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Top 10 Must Do's at Disneyland

Disneyland, known as the “Happiest Place on Earth” is the original park which Walt Disney opened for both children and adults. Originally, Walt Disney wanted to call the park “Mickey Mouse Park” or “Disneylandia” and later settled on Disneyland. Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955 with 18 rides and attractions including Autopia, Disneyland Railroad, Jungle Cruise, King Arthur Carrousel, Peter Pan and the Mad Tea Party. The five original lands that opened were Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and of course, Main Street USA. 

Presently, Disneyland Park consists of nine themed “lands” and 52 attractions (including 49 rides). The nine themed lands are Main Street, USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Critter Country, New Orleans Square, Mickey’s Toontown and Galaxy’s Edge. Here are the top 10 things I love to do while visiting Disneyland.

10. Meet Characters
Characters are roaming around the park, unlike Disney World. You can find them walking around stopping and interacting with guests of all ages. Around the entrance of Main Street, USA, you can find Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, Chip & Dale.

In Fantasyland, you’ll usually find the princesses, villains and other characters. While you walk towards Fantasy Faire (by the Royal Theatre) you’ll find some princesses like Rapunzel, Snow White, and Cinderella. While we were waiting for the performance, we saw Gaston and the Genie.

Looking for Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger? You can usually find them in Critter’s Country by the attraction, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. To take a picture of Pooh, you’ll have a line but Tigger will usually be roaming the park.

The best chance you’ll have in taking a picture with Mickey and Minnie will be in Toontown. You can tour the houses of both Mickey and Minnie and take a picture with each of them at the end of the tour.

9. Eat Snacks
Disneyland is known for many snacks to choose from so it’s hard to pick just one. The Mickey shaped beignets are a favorite. They are usually sold at Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square but it’s closed at this moment with the construction of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. You can, however, find Mickey shaped Beignets and funnel cakes at Hungry Bear Restaurant nearby. Dole Whip can be found at Tiki Juice Bar in Adventureland. Grab a corn dog at the Little Red Wagon and a snack at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe.

8. Matterhorn Bobsleds
Exclusive to Disneyland Park, the Matterhorn Bobsled attraction was opened on June 14, 1959. Go up 80 feet into the ice cave where the Abominable Snowman is waiting for you. Experience small drops in a 6-person bobsled. You can go on two tracks, one on the Fantasyland side and the other on the Tomorrowland side. This is a popular ride so make sure you get on it early in the morning. I like to ride this attraction at night.

7. Indiana Jones Adventure
The Indiana Jones Adventure ride opened on March 4, 1995 and was recently refurbished this year. Travel through the Temple of the Forbidden Eye in a twelve vehicle jeep as you pass different traps and obstacles while avoiding the eyes of Mara.
6. Haunted Mansion
Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is located in New Orleans Square. The mansion was inspired by the Shipley-Lydecker House in Baltimore. It opened on August 9, 1969. If you dare, guests board a Doom Buggy to tour this haunted home. You'll pass through the ballroom and cemetery as you visit the home of 999 ghosts. It’s more entertaining than scary.

5. “it’s a small world”
This attraction appeared in the 1964 New York’s World Fair and moved to Disneyland shortly after. “The happiest cruise that ever sailed” is located in Fantasyland and shows guests about different cultures around the world that sends a message of peace and unity throughout the world. Mary Blair, a female artist that worked at Walt Disney World, helped create the design and provided the color ideas for this attraction. Richard and Robert Sherman composed the classic song “It’s a Small World (After All). The ride officially opened on May 28, 1966. In 2009, Disney characters made their appearances inside of the attraction. The cruise lasts for 10 minutes and features 300 dolls from around the world.
4. Peter Pan’s Flight
Peter Pan’s Flight was part of the opening day attractions in July of 1955 with every intention that the guest was to fly through the ride as Peter Pan. Unfortunately, this didn’t work with the guests as they were looking for Peter Pan in the ride. A new version opened in May of 1983 which is the same version that one can see today. Fly over London in a pirate ship past Big Ben and Tower Bridge to the magical world of Neverland.
3. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance & Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
Galaxy’s Edge is the home of both Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Galaxy’s Edge opened on May 31, 2019 with one ride, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Fly the Millennium Falcon as part of a smuggling mission. Jump into hyperspace as a pilot, gunner or engineer towards an adventurous mission.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened on January 17, 2020. Guests are caught in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. While on the attraction, the transport is captured by a First Order Star Destroyer filled with stormtroopers. The Resistance fighters meet you to try to escape.
2. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway officially opened on January 27, 2023 as part of Disney100 Celebration and the reopening of the beloved Toontown. With Goofy as the engineer, you can follow Mickey and Minnie’s adventure. The ride starts with Mickey and Minnie preparing for the “Perfect Picnic” where they meet Goofy and go on adventure in a runaway train.
1. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad & Space Mountain
I couldn’t decide between Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain so I chose both. The “Wildest Wild in the Wilderness” opened on September 2, 1979. Big Thunder is located in Frontierland. The story brings you through the 1800s during the time of the Gold Rush. Miners made a railroad to transport the gold but they didn’t know the mountain was cursed by Big Thunder!

Space Mountain opened on May 27, 1977 as an indoor rollercoaster. It’s the second roller coaster built in Disneyland. Travel through space as you navigate through a space station to Mission Control.

Honorable Mention
Wondrous Journey Fireworks
No trip would be complete without seeing the Wondrous Journey fireworks show. This fireworks show celebrates 100 years of Walt Disney Animation Studios and company. During the fireworks show, it takes us on a journey of 61 films that were released during that time. Don’t miss out!

Elisa Mendoza
Elisa loves helping others create magical memories with their family and friends. You can email Elisa at


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