Is Disney California Adventure Worth Visiting?

Disney California Adventure is one of two theme parks at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The other being Disneyland California, the original Disneyland theme park.

Given this, many people planning a trip to the Disneyland Resort plan to visit Disneyland, but question whether going to Disney California Adventure is worth their time and money.

Disney California Adventure is very much worth visiting during a trip to the Disneyland Resort in California. This theme park is significantly different to the Disneyland theme park and offers a more modern experience with an area dedicated to Pixar and a number of thrilling rides.

However, we wouldn’t suggest doing both of the Disneyland Resort theme parks in a single day (we’ve tried – it’s hard!).

Instead, we’d recommend spending two to three days at the resort and either doing one park each day or getting a Park Hopper ticket and moving between the two.

How Much Does It Cost To Go To The Disney California Adventure Park?

A one-day ticket to Disney California Adventure starts at $104. However, Disney uses dynamic pricing and as such, the price you pay may be significantly higher (up to $179 for a one-day ticket) depending on when you choose to visit.

If you’d like to move between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure (park hop) on your single day at the Disneyland Resort then you’ll need to upgrade to a Park Hopper ticket which is available for an additional $65.

Two, three, four and five-day tickets are also available for the Disneyland Resort both as a one-day, per park or Park Hopper option.

Typically the cost of a Disneyland Resort ticket decreases on a per-day basis the longer you stay. For example, while a one-day park ticket starts from $104 a four-day ticket starts from $99 per day ($396 in total).

Is Disney California Adventure Better Than Disneyland?

Disney California Adventure is very different to Disneyland, as such whether or not it’s a better park is purely objective based on the visitor.

However, Disneyland is the original Disney theme park, as curated by Walt Disney himself. It’s a very traditional theme park, and many of the rides here are the same as they were when the park first opened its gates more than fifty years ago.

It’s also the more popular theme park, with an estimated double the number of guests annually when compared to Disneys California Adventure.

Disney California Adventure is a more modern theme park and focuses more on Pixar animation characters and thrill rides that you’re unlikely to find at any of the other Disney theme parks around the world.

Given all this, we usually say that huge Disney fans, or those with a love for fairytales and princesses should visit Disneyland, while those with a love for Pixar films such as Cars, Incredibles or Monsters Inc should visit Disney California Adventure.

Should You Go To Disneyland Or California Adventure First?

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to which of the Disneyland Resort theme parks to visit first.

However, personally, we’re not at Disney until we’ve seen the castle, and as such we always like to visit Disneyland first, before heading over to Disney California Adventure.

Of course, since both theme parks are located within the Disneyland Resort it’s easy to go between parks (provided you have a Park Hopper ticket).

Is One Day Enough For Both Disneyland & Disney California Adventure?

We have in the past spent just one day at the Disneyland Resort visiting both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure using a Park Hopper ticket. However, we would not recommend it.

We were unable to go on all of the rides, see all the shows and experience all the different entertainment available at either of the parks. Instead, we spent the day racing around, constantly looking at our watch.

By the end of it, we were worn out and disappointed with what we’d missed out on.

Instead, we recommend spending at least two days at the Disneyland Resort so you’re able to dedicate one day to each of the theme parks.

Although for those visiting with young children, we’d recommend three days with a Park Hopper so you’re able to move between parks and have shorter days or take long breaks as and when the children require it.

Of course, we realise that spending more than one day at the Disneyland Resort isn’t possible for everyone.

Therefore if you only have one day and wish to visit both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, we recommend;

  • Staying on-site and benefiting from Extra Magic Hours
  • Arriving at the park before ‘rope drop’
  • Purchasing Disney Genie+

Is Disney California Adventure Worth It With Babies & Toddlers?

There are seven rides at the Disney California Adventure theme park with no height requirement and therefore are suitable for babies and toddlers. They are;

  • Jessie’s Critter Carousel
  • Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
  • Monster’s Inc. Mike and Sully to the Rescue
  • Little Mermaid Ariel’s Adventure
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • Pixar Pal-Around (fixed cars only)

Depending on the exact age of your toddler will depend on whether or not visiting the Disney California Adventure theme park is worth it (especially if you’re considering visiting it over Disneyland).

When it comes to the characters and themed areas you’re going to be seeing a lot of Pixar. So if you’re little one is a fan of Cars, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc and The Incredibles then it’s likely going to be a hit.

However, if they are more interested in traditional Disney films such as Snow White, Cinderella or Peter Pan then Disneyland is going to be a better option.

In addition to the rides with no requirements (listed above), your toddler may also be eligible to go on other selected rides depending on their height. They include;

  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree – 32″
  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters – 32″

That being said, there are other things aside from just the height requirement that you may want to consider before taking your toddler on a ride.

This includes the music, the characters (scary villains?), whether the ride is dark, reaches a certain height or has a number of drops.

Is Disney California Adventure Worth It For Adults?

Despite being a Disney theme park and therefore often seen as perhaps childish, Disney California Adventure is very much worth visiting as an adult (both with or without children) if you enjoy (or in the past enjoyed) Disney films and / or thrill rides.

We’ve visited the Disney California Adventure theme park multiple times as adults and had a wonderful time during every visit.

That being said, if you do not enjoy thrill rides, or have much of interest in Disney films then you may find the Disney California Adventure theme park underwhelming or disappointing.

Is Disney California Adventure Worth It If You’re Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood?

The Disney California Adventure theme park is incredibly different to Universal Studios Hollywood and therefore may be worth visiting in addition to your trip to the Universal theme park depending on your interests.

Universal Studios Hollywood has a limited number of roller coasters and instead boasts a number of motion simulation rides and the World Famous Studio Tour which sees you go behind the scenes at one of the largest operational studios in Hollywood.

Meanwhile, the Disney California Adventure park boasts an extensive number of track-based rides and allows you to meet Disney characters.

Typically families with young children (aged 8 and under) prefer visiting the Disneyland Resort as a whole when compared to Universal Studios.

This is predominantly because young children typically know more Disney characters compared to those in Universal films that are also available to see (and / or meet) at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park.

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