Ranked: Top 15 Disney California Adventure Attractions

Welcome to another “Classified” article here on Laughing Place. It’s time to head to the West Coast to take a peek at Anaheim’s second Disney theme park, the Disney California Adventure (DCA). So much has changed with this park since it opened that it is barely recognizable by its original form. So with that, let’s count my Top 15 Disney California Adventure attractions!

15. Goofy’s Sky School

Goofy’s Sky School is a standard wild mouse roller coaster that can be found in several theme parks around the world. It originally opened with the park as Mulholland Madness, which was themed around the mad traffic of LA. The Goofy’s Sky School renovation was supposed to add an extra Disney touch, but it’s a minimal touch. Basically just a few signs and a goofy voiceover. I would love to see something more done to this coaster in the future, or maybe a replacement attraction. As it stands, it’s still a fun ride, but the lack of uniqueness puts it at the bottom of this list.

14. Disney animation

One of the highlights of DCA’s opening day was the Disney Animation building, with its incredible 360-degree lobby. The lobby is still the best part of the experience, however Talk turtle with Crush and the Animation academy are both fun entertainment. Unfortunately, the Sorcerer’s Workshop guided tour experience is slightly truncated from its original form, with the final Ursula-themed room being removed for the Anna and Elsa meet and greet area. The aforementioned meet and greet has been closed since the parks reopened last year, so unfortunately this is an underutilized area of ​​the building.

13. Mickey’s Philharmonic

More than 15 years later Mickey’s Philharmonic open to Magic kingdom, he finally made his Disneyland resort Debut at the Sunset Showcase Theater in 2019. Due to this theater’s smaller screen, the layout of most of the show is eerily small, making it quite difficult to see. This is until the special effects on the sidewalls go off during The Lion King scene, adding a bit to the presentation. Despite the flaws in this version, the show itself is still enjoyable.

12. Pixar Pal-A-Round

My biggest problem with this attraction is the name. Pixar Pal-A-Round is cute, but Mickey’s fun wheel (and even the sun wheel) was better. Other than that it’s a really fun experience especially the swaying gondolas. Outside of New York’s famous Coney Island Wheel, the Pixar Pal-A-Round is the only Ferris wheel in the United States to feature swaying gondolas. It’s a pretty crazy experience, especially if you’ve never done it before, but it can be so much fun!

11. Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley at the rescue

Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue was a quick fix to the infamous Superstar Limo attraction, which was perhaps one of the strangest things Imagineering had ever conceived. While this is a huge improvement over the Superstar Limo mess, you can still see a few flaws that remained after the transition. Mainly, most of the animatronics were fixed by old celebrities. All of the numbers are relatively static which leads to a somewhat dated experience. If Mike and Sulley to the Rescue can get an update like a lot of the dark rides in Fantasyland in recent years, then we might have a much better attraction on our hands!

ten. Red car cart

the Red car cart is an attraction that I have an emotional attachment to, and I’m pretty sad that it hasn’t worked since early 2019. See, it originally closed for Avengers Campus construction, and I’m sure the current sanitary situation hasn’t helped to get it going again. It’s an attraction that adds so much life to Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Land, and it’s always a fun way to get around. It will be interesting to see how it crosses Avengers Campus each time it reopens.

9. Grizzly River Race

I must be in a certain mood for the fast river descents, but it’s easy to admit that Grizzly River Race is one of the best in the world. From the beautiful surroundings to the great quick sections and two drops, Grizzly River Run does it all. The attraction is also beautifully integrated into the surrounding area of ​​Grizzly Peak, making it a magnificent centerpiece of the park.

8. The little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Underwater Adventure

A good, solid dark wrinkle was something that DCA’s lineup was deeply lacking in the early 2000s. So that’s why The little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s underwater adventure was very well received when it opened in 2011. The first half of the attraction is perfectly laid out, reminiscent of classic Disneyland dark rides. The final act is a little more disjointed, because it feels like you’re going quickly from one scene to another. This is only a minimal problem though, and for the most part, it’s a big draw!

seven. Stupid symphonic swings

I really don’t know why, but I like Stupid symphonic swings much more than I really should. Opening the ride instead of keeping it closed like it was with the Orange Stinger did so much for this attraction. The views that sway along Paradise Bay, along with the wonderful music of “William Tell Overture” make for a wonderful experience that is also beautifully linked to the legacy of classic Disney shorts.

6. WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure

DCA’s new attraction is a great addition to the park’s lineup. A new dark turn was needed, and it was good to see how connected he was not only to the surrounding Avengers campus, but also to wonder traditions. WEB SLINGERS begins with a fun pre-show starring Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man, which introduces the Spider-Bots, who will become the obstacle to be overcome on the journey. Now the ride itself is an interesting progression of the Toy Story Midway Mania style of attraction. I’ll be honest, this ride can get a bit tiring, especially if you’re constantly using your arms to throw webs. The technology behind it is so awesome, however, I can forget how tiring it can get. Now, I really think The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man in Islands of Adventure is Spider-Man’s best ride, but that doesn’t stop WEB SLINGERS from being really fun for what it is.

5. Incredicoaster

California Screamin ‘was one of those early days of DCA attractions that really didn’t have a good theme to speak of, but it was such a fun ride that it kind of got a pass. In 2018, Paradise Pier morphed into the Pixar Pier, and with that, California Screamin ‘became the Incredicoaster. Most of the tunnels were closed, allowing for minimal static performance stages, and the Incredibles themed audio replaced the original score. The Incredibles theme is very minimal, but it’s a welcome aesthetic update to the rather ugly California Screamin ‘. The ride itself is just pure pleasure. Not too intense, but enough to be just a little intimidating for thrill seekers in training.

4. Toy Story Midway Mania

Objectively, there are better rides than Toy Story Midway Mania. But few things are as fun or repeatable as this. Riding Midway Mania over and over to sharpen my skills has always been one of my favorite things to do when visiting Disneyland Resort. While the queue theme isn’t quite as strong as its Florida counterpart, it fits right into the Pixar Pier neighborhood.

3. Radiator spring racers

Radiator spring racers is without a doubt the best and most important of DCA rides. It was this drive, along with Cars Land as a whole, that ultimately put the fleet on the right track. It’s a truly amazing and immersive experience, worthy of being set up alongside the biggest Disney attractions. The opening scene, recreating Lightning McQueen and Sally’s journey from the original Cars is a perfect start to a walk full of impressive landscapes and animatronics. But most people ride for it, it’s racing at the end, it’s not too exciting, but it’s still exhilarating. Now I said it was definitely the best ride in the park, but it’s not quite my favorite. There are still two attractions to cover …

2. Go around the world

While Go around the world was a much needed upgrade to Soarin ‘at EPCOT, this does not seem quite necessary at DCA. Now your flight takes you all over the world instead of over California. While we now have more technologically impressive flight simulators like Flight of Passage, Soarin ‘is still a magical experience. The music here is absolutely breathtaking. Jerry Goldsmith’s original sheet music has been perfectly updated by Bruce Broughton for the new version. Every now and then DCA returns to Soarin ‘Over California for special events, so it’s nice to have both on hand.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: ESCAPE!

When it was first announced that The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror would be replaced with a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction, the Disney fan community took a collective look. But then we found out that the project was led by the imaginary Joe Rhode, so some hope returned. What we ended up with was a well done reorientation of the attraction, which in my opinion is an absolutely better experience. Guardians are just fun! The pre-show starring Rocket Racoon is excellent, adding animatronics to what was previously just a TV-screen-based pre-show. Upon entering your Gantry Lift, you will experience 1 of 6 different ride profiles, all set to different classic songs. My favorite song to get is “Free Ride”, and screams at the best line, when Rocket says “Disneyland!” It is thematically inconsistent. This has to be one of the best meta lines of any theme park.

I also can’t talk about Guardians of the Galaxy without talking about the Monsters After Dark Halloween overlay, which adds a really scary element to the ride, where the monsters have escaped following the events of the main ride. Be sure to check out Monsters After Dark if you haven’t had a chance to experience it!

Hope you all enjoyed this ranking of the top 15 Disney California Adventure attractions. If you’d like to see other theme park rankings, feel free to check out my other “Ranked” posts listed below:

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Herman C. Harkins