We left our morning recap walking down Main Street to our lunch at Carnation Cafe. We arrived a little early and were given a pager that would allow us to walk anywhere on Main Street. It seemed like the perfect time to squeeze in some more Photopass pictures. With holiday decorations up, maybe we could get a good photo for the Christmas card?
While taking some pictures near the tree in Town Square, we had a photobomb…by Goofy! This was a very fun and impromptu character meet. The characters in Disneyland seem to have a little more leeway than in WDW, and fun interactions like this are so much easier.
We also had a few minutes to spare for a quick Pluto meet. The girls each had their own autograph books, PLUS we had the autograph cards for our family book. I tried to always have them ready so that they could sign quickly and not take too much time.
Characters at DLR roam without handlers much more often than in WDW. So, it’s important to always be ready with your autograph book and pen! I’ve also noticed that character lines move much more quickly in California and Cast Members will cut the line so that you aren’t waiting around until the next set. If you’re line, you pretty much know you’ll be able to meet a character before he or she moves on.
Our pager started buzzing and blinking and we made our way to the Carnation Cafe. Check out full details of a great lunch here.
After lunch, we decided to use our anytime front of the line pass for Peter Pan. Unlike WDW, this ride has no Fastpass option. The line is also consistently long. It was about 50 minutes when we walked up, and were let in through the access line. This is one of my favorite rides. It was the only time we rode it on this trip, but I’m grateful we had the chance.
Then it was time for a California Adventure! It was too late in the day for Soarin’, Radiator Springs Racers or Tower of Terror fast passes and stand-by was pretty long at all three. Paradise Pier is a good bet at this time of day, so we made our way to the back of the park. My dad, husband and Sport made their way to California Screamin’ and my mom, Bean and I went to Mickey’s Fun Wheel. I think both lines were about 15 minutes at 2 in the afternoon. We also used all 6 park tickets for California Screamin’ fast passes, so they were able to ride a few times in a row.
I love that DLR still uses paper or legacy Fastpass (FP). I’m not sure how much longer it will last, but it’s nice to switch parks and have FP options available.
This view is hard to beat. Paradise Pier is a lot of fun, with rides for all ages.
We finished up at the Fun Wheel before the other half of the group finished all their coaster rides. While weaving our way along the pier, we noticed a festive area titled ‘¡Viva Navidad!’ The Christmas season was set to officially start the next day, but many of the seasonal places and shows were open. This area had counter service food and music as well as some unique character meets.
Elena of Avalor was meeting! With the line only about 15 minutes long, we go in for the last set of the day. Next to her were the Three Caballeros. The plan was to meet Elena then scoot over. However, their set ended just as we walked up to them. They rotated with different characters, so we never got a chance to meet them.
Sport arrived at the line with one group ahead of us and was able to join us. Elena was friendly and her dress was richly detailed. The red was beautiful! Over the two meets, we are happy we met Elena.
We were so excited to meet a new-to-us character.
Leaving the Viva Navidad! area, we were stopped by Cast members due to a blocked walkway. An “impromptu” street carnival-type parade was starting. Performers wore traditional Latin-American costumes and danced to holiday music. With the detailed planning I do for rides and characters, it’s embarrassing how little I read up on other entertainment. So, this performance took us completely by surprise, and I’m glad. It was delightful! Less than 15 minutes long and a great diversion. It really helped to set the holiday mood.
This was such a fun surprise!
After a round on the Jumping Jellyfish and a whirl on the Zephyr, we were ready to call it a day. I stopped off at one of the holiday kiosks (similar to the Epcot Food and Wine booths) and got a really good praline whoopie pie. We decided to make time for a quick photo at the entrance to Cars Land.
Cars Land is beautiful at night. The theming of this land is amazing.
Then it was really time to get going. Overall, a fantastic first day at DLR.
November 8th by the numbers:
9 am opening-5-ish
3 Photopass breaks
1 street performance
1 set of Fastpasses (California Screamin’)
1 sit-down meal
2 rounds of snacks