At Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, you'll find two theme parks facing each other across a central plaza: Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. You can do all these things at Disneyland or California Adventure, but of course the names are different.
We'll start with some less well-known things to do at Disneyland and work up to the ones that people like best.
11. Take a TourYou may be anxious to get started playing at Disneyland, but they also offer some nifty tours that include a chance to Walk in Walt's Footsteps, discover the magic with your whole family or take a seasonal tour. Find out more in the Disneyland tour guide.
10. Celebrate a Birthday, Anniversary or Special Occasion
You may have thought of going to Disneyland for your special birthday, honeymoon, anniversary or other occasion, but you don't have to celebrate by yourself. The first thing to do when you arrive is stop by City Hall at Disneyland or Guest Relations at California Adventure to pick up a souvenir button. Wear it and you'll feel like a celebrity, with Cast Members and other guests offering you best wishes all day long. It's just one of the ways to celebrate your birthday at Disneyland.
9. Celebrate the HolidaysIn some ways, every day feels like a holiday at Disneyland and it's like Fourth of July every time they set off the fireworks, but they get really gussied up for Halloween and Christmas.
8. Watch the People
People-watching is one of our favorite things to do and if you sit down to do it, you can rest at the same time. Some of the best spots are the benches around the "hub" between Main Street USA and the castle.
7. Go ShoppingAt Disneyland, you can buy a simple souvenir and you'll find a themed store outside many of the most popular rides ready to help you with that. You can get a Mouse Ears hat in scores of styles or buy designer items with a Disney theme. You'll find lots of shops along Main Street USA and in the alley near New Orleans Square. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique near the castle sells costumes to suit the finest of princesses. In Downtown Disney, several shops sell Disney-themed items, too.
The Disney Gallery on Main Street or Off the Page in California Adventure are the best places to head to score that special collectible - or try the World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney.
6. Have a Meal
You'll find plenty of places to eat in the parks and just outside them, too, from a simple pretzel and drink to a full, sit-down dinner. Most are first-come, first-served, but a few require reservations. Find out about your options.
You can also have a meal with a side-helping of Disney characters at the Disney hotels and inside the theme parks. All the details are here.
5. See a Show
Of course there are rides and all kinds of other things to do, but Disneyland and California Adventure also have some great live shows featuring singing, dancing and sometimes a little audience participation. Check our your options at Disneyland. Our favorite? Disney's Aladdin at California Adventure but California Adventure has other options, too - including the World of Color, a water-and-lights show worth staying up late for.
4. Watch a Parade
In most places, you're lucky to see one parade a year, but at Disneyland, there's one almost every day. In Disneyland, Mickey's Soundsational Parade which premiered in 2011 is one of their best in years, replaced at Christmas by a seasonal version. Over at California Adventure, it's the Pixar Play Parade.
3. Watch the Fireworks
Disneyland has fireworks about 250 times a year - and they're some of the best you'll see anywhere, launched using special, low-smoke, low-pollution quieter technology - and they're not just pretty, they tell a story, too. Find out where to watch them, inside or outside the park.
Long-time visitor favorite Fantasmic! also offers a generous helping of fireworks and special effects.
2. Meet Disney Characters
What could be more fun than meeting your favorite Disney character in person? Minnie and Mickey have residences in Disneyland's Toontown where you can drop in, but you'll also find a whole host of other characters around the parks and at special character breakfasts. Get some tips for when and where you can meet them.