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During the Annual Pass preview, we spent the majority of our time in Carsland but I was also really eager to check out Buena Vista Street. My love of Old Hollywood/early LA history makes this a PERFECT place for me. I couldn’t wait to see LA as Walt knew it when he first got there.

While we didn’t see any of the shows in this new entrance area (not sure if any of them were even supposed to perform that day, to be honest) it did not disappoint!

All of the store fronts are unique and absolutely gorgeous. On the inside, it seemed like it might not all have been set up yet (some of the rooms were pretty empty) but the decorations were very realistic.

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Though I’ve obviously never walked around LA as Walt knew it in the 20’s I was feeling some SERIOUS nostalgia as we were wandering around.

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(a citizen of LA circa 1923)

We found Mickey over by the Red Car Trolley (it was just hanging out parked while we were there) which was a nice surprise.

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We also HAD to check out the Fiddler, Fife and Practical Cafe while we were there- it’s the home to the very first Starbucks on Disney property! The inside of the caf√© is great- very home-y. It feels like its been around forever, when in fact it’s only a couple days old!

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Hopefully the lines for Starbucks won’t be too bad when we come back ūüėČ I’m sensing this will be my first stop on the way to fast passes for Carsland from here on out!

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A week before the grand re-opening of Disney California Adventure with the new Carsland and Buena Vista Street areas, Disney gave annual pass holders the opportunity to attend a special preview weekend of the new areas.

Of course my friends and I jumped at the chance (despite, for me, a red eye flight later that evening to a family vacation…I’m a little insane/bad about cramming too much fun into short periods of time…)

We showed up at 7 am, got our special event wristbands and got in line. I think choosing the earliest window (8am- 12pm) was actually a great thing because DCA didn’t open to the public until 10am and we had the park to ourselves for the first couple hours.

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(AP’s in a holding pattern at Carthay Circle before they walked us down to Carsland)

They also chose the best possible entrance into Carsland- walking in literally felt like the rest of the park melted away and you were walking in the desert into Radiator Springs. The mountain ranges are breathtaking. Really, the whole area feels like you’re walking around the film. While my group is not a bunch of Cars-haters, it’s not at the top of our Pixar list and we were in LOVE with this new part of the park.

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A quick rundown of the rides:

Radiator Springs Racers- the track will remind frequent visitors of Walt Disney World of Test Track, but the ride is definitely different. The imagineers really went all out to make you feel like you’re moving through the film and all the characters you come across look fantastic. My car was cracking up by the time we got to the race – big smiles for big fun!

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Luigi’s Flying Tires- I’d heard these hovering tires were a bit difficult to steer before we got there, but we didn’t have TOO bad a time on them. I actually really really enjoyed this ride (we had time to go twice) – I think having large parties for this one helps because you spend your time chasing bright white, red and green beach balls to peg the other people with!

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Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree – we were excited for this ride because the tractor tipping part of the movie makes us laugh. Going in, it seemed like this would be more of a “kiddie” ride but those tractors really whip you around the circles! I was getting slammed into the side of the car much more than I anticipated.

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We weren’t super hungry so ended up not trying out Flo’s V8 Cafe (though we did walk in to check out the menu…YUM!) but we did take some time to stop by the Cozy Cone Motel and get some snacks! We also got some souvenir traffic cone cups that are REALLY neat, but that I failed to get a picture of.

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We might wait a bit to come back now that it’s open, as the first couple weeks of crowds are bound to be awful. But this whole part of the park is fantastic and I’m sure we’ll be spending a LOT of time here in the future.

Next up…on to Buena Vista Street!

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I LOVE parades, as I’ve mentioned here a few times. So I was incredibly excited that Disneyland was debuting a new parade as part of their Soundsational Summer — in fact, the Soundsational Parade is kind of the theme for the summer itself!

It’s a really fun and original parade, with GORGEOUS floats, and fun music. As you may have guessed from the name of the parade, this one is ALL about the Disney songs we know and love.

Suffice it to say, I took a LOT of pictures. Here’s a look at a lot of the characters you’ll see in the parade!

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Minnie, Mickey & the gang are on the 1st float

If you’ve seen the Disney Sing-a-Long Song videos you’ll recognize the detail on this float:

Sing Along Songbirds :)

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Arabian dancers announcing Prince Ali's arrival

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I love this guy. He is ba-na-nas (literally!)

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Ariel's Under the Sea float

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2/3 Caballeros

All of the other princesses share this Tangled inspired Princess Float.

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musical ladies-in-waiting

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Some snazzy jazz girls

Well, all the other princesses were on the Tangled float, except for Tiana, who gets this gorgeous boat float, and a whole section devoted to her jazzy New Orleans music

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...and KICK!

Peter Pan and Captain Hook, in sync for once

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Kiss for Peter

I think the last section of the parade is my favorite though — the incredibly detailed, dainty Mary Poppins section:

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Bert & Mary on carousel horses!

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Chimney sweeps!

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Great end to a wonderful parade!!

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