When you go on vacation, you probably want to relax. You don’t want the stress of having to do things within a short amount of time. By scheduling two days at Disney California Adventure, you’ll be giving yourself more than enough time to get all of the attractions in during your trip. You could likely do all of the attractions in one day without much of a push, but if you get sick for some reason, the extra day gives you the opportunity to go back to your hotel room to rest up and recover your strength. You don’t have to worry about pushing through tiredness or other issues. Still, by midmorning of the second day, you might be wondering what there is left to do. If you don’t want to pay for a park hopper, here are ways to fill out the rest of your day.
A Typical One-Day California Adventure
You should always start your morning with a good breakfast. If you eat outside the park, don’t settle for one of those “Breakfast Included” meals from your hotel. Grab something filling and relatively healthy from a nearby restaurant. Otherwise, you can start in Disney California Adventure with a decent meal from Pym Test Kitchen. The breakfast food from the Shawarma Palace court was also pretty good. The only other choices, at least in September 2022, were the Starbucks Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café on Buena Vista Street and the cappuccino cart at the intersection of the Pacific Wharf and the Pixar Pier Bridge. (Rumor has it that the Corn Dog Palace also served an interesting breakfast item, but we didn’t make it to that side of the park to find out.)
Once you have a good breakfast on board, you should head to one of the E-ticket attractions. If you have Lightning Lane, I suggest hitting up the Guardians of the Galaxy there, and going to Radiator Springs Racers if your stomach can handle it. Standby wait times for this attraction can reach up to two hours or more, so be sure to have your sunscreen and water on board before you get into line. (If you’re one person or a group that doesn’t mind being split up, try the single rider line.) The Lightning Lane for Radiator Springs Racers cost extra, so while it would be good for my Disney stock value for you to purchase it, finding a lower wait time is likely better for you and your budget. Do not expect wait times to get lower throughout the day; they remain pretty high.
The next attractions you want to look at are Toy Story Midway Mania, which had a Lightning Lane available, and WEB Slingers, which had a pay lane available. Grab the Midway Mania Lightning Lane when it’s available, and head over to WEB Slingers. The wait their can get to be pretty long, but while we were there, it was between 40 and 60 minutes.
Soarin’ is the last attraction where the wait times can get to be horrendous. It has a Lightning Lane, so you’ll be able to get on board at least once. Along with Goofy’s Sky School, which also has Lightning Lane, the standby lines were about 45 minutes. Monster’s, Inc.: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue often have longer wait times of about 40 minutes.
After that, it’s really a matter of what you want to do and what’s available as far as attractions go. Finish off Cars Land with Mater’s Jamboree and Luigi’s Honkin’ Halloween, and take a stroll through Pixar Pier, and Paradise Gardens Park to catch up with Pix Pal-A-Round, Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, and the Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. You could also squeeze in the barely themed Silly Symphony Swings and the unthemed, leftovers of Jumpin’ Jellyfish and Golden Zephyr. If getting wet is your thing, Grizzly River Run is usually less crowded during the cooler times of the day.
During our trip, attraction breakdowns were common. Radiator Springs Racers was shut down the first time we tried to go on it. The Incredicoaster was also closed when we decided to try to ride it. We ended up missing out on the Incredicoaster.
One more thing to include in your day is the World of Color. If you have the Disneyland app, you can join a virtual queue, but I always suggest heading over to Wine Country Trattoria and choosing something from their World of Color menu. You just need to make reservations ahead of time.
Midway Mania and WEB Slingers
Both Toy Story Midway Mania and WEB Slingers use your arms to make the attraction more enjoyable. They are far enough apart, that your first rides can be consecutive. However, after that, you may want to wait until your arms have recovered to go again. It’s an unexpected and fun workout. (Start getting those fast twitch arm muscles in shape before you go. I’d put a link here, but I don’t know anyone who is doing those types of workout routines, especially for Disney Park attractions. If you do, let me know.)
What to Do Day 2
We finished our first day with only the Incredicoaster and Radiator Springs Racers left to do, and we didn’t have a plan for our second day. However, there are a lot of things that we could have done to fill our day rather than wondering what we should do while wandering around.
Ride ‘Em Again
Obviously, a lot of the appeal of a second day is the ability to get on the E-ticket attractions again, especially if you have Lightning Lane access. WEB Slingers and Toy Story Midway Mania are big draws because of their playability. You can try to improve on your previous scores, you are part of the show, and there is something to be said for the endorphins that come from the extra fast twitch muscle use. Guardians of the Galaxy is geared to provide a different ride each time due to its randomness. During Halloween, you get the added bonus of having Monsters After Dark in addition to the BREAKOUT! Version. Radiator Springs Racers has two tracks: one you get a paint job, the other gives you new tires. Mater and Luigi offer different songs to ride to though you’re likely to hear all of them while waiting for your turn to experience the attraction. You won’t find this specific Ariel Undersea Adventure anywhere else in the U.S.; the Walt Disney World Version is slightly different. But what should you do while you’re on your way to riding these attractions again?
Pictures with Characters
Decide to make it a day with character(s). If you have Genie+, all of the photos you take with the Photopass people are yours! That makes standing in line for characters, so much the better. If you don’t have Genie+, cast members are usually happy to take photos with your camera. Or you can opt for selfies.
Characters can be found on Buena Vista Street, at Avengers Campus, and in other areas of the park. Those who have a Disney Visa can take advantage of a special, time-limited photo opportunity. (Don’t have a Disney Visa? You can apply for one here where you can earn up to a $300 Statement Credit after qualifying purchases, and I can get a bonus. Learn more. https://www.referyourchasecard.com/200a/N8NY3U2R9A!)
Anyone who says Disney never gives anything away for free has never visited the Animation Academy. When you visit the Academy, you get to learn how to draw a Disney character from a Disney artist. It’s a hands-on experience, so you get to practice what you are learning, and you get to keep the paper you drew on. Sometimes, the Disney artist will also give away their drawing. It’s free, and it’s something that only the most knowledgeable Disney guests take advantage of. If you don’t have any money left for souvenirs, this drawing makes for a good take home memory. Even if you think you can’t draw, you should give this activity a try.
Mickey’s PhilharMagic and Disney Junior Dance Party are two ongoing attractions where you can sit and enjoy something indoors. Coco has a party with his family in the Paradise Gardens Park. Spider-Man leaps through the air in his product testing show. Doctor Strange uses the mystic arts to protect the Avengers Campus from an other-dimensional threat. During other times of the year, parades may also be offered. These pleasant, and in the case of Spider-Man, amazing, shows provide a pleasant diversion that will help you appreciate Disney California Adventure all the more.
The World of Color
If you’re going to Disney California Adventure for two days, make sure you see World of Color both of them. The first time, you get a sense of where to stand for the performance. The second time, you can get there early enough to get where you want to stand. Jenya and I did World of Color twice, and the first time we stood behind a stroller. By the time the show started, we had two tall men in front of us on the left side, and a man who put his child on his shoulders on the right side. No one can be faulted for their height or for wanting to give their child a better view of the show.
When we went the second time, we were there early enough to get in front of our viewing section for preferred dining. Being ale to see the whole show without having to look through people made such a huge difference. There were even portions of the show that I didn’t see in the first performance because they were blocked by the taller people in front of us.