One of the hardest things about compiling Disneyland Resort lists is that it is so hard to narrow down the things we love the most. Many aspects of Disneyland send our hearts aflutter, from the tiniest details (miniature hidden Mickeys and fragrances) to the biggest rides and shows. There are so many ways in which Disneyland is magical for me! But today we are talking about the simple pleasures at Disneyland that truly make Disneyland the Happiest Place on Earth.
What Simple Pleasures Make Disneyland the Happiest Place on Earth?
Outside of the rides and fireworks and shows, we love the smaller details. The smells, tastes and ways that Disneyland stimulates the dopamine receptors in our brains are what make for the Happiest Place on Earth at Disneyland. Other theme parks have rides, thrills, characters and shows too. But Disneyland just hits differently and stays with you. Let's explore what makes Disneyland so magical.
Entering Disneyland Park
Just walking into the park gives us all the feels, especially with its dedicated attention to detail. There is so much potential for what we are about to see and do. We stop for our selfie with the Mickey floral design and then it's decision time. Are you team left tunnel or team right? Honestly, we go under the one that is closest to the turnstile we entered, which often seems to be on the right for us. But each tunnel has a plaque above it that reads, "Here you leave today and enter the world of Yesterday, Tomorrow and Fantasy." You leave the outside world behind as you listen to the upbeat ambient music entering the park. This is just one of the things that makes Disneyland the greatest escape from reality.
On the other side of the tunnel lies Town Square. You never know what will be hoppening there! Will Mickey and his pals walk by? Are the Dapper Dans or Straw Hatters performing? Is the Disneyland Band marching through? And then the first wave of churro smell hits you (or popcorn if you entered on the left) and you're simply blissfully happy.
Smelling the Water in Pirates of the Caribbean
One thing we can all agree on is that Pirates of the Caribbean water is one of the best theme park fragrances ever created. We make sure to take a big whiff of that musty sea water/wet wood fragrance as we enter the building and we feel immediately at home. We love riding this attraction, so we make sure to set sail on every visit. It’s a relaxing ride (with a splash of thrill) to rest tired legs, escape the heat, escape the rain, escape reality … I could go on. But this is one ride and smell that gets us humming. Yo ho! Yo ho! A pirate’s life for me. Leap and I have been known to embarrass the tadpoles and sing along.
Spontaneous Character Interactions
We frogs are lucky that we get to visit Disneyland pretty often. We are never tired of going because we are always surprised by new experiences and unexpected character interactions. Whether Peter Pan, Alice or the Mad Hatter pull you into a game in Fantasyland, you meet up with The Queen at the Wishing Well or catch a ride on the carrousel with Mary Poppins and Bert and the Pearly Band, you can't plan for these special moments. The stars align and it just magically hoppens. So fun! And don't get me started on character hugs. Talk about a mood booster!
Is it me or does everything taste better when shaped like Mickey Mouse? Lily could always go for Mickey-shaped ice cream. I love the Raspberry Mickey Macaron from Jolly Holiday and the Mickey caramel apple. Leap loves a Mickey beignet, and Tad is a huge fan of the Mickey pretzel.
Sitting on a Bench Near Sleeping Beauty Castle or on the Porch on Main Street, U.S.A.
Once we acquire our Mickey-shaped snacks, we plop ourselves on a bench and just take it all in. We say, "hi" to the ducks (and the adorable duckings in spring), watch the Main Street vehicles go by and catch musical entertainment. You see so much hoppen when you simply sit still between Main Street and the Castle.
Mickey Mouse shapes are interwoven all over the Disneyland Resort. Nothing gives us a bigger thrill than discovering a new Hidden Mickey! We have a few favorites, such as the tiny Mickey in the Float sign at Gibson Girl, the milk bottle near the Disneyland lockers and the Mickey-shaped damaged wall in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. We've been having fun looking for all the hidden Mickey and Minnie spots in Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, including their names hidden in the wooden beams of the loading area! What a fun surprise it was to discover that new twist.
The Stretching Room in the Haunted Mansion
There is something delightfully creepy about the ghost host’s voice as he asks, “Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it your imagination — hmm?” Did I say that out loud or just in my head? I mean there’s no turning back now … That pre-ride queue for the Haunted Mansion is even better than the ride in my humble opinion.
Getting a PhotoPass Photo with a Magic Shot
We love those PhotoPass photographers who are toadally awesome at getting the right angle. But we particularly love the Magic Shots. It’s so much fun to see what fun animation magically appears in our photo. Each holiday brings new options!
Wearing a Free Button
Whether you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, first visit, graduation or some other special occasion, wearing a free button makes your day even better. Strangers may congratulate you or wish you a happy birthday. Cast members will usually call out your button or even sprinkle some magic on your day. Disneyland is certainly our favorite place to celebrate a birthday. Just pick up a button from Guest Relations, stores or some restaurants.
In Fantasyland, stand in the middle of the path between Snow White's Enchanted Wish and Peter Pan's Flight. Look up above the entrance to Snow White. If you are patient, you may see the Evil Queen open the curtain and peer out at you. It's one of many hidden gems we love so much at Disneyland.
Getting Sprinkled With Pixie Dust at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
No matter how old you are, you can get a magical sprinkling and a wish from a Fairy Godmother's apprentice in Fantasyland.
Your First Bite of Churro Toffee
If you have never tried churro toffee, you toadally need to add this Disneyland treat to your must-eat list next visit. You can find it at all the candy shops. This highly addictive sweet treat is impossibly good.
Seeing the Characters with the Disneyland Band
Most days at about 11:45 a.m. (time subject to change), you can catch the characters coming through Sleeping Beauty Castle to join the Disneyland Band and sometimes the Dapper Dans. After a small performance, you can follow them in a march to the Main Street U.S.A. Train Station to see them stop for another performance about noonish.
What gets you all twitterpated at Disneyland? Share your "Happiest Place on Earth" Disneyland stories in the comments section below. One simple pleasure Leap gets is saving money. If saving money or getting the best possible deal is your love language too, you can book your hotel and purchase discount multi-day Disneyland tickets with Undercover Tourist!