Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Top 10 Not-So-Common Not to be Missed Things in Disneyland

by Dakota D

There is a lot of advice about what attractions not to miss when visiting Disneyland. It’s easy to figure out you need to visit Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Matterhorn, and a host of other attractions whose order will vary by individual. What if you are more into appreciating the subtleties of life, or just aren’t much into rides (even if they are called “attractions”)?

Here’s a “Do Not Miss” list for you:

1. Churros – delightful deep-fried donut-like pastries that are long and filled with cinnamon-sugary goodness.

2. The Penny Arcade on Main Street – old-time movie machines with flip-pictures and a light bulb, penny smashers for low-cost souvenirs, old-fashioned sports games that were precursors to pinball, and a fortune-teller.

3. Fantasmic! – Wonderful live-action water and light show put on, literally, on the Rivers of America. Great effects and wonderful music! (Beware - if you are very close to the river's edge, you may get wet.)

4. Mint Juleps – a no-alcohol version of the southern treat, served up in New Orleans Square.

5. The Disneyland Railroad – not only a great way to get around the park, but a relaxing way to unwind as you see glimpses of various lands. Look out for dinosaurs! (Don’t worry – nothing jumps out at you, it's just a diorama.)

6. Disney Dollars – trade in your “real world” money for the local currency. No exchange fee and these dollars are fun to shop with or to save as souvenirs. They are available at all Guest Relations areas in the Disney parks, and some other resort locations. If you have a Disney Store in a mall near you, you can get them there too, in preparation for your trip. Some folks like to use them to save money - exchange "real" cash for Disney Dollars and you can't spend them anywhere else until your trip!

7. Dole Whips – delicious frozen pineapply wonders that are served outside the Enchanted Tiki Room. They are sort of a cross between pineapple sorbet and soft serve ice cream. (I used to think they were healthy. I found a list of ingredients. Uh, not so much, but they are still delicious!)

8. “Partners” Statue and surrounding mini-statues in rotunda in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle – features bronze sculpture of Walt and Mickey, and smaller statues of other Disney favorites. A wonderful tribute to this amazing team. Be sure to look around and enjoy the view from this scenic area.

9. New Orleans Square – not only the home of pirates and grim grinning ghosts, but here you will find really great architecture and French Quarter atmosphere. Enjoy a mint julep (item #4) and spend some time soaking up this small, but detail-rich area.

10. Disneyland at Night
– the fireworks are great, but so are all of the lights, sounds and smells that happen after dark. It’s really beautiful – take the time to notice and enjoy the magic.


Milissasmom said...

This is so awesome! My husband and I took our 1 year old daughter a few weeks ago for her first BDay! Prior to this last trip, I hadn't been to Disneyland since 1991! I am in LOVE with this place. It's a lot nicer than I remember. I will keep your list for the next time we go as I am getting reacquainted with the park! Thanks again for the post!

Dakota said...

Thank you, Milissasmom. Glad you had a wonderful trip! Please do check back now and then :)

Anonymous said...

I don't want to sound unkind, but those 10 things are all pretty obvious, I don't see how one could miss those.

Dakota said...

Sometimes those of us familiar with Disneyland can forget how overwhelming it can be the first time around. My thought was to put together a list of things worth experiencing for those in need of such advice. If you don't know that something is worth looking for - you might miss it.

As an example, I think it would be easy to miss getting a Dole Whip. You've already passed by 20 other food places, and if you didn't know this one was worth getting in line for - you might not.

Thanks for stopping by.

Disney Getaway said...

I think the list is great. I go to Disneyland several times a year and if someone has never been there or even those of us who have we need reminders and information about the park and things not to miss. Excellent article and please write more.

Liz EN said...

Thanks so much for this list! I just finished writing up my "game plan" for our one day trip to Disneyland and needed the reminder to slow down and take in all the little wonders of the place.

Dakota said...

Liz EN -
Glad you enjoyed the tips. Have a great trip!

Sally said...

My wonderful unbelievably generous mother in law, just paid for my family of 4, to go to disneyland for 5 nights in September. Going off season with pull the kids out of school, but it will be worth it.Thanks for your tips! Its cute that people take time out of their lives to obsess over Disneyland! I love it!

Sheri said...

Pardon my wandering (was teased by the title on Casey's site). I'm a Disney kid at heart. My father and grandfather worked there. Can I add a few more items to your list? (though you probably know them)

1. Buzz Lightyear - Tomorrowland
Use the FastPass to avoid standing in line. The red knob in the middle makes the car turn. When you get to the room where the giant Buzz is smile because it takes your picture. When you get off, there are four computer screens to the left of the ramp where you can email your picture to yourself.

2. Fireworks
Sit in FRONT of the castle. Most of the fireworks go off on the left side of the castle when you are looking at it and there will be a light show on the castle front. OR, sit on the Adventureland side of the castle. The Tommorrowland side has trees in the way. Some folks start to wait 1.5 - 2 hours before. Also, Tinkerbell will fly over from the
Matterhorn to somewhere to the left of the castle a couple of times.

3. If you want to get a picture with Mickey, go to Toontown. Early in the morning the line is the shortest. Or, you can find him near the hat shop on Main Street, but his line is always long.

4. Pooh Bear, Eyeore, Tigger pics are found in Pooh's Corner (back where the old Bear Country Jamboree used to be--for us *older* folks).

5. As for food ...
Mickey soft pretzels--a bit hard to find, but usually there's a cart between New Orleans & Frontierland along the water.

And, the pineapple slush near the Tikki Room is yummy.