This past Saturday marked the beginning of Disneyland’s program of allowing early entry (also known as Magic Morning to hotel guests) for annual pass holders. You can find more information in our previous article on the program. So naturally we took advantage of this and made for the park bright and early on Saturday. And so begins our Disneyland trip report for January 5th, 2013!
Disneyland at 7 am? It’s on!
I might have mentioned in past trip reports that one of my favorite things to do at Disneyland is attend rope drops. Really, I just like being at the park very early in the morning. In part due to the calm before the storm, but also for the early morning joy and optimism of the park guests. As such, there was no chance at all that we were going to miss an opportunity to be at the park before rope drop. So we got ourselves up and ready starting at 5:45 am and were out the door at 6:20 am for our 7 am entry. And can I just say that it was freaking dark out! DARK dark. Sunrise was at 6:45 am I believe. And it was cold. But we would not be deterred!
We wound up missing “gate drop” at 7 am though because the Toy Story parking lot wasn’t open! I should have known better, as I know they don’t open until an hour before park opening. I know this because I have now tried to get to the Toy Story lot before 7 am three times. One of these days I’ll learn. So we made for Mickey and Friends, which takes FOREVER. Even early in the morning. We made it to the tram by 6:50 am and were through the gates at 7:05 am. Not bad, but it kind of bummed me out a little for just a bit.
Radiator Springs Racers
Saturday early entries are for California Adventure, and the first thing we noticed as we made our way down Buena Vista Street was a sort of tractor beam effect on the crowds. It seems everyone was being pulled to Radiator Springs Racers. It was pretty comical actually. We were debating how best to negotiate Radiator Springs Racers, but it seemed like every plan we made was quickly shot down.
At first we were planning to get a fast pass, but we were advised that fast passes would not be distributed until 8 am. Believe it or not, there were quite a few people who spent their early entry waiting in the fast pass queue for the full hour. I’m not sure I understand this at all. So the Disney Ninja suggested that we just get in the stand by line. The simplicity of this suggestion floored me a little, to the point that I couldn’t get me head around the concept at first. Do what? For Radiator Springs? But just as soon as we entered Cars Land at 7:10 am we were met by an ENORMOUS stand by line that reached all the way to Fillmore’s. A cast member nearby advised that they had just started letting people in to the stand by queue and that it would be 30-45 minutes.
Now is a good time to say that we at Fresh Baked are spoiled rotten! Disneyland is a playground to us, and we want to PLAY. So we generally refuse to wait for anything for more than 30 minutes. If a fast pass is to be had, we’ll have it. If we can’t have that and stand by is excessive, we’ll go next visit. It’s pretty rare that we will wait for much. There is too much to do at Disneyland for us to wait. But this is a position we can afford to take because we go so often. So with that in mind, we opted not to wait for stand by and decided to sample the many other offerings of Cars Land and California Adventure.
Cars Land and Paradise Pier
We spent our remaining 50 minutes of early entry riding Luigi’s Flying Tires, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, Toy Story Midway Mania, and California Screamin. Luigi’s was great, even at 45 degrees and no beach balls. People still like to hate on this ride for its slow queue and lack of thrills. For good reason I guess, but we still like it. Even without the beach balls. But I won’t wait 40 minutes for it.
Mater’s was fun as heck too. I think the ride was made more fun this time because we all took separate tractors. This allowed us more freedom to slide around when the tractor turns. It felt quicker and more aggressive than usual. The Disney Ninja and I then headed for Midway Mania for a walk-on, which was awesome. This is another ride we have done less and less lately because we are so spoiled. It seems like no matter when you visit the park, it’s a 45 minute wait. We REALLY have to be in the mood to take that on because it’s not exactly a steady moving queue. There is a lot of standing still there. The Disney Ninja and I had a great time though, one of our best matches ever. He’s getting better, and we really were giving each other the business while playing. He nearly beat me this time.
Candi and the boy then rode California Screamin. I opted out because I didn’t want to upset my stomach so early in the day, and so I could watch our coffee’s and hot chocolate. I was bummed though because the battery ran out on my video camera before I could catch their launch. I should have been more prepared. It was while they were on California Screamin that the rope formally dropped at DCA.
Radiator Springs Part Two
So we headed back to Cars Land to see how long the wait was to get a fast pass for Radiator Springs. It was 8:10 am and let me just say that people REALLY want to ride RSR. Really. In our trip report video you can see we follow this queue all the way from the starting point at Bugs Land to the end of the line past Off the Page, just before you turn right to go to Tower of Terror. This is an incredibly long line and is probably an hour wait or so just to get a fast pass for much later in the afternoon or early evening.
AGAIN we opted out of a trip to Radiator Springs, and instead headed for the nearby Tower of Terror. The ride was a good one, even for 8 am. I mention this as sometimes the guests at TOT are a bit passive early in the morning, and not quite ready for such a ride. It is definitely more fun at night when everyone is in a more festive mood.
At this point we were ready to leave DCA and head for Disneyland. But just to make sure all bases were covered, we decided to take a crack at the single rider line for Radiator Springs Racers. We are not big on single rider lines because we like to ride our rides together. But it had been a while since we had enjoyed RSR, and we made the 7 am trip with the express goal of riding RSR, that we decided to go for it. The wait was 25 minutes at 8:30 am.
As we mention in the video, it was the best decision we made all day. There are many ways to catch this ride. Stand by, fast pass, single rider. Long waits and short waits. Whatever it is you decide, just go. This is best dark ride ever. It’s possibly the best ride in any Disney park anywhere in the world. It’s that good, at least in my opinion anyway. Sometimes we forget how good it is, or take it for granted. But every time we do ride, we’re reminded just how awesome it is. Disneyland really goes all the way here, providing one of the most immersive experiences one can have at a theme park. You really feel like you’re part of the movie, and the town. Here’s some parting photos of Cars Land we took that day.
Coming up next in part 2 of this trip report is the second half of our day spent at Disneyland. We’ll even get to meet one of our subscribers!