Your park hopper ticket will get you into both parks and you can go from park to park at anytime.
It's hard to do and see everything in one day, however two full days is more than enough time.
Disney's California Adventure Park is divided into four areas, A Bugs Land, Golden State, Paradise Pier and Hollywood Pictures Backlot. The park tends to be less crowded than Disneyland Park, so it's probably a better option on the weekends.
A Bug's Land. image © Kids Holidays
A Bug's Land
Great for the younger kids up to about 6 years. Any older and they may find these rides a bit boring. Flicks Flyers is a hot air balloon made of leaves that goes round and round, Francis' Ladybug Doodle is a spin on the back of a ladybug, Heimlich's Chew Chew Train is a sedately paced train ride in a caterpillar train, Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies is a slow paced dodgem car (with height restrictions) and Princess Dot Puddle Park is a great way to cool off on a hot day. At the Bountiful Valley Farm you get to meet some farmyard animals. Keep an eye out for Flick and his friends as they wander around A Bug's Land. Regardless of your kids ages make sure you don't miss the It's Tough To Be A Bug 3D show. One of the better 3D/4D shows we experienced. Watch for the hornets, the mice and the stink bugs. If anything it may be a little scary for the younger ones (and some adults) so just take of their glasses if it becomes too much.
Golden State. image © Kids Holidays
On the right as you walk into the park,
Golden State has some of the park's better and most unique attractions.
Start with Soarin' Over California, a excellent simulator ride where you
get to sail over some of California's famous attractions and landmarks
in a hang glider. You feel the wind in your face and can smell the pine
trees as your feet almost touch the water or the snow on the top of a
mountain. Great fun for all ages however there is a height restriction
and the queue is usually a long one.
Next is the Grizzly River Run, a white water raft ride where you will get wet. Plenty of white water sections, some caves and a couple of great drops, one where the raft spins on the way down, ensuring a even soaking for everyone. Some great scenery makes this a must do, even for the younger kids. Again this ride will have a queue so consider using a fastpass.
The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is a outdoor family play area with slides, swings, jungle gyms, rope swings and heaps of rope bridges and forts. Great fun for younger kids and you can get to meet Brother Bear at the Magic Of Brother Bear Show. Also keep your eye out for Chip 'n Dale. Golden Dreams is a movie based on the history of California - the land of golden dreams. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, the movie has some added effects and if you're interested in a biased history of California then don't miss it. Another couple of shows are the Golden Vine Winery, the Boudin Bakery and the Mission Tortilla Factory. The kids will probably enjoy the latter of the three.
Paradise Pier. image © Kids Holidays
Plenty of your basic theme park rides to choose from at Paradise Pier. For the
younger kids there's King Tritons Carousel and SS rustworthy, a water
play zone with water cannons based around the wreck of a fireboat and
Jumpin' Jellyfish where you get to sail 40 feet up into the air then
drift back to the ground. The
rest of Paradise Pier is for the bigger kids and adults. The California Screamin' rollercoaster is a unique experience with an amazing beginning
from a standing start and plenty of drops and turns and a loop around
Mickey's ears. The Sun Wheel is a giant ferris wheel with a choice of
stationary or swinging gondolas. Take the stationary option, especially
if you've just eaten. Some amazing views from the top. Maliboomer is
a freefall tower, a great view for the second or so that you are at the
top, then a freefall back to the ground. Orange Stinger is a basic swing
ride inside a giant orange. Golden Zephyr is another swing ride in
chrome spaceships. The last of the rides is Mulholland Madness, a
mini rollercoaster inspired by LA's famous Mulholland Drive. It's
basically a wild-mouse coaster with plenty of tight turns and bumps.
For most rides at Paradise Pier we had little queue time, with the exception of California Screamin', which does have a fastpass option.
Hollywood Pictures Backlot. image © Kids Holidays
Leave yourselves plenty of time too see everything here. Start with the 'Disneys Aladdin' show in the 2000 seat Hyperion Theatre. This is a broadway quality show with some amazing special effects that runs for 45 minutes. Don't miss it. Next door is the Twlight Zone Tower Of Terror ride. Again an experience not to be missed but you may never feel comfortable in a elevator again. Muppet Vision 3D is the best of the 3D shows available for younger children. A hilarious romp with all the Muppets favourites, some great special effects, and the kids won't get scared. Disney Animation is a journey into the world of animation, featuring two shows and an exhibit on how some Disney characters were developed as well as the Sorcerer's Workshop where you get to create your own animation. You also get to find out which Disney character you resemble the most. Plan to spent at least an hour. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is based on the TV show and audience members get a chance to compete for prizes. Infortunately was closed when we attended. Playhouse Disney Live On Stage is a 20 minute musical revue where kids can sing and dance, featuring Bear in the Big Blue House and Rolie Polie Olie.
Strollers can be rented for US$8 per day. Rental locations are inside the main entrance
and in Condor Flats at Fly 'n' Buy. Lockers are available for US$4-6
per day, depending on the size. Wheelchairs can be rented for US$7 per
day and for US$30 per day for electric wheelchairs. A US$20 per day
deposit is required.
There is a baby centre available next to the Mission Tortilla Factory in the Pacific Wharf area. A first aid centre is located next to the baby centre. ATM's are located at four locations throughout the park.
All restaurants, shops and entertainment venues are wheelchair accessible. Many attractions allow wheelchair guests to remain in their wheelchairs during their experience however there are some attractions that require guests to transfer from their wheelchair. Check the Disney web site for more details. There are also attractions that offer assistance devices for guests with hearing disabilities.
Some rides and attractions in Disney's
California Adventure Park have minimum
and maximum height requirements:
102 cm or taller: Jumpin' Jellyfish, Soarin' Over California, The Twlight Zone Tower Of Terror
106 cm or taller: Grizzly River Run, Mulholland Madness, Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies
122 cm or taller: California Screamin', Orange Stinger
132cm or taller: Maliboomer
Fastpass is a great way to beat the queues
on selected rides at Disney's California Adventure Park. Here's how it works: look for the fastpass
distribution area near the entrance of a ride. There will usually be a
number of fastpass machines available. You will be able to see what
times are currently available to use your fastpass. Insert your
Disneyland admission ticket into the machine and you will receive a
printed card, showing a time range when you can use your fastpass.
Return to the ride within the allocated times and you will be able to
enter through the fastpass gate which takes you to the front of the
Once you have obtained a fastpass for a ride you will not be able to get another fastpass until the time of the first fastpass has expired.
The time you wait from obtaining a fastpass can vary - anything from one hour up to a couple of hours. For example you might get a fastpass at 10am with a return time between 12pm and 1pm. You need to return during the one hour allocated to use your fastpass. After 1pm you are free to get another fastpass for another ride.
If your are with other families and not everyone wants to go on a certain ride you can arrange to get fastpasses for a couple of rides at once, using all your admission tickets. If you have an energetic member of a group that doesn't mind walking across the park to get a fastpass while the kids are enjoying another ride you can time it so you can walk straight onto a ride when you arrive.
Fastpass rides include California Screamin', Grizzly River Run, Mulholland Madness and Soarin' Over California with the latter being the ride that we queued for the longest time.
Plenty of places to eat. For fine dining visit The Vineyard Room which is expensive and you'll need to book. Character dining is available at Ariel's Grotto where you get to meet some of your favourite Disney characters while you eat. You may need to reserve a seat however we had no trouble getting a seat for lunch. At worst you can spend some time at Paradise Pier while you wait. There are plenty of fast food outlets throughout the park. The Pacific Wharf area is a good setting for lunch and the Taste Pilots Grill was a popular choice for the kids.
Not as good as Disneyland Park for shops but still enough to keep you occupied for a while. Sunshine Plaza has the Greetings From California souvenir shop and the Engine-Ears Toys shop. Golden State offers adventure gear at the Rushin' Rivers Outfitters and for flight enthusiasts the Fly 'n' Buy shop. At Hollywood Pictures Backlot there's a dress-up shop, Gone Hollywood, and the Muppets trivia shop. The best shopping is at Paradise Pier with sunglasses, beachwear, fun T-shirts, kids dress-up and fashion jewelry.
For more info check the Disney California Adventure website.