Time in Disneyland is precious and there’s so much to see and do. These are simply the highlights of my two days at Disneyland.
Meeting the Character Residents
For me, a key attraction of going to Disneyland (as opposed to other theme parks) is that there are characters roving about the park. You might find them wandering around, or in some cases, visit them at their home. Meeting your favorite Disneyland characters isn’t difficult, but you’ll probably have to wait in a line.
For classic characters like Minnie or Mickey, you may go to their home which has many things to occupy your time while you wait. For instance, Minnie’s home has a refrigerator full of her favorite food (cheese and ice cream), a dressing table, a small bed, and a cake in the oven that inflates when you fiddle with the controls. You get to meet Minnie outside her home in the back garden, where there is a structure ensuring the lighting is good. I decided to visit Minnie Mouse at her home in Toontown.
Disneyland is a big park and there are many characters. I used the Disneyland Mobile App to learn who is going to be at the park, when, and where. Additionally, many of the classic characters appear in places other than their homes, and the lines I observed for them were shorter, the tradeoff of course being you have a small window of time to meet them at their scheduled location.
I think the characters in full costume suits are the most fun to meet. I had a great time dancing with Louis and Minnie had some awesome poses she wanted to do.
Riding the Rides
Of course it’s not just about visiting the characters, after all, Disneyland is an amusement park! When planning your ride strategies, it is important to keep in mind that some of them break down frequently. I had no idea broken rides may be a concern or perhaps even routine. Our first day on the Disneyland side was all about experiencing the various ride attractions that were important to us. We started the day with Space Mountain which experienced a problem while we were on it. Due to the problem, the ride was stopped, the lights came on, and we waited for a cast member to come push our car the rest of the way down the track with the lights on and at a slow speed. We were told we could have a complete ride experience before exiting, so we went again. Later that day, we almost didn’t get to do the Indiana Jones Adventure (which breaks down frequently) because when it was our turn to use the FASTPASS® the ride was broken. It reopened and we finished up our ride just as the first fireworks were starting over the castle.
The Disneyland Band performs your favorite Disney Tunes at various locations throughout the park. It’s an absolutely fabulous show you be sure to not want to miss. The castle makes for the perfect backdrop to remind you exactly where you are in case you got distracted from that for a second. Full disclosure: I love instrument only versions of songs that are performed by a band or orchestra.
Eat inside a Ride
Blue Bayou Restaurant serves up Cajun and Creole themed food next to the bayou featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride. The food is tasty, and it’s not every day you get to eat inside a ride! This is truly a one of a kind experience and you’ll be impressed how lifelike those animatronics work whether you’re on the dining side or enjoying the ride. Reservations are highly recommended by Disneyland and can be booked up to 60 days prior to your scheduled trip.
A treat that is worth waiting in line for, don’t miss the pineapple soft serve is available in front of the Tiki Room. Bonus, you are permitted to take it inside with you and watch the show. Since the shows start every 10 minutes you won’t be waiting too long.
Disneyland has Fireworks over the Castle. You need to plan to stay to watch these in the park at least once during your visit because it’s truly magical. You don’t have to be in the park to see them, but there is a soundtrack played through the viewing area, and video projections on Sleeping Beauty Castle that go impressively well with the fireworks, so you won’t get the full experience watching them from Downtown Disney or in the security cleared area outside the gate.