A First Timer’s Guide: Top Things You Need to Know About Disney California Adventure

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Disney California Adventure is the sister park to Disneyland. Opened in 2001, this park is themed after the history and culture of California while still including Disney magic. If you will be visiting the Disneyland Resort, this park is not to be missed! Here are some things you need to know for your first visit:

  • Two EntrancesDisney California Adventure has two entrances to the park. There’s the main entrance which is across from the entrance to Disneyland. Then there’s an entrance inside Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and Spa, one of the Disneyland Resort hotels. You don’t have to be a resort guest in order to use the second entrance but you do need to have park tickets.
  • Oswald-You can meet a pretty unique character in Disney California Adventure park. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was one of the first cartoon characters created by Walt Disney. Walt lost the rights to Oswald back in 1928 but Disney got them back a couple of years ago. You can meet Oswald on Buena Vista Street (the main street of California Adventure).
  • “Local” Characters-California Adventure is also home to the citizens of Buena Vista Street. When you enter the park, you step back in time to Los Angeles of the 20’s and 30’s. With that time hop comes characters from that era as well. You can meet such character as Donna and her dog, Lady, who love to spread happiness to everyone they meet. Officer Calvin Blue might liven your day by writing you a fake ticket. And Molly the Messenger is a delightful bicycle-riding messenger who loves making people happy by delivering them messages.
  • Buena Vista Street Entertainment-Other entertainment that’s unique to Disney California Adventure includes the Red Car Trolley News Boys and the musical group, Five & Dime. Both groups perform daily on Buena Vista Street. The Red Car Trolley News Boys bring the latest headlines and engage their audience with fun songs of the 20’s and 30’s. Five & Dime jazzes things up for their audience in Carthay Circle with their lead singer, Dime.
  • Alcohol-Disney California Adventure is the only park at the Disneyland Resort where alcohol is served (with the exception of Club 33 in Disneyland). From martinis to beer, there’s something for everyone at this park (so long as they’re 21 or older of course!).
  • Parade View-A great spot to watch the afternoon parade in California Adventure is Carthay Circle. You’ll have a great view of the parade and be close to the exit if you want to leave the park when it’s over.
  • Boardwalk Games-Check out the Paradise Pier Midway for fun pay-per-play boardwalk games. The games incorporate Disney and Pixar characters and the prizes are pretty cute too! At ‘Goofy About Fishin’ everyone wins a prize. ‘Bullseye Stallion Stampede’ is a horse race and the fastest horse wins a prize. ‘Casey at Bat’ is a pretty difficult game and only those who win get a prize. The final game, ‘Dumbo Bucket Brigade’, is a water pistol game and the first fireman to the top of his ladder wins a prize.
  • Character Drawing at Animation Academy-At Animation Academy in Hollywood Land, you can enjoy a unique opportunity to draw your own Disney character sketch. You’ll receive step by step instructions on how to draw some of your favorite characters under the guidance of a Disney artist. This is a great souvenir to take home (and it’s free!).
  • World of Color-World of Color is a dazzling nighttime water show that takes place nightly on Paradise Bay. The show projects images from beloved Disney and Disney•Pixar films onto a 19,000 square-foot water “screen” created by nearly 1,200 fountains shooting water up to 200 feet in the air. Music accompanies the images as well as fire, fountain, fog and laser effects. There are three versions of the show. The original ‘World of Color’, ‘World of Color-Winter Dreams’ which is shown during the holidays, and ‘World of Color-Celebrate!’ which is being shown during the 60th anniversary celebration. This is a spectacular show that you need to see when visiting California Adventure. Be sure to get fastpasses early in the day or make a World of Color dining reservation for great seating.

What are your Disney California Adventure tips for first timers? Let me know in the comments!

For more information about the Disneyland Resort, or for help with booking your first visit, email me at sarasolberg@worldofmagictravel.com or follow me on Facebook! My services are always FREE and I’ll find you the best promotion available for your trip!


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