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Spending a day at Disney California Adventure


I have wanted to visit Disney’s California Adventure since Cars Land debuted almost a year ago on June 15, 2012.   Guests on our Hollywood tour would talk about a three-hour wait for some of the rides last summer, so I knew our visit was not going to be on a weekend or a holiday.  The Disney calendar showed that Tuesday or Wednesday were the best days to visit the park, so we planned our trip accordingly.  Matt and I had a very enjoyable day, arriving as the park opened and staying to the end for a total of 11 hours.  We fit in everything we wanted to do with time to spare.   My favorite ride was Soarin’ Over California and Matt loved the high-speed coaster California Screamin’.   The Radiator Springs Racers (pictured here) was fun, but a bit underwhelming.  Maybe that was because I was expecting so much more after our 2.5 hour wait (see Long Lines tip below).  In my opinion, California Adventure feels like being at a big county fair.   Matt felt it was more kid-oriented, whereas Disneyland is for kids of all ages.  But we did what we wanted to do, and that was to experience first-hand all the excitement over Cars Land.

food, tour, hollywood

If your summer plans are bringing you to Anaheim for your first visit, here are some helpful tips for how to navigate California Adventure for maximum enjoyment:

Tickets  Plan ahead by buying tickets online, so you don’t have to wait in line twice (once to buy tickets, once to get in the park).                        

Fast Pass  Use the Fast Pass for the rides that offer it:  Tower of Terror, Radiator Springs Racers, California Screamin’, Goofy’s Sky School and Soarin’ Over California.

Long Lines  If the sign at the start of a ride indicates the line is more than a 90 minute wait, consider getting in the “singles” line which goes much faster.  We could have ridden Radiator Springs Racers at least 4 times in the amount of time we waited in the regular line.  There’s also a downloadable app called Disneyland Wait Times that can help you navigate your day.


What to Eat  While the food prices at any theme park can be high, California Adventure does have a lot of fun snack-y type places, especially in Cars Land.  We grazed throughout day and didn’t feel like we broke the bank on meals.

World of Color  We got a Fast Pass to view the World of Color water show from a closer vantage point, but frankly it seemed as though the folks standing behind the ropes (with no pass) had a better view

Incidentals  Bring a lightweight backpack with snacks and water, and don’t forget sunscreen and a hat!

Wherever your summer travels take you, we wish you TOURific Escapes!

food, tour, hollywood