After five years of planning and development, Disney’s California Adventure has reinvented itself with the addition of the 12-acre Cars Land, Buena Vista Street and Carthay Circle. Disney didn’t just rearrange things, they took over an existing parking and created entirely new attractions and dining and guest experiences. Families will want to spend a day at Disney California Adventure.
We have a few travel tips for you and even got the experts at Disney who had a hand in creating the new park weigh in on their “must sees”.
1. Visit now or later? First off, decide if you have to visit Disney California Adventure this summer. Cars Land has received a lot of hype and the always busy summer will have longer lines than normal for the new rides. Southern California weather is gorgeous year round, especially in September!
2. Extra Magic Hours. If you’ve decided to visit this summer consider staying at a Disneyland hotel. Guests of resort hotels receive an Extra Magic Hour from 7-8 AM at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure (DCA) on alternating days. This is a HUGE perk to avoid long lines. Check the daily calendar for schedules and updates. Annual Passholders can take advantage of Extra Magic Hours (once per park) through September13, 2012. You must registerto take advantage of this offer.
3. Direct entrance into DCA. Besides an extra hour in the park guests of the Disney’s Grand California Hotel & Spa have a direct entrance into Disney California Adventure. The convenience of being able to come back and rest or swim during the day may save you from overheated tantrums.
4. Know where to find the Radiator Springs Racers FASTPASS distribution. The FASTPASS is not located at the ride. It’s just outside of Cars Land between Carthay Circle Theatre and Bug’s Land.
5. Use Single Rider Line and Rider Swap for Radiator Springs Racers. If you child does not meet ride requirements, Rider Swap allows an adult to wait with a child while the other adult goes on the ride and then they swap. If your kids are older and you don’t mind not riding together try the Single Rider Line. In many cases, you’ll end up in the same car although this is not guaranteed. Thisline can really expedite your wait time.
6. The food is better! I had all but given up on the food in the Disneyland parks. I’m giving the new food options in DCA a big thumbs up! I tried several cone-coctions (all the food is served in a cone) at the Cozy Cone Motel; Dill Pickle Popcorn and Red’s Apple Freeze were favorites. Flo’s V8 Cafe has several healthy options – the salad with sliced turkey and citrus dressing and roast pork (get the BBQ sauce on the side) were all good. Add the cheddar apple pie to that list too.
7. Skip the Mad T Party with young kids. This dance party is for the big kids, the ones that are of age to drink alcohol. The Mad T Party replaced Electronica and is inspired by Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland – there is nothing cute and cuddly about it. It’s a party for adults.
Tips from the Disney Experts
We asked Lisa Girolami, Director, Senior Show Producer, Walt Disney Imagineering and Ray Spencer, Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering for their best “Don’t Miss” tips for Buena Vista Street, the new entrance to Disney California Adventure.
8. Check out the radios in Oswald’s Service Station. Oswald’s is just inside the DCA turn stiles. The radios inside the shop play music; stand by and listen to them.
9. Look at the architecture. Take time to look at the architecture of the buildings. Disney imagineers used Los Angeles neighborhoods and buildings, circa 1920-30’s, to recreate buildings like Walt Disney would have seen when he arrived in Los Angeles in 1923.
10. Visit Walt Disney’s statue in Carthay Circle. The statue features Walt as a young man when he first arrived in Los Angeles ready for his California adventure. He is portrayed as an everyday man just like visitors to DCA. The plaque by his statue is an interesting read.
Editorial Note: Kristi received complimentary admission to Disney California Adventure. She was not asked to express any particular opinion. Photos by Kristi Marcelle