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Disney Question’s Introduction to Disneyland Park

Disney Question’s Introduction to Disneyland Park


Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California is where the theme park magic all began. Originally know just as “Disneyland”, it opened on July 17, 1955, and has been bringing joy to guests of all ages ever since. Sleeping Beauty Castle is the central icon. There are eight lands in the park. There have been many changes since 1955, but Disneyland Park still has the same charm that it was known for when it first opened. Like many of the Disney parks, Disneyland Park is made so that you can easily get from one land to another. You’ll enter through Main Street, U.S.A., and from there you can easily head to the other lands. While you’re at Disneyland Park remember that it is the only Disney park that Walt Disney himself was ever at. You’ll be surrounded by his vision and his dream.

Main Street, U.S.A.

In their rush to get to other areas of the park, many people do not stop to enjoy all the Main Street, U.S.A. has to offer. The section has the feel of a town in the early 1900’s, and it is loosely based on Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri. There are plenty of things to do here that will take you back in time. This is where you can catch one of the Main Street Vehicles, featuring Horse Drawn Streetcars, a Horseless Carriage, a Fire Engine, and an Omnibus. You can also get on or off the Disneyland Railroad here. At Main Street Cinema you can watch classic Disney cartoon. You’ll also want to check out The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. Main Street, U.S.A. is a popular place to meet some of your favorite Disney characters. Don’t miss the Flag Retreat Ceremony, which was one of Walt Disney’s personal favorites.

Main Street, U.S.A. is the perfect place to pick up some special souvenirs. You will find Disney apparel, jewelry, magic items, artwork, and crystal, among other things. If you’re hungry there are several choices. Counter service options include Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, Carnation Cafe, Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, Refreshment Corner, and Market House. You’ll want to make a reservation for Plaza Inn, which is a character buffet featuring Minnie and some of her friends.

Adventureland

Take a sharp left from Main Street, U.S.A. and you’ll end up in Adventureland. Here you’ll find the thrilling ride Indiana Jones Adventure. Search for treasure in the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. There are three different treasures and other variables, giving you a different ride each time. For a calmer adventure, take a ride on the Jungle Cruise. Kids and adults will love exploring Tarzan’s Treehouse. The Enchanted Tiki Room is an indoor show which will allow you a chance to laugh as you take a break from the heat.

If you’re wondering where at Disneyland to buy a Hawaiian shirt, look no further than Adventureland. You can also purchase other tropical clothing and items at South Seas Trader. Other shops sell Indiana Jones merchandise and items based on The Lion King and Aladdin. All the dining options in Adventureland are counter service. They are the Tiki Juice Bar, Tropical Imports, and Bengal Barbecue.

New Orleans Square

The theming for New Orleans Square is fun and romantic at the same time. Imagine what the city in Louisiana would be like if it had been designed by Disney, and this is the result. Two classic rides can be found in New Orleans Square. Haunted Mansion is a a slow family ride that is not scary, despite its name. Pirates of the Caribbean is a boat ride where you can catch a glimpse inside the lives of pirates. Keep your eyes open for Captain Jack Sparrow! You can also find one of the stops for the Disneyland Railroad in New Orleans Square.

While in New Orleans Square you can shop for Christmas items or antiques. Buy a parasol to keep the sun off of your head as well. You can also find pirate themed merchandise and collectibles in the area. There are several dining choices in New Orleans Square. Order a non-alcoholic drink (Disneyland Park does not serve alcohol to the general public) at Mint Julep Bar. Royal Street Veranda and Fresh Market Restaurant also are counter service options. Cafe Orleans is a popular full service restaurant that features dishes that you might find in New Orleans. For a real treat try Blue Bayou Restaurant. It is one of the most popular restaurants at Disneyland.

Critter Country

This area was originally known as Bear Country. The easiest way to get there is to walk through New Orleans Square. If you’re looking for a thrill you’ll want to head directly to Splash Mountain. Be warned; you will get wet. Get a thrill of a different kind as you ride through some classic stories in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes are powered by you and the other 19 people in the canoe with you. Life jackets are provided for the little ones.

If you want to pick up some souvenirs in Critter Country you can buy Winnie the Pooh themed items and plush Critter Country pals. There are two counter service dining choices. Hungry Bear Restaurant offers a great view of the canoes and boats on the Rivers of America. Harbour Gallery is also a waterfront eatery.

Frontierland

Take a trip back in time to the not-so-wild west in Frontierland. The fun comes in different speeds and sizes here. Grab a seat on a runaway mine train on the roller coaster Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Try a slower pace on Sailing Ship Columbia or Mark Twain Riverboat. Ride a raft to Tom Sawyer Island, and while you’re there search for buried treasure in the Pirates Lair. Big Thunder Ranch is a petting zoo, featuring sheep, goats, donkeys, and other popular ranch animals. Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition will allow you to test your skills (for a fee) to see if you’re cowboy or cowgirl material. Frontierland is also the home of the Pirates League, where young boys and girls can be transformed into pirates. There are three packages with different prices to choose from and reservations are recommended. Frontierland is also the home of the nighttime show Fantasmic!.

You can buy clothing and western souvenirs in Frontierland. Pin traders will want to stop by Westward Ho Trading Company. Counter service dining options include Stage Door Cafe, River Belle Terrace, and Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante. Time your counter service meal at  Golden Horseshoe so that you’ll catch a show (Billy Hill & the Hillbillies or The Laughing Stock Co.) while you dine. Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue offers an all you can eat feast set to country music. The food is served family style.

Fantasyland

Chances are that you will want to spend a lot of time in Fantasyland. There is something for everyone here. Several of the rides are based on Disney movies or characters, others are classics that have been around since the park opened in 1955. You can ride a caterpillar with Alice in Wonderland or fly high with a larger animal known as Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Another Alice based ride is Mad Tea Party. Soar above London in Peter Pan’s Flight, or join a different boy in Pinocchio’s Daring Journey. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is now a Disneyland Park exclusive. Snow White’s Scary Adventures is dark but not really scary. Take a spin on King Arthur’s Carrousel, or a ride on Casey Jr. Circus Train. If you’re looking for a slow boat try It’s a Small World (a classic must do ride), or check out the Storybook Land Canal Boats.  If you’re looking for a thrill, head over to Matterhorn Bobsleds. When you need a break watch Mickey and the Magical Map, a live show that features many of your favorite characters. Take your time with the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough. Meet a princess and enjoy a show or two in Fantasy Faire. Let your little girl become a princess herself (for a fee) at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. You can even meet Tinkerbell and some of her friends in Pixie Hollow.

With so many rides based on popular Disney characters you are sure to find plenty of merchandise to match. In Fantasyland you can purchase plush animals, princess items, and many other collectibles. If you don’t want to go far to grab something to eat there are several counter service options in Fantasyland. Troubadour Tavern has Bratwurst, baked potatoes, and pretzel bites with cheese. Edelweiss Snacks features turkey legs and frozen drinks. Village Haus Restaurant serves pizza, burgers, and salads. In Fantasy Faire grab a quick bite at Maurice’s Treats Snack Cart.

Mickey’s Toontown

Ever wonder where Mickey and his friend live? Stop by Mickey’s Toontown and find out. It’s located behind Fantasyland. You can tour both Mickey’s House and Minnie’s House. Walk through Donald’s Boat, climb into Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Treehouse, and let the kids go wild at Goofy’s Playhouse. Gadget’s Go Coaster is a perfect first roller coaster, or you can search for Jessica in Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin. Mickey’s Toontown offers plenty of chances to meet characters. The Disneyland Railroad also stops in Mickey’s Toontown.

If you want to shop in Mickey’s Toontown you can buy souvenirs and toys at Gag Factory. Something cold always tastes great on a hot day and you can buy a delicious treat at Clarabelle’s Frozen Yogurt. Other counter service dining options in Mickey’s Toontown are Plutos’s Dog House and Daisy’s Diner.

Tomorrowland

Take a trip into the future as imagined in the 1950’s in Tomorrowland. The popular indoor roller coaster Space Mountain offers guests a chance to ride through the stars. If you want to head even further out into space try Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. It’s a 3D flight simulator based on the popular movies that has over 50 possible scenarios, giving you a unique ride every time. Blast off a different way in Astro Orbiter. Battle the evil Emperor Zurg and show off your shooting skills with Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Guests can drive on a two mile guided track on Autopia. Disneyland Railroad has a stop in Tomorrowland. You can also catch the Disneyland Monorail to Downtown Disney from the area. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage will take you into the deep. Innoventions gives guests a chance to face the future with hands on interactive exhibits. There is also an Iron Man display there. Padawans can learn the powers of the force in Jedi Training Academy, a show that features guests ages 4-12. Captain EO is a 3D show from the minds of George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola starring the late Michael Jackson. Starcade has arcade games to play for an additional cost.

Pin Traders will want to check out Little Green Men Store Command. You can find other out-of-this-world merchandise and souvenirs elsewhere in the land. If you’re thirsty grab a cold drink at The Spirit of Refreshment. When your hunger has blasted off you can try Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port or Tomorrowland Terrace. Both restaurants are counter service.

Parades and Fireworks

The extra entertainment is a big part of what makes Disneyland so special. Check your Times Guide for information on the day of your visit. Mickey’s Soundsational Parade features music from your favorite Disney films and the characters from the stories as well. It’s held in the afternoon and runs from Main Street, U.S.A. to Fantasyland.

In the evening you won’t want to miss Fantasmic!. Held in Frontierland, it is part animated show, part live action theater, and part fireworks display. Join Mickey as he battles the forces of evil but don’t worry, good wins out in the end. Speaking of ends, what better way to end a day at Disneyland Park than with a fireworks show? Remember…Dreams Come True Fireworks Spectacular often lights up the sky over the park in the evenings. It is a much loved celebration that was created for the 50th anniversary of the park. Disneyland also has some seasonal fireworks shows, so you will want to check before you go to see if your dreams will be remembered of if another fireworks show will take place on the evening of your visit.

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About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novel Dream Wanderers, the sequel is due out in 2012. I also am a co-author of the InsideScoop To Walt Disney World series. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World. You can email Paula at paula@disdining.com