Welcome to the Happiest Place on Earth! Opened in 1955, Disneyland has been entertaining visitors for over 60 years and as creator Walt Disney use to say “It all started with a Mouse”. That mouse would be Mickey Mouse of course, who is also joined throughout the park by his Disney pals Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, plus modern-day characters like Princess Tiana of Princess and the Frog, and Anna and Elsa of Frozen.
Disneyland is the original park within the Disney parks group that now span the globe to include Florida, Paris, and Hong Kong. It is also known as the “Magic Kingdom”, and definitely lives up to its name with magical experiences around every turn.
Disneyland is broken into eight themed lands, each bringing a unique set of rides, shows and resident characters:
MAIN STREET, U.S.A.
Here contemporary life gives way to the quaint and reassuring charms of turn-of-the-century America. It is the essence of hometown life that greeted the dawn of the 20th century.
This realm of exploration is a collage of the world’s far-off places and uncharted regions. Would-be explorers can discover the tropical magic of Polynesia (Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room), the wilds of Africa (Tarzan’s Treehouse), the exotic rivers of the world (Jungle Cruise) and the steamy jungles of India (Indiana Jones Adventure).
A robust panorama of America’s pioneer past, from the bustling riverfronts of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers of the late 1700s (Columbia Sailing Ship, Mark Twain Riverboat, Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island) to the dusty southwest deserts of the 1880s (Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Golden Horseshoe Stage).
NEW ORLEANS SQUARE
The Paris of the American frontier, the Crescent City as it was more than 150 years ago. Within its winding streets and quaint shops, elegance and charm mingle comfortably with Dixieland jazz, restless spirits (Haunted Mansion) and marauding buccaneers (Pirates of the Caribbean).
Things are “mighty satisfactual” in this shady glen, nestled in a lazy corner of the backwoods. Guests visiting this bend of the river can find their very own “Laughing Place” (Splash Mountain) as they witness the “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” antics of Brer Fox and Brer Bear as they try to outwit wily Brer Rabbit. Also residing in this land are Pooh and his many friends in the Hundred Acre Wood (The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh).
Enchanted tales of childhood adapted from classic Disney animated films come to life in this timeless realm of imagination. Within this magical Old World setting, guests can fly to Never Land (Peter Pan’s Flight), see an elephant fly (Dumbo the Flying Elephant), navigate an out-of-control motorcar (Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride) or attend a mad tea party (Alice in Wonderland).
Bursting with color and frenetic energy, this “town” is a 1930s Disney cartoon come to wacky life. From the bustle of downtown (Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin) to the charm of its residential neighborhood (Mickey’s House, Donald’s Boat, Chip ‘n Dale Treehouse), this civic hub is a slice of “reel” life.
This intriguing realm of imagination, discovery and wonder features a landscape of whirling spaceships (Astro Orbiter), zooming rocket vehicles (Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, Space Mountain) and racing roadsters (Autopia).
Also remember that next door to Disneyland Park is Disney’s California Adventure, and you’ll definitely want to see both if you have time. Disney offers a park hopper pass that allows you to bounce back and forth between both parks. Alternatively, you can get a pass that gives entry into each park per day while still offering some cost savings.
Just outside of the park gates is another experience of its known known as Downtown Disney where you will find a plethora of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. Dining options here include Rainforest Café, ESPN Zone, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, and many more. Popular shops include Ridemakerz where you can build your own custom remote-control car, a huge Lego store with all the shapes and colors of your imagination, a year round Christmas shop, and so many more. Downtown Disney is a free area right next to the gates of both parks and offers a tram to the front gates when you’re ready to head in (or back in) to the park.