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Guide to Visiting Disney California Adventure Park

Disneyland Resort is one of the best theme parks in the world with two awesome parks in one area. One happens to be Disney California Adventure, which used to be a mainly California themed park – which didn’t do so well in the area at the time. Now, this park is known to be home to Marvel, Pixar and still pay homage to California while offering new attractions for guests to enjoy.

We love this park and head there all the time, so we are going to share our complete guide of what to do when you visit this historic park.

Disney California Adventure Park

If you’re heading to Disneyland Resort and looking for themes like Pixar, Marvel, Hollywood and more – Disney California Adventure Park might be for you! Disney California Adventure is a park themed for just that, adventure. While there are things for kids to do, we tend to lean on California Adventure Park to be the one for drinks, food, festivals and more thrilling rides.

What to do at Disney California Adventure?

  • Check out Avengers Campus – Brand new land inspired from Marvel films and comics with roaming characters, shows, rides and restaurants.
  • Visit for Oogie Boogie Bash – A special separately ticketed event held during the Halloween season with unique characters, treat trails, a parade and more
  • Plan during one of the festivalsDCA’s Lunar New Year Festival, Food and Wine Festival, and Pixar Fest are major highlights with themed food, parades, meet and greets, and shows that are included with your park ticket
  • See Cars land at night – People line up for it, there’s special music … it’s truly a spectacle and beautiful once the sun sets in this iconic land.
  • Try to ride all of the rides – DCA has thrilling rides like The Incredicoaster, Radiator Springs, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout (Tower of Terror update) that are all worth riding. If you’re looking for a thrill, try the swinging gondolas on Mickey’s Fun Wheel.
  • Eat delicious food around the park – Disney California Adventure is full of delicious food like Lamplight Lounge, Pym’s Test Kitchen, Cozy Cone Motel and Carthay Circle. DCA is also starting to have more food booths during the festivals which offer some of our fave seasonal dishes
  • Go see World of Color: One – A nighttime water and light show featuring projections, fire, and dancing fountains set to Disney music and scenes​

Related post: Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival

Disney California Adventure Rides

Buena Vista Street

  • Red Car Trolley: A scenic trolley ride through Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Land.

Cars Land

  • Radiator Springs Racers: A thrilling race through Radiator Springs.
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree: A spinning ride with Mater pulling your tractor.
  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters: A dancing car ride with Luigi and his cousins.

Grizzly Peak

  • Grizzly River Run: A whitewater rafting adventure.
  • Soarin’ Around the World: A flight simulation over famous global landmarks.
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: An outdoor play area with trails, zip lines, and rope bridges.

Hollywood Land

  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!: An elevator drop ride with a Guardians of the Galaxy theme.
  • Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!: A dark ride following the story of Monsters, Inc.
  • Animation Academy: Drawing classes where guests can learn to draw Disney characters.

Avengers Campus

  • WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure: An interactive ride where guests help Spider-Man defeat spider-bots.

Pacific Wharf

  • The Bakery Tour: A walking tour of a working bakery, offering samples of sourdough bread.

Paradise Gardens Park

  • The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure: A dark ride retelling the story of The Little Mermaid.

Pixar Pier

  • Incredicoaster: A high-speed roller coaster themed around The Incredibles.
  • Toy Story Midway Mania!: A 4D shooting game where guests compete to hit targets.
  • Jessie’s Critter Carousel: A carousel with Toy Story characters.
  • Pixar Pal-A-Round: A Ferris wheel with both swinging and non-swinging gondolas.
  • Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind: A family-friendly spinner ride based on Inside Out.

San Fransokyo Square

  • Golden Zephyr: A spinning ride with retro rocket ships.
  • Jumpin’ Jellyfish: A gentle drop ride themed around jellyfish.
  • Goofy’s Sky School: A wild mouse roller coaster.
  • Silly Symphony Swings: A spinning swing ride.

Related post: All Of The Best Tokyo Disneyland Food

DCA Restaurants

Carthay Circle Restaurant: This is one of the top-rated dining spots in the park. Located on Buena Vista Street, it offers a refined dining experience with dishes like the Signature Thick Cut Pork Chop and innovative entrees like the Thai Red Curry Broth with Buckwheat Soba Noodles. The ambiance, reminiscent of old Hollywood, adds to the experience​

Lamplight Lounge: In Pixar Pier, this lounge is known for its creative cocktails and iconic Lobster Nachos. It offers a variety of small plates and drinks, making it a great spot to relax and enjoy the view of Paradise Bay​

Wine Country Trattoria: For those who enjoy Italian cuisine, this restaurant provides a relaxed atmosphere with dishes like lasagna and spaghetti. It’s a perfect spot for a sit-down meal in a beautiful, vineyard-inspired setting​

DCA Quick Service

Pym Test Kitchen – Located in Avengers Campus, this unique eatery features creatively oversized and miniaturized foods inspired by Ant-Man and the Wasp. Popular items include the Not So Little Chicken Sandwich and the Pym-ini Sandwich​

Shawarma Palace – Also in Avengers Campus, this spot serves shawarma wraps that are perfect for a quick and flavorful meal​

Flo’s V8 Cafe: Located in Cars Land, Flo’s V8 Cafe offers classic American comfort food in a fun, Route 66-inspired setting. Popular items include Ramone’s Low and Slow Club and Flo’s Famous Fried Chicken.

Cozy Cone Motel: Also in Cars Land, this spot offers a variety of snacks served in cone-shaped containers, such as Chili “Cone” Queso and Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese Cone. It’s a great place for a quick, tasty bite

Smokejumpers Grill – Located in Grizzly Peak, this spot is known for its burgers, chicken sandwiches, and shakes. It features an airplane hangar theme and plenty of seating​

Award Wieners – In Hollywood Land, this quick-service location specializes in loaded hot dogs and seasonal funnel cakes.

Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill – Situated in Pacific Wharf, this eatery offers street tacos with various fillings, including carne asada, al pastor, and plant-based options​

Lucky Fortune Cookery – Also in Pacific Wharf, this restaurant serves Asian-inspired dishes like teriyaki chicken and customizable ramen​

Aunt Cass Café – located in the newly reimagined San Fransokyo Square. Here, you can find items like the Curry Beef Bread Bowl, Soba Noodle Salad, and the Honey Lemon-Ade

Corn Dog Castle – Found in Paradise Gardens Park, this stand is famous for its classic, cheddar, and hot link corn dogs, making it a must-visit for fans of this iconic snack​

Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta – Located near Paradise Garden Grill, this spot offers Italian favorites such as pizza and sun-dried tomato pasta​

Paradise Garden Grill – Near Pixar Pier, this location serves a variety of grilled meats and other eclectic dishes. It’s known for its bear-braised pork tacos​

Related post: The Best of the Fest at DCA Food and Wine Festival

Disney California Adventure Characters

Buena Vista Street

  • Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy: Dressed in period costumes reminiscent of the 1920s, reflecting the era when Walt Disney arrived in California​

Avengers Campus

  • Marvel Superheroes: Including Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Thor, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, and the Wasp. You can also see members of the Guardians of the Galaxy like Star-Lord, Gamora, and Groot​

Pixar Pier

  • Toy Story Characters: Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, and Bo Peep.
  • The Incredibles: Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Frozone, and Edna Mode.
  • Inside Out: Joy and Sadness.
  • Up: Russell and Dug​

Cars Land

  • Residents of Radiator Springs: Lightning McQueen, Mater, and Red​

San Fransokyo Square

  • Big Hero 6: Baymax and Hiro​

Hollywood Land

  • Frozen Characters: Anna and Elsa at Anna & Elsa’s Royal Welcome inside the Animation Building​

Grizzly Peak

  • Raya: Found at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail during special events like Lunar New Year​

Other Notable Characters

  • Disney Junior Characters: Vampirina and Doc McStuffins can be found at the Disney Junior Dance Party​
  • Classic Characters: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit near the park entrance and exit, and characters like Chip ‘n’ Dale, Pluto, and Clarabelle Cow appear around Carthay Circle

Related post: You Can ONLY See These Characters at Disneyland Lunar New Year

What are the DCA Festivals?

Mushu at Lunar New Year

Disney California Adventure Park hosts several exciting festivals throughout the year. Here’s a summary of the main annual events you can enjoy:

  1. Lunar New Year Festival (January 12 – February 19, 2024)
    • Celebrates Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean traditions.
    • Features multicultural performances, Asian-inspired food, and meet-and-greets with characters like Mulan and Mushu​
  2. Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival (March 1 – April 22, 2024)
    • Showcases California’s diverse cuisines through food booths, cooking demonstrations, and family-friendly activities.
    • Includes the popular Soarin’ Over California ride available only during the festival​
  3. Pixar Fest (April 26 – August 4, 2024)
    • A resort-wide celebration with themed decor, character meet-and-greets, and special parades.
    • Highlights include new daytime parades and nighttime spectaculars, as well as appearances by characters from Pixar films​
  4. Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party (Select nights in September and October)
    • Halloween-themed event featuring trick-or-treating, character encounters, and spooky entertainment​
  5. Plaza de la Familia (September 1 – November 2, 2023, 2024 dates TBD)
    • Celebrates Día de los Muertos with live performances, mariachi music, and interactive exhibits inspired by Pixar’s Coco
  6. Festival of Holidays (Begins November 15, 2024)
    • Celebrates diverse cultural holidays with themed food, live music, and entertainment.
    • Includes performances like Viva Navidad and holiday-themed decorations throughout the park​

These festivals offer a wide range of entertainment, food, and cultural experiences, making any visit to Disney California Adventure Park even more magical.

Related post: Lunar New Year Disneyland Complete Guide

Ready to Go on a Theme Park Journey?

We hope this guide sprinkles a little extra pixie dust on your plans for Disneyland. Our insights come straight from the heart of the parks, where the magic happens every day. We’re thrilled to share our firsthand experiences and tips to help you create unforgettable moments!

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