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Still the Happiest Place on Earth

Do your kids dream of meeting Mickey and Minnie, Buzz and Woody or maybe, Elsa and Anna? Do your teens fantasize about getting their hearts thumping and adrenalin pumping on state-of-the-art action rides? Whatever their age, ask your kids to name their ultimate destination and there’s a good chance they’ll say Disneyland.

Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California is where the Disney dream began in 1955 and on the eve of its 60th anniversary it’s still the Happiest Place on Earth, never failing to impress with fun attractions for every member of the family. Encompassing two parks, Disneyland Park - the original Walt Disney theme park - and Disney California Adventure Park, home to characters from ‘Toy Story’, ‘Cars’, ‘Monsters, Inc’ and ‘A Bug's Life’, be sure to plan well and allow yourself a couple of days to take it all in. A three-day Park Hopper allows you to spend a day at each park and then spend the third day revisiting your favourite rides and shows.

Main Street
You'll begin your Disney adventure on Main Street, U.S.A., a thoroughfare that recreates the unique charm of small-town America at the turn of the 20th century providing guests a transition between the outside world and the themed worlds of Disneyland Park. There are shops, baby facilities, restaurants and multiple attractions to start you on your Disney day.

Fit for a princess
Little ones might like to head to Mickey's Toontown, a fabulous playground where you'll find Mickey, Minnie and the rest of the gang ready to play all day long, or Fantasyland, where Sleeping Beauty's iconic castle rises above the park, with its fairytale world of entertainment awaiting toddlers and preschoolers. When they’re not taking on the Mad Tea Party cup and saucer ride, Pinocchio's Daring Journey or the Alice in Wonderland ride, your ‘frost-bitten’ little darlings’ can meet Anna, Elsa and Olaf from ‘Frozen’. The Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique is a particularly magical place where girls can be transformed into princesses, complete with hair, glistening makeup and gown. Older children will be just as happy here with higher-speed rides like the Matterhorn Bobsleds.

Blast from the past
Step into the past at Frontierland, one of the five original lands at Disneyland with its thrilling Big Thunder Mountain Railroad just as popular as ever with the runaway mine train attraction recently refurbished with new track and an explosive finale. It’s also home to the Mark Twain Riverboat.

Intrepid adventures
Intrepid adventurers will get a taste of faraway, mysterious lands in the tropical jungle of Adventureland, where they can explore Africa in Tarzan’s Treehouse, India in the Indiana Jones Adventure, island life in the Enchanted Tiki Room as well as uncharted lands on the Jungle Cruise.

Futuristic fun
Tomorrowland caters for young children as well as older kids and teens. There’s the fantastic Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and the Jedi Training Academy, where the kids can face off with Darth Vader. Older kids and parents will love Tomorrowland’s Star Tours – The Adventure Continues – you have to do it several times for different experiences – and Space Mountain, a rollercoaster in the dark. You never know when you’re going to drop!

Hooked on classics
New Orleans Square with its swashbuckling pirates, hitchhiking ghosts and street musicians is home to classic Disneyland attractions Pirates of the Caribbean – the movie was inspired by the ride – and Haunted Mansion, plus boutiques and restaurants that give guests a little taste of Old America. Move into Critter Country from here, and experience the iconic Splash Mountain – take a poncho in case you get wet going through the Briar Patch.

Hooray for Hollywood
Disney’s California Adventure Park is home to the Pixar characters from animated favourites including ‘Toy Story’, ‘Cars’, ‘Monsters, Inc’ and ‘A Bug’s Life’. In Hollywood Land the Golden Age of Hollywood is celebrated with attractions, great stage shows and entertainment that conjure up the magic of the silver screen. Older kids won’t be able to resist the terrifying Twilight Zone Tower of Terror while the highlight for younger kids will be adventure in Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue; Turtle Talk with Crush, the surfer dude from ‘Finding Nemo’ and the kooky Muppet Vision 3D. See if you can squeeze in the Aladdin show – it’s awesome.

Get your fix on Route 66
One of Disney California Adventure Park’s latest offerings is Cars Land where visitors are immersed into the thrilling world of the Disney Pixar blockbuster ‘Cars’. Step into the town of Radiator Springs and enjoy family attractions showcasing characters and settings from the movie, plus themed dining and shopping locations. One of the largest and most elaborate attractions is Radiator Springs Racers, a twisting, turning, high-speed adventure through Ornament Valley and the town of Radiator Springs. Mater the tow truck’s junkyard is a jolly tractor jamboree and at Luigi’s Flying Tires guests glide and whirl on air aboard special mini-hovercraft.

Gold Rush
Grizzly Peak takes Disney California Adventure Park visitors to Gold Rush country. The rocky mountain summit resembles a giant grizzly roaring into the sky and is the site of rafting adventure, Grizzly River Run and the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail where adventurers of every age can climb, swing, slide, glide and play their way to earning their Wilderness Explorer badges.

Dine in style
Parents will find Art Deco Buena Vista Street enchanting. From a relaxing meal to a quick bite, Buena Vista Street offers several dining options but its exquisite centrepiece is the Carthay Circle Theatre which includes fine dining and a swanky night spot, while during daylight hours there is a constant buzz of activity with roaming characters and impromptu shows, like the Dixieland band Five & Dime.

Disney stays
If your family wants the ultimate Disneyland experience check-in to one of three Disneyland Resort hotels. Choose from the classic styling of Disneyland Hotel, luxurious Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa or the laidback charm of Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. And for an experience the kids will never forget be sure to book into one of the character breakfasts – we love the one at Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel.


Top tips for doing DisneylandLightning Strikes at DisneylandMarvel-lous

Encompassing two parks, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, there is so much to see and do we recommend a little planning to maximise the fun. Here are our top tips to get the best from your Disneyland experience.

Disneyland Resort California, known as the Happiest Place on Earth, is now even happier and it’s all thanks to a brand new land that literally puts the pedal to the metal, writes Helen Hayes.

Marvel’s blockbuster ‘The Avengers’ is building momentum at Disneyland California in 2014, with the addition of Captain America to the already star-studded list of Marvel characters walking the Disney streets.


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