Every child dreams of going to Disneyland, and nothing beats the original.

Mickey and Minnie at Disneyland © Disney

Animator Walt Disney opened Disneyland Resort in California in 1955. When you visit you can still experience attractions from that day, including the Mark Twain Riverboat, the Mad Tea Party and Peter Pan’s Flight, as well as thrilling new rides and attractions that use the latest digital technology.

Known as the ‘happiest place on Earth’, the site has expanded to cover more than 200 hectares, with two theme parks and a shopping, dining and entertainment area known as Downtown Disney District. It also has three hotels: Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.

With more than 100 attractions across the two theme parks, you will need at least four days to experience the magic of Disneyland Resort in California.

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland is the centrepiece of Fantasyland. Picture: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Park has eight themed areas to explore across the enchanted kingdom. Kids love riding a jeep through a tunnel on the Indiana Jones Adventure ride, seeing their favourite characters come alive in Pirates of the Caribbean, and floating past dolls from across the world as the catchy tune plays on It’s A Small World. Must-do rides include Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain and Star Wars – The Adventures Continue.

You can also get Instagram snaps with all your favourite Disney characters. Pop into Mickey’s House for a photo with the famous mouse, visit Mickey’s Toontown for a shot with Goofy, Pluto and pals, and pose with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen in New Orleans Square.

Neighbouring Disney California Adventure Park, which opened in 2001, welcomes guests to a world where the stories of Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Beyond come to life.

The top attractions include flight motion simulator Soarin’ Around the World, interactive 4D carnival game Toy Story Midway Mania and evening show World of Color.

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters. Picture: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters. Picture: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort

Cars Land – an area inspired by the popular DisneyPixar film series – is a must for fans of the animated film Cars. Families can rocket through the desert on Radiator Spring Racers. Other popular rides include Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, where you can join Rocket on a thrilling mission to rescue the rag-tag crew of heroes, and The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure – a must for The Little Mermaid fans.

Whatever you do, don’t miss Turtle Talk with Crush, where a digital version of the loveable sea turtle from the Finding Nemo films chats to members of the audience – he just loves meeting Aussies.

Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure Park. Picture: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure Park. Picture: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

Pixar Pier, which opened mid-2018, features the thrilling Incredicoaster and Pixar Pal-A-Round attractions, Pixar-inspired food and the new Lamplight Lounge.

Guests enter Pixar Pier through a dazzling marquee that leads to four themed neighbourhoods. The first is Incredibles Park, inspired by DisneyPixar’s The Incredibles. Home to the Incredicoaster, the first ride-through attraction in the world to feature beloved characters from the franchise, it takes guests on an adventure with the Parr family to chase after the elusive baby Jack-Jack – a storyline that fans of Incredibles 2 will connect with. New music, lighting, special effects, character figures and distinctively coloured vehicles add to the thrills on this super-speedy coaster – the fastest attraction at Disneyland Resort.

The Incredicoaster will take guests on a thrilling race alongside the Parr family.. Picture: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

The Incredicoaster will take guests on a thrilling race alongside the Parr family.. Picture: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

Next to Incredibles Park is the Toy Story Boardwalk neighbourhood, where in 2019 guests can saddle up on Jessie’s Critter Carousel, inspired by the vintage television show Woody’s Roundup featured in Toy Story 2.

In the American summer, the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is also set to open at Disneyland Park. The new land is set on the planet Batuu and will have two signature attractions as well as many familiar faces. It will be followed by a new superhero-themed land at Disney California Adventure Park in 2020, with Guardians of the Galaxy to be joined by Spider-Man and the Avengers.

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