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Disney's California Adventure Photo Trip Report (Including Cars Land)

In Summer 2013, I visited Disney California Adventure Park for the first time. Here's my photo trip report.

I ended up going back and forth between DCA and Disneyland as its just a minute walk between the two. This allowed me to easily compare and contrast the two parks.

DCA is a relatively new park, having opened in 2001. It was regarded as a bit of a flop, and from 2007 to 2012, the Park went through a mass re-theme and expansion.

The re-design began from the entrance which is hugely reminiscent of the one in Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios.


I'm afraid that the excitement of visiting this park must have got the better of me, but I never got a photo of Buena Vista Street as you come in. Wikipedia describes this as an "immersive recreation of early 1920s Los Angeles when Walt Disney first arrived with Mission and Art Deco facades housing shops and restaurants". It is DCA's version of Main Street and is really nice.

Like Main Street, you can find all kinds of "locals" who live on the street, wanting to have a chat.

Here is the police man(in blue) and the mail lady (in green on the right).


And the photographer that has travelled the world. I'll have to make time to have a chat with them on my next visit.


To add some movement to the street, you'll see the Red Car Trolley going up and down Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Boulevard.


And at the end of the street, a statue of Walt Disney to pose with. Here he is in his younger days as he arrived in Los Angeles.


The centrepiece of the road is the Carthay Circle Theatre, a recreation of the theatre where Snow White and the Seven Dwarves premiered. Here, it isn't a theatre, but a fine dining restaurant instead.



I was excited to see a few things at DCA but top of the list was Cars Land, the anchor-point of the DCA expansion.



The theming in Cars Land is incredible. To be honest, I'm not really a fan of the Pixar movie at all, but this area of the park is stunning. You can meet the firetruck - of course he speaks and his eyes move.



You can, meet Mater and Lightning McQueen too.


And there are attractions for you to visit of course. Including Luigi's Casa Della Tires which is a hovering dodgems-style ride



And this ride too where you spin in circles.



 Both of these are very well themed (and technologically advanced) carnival-style rides - but the star of Cars Land is Radiator Springs Racers:


 It's test track, meet a dark ride and with incredibly life-like audio animatronics. It's a real race too, with a randomised finish. The car I was in won every time.


And the land gets even more beautiful at night.



Back to daytime, there's more of the park to see. The Paradise Pier area has a huge number of attractions.


Including a favourite of mine - Toy Story Midway Mania (no Fastpass here), and California Screamin' (the rollercoaster above Toy Story) which is actually really fun and quite long for a coaster.



There are quite a few fairground style rides too such as swings, drop and smiles, a carousel, and then there was this...Mickey's "Fun" Wheel (notice how I have put "fun" in quotation marks). Here you can either ride in a normal cabin (which I find terrifying enough), or in "Swinging" cabin. At certain points of the ride the swinging cabins move at (what I would call) high speeds, swaying in the wind, above a lagoon of water. Terrifying is not the word.



Sufficiently traumatised by Mickey's "Fun" Wheel, I decided to visit a familiar favourite. The Little Mermaid is an almost exact replica of the ride which I had ridden in Walt Disney World's magic Kingdom. This one, however, never had a line and the shells are coloured. Apart from that, the two insides of the attractions are identical.



Other cool bits of the park included Grizzly Peak, which was simply stunning - and the water ride here was really fun (and you definitely get wet!).



And Soarin' had a must shorter queue and a very different theme. I prefer EPCOT's theming personally of getting on a flight.



I wasn't overly convinced by "a bug's land. It's jsut fairground rides again, which the park already has plenty of. I couldn't help but think that the space could be better used - but it was well themed.



The Pixar Play Parade is really fun, and has some cool effects. Definitely worth watching - be prepared to get wet if it's warm outside.



There were also lots of unique shows and rides too. Including this Monsters Inc dark ride.



I'm a big fan on Monsters Inc, so this was really enjoyable. The queue line was surprisingly long for this at about 30 minutes which compared to the rest of the park was quite long.



Aladdin: The Music was incredible and was 40 minutes long - it really was like watching a broadway production.


Speaking of Monsters Inc, let's move onto meets and greets. Shows and characters could be found everywhere throughout the park. 





The show by the Red Car Trolley Boys below included numbers from broadway musical Newsies.


There was even entertainment for the Phineas and Ferb fans.

No park would be complete without a nighttime spectacular and DCA delivers an astounding production of water jets, lasers, projects, fire and more in "World of Color" in the Paradise Pier area of the park. It was even better than Fantasmic and Magical in Disneyland Park in my opinion. Photos can't do it justice but here are a few anyway.






That's it for this photo trip report. Overall, I really enjoyed DCA and it had a really good variety of new lands and rides, as well as some familiar favourites. Disney's re-theme was certainly a success and it's Disney California Adventure is definitely worth a visit.

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