One place that I absolutely love, but haven’t written much about is Disneyland. I grew up about an hour away, and while we only went every couple of years as a family, in college a handful of us got season passes and I fell in love.
For me, it is an amazing escape to sneak away from the real world. Have some fun with good friends, eat some tasty food, and laugh a lot.
The Disneyland Resort has so much to offer, and I’ll put together a full “Things to do” list one of these days, but often folks don’t think of everything the resort has to offer outside of rides. I love rides, whether it’s speeding on California Screaming or floating through Small World.
With that, I know not everyone does, and that means you might not instantly think of Disneyland for your next destination, but there is so much more than the parks have to offer. For more of my tips on what to do at Disneyland Resort click here.
Whether you love rides or hate them here are a handful of things you can’t miss at the Disneyland and California Adventures that aren’t rides.
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Pineapple Dole Whip
I’ll make up a foodie list for the resort one of these days, but the one food item I have to add to the list is Pineapple Dole Whip. The only other place you can get this is at the Dole Plantation in Hawaii. It is the perfect texture, like sorbet but smoother.
The flavor is to die for. And on a warm day, it is the best treat you can find in the park. It is my must have in Disneyland. You’ll find it right next to the Tiki Room.
Jedi Trials of the Temple (An Update To Jedi Academy)
If you enjoy Star Wars you have to stop by the Jedi Trials of the Temple. This is the updated version of the Jedi Academy. Now I would like to complain that it isn’t fair that they didn’t have this when I was a kid and by the time they started it I was “too old” to participate.
With that disappointment out of the way, the interactive show is a blast to watch and kids eat it up. Star Warts villains and heroes come out and kids visiting the park have the chance to have a lightsaber battle. Defeat Darth Vader or The Seventh Sister.
Walk Sleeping Beauty’s Castle
That is right, there is a pathway through the castle you can take and follow the story of Sleeping Beauty. It is a beautiful walk with a wide array of details from the story.
Disney California Adventures
Wine Tasting at Wine Country Trattoria
Yes, I would be the person who finds wine tasting at Disney, but what other way should you stop in your afternoon to relax and enjoy a little more of what California has to offer.
The food is great at the Trattoria, so either grab a meal or walk up to the wine bar and try out a flight of wine. Plus it is one of the few places you can get your hands on Lasseter Family Winery wines, yes as in John Lasseter the head of Disney/Pixar Animation.
Watch Cars Land Get Lit Up
Cars Land is an amazing world in itself. The only way to describe it is you feel as if you just walked onto a movie set for the films, and yes even though it was animated they make it emerge right around you. Make sure you walk around, but if you can stand just outside and watch as the sun sets and watch them turn on all the neon.
Frozen – Live at the Hyperion
Earlier this summer the live Frozen show opened to rave reviews. I’ve only heard good things from friends and family. And even though I’m not huge on the shows and parades at the park, Aladdin was one you shouldn’t miss and sounds like Frozen may be even better. It was much closer to a Broadway show than a theme park attraction.
Explore the Animation Building
This is something I used to pass on, but the more I’ve explored it the more it has become a must do. My favorite two attractions in it are The Animation Academy where you get taught how to draw a character by an animator, my favorites have been Olaf and the Cheshire Cat.
You also can’t miss Turtle Talk with Crush. Having a conversation with a sea turtle is just too much fun. We tried to get him to help us figure out what to do after graduating college once even, although honestly, he wasn’t much help.
World of Color – Get a FastPass
The other evening show at the Resort. World of Color highlights classic Disney movie moments, new favorites, lights, water and music into an amazing show. Unlike Fantasmic where you just show up, for World of Color, you want to do one of two things.
Either grab a FastPass early in the day to get into a reserved area or there are “dinner packages” you can get. I haven’t tried them out but seem to be worth considering.
Keeping Your Eyes Open And Explore
There is no place more fun than Disneyland to people watch. From the adorable children to the interesting characters you see a little bit of everything at the parks. It’s a great way to pass time in line is watching all the people around you.
On top of that keep your eye out for hidden Mickey’s. You’ll find them on rides, in stores, and just about anywhere you look. If you want to go on a treasure hunt for them you can find a book in the stores highlighting them around the parks.
For more information about Disneyland check out these great books on Amazon including The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2017, Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Disneyland® Resort’s Best Kept Secrets, Fodor’s Los Angeles: with Disneyland & Orange County.
Traveling to Disneyland Soon?
What else do you enjoy doing at Disneyland and California Adventures that isn’t a ride that I might have missed? Leave a comment below.