In the shadow of California Screamin’ are a few classic midway games, a souvenir shop, King Triton’s Carousel, and Toy Story Midway Mania (Tip: If you want to ride, the best time to do so would be first thing in the morning or during a showing of World of Color. There is no FastPASS for this attraction at Disney California Adventure!) Alongside the lagoon, you will find Mickey Mouse’s smiling face on Mickey’s Fun Wheel, a large ferris wheel that offers both swinging and stationary cars, as well as the Silly Symphony Swings (a “Wave Swinger” type attraction), Jumpin’ Jellyfish, and Golden Zephyr.
Beginning July 1, 2011, two new counter-service eateries and a beer and pretzel stand opened to the public at Paradise Pier. Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta offers pastas, flatbreads and salads while its neighbor, Paradise Garden Grill, offers Mediterranean fare. Bayside Brews offers several different types of beer as well as soft pretzels.
Also opening on July 1 was Goofy’s Sky School, a wild mouse-type coaster whose theme is based on the 1940 Disney short, “Goofy’s Glider.” (Goofy’s Sky School took the place of the former Mulholland Madness coaster.)
The final attraction in the Paradise Pier section of Disney California Adventure park is the brand new The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. The ride’s façade resembles that of a more modern-day aquarium. Inside the ride, you will board your vehicles (which look almost identical to the “clam-mobiles” used in The Seas with Nemo & Friends attraction at Epcot) and ride slowly through the story of Ariel, the Little Mermaid. This is probably the attraction I am most looking forward to experiencing on my next trip, not just because it is new but because, from all accounts, the ride is just phenomenal. I am told it is a ride not to be missed!
Another attraction of sorts in the Paradise Pier area happens only after dark: World of Color. This is an amazing 27-minute-long show which takes place in the lagoon using fire, lasers, fog, colorful lights, and lots of water. Images of Disney characters and scenes for the different parts of the show are projected in high-definition on screens of mist across the lagoon. This show is something you shouldn't miss. Due to its popularity, the park offers several options to get the best view of the show. Your first option is to get a FastPASS first thing in the morning. The FastPASS machines at Grizzly River Run give out the World of Color tickets, and only around park opening time. The lines can be VERY long and the passes do go fast, so if you’d rather not chance waiting in line for a FastPASS, you can book a World of Color dining package. The two table service eateries in the park offer meal packages (Wine Country Trattoria for lunch and dinner, Ariel’s Grotto for dinner only) which include a ticket for a reserved viewing area. Another option is to order a World of Color Picnic package. This package can be purchased online up to 30 days in advance or on the day of the show. You will receive one of four types of picnic meals and a ticket for a reserved viewing area for the show.
So... “What’s behind those walls,” you ask? The short answer, “Progress!” Next summer, Disney California Adventure will be expanding, opening an entirely new land based on the Cars movies! Cars Land currently has a projected opening of “Summer 2012” and will include many of the Radiator Springs sights seen in the Cars movies: Ornament Valley, Flo’s V8 Café, and the Cozy Cone Motel, just to name a few. There will be shopping, eateries, and three attractions in Cars Land. Luigi’s Flying Tires will be a throwback to Disneyland’s original Flying Saucers ride from the early 1960s (think “human air hockey”!). Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree will send you spinning and whipping around courtesy of a baby tractor! The E-Ticket ride of Cars Land, though, will be Radiator Springs Racers. This attraction uses similar technology to that of Epcot’s Test Track. The ride takes you through “Radiator Springs” where you’ll meet a few of the Cars characters, and it ends with your car racing side-by-side with another car to the finish. My son is a huge fan of the Cars characters, so it looks like I should probably start planning my return trip for next year!
So, as you can see, there is PLENTY to do (and plenty more to come) at the Disneyland Resort! We’ve got that West Coast laid-back attitude out here, so you won’t need as much of a schedule as you might at Walt Disney World. Just know where you’re going, hang loose, and enjoy your California Adventure!
World of Color
The fountains on Paradise Bay at the conclusion of The World of Color. This photo was selected as Photo of the Day on 1/20/11. - photo by Ramkamartin
About the Author: Sarah is a busy stay-at-home mom, Travel Consultant with Ears to You Travel, PassPorter Message Board Guide and Navy wife whose family is currently stationed in Washington state. She has made many trips to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Her family is excited to be heading to Disneyland (her husband and 2-year-old son's first trip) in August 2011!
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