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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. If you agree, this list can help you ensure that you hit the true highlights at each park.

This list is from the perspective of teens and adults. If you have small children, you may have other favorites that aren't listed here. Note that some of these rides have height requirements and/or other restrictions. 

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

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
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
Fly in a little ship over London and Neverland. Unfortunately, the queue is always long. (DL)

Storybook Land Canal Boats
Motor in a boat past doll-house-sized castles and storybook villages. (DL)

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (opened January 17, 2020)
An absolutely epic ride that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle against the First Order. (DL)

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

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

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

“it’s a small world”
“it’s a small world” sung in different languages by beautifully-costumed dancing dolls. (DL)

Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirate-themed boat ride with a catchy song. (DL)

Haunted Mansion
A dark and not-too-scary ghostly journey with a fun song at the end. (DL)

Jungle Cruise (best at night)
Live skipper recites a corny script. More fun at night when the animatronic animals look almost real. (DL)

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

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
A Toy-Story-themed video game comes to life. (DL)

Toy Story Midway Mania!
It's like playing an old-fashioned video game on a big screen. If you love Toy Story, you have a FastPass, or the wait isn't long, it might be worth it. (DCA)

A bit of a wild ride:

Indiana Jones Adventure
It's like being in an Indiana Jones movie! (DL)

Splash Mountain
Log flume ride with adorable theming. (Warning: You will get wet. You may get soaked.) (DL)

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

Roller coasters:

Matterhorn Bobsleds
Race around and through the Matterhorn on a bobsled. (DL)

Space Mountain
Super-fast, outer-space-themed ride, set to exciting music. (DL)

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
A ride on a runaway train through the old west. (DL)

Motion simulation rides:

Gentle motion-simulation journey over beautiful places all over the world set to an equally-beautiful soundtrack. (DCA)

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Participate in an interactive mission on the Millennium Falcon (DL)

Star Tours - The Adventures Continue
The 3-D images and well-synched movement allows guests 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)

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

Get on the "fireworks boat" at Storybook Land Canal Boats (ask a cast member for help) and see fireworks from Storybook Land. (DL)
Seasonal Events

Visit Disneyland at Christmas time. (DL)

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

...in a Splash Mountain log. (DL)(extra fee)

...in 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)

Visit Disneyland on your birthday (DL)

Take someone on their first visit to Disneyland (DL)

Stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel

*Have a family reunion at the Disneyland resort (DL/DCA/DD)

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)

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


Disneyland Bucket List Adventures that Require Some Pixie Dust (i.e. experiences that money can't buy):

*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 a 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)


Jen is also known as J.W. Lynne, a best selling author of eleven novels. Click on any of the titles below to see the book on Amazon!

THE UNKNOWN: Eight kids learn the shocking reason why they were kidnapped.

ABOVE THE SKY: A girl lives in a world where touching her soulmate is forbidden.

: A teen is locked in a bunker to take a simulated trip to the moon.

KID DOCS: An experimental program turns kids into doctors.

WILD ANIMAL SCHOOL: A girl falls in love with a boy at an exotic animal ranch.

WHAT HE DIDN'T TELL ME: A traumatized girl meets a boy with a horrible secret.

IF I TELL: A teen wonders if her father is a serial killer.

Besides reading books and dreaming up stories to write, Jen's favorite activities are singing along to musical theater soundtracks and hiking in California's beautiful parks.

**Jen's books are available on Kindle Unlimited.**