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Disneyland is one of the most visited theme parks in the world, with 15.98 million visitors in 2010, placing it just behind the Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida. Disneyland, the original Disney park, opened July 18,1955, and continues to evolve over time.
Today, Disneyland has two parks, three hotels, and Downtown Disney, a shopping and entertainment area before the ticket booths. The main park is Disneyland, and the sister park across the way is Disney California Adventure, which opened in February 2001. Disneyland is home to the classic attractions, themed lands and rides with a few thrill rides mixed in. Disney California Adventure is California-themed with a focus on thrill rides.
There's a good reason why Disneyland is called "The Happiest Place on Earth." Along with the many rides and attractions, visitors can meet Disney characters and watch an incredible fireworks show every night. On top of everything, Disneyland's cast members (anyone who works in the parks) provide some of the friendliest customer service around.
Facts about Disneyland, California
Disneyland Resort, 1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, California, United States
33.809°N 117.919°WCoordinates: 33.809°N 117.919°W
Fairy tales and Disney characters
The Walt Disney Company
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
July 17, 1955;
8:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning
7:00 AM to 8:00 AM
Starting 99 USD
When to go Disneyland
The Disneyland parks are busiest during the summer and on weekends and holidays, and these large crowds lead to long wait times, and can drastically reduce the overall experience. Summers can also be uncomfortably hot, which makes waiting in long lines even less bearable.
Off-season and on weekdays are usually much better, with shorter lines, meaning visitors can do more in the same amount of time. With its location in Southern California, Disneyland's weather is never that bad and it hardly rains.
A car is usually the best way to get around the area, and most hotels provide parking for their guests. Parking at the Disneyland Park is $15 per day (but more for RVs or buses). The downside of driving is dealing with Southern California traffic.
Airports near Disneyland :
John Wayne/Orange County Airport (SNA) - The Gray Line's Disneyland Resort Express Bus transports passengers between the resort and the airport.
Long Beach Airport (LGB) - JetBlue hub, located an equal distance from Disneyland as SNA, but there is no direct shuttle to Disneyland.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) - The largest airport in the area and most common for international travelers, LAX is also served by Disneyland Resort Express.
LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT) - San Bernadino County
Bob Hope Airport (BUR) - Burbank
Hotels in the park and in the area are close enough to walk to avoid having to park at Disneyland. For those that do park their cars in the lots at Disneyland, frequent trams transport passengers between the lot and the park entrance.
Within the parks themselves, everything is accessible on foot, including going from one park to the other. The Disneyland Monorail runs between Tomorrowland and Downtown Disney, giving great views of the resort, passing through Disney California Adventure, the Grand Californian Hotel, and the main park entrance. Other transportation inside the park include the vintage vehicles on Main Street and the Disneyland Railroad.
Shopping, Dining, and Lodging
Themed shops where visitors can pick up souvenirs, clothes, edible treats, and more are located all over both of the parks. A few shops sell Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse ears, and the cap versions can be personalized right in the store with an embroidered name on the back, making the perfect keepsake. Downtown Disney has several shops and restaurants, including ESPN Zone, House of Blues, Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, Rainforest Cafe, as well as the Build-a-Bear Workshop and Lego Imagination Center.
Food inside the park can be overpriced, but some special treats may be worth the cost. Old fashioned ice cream parlors, and themed restaurants in some of the lands, like Louisiana specialties in New Orleans Square, as well as typical American foods like corn dogs, burgers, and pizza are found around the park. Visitors to the park can bring in snacks and water, and after attaining a re-entry stamp on the way out, leave the park and head to another place to eat. There are several dining options in Downtown Disney or the area around the park.
The Disneyland Resort has a few different hotels for a complete Disney vacation: Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. About twelve privately owned hotels are located very close to the park, and can be much cheaper options.
Disneyland - Themed lands :
Main Street, USA : Modeled after a street in Marceline, MO where Walt Disney spent time as a child, Main Street is the entrance to the park, and home to souvenir shops, an ice cream parlor, vintage vehicles, and the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction.
Adventureland : Designed to incorporate the jungles of Africa, Asia, South Pacific islands, with hints of the Midle East, Adventureland includes the thrilling Indiana Jones Adventure, the Jungle Cruise, guided boat tour of the jungles, and the Enchanted Tiki Room, a show with music, animatronic birds, flowers, and tiki gods.
New Orleans Square : New Orleans Square captures the character and charm of the city along with its spooky side. Colonial architecture and Caribbean culture provide the setting for two of the most famous rides at Disneyland (which have both been turned into movies): Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. The square includes some of the best food in the park, including a chance to be part of a ride, when dining at the Blue Bayou inside the Pirates of the Caribbean. Also in the square is an private club, called Club 33, not known or accessible to many visitors to Disneyland.
Fantasyland : The Bavarian village of Fantasyland features mostly smaller rides geared toward younger children, including the Mad Tea Party (spinning tea cups) and it's a small world, as well as the iconic Cinderella's castle. The rides in Fantasyland are mostly base.
Frontierland : Frontierland is themed like the Old West, with shooting games, log cabins, a petting zoo, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster, as well as the Mark Twain Riverboat and Tom Sawyer Island.
Critter Country : Critter Country is designed to resemble the North American forests and pioneers, similar to the theme of Frontierland. The main feature of Critter Country is Splash Mountain, the log flume ride with Br'er Rabbit.
Tomorrowland : Described as the "future that never was," Tomorrowland's theme is historical visions of the future, that is, Tomorrowland is designed to look like the future, as imagined by scientists of the 1920s and Sci-Fi authors. Tomorrowland features several of Disneyland's top attractions, like Space Mountain, Star Tours (the Star Wars themed motion-simulator, now in 3-D), and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, where riders interact by shooting lasers and compete for the highest score.
Mickey's Toontown : Visitors to Toontown can explore the homes of Mickey and Minnie, Donald Duck's boathouse, the treehouse of Chip 'n Dale. Themed after the cartoon town from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Toontown is full of photo ops and a few smaller coasters and spin rides.
Shows and Parades : The shows and parades in Disneyland change occasionally, especially for holidays like Christmas and Halloween (when the park is also decorated accordingly).
Fantasmic! - A water show with lights and video projected onto waterfall walls, choreographed to music and fireworks, Fantasmic! is shown most evenings on the Rivers of America (and twice every night during the high season).
Soundsational Parade : A musical street parade with performances one or two times daily.
Disney California Adventure : Themed regions of California:
Buena Vista Street : Designed to look like Los Angeles of the 1920s, this entryway to the park features shops and restaurants, and its main attraction is the Red Car Trolley.
Condor Flats : This land has Mojave Desert and aviation theme, with one of the park's best rides: Soarin' Over California, where riders hang glide over the state, seeing, feeling, and smelling the sites.
Grizzly Peak : California's redwood forests can be found in this section of DCA, along with a white-water rafting ride, Grizzly River Run, and a ropes course, Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, which features a zip line and rock climbing.
Pacific Wharf : The Pacific Wharf has a few San Francisco treats, like the Bakery Tour, which displays the process of baking sourdough bread, and the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop. Also featured are Golden Vine Winery and Mexican and Asian restaurants.
Paradise Pier : A boardwalk-themed section of the park, Paradise Pier features the California Screamin' rollercoaster and Mickey's Fun Wheel, a ferris wheel with internally swinging gondolas.
Hollywood Land : This section's biggest thrill is the TwilightZone Tower of Terror, an eerie elevator ride based on the 1960s show. Hollywood Land also has several shows, like the MuppetVision 3D and Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, as well as animation presentations.
"A bug's land" : This "A Bug's Life" themed land is geared toward younger children, and features California's agriculture from the perspective of a bug. The 3D show "It's Tough to be a Bug" is one of the main attraction, but a water maze and small rides like a miniature train add to the appeal for small children.
Cars Land : Opened in June 2012, Cars Land is based on Disney/Pixar's Cars franchise, and brings the Route 66 town Radiator Springs to life. Automobile-themed rides and Route 66 food and shops make Cars Land a hit with people of all ages.
Shows and Parades : World of Color - A colorful display of lights and waterworks, choreographed to music and video. The small viewing area is located near Paradise Pier.
Pixar Play Parade : On selected days, visitors to DCA can catch the Pixar Play Parade, featuring characters from Pixar's movies, like Monster's Inc, Ratatouille, and Toy Story.
Visitors to Disneyland's parks can choose between one, two, three, four, and five day tickets, or an annual pass. Three to five day tickets are only available for purchase online or through travel agencies, but one and two day tickets and annual passes are available at the ticket booths. Discounted tickets can sometimes be found for California residents and AAA members. Ticket costs are cheaper for children ages nine and under.
Regular tickets allow entrance to one park. To enter both parks, visitors must purchase a Park Hopper pass for a few dollars more, but this is still much less than the cost of buying a separate ticket for each park.
Visitors to both parks can use their admissions ticket (called their Passport) to save time by reserving their place in line at a specific time. At special FASTPASS machines at the most popular attractions, visitors can insert their Passport and receive a ticket that allows entry to the special FASTPASS line at the specified time. This way, people can obtain a FASTPASS and check out another attraction, then return to the ride for a shorter wait in line. The FASTPASS is good for one ride within one hour after the time stamped on the ticket.
FASTPASSES state on the ticket what time the rider is eligible to request another FASTPASS, usually about two hours after obtaining the first pass, or after the first pass has been used.