Disney California Adventure

Disney California Adventure

Disney California Adventure opened as the Disneyland Resort's long-awaited second gate on February 8, 2001. It's Disney's least-attended of its six theme parks in the United States, but that still makes it the eighth most-visited park in America, with nearly 10 million visitors in 2019. DCA might have the same Pan Pacific Auditorium-inspired entrance as Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios, but it shares a focus on seasonal food festivals with Epcot, staging the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival and Lunar New Year, as well as Halloween Time and Holidays at the Disneyland Resort.

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Our recommendations below come from our annual survey of Theme Park Insider newsletter subscribers. Locations with star ratings ranked especially highly among our readers. Click here to subscribe to our free, twice-weekly email of theme park news and to participate in the next ranking survey.

Disney California Adventure will reopen April 30, though some locations may not be available due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Rides

Top recommendations

  1. Radiator Springs Racers ★ ★ ★
    "Cars"-themed dark ride with a high-speed finish, located in Cars Land. Height requirement: 40 inches
    Read Robert Niles' Radiator Springs Racers review.
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout ★ ★
    Indoor drop ride, located in Hollywood Land. Height requirement: 40 inches
    Read Robert Niles' review of Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout.
  3. Toy Story Midway Mania
    Interactive dark ride on Pixar Pier
  4. Incredicoaster
    Intamin launch coaster on Pixar Pier. Height requirement: 48 inches
    Read Robert Niles' Incredicoaster review.
  5. Soarin' Around the World
    Flying theater ride located in Grizzly Peak Airfield. Height requirement: 40 inches
    Read Robert Niles' review of Soarin' Around the World.

Other notable attractions include the Grizzly River Run rapids ride and Redwood Creek Challenge Trail playground in Grizzly Peak; The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure dark ride, Silly Symphony Swings and Golden Zephyr swing rides, Jumpin' Jellyfish kiddie drop tower, and Goofy's Sky School Mack Rides wild mouse roller coaster in Paradise Park; Pixar Pal-A-Round Ferris wheel, Jessie's Critter Carousel, and Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind spinner on Pixar Pier; Mater's Junkyard Jamboree whip ride and Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters trackless ride in Cars Land; and the Monsters, Inc: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue dark ride in Hollywood Land.

The big new addition to Disney California Adventure in 2021 will be Avengers Campus, a new Marvel-themed land on the site of the former A Bug's Land. The land will feature Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, an interactive dark ride, and opens June 4.

Shows

Top recommendations

  1. World of Color ★ ★ ★
    A night-time projection show on the Paradise Park lagoon [Shows will vary by season]
  2. Frozen - Live at the Hyperion ★ ★ ★
    A live musical in the Hyperion Theater in Hollywood Land
  3. Animation Academy
    A DIY Disney animation step-drawing class, taught in the Animation building in Hollywood Land
  4. Mickey's Philharmagic
    A 3D movie in Hollywood Land
  5. Five and Dime
    Musicians performing on Buena Vista Street

Other shows include Turtle Talk with Crush inside the Animation building and the Disney Junior Dance Party next door in Hollywood Land.

Dining

Top recommendations

  1. Carthay Circle Restaurant ★ ★ ★
    Table service dining inside the Carthay Circle Theater on Buena Vista Street
  2. Lamplight Lounge
    Table service restaurant and bar, themed to Pixar animators, located on Pixar Pier
  3. Wine Country Trattoria
    Italian-inspired table service restaurant on Pacific Wharf
  4. Smokejumpers Grill
    Counter service burgers located in Grizzly Peak Airfield
  5. Mendocino Terrace
    Wine tasting in Pacific Wharf

Coming next: Pym Test Kitchen will open with Avengers Campus.

Map

The Disneyland Resort is located in Anaheim, California - about 25 miles south of downtown Los Angeles and 30 miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Strategy

We will be back with our visiting strategy when the park reopens — whenever that might be. Get vaccinated, everyone!

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