On the third Sunday of June every year, people pay tribute to the dads in their life each Father’s Day. This year, Dad’s special day falls on June 18, so there is still a little time left to plan out his special celebration. Rather than one of the typical gifts, however, consider treating him to a trip to Disneyland Resort instead. So, put down that pair of socks, save that silk tie for Christmas and read on for the top things to do with dad at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park this Father’s Day.
How to Honor Dad with the Perfect Disneyland Day This Father’s Day
While there might not be a holiday brunch in his honor like there is on Mother’s Day (sorry, dads), Father’s Day at Disneyland Resort can still be equally as special. Of course, just like each person in his beloved family, every dad is unique.
Fortunately, no matter what he’s interested in or what he brings to the table, there’s plenty to see and do around The Happiest Place on Earth that is sure to be right up his alley, whether he loves to explore the great outdoors, gets a kick out of a little friendly competition or geeks out over Star Wars or Marvel.
Here are some Father’s Day Disneyland ideas to suit dads of all sorts:
For the Super Dad
Is your dear old dad your superhero? Then there’s no better place to visit than Disney California Adventure Park. Avengers Campus is a must-visit for Marvel fans young and old, making it the perfect stop this Father’s Day. Here, dad can immerse himself in the world of the Avengers and possibly even leave feeling like an honorary member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes—no supersuit or superpowers required.
WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure welcomes guests to the Worldwide Engineering Brigade (WEB for short), where Peter Parker works on new inventions alongside other inventors. Of course, not everything during the open house goes to plan, and Peter needs some help to get out of a tough pickle. Fortunately, you and your dad are there to help save the day by taking on Spider-Man’s web-slinging powers.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission: BREAKOUT! is equally as epic and even more thrilling. For this drop tower attraction, Rocket Raccoon recruits you to help him bust the rest of the Guardians out of The Collector’s fortress. During your escape, you’ll drop and drop and drop again, plunging back to Earth in a randomized series of freefalls. Of course, the whole thing is set to one of Peter Quill’s favorite songs, making for a rockin’ soundtrack that your dad is bound to love.
While you’re in Avengers Campus, be sure to take in one of the area’s action-packed shows. Whether he’s a fan of Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Captain America or any other Avenger, he’ll definitely get a kick out of these live entertainment offerings. We especially recommend The Amazing Spider-Man!, Avengers Assemble! and Dr. Strange: Mysteries of the Mystic Arts.
Before you leave, refuel for the rest of the day at one of the dining locations in the area. While Pym Test Kitchen uses Pym Particles to grow or shrink everything from sandwiches to soft pretzels, Shawarma Palace lets dad dine just like Iron Man and Thor. You can also stop by Pym Tasting Lab, which crafts hero-worthy alcoholic beverages like beer cocktails.
But the heroic fun doesn’t stop there. Make him feel like Mr. Incredible and make your way over to Pixar Pier to experience the super-fied Incredicoaster. Themed after Pixar’s superhero family, The Incredibles, this high-speed roller coaster sends riders dashing through enclosed tunnels and uses special effects and an inspiring musical score to create a truly superpowered adventure.
For the King of the Castle
Does your father enjoy the finer things in life? Then treat him like the king he is this Father’s Day at Disneyland Park. For an extra-special experience worthy of Dad’s big day, take him on a backstage tour behind the scenes of The Happiest Place on Earth. Walt’s Main Street Story Tour gives guests a fascinating look at the history of both Main Street, USA and Walt Disney, the king of Disneyland himself. You’ll even get a glimpse at Walt’s former apartment over the Disneyland Fire Station and enjoy an ultra-exclusive experience—refreshments on the apartment’s patio.
Then, head back to Fantasyland to pay tribute to another famous father (and actual king) at Tale of the Lion King. Told the Storytellers of the Pride Lands, this incredible live show inspired by the film’s African roots retells the story of Simba and features dazzling dance performances and new arrangements of some of The Lion King’s most popular songs. By the end of it, the king of your castle is sure to be feeling the love.
No Father’s Day is complete without a special meal. So, take your dad for dinner at one of Disneyland’s most iconic eateries: Blue Bayou Restaurant. Between the lantern-festooned dining area, upscale menu options like Filet Mignon and the restaurant’s elegant setting overlooking Pirates of the Caribbean, this is one meal your father won’t forget anytime soon. Alternatively, you can also head over to Disney California Adventure Park for dinner at Carthay Circle Restaurant. Inspired by the Golden Age of Hollywood, this elegant eatery cooks up sophisticated dishes and classic cocktails in an elevated setting themed after an old-fashioned movie palace.
Finally, finish out your ode to Dad in truly royal fashion: with one of the park’s incredible nighttime spectaculars. Watching fireworks blaze over Sleeping Beauty Castle is undeniably magical. However, we also highly recommend catching a showing of Fantasmic! at the Rivers of America. Starring Mickey Mouse, another king of Disneyland, this fantastic show pits Mickey against some of Disney’s most dastardly villains in an epic battle between good and evil.
For the Outdoor Adventurer
Does your dad enjoy being out in nature? Believe it or not, there are actually several ways to help Dad soak up some sunshine and get in touch with his adventurous spirit at Disneyland and California Adventure Park. Over in Disneyland, get out on the water over in Critter Country with Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes. This hands-on attraction will have Dad paddling through the Rivers of America around Tom Sawyer Island, with guides pointing out points of interest throughout the journey, including a pioneer’s cabin and a Native American chief astride a horse.
Afterward, hop on a river raft and set sail for the Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. Nestled in the middle of the Rivers of America, this relatively serene retreat amid the hustle and bustle is perfect for a hike, making for a nice little reprieve from the massive crowds. As you explore, you’ll come across all sorts of nooks and crannies, such as Dead Man’s Grotto, Castle Rock, a suspension bridge and even a shipwreck.
Before you head next door to California Adventure Park, dive below the water for an undersea adventure on Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Here, your father will join another dedicated dad, Marlin, as he searches for his wayward son, Nemo, putting his fears of the big, blue world aside in the name of love. Then, it’s onward to the wilderness of Grizzly Peak.
Whether you’re looking to cool off a bit or you’re simply looking for a fun excuse to see dad drenched, set out on a whitewater raft voyage on Grizzly River Run. This wild journey down a California river is as picturesque as it is thrilling, offering views of majestic mountains and plenty of chilling splashes along the way. Then, keep the wilderness exploration going at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. Offering rocky faces to climb, slides to cruise down and trails to traverse, this interactive play area is fun for the whole family.
Dad is sure to work up an appetite after all those outdoor adventures. Inspired by the heroes who parachute into forest fires, Smokejumpers Grill is a decidedly appropriate place to honor dear old Dad with a hearty meal. Cooking up smoke-kissed dishes like burgers and chicken sandwiches, this scenic eatery will certainly hit the spot.
For the Wanderluster
Is your dad ready to pack his suitcase and book a plane ticket at a moment’s notice? Then this next itinerary is for him. Start your day of adventures a little bit closer to home over in Disney California Adventure Park with Soarin’ Over California. During this simulator attraction, you’ll fly over the Golden State’s most stunning vistas on a simulated hang glider ride, all set to a soaring soundtrack. The entire experience will set the tone for the rest of the day and even more exciting adventures.
Next, head over to Disneyland Park and set a course for—what else—Adventureland. In this fantastical themed land, the world is Dad’s oyster. To get the ball, or rather, boulder, rolling, start out with Indiana Jones Adventure. Inspired by the globetrotting archaeologist Indiana Jones, this exciting dark ride lets dad follow in the footsteps of a true adventurer, hunting for precious artifacts, avoiding booby traps and narrowly escaping perilous obstacles along the way.
Then, let dad channel his inner swashbuckler on Pirates of the Caribbean. A true Disneyland classic, this slow-moving boat ride immerses guests in the buccaneer-infested realm of the Caribbean, featuring an appearance or two by another world wanderer: Captain Jack Sparrow. With two exhilarating drops, a cannon battle and a whole host of scalawags, don’t be surprised if he leaves humming, “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me).”
If there’s one thing fathers are known for, it’s cheesy, groan-inducing dad jokes. Luckily, you’ll find a boatload of them on the Jungle Cruise. For this beloved ride, Dad and the rest of your crew will climb aboard a riverboat captained by one of the attraction’s wise-cracking skippers. Throughout your journey, you’ll explore some of the remotest rivers on the globe, each populated by fierce (Audio-Animatronic) beasts.
Finally, it’s dinner time. While you could certainly tuck into a skewer or three of grilled meats and veggies from Bengal Barbecue or bao buns at The Tropical Hideaway, we suggest you enjoy your meal slightly further afield at Tangaroa Tropical Terrace Bar & Grill at the Disneyland Hotel. This fast-casual eatery cooks up a buffet of globally inspired dishes your travel-loving father will love, like Takoyaki, Tonkotsu Ramen, Pork Gyoza and a Poke Bowl. Afterward, finish out your day with an island-inspired drink from Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar.
For the Road Warrior
If your father’s happy place is in the driver’s seat on the open road, he’ll certainly enjoy this day at Disneyland and California Adventure. Get his motor running in Tomorrowland first with a ride on Autopia. One of Disneyland’s original opening-day attractions, this laidback road trip is a leisurely way to start the day. From there, it’s time to cruise over to Disney California Adventure Park.
An animated take on Route 66, Cars Land is a must-go for gearheads of all ages. Aside from this land’s incredibly detailed design, including things made from old car parts and a mountain range shaped like Cadillac tail fins, the highlight of Cars Land is easily Radiator Springs Racers. This high-speed yet scenic attraction puts riders in the hot seat of a drag race. Ka-chow! While not as exciting as Radiator Springs Racers, there are two other rides in Cars Land that are still a lot of fun: Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.
Dad’s tank is almost out of gas? Without a doubt, the best place to go for a fill-up is Flo’s V8 Café. Designed to look like an old-school drive-in restaurant, this quick-service restaurant cooks up family-friendly diner favorites like burgers, fried chicken and milkshakes. We especially recommend stopping by after the sun has set, when the entire restaurant is lit up in colorful neon.
For the Competitive Spirit
Does your dad enjoy challenging you to a video game or enjoy crushing you during family game night? There are several attractions throughout the Disneyland Resort that will undoubtedly play into his competitive nature.
In Tomorrowland, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters pits rider against rider. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to hit as many targets as possible with a laser gun before the end of the ride (and defeat the evil Emperor Zurg in the process). Then, for a more old-fashioned take on the shooting gallery, mosey over to the Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition. At this Wild West-inspired attraction, sharpshooters take aim at various targets, using a classic rifle to rack up points.
Next, cross over into California Adventure and make way for Toy Story Midway Mania. Similar to Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, this Toy Story-themed shooting gallery-style ride has riders try to take out as many targets as possible. Only, instead of a laser shooter, guests play various carnival games using a string-powered shooting contraption.
Finally, round out dad’s day out in Downtown Disney at Splitsville Luxury Lanes. This retro bowling alley is the perfect place to finish this Father’s Day competition. In between all those strikes and spares, tuck into an array of elevated bar food. From sushi and salads to burgers and pizza, this upscale bowling alley and restaurant has a little something for everyone.
For the Thrill Seeker
Does your dad love a good adrenaline rush? Well, you’re in luck. Because while Disneyland may be known for its many kid-friendly attractions, it’s also home to its fair share of thrill rides. Begin your day in Fantasyland with the Matterhorn Bobsleds, a rollicking ride through the alpine wilderness. Throughout this heart-pounding adventure, you’ll speed over waterfalls and career around tight corners with the hopes of escaping the fabled Abominable Snowman.
Then, head next door to Tomorrowland to take on Space Mountain. Although this nostalgic roller coaster is quite slow, topping out at a reasonable 35 miles per hour (which is actually almost 10 miles per hour faster than the one in Tomorrowland at Disney World), its twist, turns and surprise drops through almost complete darkness definitely up the excitement level, making it a must for adventure seekers.
Lastly, complete your Disneyland day with dad on the other side of the park in Frontierland. The wildest ride in the wilderness, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a rootin’, tootin’ journey on a runaway mine train. One of the most kid-friendly roller coasters at Disneyland, this is a great place to start for budding adrenaline junkies who want to be like dad.
All that excitement is sure to make you hungry. So, stop by Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes in Downtown Disney District afterward to indulge in some over-the-top eats. While the burgers here are fully loaded with unique ingredients like marinara sauce and fried mozzarella or onion rings and barbecue sauce, the massive shakes are equally as decadent, featuring an array of topping like Fruity Pebbles, Strawberry Pop Tarts, Laffy Taffy and a Fruity Pebbles Krispy Treat. Talk about the ideal ending to an over-the-top day!
For the Star Wars Nerd
Has dad always wished he could travel to a galaxy far, far away? Then you’ll definitely want to take him to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland. After all, what better place to go for Father’s Day than a land inspired by a franchise with one of film’s most famous dad-related movie lines? You know the one: “Luke, I am your father.” Here, Star Wars fans can explore Black Spire Outpost, a thriving Outer Rim town on the Planet Batuu.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is the headlining attraction of this Star Wars land, where intergalactic travelers join the Resistance on a special mission, only to be intercepted by a First Order Star Destroyer. Can your father and the rest of your family beat Kylo Ren and make it back to Earth safe and sound? Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is another must-do attraction. Whether your dad has dreamt of jumping in the driver’s seat of this famed spacecraft or is an avid gamer, he’s sure to get a kick out of this hands-on, interactive simulator ride.
To make his Father’s Day even more special, book him a reservation to build his very own lightsaber or droid. Savi’s Workshop is a highly choreographed merchandise experience similar to that offered at Ollivander’s wand shop in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where dad can customize a collector’s-quality lightsaber that he’s sure to cherish for years to come. Looking for something a little more affordable or playful? The Droid Depot offers a similar DIY activity on a simpler scale, which results in a Bluetooth-enabled droid. Which you choose, consider taking the whole experience one step further with Jedi robes from Black Spire Outfitters.
You can’t go to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and not dine on some appropriately out-of-this-world fare. Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo dishes up elevated fast-food dishes with intergalactic flair. Think Endorian Fried Chicken Tip-Yip with roasted vegetable potato mash and a green gravy. Afterward, finish it off with some blue milk from the Milk Stand or, for something a little more grown-up, a stellar cocktail from Oga’s Cantina, a watering hole inspired by the iconic cantina scene from the original Star Wars films.
But that isn’t the only Star Wars-themed fun available at Disneyland. You can also take a guided tour through the galaxy over in Tomorrowland on Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. Since the scenes featured in this attraction are completely randomized, this 3D simulator attraction is different every time. So, feel free to ride it again (and again) if you like.
Well, that brings our guide to a Disneyland Father’s Day to a close. Fortunately, each of these activities can be done throughout the year. So, even if you aren’t spending Father’s Day at Disneyland Resort, you can always use these ideas another time to help celebrate dad’s birthday or another special occasion. Have you Disneyland for Father’s Day? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how you can save on your next trip to Disneyland with our discount Disney tickets.