I just arrived home after taking a trip to Disneyland with my friend Danielle to celebrate both of us graduating from seminary this year. We were a few weeks early, but they had a great sale on tickets and it was our only opportunity before she left for Greece and the insane summer crowds hit. It was such a fun trip!
The Disneyland Resort has been my husband and I’s go-to getaway since we were dating, so I’ve made perhaps 15 trips there since getting married 3 1/2 years ago. As such, I’ve done just about everything there is to do in Disneyland. My favorite things to do (and what I recommend to people visiting the park) are:
1. World of Color at Disney’s California Adventure. This is an amazing water/fire/light/music show. Think the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas on steroids. You have to get Fast Passes first thing in the morning to see the show in the preferred area (or pay waaaaay to much for dinner at a couple locations), but it is so worth it. As Danielle said, “Who thought of this?!?” It’s just that good.
2. Steakhouse 55 in the Disneyland Hotel. I called to make reservations at the Blue Bayou (aka the restaurant in the Pirates of the Carribean) for our first anniversary and the guy on the phone convinced me to try Steakhouse 55 instead. He was right. The food is amazing, the service great, it’s just a more upscale experience.
The Blue Bayou is fun ONE TIME just to say you ate there, but the food is way overpriced and you have very few selections of mediocre food. Steakhouse 55 costs a pretty penny, but you won’t regret it.
Side note: if you want to try the Monte Cristo sandwich for which the Blue Bayou is famous without the ridiculous prices, eat at the French Market Restaurant instead (also in New Orleans Square). Plus, you can get a mint julep there and enjoy the sunshine on the shaded patio.
3. Magic Mornings at Disneyland. A lot of multi-day tickets you get have one admission to Magic Mornings, which means you get in an hour before the park opens and rides in Tomorrowland and Fantasyland are open. I went for the first time this trip and kicked myself for missing out all this time. Basically, by going in an hour early, you miss the crowds for rides with notoriously long lines (e.g. Space Mountain and Peter Pan) and you get there before it is really hot!
This works especially well if you have kids, since they get up early anyway and you can leave for a couple hours in the middle of the day for nap time without feeling like you are missing out.
4. Aladdin in Disney’s California Adventure. This theatre production is on par with The Lion King theatre production, hands down. Oh, and it’s also free with park admission. It is really well done and a great way to rest your feet and hide from the sun in the hottest part of the day. The genie’s jokes are constantly changing to reflect pop culture, so the show continues to be funny and new. Arrive well before show time for the best seats.
5. A Walk in Walt’s Footsteps guided tour at Disneyland. Matt and I went on this tour on our honeymoon. This tour costs $60-ish a person, but it lasts a few hours, includes a meal, a commemorative pin, and you get to ride a few rides and go into the lobby of Club 33. It also usually includes a trip on the Lilly Belle, the caboose of the Disneyland Train, which is normally closed to guests of the park. You learn a lot about Disneyland on this tour, so it’s a must visit.
I didn’t mention any rides because you already know they’re awesome and hard to miss.
Also, make sure you talk to the cast members (employees). They will often give you good information and personal stories that make your trip the best ever.