Saturday, January 5, 2013

Speed Racers

One of the number one 'to dos' on our trip planning list was the Radiator Spring's Racers ride at Cars Land. 'Cars' was the first movie Taine ever watched and he has been pretty besotted with all things Lightning McQueen ever since.

Of course Cars Land is at Disney's California Adventure Land as opposed to the original Disneyland and since we couldn't come all this way and not see the place our own dreams were made of as kids, we got up early to make an assault on both parks with a one day Park Hopper pass ($125 each, thanks very much!).

We walked to Disney because it's only 1km away from the hotel. When we got there at 8am there were already queues. Soarin' California was the first ride inside the gate so we did that while we could. At 8.20am we arrived at the queue for the Fast Pass to Cars. The Fast Pass is a system where you swipe your entrance ticket and are given a time to return to the ride later in the day, thereby bypassing the poor suckers who are in the stand by queue. The queue to get to the Fast pass for Cars was longer than the queue for some of the rides! We were told the line was 30 minutes long and all the passes may have run out before we got to the head of the line. At 8.20 in the morning! Not to be deterred we waited patiently in the line which actually moved quite quickly and scored ourselves a Fast pass for 8.20 - 9 pm, just 12 hours later! It was like scoring a gold wrapper because there were lots of people behind us who missed out.

Luckily the weather was glorious so we weren't too hot or too cold while we trudged around California Adventure trying to sneak into as many rides as possible. On a day as busy as yesterday that meant mostly tame kiddy rides but that suited Taine and I anyway. After lunch at Downtown Disney we went to Disneyland and fought our way through the increasing crowds there to visit all the Lands we'd seen on Sunday night TV in our youth.

We watched the Christmas Parade, not quite as exciting as the one at Disneyworld, partly because Christmas is over and partly because by then I was exhausted and cold and then ducked out to Downtown Disney again for some dinnertime pizza. There we met yet another Aussie family doing a similar trip to ours.

Finally it was time to go back and claim our Fast Pass to Cars Racer. I admit to feeling a little guilty as we passed the people in the stand by queue (now at 150 minutes wait time!) The ride was excellent, just like being in the movie as we passed through Radiator Springs and met all the characters. I think it was made all the more special because of our recent journey through the red rocks of Sedona and down Route 66. The racing part was just fast and furious enough to satisfy Geoff the adrenaline junkie and not bad enough to make me throw up, although as the photo attests, I had my eyes closed most of the time! We stopped on the way out to watch the 'Colours' fire and water display and in time to see Disney's fireworks as we went past their gate. By the time we started the long walk home we'd done 14 hours straight at Disney!

You can imagine our joy when we were mistakenly woken at 5.30am this morning by a wake up call intended for another room! Just one of the issues we've had with this hotel. Once we were properly awake we hopped in the car for a day trip to San Diego. Thankfully we'd had some training on the Racers ride because the traffic in Southern California is insane. It even puts Texas to shame. We drove through San Diego to the Las Americas outlets right on the Mexican border. We thought about crossing, just to say we'd been in another country but thought better of it because of the re entrance queues. It was an odd feeling to think of an artificial line being a barrier between people. Borders have made sense previously to us because we are girt by sea but watching the birds fly backward and forward over the border control buildings made our human differentiation seem pretty stupid.

We bought a few more pairs of ridiculously cheap Nikes at the outlets, visited an outdoor Mexican  bazaar and then drove back to Mission Beach in San Diego for a beautiful sunset. San Diego will definitely be on the list of 'places to stay longer' next time we come.

Then we rejoined the speedway for another white knuckle journey back to LA, counting our blessings when we arrived back in one piece.

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