My little family has been going to Disneyland every year for a few years now, and while we haven’t done or seen EVERYTHING the parks have to offer, we do have a few things that we just can’t miss each time! This is also a great list for first time visitors to the Disneyland Resort. Here’s my top 10 things not to miss:
10. Dole Whip and Enchanted Tiki Room
This is a 2-in-1 and has become somewhat of a tradition for our family. The show is entertaining and will have you singing along with the birds and flowers! There is nothing better than sitting in this air-conditioned classic while enjoying a pineapple soft serve during some of the hottest parts of the day. Though, I admit, I don’t like pineapple so I really don’t like Dole Whips (gasp!) but my husband and kids love them. Tip: the line for Dole Whips is considerably shorter inside the Tiki Room area than on the outside.
9. Visit Toon Town
Visiting Toon Town involves going to see Mickey Mouse in his movie barn, visiting Minnie Mouse at her house, playing at Goofy’s house and exploring Donald’s boat. Toon Town is a great area for younger kids to meet some favorite characters and to play/get some energy out! My children especially enjoy Goofy’s garden and we’ve started taking annual pictures of them sitting inside the pumpkin there. Toon Town closes earlier than the rest of the park, so make sure you visit earlier in the day.
8. Meet Princesses at the Fantasy Faire
We just recently made this a must-do on our trips. My daughter is now at an age where she really enjoys meeting characters and princesses are at the top of her list! You meet 3 princesses inside the Royal Hall at the Fantasy Faire and they can change throughout the day. We’ve met Snow White, Belle, Mulan, Ariel, and Cinderella. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet a princess outside the Royal Hall. That’s usually Merida or Rapunzel (we’ve seen both). Meeting the princesses has given my family some of the best character interactions we’ve had. Definitely a must-do if you have a princess fan at home!
7. “a bug’s land” in Disney California Adventure
This one probably won’t make the top 10 list for most, but having younger kids puts this land on my family’s must-do list. Most of the attractions in this land are geared towards younger children, but are easily enjoyed by the whole family. My children love Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train and on a hot day, we all love to cool off at Princess Dot’s Puddle Park. “it’s tough to be a bug!” is a fun 4D show located in this land and is hosted by Flik from Disney-Pixar’s “a bug’s life”. Note: “it’s tough to be a bug!” features brief bouts of darkness, loud sounds, and strange smells and sensations. It may be too scary for your little ones.
6. Jedi Training Academy
This is a must-do for the young Star Wars fan in your life. Children ages 4-12 are randomly chosen to participate in the training. They recite the sacred Jedi Oath, learn how to use a lightsaber, and even “fight” a Sith Lord. My son is 5 but is too shy to participate, so I’ve only seen my nieces and nephews do the training. We have watched this show numerous times and it never disappoints! This attraction will be changed up a little for Season of the Force this fall. Tip: if your child wants to be chosen, make sure they are very enthusiastic-jump up and down, say “pick me!”, wear a shirt that stands out.
5. Mickey’s Soundsational Parade
This is one of my favorite parades at Disneyland. I love the music and can’t help but sing along every time we watch it! There are fantastic floats lined with your favorite Disney characters and there’s even a Frozen themed float that starts off the parade. Another amazing parade, that I hope stays long after the 60th anniversary celebration is over, is the Paint the Night Parade. If you can visit the resort between now and September 5, 2016, be sure to watch this dazzling electrical parade!
4. Take a Spin on Mad Tea Party
The Mad Tea Party has been one of my favorite rides since I was a little girl and I have proudly passed that on to my son. We have to ride at least once during our trip, and it’s even more fun at night. This is definitely a classic and is not to be missed (unless spinning rides make you sick).
3. Cars Land in Disney California Adventure
Like visiting Toon Town, visiting Cars Land involves multiple attractions. Radiator Springs Racers is a must-do for everyone that meets the height requirement. It’s one of the best movie-themed rides at the Disneyland Resort! The other ride in that land is Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and it is one of my favorite rides as well. I can’t help but smile and laugh as it swings back and forth! Luigi’s Flying Tires is receiving a complete overhaul and will reopen next year as Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters. Also, be sure to witness Cars Land as the neon turns on at night. It’s truly magical! Tip: get your fastpass for Radiator Springs Racers as soon as the park opens-they run out quickly!
2. World of Color
One of the most spectacular water projection shows is World of Color at California Adventure. So far there have been 3 versions of this amazing night show-the original World of Color, World of Color-Winter Dreams, and World of Color-Celebrate! Featuring soaring fountains, fire and laser effects, stirring music and towering screens that come to life with new and classic Disney animation, this show is definitely not to be missed! You can even play the Fun Wheel Challenge game on your mobile device while you wait for the show to start. Tip: be sure to either pick up your fastpasses early or make a World of Color Dining package reservation so you can get a good seat.
Disneyland has the best fireworks shows I’ve ever seen! They are so magical and make for a great way to end your day at the happiest place on Earth. The current fireworks spectacular is the Disneyland Forever Fireworks. This show was created specifically for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration and it is amazing! You’re surrounded by a mesmerizing mix of breathtaking pyrotechnics and jaw-dropping visual effects. There are 3 different areas you can watch from: Main Street U.S.A., in front of “it’s a small world”, and the Rivers of America. Tip: get a seat on Main Street U.S.A. for the Paint the Night Parade then when it’s over, step into the middle of Main Street for a great view of the fireworks.
What things make your “not-to-miss” list at Disneyland? Let me know in the comments!
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