Trying to pick the best Disney California Adventure rides for your trip can be tricky. If you're going with children, you need to know about height restrictions and rides they're tall enough for but may not like because they're noisy or scary. On a hot day, you'll need a place to cool off and you may want to make the most of your time after dark, too.
This guide is good for all of that. If you want details information about all the California Adventure rides, try our California Adventure Ride Guide Sheet.
A FASTPASS can shorten your wait at some of the most popular California Adventure rides, but you can avoid standing in line at any of them by using RideMax. The brainchild of a software engineer with a passion for theme parks, it will create a custom-designed itinerary that keeps your wait time to a minimum.
Height Restrictions at California Adventure
Height restrictions are strictly enforced at both Disneyland parks. They're set with safety in mind. Arguing with Cast Members about them won't get your child on if they don't measure up, no matter how loudly they're crying. It's best to set their expectations before you go to avoid messy meltdowns.
- 32 in (81 cm): Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters, Mater's Junkyard Jamboree
- 36 in (91 cm): Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies
- 40 in (102 cm): Jumpin' Jellyfish, King Triton's Carousel, Silly Symphony Swings, Soarin' Around the World, Radiator Springs Racers
- 42 in (107 cm): Goofy's Sky School, Grizzly River Run
- 48 in (122 cm): California Screamin'
Rides for Kids at California Adventure
These rides and entertainment options are good for smaller children (with the cautions noted). If you're a parent, you'll probably already know how your kids measure up to the height limits, but in case you don't, an average two-year-old is 33 to 35 inches tall.
- Disney Animation (especially Turtle Talk With Crush)
- Ariel's Undersea Adventure
- Flik's Flyers
- Francis' Ladybug Boogie
- Golden Zephyr (except for kids afraid of heights)
- Heimlich's Chew Chew Train
- Frozen at the Hyperion Theater (if the kids have a long enough attention span)
- King Triton Carousel
- Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters) (if kids are more than 32" tall
- Mater's Junkyard Jamboree (if kids are more than 32" tall)
- Monsters Inc
- Mickey's Fun Wheel (except for kids afraid of heights, but you may want to choose the fixed cars)
- Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies (if kids are more than 36" tall)
It's Tough to Be a Bug is an indoor show based on an animated film, but Disney says it may frighten little grubs. This attraction features billowing fog, strange smells and sensations, brief bouts of darkness, and some unhappy bugs.
Best Rides in California Adventure at Night
Even if you need a midday nap, you should stay at California Adventure after dark. Check the list of the Best California Adventure Rides at Night, chosen because they're either more fun in the dark, or worth a second visit after the sun goes down. Some rides close at night (or early), and they're also listed here.
Cool Places for a Hot Afternoon
If it's a hot day at California Adventure, you may be looking for a place to sit down and cool off. For some time indoors in an air-conditioned place, try the lobby of Disney Animation Building or one of the activities there, take in the Frozen show at the Hyperion Theatre, or go see It's Tough to Be a Bug. All of them will give you at least 15 minutes of refrigerated rest.
Accessibility at the Disneyland Resort
Most California Adventure rides are accessible even if you have trouble getting around or are in a wheelchair or ECV. However, many require you to transfer into the ride vehicle by yourself or with assistance from your traveling companions.
If you have a hearing impairment, stop at Guest Relations to pick up assistive listening devices.