Fat at Disney: Our Visit to Disney California Adventures


It was time to put our new annual passes to good use and explore Disney California Adventures for the first time. We arrived to the park about 2pm and didn't start rides until 3:30pm after a late lunch on a Friday afternoon. So, we hit a short list of attractions with notes to come back next time to explore more rides when the lines aren't as long. Lines for the top rides were very long (both Incredicoaster and Radiator Springs Racers had over 75-minute waits).


To read all about my last visit to Disneyland with tips and insights of being fat at the park, check out my previous blog post here.


Keep reading to see my reviews and ratings for fat-friendliness and accessible attractions at Disney California Adventures (DCA).



To skip to just the attraction reviews, click the below links:

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout

Monster's Inc - Mike & Sully to the Rescue

Pixar Pal Around - Swinging Wheel

Animation Academy


***PLEASE NOTE: I am not an expert on ADA/accessibility or the needs for various disabilities. I am simply sharing my observations and experiences to hopefully help someone else gain additional insight or perspective. Please do your own research that answers the question you may have about your own individual needs.


For reference, I am a women's US size 26/28 (size 4X at most plus-size retailers like Torrid, Target, etc). I am considered evenly proportioned in terms of how I carry my weight throughout my body with slightly more carriage in my stomach and hips/thighs. On airplane seats, I usually need a seatbelt extender to get an extra 2-3" of length for my comfort. I am 5'7" in height and wear a size 10 women's shoe.


Where should I park to avoid the long walk to the park entrance?

This time after doing additional research, I found that the Toy Story parking area is now open with bus shuttles that drop off very close to the main entrances to both California Adventure and Disneyland parks. It is $30/day for a standard size auto/motorcycle. It is an open-air lot. We had to enter off of Harbor Blvd onto Convention Way (the Katella entrance is closed). The shuttle is wheelchair accessible. Please note that it is likely you will not have a long line to get onto the shuttle when you arrive, however definitely anticipate a good amount of time to wait to board a shuttle when you leave the park. There is a separate line for guests with wheelchairs that is much quicker.


Until the parks bring back the trams (estimated for sometime early 2022), I highly recommend NOT parking at the Pixar Pals or Mickey & Friends garages - trams are currently not available so the walk is about 1.4 miles to the front entrance of each park from the garages.


There are other options locally if you're staying or able to stay at a hotel nearby to get shuttled, or of course, if you are taking an Uber/Lyft. There is a guest drop off area near where the park's main entrance is and where the Disney bus shuttles pick up/drop off (Harbor Blvd).



Disney California Ride Recaps

Ratings & Reviews for Fat-Friendliness and Accessibility

Helpful note about riding with a disability: Visit the Guest Relations to the left once you enter DCA at the park entrance to chat with a cast member about your individual needs. Ask about DAS (Disability Access Service) options throughout the park. DAS works differently in DCA than the Disneyland park. At Disneyland, currently you do not have to register officially for DAS in order to request return-times at most attraction lines. However, since DCA ride queues are all accessible, they require official registration of a DAS pass before granting any return-time benefit. The bonus of having a DAS pass is that you can request a return-time rather than waiting in the actual queue line. This is great for guests that have limitations that prevent them from being able to comfortably wait in a queue. Please note that you can only get return times for 1 ride at a time, same with virtual queues. Typically return times are for the length of the standard wait time when you arrive to request it.


Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters

Located in Cars Land, this ride features synchronized vehicles that spin and move around. There is also another version of this ride in Cars Land called Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. Both rides had short wait times (15-20 minutes) on the Friday afternoon we went. The seat in the car easily fits 2 adults. There is a long seatbelt that has to go over the laps of both/all persons in the vehicle, however it was long enough with a little slack still.


Fat Friendly Quick Notes:

*Turnstile - NO

*Seatbelt/Lap Bar - YES


Accessibility Quick Notes:

*DAS Return Time - DAS Required

*Must transfer from wheelchair to ride vehicle

*Wheelchair access point - main queue line


Fat-Friendliness Overall Score: 9/10

*Queue Line: 10/10

- the queue line has a wide aisle and there are no turnstiles.

*Vehicle/Seat Size: 8/10

- there is a doorway you have to step through to get into the vehicle, however it is low and wide enough to get your legs through without any issue. I am marking down only because this ride has a seatbelt and that the seatbelt has to go across all persons in the vehicle. I was with my sister who is quite petite, so we may have had a challenge with the belt if we were 2 large adults.

*My Fat Experience: 9/10

- this ride is cute and quick. It has a slight "tea cups" experience to it without too much spinning.


*Accessibility Score: 7/10

My mom opted not to go on this ride, however it is wheelchair accessible through the queue and guests would need to transfer to the vehicle. My opinion/observation is that a guest that has difficulty stepping up/down to the vehicle and/or has issues stepping through a doorway of the vehicle, they may struggle with this ride. There are sturdy walls and a dashboard to grab onto for balance.


Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout!

Formerly the Tower of Terror, this re-vamped ride is WILD!!! The queue itself is a walk-thru experience where you find yourself in the middle of a collector's warehouse, where the Guardians are being held captive as new artifacts. Rocket escapes and needs our help to rescue the others, so he commandeers a gantry lift and sends us on our way to break them out.


The ride is terrifying with a series of free-falls and quick rises. There were several moments when I completely lost track of where we were in the building - I couldn't tell if we were going to sling back up or fall! Make sure your belongings are fully secure. These drops are no joke. And really make sure your seatbelt is completely secure. When dropping, apparently it is completely normal that your ass is floating and it is only your lap and the full faith in that seat belt keeping you safe!!! My mom, sister and I were interlocked to each other holding on for dear life. This is a gut wrenching, heart palpitating thrill ride. Do not take it lightly and be sure to follow all safety guidelines especially if you are pregnant, have a heart condition or are sensitive to this kind of movement. It took us a couple hours to recover from this ride! But holy shit it was fun.


Fat Friendly Quick Notes:

*Turnstile - NO

*Seatbelt/Lap Bar - YES


Accessibility Quick Notes:

*DAS Return Time - DAS pass required

*Must transfer from wheelchair to ride seat

*Wheelchair access point - Accessibility queue at standard entrance


Fat-Friendliness Overall Score: 9/10

*Queue Line: 10/10

- wide lane with plenty of rails/posts to lean up against. The line moves very quickly. The wait time said 45 minutes, but we were in and out of there within 30.

*Vehicle/Seat Size: 8.5/10

- the seat is a little narrow. Be sure to pull the seatbelt out before sitting down to make it a little easier on yourself to buckle it.

*My Fat Experience: 9/10

- this ride is always worth the wait and I never felt that I had to question the ride experience due to my size.


*Accessibility Score: 8/10

This ride is accessible - my mom was able to drive her scooter all the way through the queue and staging area with only a few few steps to her seat during the transfer. The seat was easy to access without any additional steps. I am simply marking this down as of course she was not able to stay in her wheelchair for the ride, and the fact that the ride itself was so terrifying that my mom had a little trouble regaining some strength after the ride was over.


Monsters Inc.: Mike & Sully to the Rescue

This ride is so cute! It features animatronics and special effects taking the best moments of the classic Monsters Inc movie. Boo (human) followed Sully into Monstropolis and sends the city into a frenzy. Follow the story as Mike and Sully try to get Boo back to her door. The ride is a smooth and easy one as a nice break from the Guardians of the Galaxy ride we experienced.




Fat Friendly Quick Notes:

*Turnstile - NO

*Seatbelt/Lap Bar - YES (lap bar)


Accessibility Quick Notes:

*DAS Return Time - DAS required

*Wheelchair access point - standard entrance

*Must transfer from wheelchair to ride vehicle


Fat-Friendliness Overall Score: 10/10

*Queue Line: 10/10

- wide lanes and the queue moves pretty quickly

*Vehicle/Seat Size: 9/10

- the vehicle has 3 rows that could easily fit 2 large adults per row. There is a lap bar that comes down but I felt I had plenty of room

*My Fat Experience: 10/10

- I had no issues with this ride in terms of my size


*Accessibility Score: 9/10

This ride was pretty easy for my mom to navigate getting through the queue and onto the ride vehicle. I am only having to mark down a point since she had to transfer from her wheelchair.


Pixar Pal Around Swinging Wheel

Located at Pixar Pier, this wheel ride is like a traditional ferris wheel with a twist. I thought this was going to be one of those 'slow and maybe take a quick nap' kind of rides... hahaha nope! There are 2 options for this ride - swinging and non-swinging buckets. We opted for the swining one, but not with a full understanding of what that meant. The buckets are fully enclosed metal cages with 2 bench seats. The swinging buckets not only swing with a little movement as the wheel rotates, but each bucket is on a track that causes it to slide quickly at each rotation and increase the amount of swing. The first rotation of the wheel moved rapidly as they didn't pause the ride to get people on or off - so this meant we were REALLY rocking... a lot. I thought I was going to end upside down in this cage! The 2nd rotation included many stops, so it was a bit smoother with less intensity of the swinging. Either way, it gave us some beautiful views of the park as the sun went down and revealed the night sky and acres of twinkling Disney lights.


Fat Friendly Quick Notes:

*Turnstile - NO

*Seatbelt/Lap Bar - NO


Accessibility Quick Notes:

*DAS Return Time - DAS required

*Must transfer from wheelchair to ride cage

*Wheelchair access point - standard line


Fat-Friendliness Overall Score: 10/10

*Queue Line: 10/10

- no issues at all, only suggest to try to balance the cage by having larger adults sit across from each other

*Vehicle/Seat Size: 10/10

- simple large bench, no seatbelts or bars

*My Fat Experience: 10/10

- comfortable and easy peasy


*Accessibility Score: 9/10

For the swinging buckets, it might be a little tricky for someone that isn't sure-footed as the bucket have a little movement as you are getting on/off the ride. The guest will also need to transfer from the wheelchair to the ride.


Animation Academy

Located in Hollywood Land, the Animation Academy is a theatre-styled interactive attraction that focuses on the art of illustration. Guests face a stag that features a Disney animation artist who teaches a quick 20-minute drawing class where you get to walk away with a sketch of your own creation! The class is great for any age and NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED! They pick a different character to draw each class, so feel free to take in a few of them - they run every 30 minutes. What you'll learn is that illustrations are really about creating very simply basic shapes and filling in the details. These classes break it down into very simple steps that you will surely be surprised with how well your drawing turns out!


In this building are also the Sorcerer's Workshop where you can make your own animation, the Beast's Library (from Beauty and the Beast) that also has some interactive elements, Turtle Talk with Crush (from Finding Nemo) where you can have a live chat with the character through animated storytelling, and a character meet & greet with Frozen stars Anna & Elsa.


Fat Friendly Quick Notes:

*Turnstile - NO

*Seatbelt/Lap Bar - NO


Accessibility Quick Notes:

*DAS Return Time - NO

*Wheelchair can go directly into stadium seating area

*Wheelchair access point - standard entrance


Fat-Friendliness Overall Score: 10/10

*Queue Line: 10/10

- there are no issues with size

*Vehicle/Seat Size: 10/10

- wide comfy stadium bench seats with padding. Comfy and very pleasant.

*My Fat Experience: 10/10

- this is a great attraction not only for the interactive illustrating experience, but also to have a cool and calming venue to step away from the sunny outdoors and loud crowds - very cathartic.


*Accessibility Score: 9/10

No real issues with this attraction. Marking down slightly in case a guest has dexterity issues (holding a pencil and drawing board, or has eyesight issues that prevents from seeing the instructor's screen clearly.


That's it for now! After dinner, we hopped over to Disneyland park for fireworks and to catch a couple rides before heading home.


We will be going back to Disneyland on Dec 16th - stay tuned for more ride reviews! Are there any rides or attractions at this park you'd like me to review for you? Drop them in the comments!