We’re leaving in two weeks for a surprise trip to Disneyland for Colorado Boy’s 9th birthday, so I’ve got attractions on my mind. We have a list of favorites that we always try to do and since they’re mostly good for kids of all ages (exceptions noted), I thought I’d share them with you. The list is kind of long, but I always like to share a bit of commentary, so bear with me
10. Disneyland Monorail/Disneyland Railroad
You might think of the monorail and train as just a method of transportation, but Colorado Boy absolutely considers these to be attractions all on their own. He LOVES riding the monorail and train and we’re pretty much required to ride at least once each trip.
9. Disney Animation Building - Hollywood Backlot in California Adventure
We passed by the door to this building MANY times on our way to Tower of Tower, but it wasn’t until 2010 when Colorado Dad and I were doing the D23 Scavenger Hunt that we ventured in and discovered all that was offered here. Boy were we missing something cool! There’s lots of fun stuff to do in here, including the Animation Academy, Sorcerer’s Workshop and Turtle Talk with Crush (which we LOVE). Really great for a rainy day, but we try to go all the time as a way to escape some of the afternoon crowds.
8. Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island - Frontierland/Rivers of America in Disneyland
Another relatively new find for us, this is a great place to let the kids run around and stretch their legs a bit. There’s lots of caves to explore, bridges to cross, and, if you’re lucky, treasure to discover!
7. Pirates of the Caribbean – New Orleans Square in Disneyland
This is one of those rides that MAY not be for all kids. There is a small drop (although you never get more than a few drops of water on you) and the pirates and skeletens can be a little disturbing to some kids. As a matter-of-fact, I was SO scared of this ride when I was little that I refused to go on it. Somehow I got the idea that pirates actually shoot AT you, so that turned me off of the ride until I was an adult. After riding it for the first time, I felt very foolish for ever being worried about it and vowed to make sure that my kids would ride it, no matter what. The good news is that both my kids are pirate-crazy and LOVE this ride. I guarantee the whole family will be singing “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me” for the rest of the day
6. Soarin’ Over California - Golden State area in California Adventure
I’m including Soarin’ on this list only because it’s Colorado Boy’s FAVORITE attraction. It does have a minimum height requirement of 40″, so younger kids, like Colorado Princess, cannot ride. However, Soarin’ does have the “rider swap” option, which is very helpful if you want to enjoy attractions that aren’t appropriate for younger kids. For those of you not familiar, rider swap allows your entire party to wait in line together, but before loading the ride vehicle, one adult and the child who can’t ride are sent to a waiting area, where they wait while the rest of their party rides. Then, after riding, the adults “swap”, allowing the adult who waited with the child to ride without having to wait in line all over again. Waiting areas and exact procedures vary from attraction to attraction, so make sure you let every cast member you run into know that you want to swap so they can direct you in the right direction. Rider swap aside, Soarin’ really is a great attraction that we all love.
5. Peter Pan’s Flight – Fantasyland in Disneyland
I’m sure I’m breaking some cardinal law of Disney fandom by saying this, but here it goes – my kids don’t really love Fantasyland, so we usually don’t spend much time there. I know, I know – the Fantasyland attractions are CLASSICS, but quite honestly, most of them scare my kids So, while you won’t find attractions like Snow White’s Scary Adventure or Mr Toad’s Wild Ride on our list, you WILL find Peter Pan. Sure, the wait can be long, but there’s just nothing like boarding that pirate ship and heading off toward the second star on the right. My kids love the movie and they love this attraction so we try to make it one of our first stops in the morning.
4. Muppet*Vision 3D – Hollywood Backlot in California Adventure While I would LOVE to see this show updated, it still makes me giggle every time we see it. The kids love it and, amazingly enough, even my daughter is able to sit still for most of the show. One word of warning: There is a live action character that makes a brief appearance in the theater, but he doesn’t interact with anyone and stays up in the front. If your kiddos are at all scared of the characters, you might think about sitting a little further back in the theater.
3. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters/Toy Story Mania - Tomorrowland in Disneyland/Paradise Pier in California Adventure
Toy Story + friendly competition? There’s pretty much nothing better in our books We LOVE Toy Story Mania but haven’t found out all the “secrets” yet, so we often find ourselves back over at Astro Blasters so we can challenge each other to hit those special targets. (sorry, not going to spend time on WHERE to find them…maybe in another post some day )
2. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - Critter Country in Disneyland
Just a nice, easy-going ride through various scenes from the 100 Acre Wood. Even now that Colorado Boy is out of his Winnie the Pooh phase, he still loves this ride. I feel like this is probably the best “dark ride” to try young kids on, because there’s nothing too terribly scary here and they can get an idea of what it’s like to ride some of the similiar rides in Fantasyland. It’s also situated right next to our favorite counter service restaurant, The Hungry Bear Cafe, so we seem to always visit around lunchtime
1. It’s a small world - between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland in Disneyland
And now we’ve come to the granddaddy of them all, the happiest cruise that has ever sailed the seven seas. It’s true, Colorado Dad can no longer handle it and I can only take it in small doses, but still, we ride every single time we visit because it truly is our kids favorite ride. They’ve updated and tweaked this attraction over the years, introducing the holiday overlay in 1997 and including dolls from some of the classic Disney movies in 2009, but in essence, it remains the same as it was back in 1964 when it opened at the World’s Fair which is cool because I really feel a connection to the “old days” when I ride. Even though the song gets stuck in our head a lot (THANKS Sherman Brothers!), I still really enjoy seeing all of Alice Davis’ wonderful costume design, so I will (grudgingly) admit, it’s not just my kids favorite, it’s one of mine too
Are any of these on your favorites list? Any must-do attractions for your kids that I missed? Leave me a comment and let me know