Part 1 – Disney’s California Adventure Park: What’s New and What to Do
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Disney’s California Adventure Park has undergone a lot of exciting changes lately–with more to come in the near future. The largest addition was Cars Land in 2012, but many other changes have been made since then. This new area of the park has a variety of attractions and eateries as well as its own mountain range. There are also a few new restaurants and attractions throughout the rest of the park. So how should you plan your day at California Adventure?
You’ll see the changes as soon as you walk through the front entrance. Gone is the California beach-nouveau theme. Instead, the entrance has been transformed into a snapshot of the golden era of 1920s California, now named Buena Vista Street.
The vintage Red Car Trolley picks you up at the station right inside the gate and takes you to the Hollywood Backlot and to the foreboding entrance of the Hollywood Tower Hotel. It is a fun ride for all ages, but it’s a great way for younger Mouseketeers to get involved in the spirit of old Hollywood.
The west side of the entrance now hosts a shop specializing in Disney cookware and other gadgets. There is still an ice cream shop, but the new Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe offers breakfast, hot sandwiches, and kids meals. Arguably the most exciting part of this cafe is that it also includes Disneyland’s first in-park Starbucks. The line is usually long, so be prepared to wait for your coffee if you plan on getting a Starbucks fix.
The Carthay Circle Restaurant is another restaurant on Buena Vista Street and offers a seasonal menu and a finer dining experience. If you’re looking for a sophisticated night out or want to treat yourself to a nice lunch, this is the place to go.
On the far west side of Paradise Pier, the once McDonalds has been replaced by new Italian-American and Mediterranean cuisine. The Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta offers a large variety of pasta, flatbread pizzas, salads, and desserts. The other restaurant, Paradise Garden Grill,” offers build-your-own platters, salad, or desert. These restaurants are still fairly unknown, so the lines are usually short or nonexistent.
At Paradise Pier, the still-new ride The Little Mermaid is a fun “underwater” attraction for all ages, but is especially a hit with the younger Mouseketeers. Inside your shell-shaped buggy, you venture below the ocean to see the three-dimensional story of The Little Mermaid play out in front of you–complete with bubbles! There is no height requirement for this ride, making it great for the whole family to enjoy.
In the Golden State, the Maseca tortilla factory space has reopened as Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop. This is a chocolate-lovers dream, complete with a large selection of sundaes, shakes, and floats, as well as ice cream by the scoop and chocolate by the bag.
There is a lot to see and explore in the growing California Adventure Park. Next time you’re there, hop on the Red Car Trolley and start your adventure under the sea and beyond!
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