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Disney California Adventure Rope Drop Strategy for Slow Rides

I’ve seen a lot of Disney California Adventure rope drop strategies for adults, older kids, and even preschoolers. I hadn’t found one that quite fit our family so, naturally, I came up with one that worked for us and thought I’d share. To give you a little background, my kids prefer slow rides that aren’t too loud or scary. Also, this strategy does not use Genie+.

This is a strategy that we’ve used successfully (even during Spring Break crowds) and while managing a double stroller.

General Rope Drop Tips

  • Plan to eat breakfast and grab coffee before arriving
  • Bring snacks to power through the morning
  • Apply sunscreen before arriving
  • Triple check your tickets and reservations are for the correct park

Arrival Tips

  • Plan to arrive an hour earlier than the official park opening hours (if DCA opens at 8 AM, you want to arrive at 7 AM).
  • If driving, budget for the time it takes to get into the parking structure, walk, security, and the tram ride (this can take anywhere from 35-60 mins depending on crowds).

At the time of writing this, the parking structures open 1 hour earlier than the official park opening hours (not the early access hour for hotel guests). Also, both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will start scanning in guests for entry to the parks about 30 mins before official park opening hours.

The Plan

  • Enter DCA and head right at the end of Buena Vista Street toward Grizzly Springs.
  • At rope drop, hop on and ride Soarin’.
  • Head south to Ariel’s Undersea Adventure via the path closest to the Grand Californian Hotel.
  • Ride Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.
  • Continue south and take the bridge to Pixar Pier.
  • Ride Toy Story Midway Mania.
  • Ride Jessie’s Critter Carousel.
  • Head west toward Paradise Gardens.
  • Ride Emotional Whirlwind.
  • Ride Jumpin’ Jellyfish.
  • Ride Golden Zephyr.

At this point, it’s about 10 AM. Depending on your kids’ age and interests you have a few options on what to do next:

  • Disney Junior Dance Party in Hollywood Land at 10:15 AM.
  • Cars Land to ride Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters.
  • Ride Monsters, Inc. in Hollywood Land.

After all that you’ll have experienced all of the slow rides at Disney California Adventure before 11 AM!

Ride Notes

  • Soarin’
    Has a 40″ height requirement. Some scenes can be a little too loud. My daughter wears her earmuffs on this ride.
  • Toy Story Midway Mania
    This ride has some jerky movements as it moves from screen to screen. I put my arm around my daughter to minimize her getting thrown back against the seat.
  • Jumpin’ Jellyfish
    Has a 40″ height requirement.
  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
    Has a 32″ height requirement.

We like to grab lunch and take things slow for the rest of the day. A few of our favorite attractions are Animation Academy, Turtle Talk with Crush, the Sorcerer’s Workshop, Avenger’s Assemble show, Warriors of Wakanda, Radiator Springs Curios, and the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.

Hope this strategy and these tips help you with your next day at Disney California Adventure!

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