Photo Credits ©Disney
Scott Brinegar/Disneyland Resort
(Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort
California Adventure has gone through many iterations since its 2001 opening. With the addition of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, California Adventure tickets are as popular as Disneyland tickets.
Read about the history of California Adventure.
How Can You Use This?
Love taking pictures? See our top ten Disney California Adventure Photo Spots for that perfect family photo.
California Adventure is comprised of 7 distinct lands. Here's a breakdown of each land and what you'll find in them.
Incredicoaster, formally California Screamin', has been rethemed with the Incredibles characters throughout the ride. Located in the new Pixar Pier, Incredicoaster remains a hold-on-tight, high energy coaster Disney fans have come to love.
Catapult from 0 to 55 mph in less than the time it takes to wave good-by. Over the course of more than one mile of track.
you'll zip through a ginormous loop along 6,000 feet of elevated track. Incredicoaster is a thrilling but smooth riding screaming mini blast-off reaching 60 mph with a maximum drop of 108 feet. After a short launch cycle, the familiar voice shouts, "Hold on like you mean it. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 SCREAM!"
California Screamin' officially launched for take-off on February 8, 2001. While it is a steel roller coaster, the structure appears wooden. It's white by day but glows a luminescent blue by night. The boardwalk-themed coaster was designed by Wlat Disney Imagineering and built by Intamon AG. At 6,072 feet long, At the time of this writing in 2014, California Screamin' was the 6th longest coaster in the world and the 2nd longest steel coaster in the U.S. California Screamin' is also one of the only Disney outdoor looping roller coasters in North America and it's the longest ride with an inversion loop.
California Screamin' is not your father's roller coaster, it employs a technology called Linear Induction replacing the old pull chain. A Linear Induction motor is an alternating current (AC) electric motor that had its stationary part of the rotor system "unrolled." Instead of producing a torque it produces a linear force along its length to get it up the first steep incline. This coaster is one of Disney's fastest attractions accelerating riders from 0 to 60 miles per hour in four seconds. from a dead stop. California Screamin' is the only inverted ride track in the Disneyland resort piling up 50,000 miles of screaming mimi fun each year.
Disney Junior Live on Stage
Disney Junior Live on Stage gives your little ones the chance to sing, dance and of course PLAY! Popular Disney Characters come to life with delightful puppets, bright and colorful visuals and fanciful scenery with fun sing-a-longs.
A musical spectacular performed at the Hyperion Theatre delivers a magic-lamp full of laughs as only one wise-cracking Genie can summons up. Aladdin is a lavishly produced Broadway-style musical comedy based on the classic animated Disney film by the same name.
Aladdin, the "street urchin" of Agrabah becomes the improbable owner of his very own Genie, and yes 3 wishes in the bargain. Can Aladdin save the beautiful Princess Jasmine? Will he live up to his promise to the Genie? Or, will he lose it all to the villainous Jafar?
Characters are brought to life by the skillful hands of puppeteers, while Princess Jasmine and Aladdin take an enchanted carpet ride through the theatre. At times the drama spills out into the audience with sensational effects, incredible dance numbers, and impressive stage sets.
Drive "Em Buggies
A Bug's Land
This ride is for the little ones and Dads prone to excessive screaming on roller coasters. Mild bumps on slow moving bugs give this ride 5 stars by the under 5-year-old constituency.
A Bug's Land
Flik's Flyers is a spinner ride at Flik's Fun Fair. Guests ride in Flik's bug-made contraptions created from people trash.
Francis' Lady Bug Boogie
A Bugs Land
Climb aboard your favorite Ladybug pal and get ready bug and roll to some bee-bopping' music while whirling around on a giant, old-fashioned 45 records. Now go ahead Dad, show your 5-year-old your bravery and board that Ladybug with confidence.
The Golden Zephyr opened with California Adventure on February 8, 2001. The design is themed after the Circle Swing rides of the early 20th century, specifically the Aerostat / Strat-O-Stat ride that operated at Riverview Park in Chicago. A similar ride called the Captive Flying Machines, a much larger ride has operated in Blackpool, England since 1904. Disney engineers traveled to England to examine the Captive Flying Machines when designing the attraction. The
Golden Zephyr harkens back to the rocket ship sci-fi movies of the 1940’s. Long silvery rockets fly passengers gently around a central structure. This is a mild ride that the whole family can enjoy.
The Golden Zephyr cannot operate at constant wind speeds over 10 miles per hour, or gusts over 15.
Goofy's Sky School
Goofy’s Sky School comes from the stories Goofy “How-to” cartoons of the 40s and 50s as well as the cartoon “Goofy’s Glider.” Flying students, you, enroll in a flying academy. Your flight instructor? You guessed it... Goofy of course. Guests ride a small roller coaster that simulates flying as Goofy instructs his new pilots how to soar like a bird!
Grizzly River Run
Grizzly River Run is a water flume ride. As with all flume rides, a place is required to store or drain all of that water flowing down from the upper sections of the ride when the pumps shut down at closing. Engineers originally planned to carve out a massive catch basin underneath Grizzly Peak that would, theoretically anyway, receive and store all of that water once the pumps were shut down. While this plan was feasible to build, it wasn't cheap and was quickly scrapped for a more cost effective water storage strategy. Enter the Pacific Wharf tidal basin. Engineers decided to utilize the tidal basin as the river's water storage. Today the tidal basin serves as a visually scenic feature, as well as a cost-effective and ingenious storage facility for the river 's water during down times.
Grizzly River Run is one of three in U.S. Disney Parks that take the name of former Opryland, USA attractions. A similar ride at the now closed park in Nashville, Tennessee was called Grizzly River Rampage.
Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission BREAKOUT!
Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! replaces the fan favorite Twilight Zone® Tower of Terror in Hollywood Land. While the rides 5 stories free fall drop remains unchanged, the rest of the ride experience is completely new. For those die-hard Tower of Terror fans, I'm afraid you'll have to jet your way to Hollywood Studios in Disney World where you can still check into a noticeably detailed version of Tower of Terror. Checking out? That's another story.
Jumpin' Jellyfish is a parachute style ride that lifts children gently off the ground and slowly floats them back to earth. This a perfect ride with shorter lines for the smallest of Disney fans. Lots of bright, vibrant colors and underwater shapes to keep your little one mesmerized. With its multi-colored parachutes and seascapes, it's one of the more popular rides to snap that perfect family photo, or just to get that great shot for your Disneyland photo album to post on the LUUP app.
Luigi's Rollickin' Roadster
Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters are a group of dancing cars who dance, turn and whirl in unison to the sounds of Italy. This a mild and fun attraction ideal for children and parents to ride together. Located near the entrance of Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi's Rollinkin' Roadsters replaced Luigi's Flying Tires which didn't exactly fly but bumped causing it regularly break down.
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree rounds up a herd of baby tractors that twizzle, swivel and twist their way around the junkyard while pulling trailers from behind with you inside. Tractors appear to be dancing to songs that Mater is singing.
Mater watches over a herd of 22 dancing tractors, all dressed up in different colors, with mouths, eye colors and tractor spots. While Mater’s brood of bouncin’ baby tractors is certainly different in appearance, they all have one thing in common – dancing! This Junkyard Jamboree parties to the music of Mater’s improvised jukebox patched together from assorted hubcaps, hoods, horns and other discarded car parts. Mater’s jukebox blares out the sounds of seven original sounds, all crooned by Mater himself and performed by Disneyland favorite, Billy Hill & the Hillbillies. Yes, even Dads who cringe at the site ride speeds faster than you walk need not be concerned. Mater's Junkyard Jamboree is safe for all now take your child's hand and board the baby tractor with confidence!
Pixar Pal-A-Round, previously Mickey's Fun Wheel, is a massive 160-foot-wide Ferris wheel. Inspired by Coney Island's 1927 Wonder Wheel. Pixar Pal-A-Round features swinging as well as stationary gondolas and displays a large Mickey Face in the center of the structure.. The attraction was formerly known as the Sun Wheel from February 8, 2001 to October 14, 2008. Mickey's Fun Wheel opened May 4, 2009 as part of California Adventure's $1.1 billion dollar renovation.
Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue
This is a dark ride and follows the theme of the movie. You’ll climb aboard the taxi that whisks you away on a journey through the streets of Monstropolis. Television monitors on board play tourist videos that are abruptly interrupted with an urgent news flash. “A human named “Boo” is loose in Monstropolis.” Frightened monsters are interviewed about what they saw that night. Taxis drive through Harryhausen's sushi joint and Monsters, Inc. factory. Sulley appears in an alley holding Boo anxiously looking around to see if the coast is clear.
2,320,413 – What’s that number mean you ask? That’s how many individual computer-animated hairs Pixar’s technical team placed on Sulley, the lovable big blue monster who starred in Monster’s, Inc. The Pixar tech team actually modified, as well as created several proprietary programs to evenly distribute all that hair. This amazing software also runs something called a “builder”. The builder has information about every hair, including the color, length and other unique characteristics. Now all they have to do is computer generate a “brush” for all of that computer-generated hair. Monsters Inc. box office receipts topped $524 million worldwide. Only Finding Nemo has sold more movie tickets. Monsters, Inc. won an Oscar® for Best Original Song, “If I Don’t Have You” by Randy Newman.
Paint the Night Parade
The popular nighttime parade returns to the Disneyland Resort for Pixar Fest, this time making its way through Disney California Adventure Park. Slinky Dog and Woody from Toy Story appear in Paint the Night parade, along with many beloved Disney and Pixar pals. This after-dark spectacular shimmers with more than 1 million brilliant lights, high-energy music and cutting-edge special effects.
Radiator Springs Racers
Racers, Start - Your - ENGINES! You are about to experience the rip-roaring ride of your racing life! Hold on as you rocket your racer through the magnificent desert landscape of Ornament Valley in an adrenaline-packed auto-racing competition that includes some of your favorite Cars Land locations and characters.
Crowning the multi-year expansion at Disney California Adventure is Cars Land, inspired by the Disney®Pixar blockbuster “Cars.” Cars Land features three family attractions showcasing characters and settings from the movie, including one of the largest and most elaborate attractions ever created for a Disney park: Radiator Springs Racers!
Cars is the seventh Disney®Pixar feature film and Pixar's final, independently produced motion picture before its purchase by Disney.
The idea for Cars was born after John Lasseter, Cars producer, took a cross-country road trip with his wife and five sons in 2000. Upon returning home, he contacted Michael Wallis, a well-known Route 66 historian for some historical insight. To research the film, Wallis was asked to lead a group of eleven Pixar animators on two separate road trips across the Route. The group traveled down Route 66 in rented white Cadillac’s, studying the small towns and meeting the locals who dotted the desert landscape. Seeing a fleet of bright, white Cadillac’s caravanning down the highway certainly must have been quite a scene to Mater, Sally, Doc and the rest of the Radiator Springs car crew!
"Cars" was almost called "Route 66." However, there was concern that people would relate more to "Route 66," the popular weekly television show that aired from 1960 through 1964. To avoid confusion in the movie’s branding, the name was changed to simply "Cars." In addition, Lightning McQueen's number was originally going to be 57, John Lasseter's birth year of 1957. It was however ultimately changed to 95 to highlight the 1995 game-changing release of famed Toy Story.
Lasseter wanted his car stars to look as much like real cars as possible. This created daunting new challenges for the Pixar technicians. Creating different metallic characters, each with different shapes, meant writing powerful new software that accurately showed reflections off brightly polished metal. Cars was the first Pixar film to use a new technique called “ray tracing,” which allowed the characters to credibly reflect their environment. As a result of the increased time to render each scene, Cars took an average of 17 hours to render a single frame. Incredibly, this equates to several days to render just one second of film. Lasseter also insisted on “truth to materials,” which meant the animation team was not permitted to stretch or squash the characters which would make them inconsistent with the heavy metal frames of real cars. To achieve this effect, Pixar animators employed innovative techniques that added bends and gestures so they remained true to the cars’ construction.
Cars the movie premiered on May 26, 2006 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina and was released nationwide on June 9, 2006. Cars was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature, and won the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film. The groundbreaking film went on to earn $244 million domestically and more than $461 million worldwide.
Silly Symphony Swings
Following the story of "The Band Concert," this classic swing ride features chairs suspended from a round, overhead canopy while the central tower telescopes up and down to take riders on a smooth and spiraling experience, as if they are caught inside the cartoon's swirling cyclone. The attraction features 32 single-seat swings for guests, and eight pair of tandem seats for smaller riders and their responsible companion.
The name is taken from the Silly Symphonies, a series of 75 animated short subjects produced by Walt Disney Productions from 1929 to 1939 at the original Silver Lake studio on Hyperion Ave. in Los Angeles. The premise of the cartoons was musical novelty. The musical scores for the early cartoons were composed by Carl Stalling of Looney Tunes fame.
The first release in the series was The Skeleton Dance, which premiered to an amazed audience on August 29, 1929. The studio’s promotional tag line read… “The greatest talking picture novelty ever screened! – A laugh riot from start to finish! A comically clever cartoon classic with music, sound, and original effects.” Classic Hollywood pitch to say the least!
Unlike the Mickey Mouse series, Silly Symphonies didn’t feature regular characters, except for The Three Little Pigs, who starred in three episodes beginning May 27, 1933.
Silly Symphonies, however, gave many Disney favorites their start in the movies. Donald Duck got his big Hollywood break when he made his first appearance on the silver screen in The Wise Little Hen on June 9, 1934. Pluto's first appearance without Mickey Mouse was also in a Silly Symphonies cartoon in Just Dogs in 1932. Characters such as Donald Duck and Humphrey the Bear were separated from the Silly Symphonies group to star in their own cartoon series.
In 1930, after viewing the Skeleton Dance, Columbia Pictures wanted to distribute the series. At the time, Walt was breaking ties with the then distributor, Celebrity Pictures, because he was not happy with studio head Pat Powers. Powers signed Disney’s friend and long time colleague Ub Iwerks to a studio contract. Columbia Pictures agreed to pick up the distribution of the Mickey Mouse series on the condition they would receive the exclusive rights to distribute the Silly Symphonies series. Columbia Pictures distributed the series from 1930 to 1932 when creative disagreements caused Walt to move the distribution to United Artists. The Mickey Mouse series was far more popular, and as result, UA wanted Walt to tie in the popularity of the Mickey Mouse name to the Silly Symphonies series. Walt agreed and the name was changed to “Mickey Mouse Presents a Silly Symphony.” New title cards and posters were created and used to introduce and promote the series during its five-year run with UA.
In 1932 shortly after the move to UA, Walt introduced a new three-strip color technology called Technicolor, ushering full color animation to the big screen. It was successfully used first on Flowers and Trees, which dazzled audiences and became a box office smash. It went on to win Walt the first of his incredible 32 Academy Awards. An amazing personal achievement.
Soarin' Around the World
Soarin' Around the World is a completely new show with stunning ariel scenes from around the globe that will amaze the whole family.
Soar high in the sky on a wind in your face hang glider flight above The Great Wall of China, the Sydney Harbor in Australia, around the Matterhorn in Switzerland …
These are among more than a dozen breathtaking ways you’ll be able to experience the wonders of the world when you board Soarin’ Around the World.
Original concepts for Soarin' Around the World dates back to 1996. Known then as “Ultra Flight”, the name still appears on the tower consoles. Originally the show was to run on an OMNIMAX screen flying riders over famous landmarks on an inverted track. The design called for three load levels each operating on a horizontal cable similar to a dry cleaner’s rack. Construction and labor costs proved to be prohibitive and the plan was abandoned. The concept was given new life when Imagineer, Mark Sumner, developed a different way to construct the rides vehicle. Using a child’s Erector Set, Mark built a real working model that would allow Disney technicians to load riders on one level instead of three reducing construction and labor costs. As a result of Mr. Sumner’s brilliant design, Soarin' Over California opened for soaring on May 5, 2005. It’s believed the original Erector Set model still sits in Mr. Sumner’s office.
The newest show, Soarin' Around the World replacing Soarin' Over California opened June 17, 2016.
The Little Mermaid
Harkening back to the glory days of Walt's groundbreaking Audio-Animatronics characters, "Little Mermaid" is a not-so-dark ride where colorful scenes of Arial's underwater home come alive with moving, and waving characters to the music from Under the Sea. Little ones will see all of their favorite characters including Sebastion, Flounder, and King Triton as you move gently along in your seashell waving and interacting in a under water world. The final scene is Arial and Prince Eric finding that each other are not so different after all as they gaze lovingly into each other's eyes under a moonlit night.
The adventures of Ariel unfold in colorful scenes filled with Audio-Animatronics characters and memorable music from the Disney animated motion picture hit “The Little Mermaid” in this modern version of the classic Disney “dark ride”. The attraction brings the popular motion picture to life in magnificent scenes where guests will sing along with Sebastian and friends, keep an eye out for the evil Ursula, and experience the romance of Ariel and Eric. Special effects will transport guests “under the sea,” taking them into Ariel’s world in ways never before seen.
The Little Mermaid was written by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, and first published in 1836.
In 1985, "The Great Mouse Detective" co-director Ron Clements discovered a collection of Hans C. Anderson's fairy tales while browsing a bookstore. He presented a two-page draft of a movie based on "The Little Mermaid" to CEO Michael Eisner, who passed on it, because at that time the studio was in development on a sequel to Splash. But the next day, then Walt Disney Pictures boss Jeffrey Katzenberg green-lighted the idea for possible development, along with "Oliver & Company."
The Little Mermaid was first released on November 15, 1989, grossing more than $111 million in the U.S. and an additional $100 million worldwide. The success of Little Mermaid brought some much deserved life back to Disney’s animated feature film unit after a string of marginal successes from films such as The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and Oliver & Company. In addition, The Little Mermaid triggered the start of a successful ten-year run of great Disney movies, with the exception of the 1990 feature animation, The Rescuers Down Under.
The Little Mermaid was re-released in November 1997 and followed by a direct-to-video sequel, Return to the Sea in 2000, as well as an animated series, which premiered in late 1992.
The Little Mermaid is the 28th Walt Disney animated feature and the last to employ hand-painted cels shot with an analog camera. One thousand different colors were used on 1,100 backgrounds. It features more than one million drawings.
In 1990, The Little Mermaid won two Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, "Under the Sea." Its soundtrack, riding high on the heels of the film's popularity and its Academy, Golden Globe and Grammy Awards, went triple platinum, an unheard-of feat for an animated movie at the time.
Little Mermaid became an important film in animation history by marking the return of animated musicals that were the source of great Disney pride and popularity from the early 30s. It also contained more special effects than any other Disney animated feature since Fantasia, where an estimated one million bubbles were hand drawn. In addition, Little Mermaid applied other processes, including airbrushing and backlighting.
Technically, the film marked the first use of Computer Animation Production System (CAPS) in a Disney feature, which was seen in the wedding scene at the close of the film. CAPS is a digital ink-and-paint and animation production system that colors the animators' drawings digitally, as opposed to the traditional method of tracing ink and paint onto celluloid cels.
Toy Story Midway Mania
Toy Story Midway Mania features five mini-games is an interactive game while players move slowly along in ride vehicle that spins around one and another to face each contest. Each 3D animated scene hosts different challenges with different obstacles, targets and point totals. Your hosts are of course Toy Story characters narrated by Woody, Jesse, Buzz, Mr. Potatoe Head and the rest of Andys toys. Contestants wear 3-D glasses known as Carnival Games Goggles. Your weapon is a spring-loaded shooter that fires everything but the kitchen sinks at moving targets. Your point totals are displayed on the player’s screens. Virtual stuffed animals are awarded at the end of the competition.
Read all about "What's Coming" once the Happiest Place on Earth this summer in the premier issue of DLR Magazine.