The youngest sister of the American Disney parks and part of the original Disneyland Resort, California Adventure has a lot to live up to but she does it splendidly. Over 72 acres and seven themed areas for adventure, this park's purely California personality will charm your socks off!
So what is there to see in a day trip to California Adventure? Let's get touring through the seven sections and see...
Buena Vista Street - Named for the street where Walt Disney Studios is located in Los Angeles, Buena Vista Street is the first district your group will explore. The design resembles a 1920s Art Deco style from the era when Walt Disney himself first arrived in the city. There are fewer attractions along Buena Vista Street than the other areas, but you will be able to see the theater where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs first premiered in 1937, and hop on the iconic Red Trolley Car which runs through multiple locations. There are also a number of cafes, confectioners, and treat vendors like Oswald's restaurant and the shopping center Elias & Co., named for Walt Disney's father.
Paradise Pier - Spanning 15 full acres, Paradise Pier is the largest themed portion of Disneyland Resort - that is, until Star Wars Land is finished. The area is themed after famous California boardwalks, such as the Santa Monica Pier and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, with the excitement, color, and marine tilt of the beach. Here, you'll find ocean themed attractions including Ariel's Grotto and the Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure. You'll also encounter the popular Toy Story Midway Mania! and California Screamin', one of the few steel roller coasters in Disneyland. Exciting attractions like Goofy's Sky School, Golden Zephyr, and King Triton's Carousel are also in attendance but when you're happily exhausted from all the rides, stop by the Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company for a delicious cone.
Grizzly Peak - Harking back to the bygone days of gold rushers and untamed wilderness, stepping into Grizzly Peak is like stepping into the past. There are obvious references to California landmarks like Yosemite and the Redwoods in the north, including a manmade mountain in the shape of a grizzly bear. Here you'll discover characters from nature oriented Disney films like Brother Bear and even Up. Soarin' Over California, in Grizzly Peak, is one of the most popular attractions in any Disney park, notable for the lifelike feeling of parasailing over the California landscape. If you like water rides, head straight for the Grizzly River Run, a whitewater rapids ride that twists and turns with the river through the Sierra Nevada mountains. Finally, adventurers will enjoy the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail as you explore the wilderness, hike and climb rock walls, and discover your animal spirit in a cave.
Pacific Wharf - Pacific Wharf, next on our list, is based on Central California's coastal beauty, Monterey and its famed Cannery Row as well as Fisherman's Wharf of San Francisco. The coastal fishing theme is evident and charming as you sample the delicious restaurants, cafes, and bakeries along the water's edge. Like Buena Vista Street, there are fewer rides and traditional attractions in Pacific Wharf though it attracts visitors for its incredible food. Take the Boudin Bakery's Bakery Tour and see how sourdough is made, grab a sweet treat at the Ghiradelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop, have lunch at the Lucky Fortune Cookery, or have some of the best seafood at the Pacific Wharf Cafe.
Hollywood Land - You can't have a California park without Hollywood, and California Adventure's themed area takes after the exciting Golden Age of cinema. Back-lot studios, live shows with your favorite characters like those of Monsters, Inc. and Aladdin, and the most horrifying ride ever...Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. This terrifying ride takes you stories into the air in an old elevator and drops you, which is why it probably isn't recommended for young children. Shop along the main avenue at spots like Off the Page and Sorcerer's Workshop for the best souvenirs, try your hand at cartooning at the Animation Academy, experience a Frozen Sing-Along, and meet characters like Olaf!
A Bug's Land - Enter "a bug's land" and see everything from a bug's perspective, specifically Flik from A Bug's Life. All of the decor and props are oversized to add to your imaginative enjoyment as you spot giant humans amid the massive blades of grass and more. See the multi-sensory and highly popular It's Tough to be a Bug show, hop on board Flik's Flyers and soar above the crowds, or do bug shaped bumper cars.
Cars Land - Finally, this last themed land is based on the hit Disney/Pixar movie, Cars. Enter Radiator Springs and meet your favorites like Lightning McQueen and Mater, all in the rocky desert setting seen in the movie. The most popular attraction in Cars Land is Radiator Springs Racers, based in part on Epcot's famed Test Track, as you board a car and zoom at top speeds through the aforementioned familiar landscape of Cars and even see a recreation of the Cadillac Range Mountains in the distance. Have a fun time with Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters at his garage, shop at Sarge's Surplus Hut, spin your way around Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, and finish off with dinner at Flo's V8 Cafe.
There's even more to experience at Disney's California Adventure, so visit in person and you're bound to have a blast!