California Adventure Rides by Location

  • 01 of 08

    California Adventure Rides and Attractions Guide

    Entrance to Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, CA
    Photo © 2015 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    Disney California Adventure was originally divided into five areas, one of which, the Golden State area was further split into three themes. With the complete makeover and grand re-opening in 2012, California Adventure now officially has eight "lands." Only Cars Land was technically added, but the Golden State was disbanded and its subdivisions became their own lands. Sunshine Plaza, which included the entrance, the Golden Gate Bridge and a giant sunshine became Buena Vista Street, modeled on 1920s Los Angeles. The muted Art Deco buildings are more classy, less kitschy, than what came before, which can be good or bad, depending on your tastes. I miss the old Golden Gate Bridge and Hollywood Pictures Gate.

    In the new designation of eight lands, not all of them have rides. Some only have food, shopping or tour attractions.

    The currently designated lands from the entrance clockwise are:

    Buena Vista Street (from the entrance to Carthay Circle)
    Hollywood Land (formerly Hollywood Pictures Backlot)
    "a bugs land"
    Cars Land
    Pacific Wharf
    Paradise Pier
    Grizzly Peak
    Condor Flats

    Continue on the following pages or click the links above to see what rides and attractions you'll find in each "land."

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  • 02 of 08

    Attractions on Buena Vista Street

    Oswald's Gas Station on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, CA
    Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    Buena Vista Street opened as part of the California Adventure expansion completed in June 2012. It replaced the original entrance and main thoroughfare to Sunshine Plaza, which used to include the Golden Gate Bridge and a giant sun.

    Buena Vista Street was designed to reflect Los Angeles in the 1920s and 30s when Walt Disney first came to the city. The colorful Golden Gate was replaced with the much more subdued Hyperion Bridge, based on the Glendale/Hyperion Avenue Bridge near Walt Disney's early Hyperion Animation Studios. It still supports the monorail that runs between the two parks and Downtown Disney.

    There is a Red Car Trolley stop at the beginning of Buena Vista Street that takes passengers to Carthay Circle and on through Hollywood Land.

    The storefronts along Buena Vista Street reflect the Art Deco architecture of the time. the shops and cafes have names culled from the Disney vault, like the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe named for the Three Little Pigs in the early Disney animated movie.

    At the intersection of Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Land, a statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse at street level, and the Carthay Theatre have replaced the iconic Babylon Gates that used to flank the entrance to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot.

    The Carthay Circle Theatre, on Carthay Circle, is modeled after the theatre where Walt Disney's first animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, debuted. At 89 feet 6 inches, it's taller than Sleeping Beauty's Castle by over 10 feet. Although the building is a replica of a theatre, it's actually a restaurant and lounge. The upstairs Carthay Circle Restaurant requires reservations. The Lounge does not.

    The Carthay Circle fountain is the hub of the park, a popular meeting spot, a Red Car Trolley Stop and the staging area for the Red Car News Boys show and the Five & Dime show. It's also a good spot for viewing the Pixar Play Parade as it comes through Hollywood Land.

    The Citizens of Buena Vista Street, including a quirky cop, a photographer, a bike messenger and others in period costumes of the 1920s and 30s roam around interacting with guests, bringing the street to life and providing innumerable photo opportunities.

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  • 03 of 08

    Hollywood Land Rides & Attractions

    Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort in California
    Photo © 2015 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    In Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure, Imagineers have created reproductions of some famous Hollywood facades and soundstages as home to a passel of movie-themed attractions. The Babylon towers with elephants on top that once flanked the entrance are gone. Now there's a more subtle transition from Buena Vista Street at Carthay Circle. Turn left in front of the Carthay Circle Theatre to enter Hollywood Land.

    The only two actual rides in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot are the former Hollywood Tower of Terror,  which is being transformed into Guardians of the Galaxy, and Monsters Inc. Mike & Sully to the Rescue. The other attractions in this area are indoor and outdoor live stage shows, movies and interactive experiences, and of course, a parade. Disney Animation Studios is a fun place to cool off and rest weary feet. You can learn to draw Minnie Mouse, have a conversation with an animated turtle or try your hand dubbing your voice over a Disney animated movie scene. Seeing the live musical stage production of Frozen-Live at the Hyperion Theatre is another one of my favorite things to do in Hollywood Land.

    Attractions

    Height minimums are listed next to the ride name where applicable.

    Rides

    Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sully to the Rescue! is a dark ride that follows the story from the movie.
    Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission BREAKOUT - 40" FP is a dark elevator drop ride that I'm too chicken to ride. 

    Discovery Activities

    Disney Animation Studios - includes the Animation Academy, Character Close-Up, Sorcerer's Workshop and the Turtle Talk with Crush interactive show. 

    Shows

    Hyperion Theater - Is a live stage theatre currently showing an abbreviated musical version of Disney's Frozen
    Disney Junior - Live on Stage! is an indoor stage show with people and puppet characters from popular Disney Channel cartoons.
    The Pixar Play Parade features characters from a dozen or so Pixar movies.
    Hollywood Backlot Stage has a daytime dance show.

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  • 04 of 08

    A Bug's Land Rides at California Adventure

    A Bug's Land at California Adventure
    Photo © 2011 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    "a bug's land", modeled after the movie a bug's life, is designed for the youngest visitors to Disney California Adventure. Giant plants tower overhead to make you feel bug-size and all the rides maintain the insect theme. There are no height restrictions on any of the rides here, but toddlers will need an adult or older sibling to ride along. You might want to have some dry clothes on hand for kids tempted to play in the Princess Dot Puddle Park.

    Attractions

    Flik's Flyers is an up and down parachute ride for young children.
    Francis' Ladybug Boogie is a spinny tea-cup style ride with ladybugs instead of cups.
    Heimlich's Chew Chew Train lets you ride a giant caterpillar as he munches his way through giant scented fruits and plants.
    Tuck and Roll's Drive'Em Buggies is a bumper car ride.
    Princess Dot Puddle Park is a multi-jet water fountain that kids can run through to cool off on a hot day.

    Shows

    It's Tough to Be a Bug! Is a 4D movie with scent effects that shows the world from a bug's eye view.

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  • 05 of 08

    Cars Land Rides at California Adventure

    Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure
    Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    Cars Land opened in 2012 at Disney California Adventure. Based on the Disney-Pixar animated movie Cars, the newest land in the park re-creates the animated town of Radiator Springs in complete detail as a backdrop for three new rides plus new restaurants and shops.

    Radiator Springs Racers is a race ride through the Cars Land red rock landscape. Luigi’s Rollickin' Roadsters is a spinning car ride, and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is a swinging square dance with baby tractors pulling passengers in Mater’s junkyard trailers.

    The Radiator Springs Ornament Valley backdrop includes Cadillac Mountain, the biggest mountain Disney has built in the US, which topped off at 125 feet. The mountain landscaping is shaped like the tail ends of multiple cars jutting up in the rock formation.

    In addition to the rides, you'll find Flo's V8 Cafe, the Cozy Cone Motel snack bar, Sarge's Surplus and more.

    For more details and photos of all the rides and attractions in Cars Land, take the Cars Land Photo Tour.

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  • 06 of 08

    Pacific Wharf Attractions

    Pacific Wharf at Disney California Adventure
    Photo © 2011 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    The Pacific Wharf area represents a combination of Monterrey's Cannery Row, San Francisco's iconic Victorian townhouses and Napa's wineries. There are no rides at Pacific Wharf, but there are more eating establishments here than anywhere else in the park as well as a couple food-related "factory tours." This used to be the only area in the park where alcohol is served, but some of the new Cars Land dining establishments now also serve alcohol.

    Attractions The Bakery Tour, hosted by Boudin Bakery
    The Mission Tortilla Factory, where you can watch tortillas being made.

    The Alfresco Tasting Terrace, the Wine Country Trattoria, Sonoma Terrace and Mendocino Terrace along a hillside vineyard are considered to be part of Pacific Wharf, although they're on the outside of the area over the bridge that people generally think of as the Wharf.

    Other notable establishments include the Bayside Brews with its craft beers, and the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop, the first Ghirardelli shop in a theme park.

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  • 07 of 08

    Paradise Pier Rides at California Adventure

    Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure
    Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    The Paradise Pier section of Disney California Adventure is designed to resemble California's beachfront amusement parks, like the ones in Santa Monica and Santa Cruz and the old Pike in Long Beach. The California Screamin' roller coaster and the giant Mickey's Fun Wheel Ferris wheel dominate the landscape with Toy Story Mania and real midway games tucked underneath the roller coaster along the boardwalk. Another prominent feature is the lagoon fountain where the World of Color show is projected on the dancing water plumes at night. The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure ride joined the rides on the opposite side of the lagoon in 2011. Paradise Pier is the most distant Land from the park entrance, accessible through the Grizzly Park Recreation Area, or across the bridge from Pacific Wharf.

    Attractions

    Height minimums are listed next to the ride name where applicable.

    California Screamin' 48" FP is the Disneyland Resort's most extreme roller coaster.
    Goofy's Sky School 42" FP is an exceptionally jerky smaller roller coaster that replaced the former Mulholland Madness.
    Silly Symphony Swings 40" is a traditional spinning swing ride.
    Jumpin' Jellyfish 40 " is an up and down parachute ride
    Golden Zephyr is a spaceship with multiple rows of seats that spins around a central post.
    Mickey's Fun Wheel is a giant Ferris Wheel with some fixed cars and some that tip and swing along an inner track as the wheel turns.
    Toy Story Mania is a very fun interactive ride with a carnival midway theme. Riders use an air-gun to compete at balloon darts, plate toss and other carnival games.
    The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventures is a dark ride through a musical underwater world populated with characters from the movie.
    King Triton's Carousel is a classic merry-go-round where you ride on sea horses, fish and other sea creatures instead of horses.
    World of Color is a nighttime light and music spectacular with animation projected on the dancing fountains in Paradise Lagoon. See World of Color Photos. The show evolves with each new Disney animated movie released.
    Games of the Boardwalk are carnival games you can play near Toy Story Mania, under the California Screamin' coaster.

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  • 08 of 08

    Grizzly Peak Rides at California Adventure

    Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
    Photo © 2011 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    The Grizzly Peak Recreation Area, recreates California's great redwood forests in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail and the whitewater adventure ride, Grizzly River Run.

    Attractions

    Height minimums are listed next to the ride name where applicable.

    Grizzly River Run 42" FP is a whitewater rafting ride. It's very fun, but you WILL get wet.

    Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is an outdoor adventure trail with rope bridges, tire swings and other activities set among a part-real, part-faux redwood forest.

    Soarin' Around The World 40" FP simulates parasailing or gliding over the many landscapes and landmarks of California. This is one of my favorite CA Adventure rides. (This used to be considered Condor Flats, but it has been folded into Grizzly Peak.)

    Grizzly Peak is also where you'll find the connector route to the Grand Californian Hotel and Napa Rose Restaurant. Guests of the hotel can access the park through this entrance rather than through the main turnstiles out front.

    Get more tips in my Disney California Adventure Visitors Guide