Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Deep into California

The trolley ride is uneventful, and we disembark and head through the bag check. And I finally remember to take a picture of the Mickey-shaped benches on the way into the plaza.

We’ve talked in a little more detail among us about our specific plans for California Adventure. It’s a bit ambitious, especially considering my asthma, but once we go in the park we’re going to walk all the way to the back, to the Paradise Pier area. Some of us want to ride California Screamin’, and all of us want to try the new Toy Story Midway Mania.

Through the entry gates we go, then under the Golden Gate bridge and into Sunshine Plaza. Ron and Kay immediately disappear – they’re apparently going their own way again, which is fine. My mom tells me that they have been to both parks here in California before but with grandkids, and they are really enjoying being on their own and getting to pick and choose what they want to ride!

The rest of us continue on past the sun fountain and to the right. We’re walking right under Grizzly Peak, and I have to say they’ve done a magnificent job on the look of the mountain. I know there’s a lot of landscaping tricks and forced perspective going on to make it look bigger than it is, but it has the feel of a real mountain.

A waterfall with multiple cascades coming down to one side is just gorgeous. I know this is supposed to represent areas of California, but it makes me homesick for the mountains of Colorado, where I grew up.

We turn left across a bridge. The large lagoon that the Paradise Pier area wraps around is dry now, completely drained, and surrounded by construction walls. They are working on the World of Color extravaganza that is part of the big money makeover of this park, and which is set to debut next year. From what’s been released about it so far, it’s going to be an amazing show featuring fountains, lights, fireworks, and projected images.

Despite the walls, the drained lagoon is very visible from the bridge and other places around its rim, and we see that it is filled with a massive network of pipes and conduit for electrical wiring. It looks amazingly complicated already, and they’re still a year away from completion? Wow.

Painted glass panels mounted on the bridge we’re crossing give still “previews” of the World of Color. I bet it’ll be phenomenal.

I haven’t ridden any attractions at California Adventure other than Soarin’ yesterday, but I have to say, so far I’m really enjoying being in this park, much more than I expected to. It’s far from perfect, but it is a Disney park, and the atmosphere, the cleanliness, the cheerful music, the landscaping, and the ultra-friendly cast members at every turn combine for a great experience. Maybe I set my expectations low and am being pleasantly surprised, but so be it. I like this park.

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