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When we left off, we had covered a basic overview of everything you will encounter before entering the parks (including parking lots, bag check, and more) and we had done an overview of the lands of Disneyland Park. Before we leave Disneyland and head over to Disney California Adventure, we need to cover all of the Disneyland Entertainment options and magical extras.
Even if you are not a ride person, there is still a lot to do at Disneyland Park. From character dining, to shows, parades, and more, you could easily fill a day with non-ride attractions and events. I am going to try and cover everything, but Disneyland is constantly changing and adding new things, so be sure to check the park website for Disneyland Entertainment and Events.
Since there is so much to do, I will try and break it up by category. Some things fit into two categories, so don’t be upset if another site has it under Shows and I have it under Events.
UPDATE: Starting December 12, 2014 Fantasmic now has Fastpass viewing and Dining Packages similar to World of Color. Learn more HERE. Fantasmic will be closed during the construction of Star Wars Land beginning January 2016. Fantasmic will be returning Summer 2017. When we were there, we heard August.
Mickey and the Magical Map- This show just opened in 2013. It takes place in the Fantasyland Theater near It’s a Small World. In this musical experience, we go with Apprentice Mickey on a journey into a Magic Map as he tries to prove to Sorcerer Yen Sid that he is ready to be a mapmaker. You will experience lots of song and dance, and see some well-beloved Disney characters. We really enjoyed this show and I definitely think it is a must do. Be sure to check the park schedule for show times.Jedi Training Academy- Head to Tomorrowland and learn how to become a Jedi. In this show, audience members are chosen to train to become a Jedi and fight the dark side. The show takes place several times a day, so check the park schedule, and plan on staking out a seat about 20-30 minutes before the show starts, longer if you are going during peak season.
Captain EO- Rumor has it this 3D show will not be around much longer. It is located in Tomorrowland and features Michael Jackson. You will find it back by the exit for Space Mountain.
UPDATE: Captain EO has closed. Currently the theater is used for “The Path of the Jedi”
Disneyland has some great parades. Parades change themes often, but the last few years it has been Mickey’s Soundsational Parade (except during the Holiday Season). The parade USUALLY runs daily, sometimes 2 times a day, but this can vary depending on season and refurbishment and maintenance schedules. Be sure to check the park schedule to verify parade times. The parade travels down Main Street USA back It’s a Small World. Our family likes to sit at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe and either have ice cream or another snack while we watch the parade.
Main Street Electrical Parade
- Ask a Cast Member as you board the Mark Twain Riverboat if you can steer the ship. Not only will they let you (don’t worry, it is on a track) but you get a certificate after.
- First thing in the morning, head to the Main Street Station and ask if the Lily Belle is running. If so, you can see about reserving a time slot to ride on it. This is the special car named after Walt’s wife that was used for VIP guests. If you miss out on the Lily Belle, you can also ask for a tender ride which puts you right behind the engine.
- If you ride Winnie the Pooh at night, when there is little to no line, tell the cast member as you load the car that you want to get Sticky Stuck. When it is time to get off the ride, your lap bars will stay down and they will send you through again. Just don’t let your toddler know that you can ask them to do this, or you will end up going 10 times in a row (I learned this one the hard way).
- I have heard (but not tested it) that as you leave the Jungle Cruise you can ask for a map of the ride. This would make a great souvenir.
- If it is not too hot, Disneyland still allows you to ride in the front of the monorail. When you get to the loading area, ask a Cast Member where to go to ride in the front. You may have to wait for the next train, but it is worth it.
- Those vehicles on Main Street USA- yes, you can ride them.
- If your daughter is really into Princesses, check out Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. They can get a Princess makeover from a Fairy Godmother in Training. (This one does cost extra.)
- If the Mark Twain Riverboat is running, you can ask to steer it. We got to do this in September of 2015 before they closed it for the Star Wars Land construction. Hopefully this will still be an option when it reopens in Summer 2017
There is so much to do at the Disneyland Resort, you could easily spend a full week there, but most people find 2-3 days to be a good amount. No matter how many days you spend there, you will be able to find something for everyone in your group.
Next we will head over to Disney California Adventure.
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