17 Things You Can Only Do at Disneyland

Disney Parks have a variety of different experiences—from a smoking and growling dragon under the Parisian castle to the first-ever pirate-themed land in the soon-to-open Shanghai park—but Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, the original theme park, still offers unique experiences you won’t find in any other Disney park.

Sleeping Beauty Castle

1. You’ve never experience Space Mountain like this. This iconic ride went under a major refurbishment to include galactic sound effects and music, starry lights, and other special effects.


The Matterhorn

2. In other parks, you might take the monorail or boat from the “Transportation and Ticket Center” and then stop before the gates into the park. Not in California. Here, you board the Disneyland Monorail inside Downtown Disney and enter “the World of Tomorrow” directly.

3. Ride the oldies! Disneyland is the only U.S. park where you can ride classics like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Snow White’s Scary Adventures. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage was originally 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea but now boasts all your favorite characters from the blockbuster Pixar film.

4. Zoom on Gadget’s Go Coaster, join Indian Jones on an adventure through a collapsing temple, challenge the Mountain of Mountains (Matterhorn), learn with Pinocchio, and zip about in Toon Town with Roger Rabbit. You can’t do any of these on the East Coast.

5. In other parks, Fantasmic has its own arena but not in Disneyland, and that makes it even better. The show takes place on the Rivers of America and Tom Sawyer Island, so grab your seat in New Orleans Square or Frontierland early!

Related: Eureka! Top 10 Things to See and Do in California

6. All the best rides are super close. You want to ride Star Tours – The Adventure Continues, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Toy Story Mania, Space Mountain, The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Soarin’ Over California, It’s a Bug’s life, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, AND Turtle Talk with Crush? In California, you can find them all within walking distance of each other. Speaking of which…

Cars Land7. Walk to California Adventure. It’s literally right across from the entrance of Disneyland Park, and the short distance makes it super easy to bounce between parks.

8. See 1920s L.A. as Walt Disney experienced it when he arrived with the new “Main Street” in California Adventure. Don’t forget to ride a trolley car!

9. Experience the spectacular of light, water, and color with World of Color, now hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse! (The Bellagio has nothing on this show. Just sayin’.)

10. Sure, you might like princesses in your parade, but if you’re looking for the parade with the most fun, then you’ve got to see the Pixar Play Parade with water guns, balloons, and so much more. And you’ll be singing, “The Play, Play, Play—Play Parade” for the rest of the day and not hate it like “It’s a small world.” (Seriously.)

11. Mad T Party is a dance club like no other with neon lights, a jamming beat, and your favorite characters, inspired by Tim Burton’s take on Alice in Wonderland.

12. Disney Parks are known for their fantastic worlds, and Cars Land, new to California Adventure, is one of the most magical. You are literally sitting in Radiator Springs.

Cars Land

Cars Land

13. California Adventure allows you to enjoy the treasures of the Golden State, from the piers of San Francisco to the dazzle of Hollywood, and even to the vineyards of Napa Valley.

Related: What You Need to Know About Disneyland Resort’s Diamond Celebration

14. Another California perk: celebrity spotting. No doubt, Disneyland Park sees more celebrities than any other Disney park in the world.

15. Back in Disneyland Park, Disney Club 33 is the ultra exclusive club and lounge in New Orleans Square that supposedly cost more than $12,000 to join at Platinum Level. Want to be part of this? According to the L.A. Times, the wait-list is actually closed, but no worries. You’re still in New Orleans Square, which reminds me…

Walt's Apartment

Walt’s apartment, above the Fire Station

16. New Orleans Square is home to the Disney Dream Suite, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and Club 33. New Orleans Square was actually the first land to open without an attraction (Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion were added in 1967 and 1969, respectively), and the opening ceremony was Walt Disney’s last major public appearance before his death in December 1966, which leads us to…

17. Walk in Walt’s Footsteps. You absolutely cannot do this in any other park. While Disneyland Park has changed over the course of its 60 years, this was Walt’s vision, his dream, and his legacy. Though his name may be part of theme parks, his presence remains here more than 49 years after his death. Explore the world through his eyes with a specific tour about the man who created more than a park—he created an ideal.

Experience it for yourself during Disneyland Resort’s Diamond Celebration!

By Susie Reese


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About the Author

Susie_ReeseSusie Reese is a copywriter for FC USA Artworks. She loves to travel (you know it!) and has ventured extensively across North America. She enjoys short walks on the beach and comic cons. She writes On the Go: A Magazine for Travelers and on her free-time, comics and short stories.