Soarin’ and Screamin’ at California Adventure #seizingfamilytime

My son is a giant. O.K. not quite. But he is very tall for his age. At 3 he was mistaken for a 5-year-old. At 5, people assumed he was 8. Lately, people have asked if my 8-year-old is 10 or 11. What?!

Being mistaken for an older kid can be onerous. Especially if your 3-year-old is acting like…well…a 3-year-old and not say like a 5-year-old. I got used to the looks of concern. There is a one bright spot to having a taller-than-average kid. Your child is tall enough to ride rides at Disney! That’s right my 3-year-old was about 40 inches tall when we visited Walt Disney World. I was surprised to learn that he was able to ride Soarin’ at EPCOT. I was amazed that I was able to take him on this ride. I thought that I would have to do the Rider Swap, which is when one parent rides a ride while the other parent stays back with the young child. He rode that ride like a seasoned veteran of amusement park rides.

Of Interest to Parents… At Disneyland, a child who is 40 inches and above may ride: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Star Tours — The Adventure Continues. At Disney’s California Adventure, a child who is 40 inches or move may ride: Jumpin’ Jellyfish, Silly Symphony Swings, Soarin’ Over California, and The Twilight Zone of Terror.

Our Kid, Preteen-now-Teen, and Teen loved California Adventure. So did we! We arrived at California Adventure determined to have the best last day of vacation ever…and we did!

Warning To Those Who Like to Stay Dry: You will get wet on Grizzly River Run! We couldn’t persuade the older two to come along for this adventure, but our youngest was game. Did I mention we got wet? A poncho would have been a good idea. Except that my son probably wouldn’t have worn one.

Musings from Me advice: Go on Grizzly River Run early in the day. We climbed aboard as soon as we arrived at California Adventure. We were able to ride twice. It was August so we all dried off quickly.

Grizzly River Run and Soarin’ Over California are in the Golden State Area of the park. Another attraction in this area is the Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar. You can get a preview of soon-to-be-opened attractions, while also perusing plans and blueprints for existing attractions. If I had any artistic skill at all, I would train to be an architect. The attractions at all Disney parks are designed to give the visitor the best possible experience. Nothing is left to chance. Why even Spaceship Earth is designed with channels and special gutters to allow rain not to fall on visitors. Disney Imagineers think of everything!

Thanks to FASTPASS we rode Soarin’ Over California twice, maybe three times. You feel as though you are literally handgliding over California.




The kids were anxious to do as many rides as possible at California Adventure as it was our last day of vacation in Southern California. I couldn’t blame them for wanting to do as much as possible, but I wanted to see Blue Sky Cellar.

Once we were inside Blue Sky Cellar the kids were intrigued by the designs for new and old rides. Of special interest to us was the soon-to-be-opened Cars Land. Scheduled to open in 2012, Cars Land will feature the sleepy town of Radiator Springs off Route 66. Rides in Cars Land will include:

  • Luigi’s Flying Tires
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • Radiator Springs Racers

The 6-acre Cars Land will be the largest attraction at Disneyland Resort. You can even dine at the Cozy Cone Motel, Flo;s V8 Cafe, and Fillmore’s Taste-in! I wonder if there will be a statue to Stanley!

While my son had his pic taken with Lightning and mater, I took a peak over the wall surrounding the construction site for Cars Land. It looks very fun!! I can’t wait til it opens!



We ended our day with several visits to California Adventure stores so my Preteen-now-Teen could swap her Vinylmations. She started a collection of these quirky and oh-so cute figurines about a year before our trip. Each one has the body of Mickey Mouse but each is decorated to resemble the characters from Toy story, the Muppets, Disney villains, or other more off-the-wall creations. One of hers is a Mickey decorated to look like a S’more.

She was anxious to trade the Vinylmations she had for different ones. I volunteered to carry her Vinylmations in the PlumDistrict bag I got at BlogHer. After saving the Vinylmations from getting wet, getting crushed, and getting mangled in the crowds, I was ever so happy for my daughter to do her trades. You can trade at over 90 locations in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line, and Disneyland Resort Paris.

We ate a very delicious dinner from two walk-up, quick service places: Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta and Paradise Garden Grill. My son and I are the more adventurous eaters…we loved the Mediterranean dishes from the Paradise Garden Grill. After dinner, it was a final ride on Goofy’s Sky School before heading to World of Color to use the FASTPASS that we picked up at Grizzly River Run at the start of our day.

I was given passes to Disneyland and California Adventure. We paid for our own flights, car rental, and hotel accommodations while in Southern California. The views expressed in this post are my own. I follow the tenets of Blog With Integrity.

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