Where it all began: Disneyland California was introduced to the world on July 17, 1955 as a single park in Anaheim, California. It then significantly expanded and was renamed Disneyland Resort with the addition of Disney California Adventure Park.
Walt Disney himself said at the time; “I think what I want Disneyland to be the most of all is a happy place – a place where adults and children can experience together some of the wonders of life, of adventure, and feel better because of it.” These words are the basis and values of all the parks across the globe, with this original Disneyland beginning the legacy.
Sleeping Beauty Castle stands at the centre of Disneyland California, surrounded by eight extravagantly themed lands. ‘New Orleans Square’ is a charming little district, with streets inspired by the US city in the 19th century, while ‘Critter Country’ (below) is a rustic land housing rides such as the famous (and very wet) ‘Splash Mountain’, and ‘Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes’ where visitors can paddle around the Rivers of America.
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The not-to-be-missed ride is, of course, the original ‘Space Mountain’ rollercoaster, which can be found in ‘Tomorrowland’. We also highly recommend the spectacular fireworks show (below) which happen behind the castle at night, complete with Tinkerbell flying through the air.
Great news for Starbucks fans: Disneyland California has its own unique Disney-themed Starbucks. There’s nothing more Californian than ordering a Churro Frappuccino and wandering around in flip-flops. There are also souvenir location mugs available to purchase.
Disney California Adventure Park
Disney California Adventure Park stands adjacent to Disneyland Resort and has a more grown-up feel including ‘Ariel’s Cove’ which serves up delicious cocktails alongside signature dishes such as lobster nachos. ‘Cars Land’ (below) is not to be missed: guests can ride a life-sized ‘car’ from the Pixar films of the same name, on an epic test track called ‘Radiator Springs Racers’. Smile for the camera at the end for your souvenir photos.
Another highlight is ‘Mickey’s Fun Wheel’, a unique Ferris wheel in ‘Paradise Pier’ that’s more thrilling than it first appears. It is the icon of the park.
One of the major perks of Disney California Adventure is the wait time for characters, even the most popular ones. Meet and greet opportunities appear in abundance and from our experience, the wait is usually around half that or even less compared to overseas parks, freeing up more time for rides. For example, we lined up for just 15 minutes on a weekday to shake hands with Mickey Mouse.
Another way to make the most of your day at this and all Disney Parks is to obtain a Fast Pass. These are issued at key attractions free of charge; guests take a ticket and return at a later time during an hour-long window in order to join a shorter line and getting to ride within ten minutes.
For tickets, hours and directions, visit: www.disneyland.disney.go.com/destinations/disneyland.
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.