Disneyland vs California Adventure

Disneyland may sound like it is just one park, but it is really two different ones.  Those two parks are Disneyland and California Adventure. Oftentimes, I am asked which is better – Disneyland or California Adventure, and I honestly cannot say that I have an answer for you!  Each park is unique in its own way and you basically need to know what you want to do and see before you can choose which one you want to see the most.  


While there are numerous themed lands inside Disneyland, you must take the time to completely explore both Fantasyland and the newest Star Wars: Galaxy Edge.  Since the Star Wars land is so new, you are going to want to add a little extra time for that part of the park.  The larger crowds will have you waiting in line longer for some rides and for walking from one attraction to the next.  


Disneyland has many of the classic attractions that we have all come to love over the years.  Three of the all-time favorites include It’s a Small World, the Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean.  As you wander through Disneyland, you will want to keep an eye out for some of your favorite characters. The Star Wars characters will basically be in the new Star Wars land; however, you never know when and where you will get to meet one of the beloved Disney princesses.  

At the end of the day, you must stay inside Disneyland to see Fantasmic!, because it is a light show that you are not going to want to miss!  During this show, Mickey will oversee the battle between good and evil and only at the end of the pyrotechnical delight will you know who wins! 

California Adventure

Over at California Adventure, you will find yourself exploring areas that include Cars Land, Pixar Pier, Buena Vista Street, and the Pacific Wharf.  At the park, you will love the must-ride attractions like Radiator Springs Racers and Incredicoaster. However, it might be the Animation Academy that allows your creativity to come through.  

California Adventure

There are a few Disney characters roaming through California Adventure, but you are more likely to see a few superheroes, Woody, Buzz, the Incredibles, and both Anna and Elsa from Frozen.  If you really want to spend more time with Anna and Elsa, then you must take the time to watch Frozen – Live at the Hyperion.  

Tips for Visiting Disneyland

1. Start your day a little early on Main Street USA!  

This part of Disneyland opens thirty minutes before the rest of the park, and it is an excellent time to grab a few pictures with the characters and get a few souvenirs.  

2. Find Some Quiet Time

There are a few little areas where you can find some quiet during your busy day in Disneyland.  One of them can be found across from the Haunted Mansion and behind the Harbor Gallery. It might look like an employee area, but it is not, and you can enjoy sitting at the tables that you find there.  

3. Hop on the Train to Save Some Time and Energy

Train at Toontown
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

If you are looking for a break from walking, you must hop onto the train.  The train makes stops at Tomorrowland, Main Street, New Orleans Square, and Toontown.  You can save yourself about a mile round trip if you manage to hop onboard.  

4. Leaving Before the Fireworks and Parade are Finished

Now, we don’t know why you would want to leave before the fireworks and parade are finished, but if you do, please do not walk on the crowded sidewalks.  Instead, walk through the shops that are on the side where Carnation Café is located. Those shops should be mostly empty since everyone is outside watching the entertainment.  

5. Touch Everything You Can in Toontown

Okay, so we know that you spend most of the day telling your children not to touch everything in sight!  However, when you are in Toontown, please allow them to touch everything that they can. Almost everything does something and you can hear weird noises, see things spin, and even listen in on a funny phone call.  

Tips for Visiting Disney California Adventure

1. Plan Your Day in Advance

Just like any other theme park, you are going to want to plan your day at California Adventure in advance.  It is true that you do not need to follow this tip and just wing your day, but you will get to see so much more and do almost everything if you do your research first.  

2. Grab FastPass for Frozen

The seats to watch Frozen fill up fast, so you will want to take advantage of FastPass and get there early to get your seats.  If you don’t, you may find yourself in the way back or waiting for the next show.  

3. Buena Vista Street

Buena Vista Street
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

This street is the same as Main Street USA in Disneyland, so use that same tip for this one here.  

4. Use the Streetcar

The streetcar will take you between Carthay Circle and the Tower of Terror and it is an excellent way to get a little rest before continuing your day.  

5. Experience Magic at Sunset

It is recommended that you arrive over at Flo’s Café in Cars Land ten minutes before the sun sets each day, so you can see this area light up as the sun is setting in the sky.  

If you are planning a trip to California anytime soon, you are going to need to decide between Disneyland vs California Adventure, unless you choose to go to both parks during your stay.  Just remember, there is no right or wrong choice, so make the decision that is best for you and the people that you are traveling with! 

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