Our next morning at California Adventure was a bit more relaxed. We were mostly trying to knock out a few rides we had missed the day before. We rode Soarin' which is always a favorite. It was probably our last time to ride it as "Soarin' Over California" too as Soarin' is getting ready to undergo major renovations both at Disneyland and Epcot to become "Soarin' Over the World".
We got warm hugs from Olaf,
and Nina and I went on Tower of Terror.
We were dying to try out the snacks at the Cozy Cone Motel, so we headed over to Carsland.
The Cozy Cone is just too cute. Each cone sells a different snack... Popcone, Cone Queso, Ice Cream Cones, Cone-Coctions, Cones, cones, cones! We tried just about everything.
Elise and J.C. got bread cones filled with chili or barbeque. Addison and Nina got ice cream cones. I got a cone full of mini churros with Mexican chocolate dipping sauce. Delish!
Carsland is all about the details... love it.
Despite all of J.C.'s protests about not wanting to get wet, we convinced him to go on Grizzly River Run which was a blast. Then we had lunch at Smokejumpers Grill and went back to the condo for our usual afternoon siestas.
(Disney Photopass stock photo)
For the evening, we had purchased tickets to Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland. The Halloween Party is a separate ticketed event. The park closes at 6:00 to anyone who doesn't have a Halloween party wristband. I had always wondered how they actually enforce that, but they do it quite well. They are checking for wristbands everywhere you go... before you get on a ride, before you get in a trick-or-treat line, entering or exiting different areas of the park. They definitely manage to lock it down to just party guests and escort anyone out who doesn't leave on their own.
I was pretty sure I couldn't convince the family to go entirely in costume, but they were all completely onboard when I suggested that we wear super hero t-shirts to go along with Addie's Wonder Woman costume. I think we turned out rather festive looking even if a t-shirt is a bit of a costume cheat. We were certainly a lot cooler and more comfortable than some of the people we saw walking around in full-on furry or leather costumes in 90 degree heat. People watching is half the fun of the Halloween Party. Guests go all out with their costumes.
Our first stop was the Little Red Wagon for their famous corn dogs. Holy awesome hand-dipped corn dog, Batman! Excellent dinner! We enjoyed people watching while waiting for the sun to go down, so it would start cooling off.
There is an overlap from 3:00-6:00 when party goers are allowed in the park and non-party-goers haven't left yet. It is very crowded during that time, but as soon as you start approaching 6:00, ride lines drop dramatically. We rode Star Tours and Astro Orbiter.
The Halloween Party was a bit of a mixed experience for us. The kids loved the trick-or-treating. It was fun seeing both party-goers and characters in costumes. The decorations were great, and the short lines for rides were a real treat. On the downside, the party specific things like trick-or-treating, meeting the villains (who are rarely seen in the parks), and meeting the characters in costume all had very long lines. It was a strange mix of crowded and not crowded. If you wanted to meet Malicifent or Cruella de Vil, your wait was well over an hour, yet if you wanted to ride Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, your wait might be just 10 minutes. The Halloween Party is definitely a great way to ride lots of the popular rides that usually have long waits. The main goal for us though was the more Halloween-specific activities, and those were all more crowded than I had anticipated.
The castle looked appropriately creepy and Halloweeny. The lights and sounds on Main Street were fun, and the Halloween fireworks show is neat.
Rivers of America was spooky as well with fog and special lighting.
(Disney Photopass stock photo)
It was all good. Everyone had a good time. Nina and I rode Haunted Mansion Holiday (Haunted Mansion at Disneyland gets redone this time of year with a Holiday overlay.). I think Addie rode the Winnie the Pooh ride 3 times in a row with no wait, and how cute is Pooh in his bee Hallloween costume?
Am I glad we went to the Halloween Party? Definitely. Would I go again? Not sure. I think you have to go with the right expectations. You are not going to meet every villain. You may not meet any villains unless you are willing to spend a lot of your evening in line. You are not going to see every character in costume. You are going to have to battle bigger crowds at times than you feel like you should given the price you paid for the ticket.
We ended the night with this lovely photo of me on Splash Mountain (which was walk-on... no line at all). Nice. This was another one that Addie had begged to go on but then came off declaring she would never ride it again.
It was a fun night. It definitely didn't quite live up to expectations, but it was fun regardless.
Day 8 Favorites:
Addison: Grizzly River Run and Trick or Treating
Nina: Grizzly River Run and Star Tours
Elise: Star Tours, Trick or Treating, and Splash Mountain
Ann: Grizzly River Run
J.C.: Star Tours