Navigating Disneyland

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Disneyland offers so many fun things to see and do which can make navigating in the park an overwhelming task.  Here you will find a few great tips specifically for each land…

MAIN STREET USA TIPS 

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  1. Main Street USA,
  • Is the perfect place to step back in time and enjoy the nostalgia of small town America of 1910. Main Street USA is modeled after Walt Disney’s home town of Marceline, MO.
  • 1910 was also one of the years Haley’s Comet was visible. The next time it would be seen was 1986 the year Tomorrowland is modeled after.
  • Main Street USA has a lot of interesting features like forced perspective of the buildings. Gas powered lights can be found on one end of the street and Electric at the other end.
  1. City Hall, Offers a variety of services including foreign money exchange. The Cast Members are also available to answer any questions you might have. Right down to identifying every single type of plant in the park or if you need a names list of every single horse on King Arthurs Carousel. Stop by for all of your special requests and needs.
  1. Guided Tours, a number of great tours are available daily, bookings can be made next to City Hall at the Guided Tours booth.
  1. Main Street Train Station,
  • Hop on the Train at Main Street Station and your next stop is New Orleans Square.
  • Ride the train around the whole park, so you can see the diorama between Tomorrowland and Main Street. The Grand Canyon diorama is the largest diorama in the world.
  • Tender one of the Trains, you can check for availability here at Main Street station as this is not available on hot days.
  • Ride the Lilly Belle car, dedicated to Walt Disney’s wife. Go to Main Street station when the park opens to secure a seat, note this car is not on the track everyday.
  1. Main Street Vehicles, Ride a Horseless Carriage, a Fire Engine, a Horse Drawn Streetcar or the Omnibus. The trips are short down Main Street but you must take a ride in one or all of these classic vehicles.
  1. Opera House, “Great Moments with Lincoln.” The story of Lincolns life is fascinating and the Animatronics of him in this presentation is worth your time. After the show you can take a look in the Opera House at the Disney Gallery where you will find some incredible Disney Art pieces, as well as some artifacts on the history of Disneyland.
  1. Walt Disney’s bench visit the very bench Walt Disney sat on when he came up with the idea of Disneyland. The bench is at the main entrance to the Opera House.
  1. Walt Disney’s Apartment located above the firehouse, built and furnished for himself and his family, so he could oversee construction of the park. The light in the window was used to signal when Walt was in the park. After Walt passed away, the light has been left on at all times. The light would only be turned off when his daughters would visit the park.
  1. Main Street Windows, Take note of all the special windows on Main Street USA, these are dedications from Walt Disney to permanently honor the great people that had influenced him as well as the people that had helped realize his vision. Listen closely to some of the windows above as you will hear some funny things happening to the occupants in the apartments above.
  1. Magic Shop, A great store full of gags and magic tricks. Take a look at the spinning optical illusion in the window. Steve Martin worked at the Magic Shop.
  1. Main Street Cinema, It all started with a mouse therefore a visit to the park is not complete without watching the classic “Steamboat Willie.”
  1. Starbucks coffee shop, located inside the Market House, you will find a telephone on the wall. Pick up the receiver and you can listen in on a humorous conversation while you enjoy your cup of coffee.
  1. Silhouette Portrait, sit for a hand cut silhouette, this is a terrific old fashioned souvenir.
  2. Penny Arcade, The Penny arcade has some really cool, nostalgic penny machines, try the vintage picture flip movies and make sure you visit Esmeralda to have your fortune read.
  1. Musical Chairs, Mad Hatter will often play musical chairs once daily at Coke Corner at the end of Main Street. This is not listed in the program time guide, so ask a cast member.
  1. The Daper Dans Barbershop Quartet, Have been performing on Main Street since 1959. You will find them at various places on Main Street, stop and listen to them.
  1. Parades, during Parades Main Street USA is very busy. If you need to get to the other end, go through the stores as they are connected all the way through. Viewing the parade is available all along the parade route from Main Street USA through Fantasyland ending beside “It’s a Small World.” The next showing of the Parade will go in the opposite direction from It’s a Small World back to Main Street USA.
  1. Window decorations, take a look at the window decorations inside some of the store Windows on Main Street. Featuring Disney characters often with some really cool miniature Animatronics. 
  1. Attend the flag retreat, Ceremony at the Main Street flagpole. This flagpole is recycled from a lamp post that stood on Wilshire Boulevard, it was purchased for $5 after it was knocked over in a car accident. 
  1. Fireworks, the best viewing spot for fireworks is on Main Street. The closer you are to the Castle, the better. Alternatively, the new fireworks display for the 60th Anniversary has spectacular viewing from Rivers of America. Another great viewing area is from the Main Street Station platform.
  1. Penny Press Locations: Disneyland Railroad, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln – Exit Lobby.

ADVENTURELAND TIPS

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  1. Enchanted Tiki Room, ask a cast member when entering if you can wake up Jose the Macaw?
  1. Jungle Cruise, Set sail aboard a Tramp Steamer for an adventure through the most remote rivers in the world. Walt Disney originally wanted to use real animals for this attraction. When he realized many of his choices were nocturnal and the animals would rarely be seen, he decided to use animatronics.
  1. Tropical Imports, In Adventureland Market right outside of the Jungle Cruise, which offers healthy treats of fresh fruit, clean water and mosquito nets.
  1. Adventureland Bazzar, Visit Shrunken Ned the Jungle Witch Doctor. He will diagnose any illness and provide a souvenir for a small fee. You can also give Aladdin’s lamp a rub to receive the wisdom of the Genie and have their future revealed.
  1. Indiana Jones Adventure, Travel through the Destiny chamber, past lava, over a rickety bridge, around catacombs and plenty of surprises. Just don’t look into the eye of the Idol.
  • In the outside queue you will see a Patrol Truck that was actually used in the film “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
  • Shake the bamboo pole really hard to hear a loud booming sound, you will think the ceiling is caving in.
  • In the room with the scaffolding, you will find a rope that if you pull, will cause an explorer to cry for help as he falls.
  • Indiana Jones was built on the site of the Eeyore parking lot, look for this sign way up high behind the projector.
  • Inside the ride you will also find Mara glyphs inscribed on the walls, you can download the decoder key from the Disney Website. Have some fun figuring out what these ancient messages are: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/news/new-indiana-jones-adventure-effect-eyes-of-mara-curse/
  1. Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost, For some authentic Indiana Jones artifacts stop by the outpost. You can pick up Indiana’s iconic fedora. A terrific collectible here is the little vinyl Mickey dressed as Indiana Jones.
  1. Tarzan Treehouse, See Tarzan’s home built on top of an 80 foot tree. A great walk through which also has a spectacular view of the park. Continue your exploration on the ground at base camp with some fun interactive equipment.
  1. Penny Press Locations: Adventureland Bazaar

 NEW ORLEANS SQUARE TIPS

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  1. Pirates of the Caribbean, it is rumored that when Disneyland opened, real skeletons were used, because at the time fake skeletons did not look realistic enough. Since then all of the real skeletons are said to have been replaced with imitation ones. Except for one skull and cross bones over the bed in the Captain’s quarters?
  1. Walt and Roy’s initials are formed in the wrought iron railing above Pirates of the Caribbean.
  1. Port Royal & Pieces of Eight, New Orleans Square is our favorite part of Disneyland, with great food and some really cool little shops, like Port Royal & Pieces of Eight. You will find this store as you exit “Pirates of the Caribbean.”  Look for the monkey on the chandelier, his name is Jack.
  1. Fire Insurance plaque, one of the many unique details of the park. A fire insurance plaque was displayed on buildings that had fire insurance. If your building did not have this plaque and a fire broke out the fire fighters would not put out the fire. See if you can find one in New Orleans Square.
  1. Court of Angels, A beautiful courtyard in the back of New Orleans Square featuring a spiral staircase, the perfect place for a picture. Currently this outdoor area is closed, rumored to be a permanent closure?
  1. Le Bat En Rouge, a great little store with a lot of unique items especially from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” 
  1. Crystal D’Orleans, for all your custom chandeliers, they also offer custom crystal glasses, paperweights and figures.
  1. Mademoiselle Antoinette’s Parfumerie, purveyors of fine French perfumes. Christian Dior, Givenchy, Gerlain, Acqua di Parma and Fendii.
  1. Jazz and Pirate bands can often be found entertaining throughout New Orleans square. 
  1. Haunted Mansion, A classic dark ride with 999 happy haunts lurking in stretching rooms, around hidden corners and quaking graves, with room for one more. Diamond Celebration update includes the addition of the Hat Box Ghost. Ask a Cast Member if you can see the Pet Cemetery behind the Mansion. 
  1. Enjoy Shorter wait times on two of the quickest loading rides in Disneyland, The Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion.
  1. New Orleans Square Train Station, You can hear the telegraph clicking in morse code Walt Disney’s Speech from opening day. Hop on the train here and your next stop is Toontown.
  1. Popcorn Turner, look for the Undertaker at the Popcorn Stand. The Character changes during Halloween to Oogie Boogie. See if you can find all the different Popcorn Turners in the park.
  1. Penny Press Locations: Pieces of Eight

CRITTER COUNTRY TIPS

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  1. Splash Mountain, on a hot day you will need a Fast Pass. However riding late at night is not only quicker to get on the ride, but it also gives you a great night time view of the park, from high up.
  1. Winnie the Pooh Ride, has a few characters from the Country Bears Jamboree, Max, Buff and Melvin. Look behind you as you pass the Hefalump dream. The Country Bears Jamboree used to be housed where Winnie the Pooh is now.
  1. Pooh Corner, is a great little store tucked way in the back with a great Candy section.
  1. Secret path that winds along Rivers of America from the Hungry Bear Restaurant to the Harbour Gallery.
  1. Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes, Paddle back in time along the Rivers of America for a great sightseeing adventure. Operates select seasons only, check for availability.
  1. Penny Press Locations: Pooh Corner, Splash Mountain Exit.

FRONTIERLNAD TIPS

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  1. Fantasmic, A nighttime spectacular of pyrotechnics over Rivers of America. The show follows a dream of Mickey’s where good and evil are doing battle. Check for show times during your visit.
  1. Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, Explore this secret hideaway inspired by Mark Twain.
  1. Petrified Tree, displayed on the bank of River’s of America. Walt purchased this 5 ton tree stump from Pike’s Petrified Forrest in Colorado Springs as an Anniversary present for his wife Lillian. She gave it back to him as she said it was too big for the mantle.
  1. The Golden Horseshoe, arrive early for the scheduled shows to obtain the best seating. While you are waiting for the show to start, order some of the fantastic Chili in a bread bowl and chocolate cake or a sundae, delicious!
  1. Mark Twain Riverboat, Ask one of the Cast Members if you can visit the wheelhouse, if you get the chance, you will receive a souvenir certificate.
  1. Sailing Ship Columbia, Sail on a full scale replica of an 18th Century 3 masted ship.
  1. Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition, Try your skill at marksmanship on comical old west targets with this infrared rifle arcade.
  1. Big Thunder Railroad, one of our favorite rides in the park, is great all day long, but even more fun at night in the dark. Take note at night time the little town Rainbow Ridge comes alive. 
  1. Abandoned Mine Shaft, was actually part of a ride until 1977 the Rainbow Cavern Mine train journeyed through Frontierland.
  1. Pioneer Mercantile & Bonanza Outfitters, for all your western gear and knick knacks.
  1. Westward Ho Trading Co, A pin trader’s paradise.
  1. Penny Press Locations: Bonanza Outfitters, Pioneer Mercantile, Westward Ho Trading Co.

FANTASYLAND TIPS

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  1. Sleeping Beauty Castle, walkthrough, often overlooked but worth the tour. The crest over the drawbridge is the Disney family crest.
  1. Snow White’s Wishing Well can be found beside the Castle and is the perfect place to propose, listen closely and you can hear Snow White sing.
  1. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, if you have a princess in your group, you will need to stop by the boutique for a stunning hair and makeup session. Your Princess deserves the Royal treatment.
  1. Castle Heraldry Shoppe, looking to research your family tree or Coat of Arms? Offering personalized plaques, clothing and certificates with some very unique pieces in the store, a must see.
  1. Peter Pan’s Flight, Fly over London in this Disneyland original, this ride remains super popular, go early in the morning to avoid the longer lines throughout the day. Watch for Pixie Dust as part of the Diamond Celebration’s New Magic.
  1. Snow White, Touch the brass apple to hear the witch cackle and hear the loud thunder clap. Watch for the witch as she periodically appears from the curtains in the window above.
  1. Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, accompany Jiminy Cricket as he tries to set Pinocchio on the right path.
  1. Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, We watch the Wind in the Willows every year as part of our Halloween tradition. This ride is a personal favorite and for me is one of the bigger nostalgic things to see in the park. Considering Walt Disney made this short film in 1949 and it still has such great appeal. Coat of Arm’s Motto “Toadi Accerleatio Semper Absurdia” translated “Speeding with Toads is always absurd.”
  1. Sword in the Stone, next to King Arthur Carousel, see if you can retrieve it?   A daily event features Merlin the wizard.
  1. King Arthur Carousel, The original carousel was purchased in1955 from Toronto, Canada. Pieces from it are on display in California Adventure at Treasures in Paradise. I confirmed with a Cast Member that they are the original pieces. Walt Disney wanted everyone to ride a Horse so all the other animals were removed. The lead Horse on the Carousel is named Jingles the only one with bells. Each horse has it’s own name, you can pick up a list of names from City Hall.
  1. Dumbo the Flying Elephant, A visit to Disneyland would not be complete without a spin around the sky with Dumbo the Flying Elephant. You control how high he will fly, Dumbo can seat one adult and one child.
  1. Casey Jr Circus Train, Ride the rails through storybook land.
  1. Storybook Land Canal Boats, Get swallowed up by Monstro the giant whale as you cruise along the canal past miniature Disney movie scenes.
  1. Mad Hatter Gift shop, Look into the mirror and you might get a glimpse of the Cheshire Cat.
  1. The Tea Cups, I spoke to a Cast Member clarifying the rumor of the lavendar Tea Cup as being the fastest is false, but give it a try!
  1. Alice in Wonderland, Don’t be late, an oversize caterpillar will take you down the rabbit hole for a topsy-turvy adventure, be on the lookout for the Cheshire Cat.
  1. Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Diamond Celebration update includes a new animatronic Yeti, even better than before. A must see this year!
  • The Matterhorn was the worlds first tubular roller coaster. You really feel like you are on a bobsled.
  • Note Matterhorn has two tracks, the right line next to Alice in Wonderland puts you on a slower track, which lasts thirty seconds longer. The left line puts you on the faster track which has tighter turns and one unexpected drop.
  1. It’s a Small World, Created for the 1964 New York Worlds Fair and then moved to the park in 1965. The theme is world peace and is dubbed the happiest cruise that ever sailed.
  1. Fantasy Faire, Meet and greet with the Disney Princesses inside the Royal Hall: The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White, Rapunzel and Belle. Enjoy two new shows featured at the Royal Theatre from Beauty and the Beast and Tangled. Check for times on the daily schedule with the park map.
  1. Pixie Hollow, Meet Tinker Bell and her Fairy friends. Check for times on the daily schedule with the park map.
  1. Fantasyland Theatre, Mickey and the Magical map is amazing, you must check it out!
  1. Penny Press Locations: Enchanted Chamber, Fairy Tale Treasures, It’s a Small World Toy Shoppe.

MICKEY’S TOONTOWN

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  1. Meet Mickey at his house, this is a must do. Every visit we have made to Disneyland, we commemorate with a photo together with Mickey.
  1. Meet Minnie at her house and explore her home for some fun interactive sights and sounds.
  1. Interactive gags throughout Toontown take some time to explore the different buildings inside and out where you will find many surprises.
  1. Musical Fountain, this fountain plays music when you step on the manhole covers nearby.
  1. Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, A classic styled dark ride with a spinning car which the riders can control, careening through a warehouse of gags from the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
  1. Gadget’s Go Coaster, this mini Roller Coaster is short and sweet but, will remain a favorite to the little one’s that are not tall enough for the bigger Coaster’s in the park.
  1. Toontown Train Station, Hop on the train here and your next stop is Tomorrowland.
  1. Penny Press Locations: Gag Factory

TOMORROWLAND TIPS

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  1. Astro Orbitor, Maneuver your very own space ship high in the sky above Tomorrowland. Note the markings on the ride which are signs of the zodiac, see if you can find your sign.
  1. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Enter the imaginary world of the Space Ranger, filled with animatronic figures and targets.
  • No matter where you point, for every five times you click your blaster you will earn 100 points.
  • Zurg has a 50,000 points target, the Z on his chest.
  • Focus on triangles and diamonds for the best score.
  • When you are done the ride, you can email a ride photo to yourself.
  1. Little Green Men Store Command, Toy Story fans will love this little store. Explore limited edition pins, Vinylmation and Disney Pixar Toys.
  1. Star Tours,
  • As soon as you sit down on the ride stare at the screen making a Funny face or pose, maybe you will be chosen as the spy for the flight.
  • Inside the second queue room you will see Captain Rex, the original Star Tours pilot in a crate.
  1. Star Trader, Star Wars Fans dream store, great clothing and really cool Star Wars treasures. Build your own light saber or build your own R2D2 at the droid factory complete with Mickey Ear’s.
  1. Space Mountain, A fantastic tubular roller coaster in the dark, bring your sunglasses along, if you think the ride is not dark enough try wearing your shades as you’re zipping through the stars. This is another one of favourite coasters!
  1. Starcade, An old fashioned arcade is always good for a little nostalgia. This location does occasional close as an exhibit for upcoming Disney movies, check while you are there.
  1. Tomorrowland Theatre, Was home to Honey I shrunk the kids for a number of years as well as to Captain EO. Recently the Theatre was used for a sneak peak for the New Disney movie Tomorrowland. 
  1. Innoventions,
  • Hondas Asimo is a remarkable robot worth going to see.
  • Innoventions does have regular closures to update for new additions, especially with new Meet and Greets. Right now with all the Marvel movies coming out and the new Star Wars movie set for Decemeber 2015, we will certainly see more changes here.
  • The second story balcony is a great place to get an elevated picture of the park.
  1. Autopia, Enjoy a scenic motorway in your very own car.
  1. Tomorrowland Train Station, Hop on the train in Tomorrowland. Your next stop is Main Street USA. Along the way you will see one of the largest dioramas in the world.
  1. Monorail,
  • Disneyland built the first Monorail in North America.
  • If you board the Monorail in Tomorrowland, you can take the round trip back to Tomorrowland. However, if you board the train in Downtown Disney you must disembark in Tomorrowland.
  • Ask a cast member to sit in the front car, this is the best view for the round trip.
  • The monorail is the fastest attraction in Disneyland.
  1. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, submerge yourself in this underwater adventure of Finding Nemo. I love the seagulls “Mine, Mine, Mine!”  When Walt Disney opened Submarine Voyage in Disneyland he was commander of the eighth largest submarine fleet in the world.
  1. Jedi Training Academy, only a select few are chosen to train as a Jedi and dual Darth Vader. If you want to be chosen you better jump up and down to stand out in the crowd.
  1. Penny Press Locations: Star Trader, Little Green Men Store Command.

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