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Best Things To Do in Disneyland

AOL PICK from our Editors

There's so much to do at Disneyland Resort that it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Where to begin? For starters, plan to spend at least one day at each park, if possible. Determine which rides are your top priorities, and then see where they’re located in the park. It's good to have a plan, but don't worry about sticking to a schedule. That just causes stress for everyone. Rather, go with your loose game plan and enjoy the day as it comes. Some attractions offer a FASTPASS, a free service which lets you come back at a prescheduled time and join a shorter line to ride the attraction. Simply walk up to the FASTPASS booth at any participating ride, slip in your park ticket, and you'll receive a slip of paper with the time you should return. You can have only one FASTPASS at a time, but once you use your FASTPASS, you can get another one for a different ride. Be sure to allow time here and there for refreshments or just to pause and catch their breath. These little breaks will help everyone keep going and enjoying the fun.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage Disney

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Neighborhood: Disneyland Park
Everyone's favorite clownfish has gone missing again, and this whimsical submarine adventure lets guests in on the quest to find the little guy. This well-done underwater experience in Tomorrowland's lagoon begins as an expedition to view an underwater volcano. Cast members of the Finding Nemo movie soon appear, and the search for Nemo is underway with the added urgency of an impending volcanic eruption. The submarines are comfortable—but tight—spaces (they're submarines, after all), so guests with claustrophobia may want to skip this one. Otherwise, it’s a favorite family adventure.

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Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage  
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Disney

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Neighborhood: Disneyland Park

This high-speed roller coaster claims to be the wildest ride in the American West. Inspired by Utah's Bryce Canyon, the ride cost more than $16 million to build—as much as all of the original Disneyland attractions put together. If you're a coaster fanatic, you'll find this one fairly tame. It uses tight turns, rather than steep drops, to produce a thrill. Still, the setting is fun. Ride during the day to enjoy the Old West back story, and again in the evening for the night view. Although Disney parks use painted concrete and fiberglass for most of their “stonework,” park fanatics say that 230 tons of ore was brought in from gold mines to make some of the rocks at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad  
Disney's Aladdin—A Musical Spectacular <br> Disney

Disney's Aladdin—A Musical Spectacular

Neighborhood: California Adventure

This 40-minute live stage show, presented in the Hyperion Theater at California Adventure, is well worth seeing. It tells the familiar story of Aladdin and his sidekick, Genie. The best scenes include Aladdin and Jasmine flying high above the crowd on their magic carpet. The musical score includes all the usual favorites, as well as a new song by the renowned composer of the Aladdin movie music, Alan Menken. The show runs five days a week, so check the daily schedule for show times and arrive early to get a good seat.

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Disney's Aladdin—A Musical Spectacular
 
Turtle Talk with Crush Disney

Turtle Talk with Crush

Neighborhood: California Adventure
The experience at Turtle Talk with Crush is never the same twice. The interactive attraction uses Disney magic and real-time animation to allow kids to have an in-depth chat with Crush, the laid-back turtle from Finding Nemo. During this live, unrehearsed show, Crush talks, jokes and even recognizes guests attending the show. The result is some delightful entertainment for folks of all ages.

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Turtle Talk with Crush  
Soarin' Over California<br> Disney

Soarin' Over California

Neighborhood: California Adventure
You could ride this simulated hangliding attraction over and over and it still wouldn't grow old. That's because Soarin' Over California mixes exhilarating movement with incredible cinematography. A high-speed IMAX film immerses you in a hang glider flight over California. You soar along the surf, over the Golden Gate Bridge, past Yosemite National Park and even so close to an orange grove that you can smell the oranges. A dramatic musical score makes the experience even more powerful. This is a popular attraction, so pick up a FASTPASS if you can. Otherwise, head over there as soon as the park opens or during midday, when the lines tend to dwindle a bit.

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Soarin' Over California
 
Mickey's Toontown Disney

Mickey's Toontown

Neighborhood: Disneyland Park
If you have preschoolers, this is bound to be one of their favorite parts of Disneyland. Toontown is the whimsical neighborhood home of Mickey Mouse and many of his friends. Kids can even stop in for a visit at Mickey and Minnie's house, and tour the homes of other classic characters. Disney's Imagineers set out to create a three-dimensional cartoon environment without a single straight line, and the topsy-turvy neighborhood shows they succeeded. Toontown has "little kid-friendly" rides, including Gadget's Go Coaster, and Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin. One note: While there are several fast-food restaurants in Toontown, there are no full-service dining options, so don't plan on having a full lunch or dinner here.

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Mickey's Toontown  
California Screamin' Disney

California Screamin'

Neighborhood: California Adventure
Like any good boardwalk, Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure has a roller coaster. A very big, very fast roller coaster. California Screamin' begins with a blast that sends you 120' in the air, and then pulls you into a mind-erasing 55 mph plunge—and that's just the beginning. Hair-raising bends, twists and turns eventually dive into a 360 degree loop that will leave you wondering which way is up. Don't worry if your legs are a little wobbly when you get off; everyone else's are too. Be sure to store your cell phone in your pocket and hats and sunglasses in the storage compartment at your feet. You don't want those items taking a trip of their own.

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California Screamin'  
Space Mountain Disney

Space Mountain

Neighborhood: Disneyland Park
Kids who rode Space Mountain when it opened in 1977 are now returning to enjoy it with their kids and grandkids. The popular roller coaster was "relaunched" in 2005 and is still one of the top attractions in the park. What sets this coaster apart is that most of the ride takes place in the dark as you hurtle past stars and galaxies to an edgy soundtrack that is synchronized to each car. Even after all these years, Space Mountain still packs a thrill. Pregnant mothers-to-be and anyone with back issues should sit this one out.

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Space Mountain  
Toy Story Mania! Disney

Toy Story Mania!

Neighborhood: California Adventure
Call us crazy, but this ride is one of our all-time favorites at California Adventure. Anyone who grew up in the ‘80s or after will get a kick out of this. Simply put, you get to ride around in a little car and shoot at targets, just like you're in a video game. Even better, you wear 3-D glasses as you take aim with your spring-action shooter. The downside to this ride is that there is always a line—a long one. Our advice? Head for this attraction as soon as the park opens.

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Toy Story Mania!  
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Disney

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Neighborhood: California Adventure
Cue the creepy Twilight Zone music. It's only fitting as you enter this haunted hotel, where according to legend, lightning struck the hotel back in 1939, creating the mysterious disappearance of an elevator carrying five people. The line for the ride winds through the old hotel, where an old TV set comes to life and Rod Serling invites you to enter The Twilight Zone. Once you’re on board the elevator, it takes off, shooting up, dropping and moving vertically with no apparent pattern. Disney Imagineers created a computer program that directs the cars in random sequences so no two rides are the same. The result is a thrilling experience that you'll most likely want to do again—soon! The ride isn’t recommend for pregnant women or those who have back problems or are prone to motion sickness. 

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Twilight Zone Tower of Terror  
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