Part 3 - Five Favorite Disney Special Experiences
Today I’ll be sharing with you the five best special experiences at Disneyland (at least, for our family). These things make the trip exciting and special.
5. Interactive Parades
Disney does a great job with parades. The music, the floats, the performers…always top notch. But the best parades are the ones that your kids can participate in. Some of these are just small 5 minute pass through parades, but they are worth the time to stop and join in.
My kids love getting out there with the performers, dancing a being a part of The Show. To find out what parades will be running during your visit to the Disneyland resort, click HERE.
4. Special Occasion Buttons
Happy Birthday, Just Engaged, First Visit, Family Reunion, Just Married, Happy Anniversary, Magical Triumph (for a sports victory), Happily Every After and I’m Celebrating (for just about any occasion).
Get one for your kids and cast members and characters will comment on them all day – especially if it’s a birthday or first visit button. This is an exceptional and FREE way to make your child feel extra super duper special while they are visiting Disneyland.
Let’s face it. Almost every little girl wants to be a princess. Mine was no exception. All she wanted to do was meet the princesses.
Princess Fantasy Faire is a covered area off to the left of the path from Fantasyland to Toontown where little girls can stand in line to meet three princesses in one shot. Each girl gets one-on-one time (about 1 or 2 minutes) with each princess available. They do not, however, tell you which princess will be there and when, so it’s just a shot in the dark if your daughter has a favorite. Ellie got to meet Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. The big three.
Important tip: This is a very popular attraction. We showed up one day at 1pm and the estimated wait was 2 hours. Ugh!! Instead, go early in the day and get in line at least 30 minutes before it opens (preferably on a Magic Morning Day – a special one hour early entry you get by ordering tickets through Disneyland’s website). Princess Fantasy Faire opens after the park does, so check the Entertainment Guide at the Disneyland entrance for daily opening times. The other kiddos can do non princessy stuff with the other adult, like ride Space Mountain, Star Tours or Indiana Jones (or Fantasyland rides if the others are younger).
I took Ellie and Shiloh to the princesses and the hubs took Payton (who is older) to ride Indiana Jones. This worked out perfect as he was the only kid tall enough to ride that particular ride. Ellie didn’t have to be sad to miss it and Payton didn’t have to wait at the princess spot. Ellie and I were the second ones in line and spent a total of 35 minutes at Princess Fantasy Faire – 30 minutes waiting, 5 minutes seeing princesses.
2. Jedi Training Academy
This experience made the trip for my little boy. It is a participatory show put on in Tomorrowland. Little kids – both boys and girls – sit front and center for the show, hoping to get picked to “train” as a Jedi.
If they are chosen, they are given a Jedi robe and light saber. A Jedi master teaches them light saber moves and, as the Empire attacks the Jedi forces, the little Padawans line up to do battle with either Darth Maul or Darth Vader. The force is great with them and, of course, they defeat Vader. After the show they receive a certificate to take home.
If your child isn’t chosen, no worries. They perform the show three times daily, every day. Simply come back for another show. Tip: If your child is wearing Star Wars clothing (or a costume) they will more likely be chosen.
Walking around Disneyland in costume is like a dream come true for little ones. It’s as if they are a member of the cast, a part of The Show. They feel as though they have become part of the Disneyland magic…like they have moved in and, for the time being, reside at the Happiest Place On Earth. They are pointed out and spoken to by cast members left and right. Everyone loves to see (and greet) a 3 year old princess or Woody or Peter Pan or Tinkerbell or Jedi Knight.
One note: Masks are not allowed in Disneyland. Neither are adult costumes (that would confuse kids to no end). The only exception to this rule is for people attending Mickey’s Halloween Party.
(things we haven’t seen or experienced, but I’ve heard they are totally amazing and make the trip extra special):
Character Meals – Eat a delicious meal while Disney characters make the rounds from table to table, greeting guests and taking pictures. Reservations required in advance.
Pixie Hollow – Meet Tinkerbell and all her fairy friends at Pixie Hollow. Get autographs, take pictures and say hello to all your fairy friends!
Cars Land – Opening June 15, 2012, Cars Land, in California Adventure, will be an exact replica of Radiator Springs. New rides will include Radiator Springs Racers, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Flying Tires. You can find full meals at Flo’s V8 Cafe, snacks at Fillmore’s Taste-In and “cone” themed food at the Cozy Cone Motel (chili “cone” queso, “cone” on the cob, pop-”cone”).
Fantasmic – This is a show we’ve never actually seen. I’m not sure why. But I hear it’s a not-to-be-missed classic that features just about all the Disney villians. Mickey fights and conquers their evil powers and saves imagination from the clutches of Maleficent.
Main Street Vehicles – Take a ride up or down Main Street in a Fire Engine, Horese-drawn Streetcar, Horseless Carriage or Omnibus.
CA Red Car Trolley – Also opening in California Adventure on June 15, 2012, Red Car Trolleys will be heading up and down Buena Vista Street. These cars are replicas of Red Car Trolleys that carried passengers around Hollywood in the 1920′s.
World Of Color - The. Best. Disney. Show. Ever. And one of the most spectacular water and light productions of all time. If you miss it, you’ll regret it. It’s magical. Majestic. Phenomenal. Totally worth the wait and the late bedtime. In California Adventure.