Disney California Adventure

Disney took a lot of heat from its decision to open a second gated attraction themed to California. Who would want fake California when the real stuff was all around? The experiment started off badly but it's coming around slowly.

Pros: Soarin' Over California is a masterpiece attraction as you hang glide over the sights, sounds -- and smells -- of California's geographical wonder. Visually, the park works with the waterside wharf and Paradise Pier areas aglow at night. New shows and attractions like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Aladdin's musical adventure and Tower of Terror have helped silence many of the critics who were right in denouncing the park as offering too little. Best of all, if you don't enjoy yourself at the park, Disneyland is just a few steps away.

Cons: The park still has a long way to go if it wants to justify charging the same one-day admission as Disneyland. Paradise Pier rides are ultimately hollow with California Screaming being a far tamer coaster than it could have been and spit guards on the Maliboomer space shot tower ride make guests look like they are members of the riot police rather than pierside patrons.

3 Tips

-- Need a free snack? Check out the Mission tortilla tour where you will receive a free flour tortilla on the way out. Small sample of sourdough bread can also be had at the adjacent bread factory tour.

-- Take advantage of the FastPass system on the popular Soaring Over California, Tower of Terror or California Screaming -- or use the single rider lines.

-- Don't miss Who Wants to Be a Millionaire if you enjoy live quiz game shows. Yes, they really do pick folks out of the audience and while you won't win a cool million you will be eligible for some cool prizes every step of the way.

- Reviewed by Rick Munarriz

Official Park Link - Disneyland.com

Unofficial Park Link - Mice Age

Nearest Hotels with online booking discounts:
 -- Disneyland Hotel -- At the park
 -- Disney's Grand Californian -- At the park
 -- Disney's Paradise Pier -- At the park
 -- Radisson Knott's Berry Farm -- At Knott's
 -- Inn at Buena Park
 -- Royal Pacific Inn
 -- Travelodge

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