Disneyland is my Cardio- Part 1: Disney's California Adventure
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Hidee ho dear readers! Welcome to part 1 of what I’m calling "The Adventures of a Disney Walker." What is a Disney Walker, you ask? No, it’s not an undead creature roaming the parks. A Disney Walker is someone who simply goes to Disney to… walk. That’s right, just to walk around. You know mall Walkers? The folks who usually get to the mall before the stores open to simply get some exercise? Same concept, except I walk around the Disneyland Parks.
It’s said you should walk about 10,000 steps a day at least for a healthy bit of exercise. It’s something I’d like to try to do, but like a lot of folk, I work in an office all day… well, really just a room in an office building… and I really don’t have much of an excuse to just walk around the office without bothering other people. I could walk around the nearby park by my house when I get home, but that would require me to walk in a small circle a couple dozen times and frankly after the first lap, I get bored. Luckily though, I do own a Disneyland Annual Pass which allows me to go to the parks pretty much whenever I want AND it’s a hop, skip and jump away from my office. So I took it upon myself to get my needed exercise by walking around Disneyland.
Hey, Rich, isn’t it a hassle to park and navigate through the crowds? Sure… for most people I suppose. Parking for me is free and I’ve included it in my walks. I park and, instead of taking the tram to the parks, I walk through Downtown Disney. That adds almost a mile to my walks. I also like having to navigate through crowds, it keeps me on my toes. Full disclosure here, I did suffer a mild stroke about a year ago which affected my motor skills for awhile so the act of dodging and weaving through screaming kids, teens glued to their phones and skipping through bubble machines has helped my brain heal from the extra stimulation. Also, in case you were wondering, I am pretty okay nowadays. In addition to taking these walks 2-3 times a week I do also try to eat better… but that’s a conversation for another time… in another forum. You’re here to read about Disneyland!
So let me take you through a typical day shall I?
Now, like I said, I incorporate Downtown Disney into my walks. You can park in either the Simba Parking lot or more commonly, the Mickey and Friends parking lot. You can also take an Uber/Lyft to Downtown Disney. So I’m going to start us there. The App I use to track my steps is called "Pacer."
Once I go through security and show my belt buckle to the guards, I find myself at one end of Downtown Disney. I’ll include some screen shots of my walking app to show you distance and steps. You’ll see my time too, but honestly, that may be longer than normal because I also stop and look at shops and sometimes to enjoy performers. So really, just pay attention to distance, steps and perhaps even calories burned.
As I stroll through Downtown Disney or DTD from here on in, I could take the monorail directly into Disneyland… but that would defeat the purpose of me walking, so I ignore it… for now.
Oh! For those of you who play the Pokemon Go mobile game, the Disneyland Resort is a great way to find Pokestops, Pokemon, gyms and raids! That is another article for another day. I also “play” the game while doing these walks sometimes.
After walking through DTD, I end up in the Esplanade… which is a fancy way of saying the entrances to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure… which I will now refer to as DCA… because I’m a lazy typer.
This is the center of the Esplanade. At this point, I’ve taken about 1000 steps and traversed about half a mile. Way to go Me!
For part one of this adventure story, I’m going to take you to DCA! I usually mix it up whenever I go. Sometimes, I go to Disneyland first it makes things more interesting and keeps everything from getting too routine…ey.
So, yeah, I veer right and head into DCA! I use my Disneyland App to get through the gate take a stroll through Buena Vista Street which is a representation of Hollywood around the time Walt Disney was there with a suitcase and a dream. Along the street, I pass through some of the stores, I avoid the right side as that’s where the treats are. Candy, Ice Cream and… Starbucks. The left hand side has more merchandise stores and toys. Toys are awesome.
At the end of Buena Vista Street is Carthay Circle, which is the “hub” of DCA. From here you can choose to go left to Hollywood Land, straight to the Pacific Warf or right to Grizzly Peak. Today, I go right.
Grizzly Peak is home to Soarin’ which is a ride I refuse to go on. The smart part of my brain tells me I’m perfectly safe and I’m not flying through the air like a bird, but my irrational part of my brain with a weird perception issue refuses to believe logic and I freak out. The one and only time I rode it, I gripped to the seat so tightly that it was hard to open my hands and let go once the ride was over. You know what's even stranger? I love roller coasters and other rides that actually take me up to dizzying heights. Yeah, figure that out.
I pass the Grizzy River Run ride and it’s like 50 degrees out so no way I’m riding that… well, I normally don’t ride much when I’m here, but anyhoo, even if I wanted to, it’s too cold! Oh, nevermind it’s closed for refurbs. Yay!
A trip around the riverbend and suddenly I’m in San Francisco… ish. Here, I usually see Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde from Zootopia posing for pictures. Then I’m at a crossroads and The Little Mermaid ride.
Cool! I’ve almost walked a mile…. Well, in reality, I already have since I technically started in the Parking lot but, excluding that fact, I’m at almost a mile and about 8,000 steps away from my goal.
From here, I could go to the Pacific Warf, Pixar Pier or Paradise Garden Park. I go straight into Pixar Pier
Pixar Pier was recently renovated (it used to be called Paradise Pier) and a lot of what was here before has been replaced with Pixar themes so it’s the same but different. It does still retain that Boardwalk feel which it was first modeled after.
This area has two of my favorite rides - the newly rethemed Incredicoaster, which features characters and story with the cast of The Incredibles, and Toy Story Midway Mania which is a ride/shooter attraction which is based on carnival games. I walk on by, because I’m on a mission… and I run away from the cookie stand which features Jack Jack’s Cookie Num Num which is heaven in a small dish. Must resist… warm… cookie…
If the line for Midway Mania is too long, you could try your hand at actual carnival games. Sadly I’m not skilled enough to win a stuffed Bullseye. Boo on me!
Oh, if you want to relive all the feels from Inside Out, you can see Bing Bong crying candy! I also pass by the other ride I refuse to go on because of my inconsistent fear of heights… or rather, my vertigo -Pixar Pal-Around… which is a huge ferris wheel with swinging cars. PASS!
I duck under The Incredicoaster and end up in Paradise Garden Park which has a pretty good “food court” where I usually get ravioli. Not today though since I’m not here to eat (thank the maker). During hot days, I do come here to refill my water bottle with some ice cold high quality H2O for free from the pop fountain machines. There is also a bathroom here which makes this place a good pitstop.
By now, I’ve walked a little over a mile and have taken almost 3,000 steps. Definitely more exciting than walking laps around a couple of baseball fields.
This area has some carnival type rides and Goofy’s Sky School. This ride also freaks me out, but I will ride it if others want to. Again, I’m weird.
I now find myself back at the crossroad. I walk forward a bit then turn right to head into the Pacific Warf. I curse at that vile tempress called Ghiradelli and their chocolates and ice cream and instead head into the Baker Tour.
Ahem, yes I do partake of the free sample of Sourdough bread. Fun Fact: This is often where I stop and "eat." I can get a sample of bread and dessert from Ghiradelli as they give a free sample of a chocolate square. It tides me over until I actually eat. Oh, to give you a time reference, I get out of work around noon so I’m usually here around most people’s normal lunchtime…. Which is really dinner time for me, but not really since I don’t eat lunch when I work because it throws me off as I’d have to end up eating lunch at 8-9am. I digress…
This area also has several other eateries with counter service and, if you are so inclined, you can also get some alcoholic beverages, which I don’t.
Okay. Now we head into Radiator Springs. If you are here with people who have never been there, take them to this entrance. It’s super majestic. Especially at night. I won’t show you a photo of it when you enter, but instead a photo from a little further back just in case you yourself have never been there. DO yourself a favor, enter through the Pacific Warf, you’ll thank me later.
Radiator Springs is pretty much an exact replica of the town from the Cars movies. If this is any indicator of how much attention to detail Disney is going with moving forward, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is going to look phenomenal.
The Radiator Springs Racers ride is still one of the most popular rides at DCA and always has super long lines, usually more than an hour. SO if you want to ride it, I suggest getting there early and getting a Fast Pass as soon as possible. It’s a fun ride.
If you are a fan of the movie Cars, you will definitely appreciate the stroll down the road where you’ll find the shops and stalls from the movie, Flo’s diner is another favorite place for some good eats. You’ll also find some of the characters from the movie hanging out at the Cozy Cone Motel.
Usually, this is where I may continue on to A Bug’s Land, but sadly, they are replacing that area with a Marvel based area. Hopefully, it will also be young kid friendly just like A Bug's Land was. Since the area is closed, I head down the street back to the main pathway.
At the end of the road, I turn right and pass by this sign
And back to the hub.
At this point I’ve taken 4,000 steps. I also head into the last part of the park. Hollywood Land.
I continue walking, not getting a chimichanga from one of the food carts, until I reach the end of the road.
From here I turn right again and head towards the Guardians of the Galaxy ride. It’s a controversial ride due to it’s history. Many people hate it because of what it replaced. It used to be the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which was a fan favorite (They still have one at Walt Disney World in Florida). A few years ago, they closed it down and gave it a make over and new ride visuals and was relaunched as Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout. Same basic ride, with a different story. I personally like the ride better, but I do think the atmosphere of Tower of Terror was better. It’s strange that basically the same mechanics can feel very different based on the theme. Tower of Terror did a very good job of building up your anxiety giving the ride a more “terror” feel while the Guardians version is more exciting as you basically start the ride right away instead of having a slower buildup. But yeah, usually you could continue into A Bug’s Land, but as I previously mentioned, it’s closed.
I’ve now pretty much hit the 2 mile mark and I’m almost halfway to my 10,000 step goal. Time to turn back around and head the other way.
If you feel so inclined, you could stop here if you are here at the right time to watch the Frozen stage show at the Hyperion theater. It’s short, but really well done. If you are a fan of Frozen, definitely check it out. As for me, today, I keep walking past Spider-Man and Captain America into Hollywood Studios.
There is a food cart here, and a stage where you’ll usually find schools playing something. There is also a theater that sometimes shows sneak peaks at upcoming Disney movies, Today… nothing is there.
Oh, and you pass the Monster’s Inc ride which I like, but seems lonely out here away from any other ride. It used to be called Superstar Limo which was apparently really horrible. The ride still uses the same track and animatronics with new skins and is probably better suited as a Monster’s Inc ride than a Hollywood ride.
Once I get to the end of the road I turn right again and head back to Carthay Circle.
I turn right again at the Storytellers Statue of Mickey and Walt and back to the Esplanade.
This ends my adventure into DCA. Come back soon for part 2 where I take you through my walk inside the Disneyland park!