The Top 10 Things to Do at Disneyland

Disneyland in California is packed with so many things to see and do. The park always has something going on, such as shows, fireworks, parades, and special events. And even on quieter, less eventful days at the park, you can still easily fill your day there with plenty of the other fun attractions and activities. Use this guide to learn about some of the best things to do when visiting Disneyland to make your trip there a memorable one.  

01 of 10

Enjoy the Rides

Mark Downey / Getty Images 

Rides are the reason most people go to Disneyland, and they've got a broad range of options, from gentle boat trips to the white-knuckled, scream-yourself-silly kind.

The Disneyland Ride Guide and California Adventure Ride Sheet have all the details, listed by type, height restrictions, and photos.

02 of 10

Meet Disney Characters

Mary Poppins smiles at a young child as she leads a line of children in song and dance in front of Cinderella's castle during Disney's 60th Diamond Celebration.

smckenzie/Getty Images 

What could be more fun than meeting your favorite Disney character in person? Minnie and Mickey Mouse have residences in Disneyland's Toontown where you can drop in, and the Star Wars characters hold meet and greets in the Star Wars Launch Bay in Tomorrowland.

You'll also find a whole host of other characters around the parks and at special character breakfasts.

03 of 10

Celebrate a Birthday, Anniversary, or Special Occasion

Disneyland Forever
Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort

If you're going to Disneyland for a special birthday, honeymoon, anniversary or another occasion, you don't have to celebrate alone. And you don't have to pay a penny extra, either.

When you arrive, stop at Disneyland's City Hall or California Adventure Guest Relations to pick up a souvenir birthday or celebration button. 

Wear the button and you'll feel like a celebrity all day, with Cast Members and other guests offering you best wishes all day.

04 of 10

Go Shopping

Shopping at Disney California Adventure

Betsy Malloy Photography 

You'll find a themed store outside many of the most popular rides full of tempting souvenirs.

You'll find lots of shops along Main Street U.S.A. and along the street near New Orleans Square. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique near the castle sells costumes to suit all the mini princesses that visit the park. 

The Disney Gallery on Main Street or Off the Page in California Adventure are the best places to head to score a special collectible, or try the World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney.

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05 of 10

Celebrate the Holidays

Christmas Fantasy Parade

Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland 

In some respects, every day feels like a holiday at Disneyland. It's like Fourth of July every time they set off the fireworks.

Disneyland also gets gussied up for Halloween, and Mickey Mouse hosts a Halloween Party that has its own parade and fireworks.

The park also celebrates Christmas with handmade candy canes, festive treats, and holiday-themed overlays at It's a Small World and Haunted Mansion.

06 of 10

See a Show

A Scene from Frozen at the Hyperion Theater

Scott Brinegar/Disneyland Resort 

Disneyland and California Adventure have some great live shows featuring singing, dancing, and sometimes a little audience participation. If you aren't into rides, you could easily spend an entire day just watching the shows.

The Frozen show at California Adventure is a favorite. California Adventure has other options, too, including the World of Color, a water-and-lights show worth staying up late for.

07 of 10

Watch a Parade

Pixar Play Parade at California Adventure

Courtesy of Disneyland Resort 

In most places, you're lucky to see one parade a year, but at Disneyland, you can watch two or three in a single day.

In Disneyland, the Pixar Play Parade (which was previously at California Adventure) runs once or twice a day.

08 of 10

Watch the Fireworks

Disneyland 60th celebration castle with people This year Disneyland celebrates its 60th aniversary of been open. On this day the park celebrated with fireworks and over 150 thousand people. People are exiting the park after a long day of fun and celebrations.

FrozenShutter/Getty Images 

Disneyland has fireworks about 250 times a year, and they're some of the best you'll see anywhere. They're launched using low-smoke, low-pollution, quieter technology. Plus, they're not just pretty, but they tell a story, too, with the help of some amazing projection effects that go with them. 

A perennial favorite Fantasmic! also offers a generous helping of fireworks and special effects.

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09 of 10

Have a Meal

Mickey Mouse Pancakes at Disneyland
Courtesy of Disneyland Resort

You'll find plenty of places to eat in the parks and just outside them, too, from a simple pretzel and a fountain drink to a full, sit-down dinner. Most are first-come, first serve, but a few require reservations.

You can also have a meal while getting a chance to meet the Disney characters at the hotels and inside the theme parks.

10 of 10

Do Some People-Watching

Cars Land at Disney California Adventure

Kayte Deioma

People-watching is a favorite thing to do at Disneyland while you're relaxing and taking a break from running around and exploring the park. Find a bench or a place to rest, and watch all the visitors and characters stroll by.

Some of the best spots to do this are the benches around the "hub" between Main Street U.S.A. and the castle. In California Adventure, head to Paradise Pier or Hollywood Land.