Let’s be honest. Those of us who live within driving distance of Disneyland in Anaheim, California may sometimes become a bit jaded when it comes to the original iconic amusement park. So rather than crank out “the same ol’ same ol’” that you can read elsewhere we decided on a new approach.
We decided to look at Disneyland through the eyes of a newcomer. We decided to see the theme park through the eyes of people from far away places. After some online research and some in-person interviews, here is a new point of view on things to do at Disneyland.

The Fire Department

Upon entering the park, be sure to look for the Fire Department. Look at the second floor. There is a light in the window that was once part of Walt Disney’s apartment.
Disney wanted to watch over the construction of the park. He kept the apartment when it opened in order to watch as people poured into the place. The light has remained lit since his death in order to keep his spirit there.

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Disneyland Railroad

Many newbies suggested riding the steam-powered Disneyland Railroad first. The 18-minute ride allows you to get your bearings and make your plans and it stops in different areas along the way too.

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Park Hopper Ticket

If you are traveling in a group and are spending time in the area consider purchasing a 10-day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Ticket. It might not be available to everyone but worth researching if this is a rare visit for your group. First-timers from outside the US report that even with that pass they were not able to do everything in both parks (Disneyland and Disneyland California Adventure Park).


When a visit to Disneyland is perhaps a rare or even once in a lifetime thing FASTPASSES are a big deal. Just use your park ticket with the FASTPASS machines and you will be ready to go. (Terms and conditions do apply.)
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Themed Lands

There are a total of nine areas within Disneyland:

  • Adventureland
  • Critter Country
  • Fantasyland
  • Frontierland
  • Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Mickey’s Toontown
  • New Orleans Square
  • Tomorrowland
  • (Note: As you read this Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge should also be open.)

The bottom line is there is a lot to do and only so much time in which to do it.
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Character Experiences

A special rare visit to Disneyland should also include meeting the characters from your favorite Disney books, TV shows, and movies. While many people settle for photographs with Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse, the fact is you can also get their autographs. Many of the park’s stores (and Downtown Disney) sell autograph books if you have not brought one for your visit to California.
Children from other countries especially recommend this as it provides an additional souvenir of their special visit. It is also suggested that if you are truly interested in meeting as many characters as possible in an effective manner that you download the Disneyland app for your smartphone. It will help you locate your personal favorites.

Often characters can be found in the area related to their adventures. For example, Captain Jack Sparrow can often be found hanging out in Adventureland or New Orleans close to the popular Pirates of Caribbean ride. (Note: the powers that be have been considering closing that ride for reasons not worth noting here.)
Be sure to watch for any posted schedules, too. It’s always a good idea to see the most popular characters as early as possible to avoid long(er) lines. Recent visitors from Australia and New Zealand waited “about an hour” to shake hands with Mickey Mouse in his house in Toontown.

They were not upset though because there were many interactive displays throughout the house that kept them busy while they waited. The meeting was memorable. They were also quite happy to meet Minnie Mouse, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto in Toontown too.
Veteran visitors also suggest a character breakfast. You can see numerous character in one place and there’s no standing in line. The characters come right to your table. To save time you can purchase character breakfast tickets when you buy your admission tickets.
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Buying Disney Souvenirs

One classic (if not downright “must buy”) souvenir is a pair of mouse ears. Mickey or Minnie ears are nigh iconic. Those in the know suggest two popular stores for autograph books, ears, t-shirts and so forth:

  1. World of Disney (Found in Downtown Disney)
  2. Elias & Co. (Found in Disney’s California Adventure Park)

(Note: First timers and other special visitors can get a free pin from City Hall if you find yourself unexpectedly low on funds.)
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Disneyland Parades, Shows, And Fireworks

Fantasmic! Light Show

The Fantasmic! Light Show can be seen in New Orleans Square. Some international visitors went online to find the least expensive Disney dinner deal. For $35.00 they scored dinner and reserved seating for this show.

They were satisfied with the meal, garnered seats close to the front and spoke highly of the lights and special effects too. They caught the first show and were able to hang around long enough to see the light displays on the river and the fireworks over the castle as well.
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Disneyland Parades

Another classic “must see” activity is a Disneyland parade. Just like the fireworks shows, there are a number of different presentations and which parade is current could change by the time you read this. They generally travel down the Fantasyland corridor or central Main Street.

As this goes to press, the highlight is Mickey’s Soundsational Parade which replaced a Pixar parade. Reportedly a celebration of both color and music, the featured floats are representative of some of Disney’s classic films and include music genres from across the globe. You’ll see stiltwalkers, costumed dancers, musicians and of course a number of popular Disney characters.



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