Disney California Adventure holds many special experiences, including theme-tastic foods, movie-based thrill rides and exciting new additions such as Pixar Pier. But did you know that there are some hidden treasures that make Disney California Adventure extra special? These Disney California Adventure hidden gems are small details to keep an eye out for so you don't miss them on your next visit — don't blink!
Here's the inside scoop on our favorite hidden gems in Disney California Adventure.
The Frog Family's Top 5 California Adventure Hidden Gems
California Adventure Hidden Gem #1: The Beast’s Library
You really have to work hard to find this hidden room, and once you get there, be sure to stay a while, because the magical room changes every four minutes. It is located inside Disney Animation in Hollywood Land, where you can also talk to Crush, take a free art lesson or meet Anna and Elsa.
Here's how to find the Beast's library. Look for the sign for the Sorcerer’s Workshop and head around the front of Anna and Elsa’s line to hop inside. At the back of the Sorcerer’s Workshop, you can enter the library, which is designed after the Beast’s library from “Beauty and the Beast" (note the falling rose petals, portrait and fireplace). The room begins as well-lit and picturesque, then magically transforms with several changes in line with the classic movie. While you are there, you can answer questions in a magical book to find out which Disney character you are most like. Are you an evil villain or a sweet princess? It’s time to find out what role you’d play in a Disney movie. Be sure to stop and check out some hands-on exhibits in the Sorcerer’s Workshop on your way in or out.
California Adventure Hidden Gem #2: Easter Eggs
Disney movies are known for having “Easter eggs,” which are characters and other elements from Disney movies (or other sources) subtly inserted into different Disney movies. There are several Easter eggs planted around California Adventure. Do you have a special tadpole who picks up on tiny details or is the first to spot hidden Mickeys? Then put them to work looking for Buzz Lightyear hiding beneath a traffic cone inside of the Cozy Cone Motel lobby. Ham and Rex are hiding here! There’s also the many Disneyland, Marvel and Tower of Terror Easter Eggs in Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: BREAKOUT! You can find them in the lobby, Tivan’s office and the boiler room — for example, Harold, the old Matterhorn yeti (so that’s where he went!). When riding Monsters, Inc., pay attention to the scene in which Boo hits Randall with a bat. Some of his markings may contain hidden Mickeys. Keep your eyes peeled for all kinds of details in this park. As your clamshell car exits the Little Mermaid — Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, look to your left: you’ll see a wooden cabinet with images of Hans Christian Andersen and the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen.
California Adventure Hidden Gem #3: Paradise Gardens Park
While the Paradise Gardens aren’t exactly hidden, they are tucked away in the back corner of the park next to Goofy’s Sky School and can be easily overlooked. At certain times during the year, you’ll definitely want to hop in to see what’s going on, because this is where some special stuff happens. This area keeps California Adventure fresh and exciting. Our favorite times to visit are during Halloween, when the area is Coco themed, or during the holidays, when you can meet Elena, the Three Caballeros or Mickey and friends. During the Lunar New Year, you can also meet Mulan and Mushu! There are other Disneyland special events that are celebrated in this area, too. Besides special character meet and greets, you may encounter free crafts, photo walls, new treats to try, a rotating menu at Paradise Garden Grill, musical entertainment and perhaps the chance to learn about different cultures or participate in cultural traditions. Plus, Paradise Gardens is home to Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, so if you have a family member toadally obsessed with a tasty slice or some yummy noodles, they've got you covered.
California Adventure Hidden Gem #4: Citizens of Buena Vista Street
While they aren't exactly hidden, be sure to take the time to stop and observe the citizens of Buena Vista Street. They are elaborately dressed characters from an unspecific era — they told us they were from “19 doodle doo,” which falls somewhere in the 1920s to 1930s. This cast of characters brings humor and personality to Buena Vista Street and immerses guests into a time of dreams and possibilities reminiscent of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Be sure to chat with them as they have some interesting stories to share! Definitely catch a performance of the the musical Group Five & Dime. Goofy may even join in to jazz things up and leave you tapping your feet.
California Adventure Hidden Gem #5: “The Office” in the Lamplight Lounge
The whole downstairs dining room of the Lamplight Lounge (formerly Ariel’s Grotto) on Pixar Pier is a hidden gem filled with art and memorabilia from Pixar movies that will excite fans of all ages. Everywhere you look, you’ll discover something to explore further. Even a quick trip to the restroom will delay your return to your table because of all of the details and famous movie quotes written on the walls to take in. But there is a truly hidden room — so hidden that you have to open a vault to gain access to it. “The Office” is a private dining room open to one party at the time, and it has a maximum room capacity of 13. There are wooden board games on the walls for you and the whole froggy family to play. The room even has a private porch over the water. Regular guests (aka non-VIP frog friends) cannot reserve it, but if you have the correct party size and it’s available, you just might gain access to this special California Adventure hidden gem. Be sure to order some frogtastic fizzy drinks and tasty food — I am drooling just thinking of the Crispy Piggy Wings and Lobster Nachos!
Have you uncovered any other California Adventure hidden gems? If so, please share them in the comments section below — and seriously, tell us if you spot Ham and Rex in the Cozy Cone lobby! If you are planning a trip to Disneyland® and Disney California Adventure Park®, you’ll be hoppy to discover that you can now purchase discounted Disneyland multi-day tickets from Undercover Tourist.
Related: 10 Not-to-Miss Disney California Adventure Rides