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Planning Your Day at Disney California Adventure

Well you can really see this park in one day without much hassle. Since there are not that many attractions you can get by with a much more relaxing day than you can at Disneyland.

The crowds at DCA are much smaller than those at Disneyland, but the lines are just as long on the popular attractions. With fewer major attractions and slower loading attractions you can spend quite a long time in the hot sun waiting in line if you do not plan wisely.



Frequent Guest
DCA is a different type of park than most... I would most closely compare it to the Studios down in WDW. There are not that many attractions, but there are plenty of shows and entertainment options to fill out a day. If you are only in the park for rides, you can get on them all a couple times in the first few hours the park is open. The trick of waiting until the last hour does not work as well at DCA because they have cut the operating hours so much and the crowds stay for DEP and then the park closes. So take advantage of FastPass and morning hours.

Full Day Plan
With the current state of change happening at DCA I really do not have a one day plan. A couple of tips to ensure that you get on everything that you want. Arrive early. Usually they open Soarin at 9:30am and the rest of the park at 10am. If you can get on Soarin early this is great, but if the line has already reached 20 minutes I recommend grabbing a Fastpass and heading for the Pier once the park opens. Toy Story Midway Mania should be high on your list of attractions to visit. The line for this new (2008) attraction is quite long and there is no Fastpass. So getting on early allows you to hopefully have a shorter wait, a cooler wait since the entire wait is outside, and then if you really enjoy the attraction you can ride again later in the day. I would then recommnd finishing up the Pier attractions, depending on the timing you may be able to grab a Fastpass for Screamin and then see the rest of the attractions, get lunch and go back to use your Fastpasses for Screamin and Soarin'. As you pass by GRR if you want to get soaked grab a Fastpass for that. This should put you into the mid afternoon. If you have kids check out Bugsland and then head for the Backlot. If you need a rest, or A/C take in an early showing of Aladdin. You can take in the attractions there usually without too much of a wait and be done by 5:15 for the Pixar Play Parade. After the parade grab something to eat and then finish up whatever you have not seen or visit your favorites again before the Electrical Parade at 8:45pm.

Sample Plan from 2001/2002
DCA is still relatively new, I have only spent two full days at the park. One was a preview day in Feb. and the other was in August. Here is what we did on this last trip and it worked out nicely. We managed to see and do just about everything in the park. It was a full day at the park... arrived at M&F around 8:00am and left just after 10:00pm. The crowds were average summer probably, the weather was comfortable in the morning/evening, slightly hot in the afternoon.

Approx Time
8:10am Arrive at Mickey & Friends Garage
8:30 Soarin' Over California

Got Fast Pass for Grizzly River Run
skipped Golden Zephyr because it was closed
Jumpin' Jellyfish
Mulholland Madness
Orange Stinger
Sun Wheel
skipped (Maliboomer & Screamin' because we are not thrill ride people, but there was no line for either when we walked by)
Walked through Bountiful Valley Farm to get pictures on the tractors with no crowds

10:00 Time to use our Fast Pass for GRR
(since it warmed up enough to get on)
  Walked through the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail area to dry off a bit after GRR
10:30 Minnie Mouse show in Condor Flats
  Superstar Limo
11:00 Chance to Shine (show)
11:15 Cruella De Vil (show)
11:30 Disney Magic Music Days - Las Vegas Cloggers
  Walked around Disney Animation building
12:30pm Steps in Time (show)
Lunch Rain Forest Cafe (Downtown Disney)
  Golden Dream
Golden Vine Winery - Seasons of the Vine

Vocal Flight featuring Jondo

  Drawn to Animation
4:30 Disney's Eureka! A California Parade

Animation Building - The Art of Disney Animation
Muppet Vision 3D

5:45 Goofy's Beach Party Bash
  The Boudin Bakery
Mission Tortilla Factory
  skipped It's Tough to be a Bug! in favor of Ice Cream and Shopping
8:15 Disney's Electrical Parade
  Sun Wheel
9:30 Disneyland's Believe fireworks from the main esplanade out front of DCA on the way to the parking structure.
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