Disney California Adventure One-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children

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In this post we will highlight one of our premium Disneyland Resort touring plans. The Disney California Adventure One-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children features attractions that rated highest in our surveys with children 40″ tall and smaller. If the plan calls for you to experience an attraction that does not interest you, simply skip it and proceed with the plan. If you have kids who aren’t eligible to ride, try switching off.



1. Radiator Springs Racers

Start your day off with Disney California Adventure’s signature attraction. To ride Radiator Springs Racers will minimal wait, be sure to arrive at DCA’s main entrance at least a half hour before the park’s opening time. That way you’ll be ahead of the crowd, most of which will make Cars Land and Radiator Springs Racers their first destination.

This Cars themed ride features gigantic immersive sets and elaborate animatronics, and covers nearly 6 of Cars Land’s 12 acres. The ride starts off with slow indoor sections and culminates with a thrilling open-air acceleration through its outdoor race track. Radiator Springs Racers appeals to every end of the demographic spectrum. Wait times build quickly and remain consistent for the rest of the day.

2. WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure

The Worldwide Engineering Brigade, or WEB, is where you will find a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. While testing a revolutionary “Web Slinger” vehicle – and this will shock you – something goes wrong and you’ll have to help Spidey clean up all of the Spider-Bots that are on the loose.

No web guns or any other kind of special equipment is needed to shoot web. Just stretch out your hand and shoot web, just like Spider-Man himself.

Head to Avengers Campus to ride WEB SLINGERS immediately after finishing Radiator Springs Racers to avoid a high wait time. If the posted wait time is too high, save WEB SLINGERS for the last ride of the day before the park closes.

3. Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters

Head back to Cars Land (it’s not far from Avengers Campus and WEB SLINGERS) and ride Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters. This ride features 20 small open-top faux Fiats (with the Cars franchise’s signature cartoon faces). The cars spin and “dance” autonomously around each other in unpredictable patterns, thanks to trackless GPS technology.

4. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

Join Mater and his 22 baby tractors, each towing an open-air twoseater trailer. Tractors travel in overlapping figure eight patterns along interlocking turntables. The trailers swing freely from side to side, creating a centripetal snapping sensation similar to vintage whip carnival rides. Mater’s may look like a simple kiddie ride, but it supplies an unexpected kick that draws us back for repeated spins.

5. Soarin’ Around the World

Leave Cars Land and walk to Grizzly Peak to ride Soarin’ Around the World. Soarin’ is a thrill ride for all ages, as exhilarating as a hawk on the wing and as mellow as swinging in a hammock. If you’ve ever experienced flying dreams, you’ll have a sense of how Soarin’ feels.

6. Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!

Go to Hollywood Land and ride Monsters, Inc. The ride takes you through child-phobic Monstropolis as Mike and Sulley try to return baby Boo safely to her bedroom. If you haven’t seen the film, the story line won’t make much sense. In a nutshell, a human baby gets loose in a sort of parallel universe populated largely by amusing monsters. Good monsters Mike and Sully try to return Boo to her home before the bad monsters get their hands on her.

7. Animation Academy

Head inside Hollywood Land’s Animation building and experience The Animation Academy. The Animation Academy, hosted by a Disney cartoonist, teaches you how to draw a Disney character. We guarantee you’ll have a great time, even if you think you have no artistic skills. We consider this to be one of DCA’s overlooked gems.

Turtle Talk with Crush is also located here, featuring the 152-year-old sea turtle from the Disney/Pixar film Finding Nemo. Originally developed for the Seas pavilion at EPCOTTurtle Talk with Crush was the first attraction to incorporate the technology of real-time animation. Here, Crush answers questions, jokes, and makes conversation with guests in real time.

8. Award Wieners

Since you’re in the area, grab Award Wieners for lunch. Award Wieners has some great items for hot dog fans. It’s also a relatively affordable option, with beef hot dogs coming in at under $10. TouringPlans readers give Award Wieners a 90% thumbs up rating, which ranks it 24th out of 48 restaurants at Disneyland Resort. If you’re not in the mood for hot dogs, shawarma from Avengers Campus are a short walk away.

9. Mickey’s PhilharMagic

PhilharMagic is a 3D movie staring dozens of famous Disney characters. Brilliantly conceived, furiously paced, laugh-out-loud funny, and will leave you grinning. And where other Disney 3-D movies are loud, in-your-face affairs, this one is softer and cuddlier. Things pop out of the screen, but they’re really not scary. It’s the rare child who is frightened—but there are always exceptions.

10. Toy Story Midway Mania!

Make your way to Pixar Pier for the next series of rides. In Toy Story Midway Mania!, your ride vehicle passes through a totally virtual midway, with booths offering such games as ring tossing and ball throwing. You use a cannon on your ride vehicle to play as you move along from booth to booth. Each game booth is manned by a Toy Story character who is right beside you in 3-D glory cheering you on.

11. Jessie’s Critter Carousel

Here, guests can ride cute “critters” of the sort briefly depicted in “Woody’s Roundup” from Toy Story 2. Most bob up and down as the carousel turns, but some critters (and a bench) are stationary.

12. Pixar Pal-A-Round

Higher than the Matterhorn attraction at Disneyland Park, this whopper of a Ferris wheel tops out at 160 feet. Absolutely spectacular in appearance, with an enormous Mickey head in the middle of its wheel. Pixar Pal-A-Round offers stunning views in all directions. There’s swinging and non swinging gondolas on the Pal-A-Round, each with a separate queue. We usually go for whichever has the shorter line.

13. Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind

Finish your tour of Pixar Pier with a ride on Emotional Whirlwind. It’s is a balloon-ride with suspended “baskets” that swing around a central axis. The theme is Riley’s emotions (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger) from Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out.

14. Silly Symphony Swings

Walk next door to Paradise Gardens Park for the next ride. Silly Symphony Swings is themed after the 1935 Mickey Mouse cartoon The Band Concert, the first color Mickey cartoon released to the public. On this ride you’ll sit in suspended swings and spin around in a circle while you enjoy scenic views of Paradise Bay and the surrounding land.

15. Jumpin’ Jellyfish

Something for the little kids to enjoy. On this ride, you’re raised on a cable to the top of the tower and then released to gently parachute back to earth.

16. Golden Zephyr

Ride in a 12 person airship that spins around a central axis with enough centrifugal force to lay the zephyr partially on its side.

17. The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

Go under the sea and ride Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. The Little Mermaid attraction takes you to the bottom of the ocean in clam shell cars, where the ride recaps Ariel’s journey from her father’s undersea kingdom to marrying Prince Eric.

18. Evening Touring

Re-ride any of your favorite attractions, or check the park’s schedule for any musical performances that catch your eye. For dinner you could try the restaurants in Pacific Wharf, which offer a wide variety of food in a small area. This is good for groups that have people with lots of different tastes. Everything from soup in bread bowls, Asian rice dishes, and Mexican food are available.

Don’t forget, you can customize and optimize this or any of our other touring plans using our personalized touring plans creator on the site or in our mobile app, Lines. Be sure to check out our other touring plans that will help you save time and money in Disneyland Resort.


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Guy Selga Jr.

Disneyland writer for TouringPlans.com and co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. Also a Disneyland local and appreciator of Disney theme park history. Twitter and Instagram: @guyselga

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