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Best Things to Do at Disneyland
At Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, you'll find two theme parks facing each other across a central plaza: Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. You can do all these things at Disneyland or California Adventure.
I'll start with some less-known things to do at Disneyland and work up to the ones that people like best.
Take a Tour
You may be anxious to get started playing at Disneyland, but they also offer some nifty tours that include a chance to Walk in Walt's Footsteps, discover the magic with your whole family or enjoy a seasonal adventure. Find out more in the Disneyland tour guide.Continue to 2 of 11 below.
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Celebrate a Birthday, Anniversary or Special Occasion
You may have thought of going to Disneyland for your special birthday, honeymoon, anniversary or another occasion, but you don't have to celebrate alone.
The first thing to do when you arrive: Stop at Disneyland's City Hall or California Adventure Guest Relations to pick up a souvenir button. Wear it and you'll feel like a celebrity, with Cast Members and other guests offering you best wishes all day. It's just one of the ways to celebrate your birthday at Disneyland.Continue to 3 of 11 below.
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Watch the People
People-watching is one of my favorite things to do. If you sit down to do it, you can rest at the same time. Some of the best spots to observe your fellow humans are the benches around the "hub" between Main Street USA and the castle.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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You'll find a themed store outside many of the most popular rides full of tempting souvenirs. You can also get a Mouse Ears hat in scores of styles or buy designer items with a Disney theme. You'll find lots of shops along Main Street USA and in the alley near New Orleans Square. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique near the castle sells costumes to suit the finest of princesses. In Downtown Disney, several shops sell Disney-themed items, too.
The Disney Gallery on Main Street or Off the Page in California Adventure are the best places to head to score that special collectible - or try the World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney.Continue to 6 of 11 below.
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Have a Meal
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 served, but a few require reservations. Find out about your options.
You can also have a meal with a side-helping of Disney characters at the Disney hotels and inside the theme parks. All the details about character breakfasts and other ways to meet them are here.Continue to 7 of 11 below.
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See a Show
Disneyland and California Adventure have some great live shows featuring singing, dancing and sometimes a little audience participation. Check our your options at Disneyland. Our favorite? The Frozen show at California Adventure. California Adventure has other options, too - including the World of Color, a water-and-lights show worth staying up late for.Continue to 8 of 11 below.
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Watch a Parade
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, Mickey's Soundsational Parade is one of their best in years, replaced at Christmas by a seasonal version. Even more spectacular is Disneyland's Night parade. Over at California Adventure, it's the Pixar Play Parade.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Watch the Fireworks
Disneyland has fireworks about 250 times a year - and they're some of the best you'll see anywhere, launched using low-smoke, low-pollution, quieter technology. They're not just pretty, they tell a story, too. And your eyes might just pop out of your head, trying to keep up with all the amazing projection effects that go with them. Find out where to watch them, inside or outside the park.
Perennial favorite Fantasmic! also offers a generous helping of fireworks and special effects.Continue to 10 of 11 below.
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Meet Disney Characters
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,. You'll also find a whole host of other characters around the parks and at special character breakfasts. Get some tips on when and where you can meet them.Continue to 11 of 11 below.
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Enjoy the Rides
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, lists by type, height restrictions and photos.
After you've done all that, you're ready to start tackling the 8 Things That Absolutely Must Be on Every Disneyland Fan's Bucket List. And 11 Things You Didn't Even Know You Could Do at Disneyland.