Disneyland opened July 17, 1955 and in 2019 welcomed nearly 19 million visitors, making it the second-most-visited theme park in the world, following its younger sibling, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
Walt's original park is considered by many the "original" theme park, inspiring countless imitators around the world. Visitors to Walt Disney World may find Disneyland tiny in comparison, but this park is jam-packed with attractions, including the new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge land as well as the original Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and the world's first tubular steel roller coaster, Matterhorn Bobsleds. And if you manage to do everything here, the Disneyland Resort's second gate - Disney California Adventure theme park - lies just steps away from the park entrance.
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In 2024, Tiana's Bayou Adventure, themed to "The Princess and the Frog," will replace the former Splash Mountain flume ride, which is closing this year.
Starting on Main Street, then turning right at the hub into Tomorrowland and continuing around the park.
Main Street USA
If you want one of Disneyland's famed Dole Whips, try The Tropical Hideaway in Adventureland.
Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California - about 25 miles south of downtown Los Angeles and 30 miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Parking is at either the Mickey & Friends and Pixar Pals parking structures (they are connected) northwest of the parks or the Toy Story surface lot southeast of the parks. Plan on spending at least 30 minutes to park, go through bag checks and then get to the theme parks from either location. Shuttles are available, but you can walk as well.
You must make advance reservations to visit Disneyland, via Disney's website. This is true for "Magic Key" annual passholders as well as daily ticket holders. Unlike at the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland's hotel guests get no special preferences for admission reservations. However, Disneyland's hotel guests can get early admission to the park on select dates.
If you want to go to the Blue Bayou or Oga's Cantina, make reservations up to 60 days in advance on the Disneyland website or the official app. You may need to use Disney's virtual queue system to get a ride time on Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, as well. Here's how to do that.
Disneyland now offers a new tool called Disney Genie on its official app to create a custom itinerary for each day of your visit. In addition, Disney offers two ways for its theme park guests to pay to access shorter wait times for many popular attractions. You can learn more about these options in our posts:
If you get a virtual queue return time for Runaway Railway, drop whatever you planned to get there then for that. Otherwise, the good, old-fashioned free strategy is to get to the park gates at least half an hour before opening (accounting for time to park). If you are staying at one of the three on-site Disneyland Resort hotels, you can go on select attractions in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland 30 minutes before the park opens, so take advantage of that opportunity.
If you are not staying on-site, start your day instead on the west side of the park, with Indiana Jones, Jungle Cruise, or Big Thunder Mountain before heading over to either Tomorrowland for Space Mountain followed by Star Tours, or, if you have young kids, to Fantasyland for Peter Pan, then Dumbo, then working your way around the dark rides. Save high capacity rides such as Pirates and Mansion for later in the morning or early afternoon.
Many visitors will rush to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance first thing in the morning, but unless you are among those on-site hotel guests who can get to the back of the park before the bulk of the crowd, you're going to end up with a long wait for a long ride that costs you any chance at shorter queues during the park's first hour. Rise of the Resistance typically closes early - often by 8pm - but wait until later in the afternoon to ride this award-winning attraction to maximize the number of other Disneyland attractions you can experience during your visit.