Published: April 18, 2023
Becoming such a Disney fanatic in recent years; I was stoked to check out Disneyland for the first time in September of 2022. Today is the first of a 3 blog series talking about the park. Disneyland is broken into 2 different parks (Disney World has 4). This post will focus on Disney's California Adventure park. My next post will be about Disneyland Park, and the final will be a comparison of Disneyland to Disney World.
Disneyland is the OG of Disney theme parks and opened on July 17, 1955. The second park, Disney California Adventure Park opened its gates in 2001. The two are literally right across from each other when entering the property. Easy to do both in one day.
Like all Disney Parks, California Adventure is broken into different lands. There is Buena Vista Street, which is the main street that greets you when you enter the park. The other areas are Avengers Campus, Hollywood Land, Grizzly Peak, Cars Land, Pacific Wharf, Pixar Pier, and Paradise Garden Parks. I will touch base on each as far as what we enjoyed.
This was the area we were most excited to see. We were slightly disappointed. While there are a couple of rides shows, and a restaurant; there isn't much else there yet. I think there is a lot of potential and it sounds like there are plans in the works for more attractions. The couple of rides they have there are great. First they took the Tower of Terror and revamped it to be a Guardians of the Galaxy ride; and it is so much better (at least in my opinion). You still go up and get the drops; buy its smoother, has a better storyline, and the experience can vary each time you ride. Again its like the Tower of Terror and is nothing like the new Guardians ride at EPCOT.
Web Slingers- A Spiderman Adventure is a blast! Its an interactive game ride where you pretend to shoot webs from your hands to take out rogue robots. It keeps score so you can see how you stack against the other players in your cart. Not to mention an appearance by Tom Holland.
Finally, we did catch a few of the shows at the Avengers building. One featuring the female warriors of Wakanda, the Dora Milaje. The other was a skit with Black Widow, The Falcon, and Black Panther stopping some Hydra agents. Both shows were entertaining but I suspect cut a little short. It was extremely hot the day we were there (around 100 Fahrenheit) with heat warnings in place.
Below is the Avengers headquarters where some of the shows took place. The Guardians ride is the tall budling behind it.
Buena Vista Street & Hollywood Land
I combined these two as they are right by each other. Buena Vista is like most Disney parks welcome street. It is lined with lots of stores and restaurants. This is where we went on the hot day when we wanted to get out of the sun and into some cooler temperatures.
Hollywood Land had a few shows but nothing that really jumped out at us. Junior Dance Party wasn't really in the cards for us and some of the stages were closed. However, I did use the restroom in this area the most as it seemed like it never had a line.
This area had a mountain adventure theme. The only ride we did here was Soarin, and it is the same as the one at Epcot. We do enjoy that ride and it was all indoors, which meant AC. There is a white water rafting ride called Grizzly River Run, but we did not do. It may have been hot that day but we didn't want to risk walking around in wet sneakers all day.
The Grand Californian hotel is in this area if you like the idea of staying at a resort in the park.
This area is dedicated to food with a San Francisco feel to the design. Its a nice place to grab a bite to eat or a drink and relax. We ended up grabbing a mac and cheese bread bowl at the Pacific Wharf Cafe. It was pretty tasty and we needed the carbs for walking around. There is a bakery tour you can do in this area that shows how bread is made and you will get a free bread sample at the end.
This was my favorite area. You felt like Lighting McQueen as you step into the town Radiator Springs. It looks just like the movie with all its store fronts. Some of the businesses are just set piece for design aesthetics. However, most are either a store, restaurant, or some sort of ride. The Cozy Conte Motel, offers a different snack option at each of the cones. Flo's is a restaurant, Luigi's a ride, and Sarge's a souvenir store. The best ride though hides behind the end of the road; Radiator Spring's Racers. Take a spin through the countryside as you race another car. The line for this ride was the highest in the entire park when we went. We rode it twice. The first time together, but the second time we went in the single rider lane and got on pretty quickly.
This pier styled area makes you feel like you are in a carnival along the ocean. The theme is dedicated to Pixar movies. The Incredicoaster is the big roller coaster that catches your eye when you enter, themed after the Incredibles. While the coaster ride was fine and had a big loop; it wasn't our favorites and we only road it once. The Senor Buzz Churros and the Angry Dog were highlights of the food/snacks we got visiting this area.
Paradise Gardens Park
This area sort of goes with the Pier theme but also sort of feels like an area where they added stuff they weren't sure where to put it. Rides we did include the Little Mermaid, which is just like the one at Disney World. You sit in a clam and go through a story that tells the tale of the movie. Goofy's Sky School was the other one we did. This is one of the small coaster type rides that you sit in a small cart. You look like you are about to go off the edge and it whips around the turn really fast. It was one of those I would ride it once per visit, but only if the wait was short. We got on with a 10 minute wait.
There was some food in this area and they had a Cocoa themed set design (below) that I really enjoyed by the one restaurant.
Overall we had a nice day, and the park was enjoyable. It is not super big, so it made getting around pretty easy. Most of our favorite rides we did twice. We actually started to get bored some as you could easily do this park in half a day, and we did not get park hopper passes. We didn't want to leave too early as we wanted to get our money's worth. We got there at opening and lasted until about 4:00pm. I do think their are areas that could use a few more attractions and upgrades; but I know they do have some plans in the works. Such as the Pacific Wharf is becoming San Fransokyo Square from Big Hero 6. I also know they are building a ride inside the Avengers building that right now the exterior is used for shows only. Some fun sounding adventures hopefully to come!
*All pictures taken by me or my husband, Steve on our phones.