I love Disneyland, but I don’t have an Annual Pass and I don’t get to go often. Instead, I live vicariously through Disneyland blogs and Instagram posts. Because I have fallen in love with the scenery of Disneyland more than the physical experience of Hyperspace Mountain and the Haunted Mansion, I have my very own Disneyland To-Do List that I stick to instead of waiting in long lines with screaming babies and sweaty people (both similar to myself haha). Here are some suggestions if you also do not like rides and want to enjoy Disneyland’s visual experience.
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1. Pay your respects to Mr. Walt Disney at the Fire Station (where the lamp light that always shines), and his statute in front of the castle
You have to give credit to the man who literally created the happiest place on Earth and decided to share it with the world.
2. Eat a beignet
You haven’t actually experienced Disneyland if you haven’t eaten a beignet at the Mint Julep Bar.
3. Disneyland-watch at the Mint Julep Bar
The patio area is perfect to look at the river, Adventureland, the hundreds of people making a beeline from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride to the Haunted Mansion, and listen to bands play outside New Orleans Square. The covered patio is very spacious and shady, and you can also Disneyland bird watch, but don’t feed them the extra powdered sugar from your beignets because they live in Disneyland and that’s enough for them. Also powdered sugar is probably not good for them.
4. Grub on everything from the Cozy Cone Motel in California Adventure
Dill pickle popcorn? Count me in. I have heard that their Chili Cone Queso snack is really good, too. Just bask in the glory of Cars Land, because it’s super cool to actually feel like you’re in Radiator Springs. Cars Land at dusk is the perfect place to be because the light reflects off the rocks and it looks so beautiful. This is me enjoying Dill pickle popcorn for the very first time. The first time I went to Cars Land I was with my Dad and we were both too tired to walk around it, but this time I walked all the way through it, saw the 3-hour line for the Cars ride, and kept walking to Pacific Wharf. There’s just something about Cars land.
5. Just basically get a Park Hopper to eat in California Adventure
I have found that their food is less fancy-shmancy (besides Carthay Circle), and on super hot days when I have been walking around a lot, I like to sit down in a casual place to eat and not feel like my grodyness is ruining the fanciness of the restaurant. Some day I will avoid getting a little sweaty at Disneyland and have a nice meal at the restaurants in New Orleans Square, but the last few times I have gone I was busting missions to meet characters and see shows and I felt too tired and gross. Maybe this Halloween! My favorite place to eat in California Adventure is a make-your-own-burger place to the left as you enter California Adventure. I cannot find the name for the life of me but I promise it is there and it is decent and I love it.
6. Watch Mickey and the Magical Map
Mickey and the Magical Map is the show for Disney fans who wish Pocahontas and Mulan were more featured in the park because… get this… Pocahontas and Mulan are featured in the show! It is a live-action short musical where the dream team, MULAN, POCAHONTAS, TIANA AND STITCH (plus Sebastian, Rapunzel, and Mickey Mouse) come out and sing some classic songs like “Reflection,” “Just Around the River Bend” (and of course there is a story about Mickey being a painter, yeah yeah). PRO TIP: SIT IN THE MIDDLE. Streamers fall at the end of the show and everyone in the audience who is not a first-timer are so aggressive with collecting those streamers.
Here, my childhood dream of seeing Pocahontas and Mulan IRL came true. I almost cried. (If you’re really into the live portrayal of Disney princesses, read up on Disney and race casting before you go to Disneyland. It might make you think during shows like Mickey and the Magical Map.)
7. Buy your merchandise from World of Disney during the day
This might not fit in your schedule, but I have found that World of Disney has a thousand times more Disneyland merchandise than the tiny little store inside Disneyland. (Don’t get me wrong, I know the struggle of only being able to buy something from a specific shop inside the park – someone PLEASE buy me the giraffe Mickey Mouse ears – but World of Disney is so much better). What I love the most about World of Disney is that it has a great home section where you can plan the rest of your life around using Mickey Mouse-themed everyday things like kitchen towels and plates.
If you’re going to spend opening to closing inside Disneyland, you miiiight get a little bored. On a meal break, check out some cool Instagrams like Disneyland Celebrities and Disneyland Celebrity Sightings and see if you’re also sharing the day with someone famous. How cool would it be to be spinning in the tea cups and next to you, also spinning, is Jack Black? (That actually happened.)
Even if you are on a budget, make sure that at least one of the things you buy is an over-the-top snack from one of the eateries on Main Street. Maybe try one of those inedible-looking-but-gorgeous-looking candy apples, or an easier-to-eat dipped Rice Krispies treat. Either way, indulge yourself in these beautiful little snacks.
10. Start your own Disneyland Instagram page
If your party is spending their Disneyland time waiting in lines, go on a photography spree and create your own Disneyland Instagram (or heck, even blog!). Disneyland Instagrams are super cute, super inspiring, attract tons of followers, and are great to flip back through on rainy days. Look around at the tiny details you miss when you’re normally racing around the park.
I hope this list inspires you to try some new things at Disneyland, or possibly even give Disneyland a new chance if you have decided you hate it because of the rides. Tweet me if you go to Disneyland at @natblogs! I love seeing photos from Disneyland expeditions. Everyone has different favorite things to do!