If you’re headed to the Happiest Place on Earth and are wondering what you should do while you’re there, we’ve got you covered. While it seems like the list is endless and you can’t do it all in one go, there are always the must-do’s that are sure to make your trip to Disneyland the best. So if you’re wondering what to do at Disneyland, here are the top 10 things we recommend:
1. Eat a Dole Whip
You’ve probably heard of them before but if you haven’t a Dole Whip is a very delicious treat with origins to Disneyland. The pineapple soft serve is a classic and can be purchased at two locations in the parks. The first is the Enchanted Tiki Room stand via mobile order only. The second location is just around the corner near the exit of Jungle Cruise at The Tropical Hideaway.
We love the original pineapple flavor by itself or as a float with pineapple juice. At the Tropical Hideaway you can get it in a few different flavors including Raspberry, Watermelon and Mango.
2. Ride The Disneyland Railroad
This is a fantastic way to see all of Disneyland Park including all of its lands and some special behind the scenes stuff as well. While you’re on your journey you’ll learn things about the park that you never knew. One of our favorite parts of the ride is when you travel back in time to the age of the dinosaurs!
The Disneyland Railroad was a favorite of Walt’s and at one point was even owned by him personally until the Walt Disney Co. could purchase it. The Grand Tour starts at the Main Street station and loops around the entire park with stops in New Orleans Square, Toontown and Tomorrowland.
3. Watch Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
An often over-looked show, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is a show that was put together by Walt himself. The audio-animatronic used for Mr. Lincoln was a first of its kind and paved the way for so much of the animatronics we see today in the parks. The show lasts about 20 minutes and is a depiction of Abraham Lincoln’s life from before and during his presidency.
The theater is located at the beginning of Main Street in Town Hall next to the Disney Gallery. It’s a nice quite place to take in a classic and even a great place to cool off on a hot day. Plus you’ll be able to see a massive model of the Congress building and other Disneyland memorabilia.
4. Walk Through New Orleans Square
There’s a good chance you’ll be doing this anyway to access attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. However, take time to walk up and down the streets, visiting all the shops, restaurants and just overall aesthetics of the land. Disneyland is the only park you can find this land and it was built to replicate New Orleans down to the lamp posts and railings.
When the land was opened, the then New Orleans Mayor came to cut the ribbon with Walt. Since then the land has grown into many shops, attractions and fantastic places to eat! They even decorate the place during Mardi Gras which is a can’t miss.
5. Eat a Churro
Nobody makes churros like Disneyland. Freshly baked and seasoned to perfection, these are a can’t miss item in the parks. You’ll soon see that there are churro stands all over the place and that you can’t escape the smell. So give into temptation and buy one. You won’t regret it!
While we are fans of the original churro, there are offering of seasonal flavors and dips that are also quite good. There rotate throughout the year but each stand typically carries the original churro and a seasonal one. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside is just how we like em’!
6. Ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
We could list a lot of attractions but we’re assuming that you already have plans for most so our list only includes a few. Big Thunder Mountain is one of them. It’s the wildest ride in the wilderness and a must-experience.
Your train ride includes ups and downs, high speeds, turns, red rock, waterfalls and so much more. It’s the perfect coaster for most ages and is sure to put a smile on your face. Be sure to ride the attraction at night at well for a different experience!
7. Watch World of Color
Nothing moves us more than the nighttime spectacular of World of Color. Lights, color, water fountains, music and tales as old (and new) as time. See your favorites Disney films come to life on a massive water stage in so many fun ways!
Be sure to grab a reservation via the Disneyland App for a showing over at California Adventure Park. It plays each night after dark and many times there are more than one showing. Some section of the viewing area can get wet so if that’s not part of your plans, stay back a bit. We promise you’ll walk away from this show feeling magical!
Be sure to see our best viewing areas for the show as well.
8. Ride Pirates of the Caribbean
It was the last attraction Walt worked on personally and is one of the most iconic attractions in the world. There is a Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at every Disney Resort throughout the world; and for good reason. And while all of them tell a familiar story, the Disneyland one is better than the rest.
With two fantastic drops, sightings of Jack Sparrow and pirate mischief, this attraction is great for all ages to enjoy. We highly recommend riding it first thing in the morning as the line tends to be short then compared to the afternoon and evening.
9. Meet Mickey and the Gang
No visit is complete without saying hi to the mouse that started it all and his friends. So jump in line to get your photo and a personal interaction with Mickey or another of your favorite characters!
You can typically catch them at the beginning of Main Street U.S.A. or around Toontown. Over at California Adventure Park you can catch them around Buena Vista Street. Photopass photographers are usually happy to take photos of you with your own phone so be sure to ask. Characters can also sign autographs if you bring a book and pen.
We have a fantastic guide to characters at Disneyland that you may want to check-out.
10. Watch the Disneyland Fireworks
There’s no better way to end your day at Disneyland Park than with a fireworks show. Standing in front of the castle is the best place to see them. You’ll want to get there early for a good viewing spot. Watch for projections on the castle, music and of course the fireworks themselves.
See sure to check the times guide on the Disneyland app for the days and times that it will be playing and see our best viewing areas guide. To enhance your experience, grab an ice cream from Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor! Ice Cream and fireworks is the perfect pairing!