Disneyland opened its doors to the public on July 18, 1955. Since then over 500 million people visited the park from all over the world. It is considered the most visited park in the world, second only to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. If you really want to know the history, go to Wikipedia.
I live practically around the corner from the Disney Resort and spend a lot of time at the parks. I would like to share my experiences with you. Hopefully, this will make your visit more enjoyable.
The park is usually open from 9 AM to 11 PM, but times may vary. Go here for the latest schedule. Disney hotel guests can enjoy an extra hour of fun before the usual opening time.
The park is very large. It sits on 85 acres of land with 60 attractions in 7 themed lands. So it is very easy to get overwhelmed by all choice. To make your experience more enjoyable and stress-free, plan your visit by going to Disney’s website. The site allows visitors to filter for attractions by “Thrill Type”, “Interests” or “Age”. For example, you can choose “Big Drops”, “Slow Rides”, “Teens”, etc.
You can also download the new Disneyland mobile app which is very useful for locating rides and checking wait times.
Tip: Avoid going on the weekends and major holidays. Disneyland is a very crowded place during those times. Expect long lines.
So, what is the best way to enjoy Disneyland? It really depends on what you like and the ages of your kids – if any. Yes. you don’t have to have kids to enjoy Disneyland.
Here is one way to enjoy the park. It is most suited for a family with older kids (teens and pre-teens).
The main gate opens 15-30 minutes before the official opening time. Don’t forget to pick up your park map and entertainment schedule.
Tip: If you are staying at one of the Disney hotels, then your opening time is 1 hours earlier. Take advantage of this perk
Once the main gate opens rush through Main Street. Do not stop at any of the shops. There is plenty of time for shopping later. Go all the way to the ribbon and wait until the actual opening time.
As soon as they open the final obstacle between you and fun, rush to your first ride.
Tip: Some rides offer FastPass. It is a way to avoid long lines at some rides.
The Seven lands of Disneyland
Disneyland attractions are spread out among seven distinctive lands - each with a different theme, shops and dining places.
Star Wars - Galaxy's Edge
But after doing that and soaking the atmosphere of being inside the Star Wars movie, there was nothing left to do except indulge in buying trinkets or food.
Disneyland has plans to open a new ride at Galaxy’s Edge in January of 2020. “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” will put the riders right in the middle of a battle between the Storm Troopers and the Resistance.
Tomorrow Land has been my favorite theme for ages. Star Wars could replace it soon when the new attractions are open, but until then I will keep visiting this futuristic area full of thrills and discovery.
While here you must experience Space Mountain, Star Tours, Star Wars Launchpad and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Other attractions are Autopia and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Find all the attractions here.
New Orleans Square is a themed land based on 19th-century New Orleans. Along with nice riverfront restaurants, it offers two of the most popular rides: Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion.
The Disneyland Fireworks shows (like Fantasmic) are displayed across from the square on the Rivers of America. See the full details here.
Adventureland is designed to take the visitor to a tropical jungle full of surprises and adventure.
Go on a wild ride on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, climb a tree to Taraz's treehouse, or go on a Jungle Cruise. Read more here.
Frontierland recreates the era of trailblazers and pioneers in the wild west. Running through this land is “The Rivers of America” where steamboats, sail ships, rafts and canoes float by. Froentierland is also home to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and The Golden Horseshoe. Read more here.
Critter Country is a small area meant to resemble the woods, with a river, ducks and little critters running around. It is also home to the popular ride Splash Mountain and the rustic restaurant the Hungry Bear.
Fantasyland is home to Disney's fairy tales with Sleeping Beaty's castle, Peter Pan's Flight, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and many more family-friendly rides and shows. It is also home to one of the most popular rides ay Disneyland, It’s a small world. Read more here.
Mickey's Toontown is inspired by 1930s cartoons. The buildings, roads and rides all look cartoonish. It is targeted towards younger kids. If you have very young one, they will enjoy Gadget's Go Coaster and Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin. They can also visit Mickey Mouse house and Minnie Mouse house. Read more here.
Disneyland dresses up for the holidays with a huge Christmas tree, decorations, and colorful lights. As you enter the main plaza and look towards main street, you will be dazzled with the displays.
Sleeping beauty's castle gets special treatment too. Icicle like lights cascade from castle walls and spires, while next door a grand dance party is going on.
A special holiday parade starts from the main entrance plaza, through main, passes by the castle and ends up at "It's a Small World" ride. During our visit, a dance company also showed off their moves before the parade started.
It's a Small World transformed into holiday world with bright colorful lights outside and reimagined program inside. All the peoples of the world come together to celebrate this special time of the year.
Disneyland FASTPASS and other services
FastPass is a way to avoid long lines at some rides. For example, if you go to space mountain and find out that the wait time is too long, get a FastPass. It will specify an appointment time for you to come back. When you come back you go through a different line which is usually very short.
At Disneyland, you can find a meal for any taste and budget. You can get a snack or treat on the go or enjoy a sitdown meal at a restaurant.