We left San Diego and were excited about finally heading north towards home. We promised to take Ethan to Disneyland but we faced a dilemma: Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park; and for how many days?

Ultimately, we chose Disney California Adventure Park (DCAP) because we knew that Ethan isn’t into Disney characters or any of the traditional Disney things. DCAP has more rides, which is what Ethan likes more so it was a pretty easy choice.

The more difficult decision was whether to stay 1, 2 or 3 days. We settled on one day because we felt that the money could be used for better things and because we could get home sooner. That turned out to be the right choice because after a day, we couldn’t imagine coming back for another day or two.

Ethan had a blast, of course, but even he was ok with just one day. The call of home was just too strong.

Early Birds

We slept at a rest area along the I-5 that was about an hour from Disneyland. This was perfect and allowed us to get there nice and early. We had some leftover spaghetti and meatballs to fuel up before hitting the park just after opening time.

Early meant short waits

Another benefit of going to DCAP early and on a weekday was the short wait times for popular rides. We got California Screamin’ without any wait at all, in fact. We did pick up a Fastpass for the Cars ride, though.

Overpriced for what you get

One thing we noticed was that you’re not getting much value compared to how much it costs to get in. We paid $324 for the three of us and couldn’t help but notice that Lotte World or Everland in Korea provided pretty much the same rides and scale of park for less than half the price.

Yes, it’s Disney so they can charge more based on the brand. That would have been fine if other areas of the park matched the price paid. For example, the bathrooms were not particularly clean, not all cast members were friendly or in “character” and from a social responsibility standpoint, I couldn’t believe that they still use paper towels and not hand dryers (which creates a huge amount of waste). Plus, the water fountains were dirty and the water itself was warm. Gross.

Then there’s the cost of food… Over $8 for a corn dog!? Glad we brought our own lunch.

And finally, the lack of plugs or charging stations for cell phones is unacceptable, in my opinion, because people are there all day and you’d think it would be encouraged to use our phones to snap pics and share them. It only makes sense to include outlets or charging stations throughout the park, but they had neither at DCAP. And don’t even get me started on the so-called wifi they had.

But still pretty fun

We still had a good time, especially Ethan, and that’s what really mattered.

So we did Disney. And now it was time to get home.

If you’re just reading this blog for the first time, we are a family of three traveling across Canada (and likely beyond) in a 1994 VW Westfalia camper van called Juju Jr. Our son Ethan, age 9, is unschooling and so we want him to learn from being on the road and traveling. So he’s also now a roadschooler and we are documenting the trip and his learning on this blog.