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Surviving Your First Visit to Disneyland’s California Adventure

Posted by on February 24, 2014

Disclosure:  I received media passes on behalf of this story.  

Growing up in the Midwest, Disneyland and Disney World were once in a lifetime trips.  I remember back in 3rd grade when I was first told I was going to Disney World.  As I opened up that gift I almost didn’t believe it at first.  I had to ask, “is this for real?”  Because, in Minnesota, it was one of those places that seemed so far away.

Years later I moved to California, and I wanted to keep the amazement to Disney to those once in a lifetime trips, and save for special occasions.  I’d only been to Disneyland twice since moving to California, and hoping to frequent more often in years to come, however, just a few weeks ago, it was my absolute FIRST visit to Disneyland’s California Adventure.

Disney's California AdventureLuckily for me, with my visit, I had a few die hard Disney fans with me that made the visit a little more easier, and I also learned a few tricks of the trade to make your first visit go smoothly.

1) Ask to Hold the Balloons

One of the highlights of the day was when we first entered the park.  I was taking pictures of the balloons with my camera when the staff member asked me if I wanted to hold the balloons.  I thought, “wow, that is really cool, and of course, had to take her up on her offer.”

Holding the Disneyland Balloons


2) Bring Your Camera

There are many photo ops to partake in throughout Disneyland California Adventure.  There are Disneyland’s park photographers around who will take a picture with their Disneyland cameras, but if you ask them to take one with yours, they will also do it.

Some great photo ops include:

CarslandRight in front of the Carsland sign.

Paradise Pier

Mindy from Budget Fairytale, Erin from Horsing Around in LA and Jaime from Polka Dots on Parade

In front of Paradise Pier there are many great photo opportunities to take part in.  Right in front of the Ferris Wheel is one of my favorite spots.  Take a few minutes to really take in the beauty of that area.

Radiator SpringsIn front of Radiator Springs.  Like I said, there are many photo ops to take part in and to create those lasting memories.

3) When the Park First Opens… 

There’s two things you are going to want to do when the park first opens up at Disneyland California Adventure.  The first is to run as fast as you can to get your tickets for that night’s show of “The World of Color.”  The second is to either get in line right away for Radiator Springs Racers or to grab your fast pass for the ride instantly.

Radiator Springs

Mindy from Budget Fairytale Posing before getting into the car. 

There’s nothing like the ride “Radiator Springs.”  And the lines GET long the later in the day.  That evening the lines were at a good 75 minute wait time.  But this is a favorite ride for many that visit Disneyland California Adventure.

4) Single Rider Lines. 

When I went I was shown how single rider line works.  You enter through the fast pass line at various rides throughout Disneyland California Adventure, and you are given a Single Rider Line ticket.  Often times these lines are shorter, and when a single seat opens up on the ride, they go to their single rider line.  It’s a faster way to get on the rides you love to get more out of the park.

5) Disneyland California Adventure Serves Wine

For the adults that enjoy wine be sure to head over to Disneyland California Adventure to enjoy a little bit of wine.  Get a glass when you eat at Flo’s Diner or stop off at the Golden Vine Winery while there and enjoy a nice glass of wine.

Golden Vine WineryWalk down the path and learn a little bit about California Wine Country.

6) An absolute must ride: Soarin’ Over California

A favorite ride for so many at the park is definitely Soarin’ Over California.  When I went with my fellow friends they brought me to this ride first.  I had NO idea what the ride was about.  I went in, took a seat and watched as we flew over different regions of California.  The best part?  When smells of the different regions come out at you as your fly over the region.   It truly shows you the beauty of California.

7) Grab Dessert at Ghiradelli Chocolate Shop 

Ghiradelli is huge in Northern California, and nothing’s like their Chocolate shop.  Create your own sundae or order from pre-existing creations such as this amazing banana split:

Ghiradelli Chocolate Shop



8) Go on a Bakery Tour at Boudin Bakery

Another Northern California delicacy is none other than Boudin’s Bakery.  They offer bakery tours throughout the day at Disneyland California Adventure.  Watch and learn how that delicious sourdough bread is made before you.

After your tour stop into Pacific Wharf Cafe to purchase yummy sourdough bread treats to bring home with you.

9) Just enjoy the rides!

Disneyland California Adventure has some GREAT rides to partake in.  Some favorites include:

Radiator Springs Racers

Soarin’ Over California

Grizzly River Run: Fun to partake in during really really hot days.

Mickey’s Fun Wheel

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: Like to be scared then this is the ride for you.

California Screamin’: Hop on the rollercoaster that goes around Paradise Pier

and many many more.

10) Hop on the Red Car Trolley

Need a break from walking?  Hop on the Red Car Trolley and enjoy the ride and take in the scenic sights of Disneyland California Adventure.

Red Car Trolley

Whether you buy a one day pass or a park hopper ticket to enjoy both parks for the day, the whole point of visiting Disneyland California Adventure is to just have fun and make the most of it.

2014 Disneyland California Prices are:

1 Day 1 Park Ticket:

Ages 3 to 9: 86 Dollars

Ages 10 and up: 92 Dollars

Day Park Hopper Ticket:

Ages 3 to 9: 131 Dollars

Ages 10 and up: 139 Dollars.

For more information about Disneyland California Adventure and to purchase tickets visit here.   Have you been before?  Tell me about your favorite memory at Disneyland below.




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