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13 Magical Moments at Disney California Adventure Park

Shannon Swanson

by , Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort

It’s hard to believe it has been 13 years since Disney California Adventure park officially opened for guests. From construction to Cars Land, here’s a look back at some of the most memorable moments.

In honor of the 13th anniversary tomorrow, what is your favorite memory at Disney California Adventure park? Leave you answer in the comments below!


  • It’s got to be the opening of Cars Land! For months all during construction, I would stand on the elevated patio outside Blue Sky Cellar to peek over the construction fences and check on the progress. I was so excited when the first signs went up, and those first glimpses of,the neon all lit up! And I was fortunate enough to be there on opening day – what an awesome experience and a fabulous addition to DCA!

  • Two of my favorite memories are watching DCA construction, like in the opening of this video, from our room at the Disneyland Pacific Hotel (now Paradise Pier Hotel) and going on the Tower of Terror prior to its opening.

  • The park has come a long way. 🙂

    I loved the opening of Buena Vista Street and Cars Land.

    I really hope that the Imagineers have more planned for the park!

  • …Also, it was great when World of Color debuted. It was exciting because finally California Adventure had a nighttime spectacular of its very own.
    I should also mention that I love the environment of Flik’s Fun Fair. The clovers and other plants are great.

    Also, Paradise Pier has really improved a lot with the new dining area and Toy Story and Little Mermaid attractions.

  • I will never ever forget the first time that I watched World of Color. Such an incredible show!

  • 13 years ago tonight, I was camping out inside Disneyland on the pathway at the based of Matterhorn mountain. It was freezing cold and everyone was trying to find a way to keep warm. Cast Members were doing what they could to keep the Guests warm and entertained. To this day I can still point out the exact patch of cement where I laid down on the ground and tried to get some sleep.

    Once the sun rose, the Cast Members started moving the Guests up Main Street a group at a time towards the gates. I was fortunate enough to be in one of the first groups of Guests. To our delight, my group was one of the few groups that were moved up close enough in between all the bleachers set up in the esplanade so that we were able to see the opening ceremonies. The vast majority of groups behind us were stuck behind the bleachers and I heard many were lined up on Main Street.

    Although that night 13 years ago was very cold and uncomfortable, it still is a warm memory for me to be able to say I was there for the grand opening of a Disney park.

  • I have so many wonderful memories regarding DCA, and one of my favorites is the photos I’ve taken over the years, when the huge CALIFORNIA letters still marked entrance, of my two children sitting side-by-side in the letter A. As the years passed and my kids grew bigger, the last year those letters were there was the last year they could fit in that letter A side-by-side. They barely fit that year. Everytime I look at those pictures it brings back memories of all the fun times my family and I have had and anticipation of fun times to come at DCA.

  • Shannon,

    My wife and I have been fans of Disneyland for 44 years and have enjoyed DCA from the beginning. The transformation that has occurred with the addition of Carsland and Buena Vista Street is amazing! There have been several “Magical Moments” but one stands out and it came as a complete surprise. On our first visit to see the new changes it was an exciting day, RS Racers were fantastic and the accuracy of Carsland to the movie was unbelievable but we were blown away when we entered Carsland through the rock arch by Pacific Warf at night! That view is FANTASTIC! Now after we watch World of Color we go through the food court and under the “arch” to see the view then head down “Route 66” to leave. A new tradition has been born thanks to the vision and creativity of the Imagineers, artists, and talented craftsman of Disney!

    Arizona Mike

  • Being there for the re-opening of DCA!!! I got there at 7 the night before and slept in front of the park entrance. I went to the merchandise event, so I didn’t see what was in the video, but I love wearing my shirt and sweatshirt showing I was there! I waited in line for 6 hours (including break downs) for Radiator Springs Racers-it was worth it to say I rode it on opening day!! Longest I’ve ever waited, but such a cool memory!!

  • I really enjoyed the first California Parade with the different eras of the development of California and its people. The park has sure come a long way!

  • My favorite moment has to be the first time I saw World of Color in 2010. Incredible! Like many others have said, the park has sure come a long way in 13 years, and with the additions of Buena Vista Street, Cars Land, and all that has been done to Paradise Pier, it truly is now a world class theme park. It is now as good or better than the theme parks at Walt Disney World. I can’t wait to see what the future will hold for Disney California Adventure.

  • I was first in California Adventure when a very large conference took over part of the park one evening perhaps a year or so after it opened. It was love at first sight. I rode California Screamin’ nine times and Grizzly River Run three or four — a warm summer night. I’ve been in love with this park every since and been countless times, but I’ll never forget that first thrill of discovery.

  • Awesome video! Lots of great moments but the best for me is the new Buena Vista and Cars Land. Love everything about Disneyland and CAP, especially during the Holiday season.

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