I have always been intrigued by Disney’s California Adventure. While it does have some similarities to the Orlando theme parks at Walt Disney World, it is a different Disney theme park from the others. Featuring several iconic areas like Pixar Pier and Cars Land, Disney’s California Adventure offers something for the entire family. There are also lots of fun Disneyland California Adventure rides that are great for families.
Here are some of the best Disneyland California Adventure rides, along with tips for visiting the park. Missed your favorite? Leave us a comment below:
Disclosure: We received discounted/complimentary tickets as part of our participation in the AWEsome Retreat. All opinions are my own. A purchase through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you.
Need park tickets for Disneyland Resort so you can check out these Disneyland rides? Save money on your Disneyland California tickets and your Southern California vacation by booking through Get Away Today. You can also save $10 on your Southern California vacation of 2 days or more with the code FTM10.
The Best Rides at Disney California Adventure
Unlike Walt Disney World, it’s very easy to go between the two parks at Disneyland (Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure). You’ll park in one location (or stay at a nearby resort/hotel) and then walk to the entrance of the two parks.
Due to the current situation, some things have changed (temporarily?) at Disneyland. We recommend reviewing the latest information to make sure you don’t miss out on any of these best attractions.
As of the writing of this post, Disney FastPass and Disney Maxpass have been suspended. To access all of the rides at Disney California Adventure at this time, you’ll need to wait in the standby line (with the exception of WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, and Rise of the Resistance, which is located in Disneyland Park). You’ll need to modify your theme park strategy to avoid long lines on the most popular attractions.
In addition, park hopping is a bit different than in the past. All guests are required to have valid tickets as well as a theme park reservation to enter the parks. If you want to park hop, you’ll need that extra option on your ticket.
You’ll need to make the park reservation for one of the parks and then enter that park. At 1 pm, you’ll be allowed to park hop to the other park. See the bottom of this post for information about how the virtual queue works.
Radiator Springs Racers
One of my favorite rides at Disneyland is Radiator Springs Racers, located in Cars Land. During this thrilling ride, which is similar to Test Track at Epcot, you’ll get ready for a big race as you go through the dark part of the ride. Of course, you’ll get to see some of your favorite Radiator Springs residents.
Like Test Track, after the dark ride, you’ll head outside in the ride vehicles to race along the gorgeous Cadillac Mountains. For me, this is the best part of the ride.
Radiator Springs Racers is a must-ride and is extremely popular. Because of that, you’ll find that the wait times can be quite long. There is a single rider line option if you don’t mind breaking up your party to ride a bit quicker.
Radiator Springs Racers is for those 40 inches or taller, so be prepared before you go. You definitely won’t want disappointed younger kids who may be too small to ride.
There are two additional rides in Cars Land – Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. These may appeal more to young kids.
Arguably one of the most thrilling rides at Disneyland Resort is the Incredicoaster located on Pixar Pier. Originally called California Screamin’, it was reimagined with a Disney Incredibles theme. It’s the only attraction at Disneyland Resort that goes upside down.
During this roller coaster thrill ride, you chase Jack-Jack from the Incredibles through several laser-lit tunnels as you race through the coaster. If you enjoy roller coasters, I definitely recommend riding this one.
The Incredicoaster has a minimum height of 48 inches to ride.
Grizzly River Run
Want to cool off during a hot day at Disneyland Resort? Grizzly River Run, located in Grizzly Peak, is a whitewater raft ride similar to Kali River Rapids at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
While this is a great way to cool down, you will definitely get wet while riding. Lockers are available to store valuables, and it’s a good idea to wear a rain poncho if you don’t want to spend the rest of the day drying off.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
As a fan of the Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the transformation of Tower of Terror into Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disneyland. I’m pleased to say that I really love it.
The changes include the retro music that the movies are known for, and the whole ride is chaotic fun (rather than spooky). While there are some differences, the general concept of the ride remains the same.
I am still glad that there is still the original version at Walt Disney World – that way I can go on both!
Toy Story Midway Mania
Toy Story Midway Mania is a 4D ride inspired by midway games typically played on a pier or boardwalk. It stars popular Toy Story characters like Buzz and Woody.
While riding in the attraction vehicle and wearing 3D glasses, you’ll be moved around to various midway games. It’s so much fun trying to beat the other riders in your vehicle, and it’s a great ride for the whole family.
Goofy’s Sky School
Located in Paradise Gardens Park (adjacent to Pixar Pier) is Goofy’s Sky School, a mild roller coaster. It’s unlike ride at Walt Disney World, and I love the uniqueness of it. It has a minimum height requirement of 42 inches.
This popular ride is the exact same as the East Coast version in Epcot. After buckling into the “hand-gliding” style ride vehicle, you’ll get to soar over the most famous attractions in the world.
While I still prefer the “Soarin’ Over California” version of this fun attraction, this one is still worth riding. Even after going on it multiple times, I still have to ride every time I visit.
WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure
Disney California Adventure’s newest attraction is located in its newest land – Avengers Campus. WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure utilizes the new virtual queue, and is very popular. I haven’t had the chance to visit Avengers Campus yet, but I will definitely be trying to ride during my next visit.
Virtual Queue at Disneyland
One of the recent additions at Disneyland/Walt Disney World is the virtual queue. It was initially introduced with Rise of the Resistance in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Park but is now also being used with the new WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure attraction.
The virtual queue is free to access, and it’s the only way to ride these newest rides. There are no standby lines available for either of them.
To try to enter the virtual queue, you’ll need the Disneyland app downloaded on your device. Be sure to be logged in with your Disney account, and have all members of your party and their tickets linked to your account.
You can only have one virtual queue reservation at a time, and can only have one per attraction per day. So it’s important to decide which one you want to try first. Virtual queue reservations aren’t guaranteed.
Once you have a boarding group within the virtual queue, you’ll want to make sure that you have push notifications set up. You’ll get a notification from the app once your group is called, and you’ll have an hour to check-in at the attraction.
The virtual queue reservation system opens at 7 am and then again at 12 pm. You’ll want to be sure to read all about the system on the Disney website before leaving because there are frequent updates.