Disney California Adventure: Disneyland's Second Theme Park

When Disneyland Park opened in 1955, Walt Disney's theme park legacy began in Anaheim, California. This historic park was followed by the creation of Walt Disney World Resort, beginning with the Magic Kingdom theme park in 1971 and followed by the openings of Epcot in 1982, Disney-MGM Studios (now Hollywood Studios) in 1989, and Animal Kingdom in 1998. Also at Walt Disney World, River Country (Disney's first water park) opened in 1976 (to be closed in 2001), followed by Typhoon Lagoon in 1989 and Blizzard Beach in 1985. Internationally, Disney opened parks in Tokyo in 1983, Europe in 1992, an Tokyo in 2001.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Disney theme parks' expansion is that Disneyland Park did not truly become Disneyland Resort until 2001, with the addition of a Downtown Disney area and a second theme park called Disney California Adventure. Disney California Adventure opened in February of 2001, offering another park for Disneyland guests to experience the type of attractions that Disney parks are known for. This post will focus on attractions; information on dining and shows will be covered in later posts, so stay tuned!


Disney California Adventure is composed of 8 districts, arranged in a similar spoke pattern to other Disney theme parks:
  • Buena Vista Street
  • Hollywood Land
  • "a bug's land"
  • Cars Land
  • Pacific Wharf
  • Paradise Pier
  • Grizzly Peak
  • Condor Flats

 Buena Vista Street

Guests walk down Buena Vista Street upon entrance to Disney California Adventure. This district is designed to resemble the Los Angeles of the 1920s. Several dining locations and shops can be found here. Guests can also ride the Red Car Trolley up Buena Vista Street to Carthay Circle, or all the way into Hollywood Land near the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Red Car Trolley

Hollywood Land

Hollywood Land was inspired by the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1930s. Attractions include:
Disney Junior - Live on Stage!, Muppetvision 3D, Animation Academy and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (similar to the attractions of the same names at Hollywood Studios), as well as Turtle Talk with Crush (also found at Epcot). Unique attractions include:
  • Sorcerer's Workshop: interactive activities exploring character animation
  • Monsters Inc. Mike and Sully to the Rescue!: a taxi cab ride through Monstropolis
  • Disney's Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular: a Broadway-style stage show
Monsters Inc. Mike and Sully to the Rescue!
"a bug's land"

In this district, guests can see the world from a bug's perspective. Here, guests familiar with Walt Disney World will find the show "It's Tough to be a Bug!", also found at Animal Kingdom. Other attractions include:
  • Flik's Fun Fair: a play area for children
  • Francis' Lightning Boogie: a fun spin on a ladybug's back
  • Flik's Flyers: a ride on a hot-air balloon made of leaves
  • Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies: a bumper car attraction
  • Princess Dot Puddle Park: a water play area
  • Heimlich's Chew Chew Train: a ride in search of caterpillar snacks
Heimlich's Chew Chew Train
Cars Land

This district and all of its attractions are completely unique to Disney California Adventure (for now). The following Cars-themed attractions are found here:
  • Mater's Junkyard Jamboree: listen to Mater's music while getting pulled by tractors in a tea-party-like ride
  • Luigi's Flying Tires: float around on a spare tire
  • Radiator Springs Racers: race on a track using the same technology as Epcot's Test Track
Radiator Springs Racers

Pacific Wharf

This district is inspired in part by San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, and consists mostly of dining and shopping locations. Attractions include a Bakery Tour and Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar, where guests can see constructions projects being completed within the park. Since the latest expansion (Cars Land) was completed in June of 2012, the future of Blue Sky Cellar remains to be seen.

Paradise Pier

Coastal boardwalk areas inspired this district, where the attractions resemble popular amusement park rides. These attractions include:
  • California Screamin': a high-speed roller coaster
  • King Triton's Carousel: a carousel with an undersea theme
  • Toy Story Midway Mania (similar to the attraction of the same name at Hollywood Studios)
  • Games of the Boardwalk
  • Mickey's Fun Wheel: a ferris-wheel ride
  • Silly Symphony Swings: a wave-swinger attraction
  • Goofy's Sky School: a smaller roller coaster
  • Jumpin' Jellyfish: a parachute-jump-style ride
  • Golden Zephyr: a rocket-ship ride
  • The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure (a similar ride of the same name is now part of the New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom)
California Screamin'

Grizzly Peak

This district evokes memories of California's wilderness and national parks. There are two attractions here: Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (a playground area) and Grizzly River Run, a whitewater raft adventure.

Grizzly River Run

Condor Flats

A tribute to California's flight history, Condor Flats is inspired by airfields of the 1940s to 1960s. The main attraction here is Soarin' Over California (known as "Soarin'" at Epcot).

Soarin' Over California

General Information

Guests to Disneyland Resort can purchase a Park Hopper Pass to allow entrance to both Disneyland Theme Parks.

The Grand Californian Hotel has its own private entrance to Disney California Adventure for guests of the Grand Californian Hotel.

Grand Californian Hotel Room

Though Disneyland Park has many similarities to the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Disney California Adventure is a park with most attractions entirely unique to itself. In fact, several of the crossover attractions started in California and were then recreated at Walt Disney World in Florida.

What do you think? Are you ready for a Disney California Adventure?