Going on an California Adventure

Disney California Adventure

Hollywood Land

After passing through the Buena Vista Street, which is modelled after Los Angeles of the 1920s, we soon enter Hollywood Land. This area of the park is home to the large Hyperion theatre famous for various musical performances. Unfortunately, the new production of Roger the Musical was only shown for a small period in summer, leaving this area quite empty.

Mickey’s PhilharMagic

One of the few attractions at the Disneyland Resort to feature the world-famous Mouse and his friends is Mickey’s PhilharMagic. The attraction takes you on a magical voyage through the famous movie scenes and their tunes, but Mickey is nowhere to be found. The star of the attraction is actually Donald Duck, who curiously took over Mickey’s role of conducting the orchestra and experiences the famous animated scenes himself, which leads to all kind of clumsy situations. The movie itself is well animated and a lot of fun.

Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sully to the Rescue!

Albeit being a smaller attraction at Disney California Adventure, a ride on the Monsters, Inc. dark ride is a great experience. The ride strictly follows the events of the film, with Mike & Sully to rescue the little kid Boo before Randall Boggs gets her. Especially, the scene with the doors is quite noteworthy.

Avengers Campus

After more than a decade of Marvel films, it does make sense to include the IP to a Disney theme park. Avengers Campus is a very modern and clean area, yet does have some interesting architecture. The area is home to various Marvel characters, a flying spiderman animatronic show and two very good dark rides.  

Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure

The Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure interactive dark ride is of a different calibre. The Spider-Bots developed by Peter Parker get a little out of control during Open House Day on the W.E.B. campus and duplicate themselves like crazy. Contact with other substances in turn causes them to partially mutate. Now you have to stop the robots before they devastate the entire campus. To do this, you swing webs like Spider Man and free one location after the other from the little crawlers.

Unlike other interactive themed rides, everything here works contact-free, you just use your hands and shoot your nets through space with amazing precision.  No wild flailing to score points – it’s more about purposeful movements, which can be quite a challenge. The team concept is just as motivating: you play together, which in turn positively enriches the ride.

Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure is definitely a blast of a ride. Everything has been done right here. The video quality is outstanding, the interactivity during the ride works really well and last but not least, the ride is incredibly fun. 

Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission Breakout!

The Tower of Terror drop ride has always been one of the most interesting rides Disney has ever built. It is the second installation of the iconic ride and for years, it shared quite a lot in common with the version at the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris. Nowadays, both rides are located at the outskirts of the Marvel Avenger Campus area. While the Paris version offers a slightly darker take on the original, the ride in California Adventure is very positively bonkers. The tried-and-tested and still outstanding free-fall spectacle now features an awesome soundtrack and very funny screen-based action, based on the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, inbetween the drops, leaving all rider’s to cheer and scream at the same time. Its an awesome ride which fits in perfectly into the very modern area.

Cars Land

Probably the most stunning area of the park is Cars Land. It is a come to reality version of the small roadside town of Radiator Springs featuring all of the iconic buildings and three great attractions.

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is a fun ride, where you are constantly transported through several discs in a circle while the gondolas also swing sideways due to the constant changes in direction and lateral acceleration. It’s a great attraction for inbetween and a quite charming one due to Mater narrating the ride.

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters

Similar to Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, a ride on Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters is great fun. Here, the cars all dance together. The ride has some weird motion going on while on ride, yet it looks great when all cars move in synchronization with the music.

Radiator Springs Racers

Radiator Springs Racers is the highlight of Cars Land. After a joyride through the beautiful landscape, we soon enter the dark ride show scene. Here we experience all kind of dangers before reaching Radiator Springs and get prepared for our race. What follows is a high-speed experience, which even features a bit of airtime when passing the hills. If you love the Cars movies, you will automatically love this ride. There is soo much to see and even more to experience. Simply said, Radiator Springs Racer is one of the best rides ever created.  

Grizzly Peak

The Grizzly Peak area is located around the man-made mountain on which the Grizzly River Run rapids are located. This area is a rather quiet area that stretches along the Grand Californian Hotel.

Soarin’ Around the World

The Flying Theatre Soarin’ Around the World was long considered one of the best dark rides in the world. In the meantime, however, there are similar attractions all over the world and the technically impressive theatre is losing more and more of its significance thanks to its mediocre film. As in Epcot, the flight over the world’s landmarks is quite nice, but basically you just fly from one fade to the next. That’s a shame, especially since other theme parks usually focus on the nearby surrounding area and offer a much more rounded overall experience. Here, I would actually wish if they change the film back to the original one focussing on California.

Grizzly River Run

The Grizzly River Run is a giant rapids ride created by Intamin. The fast and fun ride down the current of Grizzly Peak is full of surprises. Especially the two drops can get you really wet. The ride does not lack in rapids either, so you might end up soaked.

Paradise Gardens Park

The area Paradise Gardens Park complements the Pixar Pier area and shares the same atmosphere. Together with Pixar Pier, it is home to a rather interesting collection of rebuilds of classic turn of the century attractions. In this area you can find the Golden Zephyr flying machines and the Jumpin’ Jellyfish parachute jump towers, as well as the classic wave swinger Silly Symphony Swing.

The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

The little Mermaid dark ride gives us the opportunity to voyage under the sea. The ride is home to some of the best animatronics to be found anywhere in the world, especially the one of Ursula is seriously impressive. The ride itself is entertaining and great if you just need some minutes of rest, as the wait times are normally pretty low due to the high capacity of the ride.

Goofy’s Sky School

Goofy’s Sky School is the classic Wild Mouse roller coaster from Disney California Adventure. The Mack Rides ride offers almost the same layout as most Wild Mouse steel roller coasters, although the double drop finale has been made a little more family-friendly by replacing the small hill in the centre (and therefore the second drop) with a simple ramp. At least the ride offers a little bit of theming.

Pixar Pier

The Pixar Pier is dominated by the large Incredicoaster, which resembles an old seaside wooden coaster. The area is home to the second Coaster Wheel ever built, as well as two carousels and the dark ride Toy Story Midway Mania!

Pixar Pal-A-Round

The Pixar Pal-A-Round is the first rebuild of Coney Island’s classic Coaster Wheel. The ride offers two types of sensation – either you take a ride on the swinging gondolas or you enjoy a ride in a stationary gondola, which offers the classic Ferris Wheel sensation. Of course, I had to take a ride on the swinging gondolas which proved itself to be incredibly funny. The high extend of the rocking and the two laps in total took me by surprise.

Toy Story Midway Mania!

The Toy Story Midway Mania! interactive dark ride is one of the most popular Disney attractions in the world. The ride is like a visit to the funfair, where you play one game of skill after another at the individual stands in order to achieve the highest possible high score.


The Incredicoaster is the largest roller coaster at any Disney theme park. Opened as California Screamin’ in 2001, the ride was especially known for its great soundtrack. As part of Pixar Pier, the ride now tells the story of runaway Jack-Jack and his incredible family members which try to catch the toddler.  

After leaving the station, the track guides us below the pier and soon into the ride’s launch section. After a brief stop, we are accelerated to a maximum speed of 55 mp/h (88 km/h). We then climb a large hill covered by a tunnel. Soon after we race through a very long valley, before entering a brake section. The ride then continues in a very wide righthand bend which with time gets steeper and steeper. After a change in direction, we then enter a large hill, which uses LIM to further push us upwards. Here too, the hill is partially closed by a tunnel. We then enter the largest drop of the ride, which then gets us into a very wide righthand turn. Now being parallel to the large LIM lift hill, we enter a small dip and soon after invert ourselves in a large vertical loop. After an incline, we then enter another brake section. The ride now continues with a large drop followed by another very wide turn and another brake section, before going into a series of smaller airtime hills. Finally, we enter a large helix and soon after the brakes.

The Incredicoaster is a very fine roller coaster for what it is. However, apart of the ride’s classic vibe, the launch and the looping, there is not so much going on in this roller coaster and due to the very wide turns it even feels a bit lengthy. The “Incredible” version of the ride is fine, but I think the original concept of the ride fits the overall experience a little better.  

World of Color

The nighttime show World of Color is a great way to end your day at Disney California Adventure. The water show is one of the best nighttime spectaculars, I’ve yet experienced at any Disney theme park and therefore highly recommended.

Pictures Disney California Adventure

Conclusion Disney California Adventure

Disney California Adventure is a great park with some very cool attractions. I especially enjoyed my time in the Cars Land themed area and in Grizzly Peak as these are the most immersive areas. When visiting the park, I highly recommend opting for the park hopping option, as Disneyland park is just a short walk away and both park’s in combination are a great way to spend a day while a visit to California Adventure might take a half-day only.

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