Disney’s California Adventure park (DCA) has dramatically increased in popularity, partly because of the opening of Cars Land and increased Disneyland crowds in general. Here are some overarching tips for planning your day at DCA park, followed by my favorite touring plan for the whole family.
Tip 1 – Arrive early to the park – about 15 minutes before opening. The crowds are the lowest in the morning hours, which means shorter waits for attractions and the opportunity to do more.
Tip 2 – Plan for breaks. Have lunch at a table service restaurant to recharge, which divides the day into 2 parts. If you have young children, plan a afternoon nap (either in their stroller or hotel room). Stop for ice cream in the late afternoon when crowds are peaking and kids could be melting.
Tip 3 – Use the FASTPASS system.
That being said, here is my favorite touring plan for DCA Park, assuming you have eaten breakfast before entering the park and arriving at rope drop. Think of this plan as a sample, because it can easily be manipulated to accommodate the younger children and older children. I happen to have one of each, so this plan is a blending of my family’s favorite attractions, which makes for a very full day. Remember to work in character greetings as the opportunity arises throughout the day!
Overall, the first thing you should do is get a FASTPASS for Radiator Springs, followed by going directly to Toy Story Mania. Toy Story does not offer FASTPASSES and the line gets super long (90 min+) on busy days. Do the kiddie rides in Bug’s Land in the morning because if the line is more than 20 minutes, it’s just not worth waiting for. I recommend booking a dining package that includes the VIP World of Color viewing area. Last time I did that, we were in the front row!