Disneyland Must-Sees for Families

monument to walt disney and mickey mouse in disneyland californi

For kids of all ages, a trip to Disneyland is a dream come true. Every year, millions of families travel to Anaheim, California, for a truly once-in-a-lifetime vacation experience. While a day at the park is wonderful, there is so much to see and do that families really need more than one day to explore (and fortunately, Disneyland offers great deals available on multiple-day passes). Here’s a look at some of the Disneyland must-sees for families.


What’s Available at Disneyland

The most important thing to know before the big trip to Disneyland is that there are actually two distinct theme parks at the site. There is the original Disneyland Park and the newer Disney California Adventure Park. While Disneyland Park is the original, it is by no means old, as Disney is always adding new attractions and rides. Both parks have excellent attractions, rides and events that will appeal to kids of all ages. Parents will be happy to find that both parks are very possibly the cleanest, best-maintained parks in the world.

Another important thing to know is that your housing options are no longer limited to park resorts.  there are plenty of family-friendly vacation rentals near Disneyland in Anaheim and the surrounding areas that are spacious enough to accommodate families big and small, so bring the kids, Grandma, Grandpa and all the cousins for a big family trip!

Disneyland June 2011 - The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure

New Must-Sees at Disneyland for Families

The two new must-see attractions at Disneyland are the Little Mermaid Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, and Phineas and Ferb’s Rockin’ Rollin’ Dance Party. The Phineas and Ferb musical parade down the Parade Corridor is bound to be a hit with kids from ages 4 to 14.


For the Little Kids (ages 0-5)

Little girls will absolutely love the Fantasyland part of Disneyland Park, where they can actually meet their favorite princesses like Cinderella, Snow White, Arial and Belle.  In one area they are able to meet and take pictures with the princesses (they alternate the princesses about every half hour) and in another area they can listen to a princess tell her own story. Any little girl interested in Disney’s princesses will have an unforgettable experience. Go right when they open to avoid big lines.

Mickey’s Toontown is another don’t-miss for the smaller set. Visit Mickey and Minnie’s house, laugh through the Gag Factory and talk to the mailboxes (they talk back!). This is also a great place for lunch, with plenty of pizza, hotdogs and an ice cream parlor.

One of biggest must-sees in the entire park is It’s a Small World. This lavish ride filled with characters from around the world has something for everyone, and children will sit in wonder taking everything in.

Tomorrowland - Disneyland Park

Bigger Kids, but Still Little (ages 4-10)

In Tomorrowland, young space rangers will want to battle the Evil Emperor Zurg on the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride. Though it’s a ride, they keep score as you blast targets, so it’s kind of like a video game too. For younger children, the incredible underwater Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage has exciting undersea discoveries.


Pre-Teen Adventures (ages 6-13)

Many of the attractions suitable for the younger set will also be highly entertaining for older kids (especially Buzz Lightyear’s ride), as each ride offers different challenges and different levels that appeal to kids of all ages.

Jedi Training Academy
A really big hit for the under-13 set is the Jedi Training Academy, where they can master the skills to be a Jedi warrior. Older kids will want to continue the Star Wars adventure at Star Tours – The Adventure Continues, flying a Starspeeder with their favorite Star Wars character.

This age group is perfect for two of the old classics:  the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and The Haunted Mansion ride. Don’t miss these two, and of course go early to minimize lines.


Teen Hits (12 and up)

Travelling with teens? Head straight for Adventureland and the Indiana Jones Adventure. This thrill ride takes passengers on a wild ride to explore the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.

Other don’t-miss thrills include the Matterhorn, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the exciting and refreshing Splash Mountain. Make sure to leave good time for Space Mountain. Most people feel it’s the best roller coaster in the park and will want to go more than once.


For Kids of Every Age

The Hollywood Pictures Backlot has lots of cool attractions for everyone from baby to Grandpa. Kids can talk to the sea turtles in Turtle Talk with Crush (from the “Finding Nemo” film), hang out with Mike and Sully from “Monsters, Inc.” in Monstropolis and play games with Buzz and Woody from “Toy Story.” Kids of every age will love the “Muppet Vision 3D” film, which gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse at a Muppet 3D special-effects lab.


The last thing to know about a great family vacation to Disneyland is that there is great access here for wheelchairs and strollers, and any height limitations are clearly posted right in front of every ride. Oh, and don’t forget to take plenty of pictures!

About the Author

Laura Hoot has been writing professionally since 2004, and currently manages content including travel ideas (http://www.homeaway.com/info/travelers/travel-ideas ) for HomeAway Inc. She also manages a household of three dogs, a cat, two chickens, and a brand new baby with her husband. She’s written for USA Today’s travel site, GirlsGetaway.com , Cheapo Air, Travels.com, Trails.com, eFilmCritic.com, The Budget Fashionista, Travellogged.com, and many more sites.

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