Disney Tips #6 - General California Adventure Park tips
A lot of the tips from the Disneyland park apply to visiting California Adventure Park, really how much effort and planning you put in depends on what you want to get out of a Disney experience. Given that heading to California from Australia is a big and expensive endeavor on its own and adding Disney into the mix ups the ante I was pretty intense when it came to planning this part of our holiday to make sure we got everything we could out of the experience.
Extra Magic Hour
As I said in Disney Tips #1: If you can at all manage it, spring for a Disney Hotel while you will be at the parks, because on top of saving you time getting to the park you'll also get Extra Magic Hour.
Be aware that in Anaheim Extra Magic Hour is only for one park in the morning rotating daily, at present for California Adventure park this is on: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
For more details check the E.M.H. Section in this post
In my spreadsheet of ride availability (information collated from the Disney website) there were no rides listed as available during E.M.H.
This is definitely not correct and while I couldn't say if all rides are available we took the opportunity to ride California Screamin', the Toy Story Ride, King Triton's Carousel and noticed that Mickey's Magic Wheel was available (we skipped this to line up for Anna and Elsa.)
Definitely worth it and since you can take the strollers across both parks it's really helpful even if your child wouldn't normally require a prom.
More details in Disney Tips #1
If you have E.M.H. You won't be able to grab fastpasses while this hour is on, but as the hour nears a close it is well worth finding the line for the Frozen Live at the Hyperion Fastpasses otherwise you risk missing an absolutely epic show. These will be to the left of the rope drop heading towards the Hyperion theatre (if you're not sure where to go ask a Disney "Cast Member" they are super helpful!
If you're interested in fitting all things Frozen in to your Disney visit make sure you check out Do you want to meet a snowman?
You also want to make sure that you secure Fastpasses to Radiator Springs Racers as soon as you can in the morning. If you have Frozen Fastpasses you should check the time of the Fastpasses being handed out before you get yours, make sure that you allow at least two hours of time for the show, we did this and still only just got the Radiator Springs Racers moments before our passes expired.*
Radiator Springs racers is easily the most fun and beautiful ride in both of the California Parks and I would say it is a do not miss. So much so that we went on it twice even though that meant the second time we had to wait in line for over 75 minutes!
You should also grab Fastpasses for World of Colour, as like the Frozen Fastpass these go quickly and don't affect the ride Fastpasses you can get. For more details on this check my Disney General Tips post.
*I have read that Jayde from Little Paper Lane managed to get some sneaky Fastpasses from a Disney Cast Member even though they had missed out, but I think they may have some super magic wizardry about them, so maybe only try this as a back-up method.
General Strategy and why it only kind of sort of worked
Because the parks are so full on we created a basic map of the day and the order we would try to hit rides on. As I've mentioned previously this Strategy was based on our Tokyo Disneyland experience, and the Tokyo Disney experience is a world of difference to that at California.
We also had our Character Dining Experience at Ariel's Grotto booked for 11.20 so we had to manage wait times etc around making sure we got there on time.
The order we planned the day in was:
Toy Story Mania
Meet and Greet Elsa and Anna
Collect Frozen Fast Passes
Collect Tower of Terror Fast Passes
Collect World of Colour Fast Passes
Go to Paradise Pier
Back to Hollywood land for Frozen Live at the Hyperion
Ride Tower of Terror
Go to Grizzly Peak
Go to Cars Land
Essentially this changed as soon as we got to the park and discovered rides that we know have a long line were available during E.M.H.
We took advantage of California Screamin', Toy Story Mania and King Triton's Carousel before enacting our Frozen Strategy. After that we just bounced around depending on what Fastpasses we had and what the current wait times were.
Our 11.20 lunch with Ariel also cut into the time and order we could do things in, but was well worth it.
We also spent a considerable amount of time lining up for the Tower of Terror despite holding Fastpasses as the ride kept breaking down. We only persisted because we knew the ride was being torn down in January which made going on it a once in a lifetime opportunity for us.
I would say that in all our Frozen Strategy coupled with grabbing the Radiator Springs Racers passes is still a solid plan, as is making sure you have at least one and a half days at the park to see and ride as much as possible.
Want more Disney Tips? Check out my previous posts
And stay tuned for my upcoming post on
Tokyo vs California Disney pros and cons