The park started with five areas but was remodeled recently to include 7 distinct areas. Each area represents various aspects of California, its culture, landmarks, and history. It is home to Disney’s only real rollercoaster, a must-see hang-glider ride, and a unique Ferris wheel.
Visit Paradise Pier or Pacific Wharf to relive summer times at a California beach town. Or go to Hollywood Land for a look into how Disney movies are made or to rescue the Guardians of the Galaxy. And for a trip into California's wilderness, visit Grizzly Peak. Finally, for a thrilling race through Radiator Springs go to Cars Land.
To learn more about the history of the park, go here.
This park is full of rides, shows, and parades to enjoy - so plan your visit ahead of time. Your plans should take into consideration the ages of your kids, the length of your stay, and your endurance power.
To make your experience more enjoyable and stress-free, plan your visit by going to Disney’s website. The site allows visitors to filter for attractions by “Thrill Type”, “Interests” or “Age”. For example, you can choose “Big Drops”, “Slow Rides”, “Teens”, etc. But before you go there, stick around and learn about the park from a local.
I live practically around the corner from the Disney Resort and spend a lot of time at the parks. I would like to share my experiences with you. Hopefully, it will help get the most out of your visit.
The park is usually open from 9 AM to 8 PM on weekdays and from 8 AM to 11 PM on weekends and holidays.
Tip: Most rides offer a single rider line. Even if you don't see a sign indicating "Single Riders", ask the attendants. They will direct you to the "secret" line. You can take advantage of this feature even if you are with a group. If you don't mind being separated during the ride, just go for it. Read about Lightnin Lane, Genie+, Single riders, rider switch, and Photopass.
Buena Vista Street
As you enter the park you will be on Buena Vista Street, which was named after the actual street in Burbank where Disney studios sit.
As you walk down this street you will notice many shops and snack stands. Restrooms are to your right as you walk in. Read more here.
Take a hike through California’s national parks with Redwood trees, whitewater rapids, and high mountain peaks. This area is home to Soarin Around the World and Grizzly River Run.
Tip: Some rides offer Lightnin Lane. It is a way to avoid long lines at some rides. Read about Lightnin Lane, Genie+, Single riders, rider switch, and Photopass.
After your adventure at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, turn right into Paradise Garden Park. Step back in time and walk into a carnival full of rides, parlor games, and fast food.
The area surrounds a large manmade lake where the “World of Color” show plays. Read about Paradise Gardens here.
To end your day at California Adventure with awe and wonderment, you must plan to view this spectacular show.
The show projects various movie clips from the vast Disney and Pixar collections on a giant screen of water and mist – with a fiery display of pyrotechnics. Accompanying the spectacular display is a magical musical score.
Pixar Pier is just like any beach town boardwalk with lots of rides, food, and entertainment. You can spend a lot of time and money trying to win at shooting, racing, or other skill games.
The land is home to the popular ride Radiator Springs Racers along with other rides for the younger guests and several dining places. Explore Cars Land here.
Like any respectable Wharf in California, expect to find a variety of dining experiences and snack shops here. You can also take a tour through a functioning bakery. The main attraction is Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar where you will get a glimpse of how ideas turn into reality.
Hollywood Land you can step into the golden age of Hollywood in the 1930s and enjoy the magic of cinema and theater.
Stroll through Hollywood streets, catch a show at the Hyperion Theater, or go on a terrifying ride at the “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission Breakout!”. Stroll through Hollywood Land here.
California Adventure offers many dining options. You can get a quick snack from places like “Corn Dog Castle” or “Cozy Cone Motel” or you can get lunch for a casual dining place like “Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill” or “Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta”.
If you are in the mood for something casual, go to “Award Wieners” where they serve delicious sausage and hotdogs.
For food truck experience, try the “Studio Catering Co.” for some corn dogs, chips or caramel popcorn.
For dessert head to “Schmoozies” for some great fruit smoothies.
If you really want to enjoy an upscale experience, try “Carthay Circle” or “Wine Country Trattoria. See the full dining guide here.
FASTPASS and other Services
Disney California Adventure offers several services that help make your visit more enjoyable, like