I was recently invited by Disney to take part on a media trip to experience Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park. Well, I wasn’t about to say no to going to “the happiest place on earth”, and it was a great opportunity to experience it as an adult, especially since I hadn’t been there since I was 10 years old. Here is our list of our the 10 things that you need to do while you’re there.
1. Nighttime Fireworks Spectacular (Disneyland)
No visit to the Disneyland Resort is complete without the iconic image of fireworks bursting behind Sleeping Beauty Castle. This show takes place daily. Make sure you get there early to get a prime vantage point for this 14-minute show. It’s up there with the best fireworks show that I’ve ever seen.
2. Indiana Jones Adventure (Disneyland)
Deep inside the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, you embark on a fast-paced thrill ride aboard a rugged 12-person troop transport. Fans of the movie franchise would be thrilled with the great special effects and the elaborately crafted set that this ride has to offer.
3. Star Tours – The Adventures Continue (Disneyland)
The power of the Force and the magic of Disney have combined to create “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue,” a new 3-D attraction at Disneyland Park. With an eye-popping digital presentation leveraging Dolby 3-D to deliver a vivid and realistic experience, a dramatic musical score and motion simulator-based technology, guests will be immersed in the Star Wars galaxy like never before on a theme park attraction. More than 50 story combinations are possible for guests to experience aboard Star Tours, so they can enjoy the attraction multiple times without experiencing the same adventure.
4. World of Color (California Adventure Park)
The World of Color nighttime water spectacular weaves water, color, fire and light into a kaleidoscope of fantasy and imagination. More than 1,000 jets of water form incredible shapes in time to the music as Disney and Disney•Pixar characters come to life on a shimmering veil of mist. Make sure to arrive early to get a good vantage point. The show takes you through different eras in Disney’s history, referencing several popular and iconic Disney movies.
5. Radiator Springs Racers at Cars Land (California Adventure Park)
Radiator Springs Racers is themed to the world from Disney·Pixar’s Cars. The attraction is the most expensive to be built in the entire Disneyland Resort, one of the most expensive attractions Disney has ever built, and one of the most expensive theme park attractions in the world at an estimated cost of over $200 million. The attraction takes guests in a six-person vehicle through encounters with characters from the film Cars. Guests then race another vehicle through turns and hills, ending with a randomized race result. This was my favourite ride out of all the ones that we went on.
6. Tower of Terror (California Adventure Park)
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, commonly known as Tower of Terror, is an accelerated drop tower thrill ride based upon the television show The Twilight Zone, and takes place in the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel. The ride places all riders in a vehicle resembling an old hotel elevator, and present riders with a fictional back story in which people mysteriously disappeared from a hotel elevator under the influence of some supernatural element many years prior. I would encourage you to try this ride out at night, as you will get to enjoy a stunning nighttime view (all 5 seconds of it) of Disneyland when the ride reaches the top of the tower.
7. LEGO Store (downtown Disney)
If you like LEGO or you grew up playing with LEGO (like me), then you’ll want to check out the LEGO Store in downtown Disney, the second largest LEGO Store in the US. This store features all-new displays, interactive play areas and life-sized Disney characters rendered in LEGO.
8. Street Fries at UVA Bar (downtown Disney)
Located in the heart of downtown Disney is UVA Bar, where you’ll find their delicious Uva Street Fries with Chorizo Bilbao, spicy crema, shaved green onions, pickled garlic, cheese curds. Make sure to ask them to add a fried organic egg to it.
9. Breakfast at Steakhouse 55 (Disneyland Hotel)
Located inside the Disneyland Hotel, Steakhouse 55 is named for the year that Disneyland Park opened. It was awarded four stars by the Orange County Register and a Golden Bacchus by the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association. We had breakfast there and their New York steak and eggs were absolutely delicious.
10. Dinner at Napa Rose (Grand Californian Hotel & Spa)
Our first group dinner together was at the elegant Napa Rose, located inside the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in downtown Disney. They serve upscale California fare and boast an extensive wine list. Since its launch in 2002, Napa Rose has received accolades and awards from a number of esteemed organizations including the Wine Spectator, Zagat, The Southern California Restaurant Writers and the Orange County Business Journal.
Above: Their open concept kitchen allows full view of what’s happening in the back. Pan Roasted Diver Scallop with lobster and vanilla lemon sauce; Below: We started off with some appetizers which included scaloppini of wild Alaskan halibut, spicy beef & cashew roll, curried crab taco, citrus cured salmon buckwheat blini, shrimp in cucumber wrap, seared ahi nacho, lemon broiled scallop.
Left: Petit Filet of Angus Beef Tenderloin with Fiscalini white cheddar risotto, smoked bacon and chili fig sauce; Right: Roasted Maple Leaf Duck Breast with fennel-honey puree, pistachios, baby portabellas, and local cherries.
We had a wonderful time at Disneyland and can’t wait to go back again. With only a day to spend at each theme park, we felt that it wasn’t enough time to take in everything that they both have to offer. Leave us a comment and let us know what else you think should be on this list! Disneyland is not just a place for kids, it can be the happiest place on Earth for adults as well!