This week I’m discussing the California Adventure Park, which is located opposite Disneyland. In many ways, this park is forgotten or dismissed. Now, I’m not saying it’s empty because California Adventure can be overcrowded. However, there are not many people who travel to Anaheim specifically for the park. I myself made the trip specifically for Disneyland, and California Adventure was just a bonus. I feel like this is a common opinion among park-goers. Therefore, I want to change this belief today.
I want to start off by saying California Adventure Park is, in fact, Disney-themed. From the Little Mermaid to A Bug’s Life and Cars, California Adventure can still thrill Disney-lovers. Most of the souvenirs found within the park are also Disney-themed but many are different from what can be found in Disneyland. This is fantastic for if you are looking for a gift but couldn’t find the right thing in Disneyland (I had this issue. California Adventure saved me). The park also contains the Animation Studio, where you can learn how to draw your favourite characters and view original sketches.
My favourite aspect of California Adventure Park, however, was the main street. It is styled in Hollywood’s Golden Era of the 1920s. Every building, food stall and water fountain is Art Deco and I loved this. It honestly felt like I had stepped back in time. It gave me a bit more of an understanding into what life was like at the time that Walt Disney began his career in animation.
Architecture aside, I would have to say that California Adventure caters to both children and thrill-seekers. The areas such as Cars Land and Flik’s Fun Fair hold an array of themed children’s rides and amusements. The restaurants and cafés are incredibly well-designed, too. I felt like I was in the Cars movie whilst wandering through the park, especially when I ran into Bumper.
As to thrill-seekers, all other rides are designed to make your stomach drop to your toes. Even the iconic Mickey Ferris wheel has a twist- the cages swing along a tilted frame. Being such a baby, I must admit that I didn’t attempt even one of these, knowing I would surely regret it. However, if you love your rides, you must try each and every roller coaster. I promise you will be hoarse by the end of your visit.
I’ve already mentioned the Hollywood theme but there are so many other themes that I have yet to address. You can find a region dedicated to educating the park’s visitors on both California and Los Angeles’ culture and history. There is a sort of obstacle course set among a forest known as the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. There’s also an aviation area, set around the 1950s. Paradise Pier has a circus or fair atmosphere to it and runs under the entire track of one roller coaster. This somehow lends a nostalgic feel to the area. It’s almost as if hearing the sounds of screams is synonymous with a fair.
The food within the park is amazing. The Pacific Wharf, modeled after San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, holds a chocolate factory, a number of bakeries, and cafés, all with delicious delicacies and specialties that you will want to try. Each of the different themed areas will also have specialty foods but I must warn you that every restaurant and café fills up incredibly fast. If you want to get a meal quickly, opt for the bakeries or take-away options.
The shopping, as I mentioned earlier, does marginally vary from Disneyland. For instance, at the Animation studio you can find Disney baubles for the Christmas tree. Along that same street you can find a store that sells Marvel and Star Wars souvenirs. Of course, souvenirs are seasonal and will change with the season so bear that in mind.
For all you who are much like me and afraid of roller coasters, there are a few other options you can consider. I have already named the Animation Studio and Redwood Creek obstacle course but there are also things such as the bakery tour.
I hope that this post has helped to explain what the California Adventure Park has to offer. Like I stated at the beginning, I feel many people underestimate the caliber of the park. My only regret is not being a fan of roller coasters as I would’ve loved to try many of the park’s rides. Perhaps that is one of its downfalls- not having enough tame rides for people such as me. However, I still had an exciting day, as you will!