After twelve hours of hopping back and forth between the two Disneyland Resort theme parks, I’m thoroughly cooked. 

I knew I was in for a long day when I woke up with achy feet and saw that the mercury was climbing into the 90s. I flirted with the idea of telling the kids we lost our Disneyland tickets (oh, well – maybe we can read quietly and take naps instead!), but I’m a terrible liar.

The clan quickly fueled up on scrambled eggs and fruit, and then dashed off to start the day at Disney’s California Adventure, where we planned to meet up with our old friend Junichi (law professor, game show groupie, slam poet, and ex-embedded Dixie Chicks blogger extraordinaire) and his kiddo, K.

Although we arrived not long after the park opened, the line to ride the park’s newest attraction, Radiator Springs Racers (in Disney’s brand-spankin’-new Cars Land) was already TWO HOURS LONG.

Fitbomb and Junichi were charged with getting us FastPasses for the ride (which allow visitors to come back later during a scheduled window and skip the majority of the queue). But get this: They had to wait in ANOTHER line for the better part of an hour just to get the FastPasses.


Our FastPasses were in hand by 9:30 a.m. – but we wouldn’t be riding until dinnertime.

The six of us spent the morning wandering around the park, checking out the insanely detailed recreation of Radiator Springs…

…plummeting down haunted elevator shafts

…and debating world politics.

At lunchtime, we ended up in the Pacific Wharf area in the theme park – or, as I like to call it, the Really Big Outdoor Food Court.

My hubby attempted to order a couple of Paleo-friendly salads at the Pacific Wharf Café (which, by the way, is a re-branded Boudin Bakery). He got ‘em to plate the salads on plates instead of inside hollowed-out sourdough bread bowls, but when the salads arrived, we were dismayed to find minimal protein and greens swimming in gobs of dressing.

C’est la vie. Time for Plan B: A bowl of beef and vegetables in Thai coconut curry sauce (sans rice) from Lucky Fortune Cookery.

It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but it was fairly decent (if overpriced). Or maybe I was just starving.

It was good to catch up with Junichi, and to see K interact with our two boys. Hard to believe it’s been over a decade since we were all twenty-something singletons living in San Francisco…and now we’re just a bunch of dog-tired parents schlepping our kids around a Disney park. Ah, the joys of becoming a grown-up.

Après lunch, we hit a few more rides…

…ran into some bandit-lady with an abnormally large head…

…passed out while waiting in an air-conditioned theater for the Aladdin musical to begin…

…and gnawed on pineapple chunks while parade-watching.

I think Buzz Lightyear was making eyes at me.

While K took a nap, the Nombomb clan headed back over to Disneyland to visit a bunch of attractions we missed yesterday. Big-O and I rode the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad coaster…

…and Fitbomb took our four-year-old to the shooting gallery.

The prize for shooting a diseased-looking vulture off his perch? A pair of Mickey ears and a ginormous plastic gem from a nearby souvenir shop.

With that kind of booty in hand, we had to visit Pirates of the Caribbean one last time.

Meanwhile, over in Tomorrowland, Big-O had to face down his greatest enemy (other than second-grade math): Darth Vader. Or more accurately, some unfortunate soul who got paid minimum wage to dress in black leather under a scorching sun to play-fight with a gaggle of small children Padawan.

Finally, at dusk, we made it back over to Radiator Springs for our appointment with Racers. A long line of eager fans were still braving two-hour lines to ride this attraction, but with our FastPasses, we made it to the front in no time. Three minutes later, we were done.

Was it fun? Yes. But after arranging our entire park itinerary around Radiator Springs Racers, I have to say that it was a bit of a letdown.

Luckily, we chased our disappointment away with a pleasant family dinner at Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar in Downtown Disney. We were too exhausted to venture far from Disneyland, and we’d enjoyed a few meals here before, so we sat our butts down and ordered.

The adults shared a plate of guacamole (hold the flat bread)…

…grilled asparagus adorned with soft-centered boiled eggs…

…a lamb burger (sans bun) with sweet potato fries…

…and a bun-free house cheeseburger crowned with a fried egg…

…and accompanied by a side salad.

The Double-Os shared a flank steak platter with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots from the kiddie menu.

This is what they consider to be cooked “medium,” but the boys didn’t care one iota as they snarfed down their supper.

Although the quality of the dishes was a bit inconsistent (e.g. great guacamole, over-cooked meat, and woody asparagus), I thought our meal overall was decent, especially given the lack of Real Food options in Downtown Disney. Our latest stay in Mouse Land was fun, but I’m relieved we won’t be returning for at least another year or two. This old broad needs some time to forget how exhausting it is to drag two little boys around acres of kiddie crack.

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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