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. There are many aspects of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park that send our hearts aflutter, from the tiniest details (miniature hidden Mickeys and fragrances) to the biggest rides and shows. There are so many things that make Disneyland magical for me! Our family has had some time to reflect on what we miss the most over the past year. We’ve done our best to narrow down the top things we’re looking forward to when Disneyland Resort reopens April 30! (If you're looking for more information on what to expect during the resort's magical reopening, you can find all of the important dates and new health and procedures in our Disneyland reopening post.)
Top 10 Things We’re Looking Forward to When Disneyland Reopens
Smelling of 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. The first thing we do when we enter the building is take a big whiff of that musty sea water/wet wood fragrance and we are home. We love riding the attraction, of course, and we make sure to set sail on every visit. It’s a relaxing ride to rest tired legs, escape the heat, escape the rain, escape reality … I could go on. But this is one ride and smell we’ve been dreaming about. Yo ho! Yo ho! A pirate’s life for me. I’m definitely going to embarrass my family and sing along.
It doesn’t even matter to me which character I see. Whichever character I see first will be my new favorite! Lily prefers princesses and Minnie Mouse. Tad loves the "Star Wars" and Marvel characters. Leap loves the classics: Donald, Goofy, Mickey, Pluto, Chip 'n' Dale. But I love them all! Mary Poppins and Bert are pretty special favorites, but I love the villains, especially the ones who take some special time to interact with you, such as the Evil Queen, the Mad Hatter and Cruella de Vil. I get especially jumpy when I spot a rare character, though; you know, the ones that do not appear in the app, such as Lady Tremaine with the wicked stepsisters, the Beast, Geppetto or Pinocchio. Those roaming and surprise characters are a big part of my Disneyland magic, and while Disney has clued us in on some of the planned encounters, we're sure there are some surprises in store too!
We know that character interactions will be a little different initially due to social distancing. Traditional meet-and-greets will be temporarily available and we will have to send love from a safe distance. Mickey, Minnie and pals will welcome guests back from the Main Street Railroad Station, and later, you can catch them outside of their houses in Toontown. Princesses will give a royal wave from the Royal Theater in Fantasyland, and Rey, Chewbacca and Vi Moradi can be spotted above the speeder garage at Black Spire Station. If I can simply wave to characters, I’m all good with that. I know that someday, my princess will come give me a hug again. Until then, we can blow kisses to one another.
Eating Our Favorite Snacks
I have spent so much time thinking about our favorite Disneyland snacks over the past year. I've decided we could easily list the top 10 things we are looking forward to eating when Disneyland reopens! Is there one treat I miss most of all? Churro toffee certainly comes to mind. I quizzed the family on their favorites a few months ago. Tad missed Disneyland churros and popcorn. Lily could always go for a Mickey-shaped ice cream. Leap said he would jump the fence for a giant turkey leg or corndog. Luckily, we actually got a taste of every one of those items on Buena Vista Street while it was open. Plus they were available at the ticketed A Touch of Disney event in March and April 2021. But we know there will be something special about digging into our faves while the park is fully open again!
That brings us to what we must try next. I have so many favorites! I could go for a Mickey beignet and a Mint Julep (or two) right now. Plus Blue Bayou will be serving alcoholic beverages in the near future, and will feature nonalcoholic, seasonal versions of the Mint Julep. OK, now I am drooling. But if I had to choose, I think my most favorite Disneyland snack that I most look forward to when Disneyland reopens is a Disneyland character caramel apple. They are the perfect blend of adorable Disney designs and a delicious sweet and salty snack. And even though I have gotten them at Downtown Disney while the parks were closed, they never get old. Every time I see I new one, it's cuter than the one before.
Sitting on a Bench Near Sleeping Beauty Castle
Once I acquire one of my Disneyland snacks, I am going to bring them along and plop myself on a bench and just take it all in. I am going to appreciate being in the “Hoppiest Place on Earth” and watch guests taking pictures in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle and say hi to the ducks. I’m sure they miss me and my messy tadpoles who spill popcorn for them to gobble up.
Eating Fried Chicken at Plaza Inn
Ding! Ding! We have a winner when it comes to a favorite Disneyland meal. Yeah, the list of favorite meals is almost as long as the list of favorite snacks, but the fried chicken with mashed potatoes, green beans and biscuit is the best!
Riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
This here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness, and we will never get tired of riding this roller coaster (OK, maybe we got a little too much of Big Thunder virtually recently). We cannot wait to take a real-life ride again!
Trying Not to Say the Ghost Host’s Lines Out Loud in the Haunted Mansion
Oh how we miss that delightfully creepy 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 … the Haunted Mansion underwent a refurbishment when the parks closed, but it will return from the grave when Disneyland reopens.
Smelling Doc's Apple Pie
Speaking of refurbishments, a few other rides are getting major makeovers. Splash Mountain is getting re-themed to "The Princess and the Frog" sometime after Disneyland reopens. Snow White's Scary Adventures has already magically transformed into Snow White's Enchanted Wish, featuring a lighter storyline and some brand new effects. So those rides are definitely on our wish list! You can find out more in our post on what's coming to Disneyland and in Tad's video on our Youtube Channel.
Getting a PhotoPass Photo with 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 magically appeared in our photo. And I’m adding "doing a planned pose for a ride PhotoPass" to the must-do list. You can purchase PhotoPass+ in the Disneyland app by tapping the plus sign (+) and Buy Disney PhotoPass+. It costs $19.99 per day and includes all your photo downloads from the day.
Seeing Christmas Lights
Christmas may be a ways off, but we are always looking forward to holiday time at Disneyland. The lights, decorations and entertainment is so beautiful. We are longing for that magical Christmas season and the Festival of Holidays, where we can eat even more food from different holidays around the world and drink yummy drinks while we watch Mostly Kosher and other acts perform at Disney California Adventure Park.
Other Disneyland Favorites We Look Forward to Seeing When Disneyland Reopens
You may have noticed that we did not mention our favorite parades and nighttime spectaculars such as fireworks, Fantasmic! and World of Color. Yes! We are absolutely jumping with anticipation to see our favorite magical shows and entertainment again. But, with social distancing, we are trying to approach the reopening with some reasonable expectations. We know these shows will not return right away when Disneyland reopens. In the meantime, we enjoy watching our top 10 Disneyland entertainment videos on YouTube. (OK, I do cry a little bit when I watch them.) For more information about what rides, experiences and restaurants will be open (and closed) when those Disneyland gates reopen April 30, hop over to our full post.
We look forward to checking all of these items off of our list on that extra-magical day when Disneyland reopens!
What about you? What are you looking forward to when Disneyland reopens? Do you already know what you will want to do first? Let us know in the comments section below!