Family Vacations to Disneyland, California

picture of Mickey disneyland
Mickey and Minnie in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle in Disneyland, California (Disney Enterprises, Inc)

Disney World Travel Tips

  • The park offers many air-conditioned ways to pass the time in the international pavilions.
  • Epcot stays open later than many of the other parks. If you just want to see the IllumiNations show, opt for the ParkHopper pass—you can add the show onto a day spent in another park.
  • Allow lots of time. The park is huge, and just walking around the World Showcase could take all day.
  • Consider staying at one of the Disney resorts. You'll get free transportation to and from the parks.
  • There's a lot of ground to cover at Epcot, so plan to take in at least one of the shows. You'll have a chance to sit down and maybe catch some air conditioning.

Though not nearly as big as its sister park, Magic Kingdom at Disney World, Disneyland is the older of the two by more than 15 years and holds the distinction of being the original "happiest place on earth." Located in Anaheim, California, the park is a little more than 30 miles from LAX airport, about 45 minutes from the Hollywood area, and within walking distance of several area hotels. Disneyland boasts great weather nearly year-round, and its relatively compact size makes it a manageable destination for families with small children.

The only Disney park that was created under the supervision of Walt Disney himself, Disneyland started off as a small play park to entertain guests of the nearby Disney studios. After its official opening in 1955, it grew to its current size, divided up into eight themed "lands" and offering more than 40 attractions aimed at children and families.

Main Street, U.S.A., is a re-creation of small-town life at the turn of the 20th century, complete with a movie theater and mom-and-pop-style shops. Adventureland is the setting for the Indiana Jones Adventure thrill ride as well as other exotic attractions. Dedicated to the Wild West, Frontierland features the popular Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster, Splash Mountain, and the Country Bear Jamboree. In the New Orleans Square, you can eat gumbo in the "French Quarter" and enjoy attractions like the old classics Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion. Critter Country contains Splash Mountain, and Fantasyland is the place to be for the small fry, with traditional rides themed around classic movies like Dumbo and Snow White. Mickey's Toontown is where Mickey and Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto live and is a great place for little ones (and kids at heart) to meet some of their favorite Disney characters. Tomorrowland gives guests a glimpse into the future—or at least the future the creators thought would be—with rides like Space Mountain and Submarine Voyage.

In addition to the rides and close encounters with your favorite princes, princesses, cartoon characters, and even villains, Disneyland offers a busy calendar of special events and entertainment—song-and-dance shows, parades, fireworks displays, and more. Sit-down dining options range from Cajun restaurants in the New Orleans Square to barbecue in Frontierland to café-style eating on Main Street, and there are dozens of counter-service eateries offering burgers, pasta, hot dogs, chicken, and more throughout the park. Many offer vegetarian options. Getting around is easy and fun, too—take the monorail, ride a double-decker bus, trot along in a carriage pulled by horses, or climb aboard one of the park's four steam-powered locomotives.

Published: 10 May 2010 | Last Updated: 11 May 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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