Disney California Adventure opened in 2001 adjacent to the original Disneyland Park with a shared entrance plaza. The two parks along with Downtown Disney and the three Disney hotels make up the Disneyland Resort.
The Park has a few rides in common with Hollywood Pictures Backlot at Disney World in Florida and other parks, but many of the rides are unique to California Adventure.
When it opened, the second park had significantly fewer rides than Disneyland, making it hard for some people to justify spending the money, but with constant expansion, California Adventure has been increasing value for money, and with the completion of Cars Land in 2012 it became about even with Disneyland for number of different rides and experiences you can have at the park.
Although Disneyland still has a few more rides, California Adventure has more extreme rides that appeal to teenagers. It also has some of my favorite rides overall, including Soarin' Over California, Toy Story Mania, and the Radiator Springs Racers. A Bug's Land focuses on the youngest visitors. There are also great shows, parades and interactive experiences to keep the whole family entertained.
Time Needed: Try to give it a full day if you can, especially in high season. You can hit the highlights in half a day if that's all you have or easily spend two or more days to fit in everything at a leisurely pace (use FastPass and Ridemax to reduce wait time in lines).
Age Level: All Ages
To decide if California Adventure is right for you and to get an idea of how to organize your day at the park, take a look at our Guide to California Adventure Rides and Attractions, including Cars Land.
You could just wing it, but a little preparation can really make the difference between an awesome day at the park and a lot of frustration.
There are a variety of ticket configurations available for visiting Disneyland and Disney California Adventure from single-day, single-park tickets to 7-day Park-Hopper tickets. Figure out which ticket is right for you and your family.
The FASTPASS system at Disneyland and California Adventure is a strategic way to help you skip to the head of the line and is free to use.
The Disney PhotoPass lets you get your photo taken by a cast photographer at every Disneyland Resort photo spot and come home to a great collection of souvenir photos from your Disneyland Resort vacation for one lump price, rather than paying for each photo.
Using an inexpensive software program called Ridemax is another way to cut down on time waiting in line at California Adventure.
Smoking is prohibited at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure outside of designated smoking areas. If you are a smoker or are traveling with a smoker, familiarize yourself with the smoking areas before you go.