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Top Things to Do in Disneyland

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With so much to do and see, Disneyland can be a little overwhelming to a first-time goer. And even if you’ve been multiple times, there are always those favorite rides and attractions that you just can’t wait to see again. Below is our list of the top 10 things to do when you’re in Disneyland.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Hands down, this is a popular favorite attraction in Disneyland Park. It's nearly all-age appropriate (under fives may find the skeleton pirates a little scary).

What to Do
The two water chutes the boats plummet down to get into the main part of the ride are just right: high enough to give your stomach a little flip, but tame enough that riders don't need to be belted in.

And, bonus: Thanks to its efficient passenger-loading system, this ride has one of the fastest moving queues in the park.

What to See
While kids go wide-eyed over the pirate battles, rooms piled high with treasure, and that one silly pirate serenading a herd of pigs, adults will marvel at the technological mastery that goes into bringing these rapscallions and scalawags to life.

The Haunted Mansion

No matter how many times you visit the Haunted Mansion, you'll probably notice some new detail or special effect.

What to Do
The best time to board your "Doom Buggy" and visit the 999 resident ghosts and ghouls is mid-September through early January, when Jack Skellington and his friends give the mansion a holiday makeover inspired by Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.

What to See
From the ballroom, where ghostly couples dance gracefully while two enchanted portraits engage in a never-ending duel, to the attic, where the ghost of a black widow bride is surrounded by portraits of her many unfortunate husbands, the mansion's myriad rooms are chock-full of rich detail.

it's a small world

Yes, it may take a couple of churros and a trip on the Matterhorn bobsleds to dislodge that cheerfully addictive song from your brain, but everyone should experience it's a small world at least once.

What to Do
Bring the kids; if you're traveling with little ones, they'll be entranced.

What to See
The tiny dancing hula girls, whose hips and grass skirts shake at a frenzied pace, will make children and adults smile every time.

Star Tours

Recently revamped, this ride is a must-do for any Star Wars fan.

What to Do
Zip to other intergalactic destinations in 3-D! Star Wars creator George Lucas worked with Disney to create a new storyline, which includes a trip through the skies of Coruscant aboard a Starspeeder 1000 and a high-speed pod race through the desert canyons of Tatooine, Luke Skywalker's home planet.

What to See
The Star Tours travel company has opened new interstellar routes in the Star Wars galaxy. Frequent fliers will find something new every time they ride: Star Tours — The Adventures Continue features 50 different story variations.

Indiana Jones Adventure

Isn't he the explorer who's always falling into booby traps, falling victim to ancient curses, and being chased by bad guys?

What to Do
Who wouldn't want to tag along with Indiana Jones on one of his archeological expeditions?

What to See
Disney's solution of a fantastic ride that gives you all the thrills of an Indy expedition without the high-stakes risk to life and limb.

Space Mountain

The fact that Space Mountain is a dark-ride roller coaster is awesome.

What to Do
Hold on tight! The track can be a little bumpy for older guests, and the speed at which the coaster moves will surely do some interesting things to your coiffure.

What to See
A fantastic universe filled with stars, galaxies and spiraling black holes. As you hurtle through, you're never quite sure when the coaster's twists, turns, dips and dives will occur. That makes riding Space Mountain all the more fun.

Mad Tea Party (aka "The Teacups")

The teacups are such an iconic Disney attraction that you have to ride them every time you're in the park. And the best thing about them? You're in control!

What to Do
You can let the cup slowly spin by itself, or crank the wheel and make it spin faster and faster.

What to See
The best time to ride is after dark, when the array of lanterns strung over the teacups are lit, giving the ride a romantic flair.

Disneyland Railroad – Grand Circle Tour

If you're a park first-timer, definitely hop aboard the Disneyland Railroad for the Grand Circle Tour. It's a terrific way to acquaint yourself with the layout of the park. But even if you know the park like the back of your hand, the train has its benefits.

What to Do
Give your feet a rest - when traveling with small children or older adults, it's a great way to transfer between lands. And since you don't have to get off the train, you can just keep riding until you're refreshed and ready to tackle another thrill ride.

What to See
The full Grand Circle Tour takes about 20 minutes and is narrated; it also passes through an area that can only be seen from the train: the Primeval World diorama.

Splash Mountain

This flume ride is perfect for a hot day, because you'll surely get wet. Tip: Riders in the front of the log tend to receive a more generous dowsing than riders in the back — but, depending on the weight distribution, you can never be sure. According to Disney, that's part of the fun.

What to Do
Get ready! Your log boat is about to take a spectacular five-story plunge to the pool below.

What to See
Some like Splash Mountain for the elaborate sets and the storytelling that goes on inside the "mountain."


This is the perfect way to end a perfect Disney day. This nighttime musical extravaganza, which takes place on the Rivers of America, features high-resolution digital film sequences from the film Fantasia projected onto enormous screens of water, special effects that erupt against the night sky, appearances by Disney's platoon of princesses, and a storyline that draws the audience into Mickey's overactive imagination.

What to Do
Arrive early for a good viewing spot - the show is popular!

What to See
Let's not forget the 40-foot-tall, fire-breathing dragon.

Both Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure are included in the Southern California CityPASS. Use CityPASS to have the ultimate Southern California vacation!

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