Animation Academy: Must do in Disney’s California Adventure Park

Do you have a child who is a budding artist? Or maybe you’ve never drawn before but like to try new things? Anytime we post about the animation academy, we get so many questions! It’s one of our favorite things to do.

The Animation Academy is located in California Adventure. They typically have drawing times every 30 minutes. When you go into the animation academy they will have a schedule of which character they are drawing at that time. The drawing lesson lasts about 18 minutes. When you step inside, they will have paper, pencil and board for you to use. Then a Disney animator will walk you through step by step how to draw that character! Even though you might think you can’t draw, you would be surprised how well you can do! It’s my 6 year olds favorite thing to do, and we usually will go at least twice. It’s also a great thing to do when it is HOT outside or CROWDED. Try it!

This is at the entrance of the animation academy. Step inside and it’s a great place to rest and watch the screens with different songs from Disney movies being played.

Baby Center: Life Saver!

Have you guys heard of the Baby Care Centers at the parks?! They are the greatest things! Lose a binky? Run out of diapers? Need more baby food? All these things and more can be purchased at a Baby Center!


Open during regular park hours, each full-service facility is complimentary for Guests and includes:
⭐️ Nursing room with chairs
⭐️ Changing room with tables
⭐️ Feeding area with highchairs
⭐️ Kitchen with microwave and sink
⭐️ Main room with television, table and chairs
⭐️ On-site shop offering formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and pacifiers for purchase

Where are they located?
⭐️ Disneyland Park
The Baby Care Center is at the end of Main Street, U.S.A., next to First Aid.
⭐️ Disney California Adventure Park
The Baby Care Center is next to Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop and across from The Bakery Tour in Pacific Wharf. 

Rider Switch Pass: How It Works!

Going to the Parks with little ones and still want to do the “big kid” rides? We got you covered!

So what do you do when you go to the park with little ones and want to go on a “big kid” ride? You use the rider switch pass! Here’s how it works:

With Rider Switch, one adult (14 years or older) can wait with little ones while the rest of the party goes the ride. Then, they simply switch roles to allow the adult to experience the ride without waiting in the regular line again (this can sometimes be the fast pass line or sometimes a completely different line.)

To Use Rider Switch:

  1. First, with your whole group, go to the cast member at the front of the ride and ask for a rider switch pass. The cast member will give you the rider switch pass, hold on to that paper! Part of the group goes on the ride while the other part waits with the little ones that cannot go on the ride.
  2. Once the first group is done riding the ride the person waiting with the little ones can now go on the ride and take two additional people on the ride with them. They go to the cast member and show them the rider switch pass and the cast member will direct you what line to go to.

Another awesome thing to note about the rider switch pass is that there is no return time, so if you need to catch another fast pass or grab a bite to eat, you can come back with the rider switch pass later!

**Also some rides give a paper pass, while others will upload the pass to the ticket on your phone!**

Rides that have rider switch:

⭐️ Autotopia
⭐️Thunder Mountian
⭐️Gadgets Go Coaster
⭐️Goofy’s Sky School
⭐️Grizzly River Run
⭐️Gaurdians of the Galaxy
⭐️Space Moutnain
⭐️Incredicoaster
⭐️Indiana Jones
⭐️Jumpin Jellyfish
⭐️Luigis
⭐️Matterhorn
⭐️Maters
⭐️Millennium Falcon
⭐️Radiator Springs Racers
⭐️Silly Symphony Swings
⭐️Soarin Around the World
⭐️Splash Mountain
⭐️Star Tours

What to Bring to the Parks

It’s hard to know exactly what to bring to the parks. You don’t want to over pack but you also don’s want to under pack. So we have put together this list of some essentials that you do not want to forget (and some will save you $).

  • Bring your own food – this is a big one and a big money saver! We make sure to bring lots of snacks and bring lunch into the park. We eat breakfast at the hotel and enjoy buying dinner at the park. Meals can be pricey in the park so we like to save where we can. For the kiddos it can be as easy as a lunchable!
  • Double stroller – we could not do Disney without a double stroller! Even if you have kids out of the “stroller age” it is still a necessity because there is so much walking done at the parks and we don’t want whiny kids! When we go we like to get our monies worth and will open the park and close the park (sometimes a 16 hour day!). It is also so nice to have a place to store all of your stuff (lunches, diaper bag, snacks, etc.)unnamed (1)
  • Rain poncho – some people just don’t like to get wet! Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Run are known to get you wet. We like to either buy ponchos at the dollar store, or even better make our own with a large trash bags and cut holes! Easy peasy.unnamed
  • Sharpie – we like to use a sharpie to write our phone number on our kids arms in case they were to get lost!
  • Sunscreen – make sure to bring this, it is expensive in the parks!
  • Your own water bottle – bottled water costs an arm and a leg at the parks so make sure to bring your own bottle! There are drinking fountains at every bathroom to refill!
  •  Backpack or fanny pack – this is where you keep your valuables (wallet, phone, etc.) you do not want to leave in the stroller when going in line for rides. Lately we have been loving the fanny pack! It is also nice to have a few snacks in line.IMG_9924
  • Glow sticks –  we are all about stopping at the dollar store and stocking up on fun things instead of having to spend tons of money on silly souvenirs in the park.IMG-3412
  • Autograph books – bring your own autograph book! We have seen fun Disney note pads at the dollar store or we love this Disney Encyclopedia (as of today 9/17/19 it is only $8). It’s a fun book with most of the Disney characters and we love to have the charter sign by their picture!IMG_9901