If you’re planning a trip to Disney California Adventure and you only have one day then I’ve created a possible plan for your group to ride every attraction. You can do everything in 1 day using the FREE FastPass system. Note this plan is for guests who don’t purchase MaxPass. If you choose to purchase MaxPass you would follow this same plan except instead of going to each physical kiosk you would obtain the FastPasses through the official Disneyland app. But I’m sharing this plan because not everyone can afford the added cost of MaxPass.
Make sure you head to Disney California Adventure with a game plan!
Disney California Adventure (DCA) doesn’t normally get as crowded as Disneyland. But the most popular rides run out of FastPasses by early afternoon sometimes. This is why I always recommend arriving for rope drop, read more about arrival tips. If the park opens at 8 a.m. (for instance) they let you through the gates normally around 7:30 a.m. so you can wander around, take pictures and get lined up for rope drop!
If you have little ones then your focus and order of rides will be different. See the bottom of this post for a touring plan with kids. Otherwise proceed with this plan!
First grab a map at the gate to help you navigate through this list. I use the map in the Disneyland app now, but some people prefer a paper map so grab it as you enter. After you enter the gates send someone ahead to go get FastPasses for Radiator Racers and then meet you at Toy Story Mania. Whoever goes to get the FastPasses needs to have all the park tickets. To obtain a FastPass you will scan each ticket at the machine and receive a paper with the FastPass return time.
Note that the kiosk for Radiator Racers in Cars Land is in front of Flo’s Cafe not the actual attraction entrance. See photo below.
Follow the list below in this order to maximize your time!
- Toy Story Mania
- Radiator Racers use FastPass
- Send someone to get a FP for Guardians of the Galaxy and then meet you at the next ride.
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Monsters Inc.
- Guardians of the Galaxy use your FastPass
- Grizzly River Run (if it’s on your list)
- Goofy’s Sky School (if there’s a line grab a FastPass and go ride something else on the list below while you wait for the time on your FastPass.
Now you’ve done the more popular rides that build up long lines as the day goes on. Yes you are jumping all over the park but you’re not wasting time in long lines. Make the most of your time. Next you can tackle what’s left in the park. What you do next will be based on the interests of your party. I’ve grouped them by land so you can do all the rides left in each land.
Paradise Gardens Park
- The Little Mermaid
- Golden Zephyr
- Jumpin’ Jellyfish
- Silly Symphony Swings
- Pixar Pal-A-Round
- Jessie’s Critter Carousel
- Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
- Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
- Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
Now add entertainment, characters, food and more …
You have a list of all the rides and a game plan. But there’s so much more to do at Disney California Adventure. There are shows, restaurants, characters to meet, pennies to press and more. Add in that extra magic as you go. But if your goal is to ride all the attractions, that can be done in one day if you follow the plan above!
Rides for little ones – a different touring plan
If you have little kids head to Toy Story Mania first. Then do these rides for any height child/baby (except two rides as indicated), Jessie’s Critter Carousel, Pixar Pal-A-Round, Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, Golden Zephyr, Little Mermaid. Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters (must be 32” or taller), Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree (must be 32” or taller) and then Monsters Inc.
If the adults in your party want to ride any of the bigger E-ticket attractions as they call them you should consider rider switch. Read more about that option here.
Kids also enjoy shows like Disney Junior Dance Party, Frozen, Mickey’s PhilharMagic and Turtle Talk with Crush. Another great option is over at the Redwood Creek Challenge area kids can run around, explore, slide and more. Plus there are character meet and greets all over the parks.
No matter what order you go on rides …
These are just suggestions to maximize your time. But go to the parks with a plan! It can be altered or delayed that’s fine but have an idea of what you want to go on so you’re not standing around looking at the map making decisions during those precious early morning hours. There are lots of strategies on the order of rides and know that plans can change once at the parks depending on refurbishments, lines, Magic mornings etc. But if you have an idea of what you want to ride and use the Disneyland app to check wait times then you can decide which ride to hit up next. You will get so more much done with a plan!
Always have a FastPass in your possession during your visit!
Remember that as soon as you use a FastPass then go and get another one. Repeat your favorite rides from the morning and do those rides again in between riding the ones you have left. Don’t wait in long lines if you can help it. Always utilize the free FP system for those attractions that offer this option. You can get the park done in 1 day if you keep moving! These are my suggestions and not a guarantee but it’s best to go to the parks with a PLAN. And don’t forget to have a magical day!!!
Looking for a plan to do Disneyland in one day check here!
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