on to Princess Dot’s Puddle Park to get a little more wet and then sat in an air conditioned theater.  See, I told you there are challenges! Goofy picked up our spirits by doing some exercises to get the blood flowing.  We had seen his athletic prowess in movies, but he’s definitely got game.  After watching the Aladdin musical and checking out the Mad T Party we had to tackle the Grizzly River Run again.  First, we grabbed some Glow in the Show ears to play with later.  It wasn’t as bad as we thought.  It was worse.  We were now soaked to the bone and the sun was about to set and it was chilly out.

We went back to Radiator Springs to catch the Lights On ceremony that they offer each night and saw Mater, so we pulled in for a tow.  We danced to shaboom and then danced some more the DJ.  DJ is the little car from the Cars movie that plays music that puts Mack to sleep.  I really need to buy me a full size DJ car!  Our Glow with the Show ears worked in Cars Land, Mad T Party area and World of Color show.  They were a fun addition and really perked up our spirits after the second soaking.  As soon as the World of Color show was over we hustled over to Radiator Springs Racers to tackle our last major obstacle.  The posted wait was 105 minutes and swelled to 240 shortly after we entered.  The line was moving really smoothly until 1.4 million people returned with FASTPASSes at the exact same time.  We ended up with a 70 minute wait, which was really reasonable considering the circumstances.  It was the first ride on RSR after dark for my kids, so they really enjoyed it and savored the victory of knowing that our first ever California Adventure Ultimate Tour would be complete soon.  We petted a tractor and checked out with Walt himself.  We entered the park at 7:00 am and left at 11:00 pm.

Here’s our documentation for the day:  DCA July 4 2012

Enjoy our photos from the day!

0_early entry 0_first at gates 0_Times Guide (1) 0_Times Guide (2) 1_luigis 2_red 3_lightning 4_maters junkyard (1) 4_maters junkyard (2) 5_california screamin (1) 5_california screamin (2) 6_King Triton's Carousel (1) 6_King Triton's Carousel (2) 7_Toy Story Mania (1) 7_Toy Story Mania (2) 8_Mickeys Fun Wheel - Non Swinging 9_Games of the Boardwalk 10_Silly Symphony Swings (1) 10_Silly Symphony Swings (2) 11_Goofy's Sky School 12_Jumpin Jellyfish (1) 12_Jumpin Jellyfish (2) 13_Golden Zephyr 14_Little Mermaid (1) 14_Little Mermaid (2) 15_Five and Dime 16 Tuck and Roll (1) 16 Tuck and Roll (2) 17_Francis Ladybug Boogie 18_Fliks Flyers 19_Heimlichs Chew Chew 20 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (1) 20 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (2) 21_Mr Incredible Auto 21_Mr Incredible 22_Monster's Inc 23_Frozone Auto 23_Frozone 23_Red Car Newsboys 24_Disney Jr 25_Mickey Mouse (2) 25_Mickey Mouse 26_Pluto auto 26_Pluto 27_Soarin 28_Minnie Mouse (2) 28_Minnie Mouse 29_Donna the Dog Lady (2) 29_Donna the Dog Lady 30_Chip n Dale auto 30_Chip n Dale 31_Red Car Trolley 32_Jake Auto 32_Jake 33_Animation Academy (1) 33_Animation Academy (2) 33_Animation Academy (3) 34_Character Close Up 35_Sorcerers Workshop (1) 35_Sorcerers Workshop (2) 35_Sorcerers Workshop 36_Turtle Talk 37_Minnies Fly Girls 38_Handy Manny auto 38_Handy Manny 39_Muppet Vision 3D 40 Dancin with Disney

Clarabelle didn't autograph

42_Mariachi Divas

First float
First float
Last float
Last float

44_Paradise Garden Bandstand 45_Green Army Men Show 46_Instant Concert 47_Phineas and Ferb 48_Donald Duck auto 48_Donald Duck 49_Buzz Lightyear (2) 49_Buzz Lightyear 50_Jessie auto 50_Jessie

Duffy didn't autograph
Duffy didn’t autograph

52_Bakery Tour 53_Blue Sky Cellar 54_Dug auto 54_Dug 55_Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (1) 55_Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (2) 55_Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (3) 56_Wilderness Explorer Ceremony (1)

Had to ride twice due to lack of photo on first ride.  Smiles are fake
Had to ride twice due to lack of photo on first ride. Smiles are fake

56_Wilderness Explorer Ceremony (3) 57_Russell 58_Princess Dot Puddle Park 59_It's Tough to be a Bug 60_Goofy (2) 60_Goofy 61_Aladdin Musical 62_Mad Tea Party 63_Grizzly River Run 64_Mater 65_Radiator Springs Lighting

Don't we look cool in our Glow with the Show ears?
Don’t we look cool in our Glow with the Show ears?

66_Radiator Springs Lighting

July 4th, but it was FREEZING at World of Color
July 4th, but it was FREEZING at World of Color

67_World of Color (2) 68_Radiator Springs Racers (2) 68_Radiator Springs Racers 69_Maters Petting Zoo 70_Storyteller's Statue

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