The Wonderful Guide to Disney California Adventure Rides

California Adventure Rides at Pixar Pier

What to Know about Disney California Adventure Rides

On the other side of Disneyland Park is Disney California Adventure. Although Disneyland Park contains all of the classic rides that have been around since the opening of Disneyland in 1955, Disney California Adventure brings new rides to the park in addition to a few of the best rides that Disney World offers.

In terms of the types of Disney California Adventure rides, you can expect thrill, carnival, simulation, indoor dark, water, and more. There is something for everyone on this side of the park. There are 19 California Adventure rides, with a few additional attractions available.

Which California Adventure rides are the best for kids? What California Adventure rides have the longest lines? Will you get sick on any of the California Adventure rides?

There is a lot to cover, so without further ado, here is the Guide to Disney California Adventure rides!

Disney California Adventure Rides

RideLocationTypeHeight RequirementsAverage Wait Times
Red Car TrolleyBuena Vista StreetTrolleyN/A15-20 minutes
Monster’s Inc. Mike & Sulley to the RescueHollywood LandDark RideN/A20-30 minutes
Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!Avengers CampusTower Drop40″60-120 minutes
Web Slingers: A Spider-Man AdventureAvengers CampusArcade Family RideN/A50-100 minutes
Mater’s Junkyard JamboreeCars LandSpinning32″30-45 minutes
Luigi’s Rollickin’ RoadstersCars LandSpinning32″30-45 minutes
Radiator Springs RacersCars LandDriving/Dark Ride40″120-150 minutes
The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea AdventureParadise Gardens ParkDark RideN/A15-30 minutes
Golden ZephrParadise Gardens ParkAerial CarouselN/A25-30 minutes
Jumpin’ JellyfishParadise Gardens ParkJunior Drop RideN/A15-20 minutes
Goofy’s Sky SchoolParadise Gardens ParkJunior Rollercoaster42″20-60 minutes
Silly Symphony SwingsParadise Gardens ParkSwing40″25-30 minutes
IncredicoasterPixar PierRollercoaster48″50-100 minutes
Jessie’s Critter CarouselPixar PierCarouselN/A10-20 minutes
Toy Story Midway ManiaPixar PierArcade Family RideN/A80-100 minutes
Pixar Pal-A-RoundPixar PierFerris WheelN/A45-60 minutes
Inside Out Emotional WhirlwindPixar PierAerial CarouselN/A30-35 minutes
Grizzly River RunGrizzly PeakRiver Rapid Ride42″45-60 minutes (Warm Season)/5-10 minutes (Cold Season)
Soarin’ Around the WorldGrizzly PeakScreen Flight Simulation40″50-65 minutes

Buena Vista Street

#1 – Red Car Trolley

Though this is a dated video from 2012 (a lot has changed since), it still should give you an idea of what it’s like to ride on the Red Car Trolley ride

Red Car Trolley is the first ride you’ll come across once you walk through the California Adventure gates.

Though it is a ride, in reality, it’s more of a unique form of transportation to Carthay Circle or Hollywood Land. Another way to think of the Red Car Trolley is like the horse-drawn carriages on Main Street at Disneyland Park.

The Red Car Trolley is a slow-moving, relaxing ride narrated by the conductor, who provides jokes and fun facts about various locations you’ll pass during the ride. If you want to take the long, scenic way to the end of Hollywood Land, the Red Car Trolley may be worth your time. But if you want to get somewhere fast, walking may be faster.

Expected wait times for the Red Car Trolley are 15 minutes.

Hollywood Land

#2 – Monster’s Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue

Monster’s Inc – Mike and Sulley to the Rescue is Hollywood Land’s only dark ride. Like the other dark rides in Disneyland, Monster’s Inc retells the movie’s story by recreating iconic scenes for you to see on the ride.

When you first start the ride, a special Monstropolis news broadcast plays on a little screen in your car. It explains that a human child (Boo) is loose in the city of Monstropolis. The ride then takes you into the city, where you can see how all the monsters are on high alert from the “threat” of the human child.

From there, the ride takes you through the sushi restaurant scene, the Monster’s Inc building, and finally through the iconic door scene, which acts as both the film and ride’s climax.

One thing to note about Monster’s Inc – Mike and Sulley to the Rescue is how big this dark ride is compared to the other dark rides in the park. The door room scene, in particular, is huge and truly brings the movie’s scene to life. It’s a nice change of pace compared to the other small and sometimes cramped dark rides at Disneyland.

Monster’s Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue Average Wait Times

You can expect to wait for ~20-30 minutes to get on this California Adventure ride.

Avengers Campus

#3 – Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!

Previously known as The Tower of Terror, Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout is a total reimagining of Disney’s most iconic drop ride. Instead of the ride having a scary Twilight Zone theme, now this drop ride is about having fun with the Guardians.

The ride’s story is pretty simple. The collector has captured the Guardians of the Galaxy, but somehow, Rocket has escaped. His plan to break out the rest of the crew only has one problem, since he has paws instead of hands, he can’t scan the door to release his friends.

That’s where you come in. By raising your hands before you get on the ride, the scanners will unlock the doors to every cage in the collector’s collection, including the ones holding Guardians of the Galaxy.

That’s where the ride begins. As you are dropped and lifted, you watch the Guardians fight various monsters as they try to escape the collector’s collection.

The ride’s background music also helps to create a more lighthearted experience. What music you get on your ride may be different each time, but you can be sure the song will be upbeat and fun. Songs can range from the Jackson 5 to Elvis and other classics.

Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout is one of the best reimagined rides in recent years. It still maintains the thrills of Tower of Terror, but the Guardians of the Galaxy theme eliminates the scariness and makes it more approachable for all ages.

Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout Height Requirements

You must be at least 40″ to ride this Disney California Adventure ride.

Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout Average Wait Times

Expected wait times for Guardians of the Galaxy are usually around 60 minutes.

#4 – Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure

Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure is the next step in interactive video game-style rides. First, there was Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, then there was Toy Story Mania; now, this Spider-Man ride changes the formula by getting rid of the toy gun like on the other rides and instead makes you the weapon (with the help of motion tracking).

Like Toy Story Mania, Web Slingers is a 3-D shooting style ride that takes you from screen to screen and tasks you with shooting as many targets as possible in a limited time. On this ride, the targets are tiny robotic spiders. The way that you hit these spiders is by mimicking the web-slinging motion that Spider-Man does. The more robots you shoot, the higher your score.

If you enjoy arcade games and Spider-Man, you’ll like this ride.

Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure Average Wait Times

Typical wait times for Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure is 50-100 minutes.

Cars Land

#5 – Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is a short spinning ride similar to Alien Saucers in Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.

On the ride, you sit in the back of a tractor bed from the Cars franchise and go around in a circle as Mater sings an original song called the “Tractor Jamboree.”

The ride forcefully moves you left and right as the tractor goes around in circles.

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is short and fun, and the song that plays is catchy, but there’s not much else to the ride.

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree Height Requirements

You must be at least 32″ to ride this Disney California Adventure ride.

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree Average Wait Times

You can expect to wait around 25 minutes for this ride.

#6 – Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters is the second spinning ride in Cars Land. This time though, instead of simply spinning like with Mater’s Tractor Jamboree, it’s almost as if the cars you are in are dancing.

Each car in Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters is on a set path that moves you around the area, back and forth, to music sung by Luigi. The ride is similar to the ballroom dancing scene in Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Train at Hollywood Studios in Disney World.

At the end of the ride, however, is one moment where the ride spins you around fast that is worth considering if you are opposed to spinning rides. It may make you sick.

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters Height Requirements

You must be at least 32″ to ride Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters.

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters Average Wait Times

You can expect to wait 30 minutes for this ride.

#7 – Radiator Springs Racers

By far the best ride in Cars Land and arguably one of the best California Adventure rides, Radiator Springs Racers takes you to the world of Cars in this heartfelt and beautiful experience.

With clear inspiration taken from Test Track in Epcot at Disney World, Radiator Springs Racers goes above and beyond in improving that ride in every aspect.

The ride starts with a gorgeous drive around the countryside of Radiator Springs, just like in the iconic movie scene. The vistas are the same, including the waterfall and bridges. Then the ride takes you indoors to the Radiator Springs town, where you meet Mater and the rest of the gang.

The town’s recreation is fantastic, with colorful neon lights and filled with some of the best animatronics in the park. You go tractor tipping with Mater, and you even get a paint job from Ramone. Then, it’s time for the race. Paired against another group of riders, you race at top speed around a beautiful track countryside track until you cross the finish line, ending the ride.

Radiator Springs Racers Height Requirements

You must be at least 40″ to ride Radiator Springs Racers in Disney California Adventure.

Radiator Springs Racers Average Wait Times

Radiator Springs Racers is arguably one of the best rides in Disneyland that is worth the long wait time. Typically, the wait for this ride is ~120-150 minutes long.

Paradise Gardens Park

#8 – The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is a dark indoor ride that takes you through the story of the Little Mermaid. In this ride, the scenes depicted are from each musical number in the film.

You see recreations of the songs “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea,” “Poor Unfortunate Soul,” and “Kiss the Girl.” Each scene shown is colorful and vibrant, or dark and gloomy, in the case of “Poor Unfortunate Soul.”

Though the animatronics are better than on some dark rides in Fantasyland, they aren’t on the same level as Radiator Spring Racers or Rise of the Resistance.

The main draw of the ride is seeing your favorite song scenes from the Little Mermaid come to life, and in that aspect, the ride is excellent.

The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure Average Wait Times

Typical wait times for the Little Mermaid are between 25 and 30 minutes.

#9 – Golden Zephr

The Golden Zephr is an aerial carousel most similar to the Astro Oribitor. Like the Astro Oribitor, your vehicle looks like a rocketship. Additionally, the ride takes you into the air and flies you around in a circle.

Unlike the Astro Orbitor, you don’t get your own spaceship. The ride’s vehicles have six rows that can fit three people per row. Since the ride’s vehicles are shared, you cannot control how high the vehicle is lifted as the height is predetermined. Also, unlike the Astro Oribitor, the Golden Zephr starts slow and gradually increases in speed and height.

Golden Zephr Average Wait Times

Typically wait times for the Golden Zephr are 25 minutes.

#10 – Jumpin’ Jellyfish

Where Goofy’s Sky School is an appropriate “training wheels” ride for rollercoasters, Jumpin’ Jellyfish would be the training wheels version of a drop ride.

Jumpin’ Jellyfish is a ride that slowly lifts you in the air and then gently drops you a short distance before doing it again a few more times. It’s the perfect ride to go on if you have little kids and want to dip their toes in this type of ride before you take them on Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. Though in terms of thrills, GoTG would be a Disney ten, whereas Jumpin’ Jellyfish would be a one.

Jumpin’ Jellyfish Average Wait Times

Wait times for Jumpin’ Jellyfish are typically 15 minutes.

#11 – Goofy’s Sky School

Goofy’s Sky School is the perfect beginner rollercoaster for those that want to practice before going on a more intense coaster like the Incredicoaster or Space Mountain.

Since Goofy’s Sky School is outdoors and small, you can always see ahead of you. There are no big drops, spins, or inversions, but you will know what is coming and when to expect it.

There are turns, small bumps, and a tiny drop to end the ride. It’s a short yet fun ride suitable for all ages.

Goofy’s Flight School Average Wait Times

Wait times for Goofy’s Sky School can vary in extreme ways. Sometimes, the wait can be 65+ minutes, which, to be honest, would make the ride not worth the wait. You are better off riding something else instead.

Other times, the wait can be as low as 10 minutes, which is when the ride is worth going on.

#12 – Silly Symphony Swings

The Silly Symphony Swings is a traditional swing ride that puts you in a chair, lifts you in the air, and swings you around to classical music.

Specifically, the song played is Rossini’s Overture to William Tell, the finale. This song also is featured in the original Silly Symphony movie.

If you get motion sickness or are afraid of heights, you may want to skip this ride because the entire purpose is to spin you fast in the air. But if neither of those things is a problem, this ride makes you feel like you’re flying.

Silly Symphony Swings Average Wait Times

Typically, wait times for this ride are 25 minutes.

Pixar Pier

#13 – Incredicoaster

The Incredicoaster is arguably Disney California Adventure’s flagship ride, being that it is the one used for all of the advertisements for the park, and it is the only large, wooden rollercoaster in Disneyland. It is one of the longest inverting rollercoasters in the world at 6,072 ft and also the tallest rollercoaster of all the rides at a Disney Park Resort.

Like all Disney rides, the Incredicoaster is themed, and it has a story to go along with it. On this ride, you follow the Incredibles, the superhero family, as they try to catch a runaway Jack-Jack as his out-of-control powers take him away.

The Incredicoaster is a fast rollercoaster with large drops and a single loop that takes you upside-down. If you want to ride the most classic feeling rollercoaster in Disneyland, the Incredicoaster is the ride you want to go on.

As it is a rollercoaster with inversions, there is a height requirement of 48 inches. So if you have any young ones, ensure they are tall enough to ride the Incredicoaster before planning on riding it.

Incredicoaster Average Wait Times

You can expect a 50-100 minutes wait for this ride.

#14 – Jessie’s Critter Carousel

Jessie’s Critter Carousel is Pixar Pier’s only classic carousel ride. Themed after Toy Story, but specifically Woody’s Round-up show in Toy Story 2, this carousel puts you on a colorful cartoon animal as you go around in a circle.

Though all carousels are practically the same, this one has a catchy song that plays in the background while you ride. The song “Bullseye” may be the best part of the ride.

Jessie’s Critter Carousel Average Wait Times

Typically wait times for Jessie’s Critter Carousel are 10 minutes.

#15 – Toy Story Midway Mania

Toy Story Midway Mania is an interactive 3-D arcade-type shooter ride where you play a variety of Toy Story-themed games where you try to get the highest score possible.

In each game, your goal is to shoot at the targets worth the most points. The more accurate you are, the higher your accuracy rating will also be.

Throughout the ride, you play five different shooting mini-games with difficulty increasing as you progress through the ride. Typically, the smaller the target, the more points they are worth.

At the end of the ride, the person in your cart with the highest score wins. The ride also shows you which person who sat in your cart had the highest score for the day and who was the most accurate. It’s a fun challenge to try and get the highest score.

Toy Story Midway Mania Average Wait Times

Typically, wait times for Toy Story Mania are 80-100 minutes.

#16 – Pixar Pal-A-Round

The Pixar Pal-Around is Disneyland’s only Ferris wheel. Two versions of this ride are available: swinging and non-swinging.

On the swinging side, your cart slides around as you go up in the air, swinging you back and forth. The swinging side turns the Pixar Pal-Around into a thrill ride.

On the non-swinging side, your cart stays stationary as you go around in the air, making for a more traditional Ferris wheel ride.

If you are afraid of heights, you might want to skip this one, but if heights aren’t a problem, the Pixar Pal-Around makes for a fun ride.

Pixar Pal-A-Round Average Wait Times

Wait times for this ride are usually around 45-60 minutes on both sides.

#17 – Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind

Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind is a simple aerial carousel with an Inside Out theme.

It goes faster than Dumbo and Astro Orbitor, but unlike those two rides, you cannot control how high or low you go during your ride. The Emotional Whirlwind is similar to a ride that you would find at a boardwalk-type amusement park.

Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind Average Wait Times

Wait times for the Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind are usually 30 minutes.

Grizzly Peak

#18 – Grizzly River Run

Perhaps the flagship ride of Disney California Adventure, Grizzly River Run, is Disneyland’s version of Kali River Rapids in Animal Kingdom at Disney World. The difference between the two rides is minimal, besides the theming and one key difference; the rafts in Grizzly River Run are designed to spin during the drops.

Grizzly River Run Ride Experience

Because the raft is constantly spinning throughout the ride, it works against the flow of water, which makes the water rise over the edges of the raft and hit each passenger. That, plus the raft’s speed, makes Grizzly River Run the best water ride in the park.

Like Kali River Rapids in Disney World, Grizzly River Run is the best water ride in the entire park. You won’t just get wet on this ride like when you go on Splash Mountain; you will get soaked. No matter where you sit on the raft, water will drench you at some point.

Grizzly River Run is also one of the prettiest rides in California Adventure. The ride takes place in Grizzly Peak, on a hilltop that looks like a bear. You’ll be floating down crystal clear, blue water surrounded by beautiful green trees as if you were in the Rocky Mountains.

Grizzly River Run Average Wait Times

Grizzly River Run is a popular ride, especially during summer. You can expect a wait of at least 65 minutes before you can get on this ride.

#19 – Soarin’ Around the World

Soarin’ Around the World in Disney California Adventure is almost identical to the same ride un Epcot at Disney World. There is only one difference between the two rides; where the ride ends.

Soarin’ Around the World Ride Experience

In Soarin’ Around the World, an aerial 4-D flying adventure, you soar above some of the world’s most iconic views. You’ll fly over Mount Everest, the Egyptian pyramids, the Indian Taj Mahal, Australia, and Disneyland.

The best part about the ride, however, is the 4-D aspect. Like in Mickey’s Philarmagic, not only can you visually see the views and vistas, but you can also smell them. Certain pleasant aromas accompany each location throughout the ride. While you fly over an ocean, you’ll smell the sea salt ocean breeze. Over the savannah, you’ll smell the grasslands. It’s an incredibly immersive experience that makes for an exceptional ride.

The difference between the ride in Epcot and California Adventure is the locations of where the ride ends. For California Adventure, the ride ends with a flyover of Disneyland during a fireworks show, whereas the one at Disney World ends with a flyover of Epcot.

However, if you are lucky, you may end up with a different ride at Disneyland. Sometimes, Soarin’ Around the World becomes Soarin’ Over California. In this version of the ride, you fly over many incredible locations in California.

You’ll fly over forests, rivers, orange trees, mountains, oceans, and more. The ride does a great job of showcasing how varied California is regarding the exciting places you can find in the state.

Though this ride version is rare, it is usually brought back for the Food and Wine festival around March.

Because this is a screen ride, it’s possible to get motion sickness while on the ride. Similarly, the ride simulates flying over high locations. If you fear heights, you may want to skip the ride altogether.

Soarin’ Around the World Average Wait Times

You can expect around a 50-65 minutes wait for Soarin’ Around the World.

Other Attractions Available At Disney’s California Adventure

Though these 19 California Adventure rides make up the majority of what’s available to do on this side of Disneyland, there is still so much more. 

In California Adventure, each park section has other attractions that are just as fun as the rides. 

In Hollywood Land:

  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Animation Academy
  • Sorcerer’s Workshop
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome

In Avengers Campus:

  • Avengers Headquarters
  • Ancient Sanctum

In Cars Land:

  • Cozy Cone Motel
  • Sarge’s Surplus Hut
  • Ramone’s

In the Pacific Warf:

  • The Bakery Tour

In Pixar Pier:

  • Lamplight lounge
  • Games of Pixar Pier

In Paradise Gardens Park:

  • World of Color

In Grizzly Peak:

  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

Though there is so much to do in Disney’s California Adventure, this only makes up half of the park. On the other side, you’ll find Disneyland Park. You’ll find even more rides and attractions that you will love!

Click on the button below to continue to The Ultimate Guide to the Disneyland Rides!

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