by Disney Magic Diva
“Second thoughts? Too late. Head back, face forward, and hold on like you mean it. 5…4…3…2…1…SCREAM!” And with those admonishing words, you’re off on one of the fastest roller coasters at any Disney Park – California Screamin’ in Disney’s California Adventure Park.
Located in Paradise Pier, California Screamin’ is themed after the old-time wooden roller coasters of days gone by. Although it appears to be built with wood, in reality it is (thankfully for me – I’m terrified of wooden roller coasters) constructed from over 5 million pounds of steel. It’s a high-speed thrill that is sure to delight any coaster aficionado. Set alongside Paradise Bay, a ride on California Screamin’ takes you up 120 feet before you plunge down, around, and over the Boardwalk giving you sights and thrills incomparable to any other Disney roller coaster. As soon as I rode it for the first time, I knew it would forever be my favorite Disney Park coaster!
California Screamin’ is one of the more popular attractions at California Adventure Park, so I would recommend obtaining a FastPass. Single rider lines and Rider Switch are also available. Guests must be 48 inches tall to ride, and it is not recommended for those who are pregnant or have health conditions.
Diva Tip: If you are planning on riding California Screamin’ in the evening, be sure to check closing times. Given the proximity of the attraction to Paradise Bay, California Screamin’ closes early to accommodate World of Color performances.
The queue for California Screamin’ takes you up a set of steps, across a walkway, then down another set of steps. There is an elevator for those unable to navigate stairs, but you must be able to transfer from a wheelchair/EVC to the ride. There are seven trains, each color coded, with six cars per train. Seats are two by two, so choose your ride partner wisely – you will be screaming!
The ride begins innocently enough – the train takes off fairly smoothly and at a relatively slow pace as you make your way away from the loading area, out to the edge of Paradise Bay and the Boardwalk. The train then stops, and as you gaze ahead at the 6,000 feet of track, you hear the countdown. Take those words seriously, because at the end of that countdown you will be propelled, from 0 to 55 mph, in a matter of seconds!
Unlike other roller coasters which trudge up that initial incline, California Screamin’ rockets up the hill, and that’s just the beginning of the excitement! Over the next two minutes, you’ll twist, twirl, turn, and, oh yes, scream your way to the end of the ride. You’ll pass through “scream tubes,” specially designed to direct the sound of your screams back into the park, and away from the residential surroundings of California Adventure Park. Your cheeks will literally be blown back by the wind, and your eyes will water. It has all the excitement and speed of Rockin’ Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort, but it lasts so much longer! And like Rockin’ Roller Coaster, it has an inversion – but since California Screamin’ is outside, you can see it coming, which only adds to the exhilaration. Nothing quite compares.
Just when you think your voice will be lost forever, you approach the last turn on the ride. Try to wipe those wind-blown tears from your eyes, because you will have your photo taken. (Be sure to check it out at the Scream Cam shop as you exit, and if you have Disney’s Photopass One Day, One Week, or have an annual passholder pass that includes photopass images, make sure to add it to your collection.) Catch your breath, check your heartrate, and get in line again, because with speeds that fast, you surely will need to ride again! Just grab a drink first – your throat will thank you!
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