One of the coolest things about Disneyland California is the proximity of the parks – there’s Disneyland to the right, and Disney’s California Adventure to the left. It doesn’t get any more convenient than that!
Upon walking up to Disney’s California Adventure main entrance I did a double take – am I at Hollywood Studios in Orlando? The outside is so very similar! However, as soon as I looked at a park map I knew this park was anything but. We can easily do Hollywood Studios in half a day, but here – there’s much more to do! The full day we had planned was needed, and dare I say it – I enjoyed California Adventure more than Hollywood Studios.
When visitors first walk in to Disney’s California Adventure they’ll find themselves on Sunshine Plaza, with Hollywood Pictures Backlot to the left. Here, there are shows, like Muppet Vision 3D. There’s also the Tower of Terror, and if you continue down Hollywood, you’ll find yourself in “a bugs land,” which is popular for kids. Continuing on is the new Cars land, and holy crap – what a great job Disney did with this! I’ve never seen the Cars movies before, but this land makes me want to. I felt like I was walking in the middle of an animated movie. Leave it to Disney to allow me to feel something so impossible.
Next up is Paradise Pier, with the famous California Screamin’ coaster. This roller coaster is the forefront of the park (sort of like the Cinderella’s Castle, the Tree Of Life, the Epcot Ball, etc), so I was actually expecting to see it when I first walked in, rather than it being in the very back of the park. What a cool “land,” though! There are so many fun rides and shops that I could spend half a day here alone.
Completing the circle is Golden State, where visitors will find Grizzly’s River Run (like Animal Kingdom’s water ride, only better), Soarin’, etc. I guess the Soarin’ here is considered an “old ride,” so it doesn’t draw the insane crowds or have a super long wait like its Orlando counterpart. Same with The Little Mermaid ride – we pretty much walked on.
Again, like the previous day, Fast Pass worked out really well for us (for the rides that have it). For example, since it was SO HOT OUT, Grizzly’s consistently had a 60-90 minute wait. Fast Passing was definitely the way to go, as we walked on.
Paradise Pier is exclusive to this Disneyland park, and, as I said above, we LOVED it. They take some amazing classic rides and add a Disney touch, such as a Ferris Wheel. It acts as a standard wheel, but also has moving cars. We rode both, and I will never opt for the moving scenario again. It was by far scarier than California Screamin’.
The other thing about this park is it’s just beautiful. The theming is perfect and done so well. No matter where you are, it’s just… pretty.
We stayed at the Anaheim Marriott, which is walking distance to the parks, and there was a great view of our hotel from the Ferris Wheel. This is something Josh didn’t care for – he hated how we could see Anaheim and not be “immersed” in Disney, like you are in Disney World. However, I found the parks so magical that the proximity of being in the middle of a busy city didn’t bother me in the least.
I’m not a big roller coaster fan, but Josh convinced me to go on California Screamin’, and since I’ll never do Tower of Terror, I gave him this. It’s one of those rides I won’t go on a second time in the same day, but I’ll gladly go back on it next time we visit. We both agreed that this ride is far superior to Aerosmith. I could stand on the bridge and watch the countdown/launch forever.
The only ride we waited on a long line for was Toy Story Midway Mania. You can’t Fast Pass it, so there’s no other option. The wait time said 45 minutes, but it ended up being closer to 60. I can’t remember the last time I waited on a line that long, so it slightly killed me. Nevertheless, I love the ride and somewhat willingly made the sacrifice.
I also appreciated how easy it was to meet characters here. We never went to a “Fairytale Hall” type of place, or some location to wait in a long line, rather, the characters sort of “popped up” around the park and never took away from our day.
I’ll say it again: Cars Land impressed me like nothing else!
And for those of you who think Disney magic only happens in Disney World, think again! We received more magical moments here than our last two Disney World visits combined! I’ll share my favorite…
We were only at California Adventure until 8, since we had to catch our flight home. One thing Disneyland doesn’t have is an app to check wait times. Instead, they have Guest Relations kiosks all over the park. We’d go up to them and ask the current wait times, rather than spending the extra time walking to the rides themselves. By late afternoon, we still had a lot of rides to go, like Soarin’, the new Cars ride, Toy Story Midway Mania, etc. When we arrived at the park at 10 that morning, the new Cars ride was already out of Fast Passes (it’s SUPER popular, obviously).Well, the wait did not drop below 120 minutes the entire day.
After hearing all the current wait times, we had to make a choice; either wait on line for the Cars ride and miss out on the others, or skip the Cars ride and be able to go on another 3 or so rides. We thanked the lady at the kiosk for the information, and Josh and I stood there debating what to do. The lady must have overhead us, because next thing we know, she’s asking if this is our first time here, and what time we’re leaving. Then, out of nowhere, she gives us a special Fast Pass for the new Cars ride. She saved the day! We were able to go on EVERYTHING, thanks to not having to wait on a 120 minute line!
We walked back to the new Cars ride, and the wait was still 120 minutes. Insane! It seriously did not budge ALL DAY, and let me tell you, thanks to this wonderful lady, WE WALKED ON.
And this ride, OMG. It’s like Test Track, only BETTER. We loved it! It’s definitely my favorite ride California Adventure offers. It’s so amazing!
So yesterday’s favorite was the Matterhorn, and today’s fave is the new Cars ride – two rides Disney World doesn’t offer. Well played, Disneyland, well played!