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Because of the large number of attractions at Disney California Adventure® Park, we suggest allotting at least one full day (if not park hopping) or two days of hopping between it and Disneyland® Park.
We recommend arriving at least 30 minutes ahead of the official opening so that you are one of the first to enter the park. (Guests who are driving should arrive an hour early to park and access the tram or bus and allow time for security lines.)
Guests staying at a Disneyland® Resort should take advantage of the Extra Magic Hour to ride and/or secure a FASTPASS for Radiator Springs Racers. Note that Radiator Springs Racers FASTPASSES are distributed near It's Tough to be a Bug!® Attraction. You can now acquire a FASTPASS for some rides during Extra Magic Hour, but ride availability varies per day. If you don’t have Extra Magic Hour access, we recommend visiting Disney California Adventure® Park on a day that does not offer the early entry (such as a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday) for the lowest crowds.
Locals with annual passes make up a large percentage of Disney California Adventure® Park guests and will often visit the park after work, making the evening hours as crowded as the afternoons. For this reason, we highly recommend visiting the highest priority attractions in the morning when waits are lowest. We recommend experiencing your chosen attractions in each land before moving on to the next.
In order to experience it all, we recommend taking advantage of FASTPASS, Disney's ride wait system, or MaxPass, which is an optional paid service that allows you to make FASTPASS reservations through the Disneyland Mobile App. With traditional FASTPASS, you physically walk over to collect a FASTPASS reminder ticket that gives you a one-hour return window to come back and experience the ride without a wait, allowing you to experience other aspects of the park instead of standing in line. MaxPass allows you to make those reservations from wherever you are once you have entered the park, and it allows you to make reservations more quickly, being able to see all of the rides offering FASTPASS and their return windows before choosing. That means not having to wait in a long line to get a FASTPASS for Radiator Springs Racers, which tends to be fully distributed by late morning and sometimes within an hour or two after park opening. Many popular Disney California Adventure® Park rides run through their distribution by early afternoon, so FASTPASS and MaxPass are great tools if you are arriving before park opening.
MaxPass is a great time saver, but it can definitely affect a well-thought-out touring plan. We will assume that you have not purchased MaxPass on this touring plan, so you'll have options to fall back on whether you decide to go with it or not. Whether you use a regular FASTPASS or MaxPass, you will need to collect a FASTPASS for shows like World of Color in person. Show FASTPASSES are disconnected from the ride FASTPASS system, meaning you don't have to worry about any waiting periods.
Keep in mind that Disney California Adventure® Park shows, parades, and exciting seasonal entertainment can affect your schedule if you wish to experience them. Pro tip: if the park is still open after World of Color, you'll find the shortest lines of the day after the show and just before park closing.
There are several things to take into consideration that could affect your park plan:
Learn more about these and more in our tips to maximize your time at Disneyland.
Single rider lines may move as quickly as the FASTPASS line, making this an excellent choice for those guests (over 7 years old) who don’t mind splitting up their party.
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