The one thing that was strongly recommended to us was to get Park Hopper Tickets, and am I ever glad we did! We were able to go back and forth between Disneyland Park and California Adventure. This definitely came in handy since it was the holiday season and both parks were busy, but we were able to switch parks if one had a parade going on or some other big event and take advantage of the other park, and the rides were easier to get on.
We had been warned to get Fast Passes for Radiator Springs right away. I am so thankful we went in with this knowledge because during our visit if you did not grab these right away they were gone by 11am, and you were looking at a 2 to 3 and a half hour long wait for standby to get on Radiator Springs. Which seriously is the best ride in there! We actually went into the park, waited for the ropes to drop at opening, and Jason took off “speed walking” (because there is no running aloud) with both of our tickets to get fast passes. He also grabbed passes to World of Colour for the first show in the evening. Grab that right away too.
With passes in hand we then wandered around and took in the sights. We fell in love with Cars Land. We are all Cars fans in this house, Evie has a little Lightening McQueen and Tow Mater car that she brought with us on the trip. One of them even made an appearance in our photo with Lightening McQueen. Radiator Springs looks exactly like the scenes in the movie. Disney did an incredible job on this part of the park, and I love that there are PhotoPass Photographers all over. Be sure to stop and get your photos taken, and ask for those magic shots!
After our Fast Passes were used, we asked for Rider Switch Passes because whoever didn’t go on the ride, the other parent was with Evie enjoying the rides she could go on. She was a bit too short for Radiator Springs Racers. This ride was the highlight of the California Adventure side for us, and we can totally understand why people wait to go on. We both loved zooming through Radiator Springs, and racing another car to the finish line. It is so much fun. If you are waiting for family on the ride go down the exit side, and there is a bit of a viewing area where you can watch and wait for your family to zoom past and snap a photo of them.
Evie and I ventured off at one point while Jason was on another ride, and waited to go on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. It feature’s the little tractors he likes to cause to tip over, and you ride in cart attached to it that sways back and forth. The line was a bit longer than it was said to be, but Evie was a champ and happily waited thanks to the fun music playing and all the stuff to look at in the junkyard. While she loved the ride at first, even I was a bit apprehensive of it after a bit as the seat belts are not per person, it goes right across your whole seat – one for everyone on the bench. With the swaying you move around a lot. I would definitely wait to go on it next time we are there for Evie to be much taller. That or be prepared to hold onto your kid tight. It was still fun, but Evie went from excited to a bit worried. There is a tractor outside of the ride that you can take photos on, so if the ride isn’t for you but you love the tractors be sure to get a photo with one.
Flo’s Cafe was also highly recommended to us, and it was the one place we stopped to eat at in the park twice! The first time Jason and I were both very hungry and got individual meals, the second time we shared a meal and enjoyed a turkey dinner. The food is great! You are given a menu and select what you would like, and like a car hop you go up and give your order. The food is prepared very quickly and you can find booth or table seating, or even go outside to picnic tables. The music is great, and Evie was happily dancing along while she ate her mac-n-cheese and turkey sandwich. On the one side of Flo’s you also have a great view of the car’s going round on Radiator Spring’s Racers, you may even see Lightening McQueen Drive past to go take some photos with those in the park.
In California Adventure I got to experience my first ever big roller coaster ride when I went on California Screamin’. While it didn’t make me scream, I absolutely refused to, I did ride a good chunk of it with my eyes closed I am so terrified of heights. Jason however took it light a champ!
Tucked in beside Cars Land is A Bug’s Land. The rides in here are great for toddlers, with hardly any wait times to get on. We looped round to get back on rides here and waited for only a few minutes each time. It was great. Evie spotted Flik’s Flyers from far away and wanted on instantly. It’s similar to Dumbo; you go up and twirl around, going up and down. You ride in juice boxes, food cartons, and more. We also rode on Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, and Francis’ Ladybug Boogie. We just didn’t do the bumper car style ride in there as we aren’t ones for being jolted around. There is even a little puddle park tucked in here if you need a place for your kids to run around and cool down. There are also washrooms here that were never busy, even a small family one to make it easier if you have a stroller or need to bring several kids in.
We absolutely loved the shows in California Adventure. The parade had lots of Disney & Pixar characters, which are who many kids today know and love. It was also very high energy, Evie was dancing in her seat when she wasn’t trying to take it all in. World of Colour was Christmas themed and hosted by Olaf from Frozen. At one point his bottom bounced along to lead a singalong. This was one we had to line up and wait to get in early, especially since we wanted decent viewing with Evie in her stroller. There is also a splash zone from the spray of the water during the show. I would definitely watch World of Color again.
Some of the other rides that Evie really enjoyed in here were Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, and King Triton’s Carousel. We couldn’t walk past these without her wanting to go on again. Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is great because it keeps loading and unloading with people so you can get on very fast. I also really liked that this is one of these simple rides that actually ends with a happily ever after scene. One evening after a show we are heading to the exit when we stumbled upon a ride that had no wait time and was open. I decided to go on and Jason stayed with Evie. I didn’t realize that it was Grizzly River Run! I ended up a bit drenched but it was a lot of fun. Jason went in right after I got back. That was a fun little experience, definitely no turning back when you get to the rotating deck to get on. There is one ride that we wish we’d been able to go on more often, Toy Story’s Midway Mania. This ride allows any height on, we had Evie sit on Jason’s lap so that she could see easily. You ride on a track, and become an honourary toy. You get to aim at different midway targets. It’s a lot of fun, and there are “easter eggs” hidden throughout to help you get a high score. So do you research before you go. Jason and Evie were the winners for our ride through.
California Adventure is a lot of fun, we found it to be more calm in here over the Disney Park side, except for Car’s Land which was always busy. It provides a great chance to walk around, and get on rides. There are more rides on this side for the thrill seekers. Jason was the only one out of the two of us to brave The Tower of Terror… there is just no way I was going on that. We are definitely looking forward to going back in the future when Evie is older so that she can go on more of the rides here. She is a little, but very daring girl and we are sure she will love this side of Disneyland some day. I cannot wait to go back some day!