California Adventure Park
California Adventure is located in Anaheim and adjacent to the venerable Disneyland Park. Construction was begun in 1998 at the same time the Disneyland Hotel and other areas of Disneyland were being expanded. The final Disney California Adventure Park was completed in 2001. The concept of the California Adventure was to celebrate the state and recreate many of the unique experiences available in the state—from white water rafting to Napa Valley wine tasting.
The main entrance to the Disney California Adventure Park is through Sunshine Plaza, home to Buena Vista Street, a recreation of what Los Angeles was like in the 1920s when Walt Disney first arrived in the city. Here is a reproduction of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, which forms part of the park’s monorail, which in turn serves the same transportation purpose as the Disneyland Railroads. Some of the California Adventure attractions are accessed directly from Sunshine Plaza. The plaza boasts two dining spots and two of the park’s largest shopping venues.
More areas of California Adventure include Paradise Pier, designed to provide the atmosphere of a Victorian Boardwalk, like the one that can still be found at the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles or the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the oldest in California (dating to 1907). The California Adventure attractions at Paradise Pier include traditional boardwalk rides such as a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, and carousel as well as arcade games. The Golden Gate area of the Disney California Adventure Park provides rides and attractions that evoke the incredible natural beauty of the state like Yosemite, the Golden Vine Winery with its Napa Valley theme, the Pacific Wharf patterned after the famed Cannery Row in Monterey, and the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. There are also plenty of entertainment, fireworks displays, and parades held at regular intervals and during special holidays like Christmas, New Years, and the Fourth of July.
There are a number of places to stay in addition to hotels and motels in the surrounding area and the Disneyland resorts. You can try the Grand Californian Hotel for a complete resort experience that includes a full-service spa, a variety of dining spots, swimming pools, and a fitness center. There are about twenty dining spots that include an ice cream parlors, bakery, gourmet hot dog stand, Mexican restaurants, and wine tasting restaurants.
Ironically, the intention to honor the state caused initial criticism, as a number of the actual sites and landmarks that the California Adventure attractions were modeled on could be visited right in Los Angeles by driving for only an hour or less. Another criticism was that there were fewer California Adventure rides and things to do than in Disneyland, but day admission tickets cost the same as entrance to Disneyland. In 2007, the Walt Disney Company announced plans for a multi-year expansion and redesign that will upgrade many rides and attractions as well as add more.
California Adventure Park