Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California is the pinnacle of family vacation spots (at least on the west coast). In addition to the original Disneyland there is a second gate, Disney’s California Adventure (DCA). It is a relatively new theme park, and it has its critics. In fact, it has so many critics that Disney’s California Adventure is being overhauled with a budget bigger than the one that financed its creation. There is hope and change in the air.
The entrance to DCA is just a matter of feet from that of Disneyland but the two parks couldn’t be further apart, figuratively. While Disneyland is the classic standard and the maker of the magic, the theme of the newer park is slightly less so: California. This is the beginning of the end for those that just drove hours through the actual state of California to get there. My family likes to look at it differently.
Sure, the idea of additions and renovations is exciting to us (We’re big fans of the newest attraction Toy Story Mania which thrills my wife just as much as it does my 2-year-old. If this is a sign of things to come then sign us up!), but we really enjoy the park in its current state as well (hey, that’s like a pun!).
Disney’s California Adventure offers family activities from the very young to adult. There are shows, rides and interactive areas geared at the Playhouse Disney set, the adventure seeking school-aged kids and the thrill-loving teens. There is also a full bar, a winery and a beer cart for the grown-ups.
DCA hosts an annual food and wine festival, a half-marathon (runs through park and other parts of the resort), a very fun Halloween celebration (Mickey’s Trick-or-Treat Party runs on various nights during the month. A separate admission is required.) and a rowdy but safe New Year’s Eve bash.
Basically, the entire Disneyland Resort, which includes Downtown Disney and three hotels, can be as family-friendly or as romantic as you want it to be. We go for both.
The park hours are shorter than those of Disneyland and vary by season as well as day of the week. Services within the park include lockers, strollers, wheelchairs, first aid, ATM and communication assistance.
I recommend purchasing a ticket that allows you to enter both parks in the same day. It cost a little more, but the options that it allows you with regard to planning your activities is well worth it.
All Photos: W & T Honea