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, and have also purchased our own tickets. 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.
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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.
Recently Disneyland has introduced the Disney Genie, Genie+, and Individual Lightning Lanes. You’ll need to modify your theme park strategy to avoid long lines at 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 Disneyland reservations 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 11 am, you’ll be allowed to park hop to the other park.
If you are staying at one of the three Disney resorts at Disneyland, you’ll be able to take advantage of early entry. This allows you to enter the two theme parks 30 minutes in advance of opening. It’s a good idea to try to ride the most popular rides during this extra time.
During your day at Disney’s California Adventure, it’s important to note that some of the Pixar Pier attractions close early for the World of Color.
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. I’ve found that in the single rider line, I can generally ride in a few minutes.
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. It’s got some big drops and is a fun ride.
The Incredicoaster has a minimum height of 48 inches to ride. After you ride, stop by the small kiosk near the exit to get a Jack-Jack Cookie Num Num.
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 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the transformation of the 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. In the WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure ride, you’ll board a WEB SLINGER vehicle to fight the spider bots that were accidentally replicated by Peter Parker at Stark Industries. This is a very fun ride, and you can compete with your family members to see who can sling the most spider bots.
Other rides at Disneyland include Grizzly River Run, Pixar Pal-A-Round Ferris wheel, Silly Symphony Swings, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, and Monsters Inc – Mike and Sulley to the Rescue.
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 entrance to the World of Color.
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 will also need to have a valid park reservation.
You can only have one virtual queue reservation at a time, and can only have one per attraction per day. However, right now, there is only one option at Disneyland. Virtual queue reservations aren’t guaranteed, so you won’t necessarily get one.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, there are some really fun rides at the park, just like at Disneyland.
Absolutely, it’s one of my favorite parks. I definitely recommend visiting it.
I think both parks are great and worth visiting. Disney’s California Adventure has my two favorite thrill rides at Disneyland – Incredicoaster and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. So if you like thrill rides, this may be the better option. Disneyland has some of the better rides for younger kids.
Yes, although it may be a challenge, depending on crowds and lines. If you want to try to do the park in one day, Genie+ may be a great idea to save time.