Reviews of bucket-list-worthy things to do all over the world

Jen's Disneyland Bucket List


My first visit to a Disney theme park was when I was just one year old, and I met Mickey for the very first time. Since then I've visited the Disneyland Resort more times than I can remember.

 Below is my Disneyland Bucket List, what I feel are the top things to do at the Disneyland Resort. I have personally done all of the items except those indicated with a *. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I hope this list helps you plan some dream come true adventures at the Happiest Place on Earth!

Jen (California, USA)

Note: If the text is green, you can click it to read Jen's related story or review.

[KEY: Disneyland (DL), Disney California Adventure (DCA) and Downtown Disney (DD)]


Jen's Disneyland Bucket List!


No one can tell you which are the best, most bucket-list-worthy Disneyland Resort rides. One person’s number-one-favorite-ride might not even make the next person’s list. Below are my favorite rides at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. To give you some background, I like rides with music, animatronics, creative touches, the ability to immerse guests in the story, and no stomach-churning motion simulation. Each of the rides below is on my list of favorites. I put them into categories to help people decide if the ride will be fun for them, but ride at your own risk. Note that some of these rides have height requirements.

Not a wild ride: (note: some children/adults may find some of these rides a little scary for various reasons)

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage: It's fun to climb into a real submarine and travel through Nemo's beautiful underwater world. (DL)

Haunted Mansion Holiday (seasonal): The Nightmare Before Christmas comes to life, with catchy music and creative holiday decor. (DL)

Peter Pan’s Flight: I enjoy flying in a little ship over London and Neverland. Unfortunately, the queue is always long. (DL)

Storybook Land Canal Boats: The little girl in me loves motoring in a boat past the doll-house-sized castles and storybook villages. (DL)

Casey Jr. Circus Train: The adorable choo-choo train offers "bird-eye" views of Storybook Land (above). (DL)

Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue: Riding through Monstropolis, complete with cute, life-sized monsters, is great. (DCA)

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: It's a trip through a Winnie the Pooh story. The wind and rain effects are cool. (DL)

“it’s a small world”: I like hearing the song, “it’s a small world,” in different languages. The costumes on the dancing dolls are beautiful. (DL)

Pirates of the Caribbean: The small drop into the caves is fun. I like spotting a real-looking Johnny Depp hiding in the village scenes. (DL)

Haunted Mansion: It's a fun, spooky ride. I like the catchy song and the "hitchhiker" that appears next to you at the end. (DL)

Jungle Cruise (at night): The animatronic animals almost seem real at night. I wish they'd get more creative with the script. (DL)

The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure: It's a playful, musical journey into Ariel's world. (DCA)

A bit of a wild ride:

Indiana Jones and the Best Ride Ever (I mean, Indiana Jones Adventure): It's like being in an Indiana Jones movie! (DL)

Splash Mountain: There's always something to look at on this log flume ride. Catchy song at the end. Unfortunately, you will get wet. (DL)

Radiator Springs Racers: A fun drive through Radiator Springs followed by a short, fast car race. (DCA)

Roller coasters:

Matterhorn Bobsleds: Lets me imagine that I'm racing around and through the Matterhorn on a bobsled. (DL)

Space Mountain: This super-fast, outer space themed ride, set to exciting music, leaves me invigorated. (DL)

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: Makes me feel like I'm on a runaway train in the wild west. (DL)

Motion simulation rides:

Soarin': The closest I'll probably get to hang-gliding. Great music... and scents! (DCA)

Star Tours - The Adventures Continue: The 3-D images and well-synched movement allows me to take an intergalactic trip. (DL)

Watch the fireworks show from in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. (DL)

See Fantasmic!- a musical, movie and live action show on the water. (DL)

*Go to the Broadway-quality production of Frozen. (DCA)

See World of Color, a spectacular musical fountain show. (DCA)

Enjoy the Mickey and the Magical Map live musical show (DL)

Get on the "fireworks boat" at Storybook Land Canal Boats and see fireworks from Storybook Land. (DL)
Seasonal Events

Visit Disneyland at Christmas time. (DL)

Visit Disneyland on your birthday. (DL)

Dress up in costume and go to Mickey's Halloween Party, an after-hours trick-or-treating party. (DL) (extra fee)

Celebrate New Year's Eve at Disneyland. (DL)
Hotels (extra fee)

*Spend the night at one of the Signature Suites at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California: Adventureland, Fairy Tale, Big Thunder, Mickey Mouse Penthouse, or Pirates of the Caribbean. (DD)

Stay at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel. (DD)

Stay at the Disneyland Hotel. (DD)

Stay at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. (DD)
Snacking and Dining (extra fee)

Dine at a waterfront table at the Blue Bayou, inside the Pirate's of the Caribbean ride. (DL)

Snack on a bag of kettle corn from a cart in Downtown Disney. (DD)

Try a Mickey ice cream bar. (DL)

Share some Disneyland popcorn. (DL)

*Have a Dole Pineapple Whip. (DL)
Photo Ops

Get a photo of you and your family and/or friends... a Splash Mountain log. (DL)(extra fee) front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. (DL)

...with your favorite character. (DL/DCA)

...with the Walt and Mickey statue in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. (DL)
Other experiences

Ride in the nose cone of the monorail. (DL)

Help paddle one of Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes around the Rivers of America. (DL)

Be one of the first people to enter Disneyland at the daily rope drop. (DL)

Find a Hidden Mickey without any hints. (DL/DCA/DD)

Learn to draw a Disney character at Animation Academy. (DCA)

See the Toy Story Zoetrope in action. (DCA)

*Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Disneyland. (DL)(extra fee)

Disneyland Bucket List Adventures that require some pixie dust:

*Voice a character in a Disneyland ride

Be in a Disneyland parade or show. (DL)

*Stay at the Disneyland Dream Suite, above the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. (DL)

*Be a Jungle Cruise skipper for one boat full of people.

Tour the Disneyland Dream Suite, above the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. (DL)

Dine at Disneyland's Club 33. (DL)

*Go to a movie premiere at Disneyland. (DL)

Go to a private party at Disney California Adventure. (DCA)