There are over 50 rides, shows, parades, and other attractions in Disneyland. But there’s also a lot to do outside of the park in the rest of Southern California. We often hear from readers that only have one day to spend inside Disneyland, and they ask what they must see during their single day in the park. That’s not enough time to do everything, but in this post I’ll show you the 9 things you must do at Disneyland when you only have 1 day. Before you start planning your day at Disneyland, you should use our Disneyland crowd calendar to decide which day of your trip will have the lowest crowds. Then use one of our pre-made touring plans, or our personalized touring plan software, which is basically a cheat sheet on how to beat the crowds in the park and wait less in line.
Ride Indiana Jones Adventure
A must ride and one of Disney’s crown jewels. After walking through the elaborately decorated queue you load on to a troop-transport that takes you on a frantic ride through a cursed temple. Along the way you’ll encounter snakes, spiders, lava, rats, darts, a finally a giant rolling boulder.
The Indiana Jones ride is a Disney masterpiece—nonstop action from beginning to end with brilliant visual effects. Elaborate even by Disney standards, the attraction provides a level of detail and variety of action that make use of the entire Imagineering arsenal of high-tech gimmickry.
Indiana Jones Adventure is a very popular attraction. See it as early in the day as possible. Fastpasses will run out in the early afternoon on busy days.
If you’re searching for a last-minute holiday gift or a little something special to add to your own holiday wish list, TouringPlans is here to help! I compiled a list of what I think are some of the best gifts for those planning to visit the parks soon. And while holidays present the perfect gifting opportunity, most of these will work year-round for other celebrations like birthdays or anniversaries too.
Accessories for a Minion fan
Wearable Gifts – For a truly impressive gift, put your knowledge of their favorite character, attraction, or movie to good use. From custom t-shirts and mouse ears to lanyards and pins, there is an endless supply of fun things they can wear to the parks. Even better, there is an endless supply of online or local stores that sell these too, so finding something perfect while staying on budget shouldn’t be too hard.
Disney themed day-bags
Gear – There are certain items that almost every theme park vacationer likes to pack: poncho, day bag for the park, refillable water bottle, portable phone charger, hand sanitizer, and so on. Other items, like a toiletries bag, suitcase, or travel friendly snacks, are great ideas for travelers in general. Depending on the budget, you could pick just one item or put them together into a gift basket that will please any theme park vacationer.
Photo Package – Both Disney and Universal offer photo packages to capture those special vacation memories. Plenty of vacationers on tight budgets question whether the package is worth it, but receiving it as a gift can alleviate those worries. The price is discounted when purchased in advance, and they receive photo memories to cherish for years to come. It’s a definite win-win.
Today Disneyland Resort rolled out their first major update to their security screening procedures since the bag check tents were first added in 2001. Additional security has been added around the resort that will change the way you start your day at the parks. Read on to see everything you need to know about Disneyland’s new security procedures.
Mickey & Friends Parking Structure
The biggest change is that guests will be screened by security after they have parked their car at Mickey & Friends. Previously, guests would park their cars, hop on one of the Disney trams, ride to Downtown Disney, and then go through a security checkpoint before entering the esplanade between Disneyland and DCA.
Bird’s eye view of the new security area at Mickey & Friends.
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The Walt Disney Travel Company has released its 2017 planning DVD. The DVD is free to anyone who requests it. And even if you don’t have a DVD player (because it’s 2016, and who does?), signing up will get you a link to stream the content online.
The free DVD is a fun way to get excited for your upcoming vacation or even help you get your Disney fix if you don’t have a trip planned.
Check out this page for more information. And, hey, thanks for supporting the blog.
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Disneyland Snacks You Gotta Try! Longtime readers of the SATURDAY SIX know that we have a big case of the munchies going on 24/7. In fact, because of the articles on The 10 Gallon Challenge at Whispering Canyon and the E-Ticket milkshakes at Universal’s Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, this fine blog series is now the third leading cause of adult onset diabetes in America (and look out soda, we’re coming for you!) This week however we are gonna head across the country over to Guy Selga’s neck of the woods and check out the tasty treats at the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland. Despite having only two parks compared to our four here in Florida, the Disneyland resort is chock full of incredibly unique and delicious items that you can only get out in California. This week we are going to look at six of our absolute favorite snacks, so sit back, loosen your belt a couple notches, and let’s begin our list with…
# 6 Matterhorn Macaroon
The Matterhorn Macaroon in front of the fabled Matterhorn itself. (photo by Brandon Glover)
If you go to Disneyland and don’t stop by the Jolly Holiday Bakery to get a Matterhorn Macaroon, you’re doing it wrong. A coconut macaroon shaped like the iconic Disney mountain, topped with white chocolate, and sprinkled with powdered sugar on top for an awesome snow-like appearance, the Matterhorn Macaroon is ultimate in synergy between theme park attractions and snacks. Oh, and it just so happens to taste GREAT.
# 5 – Mickey Beignets
Mickey Beignet. (photo by Megan Stump)
Eventually we’ll be doing a blog on our favorite Mickey shaped food items, but one of our favorites is the sugary concoction found at the Mint Julep Bar or Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square (the latter of which serves them with dipping sauces.) We often find ourselves stopping by Port Orleans French Quarter just to grab some beignets here in Florida, so seeing them in the classic Mickey shape in Anaheim brings two of our favorite things together in one. Now that’s synergy we can get behind. Even better, Disneyland also offers flavored beignets such as pumpkin spice during Halloween and peppermint for the Christmas season.
Recently I wrote about the holiday characters found at Walt Disney World. Now it’s time to look at the holiday characters at the Disneyland Resort. While some holiday characters at Walt Disney World require extra cost for a hard ticket party, all of Disneyland’s holiday characters are available with regular park admission.
Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale all meet in their holiday sweater outfits in Town Square. Sometimes you may find them at the entrance to the park, but they mostly are all around the Town Square area. If you are looking for a specific character, I recommend asking a character attendant what time they will be out. In my experience, the Disneyland app character times have been completely wrong for the Town Square area, especially during my November trip.
Santa meets in Critter Country, where the Winnie the Pooh characters usually meet during the rest of the year.
Tomorrow, November 18, Disney is celebrating the main mouse’s birthday and Guests are invited to take part in the fun.
At Walt Disney World, to celebrate, Guests will be able to take part in a birthday edition of the Move It! Shake It! Dance and Play It! Street Party. At Disneyland, there will be a special pre-parade prior to the A Christmas Fantasy Parade to honor Mickey.
Guests are also invited to pick up a commemorative “Happy Birthday Mickey” button at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.
If you won’t be visiting one of the theme parks tomorrow, you can still celebrate Mickey Mouse’s birthday by watching ABC’s Good Morning America, as a new music video for the song, “What We Got” will debut. Everyone is invited to send their birthday wishes and show their celebrations by using the hashtag #HappyBirthdayMickey.
Wait times were up at Disneyland Resort last week, especially during the middle part of the week. Disneyland Park was mostly responsible for the spike with crowd levels two to three points higher than Disney California Adventure most days. Other than on the weekend, Disney California Adventure saw crowd levels no higher than a ‘3’ on our scale.
Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report:
We have video of the first full performance of World of Color Season of Light at Disney California Adventure. If you ask me, this show is a huge step up from the previous Christmas World of Color, Winter Dreams. It takes classic Christmas songs, dozens of clips from Disney and Pixar’s films, and mixes them with World of Color’s usual incredible water fountains. There’s a showstopping musical number featuring Goofy that uses “A Mad Russian’s Christmas,” which many Disney fans will know from The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Overall it’s a great show. Watch the video and be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube.
It’s crazy to think that after 15 years of existence Disney California Adventure finally has holiday offerings that rival Disneyland. It’s true. Not only are there a ton of things to experiance, but they’re all high in quality as well. This is a huge change from the days when a few wreaths and Santa clothes on some scarecrows were all the park got. The “Festival of Holidays” moniker is perfect because several different holidays are represented in the event, including Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas. An event like this that represents the diversity of California naturally fits in to Disney’s California-themed park. Lets go over some of the offerings:
Princess Elena’s Musical Grand Arrival
It may seem silly to lead off this post with a Disney princess but her popularity can’t be denied. Princess Elena is available to meet at Disneyland Resort for the first time, and she also has “musical cavalcade” to welcome her in. If you’d like to meet Elena you should make it a priority early in the day as her lines can quickly get long. She is located in the gazebo to the right of Paradise Garden Grill, near Goofy’s Sky School. As for her Musical Grand Arrival, it takes place on the walkway directly in front of Goofy’s Sky School. A group of dancers come out to Elena’s theme song and then the princess herself arrives on a float. The rest of the show is made up of a series of songs, sung by Elena. The show lasts 12 minutes. There isn’t a lot of room for guests to watch this show, so if it’s on your itinerary be sure to show up about 20 minutes early to grab a prime spot.
Elena’s Musical Grand Arrival Video:
Food & Wine Festival returned to DCA earlier this year and was a huge hit so Disney has brought the same booths back for the holiday season. This time a whopping 14 booths selling a variety of cultural holiday food can be found throughout the park. While the food is good quality it does not come cheap. Most of the savory items, such as the Roasted Turkey Slider from the Winter Sliderland booth, or Chicken & Potato Curry from Spice Salutations range in price from $7 and up. These are not full meals, but samples that can be finished in a couple of bites. For example, one of the dishes is a $8.50 shrimp cocktail that includes TWO SHRIMP. Sarah, Tom Bricker and I sampled some items, but we stuck to the desserts. Festival desserts are as small as the savory food options, but cost $4 to $6 each.