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 4D 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). 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.