Everyone will tell you must-do things if it's your first visit a Disney theme park. Things like watching the parades, firework shows, meet the characters, etc. These are all good things to do and very basic. We think you should do them.
But what if you want to go beyond the basics? Assuming you're spending 3 days or more at the parks you'll have the opportunity to do so. Some of these are good to do if you have tired time (who ever has that?!) and some of them could be time fillers (waiting for your Fastpass return time).
1. Ride the monorail. Walt loved the monorail and you can do a full loop on it from inside Disneyland Park. It offers up amazing views of the resort and some behind the scenes. Jump on next to the Finding Nemo Submarines attraction.
2. Sign your kids up for Jedi Training. If they are even a little bit into Star Wars this is a super fun activity. They'll get to face the dark side and (hopefully) defeat them. They'll also get to dress up in Jedi robes and receive a lightsaber. Pretty cool. Sign-ups are located at a kiosk outside the Star Wars Launch Bay. It's first come first serve so get there right when the park opens! If you're doing Magic Morning Early Entry that day take advantage of that and sign-up an hour before everyone else!
3. Check-out a showing of the Golden Horseshoe Revue show at the Golden Horseshoe Restaurant. The building itself is one of the few originals from opening day in 1955. It was one of Walt's favorite hang-outs. In fact, if you go upstairs, the private box on the right side of the stage was his. Now anyone can use it and enjoy a super funny, entertaining show. It's located in Frontierland.
4. Eat a Dole Whip. If you hate pineapple for some strange reason you should eat this anyway. This delicious soft serve ice cream is fluffy, creamy, and oh so good. The lines get long so get there early. Located at the entrance of the Enchanted Tiki Room (also a very good show).
5. When the Mark Twain re-opens in Summer 2017 you need to do a ride in the Captains wheel-room. Ask a Cast Member before the ship leaves (we ask when the park opens). Basically you and 2 others get to steer the ship around Pirates Lair and blow the boat whistle and ring the bell. It's pretty awesome!
6. Go watch Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. This was one of Walt's personal favorites and he worked very hard on it. Most people walk past this attraction or think it's too boring. Let us tell you something; it's not! It's a great show to rest your feet in and it's nice and cool inside. Plus you'll learn a lot of cool stuff!
Disney California Adventure Park
1. Walk the Grizzly Peak Trail. This shaded outdoors area is so cool. It's like you're in your own special place in Californian. To enter the trail look for Big Bear outside Grizzly River Run and start walking back into the ride. Don't worry, it's actually a loop that goes by several big water falls and around the attraction. Sanctuary!
2. Go play at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. It may be the greatest outdoor babysitting area ever. Take your restless kids here and let them run around and play on everything. Slides, rope bridges, tunnels, rope swings, etc. There's so much to do!
3. Check-out Sorcerers Workshop in the Animation building. Most people won't ever see this place. It's kind of a hidden gem. Once inside the Animation building if you cannot find the entrance ask a Cast Member. Be sure to stop by Beast's Library to find your inner-Disney character...
4. Dance Party with DJ. Nothing's cooler then having an official dance party with DJ in Cars Land. These are especially fun at night. His shows are put on every so many hours so be sure to check a times guide.
5. Bakery Tour and free chocolate. The Boudin Bakery tour is located on the Wharf and is actually quite interesting to do. You'll learn a lot about sour dough and you'll also receive a free piece. It's really good! When you're done pop into Ghirardelli across the way for a free chocolate square!
If you need more things to do be sure to check out our Planning Guides. We have lot's of ideas!