7 Unique Must Do’s for Disney’s California Adventures

California Adventures is one of the most unique parks in the Disney lineup. And it is by far my favorite. There is so much to do, and such a mix of familiar Disney and California flare – it’s truly one of a kind. Recently though, there have been a LOT of changes! It’s starting to seem like the park that’s just constantly under construction – and that’s not much fun. With all the refurb’s and re-imagining headed our way its sort of confusing to even figure out what’s still there….let alone what’s actually worth the cost of admission.

Again, it’s one of the most unique parks and has grown so much from the half-day beginnings it came from. Here’s my list of the 7 best attractions at Disney’s California Adventures. Like the park itself, these are unique – you’re not going to find them anywhere else.

Radiator Racers

Radiator Racers Entrance

Carsland as a whole is pretty spectacular; the area is literally straight from the original movie. All the shops are there, the characters are roaming the streets, and the views are picture-perfect. However, Radiator Racer is the Crown Jewel of it all. If you’ve been to Disney World you’ll find a lot of similarities with Test Track, in Epcot, but with so much more story. The ride begins with a scenic drive through the mountains, which leads into the dark ride portion. Inside the ride’s main building you’ll encounter some of your favorite characters and get tractor tipping with Mater. And as a grand finale, you’ll race some fellow riders in an all-out sprint for gold! Hold on to your ears – it’s a blast for kids (40″ and taller) and adults alike!

Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout

Exterior of Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout show building

Formerly the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Mission Breakout is the thrill-seeking newcomer that will have your hair standing on end – literally. The storytelling used in this ride and the props implemented to support it are amazing. It all starts in the line, as many Disney stories do, where you see some keepsakes of the Collector. You then board a lift, where you will help Rocket to free the captured Guardians. This is a free-fall drop-style ride, so if you’re afraid of heights it may not be for you. But if you’re up to it, many people have said it’s better than the Tower of Terror. The height restriction is 40″, lower than many E-ticket level attractions!


On ride photo from DCA Incredicoaster

The Incredicoaster opened in 2018, replacing the opening day attraction California Screaming – which was a wild ride itself. This wooden rollercoaster has a launch start that quickly takes you up to the top of the first hill and a steep drop below! The entire ride is interlaced with scenes starring characters from The Incredibles movie, all trying to chase a loose Jack Jack! It’s a fun ride, and usually a quick option for a single rider. Besides the initial steep drop there is one loop, the height requirement is 48″.

Grizzly River Run

Caution: you WILL get wet! GRR is a great way to beat the heat on a hot Southern California day. Don’t let the signs fool you though, you WILL get wet – possibly soaked. If you’ve been to Disney World you’ll find this resembles Kali River Rapids – but so much better. This white water rafting type ride will take through a series of turns and drops that will leave a smile on your face. You can wear a rain poncho if you really don’t get wet, but the seats are soaked…so there’s that. Also – there’s a single rider line (woot!). As with many of the popular rides in the park, the height restriction here is 40″.

World of Color

World of Color is the nighttime show at Disney’s California Adventures. It takes place in what was the Paradise Pier area, soon to be Pixar Pier. I’ve been to all the Disney parks in the US and there isn’t another show quite like this. Thousands of mini fountains pop up out of nowhere to create a water screen used to project clips from films and cartoons. It is absolutely beautiful. It is very popular though, so be sure to grab your FastPass early in the day. Also, if you stand in the front – you’re gonna get wet.

Pixar Pal Around

Pixar Pal Around at Night

At first glance, this might look like just an ordinary Ferris wheel, but there’s a reason it is fondly referred to as Mickey’s Fun Wheel of Death. Unlike the traditional carnival favorite, the cabins on this wheel each have their own individual circular track. This allows them to move around as the ride goes around, and provides a big thrill! These swinging gondolas are not for the faint of heart, I scream every single time, so if you’re not sure or think it might be a bit much opt for the non-swinging gondolas line to the right. No matter which adventure you choose, the views are absolutely spectacular. There is no height restriction for this attraction!

Lobster Nachos

Yes, I know this is neither a ride nor a show – but it’s still a major attraction. You’ll find these lovelies at Lamplight Lounge in Pixar Pier. Lamplight was formerly the Cove Bar and the Lobster Nachos were a cult classic. The line here gets LONG, so be sure to snag a reservation if you’re able. The nachos are THAT GOOD. You cannot get these anywhere else, so if you’re headed to California Adventure be sure to check them out. I don’t even like lobster and I LOVE these.

That’s it, my 7 best attractions unique to California Adventures! But there are SO MANY MORE great things to do in this park!! Let me know in the comments which are your favorite!!

2 thoughts on “7 Unique Must Do’s for Disney’s California Adventures”

  1. Lol @ Mickey’s Fun Wheel of Death. My husband and the guy sitting on the other side with his wife thought it would be hilarious to rock the carts, because us girls were terrified of heights. When I first got into those carts I actually didn’t know they swung like that, I thought it was a regular wheel. Eek! I would love to try Mission:Breakout (we went when it was still Tower of Terror)! And those lobster nachos look so delicious. Will definitely have to plan another trip. Great list, thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Rhiannon!

      My boyfriend did the same thing to me on the swinging carts. I about had a heart attack. They’ve changed the name now, but it will always be Mickey’s Fun Wheel of Death to me! I hope you get to visit again soon and check out all the new and updated attractions!

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