Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Top Nine Activities When in Disneyland

Have you thought about going to Disneyland? Does it seem overwhelming? Are you wondering what the "must do" items are?  I have written My Ten Tips For Your Disneyland Trip which includes ideas for saving money, considering the age and height of your kids, and how to have the shortest wait times.  This is all about our favourite things to do in Disneyland!  I took the feedback from the whole family and compiled this list.  

Top Nine Activities When in Disneyland:

1.  Explore Cars Land.  This entire area of Disney California Adventure Park exceeded my expectations and was a highlight. I could not believe the size and detail that went into it.  There are several smaller rides for younger kids (Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters) that we all enjoyed and then the best one: Radiator Springs Racers.  

Cars Land in California Adventure Park

Nya was able to do Radiator Springs Racers because she is 40".  It was a bit scary for her so she only did it once.  It was so fun to go back at night and see all of Cars Land lit up–so beautiful!

This video shows you what Radiator Springs Racers is like: 

2. Watch the Parades.  We went to A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Paint the Night and enjoyed them both!   It does get a bit crowded trying to find a spot to watch but there are so many great vantage points.  I recommend seeing at least one.

3. Meet some Disney characters. When we went to Disney World, the kids wanted to get autographs and photos with each character.  This time they were content just having photos with the ones that we ran into.  We did wait a bit for Minnie and Elsa because Nya really wanted to see them and the boys were more than happy to wait with her. I appreciate that it doesn't take long to see them and the characters make the kids feel special.  You can also give a cast member your camera to get a family photo!

4. See Frozen. This one hour live show is beautifully done.  You do have to line up for it (we were there one hour early) but it was so worth it; beautiful costumes and singing in the Hyperion at California Adventure Park.  Olaf was one of my favourites and there was even snow!  It was a hit for the whole family.

5. Mad Tea Party, King Arthur Carrousel, and Jumpin' Jellyfish.  These rides were a favourite with our 4-year-old and there was just a very short wait for them so the whole family didn't mind going on them.  I did draw the line after three times on the Tea Cups!  Another favourite of hers (and all of ours) was Astroblastors but it did have a longer line.

6.  Ariel's Grotto. This was a character dining experience which I had never done before.  It did end up costing Nya and I about $100 Canadian for lunch but it was worth it in the sense we are only going to do it once!  The food was really good and Nya was able to meet five different princesses: Ariel, Cinderella, Tiana, Belle, and Rapunzel.  You do need to make reservations ahead of time.  We were a bit rushed because we were headed to Frozen–I think 1.5 hours would be best.

{The Pumpkin Creme Brulee was my favourite!}

7.  Ride the Big Rides.  The boys' top rides were: Goofy's Sky School (it's awesome and they did it 6 times in a row), Big Thunder Mountain, Hyperspace Mountain, Star Tours and Matterhorn Bobsleds.  I like something a bit scarier so California Screamin' was fun.  The only ride that I did not like at all was Mickey's Fun Wheel (the Ferris Wheel)–it looks cool but was not worth the wait. 

8.  Try some Disney food.  We had the Dole Whip and Churros as recommended by friends. I think it's just part of the Disney experience to try them and the kids enjoyed it! I liked that they had a Starbucks in the park...ah, coffee!

9.  Use those photo opportunities! Whether it's at the front gate, the Castle or by beautiful decorations, there are so many places to get a great photo.  There are usually cast members available to take your photo so use those times to get the whole family in there.  

So there you have my nine recommendations on what to do in Disneyland!  What would your family enjoy the most?  Did I miss something?  


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Heading to Disneyland? These are the top nine activities to do in Disneyland!


  1. This is awesome! Makes me want to go again. And I'm with you, the Mickey Ferris wheel was my least favourite, made me so dizzy! The cars ride looks awesome, neat video!!

  2. Makes me want to go at Christmas time! Agree with everything above as highlights!

  3. Anonymous7:35 PM

    Looks like you had a ton of fun. Passes for Disney are pricey, but I would argue that they are good value compared to other "parks" out there, the value is quite great along with the quality customer service. Disney, of course, really knows what they are doing.

    Not sure why I feel compelled to add my two cents but here goes following your arbitrary list of nine items:

    1) Yes to any ride with Fast Pass access. Leverage that with the switch rider pass and you can go on the bigger rides non-stop. If you play your Fast Passes right, you could be holding at least 8 fast passes at one single time (assuming a family of four). Speaking of which...
    2) Star Tours-I think we did it six times in a day. Love it. Kid loves it.
    3) Royal Princess Hall: I wanted to roll my eyes at lining up for four different princesses for photo shoots but seeing the littlest one hug and smile when she saw Cinderella was worth it. Would argue that you can just do this and then you have no need to do Ariel's Grotto.
    4) Soaring Over the World (used to be Soaring over California): This ride is exhilarating and quite the piece of technology. Fast Pass this one right right after you Fast Pass the Cars one.
    5) Shows on California Adventure side: You referenced the Frozen show, which was decent, but the lines were crazy. The gem is the Mickey's Clubhouse for the little ones. Great production value and bonus for escaping from the summer heat in an air conditioned theatre. The Color of the Night water show was also impressive along with your aforementioned parade. (Disneyland side-- Mickey Mouse's Apprentice and some Tangled version involving live actors near the Royal Hall were actually quite good too.)
    6) Also was impressed with pictures with Kylo Ren and Boba Fett in the Star Wars area.
    7) Yes, to Magic Mornings, so you can pound out all the kiddie rides, which saves you having to wait an excruciating hour or more for 1 second rides like Dumbo. Peter Pan is highly overrated, but that is the first ride you need to run to on Magic Morning to get it out of the way.
    8) Small World: In terms of the kiddie rides, this is a good one. Lines move fairly fast and again a reprieve from the heat (can you sense that getting out of the sun is a priority for me?)
    9) Space Mountain: For those of you who rode this long ago, this Star Wars repurposed one is actually much better. Before it was too dark, so it almost wasn't scary, because you couldn't see what was coming up. Now that you can faintly see the pathway, I found it much more intense. Also may be due to my advancing age. Pro tip: just because your little one meets the height requirements, doesn't mean you have to take them. For two days after, our guy was traumatized when ever we mentioned the ride. He would yell "NO Space Mountain."

    Other tips:
    Make sure to pick up your free "First Visit" pins from the front desk upon entry of the parks. They also have a ton of other ones like "Happy Birthday" etc.

    Pumba and Timin Parking lot is the best if you get to the park early if you are driving in. Fried chicken platter on Main Street is not the greatest but probably good value for the amount of food you get. There are two "rides" that you can hold multiple fast passes for: Colours of the Night (whatever that show is called at California Adventure) and Buzz Lightyear. So once you get a Fast Pass, go get these ones as well.

    Also how did you sneak those Frozen photos?


    1. We did do Small World twice (first thing after Peter Pan and there was no lineup. We were fast pass ninjas too. We had the fried chicken too at the Plazza Inn. In regards to princesses, I hear you. We did Ariel's Grotto as a time saver and so that the boys wouldn't have to wait for the princesses...we lined up for all of them at Disney World and seeing her with Cinderella was the highlight for me there:) As for the Frozen photos, I didn't sneak them. We were allowed photos without using a flash! Thanks for all your feedback, Rob!