Disneyland California Adventure

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Though it may at first seem redundant to visit a theme park dedicated to California while visiting the State of California itself, Disneyland California Adventure has worked hard to create the exact opposite impression. An homage to the state that brought Mickey and Friends as well as a host of other iconic characters and realities to life, the reimagined “second” Disney park in California is a great way to truly immerse yourself and your family in the unique atmosphere and wonder of the American West Coast.

History

The brainchild of former Walt Disney Company CEO Michael Eisner, Disneyland California Adventure was first imagined in quite a different light. Given the immense success of the multi-park setup in Orlando, Florida, the Disney Company long hoped to add to its flagship Anaheim, CA park. The initial plan was to create WestCOT, the west coast version of EPCOT Center in Orlando. However, when that idea fell through a new plan to honor the birthplace of the Disney brand, California, was born.

Construction on the 67-acre, $600 million park began in 1998 and was completed in early 2001, with the park officially opening to the public on February 8th of that year. However, despite incredible hype surrounding the long-anticipated park, initial turn out was less-than-stellar. Experts have cited several reasons for the initial failure of what was then called Disneyland’s California Adventure Park. This included a lack of immersion in the park experience since nearby hotels, power lines, and roadways were visible to the crowds. There was also a limited amount of character engagement and attractions for Disney’s main audience, young children.

Despite that, California Adventure plodded on, part of the “Disney Decade” in California which saw the construction of the new Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel along with Downtown Disney in the same area, now called the Disneyland Resort. There was also an associated renovation of the old Disney Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. The new structures were built on the site of the old Disneyland parking lot and a new, 10,000-space, multi-level lot was constructed in its place.

Still, the crowds at California Adventure were thin. Then, in October 2007, the Walt Disney Company announced that an unbelievable $1.1 billion had been allocated to the redesign of Disneyland’s California Adventure Park. Over the course of the next five years the company worked to fix all of the park’s criticisms. This included a complete redesign of the park’s main attractions, a refocus on a romanticized history of California, as well as more character-focused attractions and entertainment. The project was fully completed on 14 June 2012 and was capped off with a new name: Disneyland California Adventure, in use since June 2010.

Today, Disneyland California Adventure features eight different themed areas, each dedicated to some aspect of California life. The initial response to the revamped California Adventure has been overwhelmingly positive with 6.34 million visitors going to the park in 2011, topping its highest attendance marks to date and making it the 14th most visited theme park in the world that year.

Main Attraction

Disneyland California Adventure is more than just another Disney Park. Dedicated to the state of California itself, it is divided into eight themed areas: Buena Vista Street, Paradise Pier, Grizzly Peak, the Condor Flats, Pacific Wharf, Hollywood Land, a Bug’s Land, and Cars Land. The last two areas are those most dedicated to younger children though the entire park was substantially re-geared towards a younger audience in the recent remodel.

Dining and entertainment are also plentiful within Disneyland California Adventure. Dining options within the park vary from simple street-served fare to a princess-themed buffet and high-class sit down dining. In addition, there are nine different staging areas within the park. Each puts on different shows throughout the day, the most famous of which is the World of Color presentation designed to delight all ages with a spectacular lights show at Paradise Pier.

Passes to Disneyland California Adventure are available in ticket packages, which also include admission to Disneyland proper, vacation packages, which include accommodations at one of the three Disneyland Resort Hotels, and annual passports, best suited for a more local audience.

Why It’s a Must-See

Most people travelling to southern California, particularly those going with young children, will see a trip to Disneyland as a must and, despite its rocky beginnings, this trip should also include a stop at Disneyland California Adventure as well. Offering a one-of-a-kind look at California life from the Buena Vista Street of the 1920s to the Hollywood Land of today, this park offers visitors to Los Angeles and the Disneyland Resort a new array of interesting experiences, fascinating shows, character meet and greets, and, above all, the chance to live the Disney Dream for one more day.

Where to Buy It

There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to this attraction.

Save up to 20% online at Smart Destinations. If you add more than one attraction to the cart, you will get an automatic savings of up to 20%. It’s called Make Your Own Pass.

Pay Full Price and purchase a ticket from Disneyland California Adventure either online or in person.

Purchase a Tourist pass. Disneyland California Adventure is available on the Go Los Angeles Card and Southern California CityPass.