Some adults see Disneyland as a place only for children or to bring children to, rather than something to go to as an adult. Disneyland has always prided itself on eliciting the feeling of being a kid again. While children swarm to the parks in California year after year, adults can sneak off for the fun and excitement and have the same joys seen throughout the park by their younger counterparts.
Disneyland in California has two separate parks at their Anaheim complex, the Disneyland Park and California Adventure just next door. Each park has its fair share of adult activities as well as the rides and experiences all ages can enjoy. My strongest bit of advice is to go in an off-season day when the park will be less busy. You won’t wait in lines all day or feel like you are in massive crowds all day long, which should be relaxing. This is not an all encompassing list, but it’s a start to how an adult can enjoy the theme parks and feel like an adult, but also like a kid again.
In Disneyland, I always advise getting there near or when the gates are opening. This will allow you to get a FastPass for one of the more popular rides in the park such as Space Mountain or Indiana Jones, then be able to ride the other with little to no wait in line. A Fastpass, for those who don’t know, is available on some of the more popular rides in the park. It is an extra ticket you can get from a kiosk next to certain rides that allows you to come back at a certain window of time, making it possible to cut wait times in line in half or even greater. Simply put, they are fantastic!
After getting a FastPass and riding a ride, I advise getting some photos in or strolling down Main Street to grab a pastry for breakfast or simply looking through the shops before it gets too busy. Head back over to the rides and pick some of the bigger named ones such as the Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean. Coincidentally, both of those rides have had a movie made revolving around it. However, only one turned into a success and the other was panned as a colossal flop, I will let you figure that one out on your own.
Hopefully sometime around now you have picked out the Mickey ears you decided to buy and have been taking photos all day to keep your memories. I would say it should be about lunch time. There are many options of places to eat in Disneyland. If you are the type looking to keep going on rides, you’re feeling great and don’t want to slow down, then you will want hit up a quick-service location in the park. These type of places include Rancho Del Zocalo, the Hungry Bear or even Café Orleans. However, if you are looking for the break and want to have some extra time to sit and relax, the Blue Bayou is the restaurant you see overlooking the start of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Granted, many of the quick-service locations have tables and chairs to sit and eat at, which lets you get the same break, but the Bayou has the legitimate waiter staff that does all the work for you.
After lunch, I would say keep using the FastPasses available to you and keep riding rides, looking around the shops and just enjoy the details that have been put into everything at the park. Obviously rides in Fantasy Land are designed for children, but adults can ride them and enjoy. Peter Pan’s Flight may seem cheesy, but it is unique and fun. As well, make sure to try Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters if you are with a significant other or friends because there is nothing like a competition in scoring points that brings out the best in everyone. You’ll see what I mean!
I will go ahead and give the same options for dinner that I did for lunch, but the only difference is that come the typical dinner times, these places are packed. Unless you have a reservation at the Blue Bayou for dinner and don’t want a quick-service meal, I would advise heading over to Downtown Disney for a break from the park for an hour or two at night and head to any of the fine restaurants they have there. If this is a special occasion, I would say go to Napa Rose in the Grand Californian hotel. It is a 4-star restaurant and may easily be the most romantic thing you can do during the day. Especially if you go from there and then head back over to the park to watch the fireworks show.
Once the fireworks end, depending on the day you go, the park will either be closing or people will clear out in droves and you will have a couple of hours to re-ride anything you loved, ride something you missed or do your shopping. I always would say shop last if you can, but if you do happen to buy something early in the day, there are lockers near the front entrance to store your stuff in so you don’t have to lug it around everywhere.
- 1. If you want to save a few extra dollars, bring in your own snacks. Churros, Dole Whip and Mickey Ice Cream will look good all day, but snack after snack will build up in expense.
- 2. Bring in a water bottle or if you buy a water early in the day, save the bottle! There are water fountains all over the park. Refill the bottle and use it all day. No reason to spend $3.00 every time you want a bottle of water.
- 3. If you can, eat slightly before or after the typical meal hours. This will save you from having to fight crowds at the restaurants and while they are eating you will have a shorter line at a ride.
- 4. While you can only get one FastPass at a time, I always advise getting one as soon as you are able, then riding the ride, for which you had the original FastPass.
- 5. If you plan to watch a parade, show or fireworks show, you will want to stake out a place semi-early. You can always sneak in under the ropes right before the start, but you may have a badly blocked view. Grab a snack, get a drink and relax where you can see the festivities.
- 6. Expect to walk a lot, dress comfy and wear comfy shoes.
- 7. Have a backpack or use a locker if you can. This way you can pack away a jacket for the evening if it is expected to get chilly outside.
- 8. Unless you are staying at a hotel next door to the park or have the ability to change quickly, I would ride Splash Mountain last. Your shoes and feet will thank you for the blisters you will avoid from walking around in wet shoes and socks all day.
- 9. Have fun! Immerse yourself in the joy that is Disneyland. Look at the details in everything, ride the rides, allow yourself to enjoy all the things Disney has to offer. You’re spending money after all, you should enjoy it.