Disney California Adventure Shows and Entertainment

Tinkerbell in Paint the Night at Disneyland
••• Tinkerbell in Paint the Night at Disneyland. Courtesy of Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort
  • 01 of 07

    Frozen at the Hyperion Theater

    A Scene from Frozen at the Hyperion Theater
    ••• A Scene from Frozen at the Hyperion Theater. Scott Brinegar/Disneyland Resort

    This guide includes all of the things you can do at Disney California Adventure for entertainment. Besides the Frozen show, just click through to find everything you need to know about:

    • It's Tough to Be a Bug
    • Pixar Play Parade
    • Disney Animation Academy and Turtle Talk with Crush
    • Disney Junior - Live on Stage!
    • The nighttime show World of Color

    Frozen at the Hyperion Theater

    Rating: ★★★★

    The wildly popular Disney animated film takes to the stage at the Hyperion Theater in Hollywood Land. It's also a wildly popular thing to do, and you'll need to be prepared to get in — and to get the best seats. Here's what you need to know about watching Frozen.

    Continue to 2 of 7 below.
  • 02 of 07

    It's Tough to Be a Bug

    Hopper in It's Tough to Be a Bug
    ••• Hopper in It's Tough to Be a Bug. Loren Javier/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Rating: ★★★

    This 3-D show features a bugs-eye view of the world, from the point of view of the charming insects from A Bug's Life.

    What You Need to Know About It's Tough to Be a Bug

    • Show Time: 9 minutes
    • Fun Factor: High if you haven't seen it before.
    • Fear Factor: This is a noisy show with a brief period of complete darkness, and it may frighten small children.
    • Wait Factor: The theater is big, and everyone who is in line usually gets in. Check the schedule and get there about 15 minutes before the show starts.

    How to Have More Fun at It's Tough to be a Bug

    • This is a 3-D show. If you wear prescription glasses, just slip the 3-D glasses over yours. Unfortunately, the 3-D glasses come in one size only and are too big for a small child’s face. A simple solution is just not to wear them. Most kids don’t seem to mind that things get a little blurry without them - and they won’t be startled or scared by things that come flying toward them in the 3-D effect. Or try this: Perch the...MORE glasses on the child’s nose, tile them forward and rest the earpieces on top of their head. 
    • Disney says: "It’s Tough to Be a Bug! may frighten little grubs. This attraction features billowing fog, strange smells, and sensations, brief bouts of darkness and some unhappy bugs."
    • If you're with a child who might "bug out" early, head for the far end of a row. You'll be near the exit doors where it's easy to make a fast escape.
    • This show is a good place to cool off on a hot day.
    • While you're waiting, read the fake movie posters on the walls - for films such as Web Side Story and Beauty and the Bees.

    Fun Facts About It's Tough to be a Bug

    It takes 70,000 "perfume" pellets to make the "stink bug" effect. No wonder it smells so bad.

    Accessibility

    You can stay in your wheelchair or ECV during the show. Enter with everyone else and look for the wheelchair symbol on the floor or ask a cast member for help.

    Pick up an assistive listening device at Guest Relations when you enter the park. Reflective captioning is also available. Ask a cast member for help. More about visiting Disneyland in a wheelchair or ECV

    Continue to 3 of 7 below.
  • 03 of 07

    Paint the Night Parade

    Paint the Night Parade at Disneyland
    ••• Paint the Night Parade at Disneyland. Courtesy of Paul Hiffmeyer/! Disneyland Resort

    Rating: ★★★★

    This exciting nighttime parade was a big hit when it premiered at Disneyland in 2014 and now it's back at California Adventure. 

    Paint the Night is a twenty-first century version of the Main Street Electrical Parade, featuring eye-popping LED effects. It's well worth your time to 

    How to Enjoy Paint the Night

    Paint the Night was wildly popular when it ran at Disneyland and after a two-year hiatus which ended in April 2018, it's likely to be extremely popular for the rest of the year at least. Check the parade time when you arrive (or online ahead of time) and plan to spend quite a bit of time waiting to see it if you want a good viewing spot. To be there in time, you can ask Cast Members when you can start waiting for it. They might also give you some tips on the best viewing spots.

    Accessibility

    You can park a wheelchair or ECV almost anywhere along the parade route. More about visiting Disneyland in a wheelchair or ECV

    Continue to 4 of 7 below.
  • 04 of 07

    Disney Animation Academy and Turtle Talk with Crush

    Disney Animation
    ••• Disney Animation. ©2011 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    Rating: ★★★★

    Disney Animation is three attractions in one building, and all focused on the magic of animation technology.

    The most popular attraction here is Turtle Talk with Crush (from Finding Nemo), where the character interacts directly with the audience. You can ask Crush questions about his world, and he asks about yours. If you want to talk to Crush, sit on the aisle or in front. During your spare time, think up a good question, or here's one: "How many kids do you have and what are their names?"

    At Animation Academy, you learn how a Disney character is drawn and draw one yourself. Sorcerer's Workshop offers opportunities to create a moving image and add your voices to a story, but our favorite is the Beauty and the Beast library. Linger until the last petal falls from the rose.

    What You Need to Know About Disney Animation and Turtle Talk

    • How Long: It's up to you. Each of the sections takes about 20 minutes on average.
    • Recommended for: Everyone
    • Fun Factor: Everyon...MOREe loves to talk with Crush. How much fun you have in the other sections depends on your level of interest in drawing or Beauty and the Beast.

    How to Have More Fun at Disney Animation

    • Don't just walk through the lobby area without looking around. A continuous, 20-minute-long loop of the finest Disney films run on the many screens on the walls, and it's well worth a few minutes to enjoy them. This is also a great place to rest on a hot day.
    • Very small or active children may be bored or restless, except for a visit with Crush. Creative kids who like to draw may spend extra time in the Sorcerer's Workshop.
    • A drawing you made at Disney Animation is just one of many things you can get for free at Disneyland and California Adventure

    Fun Facts About Disney Animation

    The gift shop at Disney Animation has the best Disney collectibles in the park.

    Accessibility

    You can stay in your wheelchair or ECV to tour Disney Animation. Enter through the main entrance.

    Turtle Talk with Crush has companion seating and some seats with removable armrests. Inside the Animation Academy, look for the wheelchair symbol on the floor. Ask cast members for help in either place.

    Pick up assistive listening devices at Guest Relations when you enter the park. Some pre-show video monitors have Guest-activated captioning. More about visiting Disneyland in a wheelchair or ECV

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Disney Junior - Live on Stage!

    Characters in Disney Jr.
    ••• Characters in Disney Jr. Courtesy of Disneyland Resort

    Rating: ★★★★ for little ones

    A colorful, interactive show that's designed for preschoolers. They can join puppets of popular characters, sing and dance along.

    What You Need to Know About Disney Junior

    • Show Time: 20 minutes
    • Recommended for: Smaller children
    • Fun Factor: High for the age group it's targeted for.
    • Wait Factor: You may have to wait up to half an hour - or a little more.
    • Seating: Be prepared to sit on the floor. There are no chairs and only a few benches around the walls. 
    • Accessibility: You can stay in your wheelchair or ECV to watch the show. Assistive listening devices are available at Guest Relations.

    How to Have More Fun at Disney Junior – Live on Stage!

    • Get there early and don't be surprised if you have to wait. The show lasts only 20 minutes, but we've seen waits as long as an hour to get in.
    • The schedule varies. Check the Entertainment Times Guide you got at the gate or ask a cast member.
    Continue to 6 of 7 below.
  • 06 of 07

    Other Disney California Adventure Entertainment

    Red Car Trolley News Boys
    ••• Red Car Trolley News Boys. Paul Hiffmeyer/Photographer

    Besides watching all the shows at Disneyland, you can meet and greet the Disneyland characters. To get some insider tips and ideas for having a really fun time with them, check the guide to How to Actually Meet the Disneyland Characters.

    Other things to do, include the Boudin Bakery Tour and Games of the Boardwalk at Paradise Pier. Princess Dot Puddle Park in A Bug's Land is fun for little ones to run through, getting wet from the spurting water. You'll also find performances happening near Carthay Circle and other parts of the park. The Red Car Trolley News Boys take a ride on the trolley with Mickey Mouse, getting off to sing and dance. 

    You'll also find comedians, musical groups, singers, and other performers all around the park. In general, they're not something you would go out of your way to see, but you may want to stop and enjoy them if they're performing when you pass by.

    To find out when all that is going on check the Entertainment Times Guide that you can...MORE get at the entry gate, the schedule board near Carthay Circle or your favorite Disneyland app.

    More Besides Entertainment

    If you're looking for "rides" - the ones that send you spinning, rolling or moving into a Disney story, check this Complete Guide to California Adventure Rides.

    If you have specific needs or want some help sorting out that bewildering list of rides, you can find help in the Guide to the Best California Adventure Rides and Attractions, sorted by type of ride.

    Continue to 7 of 7 below.
  • 07 of 07

    Nighttime Entertainment

    World of Color at California Adventure
    ••• World of Color. Scott Brinegar/Disneyland Resort

    The World of Color has long been one of the best things you can do after dark at California Adventure, with dancing fountains and excerpts from dozens of beloved Disney films. Here's what you need to know to enjoy it the easy way.

    When the Paint the Night Parade moved to California Adventure in 2018, it's hard to say which of the night time attractions is the best to watch.