The Cost of a Family Trip to Disneyland

The elevator ride was awesome. Very disorienting and freaky. On the top floor, steel curtains flip open and bathe the car in sunlight, revealing that you have been whisked to the top of a five-story building in seconds.

They you fall.

Nick and I jumped off the ride and ran back around to the front, still clutching more Fastpasses. We went a second time.

By the time we exited, our wives had joined us at the exit, just in time to view some of the Incredibles gliding in at the end of their mini-parade.

The Incredibles kids were not among them.

Probably in school.

We went back through Bug's Land, stopping at Francis' Ladybug Boogie for a teacup ride.

I bet one of these surly ladybug cars costs more than a Volkswagen.

We didn't stop for the Princess Dot puddle park. A tiny Snow White was having a moment in there.

We made a Fastpass appointment for the River Raft again, then split up so Nick and I could exploit our stack of California Screamin' Fastpasses.

The kids stayed with Stacy and Alisha in Bug's Land.

Earlier in the day I had assumed that there were two seperate coasters on the wharf, but it was just one long one: California Screaming.

It starts at the Lagoon edge with a burst from its linear induction motor, shooting it to the peak of a tall hill.

The blue split tubes on the hills were a mystery to us.

Visually, the ride is highlighted in a few places by these tubes, places where the track is both far above the ground and likely to produce screaming.

An internet search revealed that they block screaming sounds from crossing the southern border of the park into a residential area.

Here's a picture of the ride operator. His name is Greg Repuyeor.

Getting a rollercoaster Fastpass for each member of our group seemed like a hack, because only two of us were actually using them.

We ran back in line and used a second set, then we ran to catch up with the girls at Grizzly River Rafting Company.

The day had warmed, so the raft ride was a little more enjoyable the second time.

This time I caught a photo of a tiny waterpipe leak the designers added on the main lift section.

Because you are strapped into the raft, one or two unlucky passengers can see this sprinkle coming from 20 feet away, but are pretty much helpless to dodge it.

What a great detail.

It was only 4:30 p.m., but we were running out of gas. The lightly populated morning had enabled us to see most of the park already, and our enthousiasm for seeing every last detail was starting to wane.

We took a break at the UP themed Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.

You know, they might as well just change the name from California Adventure to Pixarland.

This section was a good place to relax and let the kids run around on a type of playground they had never seen before.

There was a zip line, a rock climbing wall, a spirit cave, observation tower, slides, a hollow log and about 3,000 feet of rope net catwalks.

A little after five p.m. we had had our fill of California Adventure and made our way back out to the shuttles, stopping to deliver on a cotton candy promise from earlier in the day.

I should mention that we were much less tempted to buy souvenirs from the California Adventure park. There weren't nearly as many stores as there are in Disneyland, or perhaps they are just better concealed.

In the plaza between the two parks, we could see a crowd of halloween costumes arriving. A special halloween event called Trick or Treat with Mickey was about to get rolling. It sounded like a wild event, but we weren't interested enough to justify the $60 price tag.

We went back to the hotel, where are fellow guest were enjoying this non-trademark infringing mouse head-shaped pool.

For dinner we went to California Pizza Kitchen across from the Anahiem convention center.

The place was packed with families and groups. It was pretty easy to tell which groups were there to visit Disneyland and which groups were there to visit Blizzcon.

Nick and Alisha bought dinner.

We got back to the hotel around 7:30 and the kids fell asleep in one minute.

Saturday was our last day scheduled at Disneyland.

Our morning routine of hotel breakfast and shuttle was sharpened and we got to the park earlier than ever before 9:12 a.m.

Here's Ferris with Captain Hook.

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