Disney California Adventure Tips – 9 Things to Know Before You Go

Published on May 18, 2018 by Chris

Things YOU need to know before you visit Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California. First, it’s a separate park from Disneyland with a separate admission. Disney California Adventure opened in 2001 across from the main entrance of Disneyland. DCA has a kind of a California Fair theme with a little bit of Hollywood mixed in, but Pixar is slowly taking over. Rides are more extreme than at Disneyland including a rollercoaster with a loop. Want to visit both parks on the same day? Then you need to get a park-hopper pass for another $50.

2 – There’s no main street — it’s Buena Vista Street

— It opens 30 minutes before the park opens, and stays open late after the rest of the park closes. So do your souvenir shopping early or late.

— Lockers are right at the front on the right

— Chamber of Commerce are on the left — get your button for your special occasion like your birthday

3 – Shows –

–World of Color

The main night time show, on the lake. 1 or 2 showings a night. Get a fast pass to guarantee a viewing area, or do a dining package. Dining package book 60 days in advance.


This is really a must see. If there’s one thing you do in the park, it’s go see Frozen. It’s worth the price of admission by itself

2,000-seat theater reminiscent of grand movie palaces in DTLA

It’s a top-notch hollywood theatre production

Show lasts about an hour. But get in line 45 minutes before. Sometimes they do fastpasses.

3 seating areas — orchestra is the best

–Paint the Night Parade

Originally from Disneyland in 2014, this is showing at DCA in 2018. Really neat light-up parade. 20 minutes long. Dining packages — and a reserved seating area at Sonoma Terrace. Ask a cast member when you can “wait” ahead of time.

4 – Rides –

–My favorite rides are the roller coaster, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Radiator Springs Racers. Make sure to get your Radiator Springs Racers fast pass first thing. It’s right at the end of Buena Vista Street.

–Radiator Springs Racers also has a single rider line and a rider swap for watching kids.

–Many rides close after dark. When World of Color is playing, the Pixar Pier area with the Roller Coaster and the Ferris Wheel close early. Plan your rides accordingly.

–Fastpass is connected to Disneyland so only one ride in both parks.

5 – Food

Carthay Circle is California Adventure’s fine dining spot. And has some pretty good food. I enjoyed the burger, though it was tasty. You can also take a tour of the restaurant before they open.

My favorite is Corn Dog Castle.

6 – Free food

Take a tour of Boudin — get a sample of Sourdough

Enter Ghiradelli — get a free chocolate

Free cups of water or ice at any quick service restaurant

7 – Special Events:

Food & Wine Festival: Typically in March to early April.

Food like: garlic oil infused ice cream, Peruvian Salmon Poke, & fried artichoke carbonara

Lunar New Year: Late Jan to mid February

Not “Chinese” new year… but celebrates many asian countries that celebrate Lunar new year. Special performances, and food. Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean

Pixar Fest: Right now.

8 – Alternate Entrance/Exit

There’s a special entrance to the park through Grand Californian Hotel. It’s near the Napa Rose restaurant. And near the Grizzly River Run in the park. Busy times it’s only for hotel guests to enter. But anyone can exit anytime.

9 – Cars Land Sh-Boom

You won’t find this listed as an attraction, or on any official timetable.

But at sunset time, the Cars Land lights come on. Position yourself in front of Flos V8 cafe for the best viewing. Ask a cast member in the area for the exact time.

It’s set to the music music Sh-Boom by The Chords

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You might enjoy watching some of these other videos:

For 10 more tips on Disneyland in general — watch my video on 10 things to know before you visit Disneyland here: https://youtu.be/N8YNQctMZ_A

Or my Universal Studios Hollywood Tips here: https://youtu.be/hILymoom7Ng

World of Color Show: https://youtu.be/Hh4GFHvcMXg

Paint the Night Full Parade: https://youtu.be/8gIfOBRN6dE

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