When Disney California Adventure was rededicated in 2012, a three-quarters scale replica of the legendary Carthay Circle Theater became its new visual anchor, uniting the areas of Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Land, and drawing guests further into the park in a method similar to Sleeping Beauty Castle in the neighboring Disneyland. While there is also a smaller replica of the theater in Walt Disney World’s Disney Hollywood Studios, the California Adventure version of the Carthay Circle also serves as an upper-scale fine-dining restaurant, an experience that many guests bypass in favor of more affordable options around the park.
What guests may not realize is that there is another, entirely complimentary (with park admission, of course) way to explore the interior of the Carthay Circle: a daily guided tour at 10:30 AM:
Because the tour occurs during the period when many guests (both tourists and locals) are still entering the park, or running around gathering FastPasses, or taking advantage of shorter early-morning lines at rides around the resort, it’s easy to miss the sign advertising the tour that sits right outside of the entrance to the restaurant:
The tour, entitled “The Story of Carthay Circle Restaurant,” is a fascinating and informative look inside the centerpiece of Disney California Adventure. It’s also an eye-opening history of the theater that inspired it, its relationship with the movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and Walt Disney himself, and a glimpse into a corner of a Disney park that a lot of guests rarely get to see. It’s advertised as being fifteen minutes in length, but can run anywhere up to half an hour, and it’s worth every minute. So next time you have some time to spare in the morning hours at Disneyland Resort, be sure to check it out.