Okay, so I’m not going to lie here, I had actually done most of these things prior to even having a kid and still loved them but doing them with a little one takes it to a whole new level of fun! So without further ado, I’m going to breakdown some hidden gems throughout both parks that I think are worth stepping away from the rides rush to see/do!
+ parades : I LOVE watching the parades and my daughter does too! She gets so excited to see her favorite characters and dance to the music.
+ Tale of the Lion King : this is a show going on right now at the Disneyland Resort. It used to be Mickey’s Magical Map, so they typically always have some sort of play/show to see in their outdoor theatre and it’s a great way to get sit and take a break while keeping little ones entertained!
+ ToonTown : AH! It just re-opened and it is AHHHMAZING! I love what they did with the area, it’s like taking your kid to the park, they can just run around and play! They also have a few new lawn areas where you can sit and have a picnic!
+ Fantasy Faire/ Royal Hall : this is a cute way to get to meet some Disney princesses! Generally, there is always a wait, but you’re guaranteed to meet some princesses and get a cute photo!
+ Storytelling at the Royal Theatre : depending on the day/time, they re-tell/act out favorite scenes from classic Disney princess movies!
+ Pixie Hollow : we haven’t actually done this with our daughter yet, just because she doesn’t know the characters. But it’s a really cute area where you get to meet Tinkerbell and the other fairies of Pixie Hollow!
+ Disneyland Railroad : ride the train all the way around the park!
+ Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island : a cute place to let little ones run around, cross rocking bridges explore pirate caves!
+ Columbia Pirate Ship/ Mark Twain Riverboat : You can set sail on whatever ship/boat is out for the day and sail around Tom Sawyer Island!
Disney California Adventure Park
+ Animation Academy : we always love stopping by to see which characters they are drawing throughout the day! You get to sit in a “classroom” and are taken step by step, through how to draw some favorite Disney characters. There is a schedule that is posted on a sign within the Animation Academy so you can plan out what time to come for which character!
+ Turtle Talk with Crush : if your kiddo loves Finding Nemo/Finding Dory, this is a must see! Little ones get to sit down and talk to Crush! It’s interactive and so cute for adults and little ones alike. There are even cameos from the other main characters! Turtle Talk is in the same area as the Animation Academy so you can even do them back to back!
+ Meet and Greet with Anna and Elsa : in the very same area, you can wait in line to have a one on one experience with Anna and Elsa! Avery is very into Frozen right now so she loved meeting them! It’s also nice because you’re in a private room and aren’t rushed to get out of the way after taking your photos (which is usually the case when you find characters outside throughout the parks).
+ Disney Junior Dance Party : this is a MUST DO for little ones. It’s a cute little dance party show and Mickey and Minnie even make an appearance! It’s complete with fake “snow” and bubbles that come down from the ceiling! The Dance Party is located in the Hollywood Land area of California Adventures.
+ Mickey’s PhilarMagic Concert : This is probably my favorite hidden gem of them all! I’d never even stepped into this theatre until we had Avery and were wanting a way to escape the rain for a little one day. It’s a cute 3D show that includes some favorite music from some favorite Disney movies! (The Little Mermaid portion is my favorite!)
+ Redwood Creek Challenge : Little ones can rock climb, cross rope bridges, slide down “logs”, meet their spirit animal, and hike/run around! This area is across from Grizzly River Run in CA Adventures.