Disneyland gets a lot of hype, and rightfully so. It’s huge and filled with experience after experience. Honestly there’s so much going on there that many might think to forgo a trip into Disney’s California Adventure so that they can be sure to get to everything Disneyland has to offer, especially with the addition of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. These people are only cheating themselves though, here’s why you shouldn’t overlook California Adventure:
So. Much. Food.
Yes Disneyland has plenty of offerings, but California Adventure is the real dream destination for foodies of all levels. Not only are there stands and restaurants galore, but California Adventure plays host to two food festivals a year. In the spring they have the Food and Wine Festival and the posts line the avenue starting at Buena Vista Street just past the Carthay Circle Restaurant and extends all the way down the waterfront across from Pixar Pier to end at the Paradise Garden Park. This same route is used during the Festival of Holidays in the late fall/early winter featuring stalls with holiday foods from across the globe.
As if that weren’t enough, the daily offerings from the food stands and restaurants are enticing on their own. The Carthay Circle Restaurant has some of the best food at the park, or if you’re just wanting a quick drink and snack you can wander into their lounge. The decor is amazing, instantly taking you back into the Golden Age of Hollywood so much so that you half expect Clark Gable to walk in at any moment with Carole Lombard. They also offer dining packages at most of their restaurants that net you some prime seating for their World of Color show at night. I took advantage of this a couple of years ago with some friends, and I cannot recommend it enough. The food was delicious (it was three courses and I had the steak option, but I believe they rotate the menu) and the show made me cry.
Also, with the renovation of Paradise Pier into Pixar Pier came one stand that if I don’t mention, what even is the point of this entire article.
Jack-Jack’s Num Num Cookie
Get yourself one of these giant, fist sized chocolate chip cookies otherwise did you even go?
Unlike the hectic atmosphere of Disneyland that keeps you rushing around to beat the crowds, California Adventure truly adheres to the chill vibe the state is known for. There is usually less of a crowd so you can go at your own pace, something that has only been made more possible by the creation of the Disney Max Pass that lets you control your fast pass options on your phone. You can meander down Buena Vista Street to Hollywood Land where the Avengers can usually be found ready for a photo op, into the Hyperion Theater for a viewing of Frozen, or to Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout to get dropped a few stories by Rocket Raccoon. It used to lead into the now defunct Bug’s Land (RIP), but is now walled off as the magic of Disney works to bring the Avenger’s Campus to life. So you’ll have to make your way back up Buena Vista Street to get to the rest of the park. Mosey down into Cars Land or go for a stroll through Pacific Wharf’s San Francisco aesthetic on your way to Pixar Pier. The winding paths of the park give you a chance to take in the scenery that makes the perfect backdrop for your Instagram humble brag.
Even waiting in line for rides doesn’t have the same level of stress as Disneyland. This is probably due to having, what feels like to me anyway I could be wrong, less rides in general. So there isn’t a rush to try to get on as many rides as possible. The only lines I ever see as consistently long are the Toy Story Mania ride and the Radiator Springs ride, easily solved by getting that coveted fast pass.
A tip from me to you: If you need a cool down from that California sun, and the Grizzly River Run isn’t an option, just head on over to the Little Mermaid ride. The line is almost always a five minute wait (I think the longest I’ve ever seen is twenty minutes), and you’re taken through a dark and cool tunnel to be told Ariel’s story.
World of Color
Listen, parades and firework shows are great and all, but the World of Color is just something else. The show is changed according to the season, with special shows for Halloween and the winter holidays, but it never fails to make me shed a tear. Scenes from your favorite Disney movies are projected onto a constant stream of water set to music and themes that leave you no other choice but to feel the feels. Like with all Disney shows, people stake out their spots ahead of time so unless you managed to get a fast pass or opted for one of the dining packages then be ready to hunker down for an hour or more if you want a good spot.
One of the dining packages is actually a dessert package wherein you sit in a roped off area and eat desserts as you watch the show. It’s a bit pricey last I checked (but what isn’t when it comes to Disney, lets be honest) but there’s something really enticing about it. It’s probably just my love of sweets talking.
There are of course parades and shows at California Adventure, my favorite being a Musical Celebration of Coco which is performed in front of the Plaza de la Familia (Paradise Gardens Park) during the fall season. The event includes a Tree of Life where guests can write down a memory of a loved one and hang it on the tree as well as murals featuring the characters and scenes from the movie.
Will you be heading to Disney’s California Adventure? Let me know in the comments below!
Featured Image via Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/760756562034997442/
I'm a writer based in California. I received my Bachelor's and Master's in Literature from San Francisco State University. I dream of one day writing books of my own and maybe even being part of a writer's room for a show! I love to talk about pop culture, books, and travel to anyone willing to listen. Some of my favorite topics in those categories are "Avatar the Last Airbender", "Gilmore Girls", the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Mexico, and Paris. My favorite thing in the world though is my dog, he's just the cutest!