Disney California Adventure celebrates the culture and history of California in a theme park next door to the original Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
|Opened||8 February 2001|
|Owner||The Walt Disney Company|
|Attendance||1,919,000 (TEA 2020)|
|Nearby||Disneyland (0 miles)|
Knott's Berry Farm (5 miles)
LA County Fair (21 miles)
Universal Studios Hollywood (34 miles)
Pacific Park (36 miles)
In the early 1990s, Disney announced their intention to build a second theme park next to the original Disneyland in California. It was given the working name WestCOT and would have been similar to Disney World's EPCOT. However, with projections of high costs and the problems that Disney was having at the time with EuroDisney, a rethink was needed.
Revised plans were drawn up in 1995 for a park that would take its theming cues from the history and culture of California. Construction began in 1998, and Disney's California Adventure Park (as it was originally titled) opened in 2001. Unfortunately, initial public reaction was not great, and Disney has had to pump substantial investment into the park in the years following to rectify some of its opening day mistakes.
Buena Vista Street acts as California Adventure's equivalent of Main Street USA, and recreates the Los Angeles of the 1920s era. Continuing straight ahead, visitors come to a large lake which acts as one of the main focal points in the park. Paradise Pier, with its beach boardwalk style theme lies beyond, and the California Screamin' rollercoaster and Mickey's Fun Wheel ferris wheel towering over the scene. The lake itself hosts the World of Color nighttime spectacular fountain show.
Around the other side of the lake is Grizzly Peak, an area themed around Northern California's beautiful natural wilderness. The main attractions in the area are Grizzly River Run, a highly themed rapids ride; and Soarin' Around the World, a ride that gives the feeling of flying in a hang glider over major sights from all over the world.
One of the early improvements to the park was the addition of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror drop ride in 2004. This was recently rethemed in 2017 as Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!, and is a big crowd puller - it is well worth making a reservation using Disney's Fastpass system early in the day for it. Next to the ride is the huge Hyperion Theater, which is currently showing Frozen – Live at the Hyperion. This is a massive Broadway quality musical based on the Frozen movie and is highly recommended, even though the hour long show is quite an investment in time.
One of the biggest recent expansions to Disney California Adventure is Cars Land, which opened in 2012. The land recreates Radiator Springs, the town from the Cars film franchise. As you might expect from Disney, the theming detail is immense. Cars Land's major attraction is Radiator Springs Racers, a car racing dark ride that uses the same technology as Test Track at Disney World. Radiator Springs Racers is tremendously popular, and attracts queues from opening time. Another ride for an early Fastpass reservation!
Whilst it is no match for the magical Disneyland next door, Disney California Adventure is now a superbly themed high-quality theme park. There is enough to do to fill most of a day, and with its entrance literally opposite Disneyland's, it is easy to use a Park Hopper ticket to jump between the two parks.
Launched, looping rollercoaster on Paradise Pier
Car racing around Radiator Springs
Rapids ride through the Californian wilderness
Ferris wheel with moving carriages to provide a hairy ride with views over Paradise Pier
4D movie featuring characters from A Bug's Life
Interactive dark ride featuring a variety of midway style games
Vintage street car ride down Buena Vista Street
Drop ride inspired by the Guardians of the Galaxy movies
Monsters, Inc. dark ride adventure
Synchronised Italian dancing ... in cars!
Join Ariel and friends on this high tech dark ride which takes riders under the sea
Slightly odd addition to the park that gives visitors the chance to learn how bread is made
Broadway style musical featuring characters from Frozen
Astonishing, colourful nighttime fountain show