If you like carnival rides, you’ll love Paradise Pier, designed to look like a combination of all the beachside amusement piers in California. The state-of-the-art California Screamin’ roller coaster resembles an old wooden coaster, but it’s got a smooth-as-silk steel track: it feels like you’re being shot out of a cannon. Just as popular is Toy Story Midway Mania! – a 4-D ride where you earn points by shooting at targets while your carnival car swivels and careens through an oversize, old-fashioned game arcade.
Want a bird’s-eye view of the park? Head to Mickey’s Fun Wheel, a 15-story Ferris wheel where gondolas pitch and yaw in little loops as well as the big one (unless you’ve requested one of the stationary ones).
About half of Paradise Pier is dedicated to kid-friendly rides. Nearby, Silly Symphony Swings is a hybrid carousel with tornado-like chair swings, the pre-school set can ride a more sedate version on the Golden Zephyr and bounce along on the Jumpin' Jellyfish. Goofy’s Sky School is a cute and relatively tame cartoon-themed coaster ride. Cool your jets or get a pick-me up at the Boudin Bakery or the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop.