Top 5 “Must Ride” Attractions in Disney’s California Adventure Park


Disney’s California Adventure Park (DCA) is definitely a much different feel than Disneyland. If you are a thrill seeker, there are a couple of big rides here! There are even a couple of extreme rides. Please note the type of individual rider we are when looking at our recommendations. I find that there are more rides that people sit out on due to motion sickness or fear of heights in DCA than on the Disneyland side.

Rider Profile #1: Erica

Fun for the Whole Family


1) Soarin’ Around the World 

2) Grizzly River Run

3) Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!

4) Toy Story Midway Mania!

5) The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

So my list is kind of random, but it’s definitely all about experiences and memories for me. Soarin’ Around the World has been my favorite since the very first time I went on it, back when it was still “Soarin’ Over California”. PRO TIP: if you have sandals or shoes that aren’t hard to take on and off, take your shoes off for a lovely break! 

Grizzly River Run is just the best. I dare you not to smile. Actually, I don’t dare you, cause one time we went on Space Mountain and dared each other to keep a straight face the whole time and it just wasn’t as much fun.

Lastly, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story and The Little Mermaid are the perfect kids rides that the whole family can enjoy. I’m a big fan of this kind of ride! Even if you don’t have kids, give them a chance (at least once).

Rider Profile #2: Heidi

Hands up baby! DCA is all about the thrills for me.


1) Incredicoaster

2) Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!

3) Grizzly River Run

4) Radiator Springs Racers

5) Goofy’s Sky School

The first time we went to Disney’s California Adventure Park I was 18 so I don’t have the same nostalgic feelings that I do for Disneyland. Now that I have a family of my own, it’s become a family favourite. I think my kids ask to spend more time in that park than Disneyland! They are finally tall enough to go on all the rides, so it’s big thrills all the way!

I loved it when it was California Screamin’ and I love it as the Incredicoaster. Everything about this ride gets my blood pumping and the adrenaline racing. As soon as I hear “in 5-4-3-2-1…..” I can’t keep the smile off my face for the whole ride. It’s the best! Guardians of the Galaxy, formerly known as Tower of Terror (RIP) was another pleasant surprise. I didn’t think I could like it more than I already did, but Disney worked their magic and it pleasantly surprised me. I didn’t know if I was up or down and I LOVED IT!!!! 

Grizzly River Run will probably always be in my top 5. As far as water rides go, this is the best one I’ve ever been on. It’s always a surprise to see who’s going to get the most wet. I love that you can fit up to 8 people. Out of all of the rides in both parks, I feel like this is one that you really are experiencing together. It’s a must, even if it’s cold! They turn down the water pressure in the colder months so you don’t get too wet (and we bring ponchos).

Radiator Springs Racers is another classic. The perfect blend of Disney experience (as far as atmosphere and creating the feeling of being IN the movie) and it ends with a thrilling race. Goofy’s Sky School may seem random on that list but it’s my son’s favourite and it’s become one of mine for that reason. Plus it gives me a little bit of the tummy flips.

Rider Profile #3: Elisia

Fast. Furious.


1) Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!

2) Incredicoaster

3) Soarin’ Around the World

4) Toy Story Midway Mania!

5) Goofy’s Sky School

Now, when they changed the Tower of Terror to a Guardians of the Galaxy themed ride, I was skeptical. Why mess with a good thing? But the transformation made me a convert. The ride went from being a little spooky to being pure fun. If you don’t like the feeling of dropping, this ride is not for you. It is definitely an extreme ride.

Incredicoaster is a fantastic roller coaster. It isn’t extreme, even though it does go upside down. Soarin’ is unlike anything I’ve ever been on. I feel more at peace just thinking about being on it. It engages several senses, which adds to the entire experience. If anyone ever bottles the smell of oranges like they do on the ride, just shut up and take my money already. Midway Mania spins you a little bit, but the people who I’ve gone with that “don’t do spinny rides” love this ride. Goofy’s Sky School is similar to the classic “wild mouse” rides, but on a bigger scale. It fits four, and provides those little stomach flips that you crave (No? Just me?).

Rider Profile #4: Danielle

Artsy Gamer


1) Soarin’ Around the World

2) Radiator Springs Racers

3) Incredicoaster

4) Toy Story Midway Mania!

5) The Disney Animation Building

I know, I know… the Animation Building isn’t a ride. But it is the one thing I make sure I get to experience in California Adventure Park! If you’ve read our DCA in a Day blog you’ll know it’s a multi-level experience! I love learning to draw a character in the Animation Academy, and The Beast’s Library the most. I could spend half the day just in this attraction.

Truthfully, a lot of my favorites are the same as my sisters, and it’s for good reason! Midway Mania speaks to the gamer in me the same way that Astro Blasters in Disneyland does, but with the added bonus of 3D glasses and different types of minigames. 

Soarin’ is the best experience and so relaxing, we often do it several times because it is JUST that good! I recommend taking off your shoes. Believe me. The music starts and it just makes my heart swell with happiness. There is even SMELLAVISION! Sniff for it yourself if you don’t believe me. Certain parts they add the sense of smell into the experience in the best ways. (I also do not recommend this ride immediately after Grizzly River Run, brrrrrrr). And Radiator Springs Racers was so much more than I expected! I loved entering Radiator Springs, because you really feel immersed in the world. And the lineup had so much to look at and enjoy.


Here’s the thing. Even though our lists vary, I think that I speak for all of us when I say that our very favourite part of any ride is the people beside us. Hearing the whoops and the hollers, seeing the huge smiles as water cascades over perfectly straightened hair, excitedly comparing scores… these are the moments we live for!

Enough about us. What are your “must-do” rides in Disney’s California Adventure Park? Let us know in the comments! Or check us out on instagram @stressfreemickey .

Have a magical day!
Erica, Heidi, Elisia and Danielle


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