Balderramas in California 2024: Ride Reviews

Balderramas in California 2024: Ride Reviews

As I wrap up my posts about our California trip, I wanted to share a fun video I put together. After many rides at Disneyland, I made a point to briefly interview my daughters to see what they thought of each ride. I hope it’ll be fun for their future versions to reflect on this as a bit of a time capsule and relive some memories. However, some of this was too cute to sit on, so I hope they don’t mind indulging me in sharing this. In the video, there’s one ride where Mariana was absolutely not a fan. Enjoy!

Balderramas in California 2024: Day 3 – Disney California Adventure

Despite never going to California Adventure before, I intentionally didn’t set any major expectations and thus wasn’t heartbroken when the girls chose to sleep in. We weren’t up and about until 9 am, and after showering and breakfast in our room, it was close to 11 am before we got to the park.

The first thing we did was try to ride the Monsters Inc. Ride, but it broke down while we were in line. We ventured towards the Grizzly River Run, which was on the girl’s list of rides. The wait was short, and the girls loved the water ride, going down the steep slides and getting soaked. Clara even suggested packing a change of clothes in the backpack, and in hindsight, it would have been a great idea as she was soaked. Despite this being the first ride they took, they both proclaimed this as their favorite California Adventure ride.

A cool display in the Grizzly River Run queue

We then chased the following shortest line in The Little Mermaid ride (5 minutes!) and loved watching scenes from the movie.

At this point, it was the early afternoon, and we were hungry enough to stop and grab some pizza and pasta on the Boardwalk area nearby. We saw that the Monsters Inc. ride was operational again, with a shorter wait than before. After standing in the hot sun, we rode the “taxi cab” through scenes from the Monsters Inc. movie and were pretty underwhelmed. I think the length of the wait tainted our perception of the ride, given that the Little Mermaid was a similar concept.

We then went to the Avengers Campus to see how long the wait for the Guardians of the Galaxy Tower Ride would be. Mariana ran into Ms. Marvel and discussed her desired superpower (super strength). We got right into the Guardians ride right when they went from 65 minutes to a 90-minute wait. At this point: in for a penny, in a for a pound.

Once inside, the queue had some excellent Guardian displays, including Cosmo and Ultron.

The Guardians ride replaced the Hollywood Tower ride, using a “runaway elevator” concept. Once we started to go up and down, Mariana immediately wanted to be on the ride. Sadly, we were past the point of no return, so she had no choice but to stay nestled in my arms and hang on. You can see her in the bottom right-hand corner of this picture.

After getting off the ride, Mariana would have been fine with just returning to the hotel for the rest of the day. However, we did coax back into the park experience, with a bit of help from meeting Iron Man. He commented on my “Emotional Support Animal” shirt.

We watched a brief Dr. Strange magic show, and both girls gave great suggestions on who he needed to summon to help us out. Clara ended up guessing it correctly with “Captain Marvel.” We got some ice cream and then brought back to riding with Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, which was a variation of the teacups.

We essentially had our fill of California Adventure. Still, both girls wanted to give Grizzly River Run another try, with Mariana sitting on the outside this time so she could get wet. The line was a little longer but not unbearable. On our ride were two older men who primarily spoke Spanish, and the girls loved listening to this old bearded man screaming, “No! No! No!” While approaching the drops.

With one last ride in them, the girls asked to ride Goofy’s Flight School, which was a mini version of Space Mountain, but in broad daylight. The ride was entertaining but solidified our desire to be done for the day and get dinner.

We walked to Downtown Disney and had dinner at the Jazz Kitchen, where the girls enjoyed burgers, jazz music, and beignets, showing off their powdered sugar mustaches.

At this point, the night got very late, and we returned to the hotel, but not before briefly shopping at the World of Disney and seeing some of the Pride displays and fountains in Downtown Disney. We ended up getting into the hotel before 10 pm and went straight to bed, with the intention of getting up in time for rope drop the following day at Disneyland Park.

Check out some more pictures below!

Balderramas in California 2024: Day 2 – Disneyland!

The day is finally here: Disneyland! After reading books, watching YouTube videos, and researching tips, we set up a game plan to open the park at “rope drop” to get the shortest line to the most popular rides. We’d head home around lunchtime to eat at the hotel and rest, then have an earlier dinner and return to the park until close.

The girls had no trouble waking up early this morning, and we quickly ate a breakfast of bagels, cream cheese, fruit, and cereal before heading to the park. Our hotel was a 20-minute walk; we made it about 15 minutes before they opened.

Before we go further, I must confess that I’m not a big fan of roller coasters and crazy rides. However, my girls were anxious to try everything out, so this week, I set aside those fears and put my love for my daughters in its place. I didn’t mind the rides after all, and I always marvel at how parenting can cause us to set aside our fears for our kids.

We made a mad dash to Space Mountain and managed to get through the line in about 20 minutes. I wasn’t too worried about Clara on the ride, but I was curious about what Mariana would think. After the ride, she said she wasn’t sure whether she was laughing or crying, but ultimately, she loved it and said it was her favorite ride (albeit after one ride).

Our next ride was Autopia, the little cars. Mariana brushed up against the 54″ height limit, barely clearing the ability to drive on her own. While she was excited to get her driver’s license, in hindsight, driving alone was a mistake. She didn’t realize how hard it would be to press the pedal and steer simultaneously, and her car ride was just 5 minutes of pure frustration while I was trying to talk her through it without rear-ending her. It remained her least-favorite ride of the day.

Our next ride was Jungle Cruise, which the girls found very entertaining. We then stopped and enjoyed a Strawberry Croissant and Macaroon from the Jolly Holiday Bakery. At this point, the lines started getting long at most places, and we started chasing the shortest line. This brought us to the Storybook Land Canal boat ride. I showed the girls a photo we took in 2017 and asked them to re-enact it, but they weren’t very cooperative.

We didn’t get our boat fix on Storybook Land, so we headed to Pirates of the Caribbean. Mariana was apprehensive about the ride and didn’t like the first drops. However, when they got off, they both exclaimed that it was their new favorite ride. They loved all of the animatronics and were looking for Jack Sparrow.

We then had an appointment at Droid Depot for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The design is astonishingly detailed.

In the Droid Depot, you can build your own Star Wars Droid. I discussed this with the girls over the last week and gave them both the option to do it. The experience lived up to the hype, and the girls had a blast building them. They come with a remote control that moves their head, makes noise, and then rolls them around.

We returned to the hotel for lunch and a rest. We then had an early dinner at Ballast Point in Downtown Disney and returned to the park for the night. Our first ride was Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which had a cool queue/line area that entertained us for the 30-minute wait.

I then convinced the girls to go on It’s A Small World, and they loved trying to identify the different countries and princesses.

After tracking the wait times, we saw that Star Wars Rise of the Resistance, arguably the most popular ride in Disneyland, had just reopened after breaking down. We hustled back to Galaxy’s Edge and got on the ride within 30 minutes. The girls loved the ride’s realism and the story’s experience.

We stayed in Galaxy’s Edge and did Smuggler’s Run. The girls loved being able to pilot the ship. The ride broke down while they were on it, spurning many “you crashed the ship” jokes.

The night was starting to wind down, but the girls wanted to ride Pirates of the Caribbean one last time before we left. We arrived at the hotel around 10:30 p.m. Overall, we had a great first day and were excited to return on Thursday. Next stop, Disney California Adventure!

Here are some more photos of our awesome day!