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The Magic Years
Disney through the eyes of teens
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Adrienne Krock, editor
Visiting California Adventure
Over spring break, I had the opportunity to go to Disney's newest theme park, California Adventure (commonly called DCA). I had a lot of fun there. There are three sections to this new park. Golden State, Hollywood Pictures Backlot, and my personal favorite, Paradise Pier. I liked the Golden State and Paradise Pier areas.

Disneyland's "Believe" Fireworks as seen from DCA
Disneyland's "Believe" Fireworks as seen from DCA

Your adventure in the new park begins not when you enter the gates but as soon as you pass by the large golden letters that spell "California." There is where you get a sense of excitement and happiness. As you enter the gate, you see a replica of one of the most famous sites of all in our state, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Disney designed the bridge so that the monorail goes across it, which looks great. In the evenings, you can see the fireworks from Disneyland over this Golden Gate Bridge, and they are beautiful!

As you walk a little farther, you are in the Sunshine Plaza area, where you encounter a large metal sun fountain that has water coming over a wall in waves. The waves have different patterns and movements, which look cool. There is California music like the Beach Boys in the background, which I think adds a nice touch. From there, you can choose to go to the Hollywood Backlot or to the Golden State areas (you have to go through the Golden State area to get to Paradise Pier).

Hollywood Pictures Backlot entry
Hollywood Pictures Backlot entry

I only went into the Hollywood Backlot area twice, because I did not think that it was very good. There's not much in this area to do.

To get to the Golden State section, there are two paths. One path leads you past an area called Condor Flats, which is basically made to look like a airport. At night, there are flashing blue lights in the pavement that make the ground look like an airport runway. In this section, there is a great ride called Soarin' Over California.

Soarin' Over California is a very fun ride that takes you to all the sights and sounds of California. It even has some of the smells of being over certain places in this wonderful state. The ride takes you every imaginable spot in California. You go from the miraculous views of Yosemite, to the sandy shores of the beach. You go high above the Golden Gate Bridge, to the snowy peaks of Lake Tahoe, and you end up in an especially happy place. All the time, the views are breathtaking. You will have to go on it at least twice to see everything. It is definitely worth waiting for.

Grizzly River Run

Another ride that is lots of fun is Grizzly River Run (it's in the Grizzly Peak Recreation Area). It is a ride where you will get very wet. You ride in a round raft, and you go down a course that is designed to get you completely drenched from head to toe. It is fun but somewhat short. I liked it, but it gets boring after awhile. Another fun attraction in this area isn't a ride, it's the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, which is like a huge playground made out of wood and rope.

The next stop is the Paradise Pier section. There you will find a beach boardwalk type atmosphere. There are games where you can win prizes, rides that you can lose your lunch on, and almost every kind of junk food. It is a wonderful place.

Paradise Pier
Paradise Pier

There are two rides that I really like in Paradise Pier. California Screaming is a fast-paced roller coaster. It is a lot of fun. You go really fast and I like it so much. I went on it 11 times in one day! It is the first Disney ride that makes a loop. It is really fun. Cameras take your picture while you're riding the coaster, so you can save a small piece of your ride forever.

The other ride that I really like is the Maliboomer. You get strapped into a seat and are shot up high into the sky. It reminds me of s strong-man competitions where they try to pound a hammer onto a weight to make it go up a pole to hit a bell at the top. The ride is such a rush because you don't know when you will go up.

Also in Paradise Pier is a ride called Mulholland Madness. It is a wild mouse ride that makes you feel like you're going to fall out of the car as it goes around corners. I didn't think it was a very good ride; it was short and the line was long.

The Sun Wheel is on the right
The Sun Wheel is on the right

The Sun Wheel ferris wheel is huge, and sits right along the waters of Paradise Bay. There are stationary cars that just go around in a circle, and then there are cars that rock back and forth along a track. These cars are very scary to ride because it feels like you're going to fall and you're very high up. The stationary cars are very calm in comparison. Your whole family can ride in one of the stationary cars--or in the swinging cars, if you're brave!

Paradise Pier is a beautiful place to see at night because of all the lights. Everything is lit up so brightly that it makes it seem wonderful and festive. The lights on the Sun Wheel ferris wheel are great. The reflections of the lights on the water make it all seem twice as bright.

DCA is a nice addition to Disneyland, but it will never replace the original park.

If you have any questions, e-mail me at

Visiting DCA


Hi there!
My name is Casey.

I have always loved amusement parks, but I especially love Disneyland. It has always been my favorite place. I live in Northern California, about 400 miles away from the Happiest Place on Earth. I like to go to Disneyland all the time.

I have two sisters and one brother. I love them dearly. I also have a great mom and a great dad. I love them a lot too. I am in 8th grade, an honor student, and a complete jock. I have been on more than 25 trips to Disneyland, and I do not plan to stop going there.

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