Things to do
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Theme Park Tickets
There's so much to see and do at the Disneyland Resort - including two Disney Theme Parks filled with magic. Choose the ticket option that's best for you:
Disneyland Resort 1-Park per Day Tickets allow you to visit either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park each day over a specified number of days. The ticket is not valid for visits to both theme parks on the same day.
Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Tickets enable you to visit both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park on the same day.
Magic Morning Bonus - all tickets of 3 days and longer include one Magic Morning admission into selected attractions at a designated Disneyland Resort Theme Park one hour before general park opening.
Tickets and Options are non-transferable and expire 13 days after first use. Does not include activities/events separately priced. Visiting multiple Theme Parks on the same day requires the Park Hopper Option.
Disney Character Dining
Share a delicious meal - along with some hearty laughs - with your Disney Character friends at fun-filled Character Dining experiences offered throughout the Disneyland Resort.
Ariel's Disney Princess Celebration Everyone's favourite little mermaid invites you to join her and her Disney Princess friends for breakfast, lunch or dinner at Ariel's Grotto in Disney California Adventure Park. Chat, sing and laugh with the Princesses as you dine on American fare inspired by the beachfront boardwalk, served right to your table.
Minnie & Friends—Breakfast in the Park Plaza Inn is the location for this unforgettable experience, featuring the lovely Miss Minnie Mouse and some of her closest Disney Character friends. Share some special moments - and a scrumptious, all-you-care-to-eat breakfast buffet - mornings on Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland Park!
Surf's Up! Breakfast with Mickey & Friends Snap photos, practice hula hooping and hang ten with Mickey and some of your favourite Disney Characters! Feast on family favourites from the omelet station and kids can create their own breakfasts at the fun kid's buffet. Scrumptious breakfast specialties include flatbreads from the wood-burning oven, grilled breast of chicken with roasted garlic sauce and signature chilaquiles with shredded beef, salsa verde and queso fresco.
Goofy's Kitchen Enjoy an all-you-care-to-eat buffet of delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner favourites as Chef Goofy and his wacky staff of Disney Character pals entertain with their hilarious antics!
Chip ‘n Dale's Critter Breakfast Join those zany chipmunks, Chip ‘n Dale, for a morning of Disney fun and nutty adventures - plus a yummy all-you-care-to-eat buffet of breakfast specialties!
Plan ahead and you may be able to save time waiting for a meal. Reservations may be arranged for many restaurants by contacting Disney Dining up to 60 days in advance. Reservations for Character Dining are recommended. Please call (714) 781-DINE or (714) 781-3463. Guests under age 18 must have parent or guardian permission to call.
Can't Miss Attractions
Disneyland California Adventure Park
Cars Land is big, it's the kind of place your whole family will want to stop by, stay awhile and have some high-octane adventures. You can even meet Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater! For flat-out fun, buckle up at Radiator Springs Racers where you'll race head-to-head through the spectacular Ornament Valley. Then, hitch a ride for some square dancing hijinks on Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. Hop on Luigi's Flying Tires, where you'll literally float on air on your own oversize flying tire. Fuel up with a delicious meal at Flo's V8 Café. Or for a quick, tasty snack, motor on over to the Cozy Cone Motel or Fillmore's Taste-In. And before you hit the road, be sure to stop by Radiator Springs Curios, Ramone's House of Body Art and Sarge's Surplus Hut to get all your Radiator Springs gear. And once the sun goes down, you won't want to miss the magical transformation as the streets of Radiator Springs come alive with music and a glorious neon glow.
Buena Vista Street
You'll feel the transformation from the first time you step foot on Buena Vista Street—the main street of Disney California Adventure Park. It's a neighbourhood like no other, where you'll experience the vibrant energy of Los Angeles that Walt Disney first discovered when he came west in the 1920s. Grab a tasty treat at Clarabelle's Hand-Scooped Ice Cream. Take a ride on the vintage Red Car Trolley or stop by the Carthay Circle Theatre, which lovingly re–creates the theatre where Walt first premiered Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs almost 75 years ago.
World Of Color
World of Color is one of the most magnificent nighttime water spectaculars ever, featuring seemingly endless rows of massive water fountains exploding toward the sky, as lasers and flames dance to a stunning orchestral soundtrack. It's a breathtaking way to tell some new and classic Disney and Disney•Pixar stories.
Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure
Ariel's Undersea Adventure prepares you to be magically transported under the sea in this brand-new attraction, where you can truly become part of Ariel's world. Sing along with Sebastian and Flounder, but keep an eye out for the evil Ursula and her hapless henchmen, Flotsam and Jetsam.
Toy Story Mania!
Grab some 3D glasses and zip off into a 4D world of exciting, midway-style games hosted by Woody, Buzz, Hamm and more! There's even a new version of the balloon game, hosted by Rex and his new friend Trixie from Disney•Pixar's Toy Story 3 film! Inspired by Disney•Pixar's Toy Story films.
Goofy’s Sky School
With Goofy as your "flight instructor" you know you're in for a wild ride! Inspired by his "How To" cartoon series of the 1940s and 1950s, Goofy offers lessons in barnstorming on this classic coaster.
Silly Symphony Swings
Mickey's conducting and Donald's disrupting— until a tornado hits the orchestra! Swing through the air in your musical chair as Mickey's barnyard orchestra plays William Tell's "The Storm"!
You are invited to step into Fantasy Faire, an enchanting storybook world within Fantasyland in Disneyland Park, where you can meet favorite Disney heroes and heroines—and become part of their timeless tales come to life. In Fantasy Faire, "once upon a time" begins the moment you arrive—and "happily ever after" happens every day.
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
The adventure continues for the Jedi in all of us! A reimagined Star Tours 3D attraction will take voyagers to a galaxy far, far away and visit new destinations from the entire Star Wars TM saga like the planet Coruscant. ©Disney/Lucasfilm Ltd.
Mickey’s Soundsational Parade
Vibrant colours, thrilling rhythms and live dancers will stomp, clang and drum their way down the parade route. Mickey Mouse and some of your favourite Disney characters will play live and will encourage the audience to join a giant jam session. The parade promises to be the most foot-stomping, infectious festival of music you've ever seen or heard!
Slide down Matterhorn Mountain on a daring bobsled run past icy slopes, through twisting caves, near plunging waterfalls, over stone bridges, and maybe even experience a thrilling encounter with the legendary abominable snowman.
… plus much more!
Each theme park gateway is packed with shops, so for those last-minute purchases, try avoiding the shops after parades and at closing time. If you see the perfect gift early on in the day, but don’t want to lug it around, select locations can hold your purchase while you continue to enjoy the attractions. Or, if you are staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel, it can be delivered to your room the following day.
In Disneyland Park, check out the Gag Factory in Mickey's Toontown for a practical joke or two. Walk slowly through the back street of New Orleans Square in search of jewelry and fine crystal figurines. Or, bolt to Tomorrowland for a perfect Buzz Lightyear outfit at the Little Green Men Store Command.
Disney California Adventure Park
Purchase an animation cell of your favourite character at Off the Page in Hollywood Pictures Backlot. Or shop like a diva at the Gone Hollywood boutique. At Engine-Ears Toys, pick up a miniature version of various theme park attractions.
Downtown Disney District
The Downtown Disney District is a combination of Disney branding and unique stores that are either classic, boutique, artistic or trendy. With roughly 20 shops to choose from, you just might find a magical gift for someone special, including yourself.
The World of Disney is massive, and almost everything you’ll see in the two parks is available here. Disney Vault 28 is a cross-section of high fashion and Disney couture. (Why 28? 1928 was the year Walt Disney’s wife, Lillie, suggested changing the name of the character who starred in Steamboat Willie from Mortimer Mouse to Mickey Mouse.)
D Street offers both retro and the latest clothing styles by designers and up-and-coming trendsetters. For your Disney pop star fans, stop in at Studio Disney 365 to get a look inspired by Hanna Montana. Hair stylists are on hand to dazzle up a hairdo or to add a sparkle to the cheek in true rock-star fashion. Then, pick out a wardrobe package to complete the transformation into a Trend Setter, a Studio Rocker, or a Scene Stealer.
The selection of clothing inspired by the Disney Channel is expansive, giving you plenty to choose from. This is a popular stop, so make a reservation for the transformation.
Other shops include specialties like Sephora for cosmetics, The LEGO Imagination Center, and Something Silver for eclectic jewelry. You can create a new furry friend at Build-A-Bear, or create a car at Ridemakerz. Island Charters is wonderful for menswear, and Compass Books and Café is a great spot for a good cup of coffee.
Pin trading and collecting is something that Disney fanatics and children will enjoy. If you visit, come to the Downtown Disney, a popular place for trading. There is even a kiosk dedicated to the trinkets. Buy a lanyard, toss on a few pins and see how many people you meet throughout the parks.
Currently there are more than 60,000 different pin styles in the trading world. In-the-know traders can spot a rare pin when they see it, with the rarest pins on eBay listed into the thousands of dollars. The average price here is less than US$10.
Dill pickles from the barrel (Snack, $)
Step away from the churro wagon and try something completely different – a great big dill pickle. The pickles are cold, crunchy and lip-smacking good. Find a barrel of them at the Fruit Stand on Main Street, U.S.A., and at select kiosks throughout the Disneyland Resort.
Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port, Tomorrowland (American, $)
Redd Rockett’s in Tomorrowland offers a large selection of pizza, pasta and vegetarian meals, all with an “out-of-this-world” touch. Try the Mars-inara pasta or Meteoric Meatballs. The food is made to order, with salads tossed just before they reach your plate. The portions are big, so an adult and child can share.
Blue Bayou (Cajun, $$-$$$)
As you hop on the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, if you look to the right, you can see guests enjoying a lovely sit-down dinner. The Blue Bayou opened on the shores of the bayou in 1967 and has been serving up wonderful Cajun- and Creole-style cuisine every day since.
If you are travelling with kids old enough to ride the attractions by themselves, sit down and enjoy a mint julep while they head over to the Pirates of the Caribbean for a few laps until supper arrives. Reservations are recommended.
Ariel’s Grotto, Disney California Adventure Park (American, $$)
Not only is Ariel’s Grotto a wonderful venue for character dining, it offers delicious entrees throughout the day. The deck overlooking the water is a wonderful place to enjoy lunch. There is also a World of Color package that includes a dinner and premier seating for the water show.
Pacific Wharf Café, Disney California Adventure Park (Bakery, $)
The food here is so good you not only lick the plates, you eat the bowls. The Monterey Clam Chowder is served in a bowl made from freshly baked sourdough bread. Its recipe is a family secret dating back to 1849. The menu is long, with freshly made sandwiches, kid-size turkey wraps and hearty soups.
La Brea Bakery Café, Downtown Disney (Bakery, $-$$)
It’s almost impossible to walk past this bakery in the morning without stopping for a fresh baked treat and a coffee. At lunch and dinner, expect to find fresh salads and mouth-watering sandwiches served up on the bakery’s own fresh buns and bread.
Entrees include grilled chicken, a spicy Italian sausage pasta and seared salmon. Check out the sliders on the menu. And the three fresh “mini-sandwiches” will fill up three hungry little kids pretty quick.
House of Blues, Downtown Disney (Cajun & Creole, $-$$)
Enjoy some seriously good blues music and chow down on some southern-style specialties including spicy buffalo wings, crispy shrimp po’ boy and seafood jambalaya. Don’t pass up the chocolate banana bread pudding or the key lime pie.
If you are visiting on a Sunday, stop in for the Gospel Brunch. Choirs take to the stage while you enjoy a breakfast buffet featuring home-style favourites from the South like fried chicken, biscuits and gravy.
Rainforest Café, Downtown Disney (American, $-$$)
Rainforest Café offers standard American fare, but the ambiance keeps the kids amused. When was the last time you sat under a jungle sky where a downpour suddenly silences the noisy apes at the table and in the trees? The portions are very large, so sharing is a good idea.
Steakhouse 55 , Disneyland Hotel (Steak House, $-$$$)
Somewhat of a secret, the Steakhouse 55 restaurant is tucked away in the Disneyland Hotel. Its intimate design is a throwback to old Hollywood. While the kids enjoy Mickey-shaped waffles at breakfast, you can savour the eggs Benedict. At dinner, select a bottle of wine from the wine cellar at the end of the room. Then choose from its extensive choices of beef entrees. (Kids menus are available.)
Napa Rose, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa (Steakhouse, $$$)
Napa Rose is an award-winning restaurant offering cuisine based on California’s bounty of fresh ingredients. The wine list boasts an exceptional array of California wines with a strong selection of international offerings.
Belly up to the bar and order the Smiling Tiger Salad with a glass of red wine and walk away sated. This salad features lightly battered lobster bites on a bed of fresh greens. Hidden below that is a spicy layer of thinly sliced beef, all lightly drizzled with a coconut-lime vinaigrette.
The Mandara Spa, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa ($$$)
Come to the Mandara Spa in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and you’ll find a place to de-stress with a quiet, unrushed healing experience. Treatments are based on a combination of healing arts from Bali and traditional techniques from Europe. As the door to the outside world closes behind you, those sounds and stresses are blocked from your senses. Breathe in the herbal-infused air.
This full-service spa offers a full range of services and treatments, from quick pedicures and manicures to an entire day of pampering. Are your shoulders aching from carrying your backpack? Try the Mandara Deep Tissue Massage. Or opt for one of the spa’s many facials to soothe away the lines, rejuvenate your skin and put a smile back on your face.
Teens and men are welcome, too. The Men’s Spa Escape offers massages, facials designed to nourish men’s skin, as well as manicures and pedicures. Couples can indulge in relaxing massages together in the couples’ suite. And teens can take advantage of a selection of services aimed at trouble spots including an Acne Attack Facial.
Complimentary access to a full fitness centre is also available to guests of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and to guests of neighbouring hotels on the same day as their spa appointment.
Goofy’s Sky School takes you to new heights
This rollercoaster ride started welcoming riders in the summer of 2011. Goofy’s new flight academy sits on the outskirts of Paradise Pier in Disney California Adventure Park. Once you are strapped into your flight-training vehicle, the ride will take you skyward, up and down and through the clouds.
Journey through the Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
This brand new undersea journey in Disney California Adventure Park requires no special breathing apparatus. But the sights and sounds take your breath away. Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is an all-new voyage where guests are invited to take a magical journey through the beloved mermaid’s world.
The clamshell buggies continuously move guests along with the story while Ariel and her pals, Sebastian and Flounder, sing favourite songs from the movie. The special effects make you feel like part of her world. Just watch out for evil Ursula – she is one scary animatronic villain.
A 3-D experience at Star Tours – The Adventure Continues
Just like the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Park is now offering direct flights to galaxies seen only in the movies. The Star Tours attraction in Tomorrowland reopened in June 2011 as “Star Tours – The Adventure Continues” with a 3-D experience like no other.
Each time you step aboard the Starspeeder 1000, the experience is different, with one of more than 50 different stories and scenarios presented. If you sped to the jungle planet of Kashyyyk with the help of Yoda on your last visit, you may end up on the icy planet of Hoth with Darth Vader on your next. Who knows where the Force may take you?
“It’s a small world” turns into a kaleidoscope of images
The exterior of the “it’s a small world” attraction in Fantasyland is now an astounding blend of old and new technology. Each evening, it is used as a backdrop for the 10-minute presentation called The Magic, The Memories, and You!
More than 500 images and videos submitted by park guests each day are mixed with black-and-white, Polaroid, video and digital photos submitted on line and archived over the park’s 55-year history.
Using high-definition projectors, the images, along with animation and emotionally charged sound bites, weave an innovative 10-minute show. Even the singing dolls from inside the “it’s a small world” attraction appear in the show. Clouds float by, balloons float up and vines grow and wrap up the façade. Fireworks, both real and animated, are part of the spectacle. Catch the show daily at 8:45 p.m. and 10:15 p.m.
World of Color
Stand on the pier at Paradise Bay in Disney California Adventure Park as music and animation come to life with sprays of water. Picking a spot to watch the show can be problematic, but not if you plan ahead. Take advantage of Disney FASTPASS service by dashing to the World of Color ticket dispenser by the Grizzly River Run when the gates open in the morning.
You can also pre-order a picnic meal online to get a reserved viewing ticket for either the first or second showing. The World of Color reserved viewing section in Paradise Park is the preferred location to see this nighttime water spectacular. Remember that even reserved viewing is first-come, first-served.
Expect to pay roughly US$16 per dinner, with a choice of four meals. The picnic meals are ready any time from 11:30 a.m. to up to one hour prior to your selected viewing. Depending on pre-sales, there may be picnics available on a walk-up basis. Check the daily program of events, as this show is on at 9 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. on popular days.
Watch the Fantasmic! fireworks and water show at the Rivers of America in Disneyland Park. The 25-minute show impresses older children, but might scare tiny ones with the swirling imagery brought to life by Mickey Mouse as the dreaming Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
For this popular event, parents tend to hold spots along the railing for hours in advance. There is reserved seating as well as seats in the elevated section near the French Market. There are first-come, first-seats and a delicious assortment of desserts and cheese for your enjoyment. Fantasmic! runs on select nights, so check the listings before you go.
The Magic, The Memories and You!
Enjoy the new night show projected on the outside of “it’s a small world” in Disneyland Park. High-powered, state-of-the-art projectors transform the famous façade into a retrospective of family photos.
The projection shows images of balloons, clouds and Disney Characters mixed with some of the day’s family Disneyland Park memories. If you had photos taken by a Disney's PhotoPass photographer earlier in the day, you might even catch sight of your photo.
Walk into Hollywood Pictures Backlot at Disney California Adventure Park and enter the computerized world of TRON. ElecTRONica is your chance to get swept up into the grid at an interactive night dance party based on Disney’s movie, Tron: Legacy.
Near the dance floor, there’s a re-creation of Flynn’s Video Arcade where Pac-Man pros of the 1980s can take on gamers of today. Stay for the DJ-hosted dance party and watch for “Laserman,” who does amazing tricks to music with lasers and lights. Turn to the Times Guide for show times.
Since 1956, Disneyland Park has put on fireworks shows every summer. At first, the fuses were lit by hand but by the 1960s, an electronic system launched the shells for the nightly event.
Now the combination of fireworks, music, lights and projections creates a stunning nightly show enjoyed from almost anywhere in the park. Main Street, U.S.A. is a prime location, as well as in front of “it’s a small world” and along the Rivers of America in Frontierland.
The fireworks change with the season, but expect to see Magical – a classic display using music, imagery and Tinker Bell in-flight. Seasonally, Remember… Dreams Come True is shown and narrated by Julie Andrews and Tinker Bell. If you are there on July 4th, expect an outpouring of patriotism with vibrant red, white and blue displays.
During the Halloween season on select nights, Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas makes an appearance during a mostly orange array of fireworks in Halloween Screams. And Believe… In Holiday Magic incorporates a stunning snowy light display on Sleeping Beauty Castle followed by the New Year’s Eve spectacular.
Get early entry with Magic Morning
On select mornings, you have exactly one hour to enjoy the Disneyland Resort without the crush of the general public. This offer is available exclusively to guests staying at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. For guests of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, there is an entrance directly into Disney California Adventure Park.
Plan your day using a map
When checking in to your hotel, take copies of the free map on the counter. There is plenty of information about the theme parks and attractions. Find out what’s open for Magic Morning admission, parade and show times, what attractions are not open due to maintenance and where the attractions are.
Disney FASTPASS Service lets you cut down on long line ups
Disney FASTPASS Service allows you to virtually stand in line for the most popular attractions. Decide which attractions are the must-dos and head directly to them. Obtain your FASTPASS as early as possible. Some attractions, like Soarin’ Over California and Star Tours – The Adventure Continues, distribute them all quickly.
Look for the FASTPASS ticket dispensers and insert your main entrance ticket into the machine. Both a FASTPASS ticket and your main entry ticket come out. The FASTPASS has a time window printed on it suggesting when you should return. Come back during that designated period and stroll up the FASTPASS line, usually all the way to the front.
Tips to remember: You cannot get more than one FASTPASS at a time, but you can get a new one as soon as the time on your current ticket expires. If you miss the window, the Disney cast members are usually okay about letting you show up fashionably late.
Travelling with small children
If you are travelling with small children, rent a stroller. Dress your little ones in brightly coloured non-Disney apparel while at the theme parks. It’s far easier to find a child in a lone Edmonton Oilers shirt than in the latest Mickey shirt. There is a Lost Parents Centre. as you enter each park.
Rider Swap and single riders
For parents with small kids who are too young to enjoy an attraction, Rider Swap is a good way for everyone to take part without leaving any one out. While one adult stays with the small child, the rest of the family can still enjoy the attraction. Then “swap” to allow the other adult to enjoy the attraction without having to stand in line twice.
Also watch for attractions with “singles” lines. If you don’t mind riding with someone you don’t know, it’s a fast way to get through the line.
Combine dinner with World of Color
Want to treat the family to dinner and the best seats in the house for World of Color? Make dinner reservations at Ariel’s Grotto and enjoy the three-course dinner, then watch the show from the patio from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the first show or 7:05 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for the second show. Dinner and the show are roughly US$40 per adult and US$21 per child (ages three to nine).
Wine Country Trattoria also offers a dinner and show package, including tickets for a reserved viewing area. If you prefer a picnic-style meal, go online to get a reserved-viewing ticket for either the first or second showing of World of Color. Although you get a spot, reserved viewing is still first-come, first-served.
Expect to pay roughly US$16 for dinner, with a choice of four meals. The picnic meals are ready any time from 11:30 a.m. to up to one hour prior to your selected viewing. Depending on pre-sales, there may be picnics available on a walk-up basis.
Get the best spot to watch the parade
Everyone loves a parade, and Disney is the best in the business. The characters and dancers mix and mingle and make everyone feel special. But staking a claim at the popular spots, especially Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland Park, can take up a lot of valuable holiday time.
Instead, check your trusty park map, or ask a cast member, to find out where the parade starts. Walk in that direction. You can catch the parade as it comes through the gates.
Beat the crowds
While the parade-lovers are waving and singing along with the music, take advantage of the situation by heading for popular attractions. There are still line-ups, but the wait times are drastically reduced.
The main routes are packed after a show, so if you want to move swiftly, walk single-file and snake through the crowd. Or, if you are at the back of Disneyland Park, look for the Disneyland Railroad Station. Every few minutes, a train picks up the passengers and takes them to the main gates.
Once on the train, look right behind the engine as sometimes the bench seat is available for guests. If you are in Tomorrowland, use the monorail. It takes you out of the park to the Downtown Disney District and the Disneyland Hotel.
Just For Grownups
Check out these hotspots at the Downtown Disney District:
ESPN Zone – The large lounge in the ESPN Zone is the place to go to catch any major-league televised sports game.
House of Blues – If you like R&B, take a seat and watch great entertainment at the House of Blues. The cuisine is deep-south Cajun. Check the entertainment listings before you go.
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and Flambeaux’s Jazz Club – In the evening, live music flows from the stage and into the plaza so you can enjoy the tunes no matter where you sit.
Uva Bar – The open-air circular bar at Uva Bar is perfect for long conversations. With more than 40 different wines available by the glass, you could be there a while.
The history of Disneyland Park
Before construction began in 1954, Disneyland Park was just an orange orchard. Twelve months later, the doors opened for thousands of guests to attend the opening ceremonies.
Within 52 days of opening, one million people had visited the park, paying US$1 for admission and 10 cents for a variety of attractions. By 1965, 50 million guests had poured through the gates.
Walt Disney was an incredible visionary. He knew Disneyland had to entertain every member of the family. Themed “lands” were designed to offer different experiences. Main Street, U.S.A. was created to bring back a simpler time and to be the perfect avenue to draw people in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. From there, guests could go to their favourite adventure.
Adventureland had to feel like an exotic far-off place and Frontierland was created because Walt wanted to show off the pioneer spirit of America. Fantasyland was for the dreamer in all of us, to “make dreams come true.” Tomorrowland was the last of the lands to open.
Fascinating Facts about Disneyland Park
- Above the fire hall on Main Street, there is a window with a lamp glowing in Walt Disney’s honour. That was Walt’s apartment during family visits and remains unchanged since then.
- Main Street buildings and the Sleeping Beauty Castle were both built using a movie-set “forced perspective.” As the buildings get taller, the features get smaller creating an illusion of grandeur.
- Be sure to stop the kids in front of the candy shop. There is a vent in the wall pumping out the sweet smell of the shop’s creations. If you look down at the sidewalks, you’ll notice there is not a speck of gum – it’s not sold in the parks. And to keep things so clean, the streets are washed every night.
- The Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye was created in 1995. Coincidentally, that’s how many (fake) skulls are on display in the attraction.
- Opened in 1959, the Matterhorn Bobsleds was the first roller-coaster thrill ride at Disneyland. It is not found in any other Disney theme park. Originally, there were cast members climbing the mountain as part of the attraction.
- The original submarine ride in Tomorrowland debuted in 1959, complete with “real” mermaids swimming in the lagoon from 1965 to 1967. The ride eventually shut down in 1998, but was resurrected as a stunning new Finding Nemo animatronics attraction 10 years later.
Fascinating Facts about Disney California Adventure Park
- Disney California Adventure Park opened in 2001 in what used to be a massive parking lot. Unlike the “lands” of Disneyland Park, the five “areas” here celebrate various aspects of California. Walking through the turnstiles is like walking into a postcard of California.
- The World of Color evening water show uses 28 high-definition projectors blasting images onto a wall of water over 116 metres wide and 15 metres tall. More than 1,200 water fountains are used. Geysers launch water more than 60 metres into the air, flower spouts spray 18-metre spans, 65 dual water-whips combine to create a 1,765-square-metre water screen, and hundreds of other fountains blast water and light to bring the images to life.
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is 60 metres tall. The motors for the elevators that drop unsuspecting visitors into a state of frenzy are on top of the tower. They can produce the torque equal to 275 corvette engines reaching top speed in 1.5 seconds, accelerating 15 times faster than normal elevators.
Calendar of Events
Soundsational Summer (May to September)
Mickey’s Soundsational Parade is the latest of the themed parades to march down Main Street, U.S.A. Expect to see Disney characters stomping and strutting along the route to loud music. Nine colourful floats, each designed to look like a pop-up book, are included in the parade.
Summer Sizzles (May to September)
In the Downtown Disney District, the nightclubs, restaurants and merchants spread out the entertainment to last the entire summer. Learn to salsa dance on Friday nights at Tortilla Jo’s, or have a Caribbean brunch at The House of Blues on Saturday morning.
You can jump, jive and wail with southern California’s hottest swing bands playing on the Downtown Disney Main Stage on Wednesday nights. The LEGO Imagination Center also has special weekends where master builders teach LEGO lovers how to build things like a LEGO R2-D2.
Disneyland Resort Half-Marathon Weekend (September)
Bring your best runners and participate in the Happiest Race on Earth. The race always sells out fast, and with good reason. The race starts early in the day so racers can wind through the parks and Sleeping Beauty Castle. Then, the course goes behind the scenes and through part of the city of Anaheim.
Disney characters cheer on the runners along the route. Family fun runs, kids’ races, a fitness expo and a pasta party are also included.
Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort (September/October)
Disney villains, along with Mickey Mouse and his pals, dress up in their not-so scary Halloween costumes to entertain visitors. Space Mountain turns into Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy in Tomorrowland. And Jack Skellington of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas brings his friends to the Haunted Mansion.
Holidays at the Disneyland Resort (November to January)
Hundreds of thousands of glittering lights create a land of merriment. A magical dusting of snow lightly cascades during A Christmas Fantasy parade. Christmas trees and lights cover every building. Reindeers take up residence at Big Thunder Ranch, and “it’s a small world” is totally revamped with presents and tinsel galore.
At Disney California Adventure Park, watch for the oversized ornaments and decorations in “a bug’s land,” and holiday lanterns, garlands and wreaths along the Golden Gate Bridge.
Top Sights and Sounds
Don’t miss the Disneyland Resort’s classic attractions
At the Disneyland Resort, there are classics like the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean that appear on everyone’s must-do list. For thrills, visit Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Star Tours – The Adventure Continues, the Indiana Jones Adventure and Splash Mountain. (Make sure the kids sit on the right where they get sprayed the most.)
For family fun, enjoy the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Peter Pan’s Flight and “it’s a small world.” Don’t miss the antics of the boat driver on the Jungle Cruise. A hidden gem at the back of Tomorrowland is the Innoventions experience. It’s full of hands-on interactive areas based on technologies of tomorrow.
Scream and laugh at Disney California Adventure Park
Don’t miss the chance to scream on the California Screamin’ roller-coaster or The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror drop. Prepare to get totally soaked on Grizzly River Run and to be awestruck while you’re on the Soarin’ Over California simulator.
The new Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and Toy Story Mania! are fun for the family. Then, sit down and enjoy a good laugh at the 3-D presentations of It’s Tough to Be a Bug! and Muppet Vision 3D.
Zoom into Cars Land in 2012
A whole new area in Disney California Adventure Park opens in 2012. Based on the smash hit Cars movies, the almost five-hectare Cars Land invites guests to “take the off-ramp” and step into the movie’s Radiator Springs setting.
The attractions are based on the animated autos so expect to be entertained on the thrill rides of Radiator Springs Racers and Luigi’s Flying Tires. There is also a Mater's Junkyard Jamboree involving square-dancing tractors.
Dine with your favourite Disney characters
Disney is all about making memories, and the character dining opportunities are perfect for this. Instead of standing in line at the theme parks for autographs, let the characters come to you at breakfast or dinner at the hotels, or in the parks at special locations and times.
First, decide which character you want to dine with. Check the Times Guide at your hotel’s front desk upon check-in to find the schedules. Then, book a reservation so your wait time is minimized. The morning buffet is similar at each venue and includes loads of fruit, Mickey-shaped waffles and an omelette station.
Here are a few ways you can enjoy dining with your Disney favourites:
Catch a wave and surf with Mickey – Over at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, Mickey and his friends offer up a lively character breakfast with a surfer-dude theme in the PCH Grill. The kids can join in with a T-shirt-clad Mickey as he leads them through some surfing-inspired dance moves. It’s fun and the menu is filling. This takes place daily from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Cook up something special with Minnie – Every morning, from park opening to 10:30 a.m., Minnie dons a crisp white apron to cook up a huge buffet breakfast. Find her with a full cast of characters at the Plaza Inn on Main Street U.S.A. in Disneyland Park. Park admission is required, as well as the cost of breakfast.
Eat a critter breakfast with Chip & Dale – At Storyteller’s Café in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, the chipmunks Chip n' Dale and their friends are ready for breakfast. They get kids working up an appetite by marching around the spacious restaurant singing campfire songs. The breakfast takes place 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. daily.
Get silly in Goofy’s Kitchen – Goofy and his pals amuse the kids at the Disneyland Hotel. If you miss breakfast with the pooch (7 a.m. to noon, weekdays, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., weekends), you can find him hosting dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. daily.
Ariel’s Disney Princess Celebration – Ariel’s Grotto in Disney’s California Adventure Park is a dream for every little princess in your party. Every day at lunch and dinner, princesses in all their glory visit in the undersea oasis. The banquet is fit for a king.
Watch a grand show: Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular
Don’t miss your chance to see the Broadway-style musical in Disney’s California Adventure Park at the Hyperion Theater at the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. This condensed version of the animated feature has all your favourite characters including one outrageous Genie, the villian Jafar and that zany bird, Iago. The fast-paced show is packed with amazing gravity-defying stunts and camels. Check the park Times Guide for the daily list of performances.
Be a part of the show at Jedi Training Academy
If you have Star Wars fans aged four to 12, prepare to attend a few of these shows until they are the chosen ones in this popular interactive show. Each performance, roughly 20 eager Jedi trainees recite the sacred Jedi Oath, draw their light sabres and learn the battle techniques from a true Jedi Master.
And Darth Vader just might come in and invite the recruits to join the dark side. Will the Force be with them? The academy runs daily in Tomorrowland in Disneyland Park. Here’s a hint: Have the kids make a sign or wear something unique to get noticed.
Chat with Finding Nemo’s Crush
Turtle Talk with Crush in Disney California Adventure Park is an interactive animation of Finding Nemo’s Crush, the totally awesome turtle. He swims into the room and engages in unrehearsed conversations with the guests.
Crush answers questions about being a turtle and even asks individuals about being a human. His speech and actions are specific to what is going on. Ask him to do a back flip and Crush back-flips.
Catch Billy Hill & The Hillbillies live on stage
Expect jokes and slapstick humour at the Billy Hill & The Hillbillies show at the Golden Horseshoe in Disneyland Park. Guests of all ages will be amused by the quartet. Not only is the comedy crazy, the music is exceptional.
Laugh along as they do hillbilly renditions of “Wipeout” on a washboard, then watch how they breeze through the toughest bluegrass tunes ever. Check the park Times Guide for performance times.
Become a princess or knight at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Every little girl dreams of being a princess – even just for one day. At the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique located in Sleeping Beauty Castle Courtyard, your little girl can be pampered like a princess and feel special the rest of the day.
She can get her hair done and have a touch of makeup, then walk away with accessories fit for royalty. The Coach Package includes: hairstyling, shimmering make-up, princess sash, princess bag and body jewels for US$45. There are also the Crown and Castle Packages topping out at US$195. Glass slippers and a handsome prince are not included. Reservations are strongly recommended.
If your Prince Charming wants in on the pampering, he can be transformed into a gallant young knight. The “Knight” package includes a hairstyle, and a shield and sword to fight off dragons for US$13.