This week, I had the great privilege of swapping guest posts with Toni from Pink Days Blog. Toni Marie took a trip to Disney World when she was two months old and mentally never left. Now that she’s (unfortunately) discovered that she can’t live in Neverland forever, she is now a college student majoring in Communications & Media, and the creator behind Pink Days Blog and Terrifically Toni. Aside from content creation and media production, Toni is passionate about traveling, style, lifestyle, and of course, making magic. Follow her on Instagram here!
She’s written a great piece about Disneyland, which she was able to visit shortly before it closed during the pandemic. Enjoy!
Ever dreamed of visiting the Happiest Place on Earth? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California is such a dream destination. It’s so magical, and there’s so much to do! Right before the pandemic hit, I was so lucky to be able to visit Disneyland Resort for the first time in nearly a decade. Being a lifelong Disney fan, I’m always ecstatic to be visiting the Happiest Place on Earth. One of the things I look forward to most about the Anaheim resort is its collection of unique and original attractions and treats, many of which can’t be matched anywhere else. When put all together, you’ll find my list of Disneyland Resort Must-Do’s that can’t be found anywhere else.
Rides & Attractions
Would I really be an Imagineering Story fan if I didn’t talk about some of my favorite rides and attractions at Disneyland? Just about every attraction in the park is sure to bring a smile and some nostalgia, but I had to share four favorites that can’t be found anywhere else.
I know a lot of people don’t love Autopia, but it holds such nostalgia for me that I have to do it every time I’m at Disneyland. I was really young when I first visited the resort, and I remembered loving driving through the long course with my dad. Now that I’m older, I find the addition of Asimo (a robot that was featured in Tomorrowland many years ago) a cute touch. Plus, the ride track is so much longer and more elaborate than that of the Tomorrowland Speedway at the Magic Kingdom. Autopia may not be the most exciting ride, but it’s definitely one to check out.
Indiana Jones Adventure
While Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland Park and Dinosaur at Disney’s Animal Kingdom share a ride layout and technology, the original attraction certainly feels so much different than the DAK offspring. The staging of the ride makes it such a fun experience and the new effects added to the ride after a recent renovation make it even more immersive. Plus, the queue is so well-themed and fun to walk through. If you love thrill rides, Dinosaur, or Indiana Jones, you have to check out this ride!
Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission: Breakout!
I was so hesitant to like Mission: Breakout! at first, especially since I couldn’t believe that any ride would be able to top Tower of Terror. Before the first drop even completed, I had a smile so big on my face and I couldn’t contain my excitement. After getting off the ride, I booked another Fastpass for later in the day since I needed to ride it again. The humor and music give the Guardians version a fun ambiance that Tower of Terror never could have matched, and the ride now makes for an awesome Gateway to Avenger’s Campus, which will hopefully open with Disney’s California Adventure’s reopening.
Pirates of the Carribean
Yes, nearly every Disney castle park has some variation of the Pirates of the Carribean, but none of the renditions can top the original. The first scenes of the ride, beginning with passing by the Blue Bayou Restaurant and the exploration through the caverns are so unique and filled with quite a bit of history (if you’re interested, I definitely recommend checking out The Imagineering Story on Disney+). While the later scenes of the ride are just about the same as the WDW version, the longer ride time and exclusive early scenes make this ride a must-do.
I’ve always gravitated towards Disney’s array of live entertainment, and Disneyland did not disappoint. Unfortunately, I do not know of these show’s operating statuses once the park will reopen, but I’m hoping they will all be welcoming guests soon!
Frozen: Live at the Hyperion
I was disappointed when I heard that the Aladdin show would be closing to make way for a Frozen show, but after seeing FLATH, I was incredibly impressed. Living in New York, I’m constantly watching ads and clips for the Broadway show. Although I never had the chance to see the Broadway equivalent, I can confidently say that Frozen: Live at the Hyperion is the best stage production of the story. The story was staged so well and all of the performers were so talented! Let It Go was easily one of my favorite numbers in the show since I was so impressed with the magical dress change. Once the parks reopen, this show is one of the first things I want to revisit.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!
Located right in front of the Mission: Breakout! tower, this interactive dance show is a perfect midday break in California Adventure. Star-Lord and Gamora come out to try to set off some thermal detonators after Star-Lord gains possession of a boombox, and they need the audience’s help! I loved the interactive nature of the show, especially since I was able get up close to two of my favorite Marvel characters (something I was never able to do before!) and hear some of my favorite songs from the soundtrack. My favorite part of the show was definitely the ending though- Groot came out to visit, and you could do a meet and greet with Groot right after the show! I was ecstatic to dance with and hug Groot. If you’re a Guardians fan like me, you need to check out this show.
When Disney created their new Disneyland parade, magic happened. To say I’m obsessed with Magic Happens is an understatement- it’s easily my new favorite Disney show. I saw the show in its first week of running and I instantly fell in love. The colors, songs, choreography, and characters are all so engaging. The parade starts with the classic characters in a purple cosmic-printed sorcerer segment, followed by the characters of Moana, Coco, Frozen 2, and Fantasyland. The finale is so much more magical than any camera can capture- Aurora’s color changing dress is truly a sight to behold. I now constantly listen to the show’s soundtrack on Spotify, so much so that it was one of my top 5 songs of 2020. You can check out my recording of the parade here, and the Spotify song here.
Mickey and the Magical Map
Disneyland may not have a castle show, but this is a pretty close match. I constantly have the opening number and the princess medley caught in my head on repeat. The show features a lot of uncommon characters for stage shows, like Yen Sid, King Louis, Stitch, Pocahontas, Mulan, and Tiana. The arrangements of all the songs and the choreography truly give the show a classic Disney stage show feel and but the energy is truly that of a full stage show experience.
Storytelling at Royal Theatre
If you’re looking for a fun little midday break, the Royal Theatre is definitely the place to stop. I actually stumbled upon the small venue (located just on the left side of Sleeping Beauty Castle) and stopped in right before a show was about to start. What I actually discovered was a high-energy and humorous retelling of Tangled, with Princess Rapunzel herself! With a live pianist and two lead storytellers, as well as a small troupe of fair maidens, the Royal Theatre gives an almost parody-like retelling while also teaching about the fundamentals of theatrics to the younger viewers of the show. Passing by later in the day, I was able to catch the performers retelling Beauty and the Beast.
Calories don’t count at Disney, right? While there are so many amazing treats and sweets at the Happiest Place on Earth, I narrowed down four of my favorite eats from my last visit to the resort.
Beignets, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen & New Orleans Square
I had constantly been hearing about the infamous Disneyland beignets for years now, so I knew it had to be one of the first treats I tried when visiting the resort. I got a bag of the minis from the quick service side of Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen on my first night walking around Downtown Disney and my life was changed. I then had to get beignets every day I was at the resort (yes, it became a requirement), and I’ve even tried to recreate the delicious masterpiece at home. While the classic ones can’t be topped, I also very much enjoyed the mouse-shaped seasonal flavor in Disneyland park- Strawberry Chocolate. Did I have more beignets than I probably should have in four days? Yes, but it was very well deserved.
Cinnamon Super-Galaxy Churro, Señor Buzz Churros
I know I’m going to sound crazy, but I used to hate cinnamon and churros. That was until I tried this galactic treat at Pixar Pier. The theming of the stand is quite fun, and the churro itself was more than Insta-worthy. Trying the churro was definitely an out-of-this-world experience. Plus, it made me find a friend in churros for life.
Chocolate Popcorn, Kat Saka’s Kettle
I’m not going to lie, I originally saw the chocolate popcorn and thought it was going to not be great. My dad wanted to try it though, so I took a piece from the box he bought. Then I quickly reclaimed the box of popcorn as my own and found a spot to munch on it in Batuu. It was the perfect balance of sweet and salty and I absolutely loved the flavor. The chocolate can get a bit melty on your hands, especially in the heat, but the small mess is worth the flavor.
Sit Down Meal at Blue Bayou Restaurant
While I usually think of quick service food and snacks when I think of theme park food. When I think of Disneyland, I always think of Blue Bayou. When I was little, I loved watching the Pirates boats go by and drinking my specialty kids grape soda with the light-up Tinkerbell on the cup. Now, I still love watching the Pirates boats float by, except I’m munching on the yummy bread and the vegetable pasta. The classic New Orleans at night ambiance is so relaxing and I don’t think I could imagine a trip to Disneyland without at least trying to eat at my favorite in-park full service restaurant.
Disneyland has so much to do, see, and experience and this list is only a fraction of it all. I’ve been to the Happiest Place on Earth a handful of times now and I still have more to try and enjoy. I’m hoping the parks will open up again soon so I can revisit and try even more! If you have any Disneyland favorites, be sure to share them for my next trip. Thank you to Hannah for allowing me to share this post, and have a terrific day!
To see my post on Toni’s blog, click here!