Disneyland

Disneyland

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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Our recommendations below come from our annual survey of Theme Park Insider newsletter subscribers. Locations with star ratings ranked especially highly among our readers. Subscribe here to our free weekly email of theme park news to participate in the next ranking survey.

New for 2023

  • Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway: This trackless dark ride anchors the renovated Mickey's Toontown. The ride opened January 27 with the surrounding Toontown reopening March 8.

  • Wondrous Journeys: A new projection mapping show, with fireworks on select nights, to celebrate The Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary in 2023. You can view the projections from Main Street, the hub, in front of It's a Small World, or the Rivers of America in Frontierland. Opened January 27.

  • Magic Happens: the return of the new parade from 2020. Debuts February 24.

  • Adventureland Treehouse inspired by Walt Disney's Swiss Family Robinson: a refurbished walk-through, replacing Tarzan's Treehouse in Adventureland

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.

What to Do

Top 10

  1. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ★ ★ ★ ★
    Trackless dark ride located in Star Wars: Galaxy Edge. Height requirement: 40 inches

  2. Fantasmic! ★ ★ ★ ★
    Nighttime spectacular on the Rivers of America in Frontierland

  3. Indiana Jones Adventure ★ ★ ★
    Motion-base dark ride located in Adventureland. Height requirement: 46 inches
    Indiana Jones Adventure

  4. Pirates of the Caribbean ★ ★
    Indoor boat ride located in New Orleans Square

  5. Haunted Mansion ★ ★
    Dark ride located in New Orleans Square. The "Nightmare Before Christmas"-themed Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay runs from early September through early January.

  6. Space Mountain ★ ★
    Indoor family roller coaster located in Tomorrowland. Height requirement: 40 inches
    Space Mountain

  7. Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run ★ ★
    Motion-base ride located in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Height requirement: 38 inches

  8. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    Outdoor family roller coaster located in Frontierland. Height requirement: 40 inches

  9. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
    "Star Wars"-themed motion-base show located in Tomorrowland. Height requirement: 40 inches
    Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

  10. Disneyland Railroad
    The "Grand Circle Tour" around the park and through the Primeval World dioramas, with stops on Main Street, in New Orleans Square, Toontown, and Tomorrowland.

Other Attractions

Starting on Main Street, then turning right at the hub into Tomorrowland and continuing around the park.

Main Street USA

Tomorrowland

  • Astro Orbitor: spinner
  • Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters: interactive dark ride
  • Autopia: driving cars
  • Disneyland Monorail
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage: underwater boat ride

Fantasyland

  • It's A Small World: indoor boat ride
  • Tale of the Lion King: live musical show in the Fantasyland Theater
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: Arrow Dynamics roller coaster. Height requirement: 42 inches
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats: narrated, outdoor boat ride
  • Mad Tea Party: spinner
  • Alice in Wonderland: dark ride
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant: spinner
  • Mr. Toad's Wild Ride: dark ride
  • Peter Pan's Flight: dark ride (warning: distasteful racial content)
  • King Arthur Carrousel
  • Snow White's Enchanted Wish: dark ride
  • Pinocchio's Daring Journey: dark ride
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train: outdoor track ride

Mickey's Toontown (Reopening March 8)

  • Roger Rabbit's Car-Toon Spin: dark ride
  • Gadget's Go Coaster: Vekoma junior coaster.

Frontierland

  • Mark Twain/Sailing Ship Columbia: boat rides around the Rivers of America
  • Rafts to Pirates' Lair on Tom Sawyer Island: boat ride to a playground

Critter Country

Adventureland

Where to Eat

Recommdended

  • Blue Bayou Restaurant
    Table service inside Pirates of the Caribbean in New Orleans Square

  • Plaza Inn
    Cafeteria serving fried chicken and more on Main Street USA

  • Oga's Cantina
    Themed bar in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. [Advance reservations strongly encouraged]

If you want one of Disneyland's famed Dole Whips, try The Tropical Hideaway in Adventureland.

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Park Map

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.

Strategy

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 at least half an hour before opening (accounting for time to park), then head to Tomorrowland for Space Mountain first, followed by Star Tours, then head across the park for Indiana Jones, then Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder, and Pirates. If you have young kids, do Fantasyland first, starting with Peter Pan, then Dumbo, then working your way around the dark rides.

Many visitors will rush to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance first thing in the morning, but unless you are among the very few people who can get all the way 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.

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