Yester California Adventure at Yesterland

Catch a Flave

Ice Cream

“Catch a Flave and you’re
sittin’ on top of a swirl.”
Catch a Flave Ice Cream at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2008

Take a look at the colorful edges on the neon ice cream cone swirls. The colors tell you that this place sells vanilla soft-serve ice cream with your choice of a colorful flavor swirled in—cotton candy, grape, orange, lemon, butter pecan, bubblegum, strawberry, or chocolate.


The official park website invites you to “take the edge off that hot California sun with a soft-serve ice cream dish with a colorful flavor twist!”

Catch a Flave Ice Cream at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2009

With a yellow and white striped awning

Catch a Flave is on Paradise Pier, right before billboard row—or right afterwards depending on which way you’re circling the lagoon.

The shops’s name and tagline are based on a 1963 Beach Boys surfing song, “Catch a Wave,” and a line from its lyrics, “Catch a wave and you’re sittin’ on top of the world.”

Catch a Flave Ice Cream at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2003

Or with a blue and white striped awning

The building isn’t much to look at. There’s the nicely done neon sign extending out above the order windows, but, beyond that, it’s just a simple stucco box with a striped awning. The painted graphics, with pastel colors and a broad-stroke script, suggest the 1970s more than any other decade.

Catch a Flave Ice Cream at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2009

Catch a Flave menu

Walk up to the window and place your order. It might be a tough decision. Every flavor goes well with vanilla. With orange, you get a classic “50/50 Bar” taste. Butter pecan, with its caramel-coated nut flavor, comes highly recommended. If you can’t make up your mind, ask the cast member to pick a flavor for you.

Or get plain vanilla, without a flavor swirled in. Think of it as the ninth flavor.

Catch a Flave Ice Cream at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2009

Catch a Flave after dark

Catch a Flave Ice Cream at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2009

Neon at night

If you think it’s too cold for an ice cream cup, cone, or float, have some hot coffee instead. But don’t count on Catch a Flave being open. This place tends to shut down when demand for ice cream drops along with the temperature.


Catch a Flave was part of Disney’s California Adventure when the park opened in February 2001.

Catch a Flave Ice Cream at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2003

Catch a Flave in 2003

Here’s how the Orange County Register described Catch a Flave on February, 4, 2001:

Odd twist on soft-serve ice cream. Some gee-whiz gadgetry allows decadent 10 percent-butterfat ice cream to be laced with various flavor gels, ranging from obvious (chocolate and strawberry) to odd (cotton candy and bubble gum).

Presumably, Disney was using standard equipment and syrups from the Flavor Burst Company of Danville, Indiana. Although such flavored, color-edged soft-serve was not unique to Catch a Flave, it was unusual. Park guests liked it.

In April 2010, conventional soft-serve machines replaced Catch a Flave’s “gee-whiz gadgetry.”

Catch a Flave Ice Cream at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Vanilla and chocolate swirl cones

Now the flavors were vanilla, chocolate, or vanilla and chocolate swirled together. Period. It was still called Catch a Flave for most of 2010, despite the lack of flavor choices. The prices remained the same. At least the soft-serve ice cream was still tasty.

Catch a Flave Ice Cream at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Paradise Pier Ice Cream Co. menu board

In September 2010, after a short closure, Catch a Flave reopened as Paradise Pier Ice Cream Co.—a more generic name that better reflected its more generic menu.

Catch a Flave Ice Cream at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Former Catch a Flave, now Paradise Pier Ice Cream Co., in 2013

With the new name came a new look. Now, instead of suggesting the 1970s, the graphics became more appropriate for the heyday of California amusement piers a half century earlier. Essentially, it became a vanilla building with painted chocolate lettering and strawberry accents. (Strawberry is not on the menu, but it’s a good color for ice cream shops.)

Catch a Flave Ice Cream at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Plain vanilla sign

The neon sign survived, but as a plain vanilla cone.


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Updated January 10, 2014.