Disney California Adventure – Tips & Advice

California AdventureCalifornia Adventure is a Disney theme park located in Anaheim, California right next door to Disneyland. This theme park is dedicated to the history and culture of California. Scroll down to learn about wine tasting in this park, the best rides, park hours, a park map, and special tips!

Guests to the Anaheim Disney Resort can purchase a variety of different tickets. You could purchase a ticket that admits you into just California Adventures or splurge on a “hopper” ticket that lets you go back and forth into both parks. Multi-day tickets are available as well as a variety of season passes.

Click here for information on Disneyland.

Where to Go for a Glass of Wine

Unlike Disneyland, this park does allow alcohol. Enjoy wine, beer, and cocktails at these locations:

wine and grapes Golden Vine Winery
Choose from these options at the Golden Valley Winery:

  • Mendocino Terrace – Buy wine by the flight, glass or by the bottle with experts on hand to discuss the wine. Enjoy cheeses with the wine.
  • Sonoma Terrace = Enjoy meat and cheese trays along with craft beer and wine.
  • Alfresco Tasting Terrace – Order wine and appetizers.
  • Wine Country Trattoria – Italian restaurant serving both lunch and dinner.

Cathay Circle Restaurant
This is a full service restaurant with an award-winning chef. They are open for lunch or dinner and reservations are recommended. They also have a relaxing bar, which I highly recommend. It’s a nice break from the Disney crowds throughout the park. They sell wine by the glass as well as made-to-order cocktails.

Lamplight Lounge
The Lamplight Lounge offers waterfront views, pub cuisine. They serve wine, beer, and unique cocktails. This was formerly the Cove Bar and Ariel’s Grotto. They are famous for their lobster nachos, but the tri-tip sliders are not bad either.

Top Ten California Adventure Rides & Attractions

1. Guardian of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!
Guardian of the Galaxy replaced the former Tower of Terror ride. This is an accelerated drop ride. Based on the Marvel Comics characters, Rocket Raccoon seeks help to free the remaining Guardians of the Galaxy. The free falls are at a fast pace and unpredictable. Popular ride – arrive early and head to this ride first.

California Screaming2. California Screaming
This is the longest and fastest roller coaster at Disney’s California Resort. It whips around Paradise Pier for a 1 1/8 of a mile. The loop-de-loop that takes you upside-down is so quick, it’s over before you realize. (*Single Rider Line available.)

3. Grizzly River Run
Expect to get wet, soaking wet! This exciting rafting ride is a whitewater rapids ride. If you don’t want to get wet, bring a poncho or buy one in the shop nearby. (*Single Rider Line available.)

4. Soarin’ Around the World,
This simulated flight adventure takes you on a tour of the world. It simulates a hang glide ride over various locations on six different continents. This replaced Soarin’ Over California in 2016. Scents complementing some of the scenes are injected into the air streams. Be on the look out for rose blossoms in the Taj Mahal scene, the aroma of grass in the Africa scene, and a sea breeze scent in the South Pacific scene. (*Single Rider Line available.)

Mickey's Fun Wheel5. Mickey’s Fun Wheel
This towering ferris wheel features Mickey’s face. The 9 minute ride gives you two ride options. You board a gondola that holds 6 people to spin around the wheel. 8 of these gondola are stationery and not as adventurous as the 16 swinging gondolas which sway as they move. Select the gondola you want.

6. Toy Story Midway Mania!
This is a ride. You sit down but you actively participate as the car moves through various midway games. Grasp the spring-action shooter and aim at the targets as you progress through this exciting ride. Compete against others for the highest score!

7. It’s Tough to Be a Bug
Experience the world from a bug’s point of view. This 3D film and live show might be too scary for toddlers and young children. Visitors experience darkness, smells, pokes in the back, and unhappy bugs.

8. World of Color
Images of Disney characters come to life during this spectacular water, light, and music show. This 28 minute show takes place in front of Mickey’s Fun Wheel. You can pick up a FastPass to reserve a spot (standing-room only). Another option is to purchase a World of Color dining packs that gives you a voucher letting you be admitted into a preferred viewing area (still standing-room only). I prefer visiting the Cove Bar just before closing time and watching the show from the comfort of their seats. You can sip on wine or a enjoy a signature cocktail while munching on their delicious Lobster Nachos.

Radiator Springs Racers9. Radiator Springs Racers
Get a Fast Pass for this ride as soon as you can. They often run out of passes. This adventure ride has you racing another person for a fun adventure. Even more fun at night when the neon lights come on.

10. Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular
Enjoy this Broadway-style musical based on the movie, Aladdin. You’ll recognize many of the popular songs from the movie. Performed in the Hyperion Theater.

Tip: The Single Rider line can save you lots of time. This line is usually really short. When you get to the front of the line, they fill in missing seats with people who are in the single rider line. You can get in line with friends, but you’ll be separated as they direct you to the vacant seats.

California Adventure Hours

Mickey MouseHours for California Disney parks vary by the season. What is confusing to many people, is that the hours are not the same for Disneyland and California Adventures. For example, during the Summer both parks open at 8AM, but Disneyland closes at midnight while California Adventure closes earlier at 10 PM. During the Fall, Winter, and Spring both parks will close earlier. Be sure to check the current hours on their website before you leave home.

Click this link to view the calendar of park hours.

California Adventure Map

Print the California Adventure Map from the Disney Resort Website.
Click this link to view the map.

Have you been to Disney California Adventure? If you have, please make a comment below. We would love to hear about your day at California Adventure.

Los Angeles Breweries – Taste the Best Craft Beer in LA

Los Angeles breweriesThe craft beer scene is booming in Los Angeles. New Los Angeles breweries producing handcrafted brews have opened their doors.

Many well known breweries from other areas have opened locations in Los Angeles. Check out the top breweries in LA for discovering quality handcrafted beer.

Top Los Angeles Breweries

Angel City Brewery
Address: 216 Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Telephone: (213) 622-1261
Open Mon.-Thurs. 4PM-1AM; Fri. 4PM-2AM; Sat. Noon-2AM; Sun. Noon-1AM
Enjoy great craft beer at this brewery. Tours are available daily. Food is available at the brewery from a food truck. The food truck schedule is on their website.
You can also bring in food or have food delivered to the brewery.

Toasting with BeerArts District Brewing
Address: 828 Traction Ave., Los Angeles, CA
Open Mon.-Wed. 3PM-Midnight; Thurs. 3PM-1AM; Fri. 3PM-2AM; Sat. Noon-2
AM; Sun. Noon-Midnight
This popular craft brewpub offers great beer, large bar area and outdoor patio, and an entertainment area. Play bar games, pinball, and skeeball. A full food menu is available.

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing
Address: 210 E 3rd St., Long Beach, CA
Telephone: (562) 436-4020
Open Tues.-Sun. 11:30AM-10PM
Beachwood’s offers 22 rotating beers from around the world. It’s the place to go to taste something new and different. They have a full menu of delicious BBQ food as well. Check out their schedule for live entertainment.

Beer Belly Long Beach
Address: 255 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, CA
Telephone: (562) 436-2337
Open Mon. 5-11PM; Wed.-Thurs. 5PM-Midnight; Fri.-Sat. 11:30AM-1AM; Sun. 11:30AM – 11PM
Enjoy craft beer as well as food. Happy hour specials weekdays 5-7 PM and Sundays 3-7 PM.

Woman drinking beerBoomtown Brewery
Address: 700 Jackson St., Los Angeles, CA
Telephone: (213) 617-8497
Open: Mon-Tue: 4p-10pm Wed: 4pm-11pm Thur: 4pm-12am Fri: 3pm-2am Sat: 12pm-2am Sun: 12pm-10pm.
Taste a variety of seasonal and permanent craft beers.

Brewyard Brewing Company
Address: 906 Western Ave., Glendale, CA
(818) 409-9448
Open Wed.-Fri. 4:30-11PM; Sat. 1-11PM; Sun. 1-6PM
Brewyard specializes in a new category of Lagers known as “Common” Lagers. It’s a beer that is fermented with lager yeast at higher ale-like temperatures for shorter periods of time and completely skips the lagering process. This brewing technique allows for a flavor similar to an ale but it still retains a lighter finish of a traditional Lager.

Brouwerij West
Address: 110 E 22nd St., San Pedro, CA
Telephone: (310) 833-9330
Open Mon.-Thurs. 4-9PM; Fri.-Sat. Noon-10PM; Sun. Noon-9PM
Food trucks are available. Pets are allowed on leashes. Taste the great beers produced on the premises. Seating is available indoors or outside.

craft beerButton Mash
Address: 1391 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
Telephone: (213) 250-9903
Open Tues.-Thurs. 5PM-Midnight; Fri. 5PM-2AM; Sat. 4PM-2AM; Sun. 4PM-Midnight
Come for the great beer. Also enjoy the food and games. There are arcade and pinball machines to play.

Eagle Rock Brewery
Address: : 3056 Roswell St, Los Angeles, CA 90065
Telephone: (323) 257-7866
Open Tues.-Fri. 4PM-10PM; Sat. Noon-10PM; Sun. Noon-8PM
This family owned and operated brewery is dedicated to producing high quality microbrews. They do not sale food in their taproom, but there are food trucks just outside.

Firestone Walker
Address: 3205 Washington Blvd., Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Telephone: (310) 439-8264
Open Mon.-Thurs. 11AM – 11PM; Fri.-Sat. 11AM – Midnight; Sun. 10AM – 11PM
Taproom and brewhouse by the beach. This is one of the Los Angeles breweries that also has a restaurant with food geared for beer. Some of the beers are brewed next-door at the Venice brewery while others are from their Central Coast location.

mug of beerFrogtown Brewery
Address: 2931 Gilroy St., Los Angeles, CA 90039
Telephone: (323) 452-2739
Open Wed.-Fri. 5PM-10PM; Sat. Noon-10PM; Sun. Noon-8PM
Frog town currently has eight different styles of beer on draft with seasonal and experimental beers constantly in rotation. Food is not served, but there are food trucks and delivery options from local restaurants.

Golden Road Brewing
Address: 5410 W San Fernando Rd., Los Angeles, CA 90039
Telephone: (213) 373-4677
Open daily 8AM-10PM
Golden Road produces a variety of canned beers. They use high-quality, dual-lined cans. They give free tours nails and also offer a tasting tour. Food is available. This is a large establishment. There’s a patio, a game room and a room with television. Plenty of room for everyone!

Highland Park Brewery
Address: 5127 York Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
Open Mon.-Thurs. Noon-2AM; Fri.-Sun. Noon – 2AM
16 beers are available on tap. A rotating list of wines are available by the glass. There’s a full menu of food.

Los Angeles BreweriesIron Triangle Brewing Company
Address: 1581 Industrial St., Los Angeles, CA 90021
Telephone: (323) 364-4415
Open Mon.-Thurs. 5-10PM; Fri. 4PM-1AM; Sat. Noon-1AM; Sun. Noon-10PM
Enjoy craft beer. Food is available to be delivered from local restaurants. This is a fun brewery in the Arts District.

Lagunitas Brewing Company
Address: 1001 N Todd Ave, Azusa, CA 91702
Telephone: (213)-444-8542
Open Wed.-Thurs. 5PM-9PM; Fri. 4-10PM; Sat. 3-10PM; Sun. 3-8PM
Laguintas Brewing Company got its start in Sonoma County. It was founded in Lagunitas and moved to Petaluma. It’s one of the best selling beer companies in the United States. They also have a location in Chicago. Heineken International has purchased this brewery. The Azusa location is new. Check out their website for a calendar of upcoming events.

Los Angeles Aleworks
Address: 12918 Cerise Ave., Hawthorne, CA
Telephone: (424) 456-4191
Sip beer and enjoy a meal or snack from one of the rotating food trucks.

Mega Bodega
Address: 001 S Broadway., Los Angeles, CA
Telephone: (213) 741-0338
Coffeeshop and beer garden.

Mikkeller Bar
Address: 330 W Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
Telephone: (213) 596-9005
Open Mon.-Wed. 5PM-Midnight; Thurs.-Fri. 5PM-2AM; Sat. 10AM-2AM; Sun. 10AM-Midnight
Mikkeller is a beer bar with a great selection of craft beers. This is one of the Los Angeles breweries that also serves a full menu of food. There a second Mikkeller Bar located in San Francisco.

BeerMumford Brewing
Address: 416 Boyd St., Los Angeles, CA
Telephone: (213) 346-9970
Open Tues.-Thurs. 4-9PM; Fri. 2-9PM; Sat. Noon-9PM; Sun. Noon-7PM
Enjoy handcrafted beer. You are welcome to bring you own snacks or order food for nearby restaurants.

Simmzy’s Burbank
Address: 3000 W Olive Ave., Burbank, CA
Telephone: (818) 962-2500
Open Mon.-Thurs. 11AM-11PM; Fri. 11AM – Midnight; Sat. 10AM-Midnight; Sun. 1AM-11PM
This is the place to come for great beer! Simmzy’s is a local pub that also sells artisan food and small production wines.

Smog City Brewing
Address: 1901 Del Amo Blvd., Torrance, CA
Telephone: (310) 320-7664
Open Tues.-Thurs. 3-10PM; Fri.-Sat. Noon-10PM; Sun. Noon-8PM
This family run craft brewer produces exceptional beer. Tours of the brewery are available.

Glass of Craft BeerSunset Beer Company
Address: 1498 W Sunset Blvd Ste 3, Los Angeles, CA
Telephone: (213) 481-2337
Open Mon.-Thurs. 4-11PM; Fri.-Sat. 2PM – Midnight; Sun. 1-10PM
Enjoy beer tasting and bottles to go.

The Stalking Horse Brewery and Freehouse

Address: 10543 W Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064
Telephone: (424) 832-7511
Open Mon.-Wed. 11:30AM-1AM; Thurs.-Fri.11:30AM-2AM; Sat. 10AM-2AM; Sun. 10AM-1AM
The Stalking Horse Brewery and Freehouse combines traditional Cornish fare with an onsite craft brewery. This is one of the Los Angeles breweries with a restaurant. A rotating assortment of beers, plus a full bar and pub menu offer visitors a place to relax and dine.

Three Weavers Brewing Company
Address: 1031 W Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90301
Telephone: (310) 400-5830
Open Mon.-Thurs. 3PM-10PM; Fri.-Sat. Noon-Midnight; Sun. Noon-10PM
This brewery is located in an industrial area in Inglewood. Last amazing craft beers. Order food to be delivered from local restaurants. Leashed dogs are allowed. Local artwork is displayed on the walls. Board games are available to play.

If you have been to any of these Los Angeles breweries, please leave a comment below to tell us about your experience.

Have you visited the Temecula Wineries Yet?

Ponte Winery Temecula

Ponte Winery – Temecula

You really should! There are more than 40 wineries all located within a short distance of each other. It’s just an 80 minute drive south from Los Angeles via I-10 or Highway 60. This is the largest wine region in the southern California. You’ll find unique wineries both large and small.

Your Guide to Temecula Wineries

Hike Iron Mountain – Fun Hiking in San Diego

Hike Iron MountainHike Iron Mountain. It is a great place to hike in San Diego. Enjoy panoramic 360 degree views of San Diego from the mountain summit which sits almost 2,700 feet above sea level. You will be able see El Capitan Reservoir from the top of this mountain as well as other San Diego landmarks. It’s a spectacular view!

This hike is approximately 6 miles round-trip. Plan for a moderate hike with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet. The round trip hike typically takes between 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 hours. It really depends on how much time you want to spend relaxing and enjoying the views along the way.

Iron Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in the San Diego area. It is easy to access and it’s not too difficult. But, it’s long enough that you feel like you have been on a hike.

Iron Mountain San Diego HikePlan this hike for Winter, Spring, or Fall. It just gets too hot during the summer months. You pass through rows of trees to begin this hike up to top of the mountain. After that, you won’t find any shade.

The trail is definitely rocky in spots. You will need hiking shoes. When you reach a fork in the trail, go to the left for a view of Ramona and to the right for a view of Poway and San Diego. On clear days you can see all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Enjoy a variety of wild life and fields of boulders along the way. There are a few tables at the top. Bring a picnic if you choose. Be sure to sign the journal at the top, which is stored in a mailbox. There’s also a viewfinder that is free to use. On a clear day you can see all of San Diego.

Hiking CoupleThis trail is well marked. There will be other people along the trail; even during the week. So, if you are seeking a solitary hike, this may not be the hike for you. If you don’t mind meeting fellow hikers along the way, this is a fun trail with great views.

Go early and you’ll probably be able to park in the small lot. Otherwise park on Hwy. 67. Weekends can be crowded. Apply sunscreen before you start and bring plenty of water and a few snacks.

Directions to Hike Iron Mountain:

Take I-15 North to Scripps Poway Parkway. Exit and turn right. Continue on Scripps Poway Parkway for approximately 9 miles. Turn left onto CA 67. Continue on CA 67 for approximately 2 miles. You will find the trailhead on CA 67 just south of Poway Road. It will be on the east side of the street.

Have you had a chance to hike Iron Mountain? If you have, please tell us about your experience in the comment section below.

Go Wine Tasting in San Diego

Orfilia Vineyards EscondidoThere are over 60 wineries in and around San Diego. Find great wineries in San Diego, Ramona, Escondido, Fallbrook, Carlsbad, Oceanside, and Julian. Learn everything you need to know about San Diego Wineries by Clicking Here.

Cedar Creek Falls – Swim Beneath the Waterfall in San Diego

Cedar Creek Falls - Hike to a WaterfallMany people don’t know that there is a waterfall in San Diego. Cedar Creek Falls is a scenic hike through the hills of Eastern San Diego. Be rewarded with waterfalls cascading into a pool below. Swim in the pool beneath the falls. The 80 foot high Cedar Creek Falls is located southwest of Julian.

This is a beautiful hike. Cedar Creek is a tributary of the San Diego River. There are a number of small falls in the area with Cedar Falls being the largest. Black oak, cedar, and cottonwood trees are common in the area. Bird watchers can spot local birds.

Watch a Short Video of Cedar Creek Falls – Just Click on the Arrow to Begin

Cedar Falls near JulianThe best time to hike to Cedar Falls is in the spring when the falls will be at their peak and wildflowers are blooming. There is a swimming hole at the bottom of the falls where you can enjoy a swim. By summer the falls have dried up.

This can be a beautiful hike. Cedar Creek is a tributary of the San Diego River. There are a number of small falls in the area with Cedar Falls being the largest. Black oak, cedar, and cottonwood trees are common in the area. Bird watchers can spot local birds.

Cedar Creek Falls San DiegoThis hike is moderate to strenuous. It is not recommended for beginning hikers. There is no shade on the hike; so come prepared. You will need to get an Adventure Pass parking permit from the U.S. Forest Service because this hike is on National forest land. Leave the pass on the dash of your car. How to Obtain a Pass

Summer Warning The San Vicente Fire Station has issued a warning that it is dangerous to hike Cedar Falls during the summer. Call the fire station if you are thinking about hiking this trail during the summer months.
(760) 789-0191.

Cedar Creek Falls SignPrecautions: You do need to be in good shape for this trip. The hike to Cedar Creek Falls is 6 miles roundtrip and takes approximately 4 to 6 hours to complete. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and bring plenty of water.

A gallon of water per person is recommended during warm weather. If you bring a dog, be sure to bring water for the dog as well. The trip to the falls is downhill, which means the return trip is uphill. It is dangerous to climb on the rocks around the falls. Jumping or diving into the pools is prohibited.

Directions From the Town of Julian
Drive two miles west on Hwys. 78/79. Turn left on Pine Hills Road. Continue 1.5 miles. Bear right onto Eagle Peak Road. Continue 1.4 miles. Bear right to stay on Eagle Peak Road. Continue another 9 miles to the signed trailhead for the California Riding and Hiking Trail. This last 9 miles will be partly paved and partly dirt road. The trailhead is at the end of the road with a sign that says “Saddleback Trail”.

Directions From San Diego
Take I-15 North. Exit at Scripps Poway Parkway/Mercy Rd. Turn right onto Scripps Poway Parkway. Turn left onto SR-67. Keep straight onto SR 78 (Main Street). About 1 1/2 to 2 miles before reaching Julian, turn right onto Eagle Peak Road. Continue 1.5 miles. Bear right to stay on Eagle Peak Road. Continue another 9 miles to the signed trailhead for the California Riding and Hiking Trail. This last 9 miles will be partly paved and partly dirt road. The trailhead is at the end of the road with a sign that says “Saddleback Trail”.

Have you hiked to Cedar Creek Falls? If you have, please take a minute to tell us about your hike. There’s a comment section below.

Things to Do in San Diego

Windansea Beach San Diego
If you live in San Diego or will be planning a visit soon, be sure to check out the Top 24 Things to Do in San Diego. It’s time for fun in sunny San Diego!

Mount Helix Park – Amazing Views of San Diego

Mount Helix View - San DiegoVisit Mount Helix Park to enjoy amazing views and that sense of serenity from being close to nature. Mt. Helix stands at 1365 feet tall. It offers a 360 degree panoramic view from San Diego’s East County. This is one of the best places to watch a San Diego sunrise or sunset. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Watch a Short Video of Mount Helix. Click on the Arrow to Start

Most visitors to the park will walk the Yawkey Trail. This quarter mile trail circles around the top of Mount Helix. Benches are provided for you to sit and enjoy the spectacular scenery. You can also park in either of the two parking lots at the corner of Mt. Helix Drive and Vivera Drive and walk to the top. There is a parking lot at the top of Mount Helix Park as well.

Each year a Kid’s Art Camp is held in the park. Various lectures series are presented that focus on environmental topics. Yoga classes are held from 9 AM to 10:15 AM on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Mount Helix Park is a popular venue for weddings. The Park is available to rent for weddings, memorials, religious ceremonies/services and by non-profit organizations.

Mount Helix CrossEaster Sunrise Services are held each Easter in the outdoor amphitheater. A Christmas Caroling event takes place each December. The best time to view the night sky from the top of Mount Helix is at an Astronomy Night. High resolution telescopes are provided by the San Diego Astronomy Association. They have volunteers on hand to answer your questions about the cosmos.

Dogs are allowed in the park on leashes. You’ll even find a doggy drinking fountain at the picnic area near the amphitheater. BBQs, smoking, alcohol, glass containers, and open flames are not allowed in the park.

The Mt. Helix Park Foundation is the non-profit organization responsible for preserving and enhancing the Park, amphitheater and cross memorial on top of this local mountain. They do a wonderful job of maintaining this park with no government funding.

Mount Helix signVolunteers are what makes this park a success. They hold work days, raise funds, and organize the many activities. Information on volunteering or other questions about Mount Helix Park are available on their website.

Mt. Helix is located in the Grossmont/Mt. Helix area of unincorporated San Diego County, between the cities of La Mesa and El Cajon. The Park is open daily a half-hour before and after sunset. Since hours are seasonal, we recommend you visit the Park website for the most current gate times.

Mount Helix Park Contact Information

Address: 4905 Mt. Helix Dr., La Mesa, CA
Telephone: (619) 741-4363

Directions from I-8 East:
Take the Fuerte/Severin exit. Drive through the stoplight onto Fuerte Drive. Turn Right on Mt. Helix Drive. This road will become “one-way only” to the top of Mt. Helix where the park is located. You will find a small parking area near the Amphitheater.

Directions from I-8 West:
Take the Severin exit. At the stoplight at the top of the ramp, turn left onto the bridge to cross over Interstate 8. Follow the signs to Fuerte Drive. Turn right onto Mt. Helix Drive. This road will become “one-way only” to the top of Mt. Helix where the park is located. You will find a small parking area near the Amphitheater.

Have you been to Mount Helix? If you have, please tell us your opinion of this park. There a comment section below.

Explore Wineries in San Diego County

Bernardo Winery San Diego
Discover San Diego wineries located throughout the county. Click on the link below to learn about the more than 60 wineries in San Diego, Ramona, Escondido, Fallbrook, Carlsbad, Oceanside, and Julian. Plan a wine tasting trip to these wineries soon.
More Information on Wineries