We walked from Ariel’s Undersea Adventure over to A Bug’s Land so we could find something for the baby. I’d been to Disney California Adventure on two other vacations, but I had always skipped A Bug’s Land because I knew it was designed for little kids. So, it was a first trip to the land for all three of us.
The theming of A Bug’s Land is really impressive. I’d seen lots of engagement photos done in the area, but it was even more impressive in person. Everything is designed to make you feel like you’re bug-sized out in the backyard. Kyle was a huge fan of the popsicle stick benches, so we might be doing a DIY version in the future. Even Eva was taken with all the little details and the beautiful clover leaves above.
We started with Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train and were actually the first passengers of the day. I have a fondness for these little train rides (we love the lame one at our local zoo) so I was pretty excited about this kiddie ride. Unfortunately, it’s really underwhelming. You ride around and look at oversized plastic food, but it’s not a long ride and even Eva wasn’t interested in what we were looking at. She spent the ride trying to rub a freckle off of her finger. That’s how thrilling the ride was. (NOTE: I do think, however, that the ride would make for great family photos if you were looking to add attractions to your family photo session by having a photographer ride in the car ahead of you to shoot backwards. It’s slow, steady, and there’s a lot of color in the background. If we had made it over to DCA for family photos during our session the next day, I probably would have jumped on again.)
We skipped Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies (the bumper cars) because Eva doesn’t meet the height requirement and moved over to Francis’ Ladybug Boogie, which is kind of like the teacup ride at Disneyland. We decided to ride it and just not spin a lot, but it turns out that’s not an option on the ride. In retrospect, I don’t exactly know why we got on this attraction because Kyle and I don’t like spinning rides. I think we thought the kid version would be more tame?
Rule #3 when traveling with a baby at Disneyland: If you know you don’t like something, finding a smaller version does not mean you’ll like it. It probably means it’s even worse.
Word to the wise – that ladybug ride is rough. The Morgans might have some sort of inner ear issue or something but we stumbled off of that ride, gasping, and Eva’s eyebrows were stuck upward in a perpetually stunned position for a good three minutes. This ride was followed with Flik’s Flyers, a twirling swing ride that I would have probably enjoyed if my kidneys weren’t jammed up into the wrong part of my abdomen thanks to the ladybugs. As for Eva, it turns out that toddlers are too short to see over the edge in Flik’s Flyers and since we weren’t supposed to hold her on our laps it ended up being nothing more than a slightly disorienting ride in a box for her.
Outside of a water area, that pretty much wrapped up A Bug’s Land in DCA. My overall first impression was that the land is beautiful, but the attractions are lacking. (I admit, however, that my second impression of the land – two days later – was much better, so stay tuned for that.)
From A Bug’s Land we moved over towards the Monster’s Inc. ride since that’s one of my favorites in the park. We walked past The Tower of Terror and considered doing the baby swap thing so we could each ride it, but we prefer the Walt Disney World version anyway so we gave it a miss. We did, however, stop for a photo outside of the entrance to check Eva on the height requirement, which will be a new tradition for us. I’m excited to get a photo of her at Tower of Terror on every Disney trip over the years so we can watch her grow between vacations.
On the way to Monster’s Inc Mike and Sulley to the Rescue! we happened to run into Sulley in the back of Hollywood Land. We hadn’t had a character interaction yet and we were nervous about how Eva would respond, since little kids are historically unpredictable and Eva’s mother may or may not have an intense fear of mascots/characters/anything with a head. We thought Sulley might be a good start since he’s so big and fluffy and we were delighted to find that Eva loved him. LOVED him. She kept reaching her arms out to try to get him to pick her up (which she never does for anyone) and she couldn’t stop petting his fur.
Just a little past Sulley, we saw the sign for the Disney Visa cardmember’s private character meet, so we snuck in and did that as well, giving Eva her first taste of Pluto. She wasn’t as thrilled with Pluto as she was with Sulley, but she was still happy to meet him. The two character meets definitely made up for the fact that the Monster’s Inc ride was broken when we got there and we ended up wandering aimlessly around Hollywood Land for a little bit.
I should note that through this first day, we were wearing our pin lanyards and I had a lanyard for Eva in my bag. Kyle and I aren’t huge pin traders (we didn’t even get into it until our Disney wedding trip) but we like the convenience of wearing our passes around our necks. Plus, the pin thing is pretty fun once you get started as long as you can get over feeling like you’re bothering cast members when you ask to see their pins.
I had bought two bulk bags of 100 pins each off of eBay for Christmas a couple of years ago because I made my family advent calendars and put pins in as the daily gift. The pins ended up being about 60 cents a piece, which is a great deal when you need as many as I did. After I sorted through and used the “good” pins for the calendars, I ended up with about 40 pins that were either repeats or randomly ugly. On this Disneyland trip Kyle and I traded every single one for a pin that we could be excited about, so if you know you’ll be trading or you think you’d like to start, I’d recommend scanning eBay for a bulk deal.