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Things To Do In Anaheim – Day 2: Disney California Adventure

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Disney California Adventure Park is a great complement to Disneyland. With a more modern feel and exciting rides, this park is one of the great things to do in Anaheim.


When you arrive, head immediately to Paradise Pier at the back of the park and ride Toy Story Midway Mania. This fun 3D video game/amusement park ride takes you through a series of shooting challenges and is a favorite for kids and grownups alike.  There is no Fast Pass offered for this ride so ride it early before the lines get too long.

While you’re in the area, blast-off on California Screamin’, the only true outdoor roller coaster in the Disney Anaheim parks.  If there isn’t a long line for the Golden Zephyr, let the kids ride this one, as well while you’re in Paradise Pier, especially if they didn’t have a chance to ride the Astro Orbiter at Disneyland because the rides are quite similar.

Disney California Adventure Golden Zephyr

The Golden Zephyr is very similar to the Astro Orbiter in Disneyland, but the lines aren’t nearly as long!

Cars Land was still being built when we last visited Disney California Adventure, but I think this new area should be your next stop.  Try to immediately ride the Radiator Springs Racers, which starts with a tour of Ornament Valley and ends with a high-speed race to the finish line. If the line is too long, you can get a Fast Pass outside It’s Tough to Be a Bug in a bug’s land.

Once you’re in a bug’s land, take time to have some fun. There are great rides for the little ones, and the 4D movie, It’s Tough to Be a Bug has surprises for the whole family. You might even learn something cool about those useful little creatures!


Everyone in your family will love the Aladdin live-action show so head to Hollywood Land to check the times to make sure you don’t miss it. It is an extremely professional production that features Aladdin and Jasmine taking a real magic carpet ride!  Then, adrenaline junkies who enjoy being scared to death will want to go on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a free fall ride where you never know what will happen.

For more fun in the skies, head to Condor Flats and the Soarin’ over California ride. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the great sights of California while sitting in a moving, elevated seat in front of a huge IMAX screen. It truly feels like you’re flying!  Tip: if possible, try to sit in the back row, which becomes the highest row, so you don’t have anyone else’s feet dangling over you and in front of the screen during the show.

Lastly, make your next stop the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in Grizzly Peak.  Adventuresome kids could spend hours in there. My kids loved the rock climbing, zip line swings and exploring the rope bridges and climbing areas. They can also earn Wilderness Explorer badges, and if nothing else, my boys learned a little more about animal prints and tracking. This is a great way for excited kids to burn off some energy. Then, if you brought your ponchos or don’t mind getting wet, take a ride on Grizzly River Run, where your circular raft will twist and turn down the raging rapids.

Disney California Adventure Grizzly River Run

Take a ride on the rapids of Grizzly River Run!


At this point, you’ve seen the highlights at Disney California Adventure so go back and experience your favorites or find some dinner in or outside the park.

Then, head back into the park to see the World of Color show (check the park for times). It’s a water, color, fire and video spectacular where you and your kids will enjoy seeing scenes from your favorite Disney and Pixar movies.

For a great hotel, check out Hilton Anaheim, which is right across the street from the Disneyland Resort. If you have another day in Anaheim, read my article about a Day in Disneyland.

Ellen B works for the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand marketing team. She has two thrill-seeking sons, ages 8 and 10, who love sports, roller coasters, and all kinds of animals. They have already taken four family vacations to Orlando and Southern California theme parks!

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