OTPN's Reviews: Disney California Adventure Park

We would have not liked the original Disney's California Adventure Park.

We wanted to open with this not-so-shocking (and completely true) statement because we want to let our Readers understand how much this park has changed in the past few years. Gone are the tacky themed areas with sub-par attractions. Gone is the feeling of being in a Disney-fied country fair. Disney California Adventure Park can be officially welcomed into the category of the most beautiful Disney theme parks on earth. In fact, we absolutely love today's Disney California Adventure (notice the name change?). It is very charming and interesting (even though it is still not as beautiful as its neighbor, the truly magnificent Disneyland Park), and it contains some of the greatest rides and shows (Radiator Springs RacersToy Story Mania, Grizzly River Run, Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, etc...).

We now want to share with you our personal opinions of all the rides, attractions, and shows that the park offers:

P.S. - As we stated in our Disneyland Park review, since most of our Readers are acquainted with the Walt Disney World Resort (as we are), we will use the following system to let you understand better what we thought about a particular attraction/ride/show (Please, note that the following are completely personal opinions, and they may or may not differ from yours):

[BETTER AT DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE]: These attractions are better at Disneyland Park;
[BETTER AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]: These attractions are better at the Walt Disney World Resort;
[SAME LEVEL]: These attractions are overall very similar. Both Disneyland's and Walt Disney World's versions are great (or just as bad!);
[NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]: These attractions currently do not exist at the Walt Disney World Resort;
[NOT RATED]: These attractions could not be rated due to the fact that they were closed or unavailable during our trip. In rare circumstances, we just weren't able to experience them due to lack of time.
  • Buena Vista Street [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

Buena Vista Street feels a lot like Hollywood Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios, with the only exception being that Buena Vista Street feels more open and it is a bit smaller. They did a wonderful job redesigning the entrance. The whole area look fantastic, and can be definitely considered one of the best theme park entrances we have ever seen. The nice trolley driving around also adds a lot to the charm of this brand-new area.

The trolleys take Guests from Buena Vista Street to the end of Hollywood Land (near the entrance of A Bug's Land. The trip is somewhat short, but it is a very tranquil and relaxing ride. You can even interact with the Cast Members driving the trolleys. They may share with you some interesting tidbits about the park!

A Bug's Land feels a bit like Camp Minnie-Mickey met with Dino-Rama. The theming is superior, of course, but in the end this is just a small themed area with themed flat rides for younger Guests. It is definitely not bad; in fact, we think Disney's Hollywood Studios could certainly use a similar area, but we didn't particularly love this area. That said, we are not the intended audience for this, so we won't complain.
  • Francis' Ladybug Boogie [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:
  • Heimlich's Chew Chew Train [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]
  • It's Tough to be a Bug! [BETTER AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

This is essentially the same show found at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, but with a few changes. First of all, it is not located inside the wonderful Tree of Life, even though it has a nicely-themed queue line (smaller than our version, though). Also, there is one additional Audio-Animatronic figure (the bug challenging the "Termitator") which is just a static figure in our version. That being said, the version in Florida seem to have a few more special effects. Also, the exterior REALLY makes a difference in this case. That is why the Florida version is superior in this case.
  • Princess Dot Puddle Park [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:
  • Tuck and Roll's Drive'Em Buggies [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:
  • Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

This is one of the best (if not THE best) Disney shows we have ever seen. it has everything: a great (and very familiar) story-line, interesting characters, great props, clean comedy, amazing music, and... the Genie. Yes, the Genie is constantly under the spotlight in this show, and for a good reason. He is incredibly funny, and his jokes change periodically, making this show even more appealing. You really want to see it again and again. In addition to that, it is also quite long! We would definitely love to see this show coming to Florida, maybe in the theater located in the Streets of America area of Disney's Hollywood Studios, which is currently empty and rarely used...
  • Disney Junior: Live on Stage [NOT RATED]:
Believe it or not, we have never seen either versions of this show (neither in Florida nor in California). We skipped it due to the lack of time. We are sure we didn't miss anything special.

The same show seen at Disney's Hollywood Studios. That being said, th elocation is much better in Florida, even though the outdoor queue line in the California version also includes some nice props that are not present in Florida. In this case as well we noticed some minor special effects missing in their version, like the arrows falling near the two grumpy guys... :-)
  • Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

This is one of the nicest dark rides we have ridden. It's not one of the major ones, but is definitely one of those that makes us want to go back again and again. During the ride, we take a stroll around the city of Monstropolis to save Boo. There are quite a few Audio-Animatronics throughout the ride, but the best one is Roze. She actually interacts with Guests, pointing out some of them. She even pointed at us in quite a few instances...
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror [BETTER AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

The Florida version is much better in all senses. The exterior is the same as the version of Disneyland Paris, which is not as pleasing to the eyes as the Disney's Hollywood Studios version. The ride itself also is not as good as the Florida version. It is definitely not on of the minor rides, though.
  • Mad T Party [NOT RATED]:

We didn't get to experience this in person. We plan on seeing it next year.

The Animation Academy is a place where you can draw Disney characters, interact with them, and enjoy learning some behind-the-scene facts about some of the most famous animated movie made by Disney and Pixar. Sounds a lot like our Magic of Disney Animation attraction, right? Unfortunately for Disney's Hollywood Studios, the Disney California Adventure version is much, much, much superior. The lobby area itself is a work of art. You can enjoy watching some of the best scenes of countless Disney movies in over-sized screens located all around you. There are also four different experiences located inside the building.
  • Sorcerer's Workshop [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

Beautifully-themed environment where you can visit three separate themed rooms with interactive games. Make sure you don't miss our photos of this amazing place! In the meantime, we prefer not to tell you anything more.

It is the same show seen at Epcot, but the theater is much larger in California.

No wonder everyone wants this area to come to Florida. It is really amazing in all senses. The entire area is rich of details, there is really a lot to see and do (1 E-Ticket ride, 2 C-Ticket rides, restaurants, shops, meet-and-and-greets... all that a modern Disney themed area needs!). Just strolling along Route 66 makes you feel like you are in a different world, a place ruled by motor vehicles that can talk, think, and interact with humans. The stunning rock-work is definitely a big part of this area. Without it, Cars Land would lose a lot of its charm. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a clear winner here. The Walt Disney Imagineers did an astounding job.
  • Luigi's Flying Tires [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

Even though it is a quite complicated ride, it actually works in our opinion. If you lean to the right, the vehicle moves to the right. If you lean to the left, the flying tire moves to the left. That's very simple. The only thing is that you have to work hard to make it work. That being said, we can't say we didn't have fun in this one!
  • Mater's Junkyard Jamboree [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

A nice, themed flat ride that goes around and around, always changing position. It was really fun, even though it is not one of the park's major attractions. That being said, it is still a great addition for the park.
  • Radiator Springs Racers [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

Simply put, this is one of the best dark rides we have ever been on. It is fast, it has great Audio-Animatronics (we love those!), and the experience can change from time to time due to the presence of two different rooms right before the race part of the ride. It is much better than Test Track, even though it goes a little slower (nothing wrong with that). Also, the outdoor portion of the ride is absolutely amazing. Wow.
  • Soarin' Over California [BETTER AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

Yes, you read that correctly. We like the Florida version of Soarin' better than the California version. While that sounds like a joke, it is true. Not only is the screen even more blurry in their version (there are gigantic dust particles all over the screen...), but the overall ride feels older than ours (in fact, it is, and it shows). Also, the Cast Members uniforms are very uninspiring in California, while they are very nice in Florida. All that being said, the entrance and queue line are better in California, and it makes much more sense there than it does at Epcot.
  • Grizzly River Run [NOT RATED]:

Unfortunately, we didn't have the chance to try this attraction during our visit due to lack of time. Also, the weather was not really warm enough for us to get wet.
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:
A nice area where kids can just have fun climbing on "trees" and wooden forts, all in the middle of a forest. 
  • Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

A small museum with great photos of past attractions, as well as photos, artworks, and models of upcoming additions (for both Disney California Adventure and Disneyland Park). Very nice place to spend a few minutes.

Here you can learn how REAL bread is made. The whole experience is very quick, but it is interesting, and worth seeing at least once. There's even a reference to Florida during the tour!
  • California Screamin' [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

An outdoor roller coaster with minimal theming (even though it is beautiful when seen from the other side of the lagoon!). It is still a lot of fun, and has more theming than Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith...

A thrilling flat ride. You get what you see.
  • Goofy's Sky School [SAME LEVEL]:
We know that the Walt Disney World Resort doesn't have Goofy's Sky School, but there is a very similar attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park known as Primeval Whirl. They are both wild mouse coasters, and nothing really to write home about.
  • Jumpin' Jellyfish [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

The kiddie version of the tower of Terror. The maximum dropping speed should be less than 15 mph. Too short.
  • King Triton's Carousel of the Sea [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:
A themed carousel. We didn't really get the chance to try it, though.
  • The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure [BETTER AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

The dark ride itself is essentially the same found at the Magic Kingdom Park in Florida, but let us tell you something: the exterior theming and the queue line make a lot of difference! The California version has a very bland queue line that is way too bright, and doesn't add absolutely nothing to the story of the attraction. Also, the entrance is definitely not as grand as the Florida version, even though it is not that bad either. All-in-all, it is still a good ride. We are glad we got the superior version, though.
  • Mickey's Fun Wheel [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

A nice Ferris Wheel that also has the scary "swinging cabs." We didn't even want to come close to those, of course... You get a very nice view of the Disneyland Resort and of the surrounding area from there, even though there are those awful metal grates that make it really difficult to take good shots, especially at night.
  • Silly Symphony Swings [NOT FOUND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

A themed swing ride that can make you quite dizzy. Not too bad, though...
  • Toy Story Midway Mania! [BETTER AT WALT DISNEY WORLD]:

Here we have the exact same problem that we had with The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure. The queue line is not as beautiful as the Florida version, even though the ride fits perfectly at Disney California Adventure (what does this ride have to do with Hollywood??!). You can really tell that this ride was designed for Disney California Adventure and not specifically for Disney's Hollywood Studios. One very positive thing is that there is no FASTPASS, and therefore the line moves pretty quickly. Also, Mr. Potato Head can be seen from the boardwalk itself, while it is hidden in the Florida version.

An absolutely fantastic nighttime show that lived up to the hype. The lasers, water, lights, fire, and all the other special effects included in this beautiful show all come together with he help of great music and projections of some of the most beautiful Disney movies. It lasts almost 30 minutes, and we think something similar would be absolutely perfect for Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, especially since it doesn't include any pyrotechnic effects (other than fire, but that should not be considered a pyrotechnic effect). We give it a 9 (on a scale from 1 to 10).

To conclude, we can tell you that Disney California Adventure is really one of the nicest Disney Theme Parks today. Even though we enjoyed the Disneyland Park a little more, we surely look forward to seeing this park again next year! This park would be worth seeing even if there was only Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, World of Color, and Cars Land. Imagine that!

Thank you very much for reading. Remember to check out also our official Disneyland Park review!


  1. I loved Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular! I also thought Cartland was well done. You really felt like you were in the movie! World of color was also very good. I didn't have the best viewing location so it was hard to see some of the film projections but still awesome!

  2. Great to see DCA! Thanks for all of the wonderful updates of FL & CA theme parks! WONDERFUL SITE!!

  3. Wonder how long Aladdin will be around now that it is being expanded and heading to New York's Broadway.

  4. Have you been to California Adventure before? If not I'll have to call you out that you didn't ride Golden Zephyr, it's been closed for weeks and is shut down indefinitely due to a part which needs to be built and installed. Just want to be sure we keep you honest with your reviews! :)

  5. @Jeff: of course, we didn't ride Golden Zephyr, but since it was an outside ride, we could definitely give our opinion about it (even if it was closed). Seeing videos about it, we knew how it worked. On the other hand, we can't give a review regarding attractions that are too complex (like Grizzly River Run) that we didn't visit in person. Good catch, though, as we forgot that it was closed!


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