No need to get on a plane to travel the world. Disneyland will whisk you away to tropical islands, remote jungles, the Wild West, New Orleans and places unknown. In just a short car ride you can enter the gates of Disneyland and feel like you’ve arrived in a whole new world. There’s so much to do and see at Disneyland, that we find ourselves busy just visiting the West side of the park where Adventureland, Frontierland, New Orleans and Critter Corner are found. You can see a full map online.
Entering Adventureland feels like you just stepped off a plane in a remote South American or African destination. Disney’s imagineers have deftly blended shops and restaurants that have that far away feel of a remote village market.
Rides include the Jungle Cruise (great for all ages) where you tour a jungle river basin to discover all sorts of exotic animals and Indiana Jones Adventure (great for ages 5 and older – minimum height 46″). Its a rollicking ride through the movies we all know and love. Just getting to the heart of the ride, through caverns set with “booby traps” was fun!
There’s also Tarzan’s Treehouse, a climbing adventure into the trees. Need a snack? Stop into the snack shop in front of the Jungle Cruise and get a pickle. Disney makes dill, sour and spicy by the barrel full and sells them throughout the park. And of course no trip to Adventureland is complete without Dole whip while watching the birds and flowers sing in the Tiki Room where you will be serenaded by island birds, flowers and tikis.
If a trip to the Wild West suits you just head around the corner from Adventureland, and Frontierland is there to welcome you. The main ride in Frontierland is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster (minimum height 40″). This roller coaster is crazy fun, speeding you through desert rock formations of the Old West. There’s actually two tracks and they both look a little different. When you’re in line whether you stand on the left or the right will determine which track you end up on. Across from the ride is a snack stand with covered outdoor seating next to it. You can get chimichangas, corn, pickles and turkey legs and eat them in the shade. While there stop in to see the Mark Twain Riverboat and the Sailing Ship Columbia or take a river cruise past New Orleans.
There’s entertainment abounding in Frontierland with performances at The Golden Horseshoe Stage (sometimes even a marching band performance) and a shooting competition at The Shooting Exposition. You can even make custom leather bracelets. Hungry? The Stage Door Cafe features corn dogs and funnel cakes. Or if you’d like table service the Riverbelle Cafe offers fried chicken sandwiches, brisket sandwiches with tater tots and a delicious pimento cheese dip.
Prepared to get spooked and do a little sparkly shopping in New Orleans. First stop? Pirates of the Caribbean. No trip to Disneyland is complete without reliving the epic movies with a cruise through the cavernous terrain of Pirate land. When you depart the ride you will find yourself in The Royal Street Veranda shopping area with Disney pirate themed items, a perfumery and a couple of jewelry stores with sparkly Disney themed jewels. Pirates of the Caribbean actually takes you past the back dining terrace of the Blue Bayou Restaurant. Use the Disney App and book reservations ahead of time though. There’s always a wait and sometimes they are completely booked.
Cafe Orleans is where to stop for counter service Creole style fare and Mickey shaped beignets. Or (when in service) you can hop on the Disneyland Railroad. The bathrooms are near here and its the least crowded way to walk around the “park” and get to the Haunted Mansion. Prepare to wait unless you got a Fast Pass. The Haunted Mansion is a highly sought after ride. Its a little spooky so if your kids scare easy, skip it. Throughout the day characters and entertainment take place in New Orleans. You might spot Tianna or Jack Sparrow or enjoy a live performance by one of Disney’s many bands,
Although Critter Country is under construction the Winnie the Pooh ride is still open and is Hungry Bear Restaurant. This is a great place for a less crowded snack and break in the shade. If you’re a Poo fan (hee hee) this is the best place to get Poo inspired Disney items. The main attraction here is Splash Mountain. The lines are very long so we recommend you get a Fast Pass. But its totally a blast at the end of a long hot day when you’re ready to cool off.
MY DISNEY TIPS
DOWNLOAD THE APP: Do not do to Disneyland without the Disneyland app on your phone. You can check wait times, find characters and restrooms, get parade and entertainment schedules, discover dining and book reservations, get your photos and more through the app. You will never be lost because there’s a map in the app!
CHARGING STATION: Phone dying? There are charging lockers where you can lock your phone while it charges on Main Street behind the Market House aka Starbucks (D on the map).
EMERGENCY: Need an EpiPen of FirstAid? Head to Main Street right behind the Starbucks (D on the map).
BABY CARE, NURSING, LOST CHILD: Visit the Baby Care Centers for a private place to nurse, change diapers, stock up on formula or diapers and even pacifiers. Missing your child? Go to the Baby Care Center. That’s where the lost kids are taken. Its safe and quiet and gives them some comfort until parents arrive.
GUEST SERVICES: Can be found at City Hall at the beginning of Main Street. They can help with guided tours, upgraded tickets and more. This is also where you will find Lost & Found. We always stop here at the bathrooms before heading into the park.
FAST PASS: Fast passes help you get ahead of the lines. Be sure to pick up a map of Disneyland when you arrive to see which rides have Fast Passes or download the Disney App and type Fast Passes into search to see all locations on the map. Fast passes are available for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Indiana Jones Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain. We always get our Fast Passes first thing when we arrive. You can only get two at a time so pick the two rides you “must” do that day and get those passes first.
SHORTCUTS: Trying to avoid crowds? From Frontierland you can get to Fantasyland quickly by taking the path behind Thunder Mountain Railroad that takes you to the top end of Fantasyland. There’s bathrooms and pizza right there! You can also go past the bathrooms at El Zocalo restaurant to get to the Royal Hall and Royal Theatre (where the characters perform and princesses take pictures all day) at the edge of Fantasyland.
DINING TIPS: There’s (3) types of dining options. Food “carts” throughout the park where you can get a few items, counter service and table service. We like the counter service at Stage Door Cafe (corn dogs, fish and chips, chicken nuggets) and Golden Horseshoe (chili, fish and chips, ice cream), or Mexican food at Rancho del Zocalo (the bathrooms are here too) in Frontierland. As mentioned above, for table service dining we like the River Belle Terrace in Frontierland. Parents won’t hate it and neither will kids. You can get more details on dining in Adventureland, New Orleans and Critter Corner on the Disney App or online.