What are Your Disney California Adventure Park Must-Do’s?

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Last week, we shared our Disneyland park must-do’s … and I’ve got to say, you all had some pretty good things to share. This week, let’s head over to Disney California Adventure park. These are my must-do’s – share yours in the comments!

Stop #1 – Red Car Trolley, Buena Vista Street

I love a nice stroll down Buena Vista Street, but the Red Car Trolley is the best way to see it in style. Read about the real-life inspiration behind this attraction in this post.

Stop #2 – Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream, Buena Vista Street

Clarabelle's Hand-Scooped Ice Cream at Disney California Adventure Park

Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream is the only place at the Disneyland Resort where you can get a customized, hand-dipped ice cream bar!

Stop #3 – Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge, Buena Vista Street

Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge at Disney California Adventure Park

Carthay Circle Restaurant is an amazing place to eat – the beautiful restaurant, the delicious food. But if you only have time for a quick stop, I recommend the downstairs lounge. I love the vintage-inspired cocktails.

Stop #4- Frozen Fun, Hollywood Land


This is a brand-new addition to my list. “Frozen Fun” includes so much to do – and my favorite is “Olaf’s Snow Fest.” I grew up in Florida and now I live in Southern California, so playing in the snow is a genuine novelty for me.

Stop #5 – The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Hollywood Land

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure Park

This is one of my favorite Disney Parks attractions of all time, so yeah – must-do.

Stop #6 – Cozy Cone Motel, Cars Land

Some time ago, my friend Kelly and I demonstrated our love for all things at the Cozy Cone. Top of my list: Red’s Apple Freeze.

Stop #7 – Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, Cars Land

Did you think I was going to say Radiator Springs Racers? Well yeah, that’s an obvious one, but my absolute favorite attraction in Cars Land is Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. It’s surprisingly intense but still great for kids … a perfect Disney Parks attraction.

Stop #8 – Alfresco Tasting Terrace, Pacific Wharf

I love this quiet spot, where you can almost forget you’re in a theme park. And the wonderful wines and delicious food just makes it even better!

Stop #9 – California Screamin’, Paradise Pier

The only roller coaster at the Disneyland Resort with an inverted loop is definitely a must-do!

Stop #10 – “World of Color

Even though it’s closed for refurbishment right now, this nighttime spectacular remains on the list. It’s continued to evolve throughout its nearly five-year run, and I’m amazed by it every time I see it.

That’s my list. Share yours!

The Twilight Zone® is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc. and used with permission pursuant to a license with CBS, Inc.


  • 1-Soarin
    2-Radiator Springs Racers
    3-Tower Of Terror
    4-California Screamin
    5-Grizzly Rapids
    6-The Grand Californian
    7-Flo’s V8 Cafe
    8-Carthay Circle
    9-Paradise Pier
    10-Cars Land In General

  • Is California Adventure going to have the Food and Wine Festival in 2015?

  • My absolute favorite ride at DCA is the Golden Zepher! It’s closed a lot because of high winds or hot seats (they’re made of metal), but when it’s running it is SO worth it to go! It is the smoothest ride and a little thrilling. The announcer uses this 30’s slang that makes everything feel more fun (listen to the Spanish translation too). It’s got the same aero feel of Soarin’ Over California, but it feels a little like a train too.

  • Though it’s currently on hiatus, Mad T Party tops my list!
    Veggie Potato thingy at Flo’s. Along with a Milk Shake, with road gravel of course. At a table where I can recharge my phone.
    Paradise Pizza and Pasta. Or is it Pasta and Pizza?
    Flying Sau…er, Luigi’s Flying Tires. As many times as I can before they’re gone. [sniff]
    The Route 66 Curio Shop to see if they have any new books on – what else? – Route 66.
    If it’s hot, A Bug’s Land where I can get wet without waiting in line.

  • 1)Whenever my wife and I cruise on down to DCA we always make sure to see our friend “Crazy Carl” inside the buena vista shops. (There are few Disney fans with a larger disney knowledge then this amazing cast member)
    2) Animation Academy is a given in our house, we watch all of the clips before leaving 🙂
    3) Ariel’s Under Sea Adventure
    4) We haven’t been able to go on this attraction in over a year as we were expecting our first daughter, but Radiator Springs Racers and Grizzly River Rapids always top my list.

    We cant wait to return in April for our daughters first Disney trip 🙂

  • Tower Of Terror
    Aladdin Musical
    Tough to be a Bug
    Soar’n California
    Scream’n California
    Radiator Springs Racers
    Redcreek Challenge Trail
    Toy Story Mania
    Play Parade
    Not in the Park: Storyteller Cafe

  • Mad T Party and News Boys are my two main reasons for going to Disney California Adventure.

  • I just LOVE the walk down Buena Vista Street! I always buy a churro or something, and sit on one of the benches for a bit. That whole area has such a great atmosphere.

    Then I can’t wait to ride the Tower of Terror! I like noticing the differences between this one and the Disney’s Hollywood Studios version (this one has the additional “disappearing mirror” effect, that one has the additional horizontal part, etc).

  • Going next weekend so we’re looking forward to the new FROZEN FUN! Toy Story Midway Mania is a must. My littlest loves bugs land so we always go on Heimleich’s Chew Chew Train. He just hit the magical height of 40″ tall so he’ll be able to ride Radiator Springs Racers for the first time, he’s very excited!

  • 1. Veggie Tater Casserole at Flo’s V8.
    2. Aladdin musical – laugh out loud funny!
    3. Animation academy – we do this multiple times per trip.
    4. Silly Swings – amazing view as you swing out over the water.
    5. Redwood Creek challenge – so the kids can burn off energy.
    6. Monsters Inc. – cause we don’t have that in WDW.
    7. Toy Story – cause its so fun to shoot the targets!g
    8. Ariel’s Grotto for the great character interaction.

  • There is nothing like looking down the main street of Carsland from the entrance just after dusk when the neon lights up. It looks so much like a real town, with the paved street and all the electric poles leading down to the courthouse. One blinking street light hangs from wires in the middle of town. The neon could not be more perfect, with the Cadillac Range in the background. Sometimes the moon is up just over one building or the other-it makes for a surreal blending of disney and reality-disneyality! If you’re lucky enough to be there at dusk, you can hear the “Sh boom, Sh boom-life is but a dream song.” This is my favorite time and place in DCA.

  • When I’m in Disney California Adventure, I always ride Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at least once. It’s a very cool ride with fantastic animatronics. I also love go visit Cars Land (I love the Cars movies) and I try to ride Radiator Springs Racers whenever I can. It’s got fantastic animatronics, and I love that it’s both a darkride and a thrill ride. Plus, that mountain range is amazing.

    World of Color is also really cool. There are just so many great things to see and do in the park since the multi-year expansion.

    On my last visit, I noticed that Condor Flats is closed and is going to reopen under a new name, “Grizzly Peak Airfield” I’m looking forward to seeing the changes (if any) to the area.

  • i mean all of carsland, including my favorite Radiator Springs Racers

  • everything in carsland!!

  • 1. Ariel’s Grotto (breakfast)
    2. The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
    3. Grizzly River Run
    4. Soarin’
    5. Monsters Inc. Mike and Sully to the Rescue
    6. Animation
    7. Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular
    8. Radiator Springs Racers
    9. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

    I like how I came up with 17 must do things in Disneyland, and only 9 in DCA :/

  • Always Aladdin. While watching the news, I always wonder what new quips Genie will make of what the celebs have done.

  • 1. Definitely Toy Story Midway Mania — That ride never gets old. Although my forearm usually feels as though it’s on fire and is going to fall off by the time the ride is over, and I usually gasp in horror at my terrible scores, I still love the challenge!

    2. Soarin’ Over California — No matter how many times I have been on it and know what’s going to happen, there are still scenes in which I have to close my eyes or look away for a second because of the “heights”! The scenery is so beautiful. The feeling of faux-hang gliding is exhilarating, and I love the assorted scents that fill the air. The ending — gliding over Disneyland during the Holidays and watching the fireworks — is just magical.

    3. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue — It has a lot of great details and inside jokes in the queue, and I love that Roz talks to the exiting passengers at the end of the ride.

    4. If it’s the holiday season, I can’t pass by Trolley Treats without getting a gingerbread cookie (the kind with mouse ears, of course!). I also cannot walk by the Cozy Cone Motel without peering in the office at the miniature gingerbread model of the Cozy Cone. And the lively, vibrant, joyful celebration that is Viva Navidad is not to be missed.

    5. Lots of photos, photos, photos!

    6. I love strolling down Buena Vista Street, through Cars Land and A Bug’s Land to admire all the clever details and hidden gems.

    7. Last, but not least — Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. I’ve always loved the music from “The Little Mermaid,” so I really enjoy the “Under the Sea” scene in the ride. I usually start dancing and singing in the clamshell. Lol. 🙂

  • Definitely the Phineas & Ferb Rockin’-Rollin’ Dance Party.

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