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A lovely view from Mickey’s Sun Wheel of Paradise Pier at Disney’s California Adventure

By D’land Diva

When California Adventure first opened, many considered it a half day park- it was a fun place, but Disneyland was far better. Well, times have changed and California Adventure has made many new additions to the park in the past few years and it is now well worth checking out and spending a full day (or two or three!) in. For you thrill ride seekers: I know I left Tower of Terror off this list. Make it number 11 if you wish!

1) World of Color- Premiering in 2010, this spectacular water and light show takes place in Paradise Pier. Over 1,000 fountains are used for the story backdrop in which guests are treated to projections and music from some their favorite Disney and Pixar films. Diva Tip: This is a show in which you stand. Also, fastpass is the way to go in order to get good views- fastpasses can be found next to the Grizzly River Ride. The second show is less crowded. For convenience, some restaurants offer a dinner package. Check out a review here.

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Cars Land at night is beautiful, especially the Radiator Springs Racers

2) Cars Land- Truly, this newer land at Disney’s California Adventure is the highlight of the park. Set up against the backdrop of Radiator Springs along the famous Route 66, no attention to detail has been missed. And at night? The evening hours showcase a simply spectacular display of lights. The highlights of Cars Land include Flo’s V8 Diner, Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi’s Flying Tires and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. Diva Tip: This is the area that most folks head to first thing in the morning. My advice? Get your Fastpass for Radiator Springs First thing and visit the rest of Cars Land late afternoon. The wait times for the other rides are shorter in the late afternoon and the walkway much more pleasant.

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Tasty food at Flo’s!

3) Flo’s V8 Diner- Oh, I dream about eating at Flo’s. Truly. Set up like a 50’s diner, the food is actually more California in nature (a meatless pot pie and a turkey salad). Don’t worry, you can still get a tasty side of mashed potatoes and a real milkshake here! Diva Tip: For your viewing pleasure, take a seat towards the back of the restaurant where there is a birds eye view of the Radiator Springs Racers ride.

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Radiator Springs Racers

4) Radiator Springs Racers- I’m going to be honest. This is THE BEST Disney ride that I have ever been on. Adventure, check. Story, check. Excitement, check. Beautiful scenery, double check! Hop on board some race cars and enjoy a scenic and memorable drive (and maybe even a race!) through the Cadillac Range mountains. Check out a review of this fun ride here. 

5) Toy Story Midway Mania- Our whole family loves this ride where we can point, shoot and aim for points. Join Woody, Jessie and other Toy Story friends and compete for points with others in your “car.” A particular favorite of this ride is the point and shoot at plates, breaking them. Yee haw!

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Pixar Play Parade

6) Pixar Play Parade- Simply enjoyable, this parade hosts all of your Pixar movie favorites with floats and characters. Watch out for some sprays of water! Diva Tip: This is a popular parade, but there is always seating on the parade route. Our favorite spot? Over by Boardwalk Pizza at the very end of the parade route!

7) The Little  Mermaid- Ariel’s Undersea Adventure- The very best thing about this ride? It’s all indoors (even most of the queue) and there is very little wait. Of course, this ride is also enchanting, telling the tale about how Ariel became human. Be on the lookout for one very special room where all of the creatures under the sea join together in song. This ride is fun for the whole family and there are no height restrictions or motion sickness warnings!

8) Ghiradelli Chocolate- Oh yes, this is one place you will not want to miss. Even if you are trying to avoid the extremely tasty milkshakes or decadent sundaes, everyone who walks inside this shop gets a free piece of chocolate. The theming in this shop is also extra special, be sure to check out the walls!

9) Soarin’ Over California- Although this ride is great fun, to me, the best part of the attraction is the queue. Yes, the queue. On the walls of the “hanger” guests wait to board their flight are special pictures. My grandfather was a pilot in WWII and my husband has a special place in his heart for aircraft, so we are a plane loving family. The idea of this ride is that guests are taken on a flight over the state of California. Rumors have been swirling for awhile now that there is a new  Soarin’ film coming out within the next few years, but nothing has been officially confirmed by Disney. Diva Tip: This is a very popular ride and even though some of the queue is covered (and there are newly installed misters to keep you extra cool!) it is worth it to get a fastpass for this ride.

IMG_413010) California Screamin’- Make no mistake, this is a thrill ride. It is the eighth longest roller coaster in the world and despite its wooden roller coaster look, it is actually steel.  This coaster brags that in four seconds, guests will go from 0 to 55 mph. And if that is not enough to get your heart pumping, maybe the loop will! Diva Tip: Go for Single Rider or Fastpass on this ride.

So there you have it, my tips for the best of Disney’s California Adventure! We hope that you have enjoyed this series on the 10 best and be sure to keep reading Disney Diva for more tips!

 

As a Disneyland Annual Passholder for over fifteen years, it is clear that I love to be in the parks! I am a huge fan of all things Disney, but mostly the Muppets and Flynn Rider. On many weekends you can find me sipping a Mint Julep in New Orleans Square at Disneyland with my Disney loving husband and my two Disney loving children plotting which ride to go on next. I am Editor and Co-Director of the Tips from the Disney Diva site.