As a longtime passholder and Disney blogger, I often am asked about my favorite things at Disneyland. Honestly. there are too many individual things to mention and they all add up to one indescribable feeling. There’s a certain something about walking through the park, it just makes you feel like you are at home. And that’s my real favorite thing about Disneyland. But for those of you interested in something a little more tangible, here are ten of my favorite things about Disneyland.
1. The Christmas decorations. Yes, the park is magical 365 days of the year, but it is even more beautiful when it is all decked out in its holiday finery.
2. Staying in the park until closing. Not going to lie, it’s been years since I’ve done this (I’m old now and I can’t hang like I used to), but it is one of the best things ever (when you don’t have kids with you). There are few feelings cooler than walking down a lit up and empty Main Street after a day at the Happiest Place on Earth. Back in my college days, my friends and I would watch the late showing of Fantasmic! and then sprint across the park to Space Mountain and get in line right before closing. By the time we got off the ride, the park was nearly empty, those were some amazing moments that I won’t soon forget.
3. Main Street. Yes, Main Street is gorgeous and the attention to detail is nothing short of spectacular, but really I love Main Street because you spend your first moments of a day at the park there and each time you walk down Main Street, it takes you back to all of the other trips and all the memories that have been created in the park.
4. Remember…Dreams Come True. Even though the fireworks show, created for the park’s 50th anniversary, is no longer playing, it will forever be one of my favorite shows. I legit cried when the show ended because it was such a magical experience. The show encompassed the history of the park and truly captured the spirit of Disneyland. I have my fingers crossed that the 60th fireworks show will live up to the precedent set by Remember…Dreams Come True!
5. Pirates of the Caribbean. I know I am not the only one who would put this ride on their Disneyland faves list. Pirates has been one of my favorite rides since I was a kid. For a long time, it was the first ride we rode upon arriving in the park. Nothing feels more like Disneyland than entering the Pirates building and smelling that Pirates smell.
6. New Orleans Square. Given that is home to one of my favorite rides (see above) it’s no surprise that New Orleans Square is one of my favorite places in the park. Of all the lands in Disneyland, to me it is the one in which you most feel like you are truly somewhere else. I love the shops, I love the food (hello clam chowder), I love the music (I did marry a jazz guy for a reason) and I love the ambiance.
7. The park (especially the castle) at night. When the park is all lit up in its blazing glory, it is one of the most beautiful sights ever. When I was a kid, it always felt like such a privilege to be in the park once it was nighttime and that magic has stayed with me even as an adult. It no longer means staying up past my bedtime, but it still feels just as special.
8. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. This one is a relatively new addition to the list. This ride wasn’t around when I was a kid, and I didn’t even ride it until a couple of years after it had opened. It became my favorite when I started dating my now husband. We have a competition on Buzz and Toy Story every time we visit the parks, and it has become “our” ride. (P.S. I don’t know what’s up with the scores in the picture, we are both awesome on this ride and typically don’t score less than 300,000. For reals.)
9. Staying at the Disneyland Hotel. It’s not a frequent occurrence, and I’m sure it will be even less so now that Squirt is here, but staying at the Disneyland Hotel is one of my favorite things in the world. It’s only thirty miles from my house, but it feels like a different world and I love being able to escape there. I love the pools, I love the decor (like this light-up headboard), and I love the memories–my husband and I spent our wedding night there after all.
10. Fantasmic! I still remember the first time I watched Fantasmic! that’s how incredible this show is. The show has been around for over twenty years and I’m sure I’ve seen it at least a hundred times, but each time I watch it, I feel the same way I did the first time. There are few displays that capture the magic of Disney like Fantasmic! does.
Not going to lie, it was hard to narrow down this list to just ten things. I could write a list of a hundred, I’m sure! What are your favorite things about Disneyland? Stay tuned for my California Adventure list, coming soon!