21 Best Disneyland Attractions (Overlooked & Hidden Gems)
You’re in the Disneyland theme park and after visiting the iconic sleeping beauty castle and munching on the Mickey Mouse pretzels you wonder what’s next. Well, you’re at the right place as we’re uncovering the best things to do in Disneyland in this article so you never miss out on places worth visiting.
There’s always a hustle and bustle of special events like fireworks, parades, entertainment shows, special dining places, and interesting social events going on in Disneyland. However, we’ll look at the best attractions and fun activities to do even on the less eventful days at Disneyland. So, while you’re at the Disneyland theme park, rest assured that you’ll not miss out on the best attractions.
Disneyland is much more than wild rides, musical shows, and snacks. Towards the end of this article, you’d know exactly which rides and attractions are worth visiting on your next trip to Disneyland amusement park.
This article will serve as a roadmap to help you discover the best Disneyland attractions including some of the overlooked and hidden gems to make your trip worth every penny.
Let’s get started.
21 Best Disneyland Attractions That Are Worth Visiting
Let’s have a look at our top picks when it comes to the worth-visiting Disneyland attractions.
1. Pirates of the Caribbean Ride
While you’re in Disneyland park, the very first thing that comes to your mind is hopping on the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride. It’s regarded as one of the breathtaking attractions of Southern California Adventure Park.
This dark ride takes you to the battle scenes era of the 70s with the backdrop of smoke and cannons. You’d sail through waters surrounding pirate river boats, quaint homes, waterfalls, skeletons, treasures, and background music of “Yo Ho”, crickets, and frogs.
The best part, you can dine at the quick service restaurant, The Blue Bayou that’s featured in the interactive ride to enjoy the ambiance of Pirates of the Caribbean. The dim lighting and eerie pirates’ ambiance make it a great restaurant at night. You’d get to take snaps with the animatronic Captain Jack Sparrow towards the end of the enchanting ride, making the historic boat trip a whole lot real.
Moreover, it’s the last ride of Walt Disney’s lifetime making it an even more memorable attraction of Disney park par excellence.
Among the many Disneyland theme park multi-day events, Fantasmic is one of a kind. This nighttime show is a fusion of spectacular fireworks, cosplay of Disney characters, incredible water effects, lasers, music, audio effects, searchlights, grand-lighted boasts, and mist screen projections.
Fantasmic Disney shows are 25 minutes long and are presented two times a night at the Rivers of America. The theme of this kid-friendly event is Mickey Mouse’s imaginative journey toward fighting many Disney villains. The attraction in question gives a lively feel of a fantasy fair.
Since it is a ticketed evening event, we recommend purchasing a dining package at the myriad of restaurants to get a better view of the show:
- Blue Bayou
- Galactic Grill
- River Belle Terrace
- New Orleans Square
- Hungry Bear Restaurant
3. The Disney Gallery
The California Adventure theme park has something for everyone. For instance, the Disney gallery is the hub for art lovers from all over the world. Don’t miss this hidden gem as it’s present right at the entrance ticket booth and overlooked by many tourists in the hustle and bustle.
You’ll get to watch artists working on pictures, the exhibition of photos, art, and Disneyland history all in one place. The best part, you can bring home pieces of art including limited edition, collector-grade, and unique Disney-relevant products with a regular park ticket.
When you’re in Disneyland, don’t forget to visit “The Wonderful Wizard of Bras”. This lingerie store holds all things Disney including pretty and kinky lingerie, undergarments, and cosplay costumes.
4. Fireworks at Disneyland Park
Fireworks at Disneyland Park are worth seeing as they offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You’d get to experience an incredible showcase of fireworks, water animations, music, lights, and commentary in a well-coordinated setting.
You’d find these events happening nearby the Disney hotel. The best part, you’d experience the same hustle and bustle as at the Disney Food & Wine Festival.
To get the best view of this Disney festival, we recommend watching it from the riverfront. Another option is Snow White’s Castle’s front, or watch it either from Adventureland or Frontierland.
5. Soarin’ Around The World
Soarin’ Around the World is another hidden gem at the Disney California adventure park. The ride takes you on a virtual trip to many countries via a gigantic IMAX screen. The live wind effects, sound effects, gentle motion, and scents as you travel around the world make the experience more real.
The places included in the ride are:
- Taj Mahal
- Iguazu Falls
- Pyramids of Egypt
- Eiffel Tower in Paris
- The Great Wall of China
- Australia’s Sydney Harbor
- Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps
- Monument Valley to Polynesia
- Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany
Try to get a seat in Zone B of the front row to be able to experience the best visuals, and smells effects of Disney Imagineering.
6. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
A great rollercoaster ride that’s fun, loud, and adventurous. This is a mine train coaster that features authentic props and decor for a near-real experience. The rollercoaster ride flows through beautiful mountain settings, caves, hills, and twists making the ride jarring, and bumpy to give tourists a real feel.
The railroad track is short and quick, leaving more space to explore other rides. An interesting fact is that the patients who suffered from kidney stones passed through them about 70% of the time after taking this ride at Walt Disney World.
Disney PhotoPass allows you to capture Disney World’s moments in photos that can be viewed online for free. This makes your traditional holidays more memorable. Tourists can choose to buy the photos to download and share.
7. Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
Visiting the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is one of the top things to do in Disneyland especially when you’re with kids. You get to play, climb, slide, and zipline and run past the trails for up to an hour. It’s one of the hidden gems of California Adventure Park as you do not see much of a crowd there. It’s spacious and inviting for kids and adults.
Following are the must-haves to do while you’re at the trail:
- Climbing nets
- Climbing the rock wall
- Climbing ropes/slides/bridges
To avoid losing track of your kids, try setting up a meeting point before enjoying the trail.
8. Grizzly River Run
Grizzly River Run is one of the overlooked yet coolest attractions of Disneyland found in the area of Grizzly Peak. A big circular raft sweeps you away into the water where you get to experience waterfalls, dips, splash mountains, and lots of water fun. The raft also moves in circles while moving forward making sure every rider gets his fair share of water and backward falls.
The more the weight in the raft, the more the splashes and the more fun. The raft can include 8 individuals which give the tourists the chance to interact, giggle, and have a blast during the ride. The water ride is better enjoyed during sunny weather. Moreover, you can choose to sit and watch the riders around the Grizzly river rapids.
9. Toy Story Midway Mania
When it comes to shooting attractions, Toy Story Mania comes at the top. This popular ride allows you to shoot targets and build scores along the way. Towards the end of the competition, the scores are compared among your seatmates to identify the winner.
The following are the mini-games you can find at this interesting attraction. As one game is finished, you’re transitioned toward the next.
- Hamm & Eggs
- Rex & Trixie’s Dino Darts
- Green Army Men Shoot Camp
- Buzz Lightyear’s Flying Tossers
- Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Gallery
Besides the Toy Story Mania games, you can give a try to Theme Park Scavenger Hunt a more magical experience.
Riding an Incredicoaster is one of the most adventurous things to do in Disneyland, as well as Disney World.
It is regarded as the only real terrifying Disney California Adventure Park ride. This is also the longest wild ride that lasts 1:20 minutes with several turns and a single inversion.
This attraction is given “The Incredibles” theme and is considered an intense ride.
11. Indiana Jones Adventure
Another great ride to take while in Disneyland that’s enjoyed by kids and adults. The ride is fun, bumpy, and adventurous as the tourists voyage through the way in a jeep. The ride is full of terrifying moments, especially the huge boulder that rolls right towards you out of the darkness is worth experiencing the moment.
The key is to ride on the Indiana Jones adventure in the morning as the waiting queues get longer as the day progresses. It gets especially easy for you if you’re staying at hotels near Disneyland.
12. Haunted Mansion Holiday
Haunted Mansion is one of the classic walk-through attractions in Disneyland. The house looks like a well-kept mansion from the outside with spooky tombstones in the graveyard outside. However, towards entering the house, you’d experience an eerie feeling from the ghostly-toned interior.
Following are the creepy details that make the experience worth going for:
- Talking busts
- Moving objects
- Breathing doors
- Floating candelabra
- Animatronic graveyard
- Creepy dancing figures
- Stretching of wall paintings
- Talking head inside a crystal ball
- Coffin lids being opened by a Skeleton
13. Tarzan’s Treehouse
Another lively entertainment is the famous Tarzan treehouse that has been there at Disneyland for ages. It’s a perfect place for kids to exert their energy as there are a lot of stairs to climb to reach Tarzan’s treehouse. Climbing the rope bridge is a fascinating experience for kids and adults.
Some details along the way like drums to hit, cages to rattle, and replicated scenes from the movie make it even more interesting. Beautiful attractions and greenery along the way make this attraction aesthetically pleasing and serene. The best part is, tourists don’t have to wait in long queues to get to this thrilling attraction, unlike many other Disneyland rides.
14. Goofy’s Playhouse
Goofy’s playhouse is one of the overlooked attractions in Disneyland. Located in the Toontown area of Disneyland, Goofy’s playhouse offers a play area for kids and toddlers. This Disneyland attraction is especially popular among parents of small children as it gives them some space to sit back and relax for a while during their toddler’s play.
The best part, you’ll find animated characters like Goofy and Pluto dressed up in cosplay costumes. While you visit the Goofy’s playhouse, don’t forget to capture their funny cosplay with kids and take pictures with Goofy and Pluto.
You can visit more than one Disney theme park per day with a Park Hopper or a Magic Key Pass. Park hopping tickets gives you the flexibility to maximize your stay at Disneyland.
15. Jungle Cruise
One of the cool attractions in Disneyland is the Jungle Cruise ride. It’s one of the very first and oldest rides among a couple of attractions. The overall experience is comical and adventurous. This attraction is famous for the old jokes that the tour guide tells during the cruise. Chances are you might not find the jokes funny but they surely bring back the nostalgia.
Similar to Critter Country, It’s slow-paced with aesthetic visuals that offer an enjoyable experience, especially for adults. However, kids seem to find it equally fascinating, making it one of the worth-seeing things to do in Disneyland.
16. Splitsville Luxury Lanes
Among the many Disney dining choices, Splitsville Luxury Lanes comes at the top. It’s equally enjoyable for kids, teens, adults, and older individuals. The separate four lanes for bowling with separate specialty dining areas towards the end make it a spacious attraction for waiting, bowling, and enjoying live music.
Some of the best dishes to try out from Splitsville Luxury Lanes are:
- Chopped salad
- Macho nachos
- Pepperoni pizza
- Spicy Thai chicken over sushi rice
The only downside of Splitsville Luxury Lanes lies in its expensive food. However, it’s so far the best dining experience if you’re looking out for a top-notch food experience and have a max pass.
Disney’s magic key option allows you to visit Disneyland resort parks with a prior reservation. The magic key feature helps save a few dollars on attractions, food, and merchandise.
17. Disneyland Railroad
It might not seem the best Downtown Disney district attraction but when you’ve sore feet from all that magical exploration for hours, it feels like a blessing. Disneyland railroad is also a great way to travel to different areas from the main entrance to New Orleans Square, and Toonville to Tomorrowland.
It’s a great recreation for kids, adults, and older tourists. Furthermore, the railroad cruise gives you a chance to observe, enjoy, and capture Disneyland moments in peace. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the animatronics between different areas as you voyage through the train.
Chances are you’d witness popular Disney characters like Peter Pan, Mike & Sulley, Gibson Girl, Disney princesses, Disney Genie, Mickey, and Minnie, etc. along the way without paying an extra ticket.
18. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
Another fun experience at Disneyland resort is getting onto the Nemo submarine voyage. It’s one of the oldest yet iconic rides at Disneyland. The underwater environment is near-real taking the visitors to the fantasy world of Finding Nemo. The ride is a must-have for kids while they’re at Disneyland.
The only drawback of this ride is it’s crowded and not suitable for claustrophobic individuals.
19. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Another kids’ favorite spot is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The salon turns you into a Disney princess of your choice. Little girls transition into the magical world of Cinderella when the fairy godmother treats them like a princess and gives them a makeover. The best part, parents can get to watch their children get dressed up and take a million photos.
Intriguingly, boys can get all dressed up as knights at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The knight costume, sword, shield, and cool hairdo turn them into their favorite movie characters.
20. Turtle Talk with Crush
It comes at the top of our restful spot suggestions. Turtle talk with a crush is a must, especially If you want to sit back and enjoy a calming and fun time. It’s a 20-minute show where an animated turtle gives witty responses to the audience’s questions. The animation is great to watch as the screen is illusioned as a gateway to an underwater setting.
It’s an ideal spot for kids and adults of all ages. Especially a great option for regaining a little strength in a calming environment before jumping to the adventurous rides. The animated characters can vary from Nemo to Dory and Whales. If you’ve watched Finding Nemo (the movie) this show will give you a chance to interact with your favorite Nemo characters.
21. Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln
Yet another calming attraction created in 1965 and a place of heaven for history enthusiasts. The Disneyland show begins with a video montage featuring Lincoln’s time in his office. This indoor show features an animatronic character of Abraham Lincoln with a great historic speech that speaks of incredible Walt Disney Imagineering.
The animatronic character looks near-real and the very reason people visiting Disneyland never miss this attraction. You can find this show at the very entrance of Disneyland. Moreover, it’s a great attraction for summer as tourists get to sit in an air-conditioned hall for the show that lasts around 15 minutes.
Lincoln hall can be crowded at certain time slots. Make sure to carry your face masks with you to prevent catching Covid and other respiratory ailments.
Disney California Adventure Park holds an array of overlooked attractions, dozens of restaurants, dining kiosks, sites, seasonal events, and rides. Not only do those hidden sites offer a less crowded ambiance, but they’re also unique and interesting. We tried to cover the best things to do in Disneyland with a briefing for each to give a roadmap for your upcoming Disneyland trip.
There’s something for everyone at Disneyland. From adventurous roller coaster rides to the bumpy trips of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. There’s the Disney Gallery, and the Lincoln show for arts and history enthusiasts. Then comes the kids’ specials like Goofy’s Playhouse, Tarzan’s treehouse, and the Jungle cruise.
Clubs like Splitsville Luxury Lanes and an array of luxury dining options make your trip memorable. From grand nighttime festivals like Fantasmic and Disney Fireworks to fun water rides like Grizzly River Run and Nemo Submarine Voyage, you won’t want to miss out on any attraction.
Now that you know about the best Disneyland attractions, it’s time to add them to your visit list. You can print this article to take with you on your next Disneyland vacation. Looking out for more interesting articles and travel guides to prepare for your next trip? Look no further than Digitalet to streamline your vacations.
Steph Burton is the founder of Luxurymodo™. She loves traveling to different places and experiencing various cultures. Follow Steph on her adventures and get to know the best hotels for your next vacation at luxurymodo.com