Disneyland for dads (no princesses allowed)
In the land of Disney, princess always reigned supreme. However, though Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and those ever-popular princesses may get a lot of the attention, Disneyland and California Adventure offer a pixie dust-less world for the guys in your life too — all in time for Father’s Day in June.
Route 66 comes to life for plain-old cars and animated Cars lovers alike. California Adventures’ newest attraction is set in the world of Radiator Springs, where characters from the animated movie motor down Main Street. Rides include Luigi’s Flying Tires, a modern floating-on-air version of bumper cars, and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, where tractors whip and spin you around. The highlight is Radiator Spring Racers, which takes you on a leisurely car ride through a wind-carved setting before drag racing your way to the finish line.
DON’T MISS: Characters from the animated film regularly park near the Cozy Cone Motel to have their photos taken.
Ask a 30- or 40-something father what his favorite movie was growing up — then ask their son the same questions — and the likelihood is they may have the same answer: Star Wars. With Disney taking over control of the series, there may be more themed rides in the future. Until then, Star Tours is still the place in Disneyland to enjoy a ride through the galaxy while using the force to avoid the black-gloved wrath of Darth Vader. The 3D ride takes you on a Starspeeder, cruising at light speed through George Lucas’ sci-fi universe.
DON’T MISS: A Jedi Training Academy takes place daily at the Tommorowland Terrace, where kids are shown how to use lightsabers.
Pirates of the Caribbean
This is one of the original rides at Disneyland — long before Johnny Deep swaggered his way through the films as Captain Jack Sparrow. And there’s a reason why Pirates has always been popular: it’s fun. The boat ride starts in the calm Louisiana Bayou but soon takes you deep into the dark world of hidden treasure, sea battles, and the town pirate terrorized town of Puerto Dorado. It may sound scary, but it has a number of light-hearted moments to tame the pirate terror.
DON’T MISS: Captain Jack Sparrow makes a number of appearances during the ride, so keep your eyes peeled for him.
Toy Story Midway Mania
Located in California Adventure’s Paradise Pier, this 4D ride features spinning vehicles that take you from one screen to another. At each stop you try to hit Toy-Story-related targets that pop up on the screens using everything from eggs to darts to rings and pies. Line-ups can be long, but are well worth the wait, with Mr. Potato Head greeting visitors and cracking a few jokes.
DON’T MISS: Tomorrowland’s Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters where you fire a laser gun at targets while riding through the attraction.
Pirate’s Lair on Tom’s Sawyer Island
Located in a man-made lake on the edge of Frontierland, the island is a giant playground for kids of all ages. A river raft ferries you from the main park across to the island, where dirt trails lead you to hidden caves, hilltop forts, wood and rope bridges and pirate’s treasures.
DON’T MISS: Take a boat ride around the island on the Mark Twain, a 1900s paddleboat, or aboard the pirate ship Columbia