Disney California Adventure has had the reputation as an "adult" park since it opened in 2001. In its opening years there were very few options for families with younger kids (wine attractions, soap opera restaurants, excessive height requirements) but after 17 years it now is more of a well-rounded family park, similar to its older brother next door. Here are some things you really have to make sure to do if you're visiting DCA with kids that they will love! UPDATED 9 Febraury 2018
- "a bug's land" - This area of DCA was designed with kids aged 0-6 in mind, but that doesn't mean it can't be fun for everyone. Rides like Flik's Flyers and Francis' Lady Bug Boogie are actually surprisingly fun for adults and older kids as well, plus Princess Dot's Puddle Park is a great way for anyone to cool off on a hot summer day in California! Be aware, though, "It's Tough to Be a Bug!" is not for young kids who are easily frightened.
- Monsters, Inc.: Mike & Sulley to the Rescue - Tucked away in the backlot of Hollywood Land is this adorable dark ride through the streets of Monstropolis as Mike and Sulley try to save Boo from Randall. I never miss an opportunity to hop aboard myself, so make sure you take your kids there as well!
- Animation Pavillion - On the streets of Hollywood Land lies the Animation Pavillion, full of great interactive attractions for all ages that celebrate the art of Disney animation. Inside you'll find "Turtle Talk with Crush" where you can interact with everyone's favourite sea turtle, the Sorcerer's Workshop where you can try your hand at animation or learn what Disney character you're most like, you can also learn to draw one of many Disney characters at the Animation Academy and get a handmade souvenir to take home. It's a lot of fun in there and a great place to let your kids loose for a while where there's not a lot of lines to wait in.
- Redwood Creek Challenge Trail - Do your kids have a lot of pent up energy that needs to be released? Take them to Redwood Creek at Grizzly Peak. Whether younger or older, there is a variety of obstacles to climb on and traverse along the trail. I enjoy some time in there myself, so there's plenty to keep your young ones entertained!
- The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure - A crowning jewel among Disneyland Resort dark rides, journey along with Ariel as Scuttle recounts her journeys above water. There's plenty to love on board and the line moves very quickly so don't be discouraged if it seems to wind on forever though Paradise Park.
- Toy Story Midway Mania! - Everyone loves this one! Play some classic Midway carnival games put together by the Toy Story gang and compete against each other for the high score! If your kids have a hard time with long lines, make sure you hit this one early (during Extra Magic Hours if you're staying on property) as the line is frequently as long as 45-60 minutes or take advantage of FastPass!
- Cars Land - Cars Land, all-in-all, is a great place for families of all ages. Older kids and parents love Radiator Springs Racers while everyone will find they enjoy Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters (they may look dumb, but give them a try and you won't regret it!). Adding to the atmosphere, Mater and Lightning McQueen roll through the town periodically for photo ops so don't miss out when you see them!
- Disney Junior Dance Party - I can't not include this show, but it stands to reason that if your kids have outgrown Disney Junior or are not fans of the channel then you may want to skip it. If they are fans, then you'd be missing out! It's a lot of fun, high energy, and includes all of their favourite characters.
- Marvel Characters - DCA is home to all the Marvel super heroes as well, so hop over to Hollywood Land to meet Spider-Man or Captain America and you can all interact and dance along with Gamora, Star Lord and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy!
- Frozen - Live at the Hyperion - Are your kids fans of Frozen? Even if they're not obsessed with it, they will love the stage adaptation in Hollywood Land. I've taken my little nieces and nephews there and seen them completely transfixed by what's happening on stage. The show is just about an hour long but it will engage even the smallest fans.
This list is limited largely to attractions that have minimal height requirements, but if your little ones are not quite so little then there's plenty more for them where this came from. What are some of your kids favourite parts of California Adventure?