Disney California Adventure opened as the Disneyland Resort's long-awaited second gate on February 8, 2001. It's Disney's least-attended of its six theme parks in the United States, but that still makes it the eighth most-visited park in America, with nearly 10 million visitors in 2019.
DCA might have the same Pan Pacific Auditorium-inspired entrance as Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios, but it shares a focus on seasonal food festivals with Epcot, staging the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival and Lunar New Year, as well as Halloween Time and Holidays at the Disneyland Resort.
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Other notable attractions include the Grizzly River Run rapids ride and Redwood Creek Challenge Trail playground in Grizzly Peak; The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure dark ride, Silly Symphony Swings and Golden Zephyr swing rides, Jumpin' Jellyfish kiddie drop tower, and Goofy's Sky School Mack Rides wild mouse roller coaster in Paradise Park; Pixar Pal-A-Round Ferris wheel, Jessie's Critter Carousel, and Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind spinner on Pixar Pier; Mater's Junkyard Jamboree whip ride and Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters trackless ride in Cars Land; and the Monsters, Inc: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue dark ride in Hollywood Land.
Other shows include Turtle Talk with Crush inside the Animation building and the Disney Junior Dance Party next door in Hollywood Land, as well as superhero character appearances throughout the day in Avengers Campus.
Get your Starbucks fix at the Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe on Buena Vista Street. Other notable restaurants include Award Wieners in Hollywood Land; Flo's V8 Cafe in Cars Land; Paradise Garden Grill in Paradise Gardens Park; Smokejumpers Grill in Grizzly Peak Airfield; Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, Lucky Fortune Cookery, and Pacific Wharf Cafe in Pacific Wharf; and Pym Test Kitchen Avengers Campus.
The Disneyland Resort is located in Anaheim, California - about 25 miles south of downtown Los Angeles and 30 miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
You must make advance reservations to visit Disney California Adventure via Disneyland's website. This is true for "Magic Key" annual passholders as well as daily ticket holders. Unlike at the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland hotel guests get no special preferences for admission.
If you want to go to Lamplight Lounge, make reservations up to 60 days in advance on the Disneyland website or the official app.
The Disneyland Resort now offers a new tool called Disney Genie on its official app to create a custom itinerary for each day of your visit. In addition, Disney offers two ways for its theme park guests to pay to access shorter wait times for many popular attractions. You can learn more about these options in our posts:
Plan to arrive at the front gate at least a half hour before opening in the morning, adding extra time to park and get to the gate. Then head first toward Web Slingers, if you're not paying for the Lightning Lane upgrade. Radiator Springs Racers is the other long line in the park, but we recommend riding that later in the evening. The crowd thins then, and it's a better ride at night anyway.
After Web Slingers, head for Guardians, then make your way over to Pixar Pier for Toy Story. Save Soarin' for later in the afternoon. Again, watch Disney Genie for wait times and estimated wait times to adjust your plans throughout the day.